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Pearls of Wisdom Fundraiser Experience

While on my way to the Campo Di Bocce Event center to attend the GiveTeens20® Pearls Of Wisdom Fundraiser, I did not expect it to be as fancy as it was. As I entered, the fourteen-foot decorated walls were there to greet me. Once I made my way to the prize display room, I saw dozens of tables, prize description posters, and even a Porsche! I said to myself “Man… these guys are not playing around.” There were even waiters and waitresses offering me incredible fancy foods, the kind you see in fancy restaurants. The forties musician Frank Sinatra was being played, which added even more of a fancy/classical effect on the event. Even auctions were going on, which was something I did not expect at all. Luckily, I was able to get some input from a few event attendees.

Kayode Giwa
Student Athlete and Aspiring Writer with the goal of hitting milestones in the industry of writing and entertainment. Honesty always.

Q: What do you think about the event so far?

A: “It’s amazing. Kathy told me about her idea years ago and I support because it really helps teenagers such as yourself, find a career fit.” (Ruth Bauer, Health Teacher.)

A: “It’s cool. Very classy.” (Jeff from Akira Games)

A: “First time being here. It’s elegant. Inspiring. Working in Career Development, It’s nice to see someone making their own organization to help people achieve their goals. ” (Stephanie Moore, Writer and Career development)

It’s evident that the participants who attended supported the goals of GIveTeens20 and Gladeo, such as helping teenagers find their career fit.

While roaming around brainstorming on what to write, I had one question in mind for those who participated at this event. The question being “If you could tell your teenage self one thing right now, what would it be?”

Pankaj J: “As a teen, you should explore multiple areas. Never give up. There is a place for everyone. Best honest with yourself, start early, and planning is important. Passion, dedication, focus.” (IT Applications, Palo Alto)

The words of Pankaj were very inspiring and were some words to take in to remind myself of everyday. Writing is my career choice, but down the road my interests may change because I may become more versatile and escape my comfort zone. One day I’d ike to be the writer of a television show but the only way I am going to get there is by passion, dedication, and focus. Nothing is guaranteed.

The Auction

The Auction was probably my favorite part of the event. Not to mention, Kathy Laidlaw, our founder won four tickets to a Warriors game with Suite seating in Oracle. People also won vacations, vehicles, and items too! An intern of GT20, Lily Alder also told a very inspiring story of her upbringing, and what she’s doing to achieve her goals. Growing up, she always had a love for educating, and soon enough she realized that teaching was a passion of hers. She was told teachers aren’t paid very well by many, but for her it wasn’t about the money, it was because teaching is what she loved to do, and no amount of money could ever change that.

I would also do what I love, no matter my income. Why do something that doesn’t make you happy and receive a paycheck for it, when you could what you love while not obsessing over your salary. I’d rather be poor and happy than rich and sad.

Grace and Michelle Cho Interview

Kathy Laidlaw with Kayode Giwa, Grace and Michelle Cho, founders of Gladeo

Being a GT20 intern, I was luckily able enough to interview Grace and Michelle Cho, founders of the Gladeo nonprofit organization. Grace Cho is responsible for being Vice President of Deal Analysis and Brand Finance at 20th Century Fox Film. Michelle Cho is responsible for being the founder and Executive Director of Gladeo. Not only was I able to interview them, I was able to get some great advice also.

Q: Why did you both decide to partner up with GiveTeens20®?

Because of Kathy. Our vision and values are similar. Kathy puts kids first and is very collaborative.

K. I can see why it would attract so many people, because helping teenagers find their career fit is an important thing. As teenagers today, many of us are confused about what we want to do in life or our place in the world.Organizations like these benefit us as teens because we get an idea of what we’d like to do, or what our strengths are.

Q: If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would it be?

Don’t be scared changing your mind, and if you do, don’t be hard on yourself for doing so.

K. I’ve always had an idea about writing being what I want to do in life, but the thought of changing my career has never entered my mind. The future is uncertain, and my interests may possibly change. Hypothetically speaking, if my interests were to change, I won’t ever be too hard on myself for making such a critical decision in my life, because change is a natural thing.

Advice

Toward the end of the event after our interview, I received some good advice about becoming a writer from both Grace and Michelle Cho.

Blogging. Blogging would become a great habit for me because it would help me become a better writer. I was also told, “Write it about whatever you want, because people would admire a teenager taking the time doing so.” Ever since then, besides my GT20blog, I also have a blog on Medium that I have been working on. I love to do all I can to make myself the best writer possible.

When it came to college,I was confused on what I am supposed to major in. Was it Journalism? Cinema?Creative Writing? No. It was Communications. I was told Communications is a very demanding field these days, especially with the media and entertainment fields. I plan to major in Communications and possibly double major in another aspect of writing to make my resume more impressive.

The advice which stuck with me all night and to this day, was to have fun. I find that to be a great point, because why do something you’re not passionate about? “Write what you want to write about, don’t listen to what other people tell you to write about.” As I exited Campo Di Bocce event center, I had a major reflection.Arrived with medium expectations and departed with an excellent impression of this event and how GiveTeens20® is achieving the goal of helping teens find their career ‘fit’.


Networking Tips to Launch You on Your Path in Work & Life

Networking can be a very big word and may even feel overwhelming when you hear it. It certainly brings up some questions. What does it mean to network? Do I need to have work experience first?

Throughout my 20+ years in the work world, I’ve identified a few key things that I have found to be really helpful and that also take some of the pressure off and I’d like to share these tips with you!

What is Networking?

When it comes down to it, networking is simply just having a conversation with someone. It’s connecting. It’s developing a relationship. When you are connecting with others, it helps to think of the connection as symbiotic; meaning that the connection goes both ways. This person may have information that can help you and you may have information that can help them (even at a later point).

One definition of networking that I like is: “interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.”

Pretty simple, right?

How to Talk About Yourself

When you are just getting started in your career you won’t always be clear about a purpose or mission in life, so just start with where you are today. It can feel a little awkward talking about yourself at first but the more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will get.

A great place to start is by creating a mission statement; no matter where you are in life. This can be related to your interests in volunteer work, customer service, or work that you know you want to do in the future.

Here are a couple of examples of mission statements, “I help customers to optimize their XYZ product so that they can have a stellar customer experience!” or “I give back to my community so that I can help to enhance the quality of life for those struggling to make ends meet” or “My mission is to deliver innovative ideas that contribute to the evolution of XYZ technology.”

You can also just focus on your interests or top skills. What excites you or makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What do you love to do? What tasks are you doing when you feel most productive and useful? These are all great clues about work that you are naturally good at or love to do and can more easily talk about with others. When you share more about your passions and interests, people will often want to know more about you and to help you along your path.

Still anxious about the idea of networking? Just start by asking questions. Ask people about themselves: what do they do for work? How was their weekend? What do they love to do in their free time? When you start the conversation, people will often start asking about you too!

How to Market Yourself

Marketing yourself can include a few things and it may be simpler than you think.

It can mean having an online presence. LinkedIn® is a wonderful resource for professionals. I always recommend that my clients keep an eye out for connection opportunities on LinkedIn®. An online presence can also mean having a website or a blog. Keep it professional yet informative—it’s also a great way to show more of your personality or style.

If you have a resume—get feedback, either from a professional resume writer or a mentor who can help you. When you are applying for jobs this is your ticket to landing an interview so you’ll want to make a great first impression.

Marketing yourself also means just simply showing up where you’ll have opportunities to connect. Join clubs, attend events, volunteer, or join outings. Just showing up can be the biggest part of getting connected with others. The key is to get in the habit of sharing more about yourself and what you are up to in the world so people know how to connect you (but also be curious about others). If you don’t enjoy joining groups, find an influencer—someone who can help to connect you with others. This could be someone you’ve worked for, a teacher, a mentor, or just someone that you admire and who is open to helping you.

Once you’ve made a connection, follow-up. This part is really important. People won’t know how to help you if you don’t ask. Thank them for their time and mention something you liked about the conversation or about their interests. If you are reaching out via email, there’s a great article with email templates from one of my favorite Career resources, The Muse, here: The Muse – Networking Email Templates.

Happy connecting!

 

Shannon empowers professionals to discover what they truly want in their careers so they can do fulfilling work on their own terms. www.shannon-rey.com


What I Learned From My Move to The Windy City

By Kevin Leonard

Chicago was never really on my radar while searching for colleges. I always imagined myself going to a school somewhere in California: a place that is familiar and close to home. Never did I see myself in a city with angry taxi drivers, crowded streets, and loud trains. Unfortunately, transitioning from the Bay to Chicago was not an easy process; however, it was an enjoyable and fascinating process.

When I told my parents that I wanted to study film, they were mostly supportive. The obstacle that I had to overcome was getting into a good school where I can pursue my film major. Los Angeles was my first choice, and for a long time my only choice. It made sense to me, since LA is home to Hollywood. When I got accepted to DePaul University in Chicago, I started to second guess myself. I was so set on LA for school that I never considered any other area outside of Southern California. “Hmmm, Chicago? I don’t know, a crowded city with loud streets,” I thought to myself. “Doesn’t seem like my type of environment.”

For once, I felt like I was presented with a decision I had full control over. Should I go to LA? I’m only a 2-hour plane ride away from my parents. I can eat my mom’s cooking and sleep on my heavenly memory foam mattress whenever I felt like it. Or should I go to Chicago? Where I am a 6-hour plane ride away and would only be able to visit during the breaks. I took a leap of faith and decided to challenge myself, force myself out of my comfort zone. I accepted the offer from DePaul and decided to continue my future in Chicago for the next 4 years.

The realization of going to DePaul didn’t hit me until summer break after high school began and my decision started to evoke concern and second guesses. Spending my summer preparing for college and dorm life, I started to feel anxious as the days counted down. Sure, I was excited for college, but I didn’t know what to expect. I started to fear leaving my parents and move halfway across the country.

Then move-in day came. Feelings of loneliness and nervousness overwhelmed me for the first week of school. There were too many people for my comfort and the urban environment made me feel uneasy. But then the realization hit. I am going to spend the next four years or more in this city and I need to start appreciating it. I need to embrace the city. I need to embrace the crowd. I need to embrace the crazy people on the subway.

Tall buildings didn’t make me nauseous anymore; instead I started to appreciate the architecture and beauty. The crowd didn’t trigger claustrophobia anymore; instead it garnished the city with life and prosperity. Since then, my outlook of the city has become positive and forced optimism transformed into innate appreciation. I have made friends that I know I can count on and enjoy my classes and professors. I have even already started looking for apartments for next year. I know that it’s only the first quarter, but spending the next 11 quarters in the city is what I am most excited about.

An enthusiastic mind is what ultimately led to what type of student I am today. I decided to take a shot in the dark and experience what an urban setting feels like. I took the risk and I learned to adapt to the new environment. Fortunately, it ended up being something that I would enjoy. Nine weeks later, I finally feel like I am at home.

blog-7-kevinKevin Leonard is currently a freshman at DePaul University. He is pursuing a film major with concentration in directing. On his spare time, Kevin watches movies, takes photos, and likes trying different brands of cereal.

Photo Courtesy: Kevin Leonard


China Through My Eyes

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Marwa Doost

If there is one thing I excel in, it’s probably the ability to stress over everything. Even during the summer, where you would think it wasn’t humanly possible to stress over anything, I was. Summer classes, the ACT’s, college applications, volunteering, and my resume were just some of the things running through my mind. When I wasn’t stressing, I usually spent my time envying my little brothers who spent their evenings tackling Naruto into the ground repeatedly on their PS3.

So when my father mentioned his upcoming business trip to China, I let myself fantasize about traveling overseas and escaping the pool of stress I created for myself. “Dad, can’t I come with you too?” I asked as I imagined speeding through the sky with a bowel of ramen before me.

My little dream bubble was popped not a minute later when I got a call from CT2 Prep, an ACT tutoring company, who reminded me of my interest in receiving tutoring. And like that, my little China dream was forgotten. What I didn’t expect was for my dad to take my request into consideration and buy me a ticket. Luckily though, that feeling didn’t stay for long after being on the receiving end of an hour-long lecture from my older sister who told me to “stop stressing because it was summer for god’s sake and to start living!”

Thanks to her, I was sitting in the window seat of ChinaAir two weeks later with a bowl of ramen in front of me as I bounced onto my seat excitedly.

Cupping and Turtles

Michael Phelps made Cupping famous when he appeared in the Olympics with dark bruised circles on his back. Well, the process of getting those marks is scary creepy. During our stay in China, my dad’s friend managed to convince my dad of getting cupping done at massage place near our hotel. You see, after lying down and getting all comfy (with your shirt off of course), a professional comes in with a bucket of twelve cups and matches. He lit up the match, placed it in the cup, and took the fire out after it blared to life inside of it.

He then stuck the cup onto your back. It hurts and right after it’s done, your skin starts turning red and swelling inside the cup. This method is repeated eleven more times until your back is covered completely to the point where you look like a turtle. After a couple of moments, the cups are taken away with a forceful grab and you are free to go. The marks will stay there for at least a week and will help heal any sore muscles you have and help your blood flow more. Props to Phelps for doing it though! The process is very freaky… I was about to get it done too, but after I saw the process I was like “Heck No! I’ll just start working out again!”

Business Etiquette

Tagging along with my Dad on his business trip was definitely an educational experience. Not only did I meet a lot of his clients and co-workers, but I also got to learn a lot about business etiquette. To my surprise, I learned that offering water to a client or co-worker was the best way to show them respect when they make the time to visit your office.

Moreover, I learned how important it is to plan ahead. I often questioned my dad why he would often meet up with new clients when he already had clients, and he would always reply by saying that “Clients will often agree to what you say, but when it comes down to it, will follow their own choices.” As a result, we had to meet up with new clients to prepare materials that we needed and might not have gotten our hands on from the previous client.

Fish and Lots of It

When my dad first told me that his friend would be taking us out to dinner, I was worried. I mean I’m not a fish fan, and this guy loved that stuff. We then ordered straw mushrooms, tree mushrooms, Chinese cabbage called Bok Choy, Cauliflower, Chinese beans, and varieties of fish and noodles in different shapes. Although there were tons of different types of fishes added into the broth, I was able to avoid eating too much fish by getting myself the soup from corners of the bowl.

Personally, my favorite part was trying all the different types of noodles. Some were thick and long and others were round and thin, and the best part was that they all had a different taste to them!

Tuk Tuk

I love motorcycles, much to my dad’s distaste, and China was full of them. The streets were always full of motorcycles and get this, there were even motorcycle taxis! This was basically a dream come true for me and a nightmare for my dad who always worried about finding excuses to keep me from getting on one. Luckily for him, I didn’t get to ride on one but I was able to ride the Tuk Tuk.

The name of the motorcycle is just as unique as the motorcycle itself. It is a big three wheeled motorcycle that looks like a regular motorcycle in the front but like the back seat of  a windowless car in the back.  It was definitely a lot less dangerous than normal motorcycles, but it still felt pretty cool to be riding in.

Being able to visit another country, especially China, was an amazing experience for me. I got to meet different people, see the culture, and try out amazing foods! Doing well in school and caring about our college applications is definitely important, but I think that being able to experience a lot of different situations is also something that will help you grow as a person. I would recommend the trip to anyone, as it is one that would be forever unforgettable!

Image Courtesy: http://global-goose.com/tuk-tuk-tips/


Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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Maluck Nawabi

It is no easy task trying to decide what you want to be when you ‘grow up.’ This becomes even more complicated when you have to write a ten-page research paper on said area of interest. For my sophomore English class, I had to research a career that I wanted to pursue, which could be fun for some people who have known since they were nine years old exactly what they wanted to do with their lives. Unfortunately, I was never that person. It is safe to say that I was dreading this assignment from the moment my English teacher brought it up.

She tried her best to ease us into it by saying that we would take things step by step and work on finding people in certain jobs to interview. The following week we had to come up with our top three career choices and write them down on these posters that would be displayed in class for everyone to see. I watched as my classmates wrote down occupations such as physical therapist, non-invasive cardiologist, police officer, etc. All the while I was struggling to brainstorm two possible careers. I felt like there was something wrong with me. Why was it difficult for me to find something I was even remotely interested in while those around me clearly had it all together? I knew I had to take this assignment seriously, so I started researching careers.

To play it safe I search online for high paying stable jobs. I thought it was best to be practical and stay true to that anecdote that we have all heard: go to school, get a good job, make money, and be happy (in no particular order of course). As I was looking up careers, I stumbled upon one that caught my attention- Chief Executive Officer (CEO). I was relieved, I had finally found a job that was stable, paid well, and that I could see myself doing. Going forward with the assignment, I interviewed two amazing women in this position who gave me great advice. For a while, I thought that this was what I wanted. I had convinced myself that being a CEO or at least working in business was perfect for me.

However, the world of business was far from ideal for me because I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was being safe instead of being ambitious and going after something else that would make me happier. What this something else was I did not know exactly, yet I knew that I would be miserable if I just decided on a field of study based on the potential salary. I know how the world works, and you so have to factor in money at some point when it comes to deciding on a career. On the other hand, it is equally important to do what makes you happy so one must take the time to know themselves and find out what sparks their interest.

Currently, I am working on a  degree in Health Science, and I have a mild amount of interest in the subject. I am not entirely sure if I can see myself working in this area, but I know that I can always make a change. Sometimes I feel lost like I do not know what I want to do, and that is all right. There is nothing wrong with feeling confused and unsure of where you are heading. Explore all of your options, take risks when necessary because eighty percent of life is just showing up.

Author Bio: Maluck Nawabi has been an SAC member since my sophomore year of high school. Currently she is a health science major at CSUEB. When Maluck is not busy training for her dream career, she enjoys reading, swimming, and watching classic films.

Photo credit: www.pexels.com


Pawsome Project

When K9s retire, their handler typically buys them from the city.

All food and vet care previously covered by the city is now the responsibility of the Handler.

Join us in supporting these dogs and individuals that have kept us safe.

100% of your donation goes directly to the dogs’ food and medical expenses.





Five Reasons Why Volunteering is the Most Rewarding Experience

Vaish Kandhadai

Vaish Kandhadai

Volunteering, over time, has transformed from leisure time community service into an effective tool in socially conscious professional networking. Whether you are a student, a newcomer to the town, or just a person looking for direction in your life, volunteering at a local non-profit organization is a fitting way to begin your pursuit. I have been volunteering at GiveTeens20® since March and during the course of time, I have come to know so many wonderful people who have given relevance to my search for a career fit (I am looking at you with gratitude, Kathy!). If you are on the wall about volunteering, this post might help you make the right decision. If you are already volunteering, it would help you reexamine your purpose at your non-profit organization. So why volunteer?

Know Your Community Better: As a recent transplant to the Bay Area, I have learned so much about communities and education from my short time at GT20. I learned of several thriving sub-communities around Fremont (Niles and Newark, for example) I was unaware of until a few months ago. As a part of an education-based non-profit, I also learned about the difficulties the schooling system in the bay faces and the measures that are being taken to address the shortcomings. I now have a different level of respect and appreciation for everything our teachers do to shape the students of our community.

Give Something Back to the Community: Did you know that as a volunteer, you have the power to strengthen so many aspects of your community? By working at the eldercare ward of your local hospital, you would be helping your community’s seniors. By taking up an after school mentoring program, you would be contributing towards the future of the youths. By taking that extra step, you would be contributing towards the development of your town, city and thus, the country!

Give Your Career Some Direction: It doesn’t matter whether you are fresh out of school or just taking a break to figure out a career change. Volunteering in a field that interests you and for an organization with a respectable cause significantly increase your chances of finding what lights you up! As a person who was fascinated by social media marketing, my time at GT20 has helped me research tools and ideas related to my field of interest. This has helped me make a considerable contribution towards improving GT20’s social media presence and improve the value of my resume. There really is nothing to beat the on-the-job knowledge volunteering offers!

Make Friends and Increase Your Network: If you take your volunteering seriously (well, not too seriously, of course!), it would improve your chances of networking with other professionals in your community. How, you ask me? Non-profits host or attend several events every month. Whether it is to raise funds or support other causes, an average non-profit organization sees at least one event a week. If you are an active member of your organization, you would get to attend several of these events and meet people from wide-ranging industries. In my opinion, there is nothing to beat that!

Finally, It is Good For You: Volunteering reduces stress. The shift in focus from your problems to something else would give a bigger and better meaning to your life. Nothing really beats that!!

Vaish is a Volunteer Social Media Strategist for GiveTeens20® and a Growth Hacking Consultant in the Technology industry. In her pass time, she likes to pretend she is reading just to get out of doing household chores!


Tips on Finding Vacation Employment in Your Community

Img of author Muskan Sharma

Muskan Sharma

No one wants to hire a sixteen year old with no experience. This was the hard truth that I was becoming aware of as my job search continued to drag on. I never thought it would be this hard. In my head I always thought that I would just walk into my interview with a big smile and a go-getter attitude, charm the interviewee, and then walk out job in hand. Clearly, this was not the case. Week after week, interview after interview I was getting no response.

Finally, feeling defeated and desperate, I went to Kathy, Founder of GiveTeens20®, education non-profit that helps teens find their career fit; thinking that she was probably the most qualified person to help me with this dilemma. I was correct in going to her. Kathy was quickly able to give me some important advice on what I should be doing.

“Print out your application, take it in, and give it to a manger. This will show initiative and your manager will get to know you before your interview. A lot of times managers don’t even consider online applications from 16 year olds, or they only look at the most recent applicants. That’s why personally taking your application in is so important.”

I did as Kathy explained and went into my interview a week later and received a job offer at the end the interview. I am now happily working at a store that I really love and owe it all to an internship with GiveTeens20® that gave me access to people like Kathy.


The Importance of Staying Awake During Summer Break

Marwa Doost

by Marwa Doost

Let’s be honest and admit that sleeping is the next best thing about summer right after the absence of school in your life. For one thing, you no longer have to worry about school deadlines when you’re asleep. You’ll also able to ignore your annoying siblings as they start yet another game of “let’s annoy the hell out of the parents until they call for the oldest child to do something about it.” And if that’s not good enough, you’ll also able to get out of doing errands for your parents, which most of the time consists of getting groceries from Walmart (which just sucks because it’s always busy) or driving by Aunt Marge’s house to take her dogs to the vet (which usually subjects you to standing at the front door of her house while she spends ten minutes fussing over you, your career choice, and your cheeks as she gives in to the urge of pinching them). All in all, sleeping in is pretty great.

However, there will always be a couple of people who disagree with this and more often than not, it will usually your parents. I mean I would be complaining as well if I suddenly lost someone to push all my work and errand drives onto. Still, it can be a pain when our moms complain about our sleep schedule to the dads, which- I don’t know about you- always ends with me on the receiving end of a lecture on the beauty of sleeping and waking up early (Warning: don’t stare into your dad’s eyes during the lecture, they can be just as convincing as the gen-jutsu the Uchiha’s put on you with their sharingan in Naruto).

It isn’t as if parents are against us sleeping, because they aren’t. They just would like to control that aspect of our lives. This is a very big problem if you ask me, because Mom and Dad, I may love you, but I also love my sleep. And let’s not forget that Summer time is the only real time we get to sleep in as much as we want.

When to Stay Awake

Usually, most teens are awake from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM during school days. During the summer, though, it’s obvious that no one follows that rule. The new “rule” is staying awake from 6:00 PM to 5 AM. Every teen knows these are the best times to pack your schedule with activities. For one thing, you don’t have to deal with your siblings as much because unlike you, parents can still control their bedtimes. And in an hour or two after you wake up, they’ll be shipped off to their rooms after daddy gives them a good night kiss. Not only does this leave you to your own devices for the next couple of hours, but it also means that your parents will be too tired from a day of watching the kids use the house as a jungle gym to criticize you for anything you might do.

What’s the good of this, you ask? Well, you can probably get away with most of the things you wouldn’t when the sun is still out. For instance, mom probably wouldn’t even blink an eye if you told her you were going out for a drive with your friend and wouldn’t be back until much later (of course she doesn’t know that the drive will probably end up with the two of you munching on IN-N-OUT after spending the night movie hopping).

Other benefit of staying awake is all the food that will be available to you during that time. Can you just imagine opening up the pantry and getting your hands on the half hidden bag of Doritos that mom covered up with the huge bag or rice? Or the Cookie Dough ice cream in the back corner of the freezer? As if that’s not already good enough, you get to jump into it without worrying about sharing!

Why is This the Right Thing?

If you’re a teen, the chances of you agreeing with everything I said are pretty high. Give or take, it would probably be around eighty percent of the readers. The other twenty who disagree would probably be full of the juniors and seniors who are already stressing about their college applications coming up soon. While you shouldn’t completely ignore the idea of doing well during the four years of high school, you shouldn’t obsess over it either. Doing so will not only give you a short life span, but sooner or later it will be the cause of you burning out. Be aware of your surroundings, what colleges expect of you, and what you think will be the best for you, but don’t forget to still enjoy the little things in life like the box of ice cream waiting for you in your freezer. You only get to be a teenager once, so you might as well enjoy it.

Image Courtesy: Shutterstock


Four Techniques to Avoid Stress and Keep Your Sanity

Maluck-NawabiWe’ve all had to deal with stress in our lives at one point or another; whether it be from school or work, it’s something that can bring discomfort to our lives. When I started high school I found myself overwhelmed with many stressors and needed to find ways to make a positive transition. I found that I was the one who put the most pressure on myself. Right from the start I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted straight A’s, I wanted to finish all my service hours as soon as possible, and I wanted to get involved in clubs. I thought that everything would be fine, but I never anticipated that some of those things would not work out.

I struggled in Spanish and was never able to get the GPA I wanted during freshman year and this was a major blow that made me feel trapped. I was struggling and I felt like I had no one to turn to. It was during this time that I realized how important it is to ask for help.

Ask for Help

We like to think that we have everything under control and that we don’t need anyone, but in reality we could all use some assistance. You should not spread yourself too thin and just because someone else volunteers their time to do extra work does not mean that you have to do the same if that is not something that you can handle. For instance, when I knew I had a test and a group project on the same day, I would talk to my group members and tell them that I couldn’t contribute as much on a certain day. This was effective because I let them know ahead of time rather than saying I would do something and then forgetting to do it when they were clearly counting on me.

Write it Out

One must always be aware of his or her stress in order to find ways to manage it properly. Over the course of high school, I learned new ways to deal with my stress. I would keep a journal and do stream of consciousness entries. This is when you write down whatever you’re feeling as you are feeling or thinking it. I found this helpful because it allowed me to express my thoughts on paper and then see where I could make adjustments. Exercising daily was also an effective way to cope with stress as it allowed me to clear my mind. The exercise you choose to perform does not have to be complicated, it can simply be taking a walk outside to get some fresh air.

Make a Schedule

I believe that most of my stress in high school came from feeling as though I did not have enough time. When it came to picking classes, I would always load up on difficult classes that required a lot of work, both in class and outside of class. I now see that I should have come up with a schedule that worked better for me; that means taking one or two rigorous courses that I could handle along with other courses that were not as loaded. If you are rushing to complete assignments and find that you have little free time develop better time management skills, keep a schedule that includes deadlines, as well as time to relax and take a break. Sometimes I like to create mock due dates for assignments to avoid procrastination and get things done earlier.

Engage in Prep Work

If you are anything like me, you probably tend to get a little lost during lectures simply because you are so preoccupied with mindlessly copying down notes from the PowerPoint. To get a better grasp about what your teacher is talking about during lecture, try reading the chapter before the lecture. In high school you will be faced with assignments that seem difficult; however, it is important to break down large assignments into smaller parts that you can work on a little bit each day.

My high school experience consisted mainly of trying to deal with stress. This got in the way of me enjoying high school and making the most of new experiences. Do not allow stress to play a bigger role in your life than it has to because in the end it is truly not worth it. Find methods that help you relax and clear your mind. Have a support system of people who you can easily turn to for help and do not be afraid to ask for help. Some high school courses are more difficult than others; therefore, you must find a way to balance your schedule and make the most of your time. High school is an exciting time in one’s life, and no matter how intimidating it may seem at first, you just have to remember that everything will work out well.

Image Courtesy Paleoplan.com

By Maluck Nawabi