Academic-Self Discovery: Programs, Clubs and More

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”- Jack Canfield.

I’ve touched on this subject before but fear is something that can often cause miss opportunities. It might hold one back and make them doubt themselves and/or their goals. When it comes to me, I get really anxious and start talking myself out of things I will want do, however what I have found helps me to combat fear is taking those chances anyway. Some of the ways I do this is by joining and taking part in things that spark my interest, for example writing.

Writing makes me realize that the experience gained when not letting fear get in the way is greater than letting those chances go by. Writing is a great form of expression for me and it is a way of connecting, so finding out about cool events or projects (Literary Arts Festival, Seek Ink and The Buzz) that deal with writing, I knew I had to put myself out tbere. To which I endes up glad that I did because they helped me challenge my craft and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

The possibilities of exhibiting your skills are endless. There are opportunities in schools and online. If one were to prefer starting with something less out there, I would suggest joining clubs or workshops at their school. This works well because it allows the output of creativity as well as learning and sharing from their fellow club members. While if someone is more comfortable with the thought of participating locally, looking online for projects, contests or residencies could be the way to go. There are a myriad of sites that have programs one can apply for. This can be a stepping stone for their career or be something that looks great on their resume.

Here are some sites you can check out-

Artist Residency Program


https://www.freelancewriting.com
http://here.org/programs/harp/

I think it is important for someone to take a chance and put themselves out there, despite fears and doubts. The outcome will do more to benefit them in the long run.

Virtues from Motherhood: Positivity

goals1In the course of my 26 years I’ve learned quite a bit about the energy you surround yourself with. It’s very easy to get caught up in a pessimistic web of thoughts, so why not creative a positive stepping path instead? Easier said than done, I know, but it has truly made all the difference in the last three years of my life.

When you think positively and set realistic goals, even if they’re small, you begin to feel lighter, more in control and just overall happier. I used to set monstrous goals for myself, ones that would take years to complete and seemed so far out of reach I’d get frustrated and give up. Instead though I started setting smaller goals, do 30 minutes of exercise twice a week, eat one less bad meal a week or swap out a sugary drink for water twice a day. Smaller goals just seem more obtainable and when you meet them you feel like you’re making progress.

The same goes for bigger life goals, like graduating from college or advancing in your career. To simply say you want to graduate in 2 years is so vague and so easily disturbed that you almost set yourself up for failure. Instead set goals like, you want to have x amount of credits by next fall or you want to raise your GPA by so many points.

The moral of the story here is small steps eventually add up to leaps and bounds and while you  may not see change overnight you will see it over time. For example, I was academically dismissed from John Jay College and now I have a 3.9 GPA and have been on the Dean’s List two semesters in a row. It is little things like that, that let me know I’m on the right track.

So tell me readers, what are your milestones for 2017?

 

Academic Self-Discovery: Patricia Bright

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For me, it is always nice to hear the stories behind how a person has gotten into the career they are in today. It makes me remember that academic-self discovery is also about trial and error. One of my favorite YouTube vloggers is Patricia Bright. Patricia is a UK vlogger whith a YouTube channel that focuses on fashion, beauty and adventure. Yet, what I admire most about her channel is that she also posts videos on her life experinces. She gives advice and shares stories on what she has learned growing up in order to inspire, be an example or teach others. Stories on topics such as college, family, confidence, what she would tell her younger self, her career and more.

On a video titled “My Career & Job Salary Mean Bosses, Being Fired & More”, Patricia talks about all her work experinces- the good and bad- and what she has gained from these experinces. She talks about how her first job was in retail, selling wedding and prom dresses for most of her time at University. However, in her last two years of University she no longer enjoyed working there and decided to quit to do hair. Although doing people’s hair was something she loved and called herself “A livingroom hairstylist”, it was something that she did just to “make a living”. Right out of University, Patricia decided to do an internship in investment banking within technology. Though she did not have a degree technology, she did have one in accounting. This internship had a dinner event for the students applying, so a friend of hers told her to go to network. Patricia went prepared, ready to engage, appeared enthusiastic and had several financial qestions. It is because of her eagerness that the recruiter came to her and talked with her a little more than they did with the other students there.

In this moment in telling this story, Patricia advises her viewers who are looking to do an internship to also network. To go to events that the internship is having and to go there “keen”. Basically, to go there with questions and comments that make you stand out, let people know that you did your research and that you are qualified for the position. Patrica then talks about how her internship was extremely competitive and that she had to take an entrance exam in which she failed because she did not study as much material as she should’ve had. I like that she mentions this because most times I fear the idea of failure yet failing something does not mean it is the end. Due to how memorable she was at the dinner, Patricia got her second chance. The recruiter of the internship told her to come back and take the exam over and this time she passed.

In doing this internship she felt as if she did not fit in. Though she worked really well there, she was the youngest on her team, “was so quiet and awkward”, and was always told that she had to “get out of her shell”. Getting out of her shell was difficult for her because she did not feel confident in herself. Leaving that job she became a consultant. This she said was the hardest job she has ever done because of the long hours spent on doing proposals and how she felt she had no time to actually live her life. However, it is because of her experiences at these jobs that she had people calling her to work at different banks and firms and she ended up getting a call from a bank in Tokyo. At this point in her life she became very confident in herself and her knowledge. Working there, she was always able to bring something to the table and felt that her opinions were valued.

Patricia concludes her video by saying “Everyone starts from somewhere and confidence comes with time.” Despite the job experinces that made her realize they were not for her, she did learn and grow from each. Within time she became more confident in herself and in her work. Some of the key things she feels applies to success in any career is “alot of hardwork, sleepless nights, late nights, [and] applying and teaching [yourself] a lot of things.”

Academic Self-Discovery: Relatable Characters

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The topic of finding out passions and going after dreams not only come into play in the real world but also in art and works of literature. By doing this, it allows the directed audience to see and relate to some of the struggles the characters face, making the characters feel more real as well as getting the intended story or message out there. This has been done in inspirational movies like “Gifted Hands” and “The Pursuit of Happyness” which focuses on the hardships the main characters face and their stories of perseverance to reaching their goals.

Two semesters ago I read a book with a collection of short stories called Drown by Junot Diaz. In this work of literature, the character Yunior struggles with wanting to explore more from the life he is given but does not know exactly what it is he is searching for. He wants to leave his neighborhood and his lifestyle of selling drugs yet has no direction or guidance to show him a way out. The book lets us know that Yunior has an interest in writing and if he chooses to leave his neighborhood to better himself, a career in writing could be what he decides to do. Yunior to me represents the fear of what if something does not work out and the moment before taking a chance. If Yunior decides to pursue a career in what he enjoys, it just might be what gets him out of his situations.

Yunior is a character that is written to feel relatable. Though I do not share the same experiences and hardships as him, I do understand what it’s like to be stuck. I sometimes get stuck in bad habits that hinder my growth in chasing the career that I want. Realizing that I do not wish to stay stuck is what I usually need to get out. It is what I believe Yunior will come to realize one day.

Have you read anything or seen movies/shows that is about characters chasing their dreams? If so, feel free to share. I’d love to check them out.

Academic Self-Discovery: The Keys

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In my previous post a fellow blogger, Amanda, commented that my “dedication will take [me] a very long way” and that I should “remember to never give up and keep trying!” No matter how many times similar advice have been given by family members, friends, teachers or even celebrity members it is always greatly appreciated. Encouragement can mean alot when figuring out vocational direction. When it comes to chasing dreams, learning to fly, and exploring passions/career goals there will be obstacles to face – as like all things in life. Sometimes on the journey to this passionate occupation hardships and/or doubt will arise. One can find themselves in situations that make it seem like what they aspire to attain is unachievable. There might be days when thoughts come along of being inadequate to the field in comparison to better suited peers.

Something that have personally helped me in these moments is reminding myself that I can only be me. I like some competition every now and then because it makes me really push myself and helps me learn from others, yet what I really believe is that focusing on myself is *DJ Khaled voice* the major key. Focusing on if I am improving or not and worrying less about if I am as good as someone else. What I have come to learn -as cliche as it sounds- is to do the best that I can. And doing my best does not mean that I do not reach out for help when I need it but actually the opposite. Doing my best means that I really work for something and reach out for assistance if I need it to get to where I wish to be.

Another thing that has helped me is knowing the reason why I am doing something. Am I doing it for myself? For my family? For the money? Does it make me happy? Having a good reason to work hard for something can be really motivational. Influencing others in a positive way has always been important to me. I remember being in this club my junior year in high school and talking about what jobs we wanted to pursue. I did not know exactly what I wanted then but I knew that I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives in some shape or form. That is why I write and why I am interested in becoming a physical therapist. Though I write for fun, it is also a way I can share and connect with others while becoming a physical therapist is a way I can support and give treatment to people in need.

I’m sure there are more things that I have applied to my life during times of uncertainty that I can bring up however, the final thing I will say is that it is important to belive in yourself (I know, I know. Another cheesy cliche) but it is true. I struggle with this just like most people but believing in myself, in my skills and in my dreams allows me to take chances instead of letting the fear of failure win or thinking about the what if’s. Even if things do not work out the way I planned them to and I have setbacks, believing in myself makes it possible for me to have a mindset that says “I can do this” and get back up and try again.

If anyone would like to share their own experiences and the different ways they faced challenging times or feelings of doubt, feel free to do so. No pressure though. And if there are any other comments you might have about this post I would love to read them. Thank you for reading!

Academic Self-Discovery: My Story

For some people, knowing exactly what occupation they want to go after is simple. They could even have it figured out from a young age. While for others, deciding what career path to follow is harder to do. Some reasons for this could be that they haven’t found their passion yet, that they feel obligated to do something they are pushed to do do; or that they decide on a job that allows them to make money while still in search of their dream job.

I am one of the latter. Before entering college I honestly had no solid career goal. Growing up I’ve always been pushed by my Caribbean family to go into the medical field because of financial success. Because of this, every time I’ve tried to construct a career goal, I make sure to make it involve something that is in that field. I did a summer program called ‘Upward Bound’ before my freshman year of college and I thought I would go to college to become a Music Therapist. I thought including something with music would fit- to compromise really- right into what I could enjoy doing for the rest of my life because I really love music. A little into my first year the thoughts of being a Music Therapist vanished. It changed to nursing because one thing I was always certain of was my passion to help others in some form. Not quite ready to be committed to nursing I changed my major to Liberal Arts and Science (still keeping nursing on the table but open to other careers in science). It wasn’t until a few months ago at CSTEP, a program here at City Tech that I was asked questions that really made me hone in on just where I could see myself career wise. Questions like “What ways do I see myself helping people?” allowed me to settle on two responses. One was becoming a Physical Therapist and the other a writer.

English has always been my favorite subject. As a child I enjoyed writing stories and throughout highschool I read and even wrote stories online. Writing online meant a lot to me because of the feedback I received from complete strangers that actually liked what I wrote. That was incredible to me because it was the first time I was really putting my craft out there for people to criticize and they in turn gave back positive reinforcement. My last two semesters in English have really brought back my love for writing. In the Fall of 2015 I took Intro to Fiction (2001)- I liked Intro to Fiction because I felt I got better as a writer and thinker due to having to revise my essays until my professor liked it enough. I also liked it because my final paper for that class won first place for the Literary Arts Festival in 2016. After that class I took Expressions of Identity (ENG 2190) and that course made me question and observe my surroundings with new perspective. It made me feel at home as well as growth.

I think the key to finding what career path one wants to follow is trying different things and analyzing if it is something that brings out the passion and curiosity. To me, that is what academic self-discovery is all about; to learn what gets you motivated. It might take some time for some and that is okay. What matters is getting to that point.

How To Develop Leadership Skills Starting With You

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“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell.

Have you ever thought about being a leader? To be an effective leader, you must have “soft skills”. That’s what will set you apart from other leaders. But maybe you feel you can’t develop your leadership skills because you are not in a position of leadership. So how you can improve without practice? Well, there are plenty of ways to practice leadership and it starts with you.

How can this be?” you may ask. It starts by you leading yourself. In fact, I am a believer that in order to be a good leader, you have to lead yourself first. A definition of a leader is someone with the ability to make sound decisions and inspire others to perform well. But, how do you expect to inspire others if you can’t even control your own actions? Say you set goals and you know they are important to complete. Yet every attempt, you end up postponing them. If you can commit to doing something for yourself, how do you expect others to commit to you? Ask yourself, “What are the outcomes that I have set for myself?” Do you even know what they are? You see, leadership starts much earlier than when we get into a leadership position at work or school.

Light box Leadership has listed the following 7 simple yet powerful core principles to effective self-leadership:

  1. Know your personal mission, values and vision
  2. Be responsible and accountable for your actions and reactions
  3. Develop self-awareness in all areas of your life
  4. Cultivate EQ Emotional Intelligence
  5. Be financially responsible
  6. Be physically healthy
  7. Create goals, systems and habits to succeed

Practice responding to the following:

I intend to:

Because:

How will I do it?

How will I know it worked?

What will I do next?


Next week’s blog: The fact is that we all have opportunities to lead. Let’s discuss more about leadership skills. Seizeing Opportunities

Week 1: Introduction: The Softer Side

Week 2: What are the Most Important Soft Skills?

Week 3: Five Key Principles of Successful Connection

 

 

8 Steps Towards a HAPPIER Life

Be Thankful: Whether you are stuck in a rut or basking in the ambiance of success, you should practice thankfulness. Not being content with something is okay, obviously we must progress in life. However, amongst whatever seems to be going around you, take time to thank your creator or fate or what/whomever you believe caused you to be where you are today. Let’s not forget to thank yourself for breaking through strides, gaining wisdom, and having the strength you’ve acquired along the way.

Have Me-Time: Somone meditate and can someone say “Woo-Sah”. Maybe it has been a long day of progress or a day of caos, either way take at least 15 minutes to yourself and reflect on the day, your situation, your goals, and the world around you. Being spiritual or not, meditation is a great way to remain calm and at peace. Use that time to gain clarity, overcome a creative block, and realize your future endeavors.

SMILE: Like Duh! Smiling is a way to show you are happy but when you laugh, or perceive to be laughing, it triggers “happy” chemicals in your body. Your body will become so used to it, that you will crave happiness and become addicted. Watch comedies and be silly. Just smile and laugh. Caution: people will think you are crazy. j/k … or not.

Just Say NO: Saying “no” seems to be such an easy task. Many people struggle with saying “no” to things that really do not want to do, to things they have no time for, to places that they hate being around and to tasks they dislike to do. Saying “yes” to something you wouldn’t put your effort into is a waste of time. You will dread every moment and procrastinate. IF you do end up completing the tasks it’s half a.. job. IJS. If you were to say “no” that will be a much heavier weight off your shoulders. Do things that makes you happy or you are comfortable doing.

Have Goals:  For those of you in the clouds, there is this thing called having a goal. A goal is something you want, hope, and/or will accomplish. You can over come said goal in the near future or within a longer time frame. It’s great to section the off by short, medium or long term and put a timer on yourself. Create goals and take steps to accomplish them. Keep track of progress and check off once complete. Make steps to complete each goal in whatever order you wish. Write them down and revisit or constantly to remind you of your place towards them. The magic in manifestation is YOU.

Treaty Yourself: … for good behavior no matter how small the accomplishment. Now that you are accomplishing goals, treat yourself. Or shout “Yes, I did it”. Condition yourself to yearning happiness and success. When you get a promotion or even cook a tasty meal reward yourself in what ever way you see fit. For example, Tweet: I just wrote a blog #GOme

Think Happy and Be Happy: It’s not rocket science. Think about ice cream or fun childhood memories. Think about the date you had on the weekend or those awesome shoes you just brought. Don’t take time dwelling on any negativity in or around your life.

Give Back: To some this maybe a hassle, maybe why they are miserable. Lol. But when you help others, not expecting something in return, you will feel great about yourself and in general. How about volunteering at a school, hospital, local walk for a cause. Give back on crowd funding sites. Teach a skill to someone interested. Revisit people in your life and ask if they need help with anything help those not as privileged. Don’t litter. Be social responsible.


QUESTIONS TO THE READERS: How do you remian happy? | How do you cheer yourself up?