College for Authors: The Best Schools for Aspiring Writers

If you have a creative mind and love to write, then going to college to be an author can be a rewarding experience. Most institutions provide an English major that allows you to study literature and writing, but you may need more than that to have a successful publishing career.

Attending one of the best colleges for authors can give you the tools that you need to build the life you want. These are the institutions you’ll want to consider.

Emerson College

This institution offers two writing majors that cover all aspects of the process for new authors. You’ll focus on creative works, literature, and publishing with experienced professors who know how to create the success you want. You’ll learn that any piece is salvageable with the correct improvements.

University of Iowa

The history of writing in Iowa City is underrated. Kurt Vonnegut worked on Slaughterhouse-Five in the city when he taught workshops at the university. Although about 1,000 students enroll in the authorship courses at the institution each year, the class sizes are still quite small. You can also specialize in specific writing genres.

New York University

If you take a stroll through Washington Square Park when attending this institution, you’ll find plenty of inspiration for your next characters. The creative writing program here is competitive with the best in the world. There are even options to study overseas in Italy or Saudi Arabia. It’s also a great place if you want to get involved in screenwriting.

Columbia University

The Columbia Review is the oldest college literary magazine in the United States. It gets published twice per year, and the institution owns a publishing house that offers paid internships. If you take the creative writing path here, then you can get involved with poetry, fiction, and cross-genre work. There’s even a humor-writing class.

Johns Hopkins University

This institution focuses on group collaborative efforts as you take writing seminars to explore the elements of prose. Advanced workshops take you through poetry, fiction, and screenwriting. Most classes have about a dozen students in them, making it a comfortable learning experience where the lessons stick well.

Do you need to take post-graduate work to become a writer? That’s a question only you can answer. If you decide that a college for authors makes sense for your future career, then these are the first institutions to consider attending.

Religion Counseling: Why Faith Often Intersects with Treatment

A growing connection between religion counseling and psychological wellbeing shows that faith and treatment do go together. 

People who have an active spirituality typically have higher levels of career satisfaction, better coping skills, and a sense of what their life purpose is each day. That structure in their life leads to a higher level of happiness.

Helping people who use faith as their guide can be a challenge for those who focus more on secular treatment options. Imagine a woman caught in a domestic violence situation who refuses to leave her spouse because of her personal belief that divorce is morally wrong.

Can the counselor encourage this woman from a faith-based perspective to be “submissive”? No – because that would promote abuse. That means religion counseling must sometimes place people into a position where a difficult choice gets made.

Religion Counseling Gives People Time

Religious views tend to fall along conservative spectrums. That means there can be some fear in the counseling profession around the thinking that gets encountered when help is necessary.

Religion counseling takes that fear out of the equation. It encourages the therapist to listen to what a patient is saying and ask if it is working. Faith can provide someone with an incredible amount of strength.

Spirituality isn’t as rigid as people think. It is not unusual for people to make future decisions that seem contrary to today’s religious beliefs because counseling gives them time to work through complex issues.

Even if a counselor doesn’t agree with a particular faith, acknowledging that a person’s spirituality is still critical to the process. If a professional prejudges an individual without listening to them, then how can the person seeking help draw connections between thoughts, feelings, and choices?

Religion counseling permits people to share their stories.

Religion Counseling Provides a Complete Picture

Whether someone brings up spirituality or God explicitly when they seek counseling or it’s a concept woven into their story, faith is something that is a part of almost everyone’s life. Society doesn’t form apart from a set of beliefs about our origins.

That’s why, from a treatment standpoint, counselors provide a greater service to their clients when they open their ears to the religious tones in each narrative.

We can disagree on faith and practice different religions. Our need for spirituality is also a tie that binds us together, and there’s a famous Bible verse that says a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Why Want Cuts to Social Services Provided by the Government?

Social services are a safety net that society pays for through taxpayer funds. Governments often look to these programs when a budget isn’t balancing as a way to create some spending space. 

When you cut funds to social services provided by the government, then the money saved can go elsewhere. It may even be useful in shoring up a budget deficit. The result often places at-risk families and individuals in harm’s way because they don’t receive the same help that they did before.

Shouldn’t People Be Able to Pay Their Own Way?

The idea of capitalism is that one either puts up their talents and skills to pay their own way, or they get left behind by society.

What most people don’t realize is that the vast majority of people who receive social services have already paid to receive them.

In the United States, 55% of the money that gets paid out to individuals through social services goes to eldercare needs. That includes programs like Medicare and Social Security. Another 8% goes to active-duty military personnel and veterans, while 5% goes to unemployment insurance.

That means only $0.29 out of every $1 in social services funding goes toward low-income target programs. 

It also shows that most of the money that goes to the average American is something that they’ve already paid for during their lifetime.

Contributions to Social Services Is on the Rise

Although the focus is on making cuts to social services as a way to balance budgets, the contributions to these programs are up significantly over the past 50 years.

Payments into American social insurance programs represented 37% of all federal receipts in 2011, totaling $807 billion annually. In 1981, this figure represented 31% of revenues, and it was only 17% of them in 1961.


When the figures get adjusted for inflation, taxpayers are contributing eight times more money today to social services than they were in the past. That’s why it is challenging to prove that lots of people are trying to live off of the government or that non-disabled adults aren’t trying to work.

Social services provided by the government are a lot like nutritional products from brands like Cardiovascular Research, Kal, or Zhou Nutrition. It’s an affordable way to make life better.

Out of the $0.29 that goes to low-income programs, most of the benefits offered are not paid in cash. Medicaid, food programs, tax breaks, and housing come together to make up 90% of the spending in this area.


That means direct cash assistance represents just $0.029 of every $1 – and that is the figure that most people want to cut.

It may be time to look at other areas of government spending to see if there are ways to balance a budget.

Differences Between Popular Culture and Folk Culture

Popular culture is typically part of a large, heterogeneous society where everyone shares specific habits. It is a place where change is often embraced as everyone pushes toward best practices and affordable solutions. It is an approach where differences tend to be celebrated so that diverse perspectives become part of the conversation.

Folk culture represents traditions that get practiced by small groups of people. Although they often live in isolated or rural areas, it can also be found in tight-knit urban communities.

Changes happen within this community slowly, and differences are often avoided instead of being celebrated.

Let’s dig down a little deeper into popular culture and folk culture.

Economic Considerations of Popular and Folk Culture

Popular culture usually focuses on economic development from a cost-basis standpoint. The goal is to create products and services that work quickly while being affordable to the average household. An example of this approach would be the quick-service restaurant industry.

Folk culture takes an individualized approach to its economic considerations. Each household is responsible for themselves – and sometimes their neighbor. If resources are available after these core needs get met, then the rest of the community can benefit afterward. Instead of going to a restaurant, these families would work gardens and tend fields.

Diffusion Considerations of Popular Culture and Folk Culture

Popular cultures are a generalized approach to living. If we were to use the United States as an example, folk culture would apply to cities within a specific state, while pop culture would come from a state-based or national perspective. You must call yourself a Californian and say you’re from San Francisco, but you’d have something in common with a New Yorker because you’re both Americans. 

Folk cultures typically stay within the same region over multiple generations. This approach to living creates a unique perspective on life that isn’t shared by the rest of the world in the same way. Although some people may come and go from this place, their roots will continue to call the societal origination area home.

Environmental considerations also show the differences between popular culture and folk culture. Populism wants to produce as much as possible without regard to local ecosystems, whereas folk cultures look for ways to maintain local habitats.

Most people today fit into a mixture of pop and folk culture. That diversity allows us to find common ground as humans while we celebrate our differences in positive and healthy ways.

How Millennial Mormons are Changing the LDS Church

Millennials are showing significant preferences that avoid organized religion. Although spirituality rates remain consistent, the traditional family cycles of attending specific faiths or denominations are quickly changing.

This issue is especially apparent within the LDS church. Many millennials are leaving because they feel that their religious leaders are not offering guidance that fits with what God suggests in His word.

Many former young Mormons are primarily concerned with LGBTQIA+ issues, which doesn’t even register as a Top 10 reason to leave the church for older practitioners. There is also an element of control that impacts the way people feel about their faith.

The Internet Changed Everything for the LDS Church

Before the Internet became available to Mormons, the church could control the narrative of their faith. Information methodologies allowed leaders to shift perspectives on some of the most controversial aspects of the gospel, including polygamy. Now all of that has gone away because everyone can access data on numerous devices.

Women are also leaving the church rapidly because of this issue. Many find themselves feeling dissatisfied by the assigned roles given to them by the church. Instead of getting an opportunity to be leaders, many feel like they’re constrained to the background. Some even receive the blame for the actions of their spouses.

The sanitized version of the LDS church can no longer exist. There are no places for excuses, exclusion, or hypocrisy. When millennials see those attributes on full unrepentant display, then they feel like they have no choice but to leave.

It’s Not Just Happening to the Mormon Church

Evangelical Christians are experiencing a similar departure from the church with millennials. Both faiths used to thrive in environments where family values from a traditional standpoint were a top priority.

Now the landscapes are shifting to the younger generations, but the resistance to hold on to the way things used to be is on full display from parents and grandparents.

The divide between the old and youth in a church is a tale that’s as old as time. Instead of seeking compromise or conversation, those in leadership positions demand compliance – or at least the perception of it.
That judgmental approach is a trigger for many millennials. It causes them to seek something more harmonious with what their faith should be. For most young people, that means finding spirituality outside of the boundaries of traditional religion.

Our Picks for Books on Stem Cell Research

Stem cells are specialized human cells that can turn into something else. Some types can even turn into brain or muscle cells. When we use them in targeted ways to address health concerns, it opens a window into therapies that can help people in many positive ways.

Numerous clinical trials are looking at the application of stem cells for everything from Alzheimer’s disease to paralysis

Stem cells get divided into adult and embryonic versions. The latter comes with some controversy as they come from the destruction of a potentially viable embryo.

If you want to learn more about stem cells to formulate your own opinion, then these are the books you’ll want to review. 

Essentials of Stem Cell Biology

This book serves as a reference to researchers, scientists, and students who want to review the latest options available in stem cell biology. It provides a basic understanding of the subject matter while giving presentations from the world’s leading experts on recent data evolutions. It covers underlying mechanisms, ectoderm, endoderm, mesoderm, and other essentials. 

Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide

If you want to learn more about the stories that stem cells tell in the body, then this is the book that you’ll want to review. It takes you through the processes that happen when they’re not working correctly, showing the available options that are available to everyone today. This option is the definitive textbook on the clinical approaches used in modern medicine. 

Stem Cells for Dummies

When you prefer a learning lesson that’s without jargon or unfamiliar terms, then this book can provide you with a better understanding of how their development works. The authors take you through the various treatment mechanisms that doctors use today to create positive results. You’ll also get to see what the possible future of this science will be as technologies and approaches continue to evolve.

Handbook of Stem Cells

You will want to read this book if you want to know more about the updated discoveries that happen in the field of stem cell research. It takes you through the potential applications for heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. The book offers a reference tool that goes through the terms, protocols, and methods while using modern characterizations that address specific organ systems.

Stem cell research continues to progress at a rapid pace. If you want to stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends, then these books will keep you informed. 

Basics of Research Methods, Design, and Analysis

The basics of research methods, design, and analysis involve five specific principles.

  1. There must be a minimization of the risk of harm to the individuals involved in the process.
  2. Every participant must receive informed consent regarding the research that investigators are managing.
  3. Privacy protections must exist to help protect the confidentiality and anonymity of each participant in the research project.
  4. Researchers must avoid using deceptive practices.
  5. There must be an option available for participants to withdraw.

Why Must These Basics Be Followed?

The goal with these principles of basic research methods is to prevent harm from happening to participants. 

Several different types of harm can happen, intentionally or unintentionally. It may involve physical distress, psychological discomfort, social disadvantages, and even financial problems. That’s why it is essential to obtain informed consent about the project as part of the initial design.


Without a certain level of confidence that people will be safe during the research process, the data and analysis portion of the research will not have enough authenticity.

Deceptive practices can also eliminate the integrity of the data collected. If people get told that they are taking a placebo when they receive the actual treatment, then authentic results are no longer possible. The reverse is also true.

Even though participants can decide for themselves if they believe that they’re in a control or treatment group, researchers must provide as much honesty as possible. That’s why most studies tell subjects that the item they take might be a placebo, or it could be the item being studied. 

How Feasible Is It to Perform These Research Methods?

Feasibility doesn’t involve the cost of doing research. It is the possibility of understanding what is happening in the clinical setting while avoiding data distribution. Instead of having direct contact with the subjects in question, it may involve the use of public or online settings where barriers protect identities in both directions.

It may be impossible to know for sure when people are coming or going, but the basics of research methods must include the right to withdraw. If someone doesn’t feel comfortable with what is happening to them, then there is an ethical requirement to get out at any stage of the process.

That option even applies to the researchers and investigators into important topics, such as the impact of the flu or similar subjects..

These basics create ethical outcomes that promote more knowledge in whatever field being studied. It is how a solid foundation gets built. 

How to Survive Moving to New York City

Moving to New York City is a dream that many young people have when growing up. Expectations don’t always meet up with the reality of the situation when achieving this goal. That’s why knowing how to survive in the first days of coming to NYC can make the transition easier to complete. 

You will find every type of person in New York City. That’s one of the reasons why the energy levels always feel high here. It is a place where you can blend in if you prefer. You’ll also discover that this community wants you to become unapologetically independent.

What to Know When Moving to NYC

The logistics of moving to New York City are about the same as they are anywhere else you might live. Your home might be smaller and more expensive, but life has a way of getting you into a routine.

When you find yourself in NYC, you’ll discover these truths are waiting.

Every Person Has a Story to Tell

The diversity of people and stories are fantastic in the city. Everyone you meet has something to share and can make your life better in some way. Almost everyone comes to NYC for a specific reason, and that is connects you to others if you’re willing to have a conversation.

The Subway Isn’t As Bad as the Stories Say

Do you want to chew the gum that’s stuck to the railing as you descend to the subway? Of course not. What you’ll discover is that the city never sleeps. If you’re willing to offer a smile, most people will give one back in return. Using your common sense will help you to discover many new and safe experiences in NYC.

You Can Make It Anywhere if You Make It Here

New York City is the perfect place to put your priorities to the test. There is no other place in the United States where you can find evidence that your ideas and perspectives have relevance. The city can be unforgiving, and there will be days when you feel like giving up. If you persist, then you can find some success.

Happy Hour Always Provides Some Relief

Drinking in NYC is cheap if you know where to look. Almost every bar offers some kind of special nightly. The street tacos and other foods from local vendors can even make it so that you don’t need to cook in your small apartment.

New York City will test your limits. It will separate the doers from the dreamers. If you can find a job, a friend, and a place to live, then there’s nothing that can hold you back. 

How Former Coal Towns are Turning to Tourism for Reinvention

You can find the same cool breeze blowing through the downtown streets of Cumberland today as families did a generation ago. This old mountain mining town offers echoes of the local river and an economy that isn’t thriving like it did when coal was shipping out daily before the local industry’s collapse.

Taking a walk through the downtown corridor makes it feel like you’re in a ghost town. The boarded-up windows, empty storefronts, and vacant lots have plenty of stories to tell. You’ll find the occasional craft store selling souvenirs and a diner serving up classics, but times are changing.

The decline of coal in Kentucky means it is time for towns like Cumberland to reinvent themselves. Many of them are turning to tourism to make ends meet.

Kentucky Generates $15 Billion in Tourism Annually

Kentucky might generate billions of dollars in economic activity from tourism, but only a fraction of that figure comes through the 18 southeastern countries where you’ll find Cumberland.

The region that’s affectionately called “Daniel Boone Country” brings in $350 million each year. That figure is up 4% from 2016, but it is a far cry from what these mountain towns earned during the coal years.

Harlan County, which is where you can visit Cumberland, reported $26.5 million in tourism activities in 2017.

Reinvention is possible, but it is a process that will take time to complete. Cumberland was a partial recipient of $2.55 million in federal aid from the Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Grant to redevelop the economy. Local officials used those funds to upgrade a mine tour in nearby Lynch.

The funds are also going to help renovate an administrative building and the old bathhouse in the area. These structures will then let a local religious ministry expand its mushroom-growing business to support the local economy.

Why Do People Choose Rural Destinations?

The one thing lacking from many vacations or day trip adventures is authenticity. You’ll find plenty of that when you go off of the beaten path to visit a town like Cumberland. It is an opportunity to provide an Americana experience that large cities can’t offer.

Supplementing the grant money with efforts to build hiking and cycling trails is only the beginning of Cumberland’s efforts. Coal companies still own a lot of the property in the area, and they aren’t keen to offer easements or grants in case the economy skews back toward this fossil fuel.

That isn’t stopping people from moving forward. For Kentucky’s mountain towns, tourism offers a chance to honor their history while looking to the future. 

Why Is the Flu Common in Winter Months?

About 20,000 people in the United States die from the influenza virus each year. Most of the victims of this illness are elderly or chronically ill individuals, but it can also take the lives of otherwise healthy people.

Kyle Baughman was an aspiring personal trainer living in Pennsylvania. He came home for Christmas, saying that he didn’t feel very well. He ended up dying a few days later from influenza-related organ failure.

The viruses that cause influenza appear at their peak for about 2-3 weeks each winter. Exposure risks last for about six weeks, although you can get sick throughout the year in some areas.

Why the flu disappears as quickly as it arrives is not known. We do know that the virus spreads by droplet infection from people with a high viral load in their throat and nasal secretions. Sneezing or coughing around someone can quickly infect anyone close.

If you are dealing with symptoms related to the flu, then you may want to consider a supplement that seeks to support a healthy immune system and respiratory system. Enzymedica, Irwin Naturals, and Pure Encapsulations are brands that use herbs and essential nutrients to help provide the additional support that it needs.

Why Do Children Get the Flu First?

During the regular flu season, children tend to experience the first symptoms of this virus. Then they bring it home so that their parents get exposed to it. As the adults go about their day, they share their infected droplets with others with their sneezing and coughing.

Any situation where large groups of people come together places someone at a higher risk of exposure. That’s why schools, nursing homes, and large employers often see the most flu activity during the winter.

Equatorial countries experience something similar. Exposures can happen all year, but the peak rates occur during the rainy season. 

What Are the Symptoms of Influenza?

Many of the symptoms of influenza are similar to what people experience with a bad cold. Since there tends to be a conflation of unwanted outcomes, many people will say that they have the flu when they do not.


The trademark symptom of the flu is a sudden, often severe fever that spikes at 104° in children. A cough, sore throat, runny nose, and body aches are all part of the experience. Headaches and fatigue happen frequently, with children often experiencing vomiting or diarrhea.


Not everyone with the flu will have a fever. The other symptoms are present, and they come on suddenly. A cold’s unwanted experiences set in gradually.

Most people will recover from a bout with influenza in two weeks or less. Anyone who is at a high risk from this virus should consider receiving the yearly flu shot.