Monday, January 28, 2008
Underacheiving, as is explained above, leads to a sense of failure and worthlessness. These feelings are not conducive to future success. They cause you to feel hopeless, and without control of your life. Those who put no effort into their schooling, are unlikely to be satisfied with their education.
Maybe you're in a band, or maybe you have a girlfriend or boyfriend that makes you feel fulfilled. Either way, school is still a big part of your life. It's something you face multiple times a week, and it's very expensive. So it's bound to get you down if you are doing below what you think you're capable of.
Put in the time, and get your homework done. Do the assigned readings, and take notes. This is a key to feeling GOOD about yourself. Which is a key to acheiving your goals. Doing well in school is a very tangible acheivment, and it's just the acheivment you need to get into the mindset of success!
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I know I've experienced this personally, and have heard friends and family spout these sorts of images. They not only seem like good ideas. They are great ideas. We just need to learn to set these goals and achieve them. Like my idea for a greeting card company. This has been done. And successfully. It is my own lack of follow through that makes it so unfeasible.
That's why I challenge you, anyone who reads this, to look within yourself and realize a goal you've had, one which is feasible, and to get started on inching your way into the dream of being self-made. Get your blog or website of the ground. Start designing your own clothing line. Or set up a fashion show at your local bar, and get sponsors, and make it the biggest party your town has ever seen.
If you can imagine it. You can accomplish it.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Starting a new job and school simultaneously on Tuesday was a wake up call. I hadn't been so busy in weeks, and my system is taking the shock in stride. I'm tired. Really tired.
I realize that I've now got to get my daily schedule into gear. This means putting off going out until the weekends. Nights out disrupt the system, as they make it nearly impossible to prepare for the next day.
My last three years of college have not consisted of much scheduling, and it has made it difficult, but lacking a schedule leaves me tired at inconvenient times, and makes focusing difficult. A sleep schedule will help my performance in school and work, and increase my efficiency. Thus, I am making a pledge to:
Not go out during the week.
Be awake by 8:15 each morning.
Be in bed by 11:15 each night.
Prepare for the next day hours before I go to sleep.
And start exercising withing a week.
Exercise is supposed to help one fall asleep faster. And dealing with stressful situations, like doing homework, and making preperations for the next day make it more difficult to fall asleep, thus they are better done a couple of hours before one goes to sleep.
This will be a difficult schedule to stick to, and I will be posting my progress in an honest fashion. As a senior in college, I have had my time to be the typical college student (perhaps even some extra time) and now, it is time to reconsider my lifestyle choices, and prepare for a future that is right around the corner.
Root for me!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I'm not sure how the cultural climate in America has changed since the sixties and seventies, but the imagery of protests we see captured in history books and documentaries seems non existent today. Though there may be a small protest here and there, it seems that today's youth keep their anger about the government to themselves.
I don't mean to scoff at them. I am one of them. I am severly angered by the disconnect between the rhetoric of politicians and that of the general population. They don't speak to us. They speak at us. They condescend to us. They don't tell us their true intentions. They use flowery euphamisms that appeal to masses.
Of the democratic candidates, I feel like if I were to talk with Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama, that neither of them would say one honest thing in the course of a conversation. John Edwards, on the other hand, makes a clear commitment to helping middle class Americans. He emphasizes his understanding of what it's like to live in the middle class, and it makes me feel as though he truly can relate. The other candidates seem jaded and power hungry.
Out of the Republicans, I am honestly disgusted that Mike Huckabee has one a single primary, let alone the Iowa caucus. He is clearly attempting to recreate Bush's platform of faith as he does his best to woo the large but narrow minded religious right. These sort of tactics will destroy internal relations among Americans. At least half, if not more, of Americans will not allow themselves to be governed by faith they do not share. And I do not mean to say that the president cannot be a religious person, but if he intends to mend our constitution, or to rule with a religous dogma, this sect of American's will not tolerate it. They have had enough of Bush. We have all had enough of Bush. Huckabee is Bush 2.0.
As for us, Generation Y, sometime in the near future, if we do not begin to take seriously our roles as future keepers of the world, we will lose them, and we will begin to drift into decentralized unit, with civil war(s) obliterating us all off the face of the Earth.
What we need to do is band together on a global scale and put our energy into preventing global warming.
I wasn't too depressed, however, I'm still very skeptical of my ability to continually get up at 8:30 for 9:30 French class. It's strange, because in high school, class started at 7:40, and I don't remember having too much trouble getting up for that. But now, waking up at 8:30 is a struggle. If I can adjust to this, it will be for the best, as I do well as a morning person when I am completely awake.
I wasn't the oldest in my French class either. There was a twenty-five year old and a twenty-two year old. I bet your wondering how I knew that.
Well, instead of saying our name, where we're from, and our major, the teacher-- a young, sassy French (redundant, huh?) woman named Laurine-- had us say our name, where we're from, and our age. It was as though she were catering to my curiosity.
The class, as I know it, will be run somewhat slow. We'll do 9 chapters over 15 weeks. It's a bit agonizing for me, as I'm more than ready to charge at full speed through beginner French. Which brings me to one of the education systems greatest flaws.
It's as though they took a poll of all of the students, and for each class decided on an average student, and how he ought to learn. This completely displaces the rest of the students who fall either way behind, or way ahead of this alleged curve.
It's a bit agonizing to sit and endure a class that you feel is moving far too slowly. Very agonizing even.
So, on that note. Stop being bad at French kids. And stop wasting my time.
Monday, January 21, 2008
They performed a study on the moods of men and women with varying levels of income, and the results showed about an 11% difference is time spent happy, with incomes of 100k presenting with 11% more time spent happy. They also found that people with lower incomes spent 10% more of their time in leisure pursuits. No surprise there.
When deciding on a career path, income is something that we must take into consideration. Those of us who grew up in upper-middle class families have to consider whether or not their career paths will help them to maintain that lifestyle. But they must decide how important it is to maintain.
Potentially fulfilling jobs like teaching, which allow for takers to be involved in their more artistic or academic pursuits as part of their career, are off putting due to their repuation as low-income jobs.
Some people resort to more harrowing jobs like insurance sales, which can be very lucrative, in order to satisfy their hunger for a good income. However, there is an equation that everyone ought to consider when picking out their job.
More Money = More Wants
According to economist Richard Easterlin, who conducted a survey of 1500 people over a three decade time span, Wealth doesn't necessarily lead to joy and contentment. His findings also concluded that People with more money usually want more things.
Of course, there are issues of personal standards, and one shouldn't settle. But it is important to consider that making more money, isn't always the most important issue. Factors such as job quality affect quality of life, rich or not.
It seems that around every corner, some aspect of business is "going digital." Ticket agents are using Tix.com instead of their own databases. TV networks are posting their series on the web the day after they air. And here I am, blogging like a maniac.
In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to try and stay above the curve. Professional bloggers are sprouting like AOL users back in the 90's. If you look at an array of blogs, you'll notice the google adwords sewn amidst the content in many of them, in addition to banners and, on the more popular blogs, national advertisers. Whenever you see these, the owner of that blog is getting paid.
Of course more popular blogs yield much bigger profits than the unknown ones. But attaining these levels of traffic is not as easy as it was to start the blog.
You need good content. You have to be writing about something people either need or want to know about. Check out the most popular blogs. You'll find a couple celebrity gossip websites in the top 10, and a few gadget/technology ones, too. Obviously, to do the former, you'll have to find a way to get in the loop on celebrity gossip, and the latter, you'd have to know a thing or two about gadgets.
Luckily, you can learn from the blogs already in existence.
While anyone can write a blog for any reason, it's beneficial to consider the ways in which a blog can help your career. Check out blogs like Penelope Trunk's The Brazen Careerist, and Rebecca Thorman's Modite.com. These are two popular bloggers who have managed to integrate the personal and professional lives into popular blogs. An ideal mixture if you ask me.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Have you ever had the desire to start up your business? If you didn't go through with it, what was it that stopped you? Did you believe that y0u could actually succeed with it? If you were skeptical, then keep reading.
It's true: many people like to throw around ideas about how to better their lives while never actually engaging in activities to fulfill those ideas. I've experienced it myself.
Just a few months ago I had convinced myself that I would start up a greeting card company, and sell greeting cards all over town. I had even conceived of feasible methods by which I would be able to attain these goals.
But here I am, months later, and I have yet to make even one greeting card.
The point isn't that ideas like these are ridiculous. In fact, it is on these ideas by which the most successful people around were made. The point is that one needs to know how to motivate his or herself into actively pursuing these ideas.
You should have a specific list of goals every step of the way. Write them down, and post them on your walls in your apartment or house. Check off goals that you have achieved, and remind yourself each day of what you have yet to do.
Another difficulty we have in pursuing ideas is belief in ourselves. When others believe in us, we are more likely to believe in ourselves. So write up a business plan and create a presentation. And show it around to your family members, and close friends,. Solicit investments. While you may not be making profits, having investors is a push that may send you into overdrive on achieving your goals.
Avoid Overwhelming Debt-
As it is a sad fact that many small business will inevitably fail, it is important not to put yourself at too much risk while pursuing your goals. Do not take out a large loan if you cannot be sure that you will be able to pay it off. This will affect your mood negatively, andit will add desperation and stress into your work. You want to be cool and collected when starting up a business venture because your mood will reflect in your work!
It's always important to pursue our instincts. If you have always had the instinct to pursue a home business, or be an entrepreneur, consider yourself lucky, and utilize that drive. If you are careful and persistent, you have a much better chance at being a success.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Your three or four years into college. Maybe you've just graduated. You're smart, you've done well in school, and maybe you've got a shiny new degree in business up on the wall. Everything seems peachy keen. If this is the case, then you might be ignoring the thousands of dollars in student loans you've taken out to get here.
If you're like me, and you chose an out-of-state school, there's a good chance that you're student loans amounted upwards of 50k. There's no question, that's a lot of money. And when it hits you (and it will) you'll probably freak out a little.
Alright now. Breathe.
After you graduate, you automatically get a six month grace period in which you are not required to make payments. Sometimes, you can apply for another deferment, in which you can get up to six months more in which to get a job, and start making monthly payments.
Most of the time, student loans of that size can be paid over a long time. Up to 30 years, even. And the interest rates on student loans-- ranging anywhere from 6-11%-- are often a lot cheaper than with credit cards and other sorts of loans. However, monthly payments, which can be up to $1,000 monthly (even higher) can be simply out of reach for many, if not most, recent college grads. But there are options out there that may help you relieve some of that burden.
Check out studentfinancialadvisors.com. Also, look into companies like Sallie Mae, and other companies that do refinancing on student loans. You may be able to reduce your monthly payment to a much more affordable rate.
Some government jobs, like teaching and jobs in the military, offer a repayment program in order to relieve employees of their student debts.
In any case, if you do enough research, there is a good chance that you'll be able to find ways to relieve the burden of an overwhelming monthly payment. So explore different options. You're likely to be part of the population who pays off student loans for the rest of their lives. Make the best of it. And one day, you might just be able to pay off those loans.
Friday, January 18, 2008
As I was reading other blogs about the transition to from college to career, I came across a term that I think is worth discussing: Post-College Depression.
The likely causes of a post-college depression would be the realization that one has no idea how to survive on their own. That school is over, and it's time to work on a career. The word career, itself, might strike a depressing chord in the heads of wandering twenty somethings.
As we see the trend of moving back in with mom and dad becoming more popular, so might the numbers of those suffering from post-college depression increase. Let's face it. Most parents will never see their children like adults. And the last things any young adult trying to stand out on his own wants, is to be treated like a kid. He/she needs respect. They need to know their word is meaningful and poignant. And having to ask mom and dad for money to go out, just kills any chance for this sense of self.
So what are we to do? Let the fear of the real world scare us into the ground. Sit around moping? No. We take action.
As I mentioned in my tips for job hunting, persistence is the key! If the cause of post-college depression, is a fear of the world, then we must persist in challenging those fears. It's just like trying to conquer your fear of heights. What do you do? You go up to the 100th floor and you face it. You conquer your fears. And the fear of making it in the real world is no different. It can be conquered, and you can do it.
If at this point, you're saying to yourself "No, I can't do it. Not me" I want you to take a look around at the other people who are doing it. Watch a talk show. There are tons of maniacs on those who manage to make ends meet and survive without the help of their parents. Then, I want you to realize how much better you are than most people. You are ambitious, you have goals, and you have a college degree.
So if you're feeling afraid of what comes next, persist in conquering those fears with constant research into how you can succeed. Look for that job you've wanted, and grab it. Don't hesitate to try out many different options. If you try enough, you're bound to figure something out.
If you decide to go to graduate school then start looking into the financial aspects. Find out if there are grants or low interest loans you can take out to pay for it. Do your research so that you will not be surprised by the costs you incur paying for grad school. Also, don't forget to check out the schools you apply to. You don't want to be stuck at a school or in an area that you don't like. Check it out.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
How much money is in your wallet? What about your bank account? Does it stand up to the amount of debt you have? Are you in financial hell?
If you've broken a cold sweat recently, thinking about your financial worries, then worry no more. It isn't going to get you anything besides high blood pressure. A negative approach to our problems, such as is worrying, makes them much more difficult to deal with. You aren't the first person to experience financial troubles, and you won't be the last.
If you have monthly payments on several credit cards, and you can barely afford even one of them, consider consolidation. It will consolidate all of your payments into one, considerably lower payment. It may have a negative effect on your credit, but so will continued late payments or bankruptcy. It will stop those collection calls, and you may find some financial peace, finally.
However, debt consolidation isn't for everybody. Contact a non-profit credit counselor and find out whether or not bankruptcy is the best alternative for you. You should, however, do your best to avoid bankruptcy, as it is a black mark on your credit. But the most important thing, is that you thoroughly consider all of your options. You should be comfortable with your decision. It should IMPROVE things, not make them worse.
In addition to debt management, find out if there is anyway you can supplement your income. You don't want to fall into a get-rich-quick scam, so if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Think about selling some of your items on e-bay. Many people have made a part-time job out of selling and re-selling items on e-bay, and who knows? You might just have a knack for it.
If you can, consider getting a part time job waiting tables. Tips can be lucrative, and often, the hours are small enough to fit in as a part time job. Look through the newspaper and the internet to see if there is a job out there right for you. Also, consider blogging. Many websites, such as ehow.com and helium.com will pay you for your articles. If you have good writing skills, this may be a viable option, but it will take hard work, and most likely some research.
If you don't want to write, yet your willing to do hard work and some research, then use the internet as a resource for how you can generate extra income. Thousands of people have already done it, and you can do it too. There are millions of dollars being paid to people through the internet.
In any case, take your financial problems in stride. Don't ignore them, as that will lead to greater problems in the future. If you work steadily at solving your problems and are consistent about learning ways to solve them (THE INTERNET is your friend), you'll surely come out on top. As your new found skills will stay with you long after your financial worries are gone.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
The money making ideas are all out there. If you think every popular website or blog is the first of its kind, you are very mistaken. Ever since the beginning of man kind we've been stealing ideas from our fellow man.
There's Perez Hilton, TMZ, Superficalworld, etc. And on top of those, there are hundreds of other blogs and magazines devoted to celebrity gossip. Which one was first? WHO CARES! There is room for you on the bandwagon.
However, if you decide to use an idea like a men's magazine, or website, as a business, remember that you are COMPETING with everybody else in that genre. So do your best to stand out.
Create a persona. Whatever your blog is about, make it something recognizable. Use a distinctive color scheme, and have a consistent tone throughout your site. Don't be afraid to go to an extreme, so long as it doesn't completely turn people off. And remember, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." So think about what your target demographic is. Who is going to be using your site or product? Cater to them, not those who aren't interested in the first place.
Invest your time in it. Spend time making everything as good as you can. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither was any successful business. It will be months before you can really experience great success, maybe longer. Take your time marketing and spreading the word about your business. Spread the word. Get your link on as many sites as possible. Use Facebook, Myspace, and other social networking sites to spread the word. They are great for free advertising.
Make sure what your saying is something that people want to hear. You can find out what people want to hear by visiting other popular blogs. Do what they do, but do it better.
My mother and father, ever since I can remember, both pushed the importance of a college education, claiming it was a necessary part of a successful adult life. They painted a grim picture for those who didn't attend college. "They'll never get a good job," they would tell me. "You need a college degree." And that was all they ever told me. There was no detailed explanation. It was a simple as that. No degree, no job.
So I, like most people I knew, though not all, applied to colleges, chose the one I liked the best, and as one of the more unfortunate ones, took out massive loans to cover my tuition. I attended school out-of-state, so my tuition costs were more than double my resident counter-parts. By the time I understood what an advantage taking a year off to obtain residency would be, I was a senior. So I decided to finish, taking an extra semester on top of the average 4 years to finish.
What I found, looking into the job market, was not a network of employers eager to take anybody with BA. In fact, that was less often a requirement than the dreaded 2+ years of experience I was faced with nearly every time. 2+ years of experience? I was busy getting my degree.
The lesson here is that college students should not bank solely on their degrees as a keys to that 50k salary they figured they'd get after graduation. It's necessary to start thinking about the future perhaps years before they graduate. Internships, and/or part time jobs in their desired field are an important tool, and will give students a much needed edge when applying for work after school.
The question, however, is still loud and clear. Is a degree worth the cost? The answer is: it depends. "Fifty-eight members of The Forbes 400 either avoided college or ditched it partway through." Bill Gates being one of them, had an uncanny flare for computers. A friend of mine who never went to college, is making 75k a year doing personal training. And my cousin, who is the same age as me, makes 41k a year working for his father.
It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. You've got to go out and claw away to get your share of the pie. If all you do in four years at college is get a degree, then as far as earning is concerned, you are four years behind the curve. All of the people who didnt go to college (and who aren't still living with their parents) have been gaining real world experience. They are learning how to earn, which is ultimately everybody's goal.
However, "Lifetime incomes of college grads in today's dollars average nearly $300,000 more than high school graduates over a 40-year career.(2)" Though this may be due to a variety of factors (I suspect socio-economic class is one of them), it is still a potentially important statistic. Long after one graduates college, the degree remains a strong presence on his/her resume. However, actual experience and tangible work related success, is perhaps just as strong, if not stronger.
Finally, if you see something, grab it. If you think a business idea that you have will take off, or you see an oppurtunity that intrigues you, go for it. College or no college. Though you might fall into a sect of the population with a lesser average income, your drive and ambition most likely distinguishes you as part of another sect, whose average income I suspect is much higher. A college degree is not necessary. It may help, though.
One of the most important skills a young person can have is the ability to find a job. Whether that be a temporary job you find working retail, or a job that sets you up for a career in your field, not everybody understands what it takes to find a job.
If you are in need of a job you need to devote yourself to finding one. It is highly unlikely that one will just fall into your lap, and it is not productive to sit back and imagine that everything will work itself out. As they say, "God Helps those who help themselves." So get away from the TV, grab a newspaper or get on your computer and start looking. It should be the first thing you do all day and should take a minimum of three hours each day.
2) Have a Resume
Many jobs, especially more professional ones, will require that you have a resume. There are many free and paid resume building sites online. Many of them require registration, and often times the pay sites, like Monster.com and Pongo.com will distribute your resume for you. If that is something you are interested, consider investing in a feature like this. TAKE YOUR TIME. Your resume is the best insight into your person that an employer has. It's often more meaningful than the interview itself, as it displays your previous work experiences and accomplishments. Consider how you word your descriptions, and make sure you have a cover letter. Potential employers will want to know where your coming from as an employee, and what your objectives are in your career. For a vast array of tips in building and distributing your resume visit:
Note: Know your resume so that you aren't surprised and at a loss for words during an interview. A good interviewer will know when you have embellished on your resume.
Use your resources. Remember "It's not what you know, it's who you know." Relatives are a great way of launching very successful careers. These are people who are more inclined to do more for you and your career. Also consider your friends, and your friends' parents. Some of them might be employers, and you might be the employee that they're looking for. And even if they're not looking, it cannot hurt, and it may in fact be a great help, to send them a resume. Make sure you don't hand them your resume at their home or while they are somewhere that they might lose it.. If it is at their office, they will have it on hand while they are recruiting employees.
4) Be Involved In Your Field
Unpaid internships and entry level jobs "in the mail room", are great for starting careers. The closer you are to the people who do your ideal job, the closer YOU are to doing it. You can make friends with the boss and work hard for a promotion. Simon Cowell, the British Judge on American Idol, started in the mail room at EMI, a large record label and became one of their most successful producers and executives.
Don't be afraid of rejection. It is part of the process. The more rejections you get, the more likely you are to get an acceptance. Your ideal job is waiting out there for you, it's just a matter of what you're willing to do to get it.
For those of us who have enjoyed an easy going college experience-- one where bills are paid by mom and dad, where if we work, it's only for extra spending money, and even a successful one with a good GPA and a few extra curriculars-- thinking about life after school can be a harrowing, and stressful ordeal. Suddenly, those jobs at coffee shops and working a cash register become obsolete. They won't maintain the life style you have grown to accustomed to, they won't help you pay off those college loans, and they are certainly not what you want to be doing for the rest of your life.
You want a career.
Maybe some of you realize what makes this such a difficult feat: SO DOES EVERYBODY ELSE. Looking at your resume, you might think that you have too little experience, or maybe you have none at all. Maybe you think to yourself "There is no job for me." For those of you suffering with the latter problem, take advantage of your resources.
The internet offers many oppurtunities. For one, it contains many job listings. Sites like Monster.com help you build your resume and find a job. Also, check your schools website. It probably has a database of jobs in the area. Find out if your school has a career center. Most universities do, and there are people there that will help you. It's their job to do so. The internet not only lists jobs, but now more than ever, it is creating them.
Start your own blog. It's easy. There are tons of free blogging sites that will offer to host your ramblings. And you can blog about anything you want. If your blog is successful, it is something you can put on your resume. Provided that your topic is something of relevance to others, you can make contacts in a desired field as well as encourage your own personal growth towards the field of your choice. Read the following article by Ryan Healy, a 2006 graduate of Penn State and found of Brazen Careerist, an online resource for young professionals.
Think of your blog as a business. And if the blog isn't enough business for you, go ahead and start your own business. If you can generate traffic on a website, you can sell advertising space. Take a potential blog topic, and take it further by creating a multi-faceted website. Put your creative skills to good use by designing t-shirts. The more traffic you can acquire, the more customers you are likely to have. If you are familiar with Perezhilton.com, then you are familiar with how successful a successful blog can be a business. The ads that run on his website earn him thousands upon thousands of dollars day!
For inspiration on your blog or business, look around the web at sites that interest you. When you find a site that you like, make your own site. Use their ideas and generate your own base of visitors. There are a lot of low cost website builders you can purchase online. Here is a list of "Tips For Running A Business In Your Dorm Room" from College-Business.com and a page of advice on "How to Make a Web Site of Your Own"
Don't expect to immediately earn thousands. Put a good amount of your time into this. It will reflect on your blog or business, and your potential readers and/or customers will take notice.
In addition to the aforementioned, take time to consider your options. Don't waste your time. Stay motivated and ambitious. The more time you put into making the transition between college and a career, the more edge you have over the competition.