A COLLEGE STUDENT ASKS ABOUT NORSE MYTHOLOGY AND NORSE RELIGION, Part One

College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, MinnesotaI fairly regularly receive emails from students with school assignments that include interview projects. There are far too many requests for me to respond to all the questions, but I have written detailed answers to various young people over the past few years and posted them in the For Students section of The Norse Mythology Blog.In 2011, I answered a series of questions from a high school student. In 2012, I wrote replies to a middle school student. In 2013, I was interviewed by a sixth grader. In 2014, I provided answers for another sixth grader. I somehow never got around to working on one of these interview requests in 2015, but this post features the first group of my answers to a college student who is researching Norse mythology and religion.Lily Hauger is a nursing student taking the Religions of the World class taught at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Minnesota by Dr. Hans Gustafson, a member of the Theology Department at the University of St. Thomas and Associate Director of the Jay Phillips Center for Interfaith Learning.For her semester project, Lily chose to study Ásatrú (“Æsir Faith”), a modern iteration of Norse religion. She sent me some very interesting questions that show how deeply she has thought about these issues – and that reflect the excellent research she has already done on the subject.I’m very happy that Dr. Gustafson is encouraging his students to study religions with which they may not be familiar. The two of us have been corresponding for a couple of years, and he has been a great supporter of the inclusion of Ásatrú in interfaith dialogue. He asked me a while ago to recommend texts on historical and modern Heathenry (Germanic polytheism) to include on the recommended reading list for his world religions course.It’s great that Dr. Gustafson is so welcoming of minority religions in an academic and theological context, and it’s wonderful that Lily decided to research the topic. I hope that the answers I’m posting this week and next will be of some help to other students curious about Ásatrú and Heathenry.1. In what ways have you blended your religious beliefs with Western culture?An English map of the world from c.1265My religious beliefs are rooted in Western culture, and Western culture is rooted in my religious beliefs. Let me try to explain.I used to teach in the religion department of a private liberal arts college where “Western Heritage” is taught with the “foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition.” This preserves an older, Eurocentric way of teaching college students that accepts a colonialist division of the world into West and East or, to use the old-fashioned terms, Occidental and Oriental.Strangely, this division stretches a definition of the West in order to concentrate on a Christian view of culture that jumps in time and place from Latin antiquity and Biblical times in southern Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to the early modern period in western and northern Europe.In the first semester, students read works from ancient Greece (southeastern Europe), Italy (south-central Europe), Africa (south of Europe) and the Middle East (east of Europe). The latest text is from the fourth century. In the second semester, the students skip ahead one thousand years and read texts from the fourteenth century and later. They are introduced to works from England, France, Germany, and other nations of western and northern Europe.This raises two questions. What was happening in western and northern Europe in the years between the fourth and fourteenth centuries? Does any literature survive from this time and area?To answer the first question: a lot was happening. As the Roman Empire collapsed and the Huns pushed westwards, the so-called Migration Age began in the late fourth century. Change was the order of the day as various Germanic tribes fought for and consolidated power over a wide geographical area in what we now call Europe. These tribes slowly converted to Christianity from paganism over the next centuries.By the time the Viking Age began in the late eighth century with the first raids on England, the Scandinavian invaders were seen by the Christian English as terrifying pagans – despite the fact that the Anglo-Saxons had themselves worshiped the same or similar gods scarcely more than a century earlier. By the end of the Viking Age in the eleventh century, almost all of Scandinavia was Christian; paganism in Sweden held on until the mid-twelfth century.When we look at the surviving evidence for Germanic religions between the fourth century and the twelfth century, we have to acknowledge that we are talking about a large number of divergent peoples who held a great variety of religious beliefs and engaged in a wide array of religious practices. There was no one great Heathen religion with a common theology and praxis; there was an array of somewhat related beliefs and practices that differed with period and location.We can, in the most general terms, say that this era saw the flowering of Germanic religions with roots that we can trace back to around 2000 BCE. Unfortunately, it also saw the willful eradication of the religions by Christian clergy and political leaders.First page of Beowulf in the surviving manuscriptTo answer the second question: yes, literature survives. Beowulf’s events take place during the Migration Age; the lengthy poem that is generally considered the first great work of English literature was probably composed in the eighth century and is preserved in a manuscript from around the year 1000. The German Nibelungenlied is also inspired by events in the Migration Age and was written down in approximately 1200; another version of the story is told in the thirteenth-century Icelandic Völsunga saga – both texts influenced the composition of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. There are German poems going back quite far, like the Hildebrandslied of around 800, which share characters and themes with much later texts.The great flowering of Icelandic literature in the thirteenth century preserved both the poems that are our primary source for Norse mythology and the sagas purporting to portray life in pagan northern Europe – and, most importantly, of the Viking Age – through shelves full of what would later be called novels, five hundred years before Samuel Richardson and Henry Fielding. Almost all of these texts are available in translation for you to read.So, the earliest literature of western and northern Europe grows out of the events of the Migration Age and the Viking Age. This time period set the stage for all the ups and downs of European history into our own times. The earliest beginnings of what later came to be the kingdoms, empires, and nations of Europe began at this time. The Germanic languages became ever more distinct from each other and set the stage for the evolution of the languages we speak today, like English, German, Dutch, and Norwegian.The literature of this period did not simply record the events of the past; it interpreted them according to the times of its creators and influenced generations of listeners and readers to this day. Why academic study of “Western Heritage” so often skips over this time period and this literature is a complicated saga in itself, but it is beyond the scope of this already overlong answer to your question. I would, however, encourage students to ask their teachers why they skip over this period of one thousand years.My point is this: my religious beliefs are grounded in the history and literature of one of the most important and foundational periods of Western culture. All of the texts I mentioned preserve literary evidence for the beliefs and practices of the pre-Christian religions that, since the early 1970s, have been revived, reconstructed, and reimagined as Ásatrú and Heathenry.Thor’s Hammer Pendant from the Viking AgeBredsätra, Öland, SwedenI look to scholarly work on this period and to the literature that survives for inspiration. The scholarship provides information on how the old pagan religions may have been practiced while offering theories on the worldviews and beliefs of what some practitioners today call Elder Heathens or Arch-Heathens. The literature preserves some of the mythology (unfortunately a mere drop in the ocean of what is forever lost) and gives us insights into pagan life preserved by writers and chroniclers relatively close chronologically to the events described.The fact that a well-educated and inquisitive college student like you would see this religious tradition as something separate from Western culture makes me a bit sad, because it means that there is a hole at the heart of our modern educational system. It also makes me more determined to continue my own projects and to promote the work of others who work to keep this material alive.2. As a student who is studying Ásatrú and Norse mythology for the first time, what do you think is vital for me to know?Ásatrú has often been called “the religion with homework.” Many of today’s Heathens are deeply engaged with scholarship and literature. Some have earned advanced academic degrees and have created their own scholarly works; others have moved from reading the old literature to creating new Heathen poetry and story.For a college student who wants to dive into the subject, I would suggest this reading list. All of these books are included on the “Highly Recommended” page of The Norse Mythology Store. In an ideal world, I would ask you to read all of them in this given order. In a realistic world, I would ask you to read the descriptions and start with the one that seems most relevant to your own interests.MythologyA manuscript of Snorri Sturluson’s EddaIceland, 18th centuryEdda by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony FaulkesWe owe a great deal to the Icelander Snorri Sturluson for his work preserving Norse mythology. This book is the primary source for most of the myths you find retold by later authors. It’s important to keep in mind that Snorri was a Christian writing more than two hundred years after the official conversion of Iceland and that elements of Christian worldview creep into his book. It’s also key to remember that this is not a holy book or bible of Heathenry, but rather an instructional work for poets of his time that teaches the major myths as part of Iceland’s literary heritage.The Poetic Edda translated by Carolyne LarringtonWritten down in the thirteenth century, these poems were preserved orally from the pagan era in Iceland. They tell of gods and goddesses, dwarves and dragons, heroes and Valkyries. You will read the great Prophecy of the Seeress that tells of the creation of the world and its dissolution at Ragnarök, and you will enjoy the Sayings of the High One, in which Odin shares his wisdom, tells of his experiences, and speaks of runes and magic. I suggest reading this after Snorri’s Edda, since the poems are quite dense and can be somewhat mystifying without having first having read Snorri’s more straightforward prose accounts.Historical HeathenryGods and Myths of Northern Europe by H.R. Ellis DavidsonAlthough it was first published in 1964, this is still my favorite introduction to Norse mythology, religion, and culture. Davidson introduces us to each of the major deities in detail as she discusses not merely literature, but archaeology, theology, history, place-name analysis, visual arts, and more in a virtuosic work that is very accessible to the casual reader. I have repeatedly assigned this as a required textbook for my own courses on mythology and religion.Simek’s Dictionary of Northern MythologyA Dictionary of Northern Mythology by Rudolf SimekTranslated from the German, this brilliant work is really more of an encyclopedia than a dictionary. Simek’s 1992 preface to the English edition explains the breadth of this wonderful work, stating that an English audience will associate most of the material presented in [the book] with the northern mythology of the Eddas and sagas of medieval Scandinavia. The scope of the book is, however, wider than that: the mythology and religion of all Germanic tribes – Scandinavians as well as Goths or Angles and Saxons – have been dealt with insofar as they are Germanic in origin; hence, of the English mythology of heathen times, the religion imported by the Germanic tribes is included, but not that of the older Celtic population.Many Heathens today (myself included) have an expansive sense of the historical background of the modern religions. We look to not only Icelandic sources, but to those from England, Denmark, Germany, and elsewhere. Simek’s work is beloved by many of us for both its inclusion of a wide range of material and its insightful drawing of connections between diverse sources.Modern HeathenryA Practical Heathen’s Guide to Asatru by Patricia M. LafayllveThere are many books available in what is often called the “Ásatrú 101” category. Written by practitioners, they usually give a brief overview of Heathen history and mythology, introduce the deities and wights (land-spirits), explain theological constructs, and describe the general rituals and celebrations performed today. Lafayllve’s book provides all of this in a clear and concise format, is recent enough (2013) to represent current ideas held by the average Heathen (if there is such a thing), and is both widely available and affordable. It’s a good entry point into the modern traditions, but remember that this is only one of the many perspectives in today’s Ásatrú and Heathenry.Jennifer Snook’s American HeathensAmerican Heathens: The Politics of Identity in a Pagan Religious Movement by Jennifer SnookThis is the first peer-reviewed academic book on American Heathens written by an American Heathen, and it is also the first long-term professional ethnographic study of the subject in the field of sociology. Published last year, it combines an insider perspective with a scholarly approach. Snook investigates such issues as the interaction of Heathenry and Wicca, the relationship between religious experience and academic research, the use of the internet to build (or tear down) communities, the many roles of women, and the place of ethnicity and heritage. You can introduce yourself to Snook’s work by reading my three-part interview with her here.To be continued in Part Two.
Source: norsemyth

A COLLEGE STUDENT ASKS ABOUT NORSE MYTHOLOGY AND NORSE RELIGION, Part Two

Click here for Part One.3. I read on your blog that you are a musician. How have you integrated your religion into your music?There are several ways that I have consciously incorporated my religion into my music. Here are just two of them.Blue Rhizome by The New QuartetFirst, I believe in interfaith dialogue and inclusivity, even if the “great religions” don’t really return the favor. I wrote the extended composition that appears on my Blue Rhizome album for mixed quartet. Not only were the players mixed in the sense of playing a non-standard combination of instruments, but they came from a mixed religious background: Ásatrú, Baptist, Jewish, and Greek Orthodox. The beginning of my liner notes explain the spiritual impetus for the music: The composition of this piece was inspired by a crisis of faith. Not religious faith, but faith in humanity. 150 years from now, it is guaranteed that everyone now alive will be in the ground or consumed by flames. There will be no exceptions. All our efforts, dreams, and hopes will end as all biographies must.In these few years that we have of consciousness and life, we divide ourselves into tribes. Our choice of friends, lovers, and colleagues is based on comfort with what we see as members of our own group. Ethnicity, race, religion, culture, and nationality are used as an excuse to shut out love, new experiences, challenges to our habits, and expansion of our experiences. The Other is judged and the Like is embraced, whether consciously or not.Thor vs the World Serpent by Ernst HansenThe music plots a psychological trajectory from “the sadness and despair of those wandering between tribes” through stages including “a meditation on the transitory nature of life” to “the glimmer of hope that we may find kindred spirits across tribal lines.” The peak of the piece is “Destroy All Monsters,” my electric guitar duet with drummer Chris Avgerin, which “represents the anger that can grow out of sadness, whether the Monster is racism, sexism, or the Snake That Encircles the World.”That last bit is, of course, a reference to the World Serpent, the great enemy of the god Thor. The thought behind the guitar solo was inspired by a famous verse from the Sayings of the High One in which Odin says: Where you recognize evil, call it evil,and give no truce to your enemies.I have been called a “social justice warrior” by online wags for daring to suggest that racism and sexism are evils and monsters that we must confront. Such is life.Second, I believe that the subjective experience that I often have of composing and improvising music is the same basic experience that the Elder Heathen conceived of as inspiration by the god Odin. When I recorded some of the guitar and bass tracks for Of Alien Feelings, my collaboration with the great drummer Calvin Weston that featured a cross-section of legendary prog rock and jazz players from the last half-century, I simply hit the record button, closed my eyes, and opened my mind so that the music could flow through me without the commentary of my conscious mind. This is not always an easy thing for a trained musician to do!Odin by Lorenz FroølichIn the best moments, I would feel like the music was coming from outside of me, that I was not consciously creating it. This is the experience of pure creativity that I think was understood as possession by Odin or as the effect of drinking his magical Mead of Poetry.Intellectually, I understand that creativity can come from our brains combining past experiences in novel ways, that it can be partially explained by the science of the mind. I also understand that, in the actual moment of creativity, I am not aware of whatever electric connections are being made inside my skull.Scientific theories are necessary for our understanding of reality, but there are also needs that can only be filled by religion, spirituality, and the arts. I believe that the creative experience transcends time, space, and culture, and I think of these bright moments as times when Odin’s inspiration briefly touches me.4. How have you connected with others who practice Ásatrú?There are many ways that Heathens find each other. Sometimes, it’s just a pleasant surprise, like when I reconnected years ago with a close friend from high school. We had drifted apart over the long period since we were teenage Motörhead fans together, but when we found each other again, somehow we were both Heathens. The Norns are subtle.The Norns by Carl Emil DoeplerI have sought out others because I was interested in their writing or academic work, and others have sought me out for the same reason. Intellectual discussion often develops into friendship. I have also met Heathens in places where one would expect to find them, like visiting the headquarters and attending the events of the Ásatrúarfélagið (Ásatrú Fellowship) in Iceland.There’s also the internet, of course. On one hand, you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. There are trolls lurking everywhere, but that is not a necessarily Heathen phenomenon. I’ve seen equal nastiness in Tolkien fandom and discussions between professional musicians. It’s just an unfortunate element intrinsic to online interaction.On the other had, what we old graybeards used to call “the Information Superhighway” can also be a great way for members of religious minorities to find fellow practitioners. I have found Heathens on social media who I have subsequently met in this thing called life. Jennifer Snook’s book on Heathens in the U.S. has a great discussion of the pros and cons of Heathenry’s relationship with the internet.5. How are Ásatrú, Heathenry, and Paganism related?Thor’s Hammer pendant from Erikstorp, Odeshög,Ostergotland, Sweden, probably before 1016In very general terms, you could say that each is under the umbrella of the next. Basically, you can think of each one like this.Ásatrú refers to religions that largely center on the Old Norse sources, meaning that they focus on the deities, myths, and practices as described in Icelandic literary sources and various other texts and archaeological finds that are related to them.Heathenry is a larger term for Germanic polytheistic traditions that include Ásatrú as well as related religious beliefs and practices such as Theodism (which emphasizes Anglo-Saxon sources) and a wide range of praxis based on local and regional traditions (recreated or newly made).Paganism is a yet wider term that encompasses Heathenry, Wicca, Druidism, and a large number of religions that claim connection to various cultural backgrounds (Baltic, Hellenic, Italic, and so on).As with any religious terminology, these definitions are widely contested and argued. Some practitioners see Ásatrú and Heathenry as synonymous while others see them as oppositional. Paganism sometimes seems to only mean Wicca, especially as it used by mainstream booksellers (see, for example, the “Witchcraft, Wicca & Paganism – Modern” section at Barnes & Noble).I once had a religion editor at a cable news network condescendingly explain to me that “Heathenry and Wicca are denominations of the religion of Paganism.” I think you would be hard-pressed to find many Heathens or Wiccans who would agree with his construction. We may argue over the fine shadings of the terms, but there are also some clear divisions.6. I read an article that was written recently about how Iceland is building the first Norse gods temple in one thousand years. How has not having a place to worship affected your religious practice?Valheim Hof in Denmark, dedicated to Odin and the godsLike your question about Western culture, this makes me a bit sad. It suggests that the mainstream media misrepresentation of Heathenry has permeated popular perception to the same degree that academic misdirection of the trajectory of history and literature has shaped student views.First, the hof (Heathen temple) being built in Iceland is not the first temple to the Norse gods built in the past thousand years. It’s not even the first one this decade. There are Heathen hofs on private property around the world, but we don’t know exactly how many. They are private places of veneration and ritual that are not publicly announced but are used by individuals, families, or groups.We do know of several temples currently in operation around the world, including in Maryland, California, Denmark and England. We can definitely say that when it is finished – likely in winter 2017 or later – the Icelandic temple will be the first large-scale public hof built in Iceland in the last thousand years.The story of the future Iceland temple went viral in a media frenzy a while ago, but most of the online articles misrepresented what was really happening as they plagiarized content and lifted quotes without attribution. Such is today’s religion journalism.This is my temple, no walls needed:Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in 2015Second, I think we have to be careful about using generic concepts of “a place to worship.” The idea that religious ritual requires a brick-and-mortar structure for large congregations to gather in front of an ordained clergyperson is not universal.Much Heathen ritual takes place outside, where we tend to feel closer to the gods and wights. I personally feel closest to the wights when we are out walking quietly in one of America’s beautiful forests. The woods have always been a mystical place for me. We planted and dedicated a Thor’s Oak in our back yard, and that is where I speak and make offerings to the Powers in a conscious emulation of fragmentary descriptions of Germanic ritual in the surviving texts.We also celebrate the high days of the Heathen calendar in our home, with family gathered around the table or in front of the fireplace. This also has a basis in historical practice, in which the home was often the center of family religious activity. So, I think not having a big, public, tax-exempt structure listed on Google Maps has had absolutely no effect on my religious practice.7. I have been reading a lot about the traditional Norse deities. For example, Thor, Odin, and Freyr. What roles do these gods have in modern Ásatrú? Do you actively worship them?Freyr, Odin and Thor by Wilhelm KaulbachThere are many gods, goddesses, and wights that inhabit the Heathen world. Their roles are multiform and multivalent.You often hear that Thor is the god of thunder, but I would question what function thunder has. Is Thor’s role as a deity to make noise during storms? That seems fairly limited in scope. I would say, instead, that thunder is one manifestation of his power. Thor has many roles, including protector of humanity from the threatening forces of the uncultivated world, bringer of the rains that enable life to grow and flourish, and the one who hallows life events such as marriages and funerals.Another Heathen may say that one or none of these are true descriptions of Thor’s role in her life. She may not pay much attention to Thor, instead focusing on Odin, Freyja, or another deity in her thoughts and actions. In polytheistic religions, the many gods play many roles and are open to many interpretations.I would also question use of the word worship, contemporary use of which tends to privilege ways of relating to godhood that are rooted in the monotheistic traditions of the Middle East. Heathens often talk of reciprocal gifting with the gods or of honoring their ancestors, which are both quite different modes of religious action from praising an almighty deity. When I raise a drinking horn to Odin, to the spirits of the land, or to my deceased father, the action and the meanings behind it have very little to do with, for example, the praising and flattering of God that I have often seen in Evangelical churches where I’ve been hired to play bass for services.My ritual drinking horn, carved by Jóhanna G. HarðardóttirOne of the best poems by one of the best poets of the Elder Heathen Era both rails at Odin for the premature death of the poet’s sons and thanks him for the gift of poetic ability which enables his expression of grief. This understanding and acceptance that the gods bring both good and bad, both suffering and joy, is one of the defining areas of difference between polytheism and monotheism. Heathens don’t ask why God allows bad things to happen to good people. They accept that the gods, like everything in this cosmos, are complicated.8. What role do the Nine Noble Virtues have in your practice?None. I mean no offense to those who place value on them. I understand that the Nine Noble Virtues are meaningful to some Heathens, that they are a source of inner strength, and that they are a way to focus on positivity in their lives. It is not anyone’s business to tell someone that her personal religious beliefs are invalid. That way lies fundamentalism. However, I steer clear of the NNV in my own practice for several reasons.The Seven Heavenly Virtues date to the 5th century.What motivated modern Heathens to imitate them?They were supposedly “codified” from the poems of the Poetic Edda. To begin with, I don’t believe that poetry can truly be translated. There is too much cultural meaning and association packed into each word, especially when you go back to poetry from over a millennium ago. How do you translate a symphony written for orchestra by Beethoven? If you play it on solo xylophone, it simply is not the symphony any more.Following from this, I really don’t believe that poetry can be codified, especially religious poetry. How do you codify a symphony by Beethoven? If you reduce it to a few isolated and unconnected single notes, you are destroying the core of what defines the work – the act of listening to its complete duration and experiencing it in its fullness. The same goes for religious poetry. Codifying a poem or set of poems into a list of single nouns is simply not something I can get behind.It’s also a bit odd that Odin himself violates each of the Nine Noble Virtues, right there in the poems themselves. To avoid fighting frost-giants (Courage), he gives a false name (Truth) as he breaks his pledge (Honor) to a giant-maiden (Fidelity). He can’t resist personally insulting Thor (Discipline) and refuses to help him (Hospitality), even though Thor fights the giants for him (Self-reliance) while he’s off having love affairs (Industriousness) or cursing a foster-son for his imperfections instead of continuing to mentor him (Perseverance).You could go through this same exercise with other deities in the poems and myths. I think this further undermines the assertion that the NNV were codified from the poems.Odin doesn’t seem all that concerned with virtue.Sculpture by Herman Ernst FreundWhat these polytheistic poems paint for me is a portrait of a complex set of worldviews that offers no simple answers. Odin is subtle, and Sayings of the High One resists reduction to tidy, unambiguous virtues. The very idea of creating a list of guidelines for behavior seems to imitate the concept from patriarchal monotheist religions of revealed law, to create a simple code that functions like Ten Heathen Commandments carved onto rune-stones and brought down the Rainbow Bridge from Asgard.To make a different religio-cultural comparison, the NNV assert a simple, communal, universal dharma for all Heathens as opposed to a complex, localized, individual dharma for each Heathen. The NNV are thus internally contradictory as they simultaneously advocate for rugged individualism and for conformist groupthink.As I said at the beginning of my answer to this question, I realize that some Heathens find value in the Nine Noble Virtues. I don’t deign to tell them how to believe or practice. I simply don’t find the NNV valuable, and the above outlines some of the many reasons why. Your mileage may vary.Thank you for your thoughtful questions. I hope that my answers will encourage you to dig deeper into historical and modern Heathenry. Please keep me posted on your studies!
Source: norsemyth

How To Get A College Degree With Ease

Many people are so afraid of going to college that their insecurities end up hobbling them in their early experiences. Don’t allow this to be true in your case. With the right knowledge, you can enjoy success in college. Read on to find out more.

Be realistic when it comes to your work and school loads. If you struggle with waking up each morning, don’t set yourself up for failure by choosing morning classes if possible. Working around your own bodies schedule can help you to ultimately succeed.

Take advantage of any grants or scholarships available to you. Many students don’t bother learning about things that can help make college a lot easier. State and federal grants also exist that do not require repayment.

It’s important that you learn all you can about your professors whenever classes begin. Be aware of their office locations and their phone numbers and emails so that you can easily contact them. It’s a good idea to be on a professor’s good side just in case you’re having trouble with certain things, they will understand.

Be sure to make use of local transportation. It might not take longer using the bus. You can cut out the time normally spent on searching for parking spots. You’ll also save on gas and parking passes. It’s environmentally friendly, too.

You don’t have anyone cooking and cleaning up after you. Be sure to keep your clothes and your room clean and eat a balanced, healthy diet. Also, make a schedule to stay as organized as possible. Unhealthy food and stress can make you ill.

Wait until class starts to buy recommended reading outside of the primary textbook. Sometimes, you can save yourself a purchase by doing this. When it comes to online classes, this definitely rings true. In most cases, the Internet study and professor lectures are all you need to pass.

Look at your professors as if they are your friends. Professors represent an incredible resource and have lots of help to offer students. Lend a hand if appropriate and don’t hesitate to ask questions or request assistance. When you have a positive relationship with professors, you will have endless opportunities.

Set time aside each day for studying. Find the time despite the distractions. You need to spend at least a couple of hours a day to catch up on your studies and do some research. Follow a schedule even if it is hard to remain motivated. It gets you in the habit of doing it.

Save Money

A great way to save money during college is to strive to purchase used textbooks, rather than new ones. Textbooks cost a lot of money, especially if you are getting them new. Buying used textbook can be a wise investment to save money.

Write down the phone number for campus security. All universities have programs and resources in place to keep students safe, so familiarize yourself with the best methods to reach the police or security office. With any luck, that information will be unnecessary, but it is smart to have it just in case.

College graduation is yours to behold. Following the advice provided above can make it easier to reach your goals and get what you want out of your college experience. Your college years will give you memories to last a lifetime. Be sure they are happy ones.

Crucial Information You Should Know About Student Loans

A lot of people would love to have a good education, but cannot afford it. School is pricey indeed, but student loans can help you realize your dream. This article will help you apply for one, giving you just the right tips to help.

Remain in contact with your lender. Keep them updated on any change of personal information. Do not neglect any piece of correspondence your lender sends to you, whether it comes through the mail or electronically. Perform all actions to do as soon as you can. Overlooking things can end up being very expensive.

Don’t panic if you have a slight hiccup when paying back your loans. Job loss and health crises are bound to pop up at one point or another. Make sure you are aware of the specific terms that apply to such circumstances, such as deferments or forbearance, which are part of most loan programs. Just be mindful that interest continues to accrue in many options, so at least consider making interest only payments to keep balances from rising.

There are two steps to approach the process of paying off student loans you have taken out. First, ensure you meet the minimum monthly payments on each separate loan. Next, pay extra on your loan with the largest interest rate instead of the one with the largest balance. This helps lower the amount of costs over the course of the loan.

Loans Offer

Check the grace period of your student loan. For Stafford loans, you should have six months. Perkins loans offer a nine-month grace period. Other loans offer differing periods of time. Make sure you know how long those grace periods are, and never pay late.

Choose a payment plan that you will be able to pay off. In general, ten year plans are fairly normal for loan repayments. If you don’t think that is feasible, you should check for alternatives. For example, you might be given a longer time to pay. Keep in mind that this option comes with higher interest. Also, paying a percent of your wages, once you start making money, may be something you can do. Some student loans offer loan forgiveness after a period of 25 years has elapsed.

Pick a payment plan that suits your particular needs. Many student loans come with a ten year length of time for repayment. You can consult other resources if this does not work for you. For instance, you can take a longer period to pay, but that comes with higher interest. Think about what you “should” be making in the future and carefully go over everything with a trusted adviser. After 20 years, some loans are completely forgiven.

Monthly loan payments after college can be very intimidating. There are rewards programs that can help. Two such programs are SmarterBucks and LoanLink. This can help you get money back to apply against your loan.

Lots of folks enter into student loans without having the foggiest idea of what they are signing on for. Asking questions and understanding the loan is essential. Otherwise, you could have much more debt than you were counting on.

Student Loans

As you have read from the preceding article, school can be quite expensive, which makes it even more important you learn the ins and outs of getting student loans. Once you have great tips to follow as evidenced from above, getting financing for your education is simple. Follow the tips presented here when applying for student loans.

Homeschooling Made Easy – Read This Article!

Homeschooling can seem difficult. It really is not that hard. You can do it and give your kids a great education. Teaching children at home offers many benefits, such as a fantastic education and a safe environment. This article has some good tips so you can start educating your children at home.

One advantage of homeschooling over public schooling is that you can tailor your lessons to your child’s strengths. If the child is hands on, then make your lesson plans focus on a hands on approach. Tailor made lessons will ultimately facilitate your child becoming a well educated individual.

Use your kids to complete chores or bring in someone paid to assist you. Taking care of all the household duties yourself would be very difficult. You will become very tired if you try to take care of home schooling, child care, housecleaning, cooking and shopping all alone. Make sure you allow for help, and don’t feel bad.

Family Vacations

Family vacations present many opportunities to take advantage of learning resources. Plan family vacations which involve zoos, science centers, historical landmarks and museums. While you may want vacation time to see what you want, it’s also important to take time to see what will help your kids learn in conjunction with their homeschooling. Both your kids and you will enjoy learning this way.

Don’t force things. If you are pushing and pushing your child, the result will be frustration. You need to seek out an alternate method. There are other ways of doing it, such as through technology. Focus on the methods that correspond to your child’s learning style instead of always looking for ways to be original in your teaching.

Make sure not to neglect life skills from your program. You should be doing everything you can to incorporate both in each lesson. Life skills include things like cooking, driving and gardening. There is no reason why the teaching of these skills needs to be neatly separated, though. Why not take them grocery shopping so they can learn about inflation and taxes?

Are you homeschooling all your children? Before you start, it is vital that you accurately assess your current ability to discipline your children at home. If you do not have a structured approach to discipline, it will be challenging to keep everyone focused during a study session. By knowing where you may need to tighten up discipline, you can provide a better environment for your children to succeed.

Find new ways to stimulate social opportunities for your child. This may require some creative thinking. Coordinate outings with other homeschooling families. Find a sports group to join. Consider joining Girl or Boy scouts for a great way to spend time with other kids while learning about interesting things.

Use technology in your lessons, but be certain to use other methods too. Internet service can be unreliable, and you might experience a service outage at a critical moment. Have backup lessons on hand and make sure your child understands how to do the work without technological aides.

Is your confidence level high now? You will be doing your children a favor by homeschooling them and being the nicest teacher that they could have ever had. Take this advice and turn it into a wonderful learning experience for your whole family. They deserve it, after all.

Enjoy College With These Informative Tips And Information.

With college comes great responsibility, and you will find many big changes coming your way. While this responsibility may seem overwhelming at first, receiving the proper advice from professionals can make the journey much more comfortable and help guarantee a positive outcome.

Make a long list of all the needed or desired tools and supplies before preparing for any upcoming college course. You should try going to school prepared rather than calling your parents each week for items that you forgot. If the classes you’re attending are far away from your home, then this is definitely true.

Set reachable goals so that you do not put excess stress on yourself. If you struggle with waking up each morning, don’t set yourself up for failure by choosing morning classes if possible. Schedule your classes to fit into how your brain works throughout the day.

Consider getting a loan to pay for college if you need additional funding. College is a place that will help you get a high paying job later, and it’s not a bad idea to get a loan that you can later pay off.

Remember that you have to eat healthy foods. The concept of Freshman 15 is no myth. Eat healthy and refrain from eating fast food. Stay away from fast food as much as you can. It is cheap and quick, but doesn’t give you the energy a good meal does.

Before beginning classes, walk through campus and figure out where you will need to be. Figure out how many minutes or hours you will need to make it each class to the next and plan accordingly. Scout out other important locations you’ll need to know, and circle them on a map.

Try to get involved in many different activities during your college years. Also, activities can help to bolster you resume for future work. Of course, your grades are your top priority, so do not overextend yourself.

Where you sit is very important towards your success in classes. Rather than arriving to class right on the dot and being forced to sit in the back, arrive early and sit in the front. This allows you to become more engaged with the professor, and you are more likely to ask questions because you won’t have to shout across the room.

When taking a test, you need to eat breakfast. Even an apple will do. If you’re hungry, you won’t be able to think straight. Not enough energy often leads to low test scores.

Your mother isn’t coming with you to college. Some indulgences are okay, but still maintain a nutritious diet, get proper sleep, and take care of yourself and your possessions. Set aside time in your schedule to properly care for yourself. Neglecting to fuel your body with nutritious foods can take an enormous toll on your sense of well-being, as can unchecked stress levels.

Don’t depend on your reputation from high school. College is much different than high school. You may have been a jock or a genius before, but no one at college knows who you were or cares about it. College is a whole new level of education so you will have to push yourself harder and not expect it to be like high school was.

Take a few different electives that contain a lot of variety. The more you study, you will be more aware of what you’re passionate about. The freshman year makes the perfect time to try new things that you didn’t in high school.

College can be a very stressful and challenging experience. You are now responsible for your own life and decisions. Use what you have learned here to make good choices about your life in college.

Read These Tips Before Getting A Student Loan

Student loans are a good thing. They help college bound individuals afford the school of their dreams. This article has many of the tips you need. Read this article so you can get a great education.

Watch for the grace period which is available to you before you are required to repay the loan. This generally means the period after you graduate where the payments will become due. Being aware of this information allows you to make your payments in a timely manner so that you do not incur costly penalties.

Know all of your loan’s details. You should always know how much you owe and to whom. Additionally, you should be aware of your repayment obligations. These details can all have a big impact on any loan forgiveness or repayment options. This also helps when knowing how prepare yourself when it comes time to pay the money back.

Do not panic if an emergency makes paying your loans temporarily difficult. There is always something that pops up in a persons life that causes them to divert money elsewhere. There are options such as deferments and forbearance that are available with most loans. Just remember that interest is always growing, so making interest-only payments will at least keep your balance from rising higher.

If you are in the position to pay off student loans early and inclined to do so, make sure you begin with the loans that carry the highest rate of interest. If you solely base your repayment by which ones have a lower or higher balance, then you might actually end up paying back more in the end.

Be aware of the amount of time alloted as a grace period between the time you complete your education and the time you must begin to pay back your loans. Stafford loans typically give you six months. For a Perkins loan, this period is 9 months. Other loan types are going to be varied. Know exactly the date you have to start making payments, and never be late.

Student Loan

Having to make a monthly student loan payment is hard for a budget that is already stretched thin. Loan programs with built in rewards will help ease this process. Look at programs like SmarterBucks and LoanLink via Upromise. These are very similar to cash back programs, where any dollars you spend can accumulate rewards which apply to your student loan.

To get the most out of your student loan dollars, take as many credit hours as possible. Sure a full time status might mean 12 credits, but if you can take 15 or 18 you’ll graduate all the quicker. This will help lower your loan totals.

Make sure to understand everything about student loans before signing anything. If something is unclear, get clarification before you sign anything. This is a simple way for the lender to receive a bit more money than they are entitled to.

Student Loans

As you can tell, it’s possible to get a great education from a great school thanks to student loans. Now that you’ve read this, you should be able to manage student loans more easily. Utilize this advice and pursue your goals.

Tricks That You Can Apply In Homeschooling

Many parents think that homeschooling gives them the perfect answer for a great education for their children. Although this could be true, it is not as simple as it may sound. This article can help you by giving you some tips.

Go beyond textbooks. Your child can learn using a variety of teaching mediums. Reading articles allows them to learn about what’s going on in the world, opening up discussions about politics, geography and history. Having them read different materials will help them to get a more well-rounded education.

While you may not want your kids to hang out with the kids in public school, they have to have some external social interaction. Plan fun play dates with friends or family members. Let your kids play with the children at the neighborhood park. Look into sports teams, clubs or other organizations.

Incorporate art into your lessons. They can paint a picture from a book they’re reading or even create a collage about a current event. Creativity with art lessons is only limited by one thing and that is your imagination. Feel free to incorporate sculpting, singing, acting or any other creative activity. Content absorption is enhanced by immersing your kids in each topic, and therefore, active involvement in each lesson is sure to produce greater results.

Write down a list of the advantages and disadvantages of both public school and homeschooling. Utilize your list to draft your plans for homeschooling, making sure that your child gets the best education possible. It’s basically a checklist of various situations you want to avoid to help you focus on the best possible learning. Refer to this list when you doubt your decision to home school.

Talk to other homeschoolers that think like you. There are many different philosophies behind homeschooling. No matter what your philosophy and value are, you can be sure that there are others who share your beliefs and can offer much in the way of insight and support. Joining a homeschool group can be a great resource for advice, support and even ideas lesson plans.

Having life skills is as important as general book learning. Try to use have both types of skills in your plans. Show your child how to resolve conflicts, socialize, take care of a house, tend to an injury and other important things children are not taught in public school. Don’t leave one type of skill out. They should both be taught. An example of this is studying plant life while working in the garden.

Homeschooling will require you to plan everything ahead, including meals. Preparing a large number of meals in advance and using a freezer to preserve them is one option. Preparing dinner with breakfast is another. Having meals already on hand that only need to be reheated will help you stay more organized and less stressed so that you can focus on teaching. Try out a couple of different meal plans.

Remember to take time for family relations, even though you are homeschooling. Homeschooling can keep you busy, but time with your spouse is still needed. Save quiet time for them and go on dates so they know they are important to you. Doing things together on a regular basis will go a long way toward family matters.

Many parents feel as though their children will get the best education through homeschooling. If you choose to home school your children, you need to learn as much as possible about it. Use the above information to help you succeed in homeschooling.

Tips On How To Get The Best Grades In College

Everyone dreams of going to college and having a blast there socializing and partying. However, if you desire success, then college should be different in reality. You need to do some hard work before you start thinking about having any fun. If you want to do well in school, you need to put it first in your life.

Pack plenty of toiletries for yourself as you head off to college. This is an area that you may not think a great deal about, but you will find toiletries run out quickly. Buying toiletries in bulk saves you time and money.

Always carry around a bottle of water while on campus. It is vital that you drink enough water. This is even more crucial if your classes run one right after another and you just do not have the time to hydrate or eat. Staying hydrated during the day can help keep you focused and on track. Water fountains are usually available to keep your bottle full at all times.

Don’t set unrealistic goals for yourself when scheduling classes and work. If you are cranky in the mornings, maybe a harder early class is not the best choice. Take your body’s sleep needs into consideration as you schedule classes and plan for activities.

Study diligently. By putting in as much effort as possible, you will be able to reap the maximum reward. You will be able to socialize and go to school. If you do well with your college career, you can expect a happier and more fulfilling life.

Familiarize yourself with the route you will have to take to get to your classes prior to your first day. Don’t forget to calculate how long it takes you to get from class to class and look for alternate routes. Make note of the bathrooms and other places you will need to go.

Find the admissions office prior to picking a college. When you do this, you can learn about scholarships that may be available from the school. Lots of institutions offer students generous scholarships. Just talking to them can get you on the right path.

Regardless of your gender, visit the campus gym as frequently as you can. Not only does exercising help you to stay focused, but the gym is also a great place to meet new people. When you find people to work out with, it’ll be even more fun.

If you will be going to college in another state or will live in a dorm, figure out if having a car is really ideal. In heavily populated cities, you may have difficulty finding a free parking space. The cost of your car and a parking spot can be too high for a student.

You should keep an eye on carbs and sugar intake so you do not gain the dreaded freshman fifteen. Try to avoid processed foods and convenience items. Instead, consume as many fresh vegetables and fruit as you can. Also focus on whole grain foods. Both of these choices will help you feel more energized. Avoid energy drinks, coffee and unhealthy foods if you want to avoid stress and health problems.

Regardless of what Hollywood might have you believe, college is more than just partying hard. Prioritization is critical, and you must finish your work prior to engaging in social activities. When you use what you’ve read here, you’ll focus on the right priorities.

Tips To Help You Better Understand Student Loans

Student loans are often the only way some people can afford the expenses of higher education. Because of the cost of a college education, most people cannot afford to pay for their own schooling You will find useful information about student loan applications if you continue reading.

Be mindful of any grace period you have prior to having to repay your loan. This is typically a six to nine month period after your graduation before repayments start. This will help you plan in advance.

Stay in contact with your lender. Keep them updated on your personal information. Also, be sure you immediately read any kind of mail you get from a lender, whether it’s electronic or paper. Take any necessary actions as soon as you can. If you miss important deadlines, you may find yourself owing even more money.

Don’t panic if you can’t make a payment due to job loss or another unfortunate event. A lot of times, if you can provide proof of financial hardship, lenders will let you to delay your payments. However, this may negatively affect your interest rate.

There are two steps to approach the process of paying off student loans you have taken out. The first thing you need to do is be certain that you are making the minimum required monthly payment on each loan. Second, you will want to pay a little extra on the loan that has the higher interest rate, and not just the largest balance. It’ll help limit your spend over a given time.

Figure out what will work best for your situation. Lots of student loans offer ten-year repayment plans. There are other options if you can’t do this. For example, you may be able to take longer to pay; however, your interest will be higher. Consider how much money you will be making at your new job and go from there. Some student loan balances are forgiven after twenty five years has passed.

Student Loans

Go with the payment plan that best suits your needs. Many student loans offer 10 year payment plans. If you don’t think that is right for you, look into other options. For instance, you can spread your payments out over more time, but this will increase your interest. You can also possibly arrange a deal where you pay a certain percentage of your overall post-graduation income. The balance of some student loans is forgiven after 25 years.

When the time comes to repay student loans, pay them off based on their interest rate. The loan with the most interest should be paid off first. Use extra funds to pay down loans more quickly. You will not be penalized for speeding up your repayment.

Your principal will shrink faster if you are paying the highest interest rate loans first. It should always be a top priority to prevent the accrual of additional interest charges. Look at the large ones and see how quickly you can pay them off. When you pay off one loan, move on to the next. When you apply the biggest payment to your biggest loan and make minimum payments on the other small loans, you have have a system in paying of your student debt.

Because it costs a lot to attend school, many people will need to finance their education with a loan. It is easier to get a student loan when there is good advice to follow. Luckily, you found this article and can use this information. Get the information you need, and feel good about your student loans.