Tag Archives: high school

5 Life Lessons for Twentysomethings from Lorde’s Royals

18 Nov

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Today I’m thrilled to publish the following guest post written by Lisa Crocco. I’m a huge fan of Lorde, and I love how her music is something that we can all relate to. Have a great week everyone! Hope you like!

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If you haven’t heard the song “Royals” from Lorde (Ella Yelich-O’Connor)- the talented, sixteen year old from New Zealand, then you must not have turned on your radio for weeks. This catchy song has been sung, hummed, covered, and jammed to on repeat enough to hit the top of Billboard Hot 100 chart. Not only is the song super catchy, but its message is also powerful.

When we break down some of the lyrics we can see how Lorde wrote a song that is actually relevant to the majority of our lives.

‘I’m not proud of my address’

Unless your postal code is 90210 chances are at one point or another you have been embarrassed by your hometown.

Let your roots and upbringing push you to make a better life for yourself and get out of your little 236 person run-down town if that’s what you want. Go find someplace to live that makes you finally feel like you are home.

‘We’ll never be royals, it don’t run in our blood’

Unless you get your food served on gold-plated china with a diamond-encrusted spork to match, then you unfortunately weren’t born into a royal family.

We have to work twice, if not three times as hard, since life didn’t hand us that beautiful, beautiful gene that Prince Harry and William have. But just because you might not be royalty it doesn’t mean you lack the opportunity to be great and do wonderful things.

‘We count our dollars on the train’

How many minimum wage jobs can one young person work at once? It seems like nowadays there is so much pressure to earn money and lots of it. We are also expected to make this wad of cash while maintaining a 4.0 GPA, being a community leader, having a social life, and watching marathons on Netflix—we can’t do it all!

So we struggle financially and we suck it up and deal with it. We appreciate the pennies we do have and try to spend wisely while we can…since we have no other choice.

‘We aren’t caught up in your love affair’

Focus on yourself, your goals, and your passions. Ignore the criticisms from those who belittle your ambitions. Don’t get wrapped up in the hype of what everyone else thinks and says is the happening thing to do or be. You will get lost and getting lost is scary.

‘Let me live that fantasy’

There is nothing wrong with living in this little fantasy world that you paint for yourself in your mind. Dream up a life that you have always imagined and then have the courage and determination to make it a reality.

You can be the queen bee.

Lisa Crocco: As a senior at Illinois State University double majoring in Public Relations and Political Science, I hope to one day work on political campaigns as part of the communication team.

I like to think I can speak Swedish, Spanish and sarcasm fluently, but I constantly fail at all three of those. Despite my hectic schedule of blogging, interning and compulsive list-making, I find time to nap, read and watch re-runs of the West Wing.

If you have any questions for me or would love to connect, reach out to me via Twitter or Email.

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Procrastination In Our Twenties & Why We Need To End It

27 Jun
ayearfromnow
 
I save EVERYTHING for the last possible minute.
 
And so the award for world’s biggest procrastinator goes to…ME!
 
It’s a terrible habbit, I know.
 
But I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re all kind of procrastinators. It almost seems as if society’s making the very act of procrastination quite acceptable.
 
Especially for us twenty-somethings.
 
We’re told a lie repeatedly…here it goes…
 
There’s plenty of time!  Don’t be in a rush!
 
We’re in our twenties…we have our whole lives ahead of us…no need to be in a hurry.
 
But here’s the thing…
 
When we think that we have plenty of time, we tend to do nothing.
 
Think about it…when we know that we have a week before that paper is due, we sit at home watching 100 episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Imagine what happens when whe think that we have our WHOLE LIVES to do something, with no deadline in sight. At what point do we actually get up and write that paper? At what point do we actually start?
 
Think about all the ideas you’ve ever had.
 
How many of them have you actually made happen?
 
When I graduated college, I had so many dreams. I had so many ideas.
 
 I had so much that I wanted to accomplish.
 
And even today, there are still so many things that I say I want to do.
 
Write a book.
 
Take a month-long vacation to Europe.
 
Change careers.
 
But for how long have I been saying that I want to do these things?
 
For a LONG TIME.
 
And yet, nothing’s happened.
 
Because I keep convincing myself that I have my whole life to do these things.  
 
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So at what point do we stop with all the talk and actually make things happen?
 
I really hope it’s soon.
 
Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade, argues the same principle in her book, which I highly recommend to anyone in their twenties. Basically, she argues that people in their twenties have been convinced by society that it’s okay to delay adulthood. 30 is the new 20! 40 is the new 30! So does that mean that we get an extra 10 years to do nothing? Because I’m not a fan of that.
 
We’ve been programed to think that we don’t have to make decisions. Not now, at least. We don’t have to start thinking about marriage. We don’t have to start thinking about a serious career. We don’t have to start thinking about buying a house. And why? Because we have our whole lives to think about those things!
 
Well, how about we actually start living our lives? How about we actually start making decisions?
 
How about we actually start making things happen?
 
Because yes, it’s a lot easier to procrastinate.
 
It’s a lot easier to relax, and watch How I Met Your Mother.
 
But if you don’t start making moves now, you’re going to regret it later.
 
You’ll wake up 10 years from now and you’ll realize that all those things you wanted to do…you haven’t done them.
 
And that trip you wanted to take… you haven’t taken it.
 
And you’ll be sad.
 
Because you’ll feel like you’ve wasted a whole lot of time.
 
Then, you’ll get discouraged.
 
Then slowly, and sometimes even without realizing it, you’ll give up on your dreams.
 
Then slowly, you’ll accept that you never accomplished those things that you once wanted so badly.
 
So let’s not let that happen.
 
Stop procrastinating, and get to it.
  
Those things that you want, you can have them.
 
What’s stopping you?
 
makethingshappen

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Prepare For Career Success

4 Jun

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This weekend I went shooting.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t that bad.

I didn’t shoot myself by accident…so pretty much, I did much better than I expected.

It’s not something I do every day, but I’m glad I did it.

Because for a long time, I’ve been scared of guns. Terrified, really.

And for that reason, I never thought I’d actually pick one up and shoot it.

But I figured that if I ever (God forbid) find myself in a situation where I DO need to know how to shoot to defend myself, I’ll be a lot more successful if I’m comfortable with the basic concepts, having practiced a few times at the shooting range.

I figured that I’d feel a bit more PREPARED.

And that being prepared would ultimately give me a huge advantage.

Because that’s the thing about preparation. It DOES often give you a huge advantage.

And it can make a world of a difference.

Observing people, I’ve seen that there are way too many college graduates that enter the workforce completely unprepared.

However, every once in a while you’ll find a few who are prepared.

Not ENTIRELY prepared, because let’s face it…most of the time we have no idea what we’re doing.

But some graduates know better…some graduates enter new jobs with a basic understanding of work.

How to dress…

E-mail etiquette…

Professional behavior…

How to deal with people who are different

How to deal with people who are mean…

These are all concepts that I guess some people just tend to take for granted.

Because these days, most universities offer ONE HUNDRED MILLION THOUSAND courses and classes all aimed at helping college students prepare for the real world.

They’re all aimed at making sure that college graduates are successful in the workforce

And well…that’s kind of nice.

But unfortunately, a lot of people think that these sessions are stupid.

Confession: I used to be one of those people who thought the sessions were stupid.

I used to think…I’ll figure it out when I get there.

I used to think…Why waste my time in college preparing for my first real job when I have a million other things to deal with?

But the value of these courses shouldn’t be overlooked.

And if they’re offered to you for FREE, I’m going to punch you in the face if you don’t take advantage of them.

Because you’ll ALWAYS learn something that you didn’t know before.

ALWAYS…as long as you’re willing to listen.

And at the end of the day, that preparation will give you a huge advantage.

That preparation will set you apart from the rest.

That preparation will ensure that you’re successful.

Because just like me and my ability to shoot a gun…you’ll be more comfortable with certain concepts if:

a. you’re familiar with them

b. you’ve practiced, and

c. you’re not caught off-guard.

So if you can, give them a shot. What do you have to lose?

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Why We Need To Get Over Our Fear of Rejection

25 Apr

rejection

Nobody likes the word NO.

It sucks, usually, when you want something and you just can’t have it.

No… you can’t have that job.

No… I won’t pay you $70k a year so you can pay off your student loans of a million dollars.

No… you can’t have that slice of pizza.

DAMNIT.

But let’s face it…

NO is definitely a word that we need to get used to.

Especially us young people at the very start of our careers.

Now, I won’t lie… I’ve always been one of those people who hates rejection.

I HATED applying for jobs and getting back that super annoying e-mail…

“Thank you for your interest…blah…blah…blah…but unfortunately, we’ve decided to move forward with other candidates that better qualify…blah…blah…blah.”

Translation: YOU ARE A LOSER.

I hated it SO much that for a long time, I just stopped applying.

Even to jobs that I really wanted.

Because I figured that at the very least, my inbox wasn’t full of rejection e-mails.

Life was good!

But after a while, I noticed that I wasn’t getting any offers either.

How could I? I wasn’t applying!

You see…that scary and vulnerable position that we put ourselves in that quite often leads to rejection…it’s the SAME position that also gets you what you want.

When it comes to your career, you need to learn to love the word NO.

Or at the very least, you need to stop being scared of it.

Because your career is NEVER going to be handed to you.

Nope…sorry.

You can’t just sit back, play X-Box all day, and expect that someone’s going to knock on your door and offer you your dream job.

That’s not the way it works.

You have to WORK for your career.

You have to ASK for what you want.

You have to take CHANCES.

And while you’re doing this, you’re going to hear NO every once in a while.

Maybe even all the time.

But it shouldn’t discourage you…

Because it means that you’re doing something right.

Think about it…

If you’re facing rejection…if you’re hearing the word NO…it means that you’re putting yourself out there.

It means that you’re taking chances. It means that you’re asking for what you want.

Sure, you’re giving other people the opportunity to say NO to you.

But you’re also giving them the opportunity to say YES.

So don’t be afraid of rejection.

Embrace it.

Learn to love it.

Because the more you hear the word NO, the less it’ll affect you.

And in the long run, you’ll take more risks.

And you’ll take more chances.

And you’ll ask for what you want.

And you’ll get it.

 

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Why Good Isn’t Good Enough

25 Jan

Good-is-the-Enemy-of-Great

I think a lot of people find me annoying.

Okay… I KNOW a lot of people find me annoying.

You see, I’m one of those nerds who’s always reading some kind of self-help/improvement/learn how to do something better-ish kind of book.

I mean, really, if you’re ever at Barnes & Noble, check out the self-help section…that’s where you’ll find me. ALWAYS.

There…I said it.

Most people are embarassed to admit that. They think that self-help books are just for losers.

But you know what? Last time I checked, wanting to do something better doesn’t make you a loser. Instead, it makes you the kind of person that refuses to settle…you should be proud of that.

How many of you have good jobs?

How many of you are in good relationships?

How many of you are good writers?

How many of you are good friends?

If you are, you need to be careful. Yea, careful. Because the minute that you accept that you’re “GOOD” at anything, more often than not, you STAY good at it.

Now, I hear you…

“What the heck is she talking about?”

“Why is it bad to be good at something?”

Why???? Here’s why…

Because it means that you settle for “GOOD” instead of working your ass off to get to “GREAT.”

If you don’t understand this, you need to read Jim Collins’ book…Good to Great.

Actually, even if you DO understand this, you should still read it. It’s kind of awesome.

Although the book primarily focuses on companies and organizations and their need to strive for excellence in everything that they do, the concept is very much applicable to our everyday lives.

You know, when you’re BAD at something, chances are that you put a lot of effort towards getting better. But here’s the problem…when you get to being GOOD at it, you usually stop trying.

YES!!!! I”M GOOD!!! SUCCESS!!

But why are we stopping at GOOD? Why is GOOD suddenly the best that there is?

In terms of your career, for example, is it good? If it IS good, what are you actively doing to take it to the next level?

Did you forget that there’s a next level?

In terms of your relationship…is everything good?

It is?! That’s wonderful!

But again, what are you actively doing to make it better?

What are you doing to make it GREAT?

If we settle for good, we’re missing out on a whole lot of potential. And if we’re actually aiming for good, well…quite frankly, we’re not aiming high enough.

I’m a big believer in continuous learning…in continuous improvement.

And you know why?

Because the moment you settle for good, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage…especially if you’re running a company in a competitive market.

The moment you settle for good, that’s where you stay.

And meanwhile, overachieving nerds, like myself, are doing everything in their power to get to the next level.

And then, those people surpass you.

And then, you get left behind.

Yea, you’re GOOD…

Congratulations!

But not good enough.

A Gen-Yer’s Hopes for 2013

13 Jan

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So I’m a little late here but I’m still gunna say it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2012 was wonderful to me in a lot of ways and I hope it was for you too.

But for some people, 2012 sucked. For some people, 2012 was the worst.

So here are my hopes for all of you…for everyone…my hopes for 2013…

I hope that you’ll do something different.

Even if it scares you.

Especially if it scares you.

I hope that you’ll discover something that you’re passionate about.

A person, a place, a thing…whatever.

I hope that you’ll travel.

Somewhere far and awesome.

I hope you’ll try to mend something that’s broken.

At the same time, I hope that you’ll accept that there are certain things that can’t be fixed and when that’s the case, I hope you’ll learn to move on and let go.

I hope you’ll find something that inspires you.

I hope that you’ll take risks, that you’ll take chances.

I hope that you won’t let fear immobilize you.

I hope you’ll stand up for something you believe in.

I hope you’ll be nice to those around you.

Even when you want to punch them in the face.

I hope that you’ll make a difference, even in the smallest of ways.

I hope you’ll save a bit of money.

I hope that you won’t take yourself too seriously.

I hope that you’ll get that job you want or that person you’ve been stalking on Facebook.

But when that doesn’t happen, I hope that you won’t get discouraged.

I hope that you’ll pick yourself up and work twice as hard to get something better.

I hope that you’ll realize that life is really short and because of that, you won’t indulge yourself in petty arguments about stuff that DOESN’T matter.

Instead, I hope you’ll spend more time with the people and things that DO matter.

I hope that you’ll make friends.

I hope that you’ll take every opportunity.

I hope that you’ll learn something new.

Even if it’s by reading Wikipedia.

I hope that you’ll be courageous.

Because we need more people in the world like that.

I hope you’ll be a little silly.

I hope that you’ll laugh at yourself for it.

And I hope that you won’t have regrets.

Because regrets suck.

But more than anything, I hope that you’ll believe that 2013 will be better.

I hope that you’ll make sure of it.

Because what I love most about a new year is the chance at a fresh start.

A chance to BE better and DO better.

And we can do that, but we have to want it.

Best of luck to all of you.

How to Not Be Utterly Depressed About the Fact that Summer’s Over

20 Aug

Today’s a very sad day for a lot of people.

Look around you…People are not thrilled about the fact that it’s Monday.

But it’s not just any Monday.

For most of us, school has started.

Summer’s over.

Therefore, this is the worst day ever.

Goodbye, days of sleeping in until 2pm.

Goodbye, days of going to the beach and passing out drunk in the sand.

Goodbye, days where the biggest source of frustration is that moment when your remote control runs out of battery and you have to get up, out of bed, to change the channel.

It’s all over.

All the good stuff‘s over.

Life sucks.

Now I honestly haven’t had a real summer in quite some time since I’ve been doing this thing called working and going to school and having no life. But I can still remember feeling anxious about the school year beginning, trying to cram as much awesomeness into those last days of freedom.

You see, with the end of summer, there always came this inexplicable sense of dread.

But you know what? I don’t feel that way anymore. I actually seem to think that the end of summer is quite wonderful.

There’s a sense of promise that the school year brings.

So much yet to be accomplished.  

So rather than crying about the fact that summer’s over,  how about you embrace the sense of hope that comes from the beginning of fall?

I mean, what do you hope to accomplish this year?

Think about it.

Buy yourself a planner. Set your goals.

Now’s the time to do so.

The great thing about the end of summer is that you get a new start.

Maybe you royally screwed up last year.

Maybe you ended up with a 1.75 GPA last semester.

Maybe you graduated high school ranked 300/301.

Maybe you’ve just been a jerk to people lately.

That’s okay.

Because now you get a chance to make things better.

This semester, actually study.

This semester, really go to the gym.

This year, work on not being an a-hole to people.

Spend this season working non-stop to reach your goals.

And your life will be better.

Yes, the summer was awesome.

But the fall will be too.

Make sure of it.

Don’t Wait. Be Happy Now.

28 May

We’ve been lied to all our lives. You know that, right?

We’ve been taught, through society, through movies, through our parents even, that things are always going to be better in the future.

From as early as elementary school, we look at the middle schoolers and think they’re so cool. We can’t wait to be just like them. So we spend our days dreaming of what it’ll be like to be in middle school, failing to understand that those are some of the most awkward years of our lives.

Later when we make it past those awkward years, we’re in high school. As freshmen we look at the seniors and can’t freaking wait to be the oldest. We can’t wait to go to prom, our senior trip, for graduation even.

Then we’re seniors and we go to prom, we go on our senior trip, we graduate. But by the time we get there, we’re too busy focusing on college acceptance letters to really enjoy those things that we looked forward to for so many years.  It passes by just like that.

It’s kind of sad.

In college we bitch and complain about the amount of work we have to do. We hate being in the library, studying. We look forward to graduation. We think that it’ll all be better when we have jobs, when we’re making money. We’ll be working hard, but at least we’ll be making money. Surely, this is when we’ll be happy…

Then we finally get jobs! Most of us, anyway. And when people ask us if we’re happy we say something like…”well, not right now, but I know that once I get a promotion, I’ll be happy…this is an entry level job  and I hate it, but I’ve got to start somewhere.”

Then we get promoted and we’re still not satisfied.

So tell me, when are we happy?

Once I make partner…

Once I have a house…

Once I find a husband…

Once I have kids, that’s when everything will be okay.

Once I travel to Europe…

Once I get my Masters degree…

Once I get my PhD…

Now let’s see…

I, personally, haven’t done any of those things. So what does that mean? Does that mean that the past 21 years of my life have been a total waste? Because that would really suck.

It’s no secret that people want to be happy. There are 505682894735 million books written on happiness, the secret of happiness, how to understand happiness so you can be happy, etc. etc. etc.

So why aren’t we?!

I have a huge problem with people who tell me not to worry, that I have all the time in the world ahead of me to do the things I want to do. I hate it because it makes me focus so much on the future that in doing so, I lose sight of what’s in the present.

I think this happens to a lot of people.

So if you want to do something, please do it.

If you want to change careers, please do so.

If you want to get your masters, go for it.

If you want to start a company, who’s stopping you?

Just do it NOW and love every second of it.

But  in doing all the things you want to do, make sure that you’re actually living your life. Make sure that every day you stop for a second and appreciate everything that you have because it’ll pass you by and you”ll miss it.

You can be happy now. Today, not tomorrow. Not five years from now.

Happiness doesn’t depend upon your next accomplishment. Because if you’re awesome, you’re always going to have another success ahead of you, another milestone to reach.

And really, it would be such a tragedy to have never enjoyed life because you spent all your time thinking about the future.

Ruin the Curve For Everyone

9 May

Ruin the curve for everyone. Dare to be exceptional.

Raise the bar high and never apologize for it.

Check out my full post here at University Ave.

Work Lessons From The Hunger Games

3 Apr

So by now I’m sure everyone’s tired of hearing about the Hunger Games. But too bad. I’m still going to write about it. Yea, there are a lot of people annoyed by yet another teen love triangle but I have to say, I picked up some essential business lessons while watching the movie and paying $17 for popcorn and a soda.

Here are some of them…

Work Lessons From The Hunger Games

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