Tag Archives: Advice

Cruising is a Girl’s Best Friend

I spent last week cruising the Caribbean with one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I was more excited about: my unlimited drink package or being able to lay in the sunlight for hours at end. I just couldn’t wait to get away and unwind.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

One thing we didn’t plan for on the cruise was spring break. Being a bit removed from the college life, we completely forgot that the March is when most colleges have their spring break. Lucky us! Our ship was filled with college seniors letting loose and partying one more time before graduation. Most would be annoyed by this rowdy bunch but I was intrigued. I never went away on spring break during college. I wondered if I was ever as carefree as the group of girls we made friends with. Maybe..?

One thing about being on a cruise: If you’re remotely friendly or social, you will have an entourage following you by the end of the vacation. We literally had all sorts of people hanging out with us throughout the cruise. What can I say; we’re a good time!

At one point during the trip, I believe our new friends referred to me as Oprah. What an honor! I was talking to them about life after graduation. There’s advice people beat into your head, mostly around finding a job, being financially responsible and not burning bridges. What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part about graduating college and becoming adults is transitioning your friendships. In college, everyone has the same goal: to make it out alive (aka to graduate). After college, those goals and priorities shift and look different for each person. You’re going to have friends who get married right after college, choose to go to graduate school and some who might be a little lost. I said this to my new friends from UGA and the reaction I

Some of our friends from dinner

Some of our friends from dinner

got was priceless. No one had ever said that to them. Admittedly, they are worried about their friendships, people moving away and life changing. As I talked to them with one of my college best friends next to me, I was honest: it’s hard, you’ll argue, breakdown, freak out and cry..a lot. But just remember, not everyone grows up at the same time. No one’s dreams should look the same. Understanding and respecting that is the key to holding on to those friendships post college.

I love vacations because it gives me a chance to reflect about life. If I didn’t meet these girls, I don’t know if I would have thought about how graduating impacted my friendships. I might not have realized how blessed I am to have friends who respect each other’s decisions and understand one another’s journeys. It wasn’t a vacation of a lifetime, but I got to push pause on reality, let my thoughts unravel, dance until the sun rose and unplug from technology.

Tell me about your most recent vacation! Any big revelations or did you make any new friends?

My favorite picture of Haiti

My favorite picture of Haiti

Fifty Fabulous Life Lessons

Over this past weekend, we celebrated my mom’s 50th birthday with a grandiose surprise party, complete with red carpet and paparazzi. We danced all night long and properly celebrated a woman who has lived every minute of her fifty years.

pic60I could be biased since she is my mom, but I haven’t encountered anyone who’s lived life to the fullest like her. She makes every moment count and learns something from every experience. In my 23 years on this earth, she’s only imparted a fraction of that wisdom on me. Here are my favorite “mom-isms” I’ve gotten from her!

1) You can never have too many people who love you.

2) You have to create your own definition of success.

3) Some days you’re the bat, some days you’re the ball.

4) For every pot, there is a cover, but some people are cookie sheets.

5) Heaven Must Have Sent You is by far the best disco song of all time.

6) You can only control your reaction to a situation, not anyone else’s.

7) I am your mother first then your friend.

8) Lead never follow (not never, but you know, don’t follow the crowd).

9) Everyone is different.

10) Hard work does pay off in the long run.

11) Work hard, play hard.

12) Don’t apologize for being successful.

13) Sundays are for pasta and football.

14) Being rich doesn’t necessarily equate to having money.

15) Parenting is by far the hardest job in the world.

16) Sleep is never overrated.

17) The strike zone is armpit to knee. Don’t swing at anything else.

18) Pick and choice your battles.

19) Take your vitamins.

20) Your girlfriends, like those no-matter-what, I-have-your-back best friends, are the true loves of your life.

21) College was meant to teach you how to think, not for you to learn every last thing in a textbook.

22) There is power in prayer.

23) Your father loves you, don’t ever forget that.

24) Life is short, buy the shoes.

25) Celebrate your birthday all month long. pic107

26) A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

27) You should do your own version of the opening ceremonies every Olympic Games.

28) Sometimes you should do it yourself and others you should write the check.

29) There is such a thing as a power outfit, down to the underwear.

30) Find your own voice.

31) Manicures and pedicures are worth the money. Also, don’t go to work with chipped nails.

32) You’ve earned that vacation, take it.

33) Sometimes your friends will need a hug and sometimes they’ll need space. Know the difference.

34) Always have a “go-bag”

35) If it’s a priority, find a way to get it done.

36) Men are only a part of life, not all of it.

37) Don’t spend money you don’t have.

38) Pay it forward anyway you know how.

39) Laughter really, really, really is the best medicine.

40) The delicate setting on the washer and dryer is cheaper than the dry cleaners.

41) Lease your cars.

42) You can’t write a recipe for meatballs: you’ll know they’re right based on the texture and smell.

43) Turn the radio up if a good song comes on. Who cares if it’s 6 a.m.?

44) Wherever you are, I’ll be there too. Mom ranks as #1.

45) Learn as many ways as possible to get from a place to your home. Back roads save lives.

46) Smile even if you have no idea what’s going on.

47) If the music is good, you better be dancing.mombd

48) Go to the doctor and the dentist regularly.

49) A mother’s love is unconditional even when you do something stupid.

50) It’s all about the journey.

I’m so lucky to have my mom as my role model and friend. No one compares to her!

Motivation Mondays: Caring Less

I am a fixer. Ask anyone who knows me and they will agree with you. Any personality test I’ve taken indicates that one of my strengths is finding solutions to problems and working through tough situations. Even my astrological sign (Virgos rule!) reveals traits like logical thinker and being helpful that play into the fixer part of my personality. Being a fixer has its perks: I’m always trying to figure out easier ways to get things accomplished, I am the perpetual therapist for most of my friends (as they are for me) and I am a track changes addict (ok, maybe that’s cause I’m a words junkie). The problem with being a fixer: You can’t fix everything or everyone. 

change peopleTime and time again, I’ll try to help people, to offer sound advice, even sometimes demand people act differently. This has led to several arguments where everyone is crying, screaming and raising their blood pressures. When I head down the fixer path, I never intent for these heated debates to occur. I worry about the people I care about and genuinely want to help.

If you’re reading this, then you probably need to hear (read) this. Are you ready? Make sure you’re sitting down….

You cannot help people who do not want to help themselves. You cannot care about priorities that they don’t care about. Most importantly, you cannot (and will not) change people. They have to do that on their own.

Things you can do when you have the urge to fix people:

– Listen first before you give any advice. You might be missing some key facts.

– Remind them gently that only they can take action in their life.

– Write a letter to said person you are trying to fix. You don’t have to send it but at least you get all of your thoughts and feelings down in one place. It could be useful one day too.

– Think about ways to continue to improve yourself (aka the only person you can control) and dive in!

The ability to care less about people is extremely hard for me. My people are the reason all is rightbest within my world. Slowly after much heartache and angst, I’m learning every individual is in charge of their own destiny and I can’t change their direction, even if I throw an actual roadblock in their way. It’s hard when someone’s actions cause pain and even harm to others. You can’t choose how people reaction to that but rather can only control your own reaction. I’m working on that.

I will always care about certain people in my life. But I am learning to detach a little more and work on fixing myself rather than others.

Any other people fixers out there? How’s that working out for you?

With a Little Help From My Friends

Asking for help is not something I do well. Too often, I throw on my superhero cape and attempt to do it all. Inevitably, sometime gets lost in the shuffle because while I can do it all, I cannot do it all well. Sometimes you need to lay down your cape, give the superhero thing a break and ask for help.

Why is it so hard to ask for help? For me, I feel like I am burdening people when I ask for help or advice. Now, if you ask my family and friends, I’m constantly chatting about problems I need to figure out. So, it may seem like I am totally comfortable venting to my support system. On the contrary, I do actually think about the problem I have and who would be best suited to shed some light on it. I go to different people when I have different problems and try (I’m not always successful here) to share the wealth and not lay all my problems and ramblings on one person.

ProAsking for help at work is a completely different ballgame that took me a while to get used to. The same principles listed above apply while at work. If you feel overwhelmed and need help with your assignments, speak up. With too much on your plate, you won’t be able to dedicate the right amount of time to projects, ultimately resulting in sub-par work. Always try to find information out on your own but don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, everyone started someone.

Now for the real reason for this post…

Remember how I said I’m not good at asking for help? Well, after hours of over-thinking and pacing, I am asking you for help. As the readers of this blog, you are familiar with the content I post, times of day I post and my writing style. I need to know what you like, hate, recommend and want more of. So please, please, please, comment below with your feedback, email me privately, send it by carrier pigeon; it doesn’t matter! I have some ideas I want to try out on the blog and need your feedback to make Rockstar in Training even better. 

I am totally open to constructive feedback because I know there’s always room for improvement. If you’re not comfortable posting in the comments section, feel free to email me through the contact page above. Thanks in advance!

Family Fridays: Reverse Mentoring

Within the last week, I’ve spoken with some of my younger friends who were seeking advice. The schoolinspire year has ended and many of them were contemplating next steps to take during the summer. I enjoyed our conversations and they generated some mentoring concepts that inspired today’s post.

Sometimes mentoring can seem like such a formal process. In my opinion, mentoring is a fluid process, a mutually beneficial relationship where both individuals, who are proactive in bettering themselves and each other. Taking this into account, anyone can be a mentor. It is true that someone older than you might be of more help. But everyone has different experiences to share. Case in point, my almost sixteen year old cousin, ToniAnn.

TonToniAnn’s Sweet 16 is tomorrow night and I know she is extremely excited. So I am! ToniAnn and I have a great relationship: we trust each other and can talk about almost anything. I pride myself in having this type of relationship with all my younger cousins. Within the last several months, ToniAnn has lost forty pounds and looks incredible. She has inspired me to get healthy and it never give up no matter how hard life gets. While seven years younger than me, my amazing little cousin has mentored me and called me to take action in my own life.

Sometimes we don’t look to younger people for advice because we don’t think they’ve had the necessary life experience to understand our situation. This could be true in specific situations like I’ve never been married so I can’t give my married friend specific advice on her marriage. But I can listen, which can be almost just as helpful as providing advice. If we restrict ourselves to only using older people as mentors, we will limit the guidance we receive. We need to be open to all perspectives including ones of those younger than us. ToniAnn has proved that age is just a number; anyone can inspire.

Calling All College Seniors!

Colleges around the country officially ended their semesters this week. My alma mater, Temple University, finished classes for the spring 2013 semester on Monday. Most students are now locked in the library preparing for finals. For college seniors, this is both an exciting and terrifying time.

temple graduationIt feels like yesterday that I graduated from Temple University. It will be officially a year on Friday and don’t worry, there will be a reflections blog post all about that. This post is dedicated to college seniors who have graduation quickly creeping up on them. The week(s) before graduation were the best and most stressful time of my life. I wish someone would have given me a few pointers beforehand. So college seniors, here’s my advice for your final days as a student.

DON’T: 

1. Slack Off:  You will absolutely regret not studying for that last final. If you worked hard in the class all year, blowing the final will cause all that hard work to go to waste. Finish strong so you’re proud of all of your accomplishments, including the last semester.

2. Burn Bridges: While you might not like all your professors, some will be very helpful during college and beyond. Foster those relationships with professors, colleagues and other professionals during college and continue them after you graduate. Talk with these people and get their contact information so you can keep in touch. I’ve done this with multiple people from college. They have proven to be good sounding boards and helped me land my first job.

DO: 

1. Plan Ahead: You should probably start applying for jobs over spring break. If you didn’t, that’s not a problem but you should get on that. Attend professional networking events and hold informational interviews during your final semester. It is okay to graduate without a job (most of us do!) but be as proactive as possible during your senior year.

2. Enjoy it: The month and week before I graduated was the best time of my life. My friends and I

One of our awesome Rockstar caps. Photo credit my friend Lauren

My two best friends and I made Rockstar caps for graduation. Note the “L.A.N.” at the bottom! Photo credit to Lauren.

worked hard but also remembered to enjoy our final days as undergraduates. Go to all the senior events on campus, celebrate every milestone and make your graduation about you. It’s true there are people who helped you: your parents, relatives, friends and professors. But, at the end of the day, it is about YOU and your college career. Embrace it and enjoy every single moment!

I hope these tips will guide all college seniors through their final days. It is scary but don’t forget to see the big picture. Congratulations! You made it through all four years! Now your life really begins!

Motivation Mondays: The Devil Wears Prada

Today’s Motivation Monday post is brought to you by Thought Catalog. If you never visited their site, you really should check it out. They post hysterical articles and tons of random lists that are often applicable to the life of a 20 something. Their posts are guaranteed to improve even the worst days.

A couple of weeks ago, I found a Thought Catalog post titled “15 Life Lessons from “The Devil Wears Prada.” Intrigued, I clicked the link, read their list of tips and found that I agreed with all of them. If you haven’t seen the movie, I’d absolutely check it out this weekend. The quick summary: Anne Hathaway lands her dream job at Runaway, an iconic fashion magazine. She then meets her boss, Meryl Streep and quickly realizes how demanding and challenging her new position is going to be. While some the antics of Hathaway and Streep are a bit exaggerated, there are some helpful pieces of advice for those starting their careers or working at internships.

My favorite points from Thought Catalog include:

1. Never Show Up To Meetings Unprepared.

– No matter how much you hate your boss, position or the work you’re doing, you must come prepared to meetings, presentations, etc. Not being prepared will ultimately cause you more stress than preparing did.

5. When Things Get Hard, Complaining Gets You Nowhere.

– Sure, there will be days when you’re frustrated, when your boss gives you the most ridiculous project to work on and the list goes on and on. Hopefully, the good days outnumber the bad ones. You can vent for a minute or two, but complaining to your co-workers is a bad decision.

10. Appearance Matters, No Matter What Anyone Says.

– This especially holds true when you work at a fashion magazine, like Hathaway does in the movie. However, regardless of where you work, your overall appearance does matter, from head to toe. You are a professional so the way you dress should convey that.

15. An Amazing Job Isn’t Always A Job That Makes You Happy.

– I’ve seen this happen to a bunch of recent graduates. You think job x is your dream job and is going to make you oh so happy. Then you come to find you hate it. Experience is the best teacher, meaning you won’t know what your dream job is until you start working and trying different things. It’s okay to admit you were wrong; it’s trial and error.

When you’re interning or just starting out, you will be asked to do things that you feel are beneath you. But remember, respect isn’t given, it’s earned. You have to prove yourself…everyone started out the same way. Some days will be better than others and you’ll work well with some bosses and not so well with others. Don’t let one experience define the rest and keep searching until you find what makes you truly happen. Never settle!

Check out the rest of Thought Catalog’s lessons from The Devil Wears Prada here. Share your own advice too!

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