Category Archives: College
It’s summer time!! With no school work or studying for the next few months, you finally have plenty of time to have fun and do the things you really want to do. You can go outside and play ball with some friends, play video games, make crafts, draw pictures, watch movies, catch up on all your TV shows, sleep in….
But when’s the last time you picked up a book and spent some time READING?
A lot of kids unfortunately think that reading is “uncool.” Only nerds read. Or they think, I have to read so much during the school year, why would I want to read more than I have to? Or, reading is too much work. It’s way easier and more relaxing to just lay out on the couch and turn on the TV.
There are tons of reasons why you should put down the controller, or turn off the TV, and pick up a book. Here are some examples:
- Reading makes you smarter. Really, it does. Reading the words on page after page, thinking through what’s going on in the story, and using your imagination to visualize it all exercises your brain. Reading a story takes a lot more effort and brain power than mindlessly watching something on TV, or scrolling through Facebook posts.
- Reading expands your vocabulary. You’ll most likely run into words that you don’t know the meaning of, and have to look them up. And/or you’ll read a lot of big, long words that a lot of people don’t really use in everyday conversations.
- Reading reduces stress. And it’s so relaxing! Books are such a great escape from the real world… no matter what’s going on in your life, you can pick up your book, block out everything else, and get lost in the story. You can get completely emotionally invested in a fantasy world.
- You can learn from books. Sure, you can learn from TV shows and movies, too. Books can teach you about different cultures, different lifestyles, different types of people, and all kinds of stuff.
- Reading improves concentration. Obviously… you need to be focused in order to read something, especially for such long periods of time.
- Reading improves your imagination. Again, you need to visualize the place, the people, and everything that’s going on!
- Reading develops empathy. When you do become so emotionally invested in a story, you can feel the emotions the characters are feeling, and/or imagine how you would feel if you were there, too.
- Reading can help you become a better writer. If you read a lot of different people’s writing, you can learn different writing styles and see different ways of wording things.
- Reading helps develop your cognitive skills, and can even prevent neurological diseases, like dementia.
- Reading will help you do better in school, and prepare for college (because of your better writing skills, better concentration, expanded vocabulary, etc.)
Having a good hobby like reading can also help you stay out of trouble. What do teens often do when they’re bored? They can get mixed up in some not so cool stuff.
There’s still a lot of summer left, go down to the book store or library and pick yourself up a few good books!!
With school coming to an end and all your final projects, papers, presentations, and exams just around the corner, it is easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of work you need to get done. You are excited about the small amount of time left until summer, but at the same time you’re nervous because it feels like there is not enough time to get everything done. Panic sets in and stress begins to creep into your life. You feel tense, and your sleeping patterns may be way off.
Do not let stress take hold of your life these last few weeks of school. Instead, defeat the stress and have a smoother ending to your school year. How? Don’t worry. We’ve got your back with some easy tips for you to follow to be stress-less:
1) Dance it out
There is nothing like getting up out of your seat, turning up your favorite tunes, and shaking off the stress by dancing. Just stand up, and take a few moments to let it all out. Not only is it fun, but it also helps you relieve some of the tension that has built up in your muscles and it helps clear your mind. And if you are by yourself, you can dance as goofy as you want! If you’re with friends, turn it into a dance party!
2) Go for a walk
Summer is getting closer, and that means more sunny days are ahead. Go take a walk in the sunshine and warm weather. Don’t rush, but relax and take your time. Look at your surroundings, breathe in the clean air, listen to the sounds, and just pay attention to the little things and enjoy them. Don’t get so busy that you don’t notice the beauty in the little things in life.
3) Talk about it
Time to call your BFF or go to someone you trust and VENT. Sometimes that is all we need to see clearly through the cluttered mess that our lives turn into. Talk to someone and share what is stressing you out. Sometimes talking through things with someone helps you realize something you didn’t see before, and you get an outside perspective from someone else. Sometimes, all you need are words of encouragement and someone who can tell you, “You can do this!” So, don’t just sit there. Turn to someone and get your stress off your chest.
Take a few deep breaths in and out. When you are stressed, your breathing pattern actually changes as part of a “fight or flight” mode. Controlling your breathing helps you relieve some of the stress you have built up. Why do you think breathing is such a key component in yoga?
5) Go to bed earlier
You are not doing yourself or anyone else any favors by staying up late into the night. Not only does less sleep have the potential to increase stress, it also lowers your performance level. High stress and bad performance is not a good combination. If it can wait another day, it can wait another day. Getting a good nights sleep will help your stress and help you be more efficient during your day as well.
6) Focus on what you can control
Sometimes we put so much on ourselves and some of those things are just out of our control. Make notes of the things you do have control over and write them down in a “to-do” list. Do not carry more than you need to.
7) Reminiscence about good times/laugh
Sometimes, when I have been working on homework and projects for a long time, I’ll take a break and go through my Facebook pictures. I’ll look through some old memories and good times with friends and family, and it brings a smile to my face. It helps to ease my mind and settle my thoughts. You can also watch some funny videos. Make sure to leave room for laughter in your day. It’s a good reminder that all is well and life is good.
8) Ask for a hug
I don’t know about you, but I love hugs. Friends will ask me how I am doing and I will sometimes respond with, “I just need a hug.” There is no better feeling than a tight hug from a close friend to help squeeze out some of the stress and remind me that I am loved and cared about.
9) Look for opportunities in life’s challenges
When we are presented with a challenge, like a paper or test, we tend to look at the negative side. “This paper is so long!” or “This test is going to be so hard!” We focus so much on the negative that we fail to see the positive in the work that we are doing. Why not make a list of the opportunities and good things you get out of the assignments you have?
Why smile? Because at the end of the day, everything will be okay and you will get through this. You have done it before and you can do it again. So, smile and remember you can do this and you are close to the finish line. Finish strong and stress-less.
Need a job? On top of job applications, many companies prefer applicants to give them a resume. Sometimes they only want resumes and don’t even give out applications. First off, don’t be scared of writing a resume if you’ve never made one before. It may seem intimidating at first, but having one can greatly impact your chance of getting that job you want.
You may be thinking that you can’t build a resume because you have never had any “real” work experience. That is not true. Whether you realize it or not, you actually have a lot you can put on your resume!
A resume is basically all of your skills and experience written out neatly in a list for employers to easily and quickly look over. So, start with just making a list. By writing a list, you will have all the information you need to build a resume right in front of you. Then all you need to do is format it. (Don’t worry, I’ll help you with this step later.)
List your name and contact information, like your address, phone number and email. Then list your education. Write the name of your high school and your year of graduation, even if you haven’t graduated yet. For example, list “Class of 2015.” This shows the person looking at your application that you are working towards graduating from high school, which is an important and valuable accomplishment in the job world. If you have any college experience, even if only one term, write that down too.
Next, list your achievements and any awards you’ve gotten. If you’re proud of your high GPA, write it down! If you’ve made honor roll, or gotten any other award at school, write that down, too.
Then list your work and volunteer service. Did you have a summer job last year? Did you mow your neighbor’s lawn on a regular basis? Did you babysit your siblings or neighbor kids? Were you part of a club in high school that did projects around school? Have you volunteered anywhere? Write it down. All of these things are important because it shows the employer that you have valuable experience and skills.
Next, write down any skills you have that would be important to have at the job. Are your responsible? A hard worker? Are you able to use PC’s an/or Mac’s well? Do you get along well with other people? Are you outgoing? Are you organized? Write any thing like these that apply to you. These gives the employer an idea of who you are as a person.
The last part of your list should include all of your activities. Did you play a sport in high school? Are you in the band, choir, or orchestra? Did you win any awards in any of these activities? Write it all down.
That took a while. But now you have everything you need for your resume! YAY!!
Now, before you start to build your own, look at some sample resumes so you can get an idea of what one should look like. Google is a great resource. Here is a link to another website with lots of different examples.
Here is a sample resume for someone with little or no work experience:
Arlington High School, Arlington, Virginia
2002 – 2006
2004 – Present
• Provide pet sitting services including dog walking, feeding and yard care.
2002 – Present
• Provide child care for several families after school, weekends and during school vacations.
• Big Brother / Big Sisters
• Arlington Literacy Program
• Run for Life
Interests / Activities
• Member of Arlington High School Tennis Team
• Girl Scout
• Proficient with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and Internet
Once you feel comfortable with the format, begin building your own. At the top center of your resume, list your contact information. Make sure you don’t use a “silly” email that you made back in middle or elementary school. If you need, make a new account on gmail (for free!!) that uses a more professional looking email. For example, use a combination of your name, initials, and birthdate/graduation year. Lets pretend your name is “John Smith” and you were born in 1996 and you are graduating this spring (2014). Here are some possibilities:
After you list your contact information, continue entering information from your list into the format you chose to use. Generally, you should begin with your education history, then your work/volunteer experience, then positive qualities and skills, and finish up with activities such as sports or music.
Print your resume on white or light cream paper using size 11 or 12 point font. Do not use a fancy font, a simple Times New Roman or similar font is all you need. Any other font can be hard to read and distracting, not to mention look unprofessional, and might even discourage someone from hiring you.
Before you submit your resume, PROOFREAD it! Think you already proofread? Proofread again. And then have someone else look at it. After they have looked at it, bring it to someone else. You want your resume to be 100% error-free. TRUST ME.
Congratulations! You now have a resume!
As time goes on, keep your resume up to date with new education, work, or volunteer experience. This way, you will always have it on hand for when you need it!