aysiaapartment
Skills

Since I was small, I dreamed of how thrilling it would be to live in my own little chic apartment in a city. Along with a miniature black labradoodle ironically named Cochon (means “pig” in French), I would have a true Carrie a la ‘Sex in the City’ lifestyle. Today, some of those things are true – I live on my own, I’ve decorated an apartment to my liking, and my urban home is indeed quaint (the adorable dog and fabulous shoe collection are still a work in progress). Leaning slightly more on the introverted side of the personality scale, I deeply enjoy living alone. But I won’t deny there have been a few challenging moments I didn’t anticipate. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far on my journey:

1. How far from home are you really?

About a month into being in my apartment, I realized all my dishes were organized the same way as in my childhood home – plates to the left of the stove and glasses on the shelf above. It was almost comical noticing I’d adopted my father’s extreme neatness and mother’s particular ways of taking care of the house. Who knew everything would come full circle?

2. You are now the bug-killer, toilet-fixer, and furniture-assembler.

All the terrifying and annoying things you would typically ask your dad, a male friend, or a roommate to do become your job. Aside from bug-killing, which admittedly challenged my entire existence, I am proud to say I’ve turned into quite the handy-woman. Don’t worry, it all gets easier with practice.

3. Being yourself, in all your weirdness, never felt so good.

Want to eat waffles for three nights straight without anyone judging you? Go for it. Feel like spending 4 hours watching old episodes of ‘Hey Arnold’? Sure, you can. Living by yourself provides the freedom to do what you want on your own time. It doesn’t get much better than that.

4. “Responsible” becomes your middle name.

When you are living alone, you only have yourself to depend on, so you think about everything. For example, you regularly check your mail because there are no longer roommates to do it for you. You take care of your plants and even remember to water them extra when you go out of town. It’s the little things that make you feel like a real adult.

5. You learn about yourself.

Out of everything living alone has taught me, this point is most valuable. Many of us are used to college or other environments where we are constantly surrounded by people. Living alone has given me the opportunity to figure out what works for me in terms of a daily routine that allows me to be productive, relaxed, and focused.

Living by myself was something I have always wanted to challenge myself with. So far, it has been such a rewarding experience. For those considering making the same decision, I say, go for it. You won’t know until you try!

Image: Flickr

mariannicepeople
CultureSkills

Oh, the plight of being nice. Kind. Polite. Harmless. Growing up, you’ve been told to put others first and give more than you receive. And kudos to all of the nice folks out there, you’re the heart-warmer of the group. The one that people go to for validation and encouragement. The one that would rather maintain harmony than cause a scene. People of the world appreciate nice people because of their willingness to help and listen. As a self-certified nice person, I will be the first to tell you that niceness, as fulfilling and pleasant as it may be, also comes with some serious baggage. Behold, the pros and cons of being nice:

DoNicePeopleFinishLast

The nice-person quandary is a tricky one. People begin to expect a certain level of empathy and consideration at all times. Think about the co-worker who assumes you’ll always take more work, or the peer that seems to always direct their favors to you, certain that you’ll make time for them. This makes being innately compassionate a draining distinction. It’s because of this that nice people finish last, in a sense that they put everyone before themselves. While the kindness gene in your body is screaming for you to save the world, there are situations in which you’d be better off passing up or confronting. So, how can you stay true to your caring nature yet create an air of authority?

Surround yourself with people that operate with a competitive edge.

They say you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now this doesn’t mean you should outright ditch your core friend group, but spend more time than you usually would with people who react differently than you do. Try to examine how other people decline requests. Do they feel the need to explain why they are saying no? Are they steady in their response and apologetic only when need be? Know your boundaries when accepting opportunities to provide help. It’s also essential to command a presence that says you do more than just support, you can lead. Observe as many leadership styles as possible. Listen to how leaders at work, school, or in your community balance being assertive with being respected.

Maintain focus on your needs to succeed.

And furthermore, don’t feel guilty about it.

Nice people feel torn between serving others and tending to their own needs. If we start doing things that only benefit ourselves, we assume it’s out of selfishness. This is the nice person’s kryptonite. Realize that making yourself a priority is not selfish, but a sign of decisiveness and self-love. It is a true gift to be a thoughtful and intentional person. Keep that essence but be firm in your kindness, and never forget that being nice to yourself is a very good thing.

Image: Unsplash

adulthood
Culture

The day you turn 18 is monumental. You become a legal adult. But for most of us that have passed that key birthday, we’ve also discovered several harsh realizations about growing up.

Almost everyone has heard it: “College will be some of the best years of your life.” This may be exciting for incoming freshmen who are about to embark on a life-altering journey, but what about college seniors who are working on job applications? What is there to look forward to if your best years are already behind you?

As a college junior, I have no desire to believe that college will conclude the best years of my life. I believe that your college years aren’t simply defined by your age, but by your experience. For many people, college is their first burst of freedom…their first attempt at learning responsibility. What makes college so exciting is simply the intense opportunity for personal growth.

I felt the weight of this responsibility when I became captain of my tennis team during my sophomore year at the University of Nebraska. After just one summer, I went from being an overwhelmed college freshman to assuming a position teeming with responsibility and prestige.

As a self-professed control freak, being team captain is probably just what I needed. However, Uncle Ben said it best: “With great power comes great responsibility.” People who are seen as people of importance are often put on a pedestal. More is expected of them than others. But what no one tells you about being on a pedestal is that it is an awfully lonely place to be.

If someone asked me if I was prepared to be captain that year, I would’ve answered with a definite “no.” If they had asked me the same question about this year, I would’ve answered “probably not.” Although I’m one step closer to being prepared, I’ll never be completely there. Preparedness isn’t something tangible; it’s a state of mind.

When a person decides they’re ready to get married, are they really ready for that kind of commitment? When a couple decides they’re ready to have a baby, are they really ready to be parents? Can anyone be prepared for such life changes? And what defines being truly prepared?

There came a moment during elementary school when I realized that adults aren’t always right. With that came the realization that parents aren’t always right either. The loss of magic I experienced in that moment was very similar to the emptiness you feel when you discover Santa Claus doesn’t exist. It’s facing another inevitable reality.

But there’s also a kind of relief in realizing adults can be wrong. All of a sudden, they become human. That pedestal that you had them on has diminished. The expectations you had of them, as well as your future self, have vanished. They no longer seem invincible. All at once, they become much easier to forgive.

We’re all waiting for that epiphany. That moment when we suddenly feel more responsible, more worldly, more prepared than we were the day before. It’s both daunting and refreshing to know that day will never likely come. There’s no book to tell you the best way to survive a marriage or the correct way to raise your kids. Just as with anything else, that part of your life will be defined by your choices.

It’s much easier to understand your parents once you’ve walked in their shoes. It’s also much easier to understand your boss once you acknowledge their position. Whether it’s choosing a college, moving to a new state or making a financial investment, any big decision in life is difficult to make. And the more you grow, the more difficult choices you are forced to make.

Our culture has a fascination with age. That’s why the day you turn 16 assigns you a responsibility that you weren’t supposedly mature enough for the day before. It’s the same as the day you turn 21. But how many 20-year-olds do you know that could be drinking? How many 22-year-olds do you know that shouldn’t be?

The day you turn 18, you don’t feel any different. You’re the same person you were the day before, with the same level of experience and intellect. The same holds true between your 20th and 21st birthday, your 34th and 35th, and your 59th and 60th. The truth is, nothing changes. You’re simply one day older.

What makes you an adult isn’t that monumental day that you surpass 17. What makes you an adult is your assumed level of responsibility. All the times you’ve chosen to keep your mouth shut when it wouldn’t have been wise to speak. All the times you’ve made a sacrifice for someone that could do nothing for you. All the times you’ve had the courage to admit that you were wrong.

But just like any other type of growth, it has to start within you. You have to want to grow. The question is: who in their right mind actually wants to grow up? Wouldn’t almost everyone like to remain a carefree kid for the rest of their lives?

The answer lies in just another inevitable truth: one day you will grow up. And one day, the world will ask things of you that they expect of an adult in the same way you’d assume your dentist knows how to fill a cavity. The secret lies in trying.

There’s the common saying: “Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.” While some people like to stick to their ways and coin them “successful,” others understand that change is the only way to improve upon something.

Just like you don’t know how fast you are until you run your first marathon, you’ll never know the power of admitting you were wrong until the words actually escape your mouth.

Image: Lee Scott

seeing
Skills

People tend to not be concerned about issues that don’t ‘hit close to home’ because they feel like it’s something that could never happen to them, but even if most of us never experience war or lose our homes, it is important that we try to be a little more aware of what happens to other people around the world, even if we don’t see the relevancy of it to our lives.

Awareness is the first step, in my opinion, to understanding the kind of world we live in. Some people have the privilege of traveling to other countries to see firsthand how other people live, others can take classes about different cultures or can talk to other people who have gone places and have experienced things that they haven’t experienced. I understand that not everyone can travel to different places, but you shouldn’t have to leave your country or even your hometown to become aware of the different ways that people around you live and the kinds of things they experience.

It is possible to be a tourist in your own home. All you have to do is put on a different set of eyes and see, for the first time, instead of just looking. Many people judge homeless people because they have never had to experience not having a home or because they automatically assume that the person is homeless because of something they did to themselves. Not everyone is like this, but you may have heard a friend or a family member or someone on the subway blame people who are going through hard times for their current situations. But if they haven’t walked a mile in that person’s shoes, do they truly have the right to pass judgement?

People have the right to their own opinions, but don’t you think that the world would be a much better place if we replaced apathy with empathy? When you place the blame on someone else for their own situation, you are giving up the responsibility that you have to your neighbor. This doesn’t have to be anyone who lives in your neighborhood or even the person next door. If we all look at each other as global citizens and even, as one big family, then everyone you pass on the street is your neighbor in the loose sense of the word.

Let’s pretend for a moment that everyone looked at the world that way. From that perspective, it’s easier to see that blaming someone for their inability to get a job or to keep a roof over their heads is a way of being apathetic. When you don’t show concern for anything that is apathy and when you resort to blaming someone for something that happened to them, you are showing that you don’t care to understand this person’s predicament or even how it affects the people who love them.

It is extremely easy to be apathetic, especially if you don’t pay close attention to the news or if you don’t know what’s happening to other people around the world. You can live out your entire life without opening your eyes and still think that you can see. But once you start looking into what it’s like to wear this person’s shoes or that person’s shoes, the world becomes an entirely different place. Not only because you are aware but because that awareness can lead to understanding if you let it.

Empathy isn’t about feeling sorry for someone, it’s about sharing their feelings even if you can’t completely understand their situation. It’s about stepping outside of yourself and realizing that at the root of all of your experiences are feelings that can transcend any cultural, racial, or religious barriers that exists in our world today. You don’t have to agree with a person’s feelings or even their current situation but don’t let judgment be your first response to that disagreement. In fact, don’t let it be any of your responses. It’s impossible for us to understand what other people are going through because we don’t often take the time to try to understand.

I know that might be hard for everyone to do but empathy is not a foreign concept. We all have the ability to be empathetic; to understand and share the feelings of others. Though our experiences may differ, our emotions are all the same. There is not one emotion that is unique to any one culture, race, or religious group.

Once we all realize that, the world will slowly but surely become a better a place to live in.

Image: Chris Sardegna

news
CultureSkills

Every second, minute, and hour of every day, something is happening in the world. While we might not be there to experience these moments in time firsthand, there are news reporters, journalists, and eye witnesses ready to give us a rundown of what is going on. Some news stations are biased and may or may not report the entire truth, others probably don’t care too much about the truth. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you to decide who you want to believe and who you don’t want to believe. Not everyone speaking into a camera is going to tell you the truth and not everyone is going to tell you a lie. This is why you have to use your own discretion when consuming media reported news.

No one can tell you which news station or online magazine is the most credible. This is only because credibility is such a broad term, and the same news outlet that is deemed credible to one person may be deemed untrustworthy by another. For example, there are people who like CNN, but there are others who don’t. The same can be said for any other news channel that people watch. Having people who dislike CNN or any other news channel doesn’t devalue that channel in any way. It just means that people have different criterion for credibility. However, even if you do have a good sense of which news sources are credible to you, the important thing to remember is not to be biased. Don’t take what you hear or see at face value just because your favorite reporter or writer said something happened. They might not have all the facts or even the right facts.

Do your own research; try to confirm what is being said. You have a right to know what’s going on in the word around you. So what if you can’t be aware of everything that goes on? That doesn’t mean you can’t be well-informed about the things you are aware of. Question everything you read, see, and hear. Don’t just go along with what is being said because if you do, you are doing a disservice to yourself. Young people have the power to make a difference, but we can’t do that if we are in a state of obliviousness and if we are constantly unaware of what is going on around us.

The less we pay attention, the more disconnected we become from the rest of the world. Quite a few of my peers say that they don’t care about what happens in other countries or even other cities and states because it doesn’t directly affect them. If you are a person who shares those same sentiments, keep in mind that even if something doesn’t directly affect you, it will still indirectly affect you. You might not realize that now but we don’t often see the things that affect us until it hits close to home.

Question everything. See what’s going on yourself instead of only relying on news reporters to provide you with information. You are not just a resident of a city, state, or town. You are not just a citizen of your country, either. You are a citizen of the world, and the more you know, the more connected you will be. People think that borders and large bodies of water separate us from each other, but really it’s the things we don’t know that drives us apart.

Image: Barzan Qtr

vote
CultureEducation

When it comes to voicing opinions these days, our generation has become paramount in articulating difficult issues facing the world. However, due to corrupt and old-fashioned politics, there has been an increase in voter apathy and decline in voter turnout. With fallacious advertisements and discouraging structures like the Electoral College, young people today do not see the importance of voting anymore – oftentimes, they underestimate the power of their votes.

With the midterm elections this week, I hope to inspire a few more people to go out and make their opinions matter. For example, say you prefer ideology that is kinder to those of lower classes but you decide not to vote. Well, for the past few decades, statistics show that those of more affluent households have dominated the voting circuit, and though some of them may vote alongside your ideals, it is most likely that a large majority will not. Go out and stand up for your principles; no one else will.

For those of you who are like my roommate in the fact that you look at a newspaper and immediately shut down: do not be afraid to learn about the tough issues. My roommate justifies her desire to not vote through the fact that politics panics her; she does not understand nor does she wish to comprehend the bureaucratic system our country exhibits. And although I respect her opinion on this matter, this troubles me because people like this live in this country too, and it is vital to care about your country’s politics. What if you do not vote purely because you did not care to look at the platforms, and an abominable law is passed that affects your life negatively? Take the time to educate yourself on the candidates’ platforms and history as politicians so that you can make the best choice for yourself. Just because you do not vote does not mean that the political decisions made post-election do not affect you.

It is astounding how younger generations today are making films, writing songs, and creating art that explore tons of the social and economic concerns dealt with today, and still feel completely apathetic toward voting. For those of you on the fence about voting this week, your voice should not be reserved only to the creative ventures you have. Each candidate specializes in issues that cater to different demographics, so please look into them and discover what you need out of the American political system. Your opinions and beliefs are preeminent in a time struggling to situate itself with rising issues, therefore, take advantage of the chance you are given to express your beliefs.

To get started, check out these useful resources: 

1. Vote Smart: Just the Facts

2. On the Issues: Every Political Leader on Every Issue

Image: Theresa Thompson

college 1
Education

Weighed down by finances, peer pressure, and receded motivations, many highs school seniors, and even juniors, believe that studying out-of-state is not an option. I say, stray away from this idea. Studying out of state is like leaving everything you have ever known to plunge yourself into an unknown, exciting, and mysterious world of wonderland. Be it across the country, across the world, or just over the invisible border, attending college out-of state can be one of the most awakening experiences one can ever have.

Depending on where you were born and raised or what you have been exposed to, the first major thing you will notice in an out-of-state college is the difference in the people around you. Perhaps they have an accent or even hold the door open while you haul your not-quite-needed closet packed into those six suitcases, but the little things always make the difference. University is the place where you meet students from all over the world, and this means that everyone is different.

You will find yourself befriending people who probably hold opposite political, social, or religious stances than you do. There are also times when an epiphany occurs – “wow, we were raised so differently.” And perhaps there’s the realization that you were raised in a more liberal, conservative, expressive, cold, authoritative, or allowing household. You are a product of your surroundings and the traits that have been emulated from those who have raised you, as well as the experiences you have had throughout the course of your life. You may note that perhaps everything that you have been taught has another side to it! You notice that there are other “right” ways to live life and to make decisions.

Yourself

In the midst of your external observations, there is also that inevitable internal reflection. Suddenly, you are to make decisions for yourself without the influence of others, and you begin to analyze how you will begin to choose your friends. This is a huge learning experience as you realize what kind of people you want be like. In addition, you also note that the morals that have been etched and engraved into every body cell are no longer enforced. You choose your own morals, and you make the decision to implement traces or chunks of what you have been taught throughout the course of your entire life. The cool part is that this is a never-ending process. Individuals develop like a growing leaf undergoing color change in the fall. Each day you are faced with choices that essentially mold your character. You are forced to fend for yourself in a world of predators, and friends, and strangers. And as beautiful result, you become more identified with the type of person you are as each day calls for growth and development.

Responsibility

I wake up every Tuesday and realize it’s laundry day. A sudden dread encompasses my body and thoughts. However the thought of having an unending pile of growing used apparel stacked under my bed makes my eyes to roll to the depths of their sockets and my nose to scrunch just a little. Responsibility is something every student is forced to take on. Be it the responsibility of time management, doing laundry, or cooking for yourself, these are life skills that are fundamental for life.

The Infamous “College Budget”

There comes a point in the semester where you have a “mid-semester-college-budget-crisis.” Of course, it’s always after a night of reckless spending when you mechanically type in that password and stare at the spinning ball on that bank app until the numbers paralyze you for a second. You then make the decision that you are officially on a “college budget.” You suddenly recognize that food, laundry, and outings with friends all cost money. You suddenly grasp the true value of money and how to live by a budget of some sort.

Classmates

One thing about studying out of state is that there is a wonderful atmosphere in the classroom: students actually want to be there. Studying out-of-state brings an even more inviting tone. When classes are discussion-based, you will find that not everyone is from the area that the school is located. Many arguments will begin with “well, where I’m from…” or “I totally disagree because for example back home…” People actually enjoy participating, and bringing in some home town flavor is always a catchy way to get people to pay attention.

Labels

Categorizing people has magnificent power. Like many things in this world, there are things that one cannot change, but one thing that can be done is to let it go and show people otherwise. As my best friend says, “you do you” and show them that you just may not represent that stereotype through your actions. As unpleasant as this may sound, using these skills and experiences will allow you to become a more grounded, open-minded, and accepting person.

Attending university out-of-state has many pros just like studying in state. However, for some people, you will always feel the responsibility a little more or experience a stronger feeling of independence. It is definitely an option that is worth considering!

Image: Dean & Draper

close clock
Skills

Going from high school to college is a huge transition. No longer do you have teachers nagging you to turn in assignments or those annoying bells that you and your peers rushed to class to beat. You are now officially responsible for your actions and the decisions that you make. While the consequences of being late in college aren’t marked by a pink detention slip, they still exist and they’re more detrimental to your life than you might expect.

Just as it takes about 21 days to break a habit, it takes the same amount of time to adopt one. You might be thinking that it’s impossible for someone to be late that many times in a row, but I’ve seen it happen so many times and it was always the same people coming in five minutes (or later) after that imaginary bell rang signalling the start of class. The people who are repeatedly late probably have countless reasons why they can’t make it to class on time, but just like your future employer, your professor isn’t going to care too much about your excuses.

In fact, points might get deducted from your overall grade if you are constantly coming to class well after the lecture has begun. The consequences might be different at every university and, in some places, there might not even be any rules against being late but, again, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any consequences.

If you can’t come to class on time, then showing up to an internship or a job when you’re supposed to be there might be extremely difficult for you. Being on time requires discipline and a lot of time management. This means going to bed at a reasonable time and, even if you don’t, still forcing yourself to get up when the alarm goes off (and remembering to set your alarm in the first place). If you have 15 minutes to get to each class, make sure you calculate how fast you would need to walk and how long it takes you to get from Point A to Point B.

Once you get into a habit of showing up on time, you won’t have any issues doing it in the future. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’d put more effort into being punctual if they had a job because they’re getting paid to be there, but even if those are your exact thoughts, that isn’t a good argument to make. You’re in college to get a degree that is necessary to land said job, and if that isn’t enough of an incentive to be on time, how can you be a good employee?

Not only can not being on time affect your professional future, but it could damage the impression your professor has of you. They might not be taking off points for your tardiness, but if you ever need them to write a letter of recommendation or if you need help with something, they could take into account that you never made an effort to show up to class on time and that you were repeatedly late. Sure, you have other professors to turn to if you ever need a recommendation, but if you’re not showing up to one class on time, you’re probably not managing your time well which means that you have probably been late to other classes.

It’s like a Domino Effect. Once you start being late to one class, that tardiness begins to affect your punctuality in your other classes. You miss out on so much when you’re not in class when it starts. The first five to ten minutes of class could be the material that’s going to be on the test, so if you’re steadily missing out on that information then you probably won’t do well on the tests. This is not to say that you won’t get good grades because you could possibly get the notes from a classmate or read from the book assigned for the class, but the probability is higher because lateness can translate into not putting in enough effort to get an A or a B, especially if you have a habit of being late.

Don’t get me wrong. Being late once or twice is bound to happen. Things come up and we all oversleep sometimes. Those few mishaps aren’t going to lead to failing grades. Just don’t make a habit of it because once it becomes one, it will take some effort to undo. If you are one of those people who is late three or four times a week, it’s not too late to try to do better. Adjust your sleep schedule, try to walk faster when getting from one class to another, and look for shortcuts if your classes are farther apart and you don’t have a bike or don’t want to chance getting on a bus or driving a car. There are always ways to make it to class on time, you just have to put in effort to make time work in your favor and not against you.

Tardiness is not something you want to carry with you each semester because, in the long run, it can affect your grades and your credibility in the eyes of your professors. There is a saying that goes ‘dance like nobody is watching.’ You don’t have to dance across campus (you can if it’ll get you moving faster), but what you do have to do is act like everyone is watching and, more importantly, you need to watch yourself. Hold yourself accountable and be a responsible student by being as punctual as possible.

If you need to imagine that annoying bell to put a little pep in your step, then do so. Do whatever it is you need to do to be on time because you can’t seize your education if you aren’t present the entire time.

drink
CultureHealth

Have you ever heard the phrase “Pick your poison?” It commonly refers to drinking, but many of us drink the “poison” anyway. This is because drinking can make you feel differently than you usually do. It is literally intoxicating and lowers your inhibitions. While it may provide a good feeling, it does not come without consequences. That is why is important to drink responsibly, which means taking personal responsibility even while under the influence of alcohol. Luckily, doing so is quite easy.

Here are the ways you can drink responsibly:

  1. Drink in moderation. We all know about hangovers, but sometimes we still get them. Instead of waking up with a headache, learn when to stop. If you don’t stop, you risk fatal alcohol poisoning. That is just a short term consequence. Alcohol is an addictive substance and if you are not careful, drinking alcohol might become a bigger part of your life. Alcoholism and poisoning can be prevented by drinking in moderation.
  2. Make sure you have a safe way to return home. We’ve all heard this before, but that is for a good reason. Driving drunk will not just get you a ticket. You risk your life and the lives of others if you are driving under the influence. I won’t get behind the wheel with even one drink in my system. Don’t even get in the car with someone else that has been drinking. People with a higher tolerance are still not completely capable drivers. You may not want to upset your friend by turning down a ride, but being perceived as rude is better than risking both of your lives. Have someone take their keys away. Even walking home alone is risky. If no one knows where you are, they can’t find you if you need help. You could easily stumble into the street and get hit by a car. Make sure you have a designated driver or a cab to take you home.
  3. Learn your limits. In the article, “Alcohol, Drugs, and Personal Choice: Why College Parties Are Overrated,” Shilpa Kancharla points out that while drinking can be fun, it can also cause personal trouble. You will have to face what you did in the morning. If a future employer sees pictures of you misbehaving online, it can determine whether or not you are hired. Everyone is affected differently by drinking, so don’t force yourself to keep up with everyone else. Try to stop drinking before you do something you regret.
  4. Drink in a safe and comfortable environment. Drinking can affect your judgment and coordination, which makes it easier for you to be harmed. It is not your fault if someone else harms you, but do try to keep people you trust around when you are drinking. You never know when you might need them. If you ever don’t feel safe, remove yourself from the situation if you can.
  5. Consult the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) chart to give you an idea of how drinks affect you based on your body weight.
  6. Don’t bother drinking until you are legally allowed to. Different countries have different legal drinking ages. Different households have different rules about drinking. Just know that there is a reason the age limit is what it is. Some reports say your brain isn’t even done developing until you are twenty five. Don’t get arrested for a few hours of fun. You have your whole life ahead of you.

These are just a few tips to drink more safely. It’s okay to enjoy yourself, but keep in mind what you are risking when you do so. Use your judgment. The most important thing is to make it through the night safely.

Image: Arvind Grover

SONY DSC
Culture

Have you ever scrolled through the comment section of a Youtube video, or looked at a blog post only to find negative remarks? The Internet has become a medium for many forms of communication. Whether people are sharing art or the news, venting exasperation through the comment section or posts has become a cultural norm. Unleashing frustration via these outlets has gone so far as to even have nicknames like “trolling,” and these negative notes are usually the ones most viewers gravitate towards. All of the attention being drawn to these comments only feeds to the negativity fostering in those discussion boxes and, although these comments breed some kind of conversation, this shows a lack of responsibility on the part of people today because some are not consciously reviewing their words in order to remain respectful of others online

Now, some might say that no one should ever filter their words in order to appease the public, but with such a strong power of instant communication over the Internet, we have to consider holding ourselves accountable for every move – the Internet is forever. An example I recently saw of this kind of behavior was on Facebook. A friend of mine from high school had posted an article and a comment about why he disagreed with it. After reading the following posts, I was intrigued to discover what caused this commotion. The article was essentially discussing the oddity that is the social norm where a thin figure is considered more acceptable, however, the author went about the piece in a rather insensitive way. Without any self-awareness, the writer shafted an entire demographic of females while trying to promote security for another; he did so by successfully praising the curvy lifestyle and shaming skinnier girls. One of the more well thought out comments beneath the Facebook post pointed out this discrimination in a manner that showed the importance of body confidence for all sizes. However, there were some people who clearly just wanted to add in their two cents without contemplating the ramifications. One post went so far as to completely disregard the meaning of the post and side with the author.

Another instance of rampant negativity comes in the form of famous Youtuber Felix Kjellberg, or Pewdiepie, removing access to the comment section of his videos. Now I have never watched a video of his, but another channel on Youtube known as The Young Turks discussed this action and expounded upon why the most subscribed to Youtube entertainer has taken such a drastic measure. Overall, he disabled the comment section because negative comments were consuming that part of the page, and Kjellberg wanted his videos to be a positive experience for his fans. The explanation The Young Turks gave for this issue was that the algorithm used by Youtube shows negative comments above all else, but if the most viewed and most popular comments are the negative ones, does that not still point out a problem in the way the Internet is being maneuvered? Yes, negativity is unavoidable at times, but why are there algorithms that place them at the top? And why are these becoming so popular in general?

The only plausible answer is that not enough personal responsibility is being taken in conjunction to the ever-expanding Internet. There are few tangible consequences to poor etiquette online because it is easy to create fake accounts or to even just comment and let the wave of constant media flush it away into a hidden state. For problems like these, we unfortunately must rely on others to be aware of their actions. So, when you log on to your favorite social media website or onto any part of the Internet, be consciously aware of what you are typing, because you have no idea who is on the receiving end. I know that I have probably made this same mistake before, but I find it important to remember that once you put something into the world, the reception you receive for such actions are not up to you. So the next time that you disagree with an article or video, tread the keyboard carefully.

Image: Gratisography

room 3
EducationSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

Ah, yes. The satisfying feeling of a clean room. The space on your desk, the unused hangers in your closet, the shelves of books organized by height, color, or author’s last name. If you’re anything like me, you love that refreshing feeling, the sense of accomplishment, and the pride that you did all of that work. But there’s something in the back of your mind.

Can you keep it this way?

I always have a hard time keeping my room tidy during the semester. After all, I wake up at 7am and I come home at around 9pm to midnight almost every day. I live in school and at my job more than I’m in my own bed. What are the chances that I can keep this place organized?

The best medicine is always prevention. Getting into the habit of keeping things a certain way is one of the best way to keep your room clean. Now that it’s summer, it’s a good time to practice these habits. For example, always put clothes back into the closet if you decide you don’t want to wear them. I’ll try two or three things in the morning before deciding on one outfit, and I make sure I always fold my tank tops and hang my dresses up before I close that closet door.

Putting things back where you found them is the general idea. This goes for your necklaces, pens, books, umbrellas, shoes, anything! You’ll appreciate it when you’re in a rush and it’s raining outside. Or maybe you forgot you had to meet someone for a study group date and all your notes are on your USB. Have key spots for your things, like a plate or a tray, so you’ll always know where to look first.

It’s good to keep often­-used items in an open, easy to ­grab spot, such as on your desk or by the door. These items might include keys, phone chargers, chapstick, things that you throw in a purse or in a book bag. Keep a tiny trash bin next to it so you can throw out garbage from your bag, like gum wrappers, used tissues, and receipts. It’s surprising how much can gather in your bag.

Finally, have a dedicated day to clean. Just as you had a schedule for who cleans the dorm back in freshman year (yes, people have that), have a day of the week for cleaning. Some people clean every half a month, others once a week. Do whatever you think you need, but remember that it’s your room, so make it feel like home!

Check out Cleaning Your Room Part I and Part II.

Image: husohem.se

money
EducationSkills

Growing up means independence. However, there is also new responsibility. An easy way to simplify your life? Create a budget. It sounds boring, but honestly it requires almost no maintenance and very little time to actually do. Here’s a simple way of creating a budget:

Find Out How Much Money Is Coming In

This is the easiest thing to do. Total up your paychecks, or if you are receiving money from your family, total up how much they are giving you. It is worth knowing how much you have saved in case of an emergency.

Total Your Old Bills

This one is a little less fun. Go through your old bills. Look back every month or every three months at everything you have spent money on. You will notice trends and and can figure out the average or the most you spent in the span of a few months. This way you can determined how much money you need to save every month.

Think of Upcoming Expenses

If you have tuition or a trip coming up, that will use up a chunk of the money you are making. You don’t want to spend what you don’t have. Plan for the future so you do not overspend and get blindsided.

Find How You Can Save

If you are spending more than you are bringing in, you will be out of money before you know it. The bonus of looking at your old bills is to see if you are spending too much money, and if you are then you can cut back. It’s always good to see where you’re money is going. If you don’t like what you see, you can change how you spend. Also, you can figure out a percentage of your money to save for later.

Set A Goal For Your Money

Now that you know how much money you have and how much money you are spending, you know how much money you have left. This could be spent on going out to dinner or for a more ambitious goal like buying a car or going on a trip. Plus, it never hurts to have an amount set aside in case of an emergency. 

This will keep you out of trouble with overspending and ending up in debt. More importantly, you will know how much you can spend having fun. Once you have a budget, you don’t have to worry about it and you just adjust with the big changes in your life.

Image: Sumall

Maggy Tennis
EducationHealthSkills

Most parents seem to sign their children up for sports hoping that they’ll learn the importance of dedication, teamwork and responsibility, while “staying out of trouble.” Though these are realistic intentions, few people realize the true value of athletics. By picking up a tennis racquet, I wasn’t preparing myself for college athletics; I was preparing myself for life.

After nine years playing tennis and two playing for the University of Nebraska, I’ve come to recognize some of the most important things that I’ve learned over the years:

How to Handle Adversity

You may be strapped with homework, your coach is screaming at you and you’re running on four hours of sleep, but you still have to play tennis. Right? Well, I can tell you that the ones that choose not to don’t make it very far. So the answer is yes. Though being an athlete has its perks, the initial description I just gave is the life of an athlete. Something is bound to go wrong on a daily basis, but you have to keep picking yourself back up. You’re bound to forget about that day that your boyfriend wouldn’t speak to you, but you’re likely to regret the hours you spent worrying about it instead of giving yourself the chance to grow.

Choose the High Road

After you’ve played a sport at a certain level, you begin to see that hard work pays off. You’ve put in the hours and you’re now beginning to reap the rewards. So the next time you’re given a choice, you’re going to choose the harder path. Whether it’s doing sprints after practice, taking extra time to study for a test, or making amends with a friend even when you did nothing wrong, you understand what it means to take the difficult route. And you become a stronger, better person because of it.

How to Make Tough Choices

I’m ashamed to admit it, but when I was trying to choose which college to go to, I spent an entire evening crying on the couch. There I was, with several scholarship offers, bawling my eyes out. Most of my friends had had their “moment” where they “suddenly knew,” and I was distraught, simply waiting for mine.

But not everyone has that “moment.” In fact, I sometimes think it’s better if you don’t. I’m a realist and a planner. I had my pro-con lists down to every nitpicky detail, from strictly academics to which school had a Starbucks on campus. Though the lists may not have made my decision for me, they definitely guided me along the way. Not to mention, I conducted an extensive amount of research that I’m sure few student-athletes did.

But when it came down to it, the ability to make the decision was innate. I knew enough about myself, and the school, to make a decision I could live with. My friends were right about one thing, and that’s to treat it like any other relationship. It was the right combination of using my head and following my gut.

Self-Reliance

None of the benefits I just mentioned would be possible if it weren’t for one thing: self-reliance. This perfect combination of confidence and independence is what drives you to make tough decisions, run extra sprints and keep your head high. Throughout your entire life you’ll have people telling you 25 different ways to do something, but you have to stick to your guns. There is not one specific path to success, and it’s definitely not a straight line.

Courage

When Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure, he hit the nail on the head. To me, this is the most important of them all. Being an athlete, you learn to handle high-stress situations, often when they are least convenient. You’re under the pressure of your coaches, professors and parents to do well, and it all begins to add up.

If I’m on the court, playing the #1 position for my team in a conference match against Northwestern, I can’t break down. It’s simply not an option. As an athlete, you understand when the situation is more important than your emotions. You understand the consequences and are able to register that it’s only temporary. To be able to evaluate all of these things in a matter of seconds can only be defined as one thing: grace under pressure.

I can’t imagine trying to summarize the lessons I’ve learned over hours of training on the court. Dedicating my life to athletics not only benefited my health and my college experiences, but also made me grow as a person.

Being an athlete forces you into the tight, uncomfortable crevices of life that most people aren’t familiar with. But in reality, everyone is pushed out of his or her comfort zone at some point in time. Athletes just face it earlier than most; sometimes earlier than they’re ready for. So the next time around, they’re more than prepared. Behind the braided ponytails, bruised shins and tired eyes, they’re becoming something bigger than themselves.

Work
EducationSkills

Counting down the days until you are free from the vice-like grip of your job or internship? Dissatisfied with the work you are being asked to do? Wishing time would pass faster? We’ve all been there, and it really is no way to spend your time. Instead of using your energy being dissatisfied with your internship, use that energy to figure out how to make your internship work. Here are some tips to make the most of your internship when you are feeling frustrated with it:

1. Grab Lunch with People in Other Areas of the Company

If you are working in a certain division of a company, talk to people who work in other divisions. For example, if you work in the script reading division of a film production company, ask people in the marketing, finance, Human Resources, talent, and production divisions to go to lunch. You can walk up to someone or send a quick email introducing yourself. Be grateful for the time people give you, and meet with the intent of learning more about how those people got to where they are in their careers. This is a great way to network internally at your internship and to make the most of your time there. Even if you aren’t dissatisfied with your internship (or job), this is a smart way to meet more people and gain insight.

2. Focus on the Good and Write Down Positive Things That Are Happening

When you are frustrated, it’s easy to get pulled into a negativity spiral. Step back from your disappointment that the internship isn’t what you thought it would be, and instead focus on the things that are going well. Did you make a new friend? Did you deliver a project before the deadline? Was it a nice sunny walk to work? Pay attention to the little positive things, and you’ll see when you write them down that things might not be so bad after all. You might also try starting a gratitude journal for this same purpose.

3. Ask Your Boss for More (or Different) Responsibilities

Do you think your workload could be heavier? Too much free time? Maybe you see something that would be interesting to try? Once you determine whether you need more responsibilities, or maybe just a different project on your plate, approach your boss with a game plan. Have a clear “ask” and know what you want to say. If you approach your boss with an open-ended loose idea, he or she might think you aren’t serious or ready for more responsibilities. Ask for something specific and explain why you are feeling this way and how you would accomplish the tasks. If your boss approves, you now have a new exciting project to add to the original tasks that weren’t satisfying you. Even though you still have to get the other work done, your new tasks will help you break up the day and test new skills.

4. Be Honest with Your Boss About Expectations and Reality

If you are truly frustrated with the way things are happening in your internship or you feel like the job you applied for isn’t quite what you are being assigned, talk to your boss about it. Your time is precious and you should be making the most of it. While it’s important to pay your dues, you shouldn’t be spending every day for three months cleaning walls and getting coffee for people. You need to be learning and challenging yourself.

5. Take Initiative (While Also Getting Your Work Done)

If you see something around the office that needs to get done, be a self-starter and offer to do it without anyone having to ask. Be sure to get your main duties finished first, but then once those are completed, you have a project where you can shine and show initiative. This is a great way to be a rockstar at your internship even when you might feel dissatisfied with it.

6. Make Friends

Befriend the other interns or entry-level people you work with. Ask them to grab lunch or dinner after work. Is there a fun networking or social event this weekend or weeknight that looks interesting? Ask someone from work to join you! Having friends at work will help your internship feel more fulfilling.

7. This Internship is Temporary

Oftentimes, we figure out what we want to do by figuring what we don’t want to do. Even though you are disappointed with your internship, treat it as a learning experience for what you do not want to do. It’s a good lesson to learn now when you haven’t invested too much time or money into it. Additionally, once you realize that you only have a certain number of days of your internship left, you may start to feel inspired to make the most of it.

8. Create Healthy Competition with Yourself

When I feel frustrated with repetitive work, I create a healthy competition with myself. I try to get the work done faster than I did the previous day or see if there is a new strategy I can implement to accomplish the work. Setting goals against the work you did on previous days will keep you feeling sharp and attentive.

9. Plan After-Work Activities

When your days are filled with work you are not passionate about, they can feel long. Plan after-work activities to help keep you excited throughout the day. Search for networking or social events in your area, plan a dinner with a co-worker or friend, or catch a movie. There are many things you can organize after work that will help keep you from feeling too bummed out.

Bonus Tip #10: For Future Internships, Truly Know What You’re Getting Into

When you are applying for future internships, really understand what you are getting into. Just as the company interviews you, interview the company and ask them questions so you get a feel for what you will actually be doing on the job. Talk to other people who have interned at the company to hear what they have to say about their experience. Companies will be getting value from you during your internship, and you should gain value from your internships, as well. Ask lots of questions, do research, and if you can, ask to spend a day with a member of the team you are interested in to get a feel for what your summer, fall, or spring will look like.

How do you make things work when you are dissatisfied?