Education

Ever wonder what is the average day of a photo student like? Let me tell you.

Monday morning. 9am. You and your classmates are hanging your work on the wall. The pins are magnetic Last week, you got a darkroom printing tutorial. This week is a crit, a critique.

You and your 15 classmates and a professor you call by the first name gather around one person’s work. Professor sets the timer and there is silence.

Someone starts talking. You have an opinion. You wait for the right time and you say it to the room without raising your hand. Suddenly the timer rings. Fifteen minutes has passed.

Time for the next student. This lasts for three hours. You hear everything. Feminism. Racial issues. Gay expression. Self portraiture. Inspiration from artist x, y, and z. Performance art. Cultural exploration. You learn to understand the issues and decide whether the work addresses it, and whether or not you’re convinced the work works.

It is the afternoon before you get out of class. Do you want to work on your art history midterm paper or do you want to go buy film before the store closes? (It closes at 4pm).

You decide to eat lunch with your friends in the dorm cafeteria. They said they would treat you on their meal plan card.

You spend an hour or two decompressing. You gossip about today’s crit, potentially hot professors, an interesting exhibition at a nearby museum (MoMA) or art gallery.

You think about what you need to shoot for your assignment due on Thursday and you go back to school to rent equipment. A tripod and a film camera. You head home carrying your equipment. You start planning your next shoot. You’re very, very excited.

My first semester had five courses:

Freshman Seminar ­- the crits, tutorials, and work making.
Drawing ­- pencil and charcoal drawing.
Light ­- deals with how light interacts with objects, space, and movement
Design ­- graphic design, basically
A writing class that everyone had to take

I hope this gives you an idea of what a day in the life was for me as a Freshman (at Parsons and in NYC). College is a challenge but it’s a good place to grow. College isn’t always fun, but it’s always a time to learn about yourself. Good luck!

Image: Paul Reynolds

EducationLearnSkills

If there was one subject I struggled with, it was math. Just remembering the numbers, the graphs, the…well, numbers. It gives me shivers. Everyone has a topic that they aren’t good at. Some people aren’t very fond of writing papers. Other people would like to do nothing but write papers for classes. Every once and a while, we run into those subjects and we get discouraged.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

It happens to everyone.

Yes. Everyone. Try and think of one person who is great in calculus, history, biology, chemistry, soccer, art, psychology, philosophy, language, and Shakespearean literature. You couldn’t think of anyone, could you? That’s because nobody’s perfect! Everybody has something they’re not good at, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. School and life is all about the learning process, and everyone is going through it just like you.

It takes practice. You’ll get better at it.

Imagine jogging at the local park. The first time is really hard and you’re all sore the day after. But after a month, jogging around doesn’t seem all that hard. Now, think of the subject that you’re bad at as that first time jog. It’s a hard topic, and you’re trying your best. You feel frustrated and you want to give up. You feel sore about not getting a good grade on your midterm. That’s okay. Just keep going at it. You might not be able to run across the country, but getting a mile or two down feels pretty good. Getting a few more points on the next exam is going to feel good too!

“You have to find a lot of things you don’t like before you find the things you love.”

This is advice a professor told me once. Sometimes the future may feel overwhelming or scary. By accepting that you may not be good at something, you know where to focus your energy and attention. For example, my math grades were bad but my art grades were pretty good. I knew I should apply for a liberal arts or arts school. Now I know I’m in love with classical literature and conceptual photography (completely different!). Sometimes you have to love yourself and make choices that are mentally healthy for you. That doesn’t mean give up (you can’t just fail your class), but you know to steer away from it when you’re picking your college electives. And maybe you’ll find something better along the way!

For those of you who are suffering from “I don’t understand anything in this class” syndrome, don’t worry. It happens to everyone. Think of it as a way to get to know yourself better. Do your best and don’t give up!

Image: Iryna Yeroshko

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

It’s difficult to not think of Max Levine when we consider what it means to Seize Your Youth. Not too long ago we ran into Max at four in the afternoon on a Saturday, having just got off of his 24 hour shift as an EMT for the George Washington University Hospital. Despite his sleepless day, he was vibrant and excited to share what he had just spent the last 24 hours doing. It goes without saying that this is a person whose passion is contagious, and we are excited to share his experiences and advice with you. As a pre-med student at GWU, Max knows what it means to commit blood (literally), sweat, and tears into achieving his dreams.

Name: Max Levine
Age: 21
Education: B.S. in Biology and Spanish from the George Washington University
Discover: EMeRG

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”?

Max Levine: I would define seizing your youth as recognizing the times when it’s okay to not care about the future or really anything in general and just do what you want to do.

CJ: What has been the most unexpected aspect of college?

ML: The most surprising part of college has been working as an EMT as a student. I never would have thought that this was even a possibility never mind something that I would take up as a hobby.

CJ: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

ML: Mostly class and an urgent need to urinate. That and morning breath that even offends me.

CJ: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

ML: Do what needs to be done, but do whatever makes you happy.

CJ: What has been your favorite college class so far? Why?

ML: My freshman University Writing course called “American Myth Through Western Film.” This class was awesome. All we did was watch sweet old western movies and then write papers about them. Our final project was to make up our own plot for a film and then write a brief summary of what the movie would be. It was fantastic.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

ML: It starts with four scrambled eggs and some cold water ( I can’t stand room temperature water.) Shower, dress myself with pretty little thought regarding color/pattern coordination. I’ll usually go to class and end up skipping lunch. Then I’ll either go to EMeRG shift, the parasite lab, or then go do homework and end up going to sleep around 12.

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CJ: How did you get involved in parasitology? What are the benefits and difficulties with that work?

ML: The parasitology class is offered to undergrads and I took it for my major. I ended up volunteering in the lab because I needed some lab experience for medical school and ended up loving the people I met there. The benefits are incredible. I have been given many projects to work on that are getting me invaluable experience in research methods and lab work in general. I am getting published by the end of this semester and will be looking to get a phenomenal recommendation from my professor as well. The difficulties of the lab include the time commitment and the general frustration of failing science experiments however I would hardly say that these are difficulties. The pros outweigh the cons by a long shot.

CJ: What advice would you give to incoming freshman who want to be pre-med in college?

I would say to not worry about the other pre-med kids because they’re usually pretty obnoxious and will do anything to let you know when they’ve succeeded and you’ve failed. Get out and do other things and learn how to be a social human being. Although grades are important, you won’t be a good doctor unless you genuinely know how to talk to and relate to people in a sincere manner. Also be open to other options, there are plenty of other things to do for jobs in the BIO field, not just medicine.

CJ: You spent a summer working at hospitals in Chile. Could you please tell us more about that experience and how it influenced you?

ML: I worked in both a public and private hospital in Santiago, Chile for 3 months. The private hospital was much like any modernized hospital you would find in the US, just in Spanish. Working here, I had the privilege of observing numerous operations that ranged from gastrointestinal procedures to vascular complications. These were the best surgeons and doctors in the country (possibly the continent) operating in this hospital.

The public hospital was in a rough neighborhood on the outskirts of Santiago that treated about 1.5 million patients a year and was named the busiest public hospital in Chile. The building itself was an old tuberculosis asylum that was converted into a hospital and the majority of people that come are pretty short on cash. I had met a younger doctor at the private hospital that was also doing rotations at the public hospital so I would go with him to and from shift. Here I was able to get my hands dirty, so to speak, and I learned how to give stitches and was fortunately able to participate/assist in a range of surgical procedures. This included appendectomies, cholecystectomies (gallbladder removal), one leg amputation, and a handful of other procedures. The leg amputation was the most memorable by far simply due to the gravity of what was going on. A woman with severe diabetes had neglected an infection in her leg, which had led to the necrosis of the majority of her lower limb. We amputated the leg from just above the knee in order to saver her life. It was a powerful and surreal experience that I will never forget. I won’t get too graphic with this but the most profound moment was the moment the leg was cut free. I had been holding the leg in a fixed position from the start of the operation and as it detached, I remember holding the leg and just looking at it and taking in what was in my hands and what this meant for the woman who had lost this limb. It’s hard to say how this has affected me, however I know for sure that this will be a lasting memory.

CJ: You are double majoring with Biology and Spanish. Can you explain why and if it’s been worth it?

ML: I have been taking Spanish since the 6th grade. I can’t imagine my life without the ability to use Spanish in some way shape or form. Additionally, Spanish is a really useful language to know in this country and has helped me in the medical setting, being able to communicate with Spanish speaking patients. On more than one occasion I have had to use Spanish on a call with EMeRG and even more so in Chile. Learning Spanish has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and the Spanish/ South American culture is definitely a prominent part of who I am today.

CJ: Between academics, working in the research lab, working as an EMT, and spending time on yourself, how do you juggle it all?

ML: There are three categories in college and everyone can only choose two. They are: Social life, Sleep, Good Grades. I have chosen to have a social life and “good grades” (in my case just study a lot and get okay grades) and I don’t really sleep a ton. I take medication for ADHD every day and it’s an amphetamine, which helps to keep me awake during the days (don’t worry it’s prescribed). I’m also just used to being tired all the time so little sleep isn’t a huge deal.

CJ: What is your favorite city?

ML: Boston. Hands down the best city on the planet. I grew up in the suburbs of Boston and it’s a city with a great personality and is more personal that New York.

CJ: What’s your favorite book?

ML: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

CJ: What advice would you give to your 15-year-old self?

ML: Don’t let high school get you down and don’t worry about your social status. The kids who peak in high school get what’s coming to them in college and don’t really amount to a whole lot. Don’t worry about what’s ahead; go run around without a wallet, cell phone or keys while you can because those days are long gone now.

ML3

Education

As the saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Building up courage after failure can be difficult. Overcoming the disappointment of failure seems impossible. Learning to try again after failure is hard because your attempts are weighed down with doubt and hurt. Trying again requires facing your mistakes so you do not repeat them. It can be daunting, but it can be done.

I experienced failure during my sophomore year of high school, when I fell very ill on the last day of finals. By my last final of the day, I had just managed to sign my name at the top of my math test when I ran to the bathroom. I stayed there until school was out because I was too sick to go back to class. Because I couldn’t go back to class, I failed the class and would have to take it over. It was crushing. I felt sure that I would have passed the test and the class had I not been sick. Yet, this is the way things happened.

Though my failure felt out of my hands, what happened next was all up to me. At our school, we had the option of making up certain classes by taking them over again in the regular school year, summer school or at the local college. You do have to make them up eventually to continue advancing. I put it off for a long time. I felt like it was a waste of my time since I had already taken the class and was about to pass it. It seemed like I would just be learning things I already knew. To be really honest, I was worried about putting in more time and energy and failing again. I was afraid of people learning I was a failure without an “excuse” this time.

I finally opted for a summer course at the college because I could not avoid it anymore. Instead of feeling bad for myself and sitting in class regretting why I had to be there, I mustered up the strength to give the class all my attention and energy, and I focused and followed every rule and instruction. I was never late and never missed a class. I gave it my all because I did not want to have to go through the same thing again. In the end, I had the highest grade in the class. I could finally put the whole thing behind me. It was a relief but more than that, I felt good about myself. I didn’t feel like a failure anymore because I proved I could do what I set out to do.

It wasn’t easy, but along the way and through my own experiences, I learned many lessons from failing:

  • Do one thing everyday that challenges you. There have been times I was afraid of failing so it took me a long time to get stuff done. It’s hard to commit to following through if you are scared. Learn to embrace the hard challenges.
  • If things don’t go right the first time: try again. Even if you have to keep trying, your efforts will eventually pay off.
  • Try to find someone in your life who will be brutally honest with you. It’s great to be self-motivated but I also have people in my life who don’t let me get away with everything.
  • Make peace with the idea that not everything will go your way all the time. It’s okay that it hurts when something bad happens, but you will not fail at life if you get a bad grade on a test. Don’t wallow in what you did wrong. Learn from your mistakes. You have to work hard and give it all you have to make it right the next time.

Through my life, I’ve found the things you put off have a way of coming back. Being afraid of failure has a way of holding you back. It is not just a matter of being held back a grade because you did not pass. Failing has a way of making you feel stuck. If you think that your efforts will get you nowhere, you won’t see the value in trying. An important thing to remember is that you can have failures in your life but no one is really a failure as a person. You can fail but you can always try again. So, face your failures. If there is something still gnawing at you, deal with it. Don’t let your failures hold you back because you have a lifetime of bumps and obstacles that will knock you down more times than you can count. What will set you apart and make all the difference is when you get back up and try again.

Image: Unsplash

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

It’s always great meeting ambitious youth because it makes us motivated to do more. One of these go-getters is Chris Morgan, a student at the University of Washington and the director and founder of HuskyCreative. Chris is a writer, a musician, and a constant learner. He not only runs HuskyCreative, but he’s involved with the Pearson Student Advisory Board, works as a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, and he somehow manages to find time to complete his homework. Oh, and did we mention that he is also writing a novel? We were fortunate to pick up some time management tips from Chris (note to selves: stock up on legal pads!), discover how he balances college with his jobs and activities, and hear more about what his post-graduation plans are. Chris seizes his youth, and he does it with a can-do, positive attitude. Now, get ready to take some notes…

Name: Christopher Morgan
Age: 21
Education: B.A. in Business Administration: Marketing from the University of Washington
Follow: HuskyCreative | Twitter

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Chris Morgan: Seizing your youth is about action. It’s about doing something. I know a lot of people who have great ideas, but the difference between the people who are hailed as seizing their youth and people who don’t is just the fact that they went and did something. Millennials are the generation to not get a job, so we made our own. I think that’s really cool – not the part about us not getting jobs – but we have the most entrepreneurs of any generation and we get out there and do things with our own ideas. Seizing your youth is doing something now.

CJ: You are majoring in Business Administration: Marketing at the University of Washington. What does this major involve and how did you determine what to study?

CM: I was originally a Music composition and Creative Writing double major. I wrote music a lot and it was going to be my career for the longest time, but as soon as I tried to make money off of it, I started getting really stressed out. It was hard for me to do creative work and have that be the way to put food on the table. I looked for other occupations that had that creative influence but wasn’t personal or my work really, and that’s how I found marketing. I can be creative but I still have time to do my personal creative work on the side. I made the major switch in the middle of my freshman year. It was a natural shift for me and it felt right. I was writing better as soon as I took that stress off.

CJ: What has been your favorite college class?

CM: I have two, for very different reasons. One is a branding class that I took this past year with a professor who really understood branding and how to talk to undergraduates. It was originally a graduate course, but he wanted to teach it to undergrads. He showed a lot of faith in young people. He said that there’s no difference between graduate students and undergraduates students, we just know less. Graduate students are earning their MBAs and have worked in the field, so they think that they know a lot. The cool thing about the class is that he knew we didn’t have that preemptive knowledge. We didn’t start class thinking we knew everything. We had an open mind and it was a really fun class.

The other class was one I took in Singapore. It was hard and awful. I learned so much from failing. I was in a foreign country and didn’t know anybody, and I did horribly in the class. But I know so much about that topic now – it was about Game Theory in terms of marketing and using strategic negotiation tactics. It was way above my head. But now we talk about it in classes, and I know more about it.

CJ: You studied abroad at the National University of Singapore. Why did you choose Singapore and how was that experience?

CM: I was between two options – I could go to Singapore or Sydney. I thought that Sydney was too close to the culture I had grown up in, and the culture I had never experienced before was Eastern culture. It was really the only opportunity where I could dive in and experience it. I chose Singapore, and I think it was completely the right decision. You learn so much about your own country and culture by visiting another. I understand education a lot better, actually. I got to see how Eastern culture education differs from Western culture education. That was one of the coolest things that came out of my experience, learning how two people can learn so differently.

Chris Morgan

CJ: You can speak Spanish fluently. What language-learning tips do you have for those who are interested in learning how to speak another language? Are there any other languages you want to learn?

CM: Yes, definitely! I want to learn Italian. When it comes to speaking a language, the only way to succeed is to speak the language. It’s about not being afraid to speak in front of other people. When you’re more confident in yourself and practicing a language, you will speak the language better. I think classes are better than a book and a tape because in classes you can talk to other people. If you do use a book or tape, talk to a friend or to yourself alone a lot.

CJ: You mentioned you work with Pearson. What is your involvement with them?

CM: I work for the Pearson Student Advisory Board, which is a board of students from around North America who have been selected to advise on education. Pearson recognizes that education will be changing with the new generation and technology. They are bringing in students to advise their development and business. I’ve really enjoyed it.

CJ: You were a programmatic media specialist at Drake Cooper, a marketing services company. What is a programmatic media specialist?

CM: Programmatic media is new form of media buying that is more personalized and digitally enhanced so we can learn about impressions. When you click on an ad, I can tell where you’re from, how much money you make, whether you have kids or a family, what kind of products you buy, etc. It allows companies to save money because they can pick who they send ads to. It’s more efficient for the companies, and in my opinion, better for the consumers because you’re not being spammed ads for things you don’t care about.

CJ: You have had multiple marketing internships. What experiences have been your favorite, and what were the biggest takeaways from those experiences?

CM: One of the more defining internships was the one I had at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. It was one of my first internships, and the best thing that they ever did was let me have autonomy. They let me own something. They let me dictate the success or failure of a project. It teaches you a lot about taking ownership and being creative with your ideas. A lot of first internships entail getting coffee and managing a calendar. Having autonomy was important for me because it helped me understand how to be successful.

I worked on organizing events. I worked on live event marketing, and I got to take on projects by myself and have a real impact.

CJ: You are the Director and Founder of HuskyCreative, a not-for-profit advertising agency at the University of Washington AMA chapter. What responsibilities do you have as the Founder and Director?

CM: When I started HuskyCreative, I had worked in marketing but not advertising. I didn’t know anything when I started. I was the finance guy, the HR guy, and the Creative Director. It was such a growing experience. I was a totally different person then. It was such a ride. Our first client was Shell Oil, which was awesome and scary. We had no idea what we were doing, but we used that to our advantage because we created a campaign that nobody else had done.

We exclusively hire college students because their opinions aren’t tainted by past experiences. They have a fresh look, and that’s how we succeeded at first. Hiring the first people was new, managing finances, writing contracts, this was all new to me.

For what I do now, it’s pretty similar but it feels like less because I know what I’m doing. Instead of writing the first contract, I’m taking the contract I’ve already written. A lot of my work is managerial, and I don’t do a lot of ad work. But I love it, and it’s been really incredible. This next year we’re trying to build a collegiate network of creative agencies. We’ll be a support group for people who want to do what I do or who want a creative agency at their university. It’ll be a really exciting year for us.

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CJ: You have one more year until you graduate. Is HuskyCreative something you want to do after you graduate?

CM: The goal of HuskyCreative is to be an experience for the students. The reason we started the agency is because of the first job paradox: “This is an entry level position, but we’d like you to have two years of experience.” When people graduate from school, they might not have that job experience and they might not have been taught the correct things about the ad world, so we wanted to create a place where students could get this experience.

I want somebody else to take my job because this experience shouldn’t just be my own. I hope that it continues on for many years. We built it to be sustainable over the years. We want to help people gain experience so that they can get a job.

CJ: Music is one of your passions. How does music play a role in your life?

CM: I started playing the piano when I was four, and when I was eleven I started playing the improv jazz saxophone. I write a lot of piano music, and I have written a symphony. I’m working on my second one now. A lot of my writing isn’t jazz, but it’s my favorite thing to play.

CJ: You’re a writer. Tell us about the novel you are working on.

CM: I am working on a science fiction novel. I’ve been working on it for too long now. With running the company, I haven’t had the chance to really sit down and write. I’m awful at just sitting down to write. I’ve heard many times that you can write a story as an architect or a gardener. As an architect, you write an outline and construct the character story arcs. Or you’re a gardener and you have an initial idea and just start writing. It’s hard for me to let things just happen, so I spent a lot of time building the story before actually writing it.

CJ: What is your favorite book?

CM: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.

CJ: What is your favorite magazine?

CM: Ad Age.

CJ: How do you balance being a college student with all of your jobs and activities?

CM: School comes first. You’re at school to learn. Passion helps with balancing. You’ll find that you’re more stressed out when you have obligations that you’re not passionate about. I wouldn’t try to fit in writing music or my novel if I didn’t love doing those things. Time management is awful, it’s hard, and there’s no one trick that I have. I just keep doing things because I love them.

CJ: How do you plan out your days?

CM: I plan things out on a week-by-week basis. I am notorious for making lists. I love legal pads. I carry mine around with me everywhere. I structure my calendar around my weekly goals. I like the structure and pre-planning for what I have to get done.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

CM: I work a 9-5, so I go to work. I have a separate to-do list for work, where I set up what I need to get done hour to hour. As soon as I get off work, I shoot off emails for HuskyCreative, sometimes I have meetings. I’ll have dinner, take some time to relax, and then I’ll usually do more work for HuskyCreative, and then write. I try to end my day with writing, it’s relaxing and is something I enjoy.

When school is in session, it’s a little more hectic because I’ll be running from classes to meetings. I’m usually working or in class all day. I try to finish as much as I can before dinner. It’s important to have an hour or two to just do whatever you want, whether that is writing or watching movies with friends. Whatever it is, you need that time.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

CM: Have action. In high school I had a lot of time. I had the original idea for my book in high school, and that would’ve been a great time to get started writing it. I had a lot of hesitancy, and I thought the idea was enough. It’s hard to have that motivation all the time, but if you have an idea and are passionate about it, do something about it. Everybody has ideas, but not everybody does something about it.

EducationHealth

Preparing for college starts the minute you walk through those front doors on the first day of high school. The classes you take not only affect your GPA, but affect what schools you can apply to and how prepared you are when it comes to deciding on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Here are some tips for those going into and currently in high school to prepare for college:

1. SAT Scores

The dreaded test many of us spend three of our high school years stressing over and preparing for may not be as intimidating as you think. Yes, SAT scores are important, but if you don’t do well on them it doesn’t mean you won’t get into college. Of course, some schools such as Ivy Leagues are extremely competitive and require high SAT scores in order to get accepted, but there are more and more schools that are starting to realize that judging a persons’ academic skills based on one single test is unfair. If you’re not a good test taker, look into these schools! Many schools no longer require SAT scores as part of the application at all, but even those that do are starting to weigh them less heavily. Coming from experience, I can say that whether you have extremely strong SAT scores or not will not directly impact your acceptance to most schools, however it does impact the grants you receive. The higher your SAT scores, the more money your school is willing to give you as far as academic grants go!

2. Dual Enrollment

Though not all schools have dual enrollment programs, more and more are starting to add them. Dual enrollment classes typically give you college credit through your community college as long as you pass the class; no test required. They’re free and a great way to gain college credit! Though not all colleges will accept them as transfer credits, many do and it looks great to have college classes under your belt when applying to schools regardless! These classes can end up saving you tons of money and don’t necessarily have to be harder than any other class you’d take in high school.

3. Honors/AP Courses

Yes, honors and AP courses are extremely helpful when it comes to getting accepted into a majority of schools, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you don’t feel as though you’ll do well in these courses, don’t stress yourself out. Instead focus on doing the absolute best that you can in the classes that you’re in to get the highest GPA that you can. If you’re willing to take on harder courses, I can’t stress how important it is to start your freshman year. Your classes will be your easiest then, and they can really boost your GPA. Don’t slack off just because you think you have four more years to get your grades together. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

4. Your Schedule

Your guidance counselors are most likely to tell you all about the importance of taking challenging classes in order to look more appealing to colleges, but what they don’t tell you is that taking diverse classes are just as important. Yes, it looks great to take that Honors Algebra 2 class or that AP Environmental Science, but it looks just as good to have Theater and Sculpture on your schedule. Colleges want to see diversity and that you’re able to balance a variety of different things and excel in them.

5. Extracurricular Activities

As I said above, diversity is key. Colleges love seeing that you’re in National Honor Society, but they love seeing that as well as your involvement in the spring musical and basketball and writing for the school newspaper. Colleges want diverse and unique students to come to their campus in hopes that you will bring that diversity to their campuses!

Overall, enjoy your four years because as corny as it sounds they fly by! Have fun, be yourself, and pursue your passions.

Image: Flickr

Travel

This is amazing! It’s your first summer in New York City. You’re here for pre­-college classes, checking out universities, taking summer courses, interning, working, or simply shopping, eating, and being a tourist. It’s the city that never sleeps, a place romanticized by movies and glorified by those who live here.

Well. Sort of. If you know anything about NYC, you know it has its rough patches. New Yorkers are known for their direct and fast paced attitudes, always rushing around stylishly but quickly. In the summer, the tempo of the city changes. Tourists flood in and some New Yorkers leave. But those who stay, like yours truly, are forced to weather through some of the not­-so-­pleasant things about being in NYC in the summer. These are a few things you should know before coming to New York City.

1. It is hot.

That explains everything. The grouchy taxi drivers. The simmering concrete. The wet sensation under your arms and the uncomfortable chill of the train if you’ve been sitting too long. NYC summers are hot. Commuting feels nasty. This year has been pretty tame, but usually the temperature hits triple digits. NYC summers are hit­-the­beach, break-­the-­fire­-hydrant, egg­-on-­the-­sidewalk hot. Advice: drink water, stay indoors or have indoor trips until 3pm­ish, and pack lightly. Mornings around 7-­9am and evenings around 6-­8pm are commuter hours and you don’t want to be stuck next to the sweaty businessman and a woman with her crying baby. I recommend that you do your summer intensives or other courses during a more relaxed time in case you have to lug supplies or textbooks around. If you insist on going outside, keep the heat in mind.

2. Watch out for mosquitoes.

Yes. Mosquitoes. Did you think that being in a city full of skyscrapers and asphalt would save you from those little monsters? You’re sadly mistaken. I sit here telling you to beware of the mosquitoes, but I have five bites on my legs just from walking to the grocery store. What’s so unique about NYC mosquitoes? They’re intense. My friend from the West coast says that they are nastier biters here than where she’s from, so be warned!

Even as a seasoned New Yorker, I haven’t overcome this itchy nightmare. It does not matter who you are or where you’re going. If you breathe and if you have blood, you’re going to be mosquito food. You can either simply accept that you’ll get bitten (as I have) or you can avoid going outside, especially at night. The crazy thing is they seem to be everywhere, even indoors and in the middle of the day. They cling to people’s clothing, and with all the moving around, it’s no wonder they are everywhere. There are bug sprays and lotions you can use to keep mosquitoes away, but there really isn’t an escape. Best of luck.

3. Avoid moving­-in nightmares.

If you’re a college student looking to live outside the dorms for the semester, you better find an apartment, and fast! Students who are coming back for fall are going to start moving, or moving back, and you want to make sure you find somewhere to stay during this rush. Start looking for places now and if you’re lucky, you’ll find something you like within your budget.

New York is a great place to spend the summer if you know your way around. Even if you don’t, you’ll get the hang of where you are and what trains to take quickly. There are a lot of things to do and see, and as long as you’re aware of how to take care of yourself, you will be just fine. Remember to stay hydrated and to take it easy. Enjoy the city, and make it a summer to remember!

Image: Unsplash

CollegeSkills

The question that will (almost) always be asked when someone finds out that you will be attending college is “What’s your major?” It will be asked during school. It will be asked when you are home for the holidays. It will be asked after graduation. Why is it so important anyway? Well, knowing a person’s major can give a general outlook on their plans for life after graduation. It doesn’t always apply (just because you’re an Art History major doesn’t mean you’ll be working in a museum for the rest of your life). Choosing a major can be extremely stressful. For one it can determine what school you attend (research vs. liberal arts vs. technical). Secondly, most schools require an official declaration by the end of your sophomore year. Here are a few tips to making this difficult decision:

1. Don’t Declare a Major Prior to Actually Attending Classes 

This can be difficult for those of us that are extremely passionate about a specific subject. I decided I would be a music major the summer before I started high school and I stuck with that…up until it was time to register for my semester of college. I heeded the advice of my elders and took classes from different areas and I ended up choosing to be a communications major. And I’m so happy with my decision. You might still love your original major or you may discover a new passion. Try it all.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Mind 

Even if you do declare a major early on and end up hating it, it’s okay! You can always to something. Of course, if you do this later on in your academic career it may be readjusting your expected graduation date. But it’s better to take classes in something you enjoy than to sit through a miserable lecture.

3. Career Path is Not Everything 

 I have met so many students that are majoring in something only for the sake of having a steady job after graduation. There are articles published nearly every day about the current job market and what it would wise to major in but guess what? These change! It’s not possible to predict what will be happening 10 years from now so pick what you like.

4. Find Out the Requirements for Your Major of Choice 

Be diverse with the 101 classes you take. Towards the end of my sophomore year, a close friend of mine decided she wanted to major in one of the sciences. So what was the problem? That major required a certain amount of pre-requisites that would’ve had to been taken during the first two years of school. Taking a broader range of introductory classes during her first two years could have saved her a lot of time later down the road.

5. Take Advantage of Your Counselors 

They’re there to help after all! I never would have considered being a communications major if it were not for my counselor. She told me more about it and after listening to her advice I realized it was the best fit for me. Counselors will look at the classes you have taken and realize your particular strengths/weaknesses and help you assess your options.

Image: Lime Lane Photography

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to find useful resources to help grow your business. Many days are full of trial and error and spent thinking, what can I do to make my business successful? This is where Irving Torres steps in. As founder of Young and CEO, Irving empowers entrepreneurs  and provides free resources and tools to help entrepreneurs succeed and make their dreams a reality. When you sign up for the Young and CEO newsletter, you receive lots of information about books to be reading, smart articles from around the web, and tools that will help you advance.

Irving is passionate about helping others succeed, and he goes above and beyond to answer a question or provide more information. Start-up life is nothing new to Irving as he was heavily involved in starting organizations and businesses in college. For those interested in starting a business, club, or organization – in or out of school – Irving shares the lessons he learned and what he experienced along the way. From balancing school and business to taking the time to travel and explore and always being hungry for knowledge and information, Irving is seizing his youth and making the most of every minute of every day. When there’s a lot to see, do, and accomplish, there’s no time to waste.

Name: Irving Torres
Age: 23
Education: B.A. in Media Studies from Pomona College
Follow: Twitter / Young And CEO / Irving Torres

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”? 

Irving Torres: To me seizing your youth is all about realizing that no matter who you are, you can take everything that has been given to you and modify it, break it down, and create new things for other people to use. As Steve Jobs famously said, “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again”.  This is what ‘seizing your youth’ means to me. Realizing that you have more power than you thought possible and realizing that you are in the driver’s seat of your life and not the standards set by the people of the world.

CJ: You attended Pomona College and majored in Media Studies. How did you determine what to study?

IT: It was a pretty tough decision that’s for sure. I have always been a curious mind so I was undecided for a few years. I took everything from Chemistry to Psychology, Calculus, and Economics. I loved learning different skills and making friends in various disciplines. I finally settled on Media Studies after I took an intro to Digital Media course and fell in love with the intersection of technology, media, music, film, and art. Even with Media Studies I was all over the place and took a bit of film history, art, drawing, graphic design, advanced film, and theory.

I finished off my senior year by taking two Entrepreneurship courses and that’s when it all came together for me. I realized that I was a creative, a maker. I had accumulated a whole arsenal of tools to use in creating something like a business. It was thanks to all of this exploring that I landed with Media Studies and I couldn’t have been happier. My advice for current college students is to not be afraid to explore outside of your comfort zones. It was in the process of nearly failing microeconomics that I learned what I was truly passionate about.

CJ: When you were in college, you founded Pomona Ventures, which inspires students to take risks and tackle real world problems. How did you go about raising capital for this organization?  

IT: The journey was a tough one for sure. We were met with many obstacles because there had never been an entrepreneurship organization on campus so administration had no guidelines or funding set aside for us. We had to think creatively. Nevertheless, we were aware of a few advantages we had. 1. We were college students and we knew that we could get away with a lot. Mentors would (in theory) flock to us and alumni would be supportive because we were still young. 2. We did extensive research on entrepreneurship courses and programs at other college campuses (we wanted to be able to explain how far behind we were). 3. I was pretty darn good at talking to people and maintaining professional relationships (known in the business world as ‘networking’) as well as marketing.

Based on these strengths, we first partnered up with the alumni gifts department to be able to tap into the alumni network directly without interference. They wanted to get alumni in Silicon Valley involved in the college once more and we wanted donors and mentors so it was a win-win for us both. We then drafted up an entire program proposal complete with events, competitions, budgets, and info graphics. My roommate did most of the work on that one. I then coded a website, designed a logo, put the messaging together, and got a ‘pitch deck’ type of presentation together to make sure we were clear on everything. We then interviewed a few first-years who were interested in joining the team because we knew that we wanted to keep this going beyond our graduation the following year.

At this point it was show time. During all of this chaos we were able to set up a meeting with a dozen prominent Pomona College alumni involved in entrepreneurship. Pomona paid for the executive team to fly up to San Jose and have dinner with them. Our goal was to get them interested enough for them to give donations and/or get involved. We walked into that restaurant with spiral bound proposals for each alumni, awesome energy, and incredible passion that we had about this idea to help others discover entrepreneurship and receive resources and support.  The dinner was well over four hours and we managed to convince them that we were up to the challenge. The alumni started to pledge on the spot and a few weeks later we had a sizable amount of funding in the bank. The whole process took about three months but the funding was crucial in throwing events and educating the student population.

CJ: Any tips for starting an organization while balancing school?

IT: Just do it. College is the best time to try something new. The risk of starting a business is little to none and there is a ton of support from professors, family, and friends. My first business in college was DJ-ing. It wasn’t a big deal but I was getting paid pretty well for three hour gigs at different college events and off campus events. More importantly however was the fact that I was having a blast! I think that in the past people had to choose between college or business but with the advances in technology and the increase in resources it is now possible to do both and excel.

Make sure to be flexible about whatever you build (pivoting when needed is crucial) and also make sure to fail fast if necessary. It’s better to realize something is not going as planned and quitting while it’s early in order to learn as much as possible and create something else. Use the anonymity of the Internet to test ideas and products without spending a dime. I’d suggest reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. There might be times when you feel stressed because of the workload you have. I’ve dealt with that. I had an on-campus job as an R.A., worked on my business, and was a full-time student. My advice? Make sure to keep your calendar well organized and make sure you set some time aside to go to the gym, eat healthy (not rushed), and to take a breather. These things help out a ton and can boost up your mental state if done regularly. Lastly, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. This is something I struggled with because I was a perfectionist but I learned to work with my teams (work, school, & business) in order to balance my workload and still be successful.

CJ: After graduating from college you founded Young and CEO, an entrepreneurship organization that supercharges entrepreneurs with free resources and powerful tools. What inspired you to start Young and CEO?

IT: To answer this I have to go back a little and tell you how I got to be where I am. My whole life I was taught to pursue a certain path and check different boxes in order to be successful. As a first generation Chicano there were two paths in my mind. One path led to an easy life of conformity where I would amount to nothing and probably stay in the same neighborhood and father children at a young age. The other path was one of hard work and dedication but it included education and ‘success’. I could be someone. I picked the latter. With my eye set on the prize I put my foot forward and became a 4.0 student, captain of the lacrosse team, member of the honor society, and eventually got a full ride to a university of my choice thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Once I started college I followed this arbitrary path to ‘success’ and continued off checking boxes. I finished all of my college general requirements by my first year, became a manager at my on-campus job, got a wonderful girlfriend, and began to think about my ‘career’. All good so far. It was around this time that I was introduced to entrepreneurship. I had never even heard of that word. It took me a while to realize it was pretty much the same thing as business but with a sexier ring to it and more about us as generation-y. It was an interesting and fascinating world for me.

Pomona College paid for a trip for me to attend an entrepreneurship summit in New York City with the Kairos Society. It was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during one of the events that it hit me. Here I was, the Chicano kid from the urban sprawl in San Diego on the New York Stock Exchange trade floor having drinks with mentors like the CEO of Cisco and the founder of Electronic Arts. Everyone there was around my age and they were creating things, solving problems, and having an awesome time doing it. This was what I wanted to do, I realized. Why is this not a viable career path? Why was it that I had to find this organization to meet people who pushed me to create something and solve global problems? Why had it taken me 20 years to learn about entrepreneurship and more importantly that I, Irving Torres from City Heights and son of a single mother, could create something to change the world for the better. I had checked off all the boxes up to this point. I had taken the Myers-Briggs test, I had been to the career center, I was attending one of the best institutions in the world.

Everyone told me to get a career in teaching, higher education, or management consulting. These were safe bets and had stable salaries.  No one had told me I could change the very fabric of what we accept as a life. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I could but no one had ever sat me down and said, “Hey look, someone else created the ‘path’ to ‘success’ you are on. This whole, ‘go to school, go to college, get a good job, and start a family’, you don’t have to follow this. You can create your own path”. The important thing I know is that you have the power to do as you please. It was with this mentality that I decided to help others discover this very thing. I believe the world would be a better place if people at the very least realized this.

I think that the world we live in is full of problems but we also have a ton of incredibly intelligent and passionate people. With Young And CEO I send out a monthly newsletter full of info on events like the Kairos Society, Starting Bloc, the Thiel Fellowship and more so that others can discover the power within. I include a book summary and review every month on powerful books that could change the very way you think and solve problems. I also write articles and send tools, news, and send any resources that could help entrepreneurs succeed. I want the young entrepreneurs (and the old) out there to realize the potential they have in changing the world.

CJ: You are the Creative Director at Young and CEO. What does your role as Creative Director entail?

IT: I run the day-to-day operations and work on delivering the best content via our monthly newsletters. This means I am always digesting books, content, and networking with others to grow our organization. I embrace my creativity and unconventional methods of doing business hence the title. The thing that drives me the most however is the ability to connect with and help other entrepreneurs around the world.

I’ve personally connected with a few of these entrepreneurs and it’s amazing to see what they are up to. I met Collette, a female racer who is doing some great work in the bay and inspiring women to get involved in entrepreneurship.  Fabio is an Italian entrepreneur who is starting a crowd-funding site for students and has built a great team. I’ve also connected with Jason, an entrepreneur here in the U.S. who sold his last name to a tech start-up and just recently released a book. Meeting other innovators is the best way to learn new things and the best way to collaborate. This is why I am trying so hard to create this entrepreneurship community.

CJ: When starting Young and CEO, what skills did you have that were useful, and what do you wish you had known before taking the leap?

IT: A lot of the skills I learned on my own throughout the years were extremely helpful when launching Young And CEO. I picked up graphic design my freshman year of college and had been operating a small logo design business for random organizations and school clubs. This helps me have a good sense of design when it comes to my website, newsletters, and logos. I also learned photography, videography, web design, and business from several courses I attended, blogs I frequented, and books I read. All of these allowed me to do 100% of the stuff in-house and with great ease.

The legal aspect of launching an LLC I learned on the job when I hired a lawyer to help me incorporate the business. The experiences in launching organizations in college were very helpful but definitely not the same. I made a few mistakes but they helped me learn a ton. Going into it with little preparation was actually the best thing I have ever done because it allowed the business to evolve along with me.

irving 3

CJ: You were a Growth Hacker at Strikingly. What does it mean to be a Growth Hacker?

IT: A Growth Hacker is the new VP of Marketing at tech companies. During the rise of tech start-ups in Silicon Valley, founders had to find creative and efficient ways to catch up to the big companies. There was little to no capital to spend and a huge market to reach so many started ‘hacking’ the system. The founders of Hotmail for example, found that adding a signature with a link to sign up for their service at the bottom of every e-mail in circulation would allow them to advertise and grow their service organically (it worked).

Some start-ups created viral videos and gained an enormous following for little to no cost. Big companies started to realize that a lot of these little guys were growing at alarming rates because start-ups had Growth Hackers (a mixture of computer coder, marketer, and entrepreneur). This is what I am and it allows me to use my entire arsenal of weapons to help Strikingly succeed. I basically focus on reaching as many potential users out there in the most creative ways possible. It is an exhilarating thing to do.

CJ: You are currently writing a book. What is your book about, and what does your book writing process look like?

IT: The book I am writing is a collection of stories that will help entrepreneurs realize the power within. I’m including experiences, things I’ve heard from travelling and living on the Vegas strip for a few months, and amazing stories I have learned. After reading a ton of great books like Think Like A Freak and David and Goliath I found that stories are the most effective and entertaining way to teach. I don’t really have a set process. I write when I feel inspired and I think this is the best way to go about because I want every single page to be passionate, honest, and raw. Stay tuned for more information via my monthly newsletter.

CJ: Between working, traveling, writing, and maintaining a social life, how do you manage your time?  

IT: I’ve become really good at prioritizing tasks and getting ‘in the zone’. I usually keep a running list of to-dos and keep a log of my goals. Getting in ‘the zone’ takes practice but I can speed up the process by a mix of different activities. I like to stay active, I’m always hydrating, and I try to eat healthy. By consistently doing this I have no problem sitting down for hours a day and hashing out work while listening to some good music.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

IT: The great thing about my life at this point is that every day is really different.You will probably find me mountain biking around, at a meet-up, reading a book, or exploring some new part of the world.Right now I am at Strikingly in Shanghai so I usually work and play at the office and then I head out for some good food or to explore the city.

CJ: What advice do you have for teenagers and young adults interested in being entrepreneurs?

IT: Read a lot of good books, tinker with technology, and get a good education so that you can get a good feel of how the world works and then go for it. Don’t hold back.Try something new and ask for guidance and mentorship but don’t let others dictate what you do. Remember that you are in charge. Take this time to experiment with business and use all of the tools that many of us entrepreneurs didn’t have available. I didn’t get on-line until I was in middle school.

CJ: When you aren’t growth hacking and growing Young and CEO, how do you like to spend your time?

IT: I like to be spontaneous. Sometimes I go out with no agenda and find something to do.  I definitely read a ton and watch TED talks it feeds my knowledge thirstiness. I go biking or running, and I like to go out with friends. One big hobby of mine is photography. I was actually considering getting into commercial or travel photography at some point and who knows? I just might.

CJ: What motivates you?

IT: I think the drive to create something good for this world and inspire others to do the same is my main source of motivation. I really do believe that the world would be a better place with innovation. Just recently I saw how a man created a trash collecting water wheel in Baltimore and placed it in the inner harbor. This water-powered machine picks up tons of trash every month. Without his idea this wouldn’t have been possible and all it took was the courage to believe that he could make a difference.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

IT: I don’t think I would. I feel very happy with the path I took and I think the butterfly effect might just ruin something. If I had to I would remind myself to make time to get to know people, never forget where I came from, and to under promise and over deliver.

Irving Torres Qs

Images by Irving Torres

CultureEducation

When we come across programs that make us excited about learning, we can’t wait to share and tell people all about it. One program in particular that we adore is General Assembly, a global educational institution that empowers individuals to learn topics such as technology, design, and business. You can take classes, workshops, courses, or immersive programs that last 8-12 weeks. The opportunities are seriously endless.

Last week, I took a class about eCommerce at General Assembly, and just in that hour and a half, I felt like I had a good grip on the basics. The class sizes are small, the instructors are accessible after class or by email for additional questions, and classrooms are clean and spacious. Oh, and there’s free Wifi!

I can’t wait to take more classes at General Assembly. I learned a lot from my first class, and if you plan on taking a course at General Assembly or another program, here’s what you should know!

1. Don’t forget your ticket. If you register for a class online, you will receive an online, printable ticket. Print this out right away and remember to bring it with you to class. This will make checking-in much smoother.

2. Bring a notebook or a laptop. You will be taking a lot of notes. Don’t rely on just your mind to remember everything the instructor says.

3. Do initial research. Even if you are taking a class because you do not know the first thing about the topic, it never hurts to do some initial research before the course. This way, in case the teacher uses terms and doesn’t go over them in class, you will have an idea of what he or she is talking about. Having done some initial reading also allows you to focus on the details that is being presented rather than trying to catch up with the basics.

4. Come prepared with questions. The instructor may encourage questions throughout the class or after he or she has finished the lesson. Either way, have a couple of questions prepared so you get the most out of your course. Remember, there are no stupid questions!

5. Arrive 15 minutes early. You don’t want to be the person stumbling into the class five minutes late and scrambling to find a seat. Plan on arriving 15 minutes early so you can find a good seat, set up your laptop and get out your pens, and review your questions.

6. Sit near the front. Sitting near the front of the class will help you see the presentation slides better, as well as give you a better chance of having your questions answered. You don’t want to be peering over people’s heads just to see what the slide says. Arriving 15 minutes early will help guarantee you the best seat in the house.

7. Introduce yourself. If you are sitting next to someone, say hi. If you enjoyed the class a lot, approach the instructor afterwards to say so. It never hurts to introduce yourself – good things might come out of it.

8. Thank you email. If the instructor offers his or her email address at the end of the presentation, jot it down and make sure to send a thank you email. Thank the instructor for his or her time, what you most enjoyed about the class, and if you have any additional questions, now is the time to ask them.

Have you ever taken a class at General Assembly/a similar program?