Set for Success in Year 4

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Happy Friday, because it’s been a long week. After the last first week of my undergraduate career—hopefully—I can already see the time counting down in front of me. While I’m an English major, this quarter I’m getting more into my minor classes and it’s quite different from what I’m used to doing. 

I mean, I usually study English and literature and meanings and write essays… Now I’m working in Illustrator, learning the Adobe software, and getting a kick start in digital art.

Plus doing a good amount of fiction writing in the process.

All of it got me thinking, I’m coming to the end of my undergraduate career and this is a good time as any to throw what I’ve learned out to all of you—because I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and mishaps. Maybe you will all get a chance to learn from them and the lessons I found along the way.

So here we go:

7 ways to make the most out of a new beginning

Don’t hesitate

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A lot of times, when we’re getting into something we haven’t done before whether it’s a promotion at a company or a new school year, we hold ourselves back a little bit. I mean, it’s hard not to when you don’t know what’s coming next. But that’s okay. If you have a chance to learn or get lunch with the boss, do it. If your professor seems to single you out in class, you’d better get on it and know your stuff then. This even goes for meeting new people and throwing all your cards on the table–if you’re going to do something, do it all the way. Do not hesitate. Give it all you’ve got. 

Invest in yourself

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This goes along with the first one, you only get out as much as you put in. So if you’re trying to succeed, set yourself up for it. Do your work early, do your best in the time you have, don’t be afraid of testing the boundaries of what you know. There are only so many ways to learn and sometimes you can surprise yourself. If there is someone around that you just need to know so you can pick their brain or learn from them, go for it! Networking is a part of everything we do once we get past high school, make the most of it. 

Ask Questions

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I know when I walk into new things, I always worry about doing something wrong or not knowing how to be perfect. But the thing is, part of a job is learning as you go; you’re never going to be taught everything you need to know. Just like the rest of our lives, some things are best learned through experience. If you don’t know how to get an assignment done and can’t problem solve on your own, ask. There is a reason there will always be someone who knows a little bit more than we do. Why not use that?

Be shameless

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Now I put this one in here with a grain of salt—be shameless, but in the way that you’re willing to learn and do what it takes to be the best you can be. That doesn’t mean wiping out your moral compass, stepping on other people, or compromising your integrity in the process. You know your own boundaries, you know how you usually work. Own it and do your thing.

Know your potential

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Even when we work really hard for something, a lot of us have a tendency to downplay just how good we really are. Don’t. If you get hired or chosen or decide to pursue something for yourself, have some faith. Sure, we make wrong turns and risky decisions sometimes. But none of us will get anywhere if we’re so busy being humble or insecure that we can’t find the space to grow from there. You are the only person you will always have. You may as well be your number 1 advocate. 

Use your resources

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There is a reason schools have counseling centers or financial aid offices, just like all jobs have a bosses and HR departments. Use them if you need them. After 4 years in college, I’ve found that some people don’t like using the resources around them because they can feel like handouts or as if they can’t be on the same level as everyone else… I understand that, but I also understand that the resources are there and you’re probably already paying for it. Success isn’t all raw talent, athletes need to train and students need to study. Both use resources to get all that done, so why can’t you? You deserve the best for yourself, this is simply setting up for success.

Ask for help

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When in doubt, ask someone. I remember my first few jobs, I ran into so many questions from how to cancel a transaction to where the break room was. And I was almost always afraid to ask because I felt like I should have known. In hindsight, that makes no sense as we all only know things because we are either taught or we can teach ourselves. Some things can’t be self-taught. Save yourself the anxiety, time, and probably discomfort; just ask. I know as a senior in my workplace, I’ve come to train a lot of newbs and first time retail students; I would much rather someone ask me if something is okay or how to do it than have them do it wrong. Then that’s more work for me and mistakes that might come back for them later. Help me help you. Ask for what you need.

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It’s year 4 and even though there are only seven things on this list, I’m sure I could make a much longer one if that’s really what you want. But these seven, I feel like they’ve really helped me grow and push my own limits in college. There are only so many ways to make the most of something and these are some of the ones that I know quite well.

If you’re on a journey in something new, testing boundaries, or just pushing yourself a bit, maybe one of these will help you find a balance in that success.

I know they have for me. And hey, if you’ve got any favorites to share, feel free to put those in the comments because I would love to hear it. Otherwise, happy Friday.

Have a lovely weekend. 

Taking On a New Beginning

simon-matzinger-603033-unsplashWhether you’re starting off at a new school, taking on another year of your journey, tackling a new job, or finding your feet, this post is for you.

Beginnings are terrifying, no matter what it looks like. Going into college, I was excited but also scared. Starting my job at Target this summer, it was a lot to adjust to. Even starting a new novel that I’m ready to take on still holds a lot of uncertainty.

Because each of them has a starting point, somewhere to begin. But not a single one of them has a plan once that beginning is over.

There is no roadmap for what happens next.

And that part terrifies me. If the concept of not knowing what can happen next doesn’t scare you, at least a little, first of all I need to know how you conquered the epitome of adulting. And second of all, I need to know if a beginning can possible still hold all the possibility it does without a little fear mixed in. Because it seems like every new step has something uncertain to go with it.

And personally, that’s how I know it’s okay.

I’ve been out of high school for two years now and I’m about to be a junior in college. A junior. I know people say this a lot, but time really does pass you by whether those times were easy or not. I’m at the point in my life where I’m supposed to have things figured out now, at least have some idea of where I’m going. And I have that.

But I don’t know how to get there. There isn’t a list of to-do’s that I need to check off or a step-by-step layout of how to succeed, sometimes we have to take on new things even when we don’t know how it’s going to work out. I’ve been told that in this scenario, you can be one of three people:

Some people just wing it constantly and end up right where they need to be.

Meanwhile, other people have things all planned out— t’s crossed and i’s dotted— before they end up where they need to be.

And of course, you can’t forget the people who haven’t quite gotten to where they want to be yet. Does that mean they should settle with where they are or should they go all in?

What about person #4, those whos don’t fit into any of these three people— you might have a bit of person one mixed with person three, etc. There has to be some way to find a balance and find your path in the process.

Having only three options is never this simple.


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When it comes to new beginnings, the only thing that can hold you back is yourself. If your scared, that’s okay. You’re starting off on something new and it’s supposed to be fun and exciting, plus a little bit crazy. It’s supposed to scare you.

None of us are perfect and even when there is a plan for everything you plan to do, you can’t plan for what someone else might do. All you need to get going is a starting point.

If i’m being honest, that’s the only thing you can count on. The rest will let the pieces fall where they may.

Don’t use a plan or a roadmap as a crutch rather than another starting point.

Something I’m beginning to understand as I take on more beginnings in my life is that you only get out of them as much as you put in; if you hold on too tightly to what you think it should look like, it will never be as good as it could be.

So be person #4. Find your own balance between winging it and planning things out— don’t settle until you’re happy enough to be okay with it. If it’s a new year or a new school with new people, figure out who you want to be and be that person, let yourself fail at a few things until you find your feet. If it’s a new job or the beginning of a

journey you haven’t quite defined yet, trust yourself. Trust that you can handle whatever comes your way.

Make this next beginning everything you want it to be, even if it’s not on your first try. Just keep going. Because beginnings are kind of beautiful and they’re the only guaranteed part of the process. So make the most of it. And good luck to all of us.

Here’s to whatever comes next.

The 7 Necessities of Sanity

nick-morrison-325805-unsplash.jpgWelcome to week 10 of my quarter, where I have four essays and three final exams to go within the next week— and that’s just academically. So today I’m going to keep it short.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when things get busy, I tend to skip meals or sleep, missing out on what I really need to be doing to keep myself going in the process. Since we’re all human and I’m probably not the only one who does this, here’s a little list for you (and a reminder for me) of 7 things you can do to keep yourself sane when life gets hectic.

One– Music

juliane-mergener-657310-unsplash.jpgDid you know that there’s a song called Weightless by Marconi Union that is proven to reduce anxiety by 65%, designed specifically to reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and reduce your heart rate? Not only can music help calm you down, but it can also just give you a quick break in the middle of a busy day. So grab some headphones, pick a playlist, sit back, and relax for a minute.

Two– Food

As I like to remind my dad who always seems to forget food, you can’t be productive without bringing anything to sustain yourself. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the key thing is to remember to actually eat all three meals in one day. Sustenance is important! Can’t do anything well on an empty stomach right?

Three– Netflix

Need I say more?

Four– Breaks

bewakoof-com-official-205686-unsplashEven while burnout is more common over the course of a year, it’s also possible in a day— on a smaller scale, but still. A lot of us have a tendency to go full speed ahead all the time, forgetting that even while we may not have completely finished a task, it’s six hours later and we haven’t taken a single break. Just to keep yourself sane, remember to take breaks whether they’re for a snack, a shower, a walk, etc. Make a little time for what is important.

Five– Get Up, Get Out

A change of scenery can do wonders for productivity. I know I can get in this mode of practicing problem after problem or re-reading essays so much in the same place that it starts to feel very trite very quickly. Sometimes a walk or a quick tea break can help.

Six– Phone a Friend

Well, maybe you don’t have to call them, but a friendly face/voice can always be a comfort when things get really busy. I know that people think my generation doesn’t know how to value real social contact, but I can tell you that definitely appreciate taking breaks just to talk to someone or catch up for a minute. That being said, if you’re anything like me, it’s a slippery slope between a five minute call and an two hour one.

Seven– Breathe

joshua-rawson-harris-665620-unsplash-e1528509705179.jpgStop for a second. Whether you’ve been going all day or just really need to grind, a lot of times I know I forget that air is supposed to be moving in and out of my lungs in the process. But just like food, oxygen is necessary to keep going and good for the soul. Remember to take a step back a breathe for a moment. Then it’s back to work.

So with that, I will leave you with these seven tips and good luck with anything you’ve got going on these days. Have a great weekend everyone!