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4 Winter Wardrobe Essentials For College Students

4 Winter Wardrobe Essentials For College Students

collegeclothesThe weather is getting colder and those shorts and T-shirts are not keeping you warm anymore. That means it’s time to start thinking about a winter wardrobe that will look great and go easy on the budget. Fortunately, many winter clothes can play double or even triple duty. Or, in other words, they can be worn casually for class or be dressed up a bit for job interviews and holiday dinners. Consider the following four cold weather necessities and accessories:

A Carpet Skirt

A carpet skirt is a great addition to any college winter wardrobe, claims The Refinery. Unlike more formal and often itchy wool skirts, the carpet skirt features bold prints and is usually made with a more comfortable blend of cotton and polyester. They aren’t terribly expensive either; Topshop sells a Kirada Jacquard Midi Carpet Skirt for just under $100. This skirt can be worn for many occasions from class to an intern interview, making it well worth the money.

Dark Rinse Skinny Jeans

One of the great things about skinny jeans is that they look great on all body types and sizes. They also work well with a variety of tops, allowing you to keep your own personal style with the staple piece. Furthermore, skinny jeans can be dressed up with a nice shirt and some accessories for holiday meals with grandma, or they can be paired with a long sleeved T-shirt for grabbing pizza with friends. Skinny jeans also are easy on the budget -  American Eagle Outfitters sells a variety of dark rinse skinny jeans for men and women for less than $40.

Colored Contacts

For college students who wear contact lenses, it can be fun to mix it up a bit during the winter months with color contact lenses. This can easily add some oomph to your winter fashion choices and give you the change you’re looking for. This change also can bring more attention to your eyes and face, so try changing up your makeup routine to match the new color. Vision Direct stocks colored contact lenses in hues like Brilliant Blue or Gemstone Green – the blue contacts can complement the icy winter and the green can match your holiday decorations.

Dressy Sweatshirts

Sweatshirts are not just for the gym or lounging at home. In fact, many retailers sell sweatshirts that are nice enough to layer with casual and dressy outfits. LL Bean sells attractive and budget-friendly sweatshirts for both men and women. And the best part is how comfortable you will be these crewneck ultrasoft sweats for women are made of French terry that is super smooth on the outside and soft on the inside. The sweatshirt also features a more feminine cut, which means it can easily be paired with skinny jeans and a nice scarf or necklace to complete a cute, comfortable look.

No matter what winter staples you purchase this winter, be sure they can be worn multiple ways in multiple settings. This will help you save money and vary your look with minimal effort. Happy shopping!

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Classroom Tech Integration – Improve Learning Outcomes and Save Students Money

Classroom Tech Integration – Improve Learning Outcomes and Save Students Money

ClassroomTech

A majority of teachers don’t use social media in the classroom, despite most of them using it in their daily lives. The reasons for this are fairly self-explanatory; teachers either don’t see how social media and technology can be adopted for the purpose of education, or they do see the benefits but are scared off by the potential risks. Though there may be some validity to both of these trains of thought, ultimately, the benefits of adopting social media and technology in the classroom far outweigh the negatives.

If you haven’t yet adopted social media in your classroom, now is the right time to reevaluate your position – it could (read: will) benefit you and your students.

Why Social Media is the Future of Student Outreach

Social media is no longer a simple distraction. Individuals, particularly young men and women and teens, are increasingly turning to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to communicate with friends, stay abreast of family members’ whereabouts, digest up-to-date news on local and international events, and go about their day-to-day. What this means for educators is simple: there now exists another medium through w

hich you can communicate and interact with your students. Teacher-student communication no longer has to end when the bell rings at the end of the day.

If you don’t yet appreciate the difference such a connection can make, consider this example. If a student misses class due to an illness, there aren’t very many avenues available to you, the educator, to inform this student of the day’s studies and homework assignments. True, you can try to contact the phone number you have on record, but how often does that work? With social media, you can place your entire syllabus online, for all to see, at all times. And you can be confident that the missing student will see this information. Social media allows you to leverage a platform that puts you in touch with your students more often, in more places.

How to Use Social Media and Technology to Your Advantage

Ultimately, social media is a communication platform. Whether you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or some other website, you are using a tool that allows you to share information with a large group of people, in real time – and in turn, those individuals can respond and engage. Social media platforms enable conversations to take place. Think about how you can leverage that ability. You can host a post-class debate on a topic that has recently been covered in the coursework. You can conduct a Q&A. You can counsel a student online, in private. Or you can host a Live Tweet event for a significant occurrence – say, the President’s State of the Union Address.

Your tools shouldn’t be limited to the Internet, though. Consider bringing hardware into the classroom to facilitate a more engaging learning environment. Tablet uses are many, and this truth seems to have caught on in the educational realm. The tablet has slowly started to infiltrate its way into classrooms across the country, and for good reason: they can be tremendous learning tools. If social platforms enable conversation anywhere, at any time, tablets enable the traditional blackboard (nay, whiteboard) to be re-imagined, shrunken down, and placed into a book bag. With tablet uses as varied as they are, how you use the device in your classroom is really up to you. As the cliché goes, “the sky’s the limit.”

Social Media and Tech Integration Improve Learning Outcomes and Save Students Money

Yes, that’s correct, technology gives students a huge advantage because of all the educational apps and programs that are available. For instance, if a student needs tutoring in a subject, instead of hiring a person at a steep hourly rate, he or she can select form a myriad of apps and programs that can help in all the same ways a real person can. The student is also able to do it on his or her own time. Students can also access a ton of different social media platforms and conversations to get help with subjects, studying, projects, etc. Learning becomes all-encompassing and tailored to each student, which is helping raise learning outcomes. This means less flunking and less repeating of course, which saves money as well!

Special Considerations: Remember Internet Etiquette

It’s important that you take certain precautions when branching out into the social realm. You cannot engage with students in the same manner, or on the same level, as you do your peers, friends and family. You must maintain a professional and authoritative discourse at all times. To ensure you don’t accidentally overstep your bounds or find yourself in trouble, follow these simple steps:

  • Don’t use your personal account to engage with students
  • Don’t peruse, interact with, or “like” your students’ pages
  • Exercise prudence when posting photos onto your professional accounts
  • Avoid potentially controversial topics, such as politics and religion

In plain terms, stick to the basics, such as that day’s homework assignment or the next day’s coursework. Being mindful of these considerations will allow you to effectively – and safely – teach from home. That is the power of social media. So what are you waiting for?

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Tech Tools: What You Need to Succeed in College

Tech Tools: What You Need to Succeed in College

Male University Student Using Digital Tablet In LectureCollege is expensive. The tuition is bad enough—you haven’t even considered all of your tech related expenses. You go to class, and everybody there has an iPad, tablet or laptop and you have seventeen boxes of number two pencils because that’s all you can afford. While that last part might not be true, tech-outfitted classrooms aren’t rare. Here are three gadgets that will help you keep up.

Virtual & Portable Keyboard

You can’t get a laptop, tablet or iPad because they’re too expensive, and you don’t want to take on a third job. So who needs one? Just use your phone. With the Celluon Epic* you can turn your favorite device into a laptop. Just flip the switch, pair it with your phone (or any of your devices) via Bluetooth, and you’re good to go.

The Epic* is a small device (seven ounces, two inches tall) that you can sit on any flat surface, and it will laser-project a virtual full-sized keyboard onto that surface. It has a mouse feature that tracks your finger’s movements; with certain gestures you can right-click, zoom in and out, and go forward or backward.

Take Notes

Toss your notebooks and binders, and simplify your note taking with some help from your smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (equipped with a 5.7-inch HD screen) is perfect for students because it features an innovative note taking platform. Use a stylus or S Pen to take notes, during lecture or use Action Memo to write down your to-do list. This tool can even convert what you write into an email or text with the “link to action” feature.

This tool will be crucial during your first few weeks at college. Between meeting new people, learning about clubs and organizations, or rushing a fraternity or sorority, this tool can help you keep connected and take notes on the fly.

Charge up with Solar

College students don’t just go to class and back to their dorm room—they go everywhere. The library for study sessions, the student union to grab a bite to eat and then it’s off to that job. And you can’t bet on the assumption that these places are going to have charging stations or power supply available. In today’s technology driven world, where lectures are hosted online, e-books are read, and course communication is accessed on the Web—when you go to campus you have lug around all of your tech stuff and that backpack can get heavy, fast. Ditch your chargers and cut some of the weight of your backpack by investing in a wearable portable solar charger, like a backpack.

The SolarGoPack is not just a backpack, it’s also a charger for all your devices. It has a detachable solar panel on the outside surface so that you can charge your devices using the sun as your power source. In direct sunlight it takes three hours to charge the lithium ion battery. When it’s fully charged, it can charge your phone in less than a half an hour. It comes with an eight piece charging kit so that you can charge multiple devices too.

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Creative Dorm Room Decorating Ideas For College

Creative Dorm Room Decorating Ideas For College

dormdecoratingLet’s face it, dorm rooms can be a very dull place. Cinder block walls, a plastic twin mattress and florescent light bulbs don’t scream cool or hip or have any of your creative flair. Consider the ideas and tips below to spruce-up this no-frills space into the room of your college dreams.

Hide the Floors

Add your personality from the floor up using decorative rugs, carpet squares or floor cushions. They can be eye-catching and bring texture and warmth to a white-washed bedroom. Just be sure to leave enough clearance for door swings and make sure you can navigate around the room safely. You’ll also need to purchase a small hand-held vacuum, especially for allergy victims. The last thing you want are allergens and dust mites building up!

Add Spice to Your Mattress

Make your standard dorm bed more luxurious with a headboard crafted from an old sheet or fabric and a sturdy piece of cardboard. It will add some punch to your all-white abode and can travel easily if you need to move rooms. When it comes to sheets, first check to confirm if your bed is standard or extra-long. Once you’ve determined the appropriate size, look for textured fabrics, which not only disguises any dirt or stains but also add interest to the room.

Be BFFs With Washi Tape

Washi tape, a colored paper tape, is an absolute essential when it comes to dorm room decor. Like painters tape, it can be removed without residue, meaning its a great temporary fix. Use it to line your shelves, to create make-shift frames for your poster collection, to add a geometric pattern to the back of your door or to customize storage boxes. If you really want to go washi crazy, A Night Owl has 100 ways to use washi.

Decorate Your Walls

You have nearly endless options when it comes to giving your dorm room walls a makeover. Accessories are typically reserved as gorgeous accents for your wardrobe, but consider displaying them in your room. Buy a few sticky hooks or a cheap bamboo ladder to add scarves, jewelry and head pieces. If you prefer to dress up your windows, add drapes or shades to bring pattern and color into your new space. Just use curtain rings and a decorative tension rod to stay within dorm room rules. Lastly, try removable peel-and-stick wallpaper in a bright, geometric pattern behind your bed or to line the sides of your standard-issue furniture.

Add Your Own Lighting

There’s nothing worse than those florescent fixtures. Eliminate the need for such harsh, overhead lighting with desk lamps or other task lighting. They will lend a softer glow to the room and reduce eyestrain, glare and mental fatigue, none of which are good for those late night study sessions. If you attend school in a city with a long, cold winter, consider adding a mood elevator light, which mimics natural sunshine. Lastly, for those night owls, respect your roomie and snag a compact LED lamp or focused reading light.

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Do You Need a Criminal Justice Degree to Become a Police Officer?

Do You Need a Criminal Justice Degree to Become a Police Officer?

policeofficerIf you want a career as a police officer, you might be wondering whether college is worth it. You can try to get an entry-level job without a degree, but you find yourself getting passed over for promotions later if you don’t complete your education now. Earning your criminal justice degree gives you a lifelong competitive advantage, so the short-term costs are worth the reward.

Becoming a Police Officer

Requirements for becoming a police officer differ slightly from place to place, so it’s important to check with your local or state police department to find out what they expect. However, some requirements are the same no matter where you apply:

  • Age. Police officer candidates must be at least 21 years of age.
  • Citizenship. Candidates must be U.S. citizens, and they must have driver’s licenses.
  • Physical preparedness. Most police departments require job candidates to pass vision and health screenings. They also require police officer candidates to meet certain requirements for strength and agility.
  • Education. A police officer must have at least a high school diploma or GED. However, police academies are increasingly requiring officers to have some college coursework, a bachelor’s degree or an MS in Criminal/Social Justice (to learn the variety of fields you can work in with a degree, visit this page).
  • Character tests. A criminal conviction, such as a felony, can keep some people from becoming police officers. Candidates often have to pass drug tests and lie detector tests throughout their training.

Career Options in Law Enforcement

In addition to making it easier to become a patrol officer or corrections officer, a criminal justice degree builds a foundation for many different law enforcement career paths. Check out some of these more advanced career options:

  • Private investigator. After working as a police officer for a few years, you might decide to become a private investigator. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for private investigators will grow a whopping 21 percent over the next decade, and PIs can expect an average annual salary of $50,780.
  • Probation officer. Probation officer demand is expected to grow 18 percent over the next decade, and a probation officer, on average, makes $52,380 each year.
  • Crime scene investigator. If you’ve ever watched CSI and thought, “I could do that,” then a criminal justice degree can lead to a job as a crime scene investigator. Demand for crime scene investigators should grow 19 percent over the next decade, and if you choose this job, you can expect to make about $55,730 each year.
  • Paralegal or legal assistant. Lawyer job openings are growing no faster than average, but experts expect paralegal job openings to grow at an astonishing 18 percent over the next decade. Paralegals require less training than attorneys, and they can expect to make about $50,220 per year.
  • Retail loss prevention specialist. Combining your experience as a police officer and your criminal justice degree could allow you to transition to the private sector and work in retail loss prevention. Entry level positions start out at about $38,520 per year, but since you’d have your degree, you’d have a much better shot at leadership positions with higher salaries.
  • Intelligence analyst. Combine your criminal justice degree with knowledge of a foreign language or other specialized skills, and you could find yourself working in homeland security. Intelligence analysts earn as much as $86,000 per year.

If you start as a police officer and branch out into other areas, you can keep your career interesting while sticking with law enforcement for a lifetime. Earning your criminal justice degree gives you options later, which is why it’s a good idea to finish your education before becoming a police officer.

Choosing the Right Degree Program

If you’re just starting out as an adult and you’re interested in police work, look into schools that offer bachelor’s degrees. Alternatively, if you’ve already spent time in the workforce and you have a bachelor’s degree, apply to programs that offer master’s degrees in criminal justice.

Some schools allow you to take classes online, which lets you keep your current job while you train for your new career. If you’ve been dreaming of working in law enforcement, then apply to a good school today.

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6 Traits of a Happy Healthy College Student

6 Traits of a Happy Healthy College Student

According to statistics from the U.S. government, about 59 percent of students who begin working on a college degree finish it within six years. To ensure you’re included among that percentage, you need to develop a set of traits that will contribute to your ability to complete your undergraduate degree. Keep reading for a list of the top six traits of healthy, happy college students.

sleepystudent

A Commitment to Getting Enough Sleep

Whether you go away from college or study close to home, a good night’s sleep probably isn’t high on your priority list. However, studies show that it should be. Some research shows that students who get adequate rest get one letter grade higher in their classes than their peers who get less sleep.

If you didn’t make sleep a priority in high school, it’s time to develop this commitment. Lack of sleep may be one of several unhealthy habits you had your senior year. Check out this infographic on ditching bad highschool habits to find out what other areas you need to address.

dreamer

A Willingness to Follow Your Dreams

Successful college students let their passions guide them as they choose classes and ultimately, a major area of study. When you choose to invest your time and energy into subjects that matter to you, you’ll find that earning good grades doesn’t feel like work. When you follow your dreams, you make a passionate investment in a course of study that brings out your creativity and natural curiosity.

class lecture

A Desire to Attend Class

This trait is challenging, especially for mandatory classes outside your major. Remember that even those so-called “boring” courses contribute to your GPA, and form a foundation for the broad knowledge you’ll need as a well-rounded member of society.

For any class, it’s possible the professor will share material in class that’s not in the textbook. This same non-textbook material could show up on an exam, putting those who don’t attend class at a distinct disadvantage. Instructors commonly use this approach to incentivize students to attend class regularly. Need another reason to attend class? You may miss pop quizzes and extra credit opportunities.

studentsphone

A Sense of When to Put Down Your Phone

Yes, it’s tempting to check the scores or Facebook or whatever app most often captures your attention. However, smartphones can cause major problems for college students. Choose to turn off your phone during class and study groups so you can pay attention and learn. You may also want to consider turning it off during group social outings. If you have your nose buried in your phone, it’s going to be much more difficult to meet new people and make friends.

textbooks

A Process for Learning That Goes Beyond Memorization

Once you’re in college, the amount of rote memorization you’re required to do goes down. In its place, you’re expected to analyze data and synthesize reading material to produce a logical argument for an essay or in response to a test question. To accomplish these assignments and achieve high scores on tests, you need to work toward having a strong understanding of the concepts in each class. You may find that using notecards, highlighting passages, and even creating spreadsheets will help you organize and learn the information you’ll need for your classes.

dealingwithfailure

A Strategy for Dealing with Failure

It’s inevitable. Most college students encounter a concept or even an entire class that gives them difficulty. What’s important is to know how to move forward after you fail an exam or get a low semester grade. For cases when you get a low-grade on an assignment or mid-term, plan to talk with your professor during his or her office hours so you can master the concept before the final exam.

If you don’t already have a study group for the class, set one up so you can learn from other students. Finally, read any optional materials that are listed for your class. These textbooks may help you grasp the concepts that are causing you trouble.

If you work toward cultivating these traits, you’ll set yourself up for success in college. Which traits will be the most challenging for you to master and why?

 

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Affordable Tech Gadgets for College Students

Affordable Tech Gadgets for College Students

These days, back-to-school sales are more likely to feature discounted tablets than discounted No. 2 pencils. That’s good considering that high school and college students in particular will probably fill their brand new backpacks with more gadgets and fewer books. It adds up and can even become a real budget buster when different professors have different technology requirements.

From their point of view it makes sense. According to one Pew Research Center survey, a majority of teachers think that tech in the classroom and at home can make students better researchers and more independent learners. But when you’re the one shelling out the cash for a school supplies list a mile long, you need to make smart decisions.

College students already spend about $1,200 on books and supplies each year according to the College Board. Lucky for you it doesn’t take a Master’s Degree to find the gadgets that are as useful as they are affordable. Here are some top pics for affordable student tech gear that will take you from now until graduation day.

A Truly Affordable Tablet

Try the Galaxy Tab 3 from Samsung. You get a powerful multimedia device that fits in your hand and the smaller phablet version rings in at under $150 when you shop around. Besides free 50 GB worth of Dropbox Storage, there are other ways to save. Carrier T-Mobile offers some free 4G LTE data for tablet customers and has affordable rate plans that are perfect for college students.

GalaxyTab3

A Noise Canceling Solution

For under $60 you can snag Creative HN-900 noise cancellation headphones that will make studying that much easier thanks to decent noise cancellation and good balance. The best part – beside the student-friendly price tag – is that the thing most likely to break on over-the-ear headphones (the cable) is detachable so you can replace it without having to spring for new cans.

Headphones

A Backpack That Does Double Duty

Great backpacks don’t come cheap anyway so spend a little extra for one that does more than just hold books. The Voltaic Converter Solar Backpack will run you about $150 but will save you endless headaches thanks to its ability to charge phones, tablets, cameras, and other gadgets. It’s also light, waterproof and built to handle college life. Plus it’s an easy way to make your walk to class feel more productive.

BackPackSolar

A Portable Keyboard

Make that a very portable keyboard. The Cube Laser Virtual Keyboard connects wirelessly to laptops and most mobile devices to broadcast a full QWERTY layout that projects onto any flat surface. It is also small enough to stash in your pants pocket, which is why at about $99 it wins out over less expensive roll up keyboards and more expensive iPad case and keyboard combos.

PortableKeyBoard

A Backup Plan

Not the kind of backup plan that you turn to when you can’t hack it in your major but rather the kind you turn to when your laptop dies a hideous death. The WD My Passport 1TB portable external hard drive will set you back $60 but remember that the comfort of knowing your dissertation will still be there no matter what is priceless. It’s ultra compact, you can password lock it and it even automatically backs up software.

PortableStorage

A Better Way to Take Notes

Still recording lectures while you take notes (or not)? Why not do both? Livescribe’s Echo smartpen automatically records everything you hear or say while you’re writing on Livescribe’s paper. Tap your notes to replay the audio, send your notes to a mobile device, social profile or app, and never miss another word of the most essential courses in your discipline.

EchoSmartPen

So, there you have it! These affordable tech gadgets are for sure going to be a hit in the hallways this year at campuses around the world. Do you have a favorite gadget that you can’t live without?

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Jessica Oaks. She is a freelance journalist who loves covering technology news and the ways that technology can make life easier. Follow her on Twitter @TechyJessy.

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5 Grad School Survival Tips for Full-Time Workers

5 Grad School Survival Tips for Full-Time Workers

AdultStudentAn advanced degree can increase your earning power and help you get ahead in your field by leaps and bounds. But in today’s economy, many full-time workers can’t afford to take time off to earn an advanced degree — even though it might be necessary for their career advancement. It might be challenging to find time to work and get a graduate degree, not to mention family and personal time, but it’s possible. You just need to choose the right program, plan carefully, get your boss and family on board with the plan and make your health a priority throughout the program, so you can maintain the stamina you need to succeed.

Choose the Right Program

A big part of succeeding in grad school while working full-time is finding a program that accommodates your work schedule. Online programs are an excellent option for any career path — when you go back to school online for a Masters in Criminal Justice, for example, you can gain the skills you need to advance into an administrative role on your own schedule. You could also consider a part-time program, or a full-time program that’s designed to accommodate the needs of working professionals.

Get Your Boss on Board

You can’t work full-time and earn a graduate degree without letting your boss in on the plan — whether you need to show up in person for classes in a brick-and-mortar setting, or you’re taking your classes entirely online. Talk to your boss about your grad school plans well ahead of time. If you’ve been out of college for a while, chances are you will need a letter of recommendation from your boss, anyway.

Make sure your boss knows exactly how your post-graduate studies can add to your value as an employee. The more your organization can benefit from your advanced education, the greater the chances your boss will work with you to accommodate your study needs. You might even get some company money to help finance your degree.

Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

If you want to find time to meet your work and family responsibilities while earning a graduate degree, you will need to plan study and personal time in advance. Even before you start grad school, sit down and work out a schedule to help you complete entrance exams and gather your application materials in time to meet the deadline. Once you’re in school, plan ahead to make sure you have time for important upcoming family obligations, like graduations, holidays and weddings, while still meeting the requirements of your program and your job. On a weekly basis, sit down with your day planner and schedule in time to study, time for your family and friends and time for yourself.

Use Vacation Time Wisely

When you’re a working adult in grad school, you won’t have time to pull all-nighters every time there’s a big project or test due. Stretch yourself too thin and your stress levels will skyrocket. Your job performance could suffer and you could even make yourself sick. However, you will probably still need to cram for tests and make time for big school projects.

By planning ahead, you can use your vacation days to take time off work when you know you’ll need to study for a big test or focus on completing a school project. Just make sure you ask for the days off ahead of time, instead of calling in sick the day before every exam. That way, your boss will remain understanding about your educational responsibilities.

Put Your Health First

Juggling the demands of a full-time work schedule with a full-time school schedule requires a lot of physical stamina. If you don’t make your health a priority, you’ll burn out quickly — and could even succumb to a full-on health crisis. Make sure you get eight to nine hours of sleep a night, eat a healthy diet, get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week and practice stress-management so you don’t get overwhelmed. You might think that you don’t have time to take care of yourself properly, but in fact, you don’t have time not to. If you neglect your health, you’ll soon find you don’t have it in you to fulfill your other obligations, either.

It’s not easy to manage the demands of grad school while working full time, but if can be done. All it takes is some careful planning and the willingness to make your education a priority.

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