By Rachel Rooney, Toppel Peer Advisor
If you go on Google News, and click the “world” tab on the left sidebar, there are two prevailing topics: Russia and Ebola. There’s a lot going on in the world and as a college student it’s easy to focus on academics and not pay attention. I actually started reading the news, because I’m going abroad to Sweden next semester and it’s in relative proximity to Russia. If you’re planning on studying abroad, it’s important to do your research, but also just to keep yourself informed of the going-ons in the States and the World. 

The college atmosphere creates a protective bubble around us that shields us from the outside world in a sense. At UM, we constantly here it’s our time and that “it’s all about the U.” And it is. Right now, we have a sense of being a part of something bigger than ourselves, because we are a part of our university. It’s where we belong. However, there’s also a bigger world outside of us and if we want to know about it we have to find out for ourselves. Priorities come into play, because we’re all busy; it becomes more important to read Campbell for biology and Ernest Hemingway for English. 
The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of time to get information. With the modern, digital age everything is available online. No longer do we have to wait for the mailman to deliver the paper for us to learn about what’s going on. It’s important to remember to not trust everything. I’m a skeptic about how accurate the media is, but I do believe there is reliable information out there. It depends on the source; trustworthy sources can be BBC news, PBS news hour, NPR radio, Forbes, the Guardian, Time magazine, and the New York Times.  Be careful of where you get your information from, because you can’t trust everything you read online to be correct. It’s the same way with television; choose well-known news stations with credibility in their reputations. Steer away from biased political news on either side of the political spectrum; try to take information from objective lenses. 
One of the things that I like about Google News is that they post the trending topics, but the articles are from different sources. They also have different sections: World, United States, Business, Technology, Health, Science, Spotlight. This is a good tool to use, because it’s hard to find out what is important if you don’t know what you’re looking for.  There is a lot of news out there, and it really comes down to what you find interesting. I’m from Missouri, so I keep my eye open for information about Ferguson. I also read about the earthquake that just happened in the Midwest. I’m going to Sweden, so I found the Guardian’s “Welcome to Sweden – the most cash-free society on the planet” article as an introspective piece on how the economy in Sweden works. I love to travel, so I’m fascinated by the “36 hours” that the New York Times posts on different cities around the world. Even though I’m no lover of chemistry or physics, I find the science section appealing, because I get to read about space and Antarctica. 
My two cents are to educate yourself and find your muse. Know what’s going on even if you don’t find it riveting; at this time, Russia is at the center of the world. Moscow might be 5,726 miles away from Miami, but Russia is planning to patrol in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico, which is a whole lot closer to us. Then, seek out the intriguing pieces of the world, because the news can be just as thought-provoking as To Kill a Mockingbird.