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Studying Tunes – Instrumentals Edition

In our previous post we mentioned how finding the right studying mix is important. Music can help you concentrate and keep you motivated. It can be difficult to find the perfect playlist and here at GiveTeens20®, we want to make your lives a little bit easier. Every day this week, we will post playlists recommendations from different genres. Today’s genre? Instrumentals. Check out the playlists below. Happy studying and listening!


1.  From Explosions in the Sky to Debussy, this playlist has a little bit of everything. If you are looking for a good mixture of classical  music, piano covers of pop songs, and post-rock instrumentals, this is your playlist. 


2. If you are a fan of Pixar films, this playlist should definitely do the trick for you. The playlist contains film scores from many of their popular films such as Finding Nemo, Monsters Inc., and Up.  


3. Sometimes it is hard to concentrate to what you are studying because you feel so inclined to sing along. With this playlist, you get the best of both worlds. A playlist that will keep focused and give you a chance to listen to songs you enjoy without needing to sing along.


Be sure to check back tomorrow for our next “Studying Tunes” blog post. Next up: Acoustic playlists.

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Studying Tips


Studying is not always a fun thing to tackle and it can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole thanks to Tumblr or Buzzfeed quizzes. At times, the mind tricks you into thinking that everything and anything is a lot more interesting than studying. Next thing you know it, two hours have gone by and you have only read two sentences of your notes (believe me, I have been there).

Although studying may be the last thing you want to do, it is something that you have to power through. Why? You are building something for your future in every achievement. Plus, the satisfaction you feel once you do well on your exam is totally worth it.

So it’s time to stop procrastinating and Netflixing, and let’s discuss some studying tips!

1. Put down the social media


Log out of Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, and other social media outlets that could distract you from studying. If it is crunch time and you need to get some serious studying in, social media can definitely wait.

If you find yourself subconsciously logging back into your social media accounts, download a program to block distracting websites from your computer for a set period of time. For PC, use the program Cold Turkey. For Mac, use the program Self Control.

2. Silence your phone


If you are not expecting an urgent phone call or text, silence your phone and put it away. Sometimes it is easy to subconsciously whip out your phone when studying is not going very well. Power through and check out all of your notifications from your phone later.

3. Leave a trail of gummy bears when reading



This little studying hack gives you incentive for your work. If you need to get a lot of reading done, try leaving a gummy bear trail throughout the page. Once you reach a gummy bear, you get to eat it and move on to the next paragraph.

PS: It does not necessarily have to be gummy bears. It can be whichever snack you prefer, however, a healthy snack is advised.

4. Listen to music



A little music can give you the concentration you need and help block out your surroundings. Finding the right type of music to go well with your studying is important. Tailor your music playlist to the type of subject you are studying. If you are reading or writing, listen to lyric-less tunes.

There are many music websites and services to help you find your perfect studying mix. For example, Pandora, 8tracks, Songza, and Spotify are great options.

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10 Interviewing Do’s and Don’ts


Safeway Corporation’s Field Recruiter Andrea Schulz

Interviews can be nerve wracking, but here at GiveTeens20®, we have your back.

We recently chatted with Safeway Corporation’s Field Recruiter, Andrea Schulz, about some interviewing do’s and don’ts. As a field recruiter, some of Schulz’s duties include communicating with store and district managers about hiring needs, working with community based organizations and going to job fairs.

Schulz has had her fair share of being an interviewer and just recently interviewed some people at a job fair.

With help from Schulz, here are some interviewing do’s and don’ts to help you prepare for them. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!

1. Do your research.

Make sure you know about the company and what they do before you go into the interview. “It shows that you care about the job that you’re applying for, and that you have done your homework,” says Schulz.

2. Don’t speak negatively about your past co-workers or bosses.

If you are asked about a time of conflict at work, make sure you do not bad-mouth your past co-workers or bosses. Speaking negatively about your past job or boss is a red flag for interviewers and puts your professionalism in jeopardy.

Instead of blatantly saying that you hated your manager, Schulz suggests spinning it into more of a positive note such as, “My manager and I didn’t see eye-to-eye, but at the end of the day, we tried to work together.”

3. Do dress appropriately for your interview.

When you are researching the company, make sure you find out what their dress code is like. Some companies can be more casual about their dress code than others. “Do your research on where you are going but never be underdressed,” Schulz explains.

4. Don’t answer with just a yes or no.

If it is not a closed-ended question, make sure you elaborate on your answers. “Always give examples with whatever you’re asked,” says Schulz.

It is important to note, however, that your answers should not be a monologue either.

5.  Do arrive early for your interview.

Make sure you arrive 10-15 minutes before your interview. This will give you some time to get situated and gather your thoughts. Being late leaves a bad first impression.

6. Don’t arrive too early.

Yes, arriving too early can also be detrimental. Arriving too early makes it awkward in the waiting room.

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Book Recommendations List


GiveTeens20®’s Social Media Intern, Brittany, here. Reading can be good for the body, mind and soul. It has been scientifically proven that reading is therapeutic, enhances your memory, reduces stress, and many more. It gives you an outlet to let your imagination roam and a chance to exercise your brain. It also helps develop your writing and vocabulary skills–skills that are crucial and beneficial to your future. Knowing sufficient vocabulary is one factor that can make or break an opportunity for young adults.

Dr. Seuss got it right when he said, “the more that you read, the more things you know. The more that you learn, the more places you will go.” Reading can take you places. By the end of the day, it is a necessity to your growth. So choose to read, and choose to continue to grow and learn.

Here are eight book recommendations. Happy reading!

1. Perks of Being A Wallflower- Stephen Chbosky

 “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

 A coming-of-age story about an introverted high school freshman named Charlie. Through a series of letters, he details his experiences with love, lost, and the temptations of drugs.

My two cents: An honest story that captures of the essence of adolescence. You often find yourself getting emotionally attached to these characters and by the end of the book, you aren’t ready to say goodbye to them just yet.

2. Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become a Person- Hugh Prather

“Perfectionism is a slow death….If everything were to turn out just as I would want it, just as I would plan, I would never experience anything new. My life would be an endless repetition of stale successes. When I make a mistake I experience something unexpected.” 

In a journal/diary-esque style, Prather writes a series of notes about everyday observations and musings.

My two cents: Prather offers insight on life that can often resonate to how you are feeling at the moment. It encourages self-reflection and motivates you to start a journal similar to Prather’s.

 3. The Great Gatsby- F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I wish I’d done everything on Earth with you.”

Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the story focuses on the mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby, and his adoration and obsession with the beautiful Daisy Buchanan.

My two cents: A heartbreaking story about love and the American Dream during the roaring twenties. It may be a little slow in the beginning, but do not be discouraged. Once the book picks up, you will not be able to put it down.

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Top 10 FAFSA Mistakes to Avoid

Are you ready to file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?  Because the government and colleges give aid on a first come, first serve basis, it’s important to submit as early as possible.

FAFSA Mistakes to Avoid

Unfortunately, a single (seemingly harmless) mistake on your FAFSA can delay processing for weeks, moving your application behind the countless others that were submitted correctly. The good news: Youu can take steps to prevent those mistakes from happening!

Here are the top 10 mistakes to avoid when completing the FAFSA:

  1. Leaving a field blank.  Many people see a question that doesn’t apply to them and mistakenly leave it blank. Instead, write in a “0” or “not applicable” so the processor doesn’t assume you forgot to answer and reject the application.
  1. Entering the wrong tax amount.  Do not use the information from your W-2. Instead, refer to you 1040 federal tax return to report income and taxes paid. Remember you should fill out the FAFSA before you file taxes using an estimate, but you need to get in there and update it with the correct numbers once your taxes are complete.
  1. Reporting incorrect marital status.  Although you may be engaged, if you aren’t legally married on the day you file, list your marital status as single.
  1. Reporting incorrect parent information.  The parent you lived with for most of the year is the one to fill out the FAFSA, so make sure you include information for the right parent. If your primary guardian remarried, you’ll need to include requested information about your stepparent as well.
  1. Forgetting to sign the application.  It might sound simple, but a lot of people forget this important step. If you’re filing as a dependent, both you and your parents need to sign the application. If you’re filing online, you can sign electronically using PIN numbers (you can get them from http://www.pin.ed.gov).
  1. Filing late.  Procrastinating leads to missed opportunities for aid. Remember to stay on top of deadlines, and because it’s first-come, first-serve, get your FAFSA in as soon as possible.
  1. Providing too much information.  You don’t need to include information about retirement accounts and home equity. If you include this information on your application, your chances for aid will shrink, so leave them off. NOTE: The FAFSA does ask about second homes and real estate investments, so you’ll need to provide details about those if applicable.
  1. Listing just one school.  List every school to which you’ve applied or are planning to apply so you don’t miss deadlines at any of the colleges you’re considering.
  1. Not filing at all.  There is no reason not to file the FAFSA. Even if you think you make too much money, you might be surprised, and it doesn’t hurt at all. Simply by completing the application you will be eligible for Stafford government student loans. Some non-citizens qualify for federal and college financial aid, too, so don’t use your citizenship status as a reason not to file.
  1. Not following directions or getting help.  As with any form, read the directions carefully. If you aren’t sure about a question, check the FAQ section on the FAFSA Web site or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED AID (1-800-433-3243). You also can take advantage of the government’s online chat sessions by using FAFSA on the Web Customer Service Live Help from Monday through Saturday. Of course, I’m happy to answer any questions you have as well. Feel free to contact me via phone or email!

This blog was provided by Westface College Planning. For more tips and information, sign up for a free College Funding workshop or webinar or call us at (650) 587-1559.

Photo Credit: Terrance Heath

5 Reasons Why High School Students Should Be On LinkedIn®


The professional networking website LinkedIn® has certainly grown from its initial launch in 2003. According to the company’s website, LinkedIn® has over 330 million members in over 200 countries. The website allows professionals to connect with other professionals in their area of expertise, gain knowledge on companies and discover which companies are hiring.

In 2013, LinkedIn® opened their website to high school students. Although the website may not be as popular to high school students as it is to adults, high school students should very much consider joining the networking site.

Here are 5 reasons why high school students should be on LinkedIn®.

1. Connect for the future.

By starting now and connecting with your classmates, teachers and mentors, you are building a network of connections that may help you down the line. According to a 2012 ABC News report, 80% of jobs are landed through networking. Your friend or mutual friend may just end up working at a company that you have been eyeing for quite some time.

Connecting now can also save you the trouble of having a fun social event turn into a sudden job hunt. For example, lets fast-forward to your 10-year high school reunion. Some of your classmates are working at major successful companies. Instead of worrying about hitting them up to help you get a job, you can enjoy the special occasion because you have already connected with them in the past and know what they are up to.

2. Helps you figure out where to attend college.

LinkedIn® recently rolled out a feature called “University Pages” to help students learn more about colleges. It gives students a place to find updates on campus news, ask questions and connect with the campus community. LinkedIn® can help students decide where to go to college based on what they want to study, where they wish to work, where they want to live and what they want to do. Students can also connect with current students or alumni for their perspectives on the school.

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Quotes to Inspire and Be Inspired

Image credit: www.hu2.com

Sometimes life gets rough and you lose your way. Here are 15 quotes to help you find your way back.


  1. You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. – C.S. Lewis
  2. Stay hungry, stay foolish. – Steve Jobs
  3. Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you can do it. –Maya Angelou
  4. You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream. –Michael Dell
  5. It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any. –Hugh Laurie


  1. The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. – Dr. Seuss
  2. I love wisdom. And you can never be great at anything unless you love it. Not be in love with it, but love the thing, admire the thing. And it seems that if you love the thing, and you don’t just want to possess it, it will find you. –Maya Angelou
  3. Any fool can know. The point is to understand. –Albert Einstein
  4. Change is the end result of all true learning. – Leo Buscaglia
  5. Action is the foundational key to all success. – Pablo Picasso


  1. As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life. – Amy Poehler
  2. Whatever you are, be a good one. – Abraham Lincoln
  3. Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long shot. – Charlie Chaplin
  4. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. –Ferris from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  5. Life’s hard. It’s supposed to be. If we didn’t suffer, we’d never learn anything. –Before Sunset

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Scholarships for the College-Bound Soul

Don't Stop BelievingCan we all agree that college is not cheap? Scholarships can definitely help with the financial burden. Searching for scholarships can get overwhelming, but do not let the search discourage you from finding them. They can be found in many places such as local businesses, religious or community organizations, ethnicity-based organizations, or organizations in your related field interest.

They can also be found with a simple Google search. Websites such as Fastweb.com, ScholarshipExperts.com, Scholarships.com and College Board’s scholarship search engine are great places to search for scholarships. These websites are dedicated to helping you find the perfect scholarship for you. It is important to note that scholarship scams are also on the Internet. Make sure that the scholarship is legitimate before you apply! Some signs of scholarship scams include application fees and guaranteed winnings.

Here are a few scholarships we found while browsing the Web. Check them out and see if any of them might interest you.

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10 Things to Consider in College As Told by a Recent Grad

Hello GT20 readers. Today’s post will be different. It will still be informative (hopefully!) but more conversational. For some of you, college is right around the corner. This post is for you.

In retrospect, college gave me the best four years I could ever ask for. It was engaging, challenging and eye-opening. Yes, from time to time there were tears, but also a lot of laughter. I have made a lot of good memories with some unforgettable people, and I have learned a lot about myself.

Throughout my years in college, I have learned a few lessons that I would like to share with you all. In no particular order, here are 10 things to consider in college, as told by a recent grad.

1. Take some classes for pure enjoyment.

The nice thing about college is that you can pick and choose what classes you want to take. College is a nice time to explore your interests. If you can, take some classes that sound fun to you. Going to class is a lot better when you enjoy what you are learning.

 2Join clubs and/or organizations.

College is not only a nice time to explore your interests, but it is also an opportunity to meet new people. Joining clubs or organizations are great ways to do this. There will be a club or an organization for almost anything. Find something you enjoy and hang out with people that enjoy it too!

3If your school has a recreational center, take advantage of it.

In college, the one thing that I regret was not using the recreational center as much as I would have liked. You are in fact paying for it through your tuition fee, so why not use it? It is important that you take care of yourself and stay healthy.

4. Network.

Trust me, it is never too early to start networking. If you are not on the social networking website LinkedIn®, it is time to create a profile and get connected with classmates, teachers and mentors. This website allows you to connect with people in your professional world, find job opportunities, and gain insight about your career. It is one of the best networking tools out there so take advantage of it! Your future-self will thank you for this. Once you graduate, it is not who you know, but who knows you.

5. Pay attention in class.

You do not have to be a perfect student, but make sure you know what is going on in your classes. If you have questions for your professor, make sure you ask them. Getting an A in the class means nothing if you do not retain any of the information.

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