CollegeEducationHigh School

Boarding school is a foreign concept for a lot of people. Some people might mistakenly think that boarding schools are just for wealthy, privileged, white kids, who are troubled and whose parents want to get rid of them. In reality, a boarding school is almost like a college for younger students. The application process is similar to colleges’ too – you need to submit PSAT test scores, TOEFL for international students, letters of recommendation, a personal statement, and often have an interview. Some students say that they’ve worked harder in boarding school than college.

Boarding school prepares you for college. While other freshmen in college might be experiencing home sickness and having difficulties adjusting to living in a dormitory, boarding school alums have already gone through these experiences, and moving to college is as stress-free as moving into a new dorm. Boarding school’s rigorous schedule prepares you for the future. Students are typically in class until 4PM, and then they usually have mandatory sports, dinner, “study hall” (usually an 8-10PM time period for students to do homework; social media websites, like Facebook, might be shut off during that time), and at 11PM, lights are turned off and the Internet shuts down. This schedule helps students develop their time management skills and leaves no room for procrastination. Students must also give back to their community and fulfill a certain amount of community service hours. Classes at some schools are based on the Harkness table principle (oval table with enough room to seat 12 students and a teacher) and revolve around discussion, rather than lectures. Once you graduate, you’re more than prepared for college and have a powerful alumni network and lifelong friends, who are like brothers and sisters.

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Myth #1: Boarding school is like Hogwarts!

Books, movies, and TV shows have created a “classic” image boarding school life. People compare it with shows and movies, like Zoey 101 and the Harry Potter series. While boarding school students do have fun on and off campus on the weekends, surviving boarding school takes a lot of work, dedication, motivation, and self-discipline. The shows are right, however, about eccentric personalities and the formation of long-lasting friendships.

Myth #2: Diversity is rare at boarding school.

Boarding schools draw students from a variety of backgrounds and different geographic areas domestically and internationally. They actively seek diversity in order to create meaningful opportunities for students to interact with each other – not only do they study, play sports, participate in various extracurricular organizations, and volunteer together, but also live together. The conversations in the classrooms and beyond force you to be open-minded because people from various backgrounds share their diverse opinions. Students challenge each other’s views, but also respect each other tremendously. Boarding schools do everything to be safe and inclusive spaces for students, at the same time requires them to step out of their comfort zones. Most importantly, a boarding school is a home for students, faculty members and their families, and pets.

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Myth 3: Kids don’t have fun at boarding school.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that there are a lot of rules and curfews at any boarding school. If you want to go off campus, you have to sign out and back in, and if you’re leaving overnight your parents or guardians have to approve your visit and your host has to confirm you’re coming.

Even though strong academics are a key focus of boarding schools, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Throughout this journey, you make incredible friends. You bond easily in various situations; if you’re an honor-roll student, some schools make “study hall” optional as a reward, so you and other honor-roll students can go to a café and play ping pong or watch TV. Maybe you bond while traveling to other schools and playing a sport competitively; maybe you connect through the conversations you have in the dining hall or activities on the weekends.

Some boarding schools don’t allow you to drive a car if you live on campus, but the school provides buses during the weekends to take you to various events or trips, you just have to sign up. Want to go to a mall, or a movie theatre? They’ll take you!

Myth 4: Boarding school is for kids who are having trouble at home or school.

There are two types of boarding schools – college-preparatory boarding schools and therapeutic boarding schools. Sometimes the two are confused, which causes misperceptions that boarding schools are only for “troubled” children.

College-preparatory boarding schools are for motivated students who are already doing well academically and are looking for new challenges. All the schools profiled in Boarding School Review are exclusively college-preparatory boarding schools. While preparing students for college is also a goal at therapeutic boarding schools, they are equipped to work with students who face various challenges, such as behavioral or emotional problems, learning differences, or substance abuse.  Boarding School Review does not list therapeutic boarding schools.

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Myth #5: Everyone wears uniforms.

While this might be true at some schools, others have dress code requirements, not uniforms. For example, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday might be required professional business attire, Wednesday is a casual “Polo shirt” day, and Friday might be formal where you have to wear your school’s blazer and colors.

A lot of thought should go into your decision whether a boarding schools is right for you. You should be able to answer the following questions: Do you feel ready to move out from your house and step out from your comfort zone? What sort of goals do you hope to achieve with the help of the school? Do you have good grades? Can your family afford your education or would you rather save money for college? Boarding schools are costly, with board and tuition ranging from $40 to even $70 thousand dollars. Of course, you can apply for financial aid and scholarships. Finally, is it worth going to a boarding school if you have great public or private schools in your area? Another option is attending a boarding school as a day student, if you live near by. It is also a good decision to enroll as a post-graduate (PG) student to raise your GPA if you don’t have the grades that would get you in to your dream college.

Images courtesy of Demi Vitkute

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

The Girl Scouts is an incredible organization that turns young women into leaders. Becka Gately, one of these impressive young women, has always been involved in sports. Therefore, when it came time to choose a project for her Girl Scouts Gold Award, planning a health and fitness night in her community was a perfect fit. Becka established partnerships between the Kent School District, health organizations, and more than 40 volunteers, and she pulled off an event with more than 25 booths about nutrition, physical exercise, cardiovascular health, and more. Over 400 community members attended!

As a high school senior, Becka is involved with many extracurricular activities, including student government, National Honor Society, and DECA, a business leadership development program. She has a passion for business and helping her community, which she has had the opportunity to do through the Girl Scouts. Having been a Girl Scout since Kindergarten, Becka is no stranger to helping others and being a leader. Becka shares what she learned from the Girl Scouts, how she stayed organized when working on her project, and how she defines success. We’re so impressed with this ambitious young woman!

*The Girl Scouts Spotlight Series is an exclusive weekly Youth Spotlight on amazing young women who have earned their Gold Awards, the highest award that a Girl Scout can earn in the Girl Scout organization.

Name: Becka Gately
Education: Kentwood High School

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

Becka Gately: I think “Seizing Your Youth” means taking every single possibility you have and taking advantage of it. Never in your life will you have the time or the freedom to join any group you want or any team you want. I think “Seizing Your Youth” means to find your passion and run with it.

CJ: What are you studying at school? What led you to those academic passions and why did you choose to study them in a formal setting?

BG: This year I am taking classes that I need to graduate, but in college I want to study business. Since joining DECA I have had an interest in business. I am also heavily involved in leadership in my school and I think both business and leadership correspond with each other. I am definitely a people person so I found that business was not only my interest, but also something that I am pretty good at.

CJ: During your senior year of high school you will serve as Vice President of DECA (a business leadership development program). How did you get involved in DECA?

BG: My brother actually encouraged me to do DECA. He participated in it his junior and senior year. He told me that I didn’t have a choice and that I had to do it because it would be something that will help me with the rest of my life.

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CJ: How did you get involved with the Girl Scouts, and what did you love most about being a Girl Scout?

BG: I got involved in Girl Scouts when I was in kindergarten. One of my friend’s mom was starting a troop and my mother put me in it. What I love most about being a Girl Scout is the opportunity to help my community. Being a part of Girl Scouts has given me so many opportunities to not only help the community, but to also meet more people in my community.

CJ: What are the top three lessons you learned from being a Girl Scout?

BG: 1. Respect everyone. You never know where being nice and respectful might take you.
2. Giving back is better than receiving.
3. Your life is what you make it.

CJ: To earn your Gold Award in Girl Scouts, you planned a health and fitness night in your community. By forging partnerships between the Kent School District, health organizations, and more than 40 volunteers, you pulled off an event with more than 25 booths about nutrition, physical exercise, cardiovascular health, and more. The night proved to be a huge success—with more than 400 community members attending. Amazing! Why did you choose this topic for your project, and what did the process of putting it together entail?

BG: I chose this topic because I have always had a love for fitness and sports. I have played soccer since I was five-years-old and played basketball and volleyball for a couple of years. A year of playing tennis made me realize that I would rather hit a ball with my feet than with my hands. I grew up watching baseball 24/7 because my brother played and my dad coached. I was surrounded by sports and fitness all growing up so being active became natural for me.

When I started to look into what I wanted to do for my Gold Award project, it was around the time where some of my younger cousins where getting to the age of having an interest in electronics. I noticed that not only were they not playing any sports but that they would rather sit on an Ipad then go outside and play. Another thing that I realized was I didn’t have the knowledge about nutrition compared to exercise. This was one of the reasons I added the nutrition part to my event. Not only did I want to help the community learn about being active, I wanted to learn about nutrition and what I can do to be healthier.

Once I had this concept an amazing opportunity came about. My mother’s school at the time had been chosen by Molina Health Care and the Hope Heart institute to sponsor a health event at their school. After meeting with both Molina and Hope Heart, the event really started to come together! After that I just had to come up with some activities and get donations.

CJ: How did you keep your project organized as you were working on it? How did you balance your workload with school, extracurricular activities, etc.?

BG: When working on my project, I stayed organized by holding weekly meetings. I had a meeting every Friday afternoon with my advisor and my mother. I really enjoy being busy and giving my time to others, so for the majority of my extracurricular activities I spend time at school. During the school week I usually spend two hours after school being involved with Associated Student Body (ASB), DECA, National Honor Society (NHS), or leadership. Then I play soccer and have dinner. I try to have one night during the week where I can just be home. I also try not to plan things on Sundays so I can spend time with family and get homework done.

CJ: Do you have mentors? How did you go about finding them?

BG: I have two mentors. One is my DECA advisor and marketing teacher Mr. Zender. I have known him since my brother joined DECA. My other mentor is our school athletics and activities director Ms. Daughtry. I meet her when I decided to join ASB. She has really encouraged me to put myself out there and make a difference. She has also given me so many opportunities to expand my leadership skills and learn more about myself. Now I get the opportunity to work with her every day as I am the ASB president.

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CJ: To you, what does it mean to be a good leader?

BG: I think a good leader is one whose actions speak louder than their words. There’s a great quote by John Quincy Adams that says “If your actions inspire other to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” I believe a good leader does not just tell people what to do but also shows them and inspires them to become better leaders.

CJ: How do you define success?

BG: I think success is giving 100% of what you have into something. I think everyone has different successes in their life, but you can’t compare other successes to yours. To be successful you need to believe in yourself and be happy with the effort that you are putting into your passion.   

CJ: Will you be going to college next year? How do you plan on tackling the college application process?

BG: I am planning on attending college. My plan is to start early on the application process and follow my gut.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that positively shaped you?

BG: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

CJ: What are your favorite books?

BG: Divergent, The Great Gatsby, and The Art of Racing in the Rain.

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

BG: I would tell my 15 year-old self two things. First, join as many teams and events as possible. You never know the people you will meet and the experiences you will have. Second, that some people come and go but the ones that stay are very special.

Becka Gately Qs 

Images by Becka Gately

EducationLearn

Senior year of high school is a big milestone. We have prom, graduation, and plans for where we are going post-high school. Senior year was my favorite year of high school, and I had a lot of fun. Remember to make the most of every second without letting anything fall to the wayside.

1. Maintain Your Grades

Don’t forget to maintain your grades after you get accepted into college or figure out your plans after graduation. Some people think that once they get into the college of their dreams, they are free to do whatever they want. You should enjoy yourself! However, if there is a steep drop in your grades without explanation, you could lose your place in college. I’ve even known people whose grades dropped so badly, they nearly didn’t graduate at all. Just one class could separate you from your goals, so keep giving it all you’ve got.

2. Avoid Trouble

It is wise to avoid trouble during your senior year. Once you get accepted into college, a weight is off your shoulders. More than that, it’s time to celebrate! When your future finally seems secure, it’s tempting to cut loose. Just keep in mind that there could be consequences for out-of-control behavior. If you get suspended or if things escalate and you get arrested, you could lose your place in college. You may be having senior fun, but colleges don’t want someone who will reflect badly on the school.

3. Create a Legacy

I recommend creating a legacy. The end of high school provides many mementos and keepsakes such as yearbooks and photos. Some people regret how they left their mark. Some are worried that they didn’t make an impression at all. You can start a club or get involved with planning an event. You could participate in a fundraiser. It’s not just about making your mark. It’s about leaving your school a slightly better place than when you entered it.

4. Don’t Miss Out

Lastly, don’t miss a single moment. There were times when I was too tired to go to senior events. Though I don’t regret anything, I do know it was my last chance to be around the people I grew up with. Many of those people I never saw again. Treasure all of the memories you are making.

It’s okay to have fun in your senior year. Everyone does. Make the most of every single second. It’s the last time you get to live comfortably at home and to hang out with everyone you grew up with. Just don’t let enjoying the year come between you and your future.

Image: StokPic

SpotlightYouth Spotlight

Nick Rubin is one seriously impressive 17-year-old. We met up with Nick for coffee in Seattle and discussed the many amazing projects he’s working on, including the app Greenhouse (which he built himself), a youth-run organization connector called YouthCorp, and his college applications.

As a high school student, Nick has loads of homework and the typical stress that comes with being near the end of your high school career. But Nick is approaching his time in high school differently by making the most of his time outside of class. He partakes in extracurriculars, spends time pursuing hobbies such as graphic design and photography, and makes time for himself by going on hikes and bike rides.

Nick undoubtedly seizes his youth. Read on to learn about how Nick learned to code, the inspiration behind his projects, and the top tips he would give someone who is just about to enter high school.

Name: Nicholas Rubin
Education: Lakeside School
Follow:
nicholasrub.in / @nickrubin / Greenhouse / Instagram

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

Nicholas Rubin: I define “Seizing Your Youth” as taking advantage of the many opportunities that being young offers. For example, free time. We tend to have more free time than adults, which gives us time to focus on our passions and interests. Many people say that kids can’t make change, but I think that the opposite is true. I think it’s easier for kids to make a change – not only are we able to focus on what we’re interested in, but there’s something about youth that’s special.

CJ: You are the creator of Greenhouse, a free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. What inspired you to create Greenhouse?

NR: Ever since giving a presentation in a 7th grade social studies class, I’ve been really interested in the issue of money-in-politics. It’s not usually something kids care about, but even though I’m 17 and can’t vote for another year, I wanted to change that. I thought that the information about sources of funding of members of Congress wasn’t being made accessible to people, to the average citizen. It’s being buried away. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) is the agency that’s in charge of making this information accessible to the public, but they aren’t doing a good job. It’s tucked away, and since most people don’t know where or how to find it, I wanted to put it where it’s more useful – on the web pages where people read about the actions of members of Congress every day.

CJ: How did you go about actually building Greenhouse?

NR: When I first came up with the idea, I didn’t really know how to code. I taught myself using a series of online resources, and this year I’m taking a formal computer science class in school. There are so many great instructional websites these days – Kahn Academy, Codecademy, and my favorite, Treehouse – which are all geared toward youth, so it’s easy to understand for a beginner.

I spent about 10 months and 400 hours working on Greenhouse. For the data itself, I’m collecting it from an organization called the Center for Responsive Politics, which takes the FEC data and makes it available to developers.

CJ: What cause or issue do you care greatly about and why?

NR: I’ve been working on one other important project since this summer. In August, I went to the Yale Young Global Scholars Program, and met 200 other kids from all over the world who all shared a passion for change and global affairs. Four of us recognized this, and we started something called YouthCorp. It’s an organization that connects youth-run nonprofits, projects, initiatives, and companies and combines their resources to fight a common issue.

We’re still figuring out the details, but in the first two months we’ve had around 20 youth-run organizations join us from all over the world. It’s great, and is something that I’ll definitely continue working on.

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CJ: You are also a photographer. What sparked your interest in photography and what camera do you use?

NR: I don’t really remember exactly when I started photography, but it’s been a long time. Back in middle school I went to a camp in the San Juans that had film photography as an activity. I learned how to use a manual camera, develop film, and more. Ever since then, I’ve loved it. I got my first point-and-shoot in 6th grade, eventually graduating to a film camera, and then a DSLR. Now I’m in my third year of photography at school, where I do both film and digital photography. My favorite type would probably be travel photography and portraits. They’re both fun to take.

CJ: You have done quite a bit of design work. Where do you draw inspiration and what tools do you use for your design work?

NR: I’ve been interested in design since a 7th grade art class, when we did some linoleum printing. I wasn’t much of an art student, but I really enjoyed carving out and printing shapes. I like simple, minimalist design, and use Photography and Illustrator to do most of my work.

CJ: You were a Top-10 finalist at MHacks IV for Quink, a free browser extension for Chrome and Safari that lets you read the news faster without leaving the page you’re on. What was that experience like and what advice do you have for pitching and making it all the way to the Top 10?

NR: It was an amazing experience. A 36-hour programming competition with almost no sleep may sound miserable, but it was actually tons of fun. Hard, but a great experience. The community tends to be more about learning, rather than competition, so it creates a great environment. Some hackathons have cash prizes, but many of these events are turning away from that and discouraging people from only going with the prizes in mind. Most people go for the experience, and that’s really what makes these events special.

My advice for kids interested in these events is that you don’t have to be an amazing coder, or even know how to code at all. Many attend as designers or simply attend workshops and learn as they go on.

CJ: How do you stay organized, and what are your time management tips?

NR: Truthfully, I’m not the best with organization and time management, but there’s an app called Things that has basically saved my life. It’s a to-do list, where you simply check things off when you’re done. I could probably work to be a bit more organized, and use things like calendars, but something simple like Things is enough for me. I don’t like being too structured.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on school, work, and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

NR: On a typical Monday, I wake up at 7AM, drive my sisters to school, and go to my classes. After school, I continue to dedicate a quite a bit of time to Greenhouse, even though the attention surrounding it has died down a bit. I’ll spend an hour or two every day working on updates or responding to emails. Other than that, and my homework, I like to play tennis and go on hikes and bike rides.

CJ: What three tips would you give someone entering high school?

NR:
1. Try to make free time for yourself. School may be tough with homework, but it’s possible to have free time if you manage it properly. That’s what makes youth special, having time to do what you want. Making that time is important.

2. Don’t worry too much. That’s something I struggled with for the past few years. I’ve toned it down now, but don’t spend a lot of time stressing about school and your social life.

3. Do what you’re interested in, both in school and out. Pick classes and extracurriculars that interest you. For example, computer science is an elective course that I’m taking. Use your school’s resources to further your interests.

CJ: The college application process is ahead. What are you doing now to prepare for that?

NR: The process is just starting for me – I was actually assigned my college counselor yesterday. I’m probably planning on going on a school tour during spring break. I haven’t given the process much thought, but one thing that I’ve heard from people is to definitely start early. I may procrastinate with school assignments, but with something as big as college essays and applications, I’m going to be sure to start as early as possible.

CJ: What is one of your favorite books?

NR: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that positively shaped you?

NR: Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

NR: Communication and reaching out to people. There are definitely a lot of people who could be useful to me and the projects that I’m working on, and reaching out to some of them would be really beneficial. When I need help, I tend to refrain from asking others, but I definitely want to change this.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

NR: Whenever I’m having a bad day, I try and find something to get my mind off of it. I like to play with my dog, or go on a hike or bike ride. Leaving things behind and not letting them get to me is important. Being in nature and spending time away from society really helps, and it puts me in a good state of mind.

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

NR: My parents and grandparents always told me before tests, “Good skills” instead of “Good luck.”

CJ: What advice would you give your 14-year-old self?

NR: Don’t worry as much! I worried about everything, and it would take up a lot of my time. I would spend more time worrying about an experience than actually enjoying it. This definitely could have changed earlier on.

Nick Rubin Qs

Image: Carpe Juvenis

Education

There are a lot of things I learned about myself in high school that I’m grateful for. It helped me figure out what to do and what not to do, in college, work, and generally around other people. While high school may seem tough, with all the classes and the extracurriculars and social drama, you’ll hopefully appreciate the things you learned later on.

One of the things I learned was what kind of space I want to work in. Some people love working in busy places with a lot of people. Others like working around books. Others, animals. By volunteering with everything from senior citizen centers to the local zoo, I realized I like quiet places that let me go at my own pace. I realize that I didn’t have to feel pressured to work in an office like what many of my classmates were aiming for. I like keeping to myself, organizing, and working with kids. I knew that I got the mid­semester gloom every March and that was a bad time to study, but a good time to tutor. It helped me figure out what kinds of jobs and internships to aim for when I got into college, and then there was a domino effect: Go with your gut and find what makes you comfortable and productive.

I also learned that people in high school aren’t the only people who will be part of your life. They’re the people you see every day for four years, but there is also the rest of the world. You learn about who you want to be around, and who you don’t. It may feel uncomfortable to be around certain personalities, but you figure out how to tolerate them and even how to get along with them. It is better that you begin to figure these skills out in high school than never. Sometimes you’re friends with the people you’re friends with in high school simply because they’re there, and that’s okay. You learn what to value in a person.

In college, you meet more people, and there are more complexities, but high school already began to teach you that. You figured out that you are good at being in big groups, or maybe you prefer small ones because big groups give you anxiety. You know you like food dates rather than movie dates. Little things like these become so valuable because they allows you to interact and relate with others. They may feel insignificant but they let you find happiness. That’s not insignificant at all, is it?

Work and social life might seem to be the only things that high school cares to prepare you for, but you also learn about yourself along the way. You learn what kind of person you are, but also what kind of person you don’t want to be. High school is this weird period where you haven’t really figured out who or what you like, mostly because the options haven’t presented themselves that clearly. But you get a sense of who you are, regardless. Learning about yourself is the most important thing, and high school can be a great place for that. Take it easy!

Image: Gratisography

CollegeEducation

High school seniors all over are going through the same struggle right now. That’s right, college applications and interviews! As the deadlines start rolling in, many colleges start offering interviews which mainly take place between January and March. Here are the key aspects of what to expect:

First Contact

You get an email greeting you. Your interviewer has been assigned to you and introduces his or herself. They then ask for a place to meet, and may already have a suggestion. In my experience, all the interviewers had day jobs (one even worked at Goldman Sachs) and are really busy. They’re accommodating you because they’re alumni to the school you want to apply for. That’s why you should schedule a time that you definitely won’t be late for. Make sure you can get to the place on time. Sometimes it’s the college itself, sometimes it’s at Starbucks. Wherever it is, be polite and be quick to respond.

Preparation

Now that you know who your interviewer is, it’s time to do some research. Besides knowing as much as you can about the school, find out more about the person who is interviewing you. Can you find out what they’re doing now, what they majored in, or what year they graduated? It gives you a sense of what their experiences were like, and you can ask more informed questions during the interview.

Remember to dress appropriately for the interview. No chipped nail polish, graphic T­-shirts, or skin-baring outfits. It is pretty common to see seniors wearing collared shirts because they had an interview that day after class.

If it’s a webcam interview, which is an option for many colleges, make sure to be dressed appropriately and have decent lighting. Try to be in a room that wouldn’t be too noisy or that has too many distractions in the background.

The Day Of

Even though you’re really nervous, it’s alright. At this point, you should have practiced answering potential questions and have written your own for the interviewer. You are prepared! That’s why you can look your interviewer in the eye in a friendly, relaxed manner and that is why you have a solid and comfortable handshake.

The interviews themselves have a similar pattern. “Tell me about yourself. Tell me why you want to attend this college. Tell me what you know about this college. What makes this college the one, and not another college?” Try to come up with answers beforehand.

Then they turn the tables over to you. “Do you have any questions?” This is where your research comes in. Ask about a club you might be interested in, or about living options and the main benefits your interviewer got out of attending that college.

Follow Up

Yes. You have to do one more thing. The Thank You note. Remember, this person took time out out of a busy schedule to talk to you. The least you can do is show your respect. Try to reference things you talked about in the interview so they can remember you out of all the other students they’ve interviewed. It shows you’re interested, and you’ll stand out.

Applying for colleges is rough, and doing interviews for them can be scary. It’s alright, everyone feels that way. With enough practice and information, you can become comfortable with the process. Good luck!

Image: Gratisography

EducationSkills

Finals are among us. For those in college, this means papers, projects, and a lot of cramming. For those in high school, this also means papers, projects, and a lot of cramming… There’s just so much to do! Homework, extra credit, paper outlines, group projects. Besides that, part time jobs, internships, after school activities. And before all of those, sleeping and eating! There’s a lot that seems to be happening right now, but there are some ways to deal with all the havoc that is December!

Prioritize.

Always do what you need to do first. Which one comes first: the big thesis paper or that extra credit project? Watering your plants or giving yourself a shower? Going to a club meeting or studying for an exam for that really tough teacher? Always do what is important, and don’t bother with the small stuff during this time crunch. The little things can be slipped in, but devoting large chunks of time to a 10 page paper is an efficient way of getting ideas out, onto a document, and out of the way. The little things you can do as mini breaks in between. Get up to stretch and do a 10 minute yoga pose for exercise, but do this between paragraph four and five of your essay. Moderate and prioritize.

Eat and sleep.

My university’s labs are open 24 hours during finals. In the early 3­-5am hours, students can be seen sleeping at their desk with the screen doing a five hour export. Other students can be seen with three empty cups of coffee next to their sewing machines with half finished shirts and dresses. But whether you’re in art school, business school, or high school, you need to get your sleep and your nutrients! You and a friend can do food­runs. Someone runs out to get dinner for both of you, then you trade and do the same for lunch. Do this for fabric material, photo paper, paint, ink, printer paper. One person can do that half-hour-run to Staples and the other person can do that half-hour run to the cafeteria. Roommates, workshop partners, lab buddies, you name it. It is the time to keep your body functioning during a time when there isn’t enough time.

Know your limits.

Alright. You didn’t sleep in the last 24 hours, and the night before, you only slept
three hours. Your hands are shaking from too much caffeine, and for some reason the words on the
screen are starting to move on their own. You have a dull headache that has turned into nauseousness and your neck is cramped. You haven’t seen daylight in two days. It’s time to stop. Yeah, that presentation is important and people are counting on you. Sure, that exam is 50% of your grade. But what’s the point if you’re going to pass out in front of your professor or wake up to the exam sheet stuck to your cheek? Sometimes enough is enough and there’s only so much you can do. That’s when you take a breather, take a walk, take a shower, take a break.

Dealing with everything is crazy. You and everyone around you are in high gear. Once
you figure out all you need to do, you’ll do them. Keep yourself going with enough sleep and
food. Sometimes, you have to just put everything down. Take it easy and good luck!

Image: TMAB2003

EducationSkills

November is the start of many things: cold weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and the holidays. However, while department store managers and baristas at Starbucks are preparing for the season, students are preparing for a different beast entirely. Exams are what shortly follow the month of November, so this month is a vital one in getting a few last good grades in before finals.

If you are one of the unlucky souls in desperate need of a few more A’s in a class, here are some ways to study for upcoming tests and exams:

1. Clear your mind and avoid multitasking

Cluttering your mind with other issues is probably one of the worst ways to study; in order to retain information you need to focus on that specific subject. Thus, multitasking is a terrible idea when studying. You do not need to have tabs open for other classes or for Facebook. Actually, if you have trouble with controlling yourself in terms of social media, websites like Cold Turkey is an amazing way to block social media temporarily, allowing yourself time to focus on studying.

2. Drink water and snack healthily

When studying, drinking water and eating healthy can play a vital role in retaining information. For example, eating slow carbohydrates, such as nuts, will give you a steady stream of energy and release of serotonin to keep you up and happy while studying. Whereas if you were to consume energy-infused foods and drinks, you will have a temporary rush of energy, but any information looked at during the crash will be lost to the intense desire to sleep. Also, prepare your snacks ahead of time to avoid wandering from the desk – you might never get back to studying.

3. Chew mint gum when studying and when testing

Psychologists have found that chewing mint gum while studying and testing correlates positively with good test scores. It allows your brain to make connections and help you remember retained information better. Therefore, it might be to your benefit to chew a stick of mint gum while studying for you next test and during the test itself.

4. Break up your study sessions, DO NOT CRAM!

MIT’s website shows that cramming can actually cause you to lose information and that the best way to study is in 20-50 minute intervals and to take 5-10 minute breaks in between these intervals. This allows your brain to absorb the information you just read without being overwhelmed.

5. If you are going to listen to music while studying, make it classical or instrumental

Everyone knows of the idea that playing classical music to an infant can increase the child’s potentiality of intelligence, and this idea still applies to students and young adults today. Studies show that classical music increases cognition and helps to remember data and material. However, classical music is not digestible by everyone. Hence, listen to some instrumental music, but make sure that it is instrumental music you are familiar with; if I try to listen to new music when I study, I get too distracted by the new melody and lyrics that I am listening to.

What are your best study tips?

Image: Anita Hart

HealthSkills

It’s 3 a.m. on a Saturday and we’re pulling an all-nighter and studying for our test on Tuesday and preparing for that big event and planning our next organization meeting and fixing our resume for Monday’s interview and… we’re forgetting to take a breath because we’re on our fourth cup of coffee in the last two hours. Sound familiar? It’s a lot to handle during adolescence and adulthood, when life is already throwing so many new changes and obstacles our way.

It’s a mad rush to pad our resumes, make the cut for dean’s list, or secure the best job, and while ambition is so important in these years, rest is, too. Not the kind of rest that involves lying on the couch in front of the TV, one hand in a chip bag and one hand surfing Facebook on our phone. I’m talking about the kind of rest that allows us to rejuvenate and care for ourselves.

In college, I only gave myself the potato chip kind of rest, on the very rare occasions that I actually even “rested.” I worked my butt off and tried, to no end, to be perfect and the best at a lot of things that looked amazing on my resume but didn’t even make me that happy. In fact, they brought me anxiety. Not stress; stress is normal and can be healthy. Anxiety is not, and neither is perfection. I was lost, and I refused to slow down to ask myself where this lost feeling was coming from, and if it was even real.

That strategy didn’t work. Halfway through my senior year, I became burnt out and depressed to the point that I wanted to throw everything away and hide under the covers for the entire semester. Coming from a school known for its overcommitted students, I was not the only person I knew who felt this way. I was tired of trying to please everyone but myself. I finally began asking myself what was up, which led me down a life-changing path where I made the changes that now allow me to enjoy the things I commit myself to.

You see, ignoring feelings of intense pressure or anxiety, and pushing ourselves to unrealistic limits can lead us to burn out. In order to avoid it, we can do a few things:

1. We must stop and listen.

This means that, when we feel an emotion we don’t like, we don’t push it away and run from it. No amount of ignoring will keep us from feeling what we feel. When we learn to respect our emotions and ask what is causing them, we can really get somewhere. It is this kind of questioning that slowly brings us closer to ourselves and allows us to make important discoveries and necessary changes in our priorities and relationships.

2. We must be ok with what we are feeling.

We have to stop judging ourselves. One of the greatest contributors to adolescent and young adult stress and confusion is the need to be perfect. The thing that can be so difficult to realize is that when we fail, when we’re angry, when we react poorly, and when we screw up, we’re being humans, and we need to try to be ok with that. Otherwise, we will be unable to let go of our fear of failure, preventing us from genuinely, passionately devoting ourselves to what we love.

3. We need to take naps.

Why do they only happen in pre-K? We all need them. A short 15 minute power nap can really do wonders for our bodies, which sometimes need a chance to unwind, regroup, and chill. And getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, if we can swing it, is key.

4. We need to discover what it is that we love, and make time to do it.

This can be a process, so don’t freak out if you don’t have a clue what it is. Taking a few minutes, even just once a week, to try out something new or deepen an existing hobby is a good first step. It may be trial and error, but soon we realize we can actually make time for these little moments.

5. We need to learn to say “no.”

I know that this one is tougher than it sounds. We’re taught to work and work and work, more than anyone else in the office, even if it means 10 hour days with no lunch break or accepting yet another position as president of yet another campus club. When we spread ourselves thin, we don’t allow ourselves to give our best to any one thing, and that isn’t fair to ourselves. Saying “no” when we aren’t able to take on a commitment is not bad, insulting or mean. It is responsible and smart.

Burnout is so very common among young adults, and it’s important to recognize when it may be happening to us. It can be scary and foreign to admit to it and attempt to change things, but addressing it can bring us a sense of peace, along with the energy and motivation to be our very best.

Do you have any tips for staying motivated and avoiding burnout? Let us know below or tweet to us!

Image: Mike Hoff

EducationSkills

Midterms are right around the corner already and juggling studying with regular coursework can be difficult. Here are some tricks to balancing and preparing to help you do your best when these scary exams roll your way.

1. Don’t Procrastinate

If you have work assigned to you, take care of it as soon as you possibly can. Waiting may seem like a good idea at the time, but if you wait too long you’ll have more work added on, and before you know it you’ll have a huge pile of work to get done. By doing assignments at the earliest possible date you prevent the opportunity for excess stress to be created.

2. Think Ahead

If you know that an exam is coming up, don’t wait until the last minute to make a study guide or notecards. Instead, create your study materials as soon as you know what is going to be on the exam so when it does come to study time, all you have to focus on is that!

3. Know Your Study Techniques

While some people do well with written out study guides and notecards, others do well by repeating information aloud. Experiment with different study techniques in order to find the one that works best for you so you can have an easier time when the cramming comes around.

4. Ask a Friend

Don’t hesitate to ask a friend for help! Even having a partner-in-crime to go to the library with can motivate you to take the time to study and focus. If you see someone else studying hard, you’ll be more likely to do so yourself. Also, having someone to quiz you or explain different topics and concepts can ease the studying process and take a huge weight off your chest.

5. Plan Your Time

If you want to take time to rest or if you know you have a class that will take up a lot of time, plan it out. Planning out your day and managing your time is one of the most important things when it comes to preparing for midterm exams. If you don’t stay organized and scheduled, it can be difficult to juggle everything that gets thrown at you along with your daily routine.

At the end of the day, don’t forget to take breaks and keep from stressing yourself out. Getting the proper amount of sleep and relaxation is just as important in order to do well on these exams.

How do you prepare for midterms? Good luck!

Image: Jack Amick

HealthRecipes

Let’s be real, it takes energy to Seize Your Youth. When you’re feeling under the weather and all you want to do is sleep, it’s hard to make the most out of your day and be productive. That’s why you need to get better ASAP. While chicken noodle soup (with heart-shaped carrots!) is more of a meal and less of a “snack,” meals just don’t sound as appetizing when you’re sick. This chicken noodle soup will get you warmed up and feeling better in no time, and it doesn’t take too long to make. If you can’t muster up the energy to make this soup, kindly ask a friend or family member if they would be willing to do so. Get healthy fast, enjoy this soup, and get back to seizing your youth!

SONY DSC

What You’ll Need:
1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
2. 2 or 3 large carrots
3. 1 medium onion – diced
4. 2 celery stalks, cut
5. 2 stalks fresh thyme
6. 2 bay leaves
7. 4 cups of water with 3-4 tablespoons of chicken bouillon, or chicken broth (All-Natural Swanson works well)
8. 2-3 cups water
9. 1/2 teaspoon vinegar
10. salt and pepper, to taste
11. 2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked [Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and top with thyme, and cook in oven for 35 minutes] 12. 1/2 pound small pasta

Heart-Shaped Carrots:
1. Wash and peel a large carrot
2. Cut a wedge in the top of the carrot so that there is a V-shape
3. Peel around the carrots and on the sides so that it resembles a heart, with a sharp-pointed bottom – this will take a lot of peeling
4. Cut the carrot as you normally would, but instead of rounded pieces you have hearts!

How to Make Soup:
1. In a large pot combine: olive oil, carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaves, and a pinch of salt.
2. Cook and stir for about 10-15 minutes until ingredients have softened.
3. Add water and chicken bouillon, with vinegar. Cook until soup is boiling.
4. Add salt and pepper for taste.
5. [Pasta]: In another pot, boil water and make the pasta until al dente.
6. In bowls,  add the pasta and shredded or diced chicken.
7. Serve the soup over the pasta and chicken.
~For extra flavoring, add another branch of thyme and let the soup sit with all the ingredients for an extra 5-10 minutes to get a richer flavoring

SONY DSC

What comfort food do you like to eat when you’re sick?

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

CollegeEducationHigh SchoolLearn

Everyone has that one teacher or professor that they just can’t stand – the one who seems to glare at you whenever you walk through the door, or maybe they don’t look at you at all and ignore you when you raise your hand. Everyone has one of those, but then there are the opposite kinds of teachers.

When you meet a teacher who isn’t a bore, a bully, or bothersome, you should get to know them. Maybe you already have a good friendship with that teacher, or maybe you’re on neutral terms but you’d like to get to know them better. It’s not sucking up or becoming the teacher’s pet. A genuine, solid, friendly relationship is a really reliable and comforting thing, and there are a few reasons why.

Mentorship.

When you become friends with a teacher, you’re more likely to get help from them for your assignments or projects. You need an advisor teacher? There you go. You’re struggling with a project and you’d like some tutor time during a lunch break or after school? Most likely, they’ll be willing to help. A lot of people don’t consider asking their teachers for help, but it shows your commitment to the class, and in return they will see your efforts.

*Keep in mind: when you apply for college, you need those teacher recommendations…

Advice.

Teachers have gone through high school and college. They’ve experienced the turmoils of teenage angst, the sense of confusion (“What am I going to do with my life?”), and everything in between. Most likely, they have gone through or know someone who has gone through what you are experiencing, and you can ask them for some life advice. You might get some interesting stories from them.

Connections.

You never know who your teachers know, especially college professors. When you’re looking for an internship or a job, even a side job such as being an assistant or babysitting, your teacher might know someone or somewhere that needs someone like you. Not only can your teachers recommend you, they can directly get you in touch with people at your future internship or job. Sometimes I feel icky asking for things like that, but I get offers without asking too, and that’s a great feeling. It means that the teacher/professor really thinks you can do it. Part of it is because they’ve gotten to know you so well.

Friendship.

Well, this one is a given. After graduation, you’re going to go to college or go work and you’re going to find yourself wondering how so-and-­so is doing. Once you’ve reached that comfort level with a teacher or professor, you can actually go get coffee or dinner with them. Once a year, I would meet up with an art teacher from high school to see how she is doing. Over the span of years since I’ve met her, she’s gotten married and had a son. Just as you would feel happy for a bestie who’s gotten married, there’s a soft spot inside for a teacher who was good to you, too.

Being friends with a teacher is an amazing thing. They’re helpful and reliable, and there is so much to be gained from a solid friendship. At the very least, it beats having to ask that grouchy math professor from junior year for a recommendation. Do your best to appreciate what your teachers are doing for you. If they aren’t so great, well, you can get through it. If they’re amazing, here’s your chance to get to know someone really interesting. Who knows, maybe they can help you out one day over a cup of tea!

Image: Bunches and Bits

CollegeCultureCulture & TravelEducationHigh SchoolInspiration

Leaving your cultural comfort zone is a topic that seems to have been left out from the endless self-help articles I come across. The United States is a country of immigrants, and learning to plunge yourself into other cultures is not only an unspoken requirement to succeed in almost all professional fields, but it is also a surprisingly fun thing to do. I want to touch on the importance of diversifying. Be it college, your workplace, or even in your community, one often tends to gravitate toward people of their culture. It’s a fascinating thing to note that although you can be friends with a variety of people, you’re probably wont to relate most with those who come from a similar background. However, waving that white flag will do great things. Here are a few reasons why leaving your cultural comfort zone is important:

  1. “Expanding your horizons” doesn’t mean ordering Chinese takeout

Expanding your horizons, or emerging yourself in things you would not normally do, brings many outcomes. It means more than ordering Americanized Chinese, Mexican, or Italian foods. It means making friends with people of different cultures, it means attending a cultural festival and trying all of the foods, it means attending an LGBTQ poetry event, and it means doing these things with an open and inviting attitude. It allows you to experience the different parts of life and place yourself in the shoes of others. You may have assumptions about many groups of people, but spending time with them may shatter these pre-existing judgments, which is essentially the goal. It is always refreshing to see that there are reasons for ways of expression, that there is history behind art, and that there is love behind musical forms. It can be uncomfortable at first to put yourself in new shoes, but it will open your mind. Also, participating in cultural endeavors will definitely bring some zest in your day.

  1. Discover new favorites

Surrounding yourself with people from a totally contrasting environment does great things for your brain. For example, being surrounded by people who speak another language is great for making brain connections and stimulating your thought process. Hanging out with them and maybe accepting an invite to dine at an authentic Japanese, Portuguese, or Arab restaurant is a great way to try out non-Americanized foods that really hold the heart of the traditional foods. You never know, you may discover a favorite dish! Or maybe even a new favorite song or genre by listening to French dance, Japanese pop, Spanish rap, or Italian classical music. Discover the variety of flavors each culture holds. In addition, these new introductions to a new world may also spark an interest to travel to an unfamiliar country. Meeting people from unacquainted areas ignite captivating and bizarre conversations which bring interest to what you have yet to experience!

  1. Learn about yourself

You can learn a lot from just being around others of different backgrounds. You understand more about where you came from and how different that can be from what others are accustomed to. You also note how open you are to try new things. This may call for a new goal: maybe room for improvement in this area? In this day and age, diversity is a major component in many areas of business and organizations. Trying to improve your adaptation skills is definitely a great thing for you to improve. My goal for this school year was to meet people from other cultures. I wanted to meet other people on my college campus and befriend students who are not solely Hispanic. I realized that all of my friends were, in fact, Hispanic when I was asked this summer how the culture shock was since moving to college. I realized the culture shock was not as drastic as I had thought it to be. I was a bit bothered and disappointed by this epiphany and made the decision to expand my horizons. Two of my suitemates are Chinese and as a marvelous result, I have met Taiwanese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian, and even Arab and Indian individuals.

Here are a few tips on how to achieve doing this:

  • Attend and/or join a diversity-specific club

There are many organizations that are misjudged to strictly pertain to a particular ethnicity, identification, background, or race but that’s not the case as people of all kinds are invited. For example, check out one of the following clubs that may pertain to a Latin, GSA, Caribbean, Democratic, Christian, Muslim, Republican, Eco-friendly, Vietnamese, or Chinese Student Association club. People of all beliefs and backgrounds are always welcome to these clubs and organizations. Not only do they lead to meeting different types of wonderful people, but it also allows you to be surrounded by something different, which might be a big step away from your comfort zone and a great start to where you want to be.

  • Media switch

Believe it or not, media is a huge influencer. Begin with maybe switching up your music. You can surf the web for songs in different languages and maybe even another genre of music. Music says a lot about a culture. Listen to something different than your usual EDM or Country. Another shift you can make is to rent a foreign movie. Two of my favorite movies are actually foreign, and they are dramatic, original, and exciting. Subtitles may seem like a dreadful effort at first, but after a couple of minutes into the movie, you will hardly notice. Or maybe watch a T.V. series or show in another language. The last big step you can do to remove yourself from your cultural comfort zone is to attend a concert of a foreign band or a music group you would not usually attend. Check out different bands and musicians! Observe how they become in sync with the tunes and maybe open up your eyes to something that may catch your attention!

  • In class, sit next to somebody that seems totally opposite from you

You may be in high school or you may be in college. And of course, we all have those teachers and professors who give assigned seats, but there is always that one class that lets you roam free. Sit next to a person you would usually never sit next to, someone who seems opposite of your interests and even race or background. Talk to them and listen to what they have to say. It is a wonderful feeling to just listen to others.

Leaving your cultural comfort zone is a fascinating thing. It can be a learning experience and even a normal part of life if you let it. Approach these steps with an open, positive mind, and purge your mind from pre-existing judgments. You may be in for a wonderful life-changing surprise!

Image: Catalina Casas

Health

We all know the basics of healthy eating and the benefits that come with it. Unfortunately it may not be the most fun – or easiest – thing in the world to actually do. Here are five yummy recipes to try out to satisfy your taste buds and your inner health-fanatic!

Twizzler Dupe

If you cut strawberries and put them in the oven until they’re mostly dried out, they’ll become a delicious treat more yummy and healthier than Twizzlers! Throw these in a bag and bring them to the movies for the perfect snack.

Bananas and Peanut Butter

You can’t go wrong with this classic and mouthwatering combination! Try peanut butter and banana slices on toast for a yummy snack that will fill you up and satisfy your craving for something both sweet and salty!

Strawberry Yogurt Treat

If you’re looking for a refreshing snack, try cutting strawberries in half and dipping them in yogurt. Put them in the freezer until the yogurt is frozen and a savory treat is made with two completely healthy ingredients!

Yogurt Parfait

Try vanilla yogurt with your choice of fruit and some granola. This is the perfect healthy treat that can be eaten as breakfast, an everyday snack, or a refreshing dessert!

Banana Ice Cream

Banana and a little bit of vanilla extract in a blender make a delicious and guilt-free ice cream when put in the freezer! It’s the perfect summer treat when you’re craving something sweet.

What are your favorite healthy snacks? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtags #snacktime and #seizeyouryouth!

Image: Foodie’s Feed

EducationSkills

Last week I talked a little bit about building your brand and how to do it. Even if you’re still trying to figure out how to market yourself, the best time to make a LinkedIn profile is now. Think of it as your lemonade stand where you can set up all of the ingredients you need to be the best lemonade stand you can be. Okay, maybe, that isn’t the best analogy in the world, but the point is that in order to get people to buy what you are selling, you have to let employers know that you are on the market.

It doesn’t matter if you’re still in high school or in college. There is an internship out there waiting for you and you’re only a LinkedIn profile away from finding it. Don’t waste anymore time; if you don’t already have an account, sign up! It doesn’t hurt to have another social media outlet. Don’t panic if you’re not sure where to start. I’m here to help!

While I was building my profile, I did a lot of research on how to make my profile look as professional as possible. You don’t have to read countless articles on how to make a good LinkedIn profile – here are the 10 things that you should include:

1. Professional photo: LinkedIn may be like Facebook in the sense that it connects you with other people, but that doesn’t mean the profile picture you use for Facebook (the one where you’re making silly faces with your friends) should be the same one you put on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is like the more conservative cousin of Facebook. Whereas Facebook is for personal usage (though this doesn’t mean you should post anything and everything), LinkedIn is the Internet’s door to the professional world; a place where recruiters from different companies look at the profiles of students just like you.

Keeping that in mind, don’t let their first impression of you be a picture of you sticking a finger up your nose. Instead, use a headshot that has a plain background. If you’re like me and can’t afford to have a professional photo taken at the moment, take the picture yourself with your phone or camera in front of a white wall. Or, use an old picture and use Paint (or any equivalent program) to cut yourself out of the original photo and paste it on a white background. The second choice is really time consuming, but is ultimately can be a good option for the time being.

2. Summary: This is the section where you talk about yourself. You don’t have to share your entire life story, but it may be good to talk about your college major or write a paragraph about what your future goals are. You can also mention your purpose for making a LinkedIn profile, i.e.  to find an internship in [insert field]. Remember to keep the summary brief since recruiters won’t spend an hour on your profile. You want them to get past the summary and onto the good stuff, such as your work experience and courses that you have taken.

3. Collegiate/high school experience: The four years you spend in high school and in college tell a story. Whether you participated in after-school programs or in clubs, it doesn’t matter. Document it all! If you held any leadership positions, that is especially great.  These are the kinds of things you should put on your LinkedIn profile to let everyone know that high school and college isn’t just about the academics for you. Don’t forget to list all of the relevant courses you have taken so far. This means any business, language, major, etc. classes you have under your belt. Displaying a sample of your work (i.e project, paper, etc.) in this section might also be a great idea. Or, if you don’t want to do that, make an online portfolio and link it to your profile. That way you can have a separate space for all of your work.

4. Skills: We are all good at something, whether it’s having great written communications skills or being good at building websites. There is an employer out there looking for someone with your expertise, so make sure you list the things that you have excelled in. If you can get endorsements (people who can attest that you possess said skills), then that’s even better! The more endorsements, the better. Try not to have more than ten skills on your profile though. Only list the ones that are important and the ones that you think will make you stand out from the crowd.

5. Awards: Are you the student who gets good grades or is a star athlete? Good for you! List all of your accomplishments in the awards section. Let people know that you have rewards as proof for outstanding work.

6. Headline: A headline on LinkedIn is like the headline of a newspaper article. It’s the attention grabber; it’s your chance to send out flares to recruiters so that they can find you more easily. You can constantly change your headline to fit your liking, but if you’re not sure what to put there, start off with ‘Student at [insert school].’ or ‘Intern at [insert company]’. If you don’t have an internship and would like one, try using ‘Aspiring [insert profession] seeking an internship in [insert job/field].’ You could use a combination of the three, just play around with it and look at other profiles to help and inspire you.

7. Contact info: You don’t have to provide your phone number (and I advise against putting your phone number online) but what you can do is put your email address on LinkedIn. This way, recruiters or anyone who is interested can contact you through email. LinkedIn may be a professional site, but you always want to be careful with who you give your information to.

8. Groups/companies/universities: The great thing about LinkedIn is that you can join groups that fit your career interests. LinkedIn groups, once you become a member of them, give you access to thousands of people that otherwise wouldn’t show up in the ‘People You May Know’ section. Getting involved in discussions will get you noticed, and you may even learn valuable lessons from professionals that you aren’t connected with. Also, ‘Like’ or ‘Follow’ the companies that you would want to intern for or possibly work for in the future. If you want to go college or graduate school, ‘Follow’ your dream universities to stay on top of what’s going on.

9. Connections: Make sure to only add people you know. If you do get those few random invitations, make sure to check out their profiles first before you add them. It’s good to have a lot of connections, but it’s not good if you don’t know your connections. That said, connect with professors, teachers, old friends, family members, people you’ve worked with, etc. Sometimes it’s not about what you know but WHO you know. Keep that in mind as you navigate the networking realm.

10. Alumni tool: LinkedIn has become more accessible to college and high school students alike in recent years, especially with the addition of the alumni tool. Here you can see what people who graduated from your university (or your dream university) went on to do with their degrees. You can also look at their profiles for tips on how to structure your own. If you have any specific questions, you can message them. I love the alumni tool and it’s certainly something you should check out if you’re new to LinkedIn. Go to ‘Connections’ and click on ‘Find Alumni’ to access that tool, and for more information on a particular university, go to ‘Interests’ and click ‘Education.’ Both of these can be found at that top of the page.

I hope that this list was helpful to those of you new LinkedIn users who don’t know where to start. I don’t want to tell you how your profile should look because not one profile should look the same. I do, however, want to give you a sturdy foundation to build your profile upon. Just remember that you don’t have to get it ‘right’ the first time. You can always edit your profile to your liking. With that said, make sure to keep it updated. If you get a new job, update your experiences on your LinkedIn profile. Or if you’re unemployed but you have an internship or are involved in a club, let it be known that you are staying busy even if it’s not a job. Also, if you haven’t participated in a lot of extracurricular activities, internships, or jobs, don’t let that discourage you from not making a LinkedIn profile. Maybe that blank profile can be what motivates you to get more involved. Who knows?! Just don’t wait to create your profile because you won’t know how successful your lemonade stand will be until you build it.

Image: Esther Vargas, Flickr