Category Archives: Talented

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The Procrastinators’ Guide to College

They don’t tell you much about succeeding in college when you suffer from selective participation syndrome. It’s the all too familiar, I’ll-do-it-when-I-feel-like-it, let-me-take-a-quick-nap-before-I-start disorder. If your parents refer to you as ‘lazy’ or your teachers describe you as a ‘procrastinator,’ we’re talking about you! The good news about college is you get to create your own schedule, the not so good news is homework is still a thing here. So pull up a chair, because we’re gonna set you up to win at college when all you wanna do is chill in the quad with your squad, but your paper on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is due the next day.

 

Preparation is Key—the syllabus is your golden ticket to an A in any class. Tack your syllabus to your wall. Enter key dates such as big projects, quizzes and assignment due dates in your phone’s calendar with a week’s reminder. Bonus tip: remember which assignments carry more weight towards your final grade and prioritize accordingly.

 

Schmooze you’re Way to Success—in the beginning of the semester, introduce yourself to your professors. Be straight up about your expectations and feelings about the class. Simply say ‘hey professor Santiago, I’m really excited about taking this class –even if it’s a general education requirement—but I’m equally nervous about it. Can you give me some tips on how to succeed and get an A?’ Bonus tip: visit your professor during office hours. Even if it’s just to say hi, talk to them. Tell them you’re prepping for an upcoming assignment or even ask them about their day. They’re humans too. The point is to build a rapport so you won’t become another faceless student who flunked science in the modern world.

Start your Assignments Early–it seems unrealistic with your condition, but dig this: If you start your assignment as soon as it’s given to you, you’ll complete your assignment before it’s due or maybe just in time. Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day but no more than an hour in one sitting on each assignment. It’ll make your assignments less daunting and there’s more time to do what you please when you really don’t feel like it. Bonus tip: join a study group to keep you accountable for your assignments. Or even, ask your TA (teacher’s assistant) for help.

 

Balance your Selectivity–for every 30 minutes you spend not-really-feeling-like-it, dedicate one hour doing that thing you weren’t really feeling.

 

The painful truth about college is no one is going to beg you to do your work. It doesn’t matter if you’re paying out of pocket or taking out loans or if you have a sweet scholarship, you have to do the work to be successful. Have fun, but certainly prepare for those times when your selective participation syndrome starts to flare up.

 

‘The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.’ Even procrastinators with selective participation syndrome.

Social Media Dos & Don'ts!

Social Media Dos & Don’ts

Social media is one of the most powerful forms of communication teens and adults use today. Here are some tips to help you use social media safely and effectively.

10 Social Media Tips for Teens

1.     Respect yourself. – Show off how great you are with class. You are a brand and should represent yourself accordingly on social media. Make sure your photos are appropriate. Do not post or text photos of yourself naked, dressed provocatively, or making obscene gestures. Avoid uploading anything you would not want your grandmother to see on the front cover of the New York Times! Social media plays a major role in building and ruining personal images. Be wise!

2.     Post with positivity – Keep it cool! If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t post. Avoid ranting or arguing with people on social media and posting when you’re upset. You may be upset with your mom but it would be very disrespectful to share your anger with the world. What do you think college recruiters or future employers might think about you disrespecting your mother on social media? No Bueno! Share positivity and good vibes on the web.

3.     No “twerking” videos please! – Just because you see a trend starting on social media, doesn’t mean it is something you should do. Do not post videos that portray negative images of you, your friends or family involving profanity, sex, nudity, crime, drugs, discrimination, violence, lewd gestures, or anything that could be offensive to the public. Keep your video posts kid friendly. You don’t want a video of you intoxicated and “twerking” inappropriately with friends to surface while you are campaigning for President in 20 years. Definitely not a good idea!

4.     Know your followersAllowing strangers to follow you can be very dangerous. Even if their account looks harmless, be aware that there are many fake accounts where creeps follow their prey. If you don’t know them, ignore them and don’t let them follow you. Also, use privacy settings to protect your accounts from being viewed by strangers. Proceed with caution!

5.     Be careful what you post for likesYou don’t want to end up “instafamous” for something that could destroy your future. Keep your posts positive, dignified and smart. Social media is a great way to build a web presence for future endeavors. Don’t compromise your future for “likes” or “followers.” Make your mark on the web, the right way!

6.    Play nice …Don’t cyber bully! No one has the right to harass anyone based on their sex, race, age, orientation, personal beliefs, values, etc. The impact of harassment is heightened and can have deadly consequences when acted out over the Internet. Avoid engaging in cyber brawls on twitter and status face-offs on Facebook. If you have a personal issue with someone, keep it off the Internet. If anyone is saying things about you on social media, report their account and let a relative know.

7.     Think before you post. – Nothing is ever truly deleted, so be very sure about what you post before you hit the “post” or “send” button.   Once you post a picture or a status it is stored on the site’s server and can normally be retrieved even if you delete it from your profile. So, be smart and post with care for your future!

8.     If you see something, say something! – Report anything inappropriate. Block or un-follow people that post negative comments on your timeline, make you uncomfortable or harass you in any way.

9.     Manage your use wisely – Too much of anything can become a bad thing. Is social media keeping you from getting work done? Try putting time limits on your social media usage to make sure it is not impacting your productivity.

10. Don’t post your every move – Leave some information to share with your real friends and family over the phone. Your best friend would probably want to know you and your boyfriend broke up before the whole world knows via your relationship status change. Also be careful sharing info when you are going out of town. You don’t want to alert a potential burglar that you will be in the Bahamas for a week with your family.

As a teenager it is important that you are aware, informed, and understand the risks that come along with using social media. Remember to protect yourself, censor what you post, and chose the crowd you associate with wisely.

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Turning a hobby into a business for Teens!

News Flash! It’s never too early to become an entrepreneur. Have you ever thought about turning your hobby into a business? Are you good at drawing, painting, sewing, lawn care, graphic design or fixing things? Or have you had dreams of modeling, acting , singing or becoming an author? Is there something you enjoy doing so much you currently do it for free? Have you ever thought about how much income you could earn from your hobbies? Well, if you haven’t …the time is now! Let’s explore what it will take to turn your hobby into a business. With the appropriate planning and an entrepreneurial mindset, you can be on your way to starting a successful business bringing in more cash than any allowance your parents could ever give you.

 

Tip One: Do you homework!

In order to start a business, you want to make sure you do plenty of research to understand what it will take to be successful in your field.   Start by determining the following:

  • How much start-up funds do I need?

  • How should I set up the business? ( Ie. Sole proprietorship, Independent contractor, Corporation , Partnership etc. )

  • Do I need any training or licenses?

  • How much can I charge?

  • Will I need to pay sales taxes?

  • How much time can I commit weekly to the business?

  • Will I need my parents assistance to set-up my business?

 

 

 

Tip Two: Save…save ..save to Invest!

You want to make sure you can appropriately fund your business with the start up funds needed to get your business off the ground. Start putting money to the side to invest as capital in your business. You may also want to see if you can get your family to assist you with start up funds as investors with a small return on their investment. Open a separate account for your business to start managing your business funds appropriately.

Tip Three: Create a Business Plan

A business plan is a snapshot that potential investors and banks look at in order to predict where your business is headed and what it will look like in the future. “If you Fail to plan, you Plan to fail”. Most businesses are unsuccessful because their business plans were incomplete or ineffective. In addition, your business plan sets the strategic plan and direction for your business to help you make appropriate decisions with the end goals in mind.

The Main Components of a Business Plan are:

  • Mission Statement – articulate the purpose of the company’s existence, their target audience as well as the products and services.

  • Vision Statement –focuses on the values, aims and the future direction of the company.

  • Organizational Plan– is a description of your business, products and services and the long-term goals of the company.

  • Competition refers to researching other businesses that offer similar services and products within market. This is comparing prices and other marketing techniques.

  • Market Analysis – is the study of the market in its entirety that relates to the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats that may arise when launching your business.

  • Market Plan– this is where you develop strategies on how to solicit consumers and business. Use all public relation resources and social media to market your brand.

  • Financial Plan– is a blue print of your business’ current and future financial state. It captures how much money is needed to start the business including all start up expenses. In addition, the financial plan will forecast proposed revenue for years to come to assess growth potential.

  • Executive Summary– summarizes all the sections of your business plan by extracting the main points. Prospective investors determine whether your business is profitable based upon this section of the document.

Tip Four: Mange your money wisely

From day one, you need to make sure that you are recording all financial information pertaining to your business. Exceptional book and record keeping skills is essential. Avoid commingling business funds with personal funds. As your business becomes more profitable hire an accountant to help you with tax planning and other services.

Tip Five: Get to work!

Take all the tips that you have been given above and get to work! Businesses are built based on creative and innovative ideas that were given wings to fly. Let your passion, ideas, skills and hobbies allow you to become a successful teen entrepreneur. Being your own boss as a teen is super cool! Good for you!

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Looking for a job?….Resume Writing Tips!

We all have to have them and we all have to tend to them at one point or another… As pesky and cumbersome as it may be; it’s a job that must be done. Updating your resume… whether things are going right or wrong in your career; its something you will have to do at some point. If it’s got to be done, might as well have it done right. Here are a few tips to help out with that :)

1. Understand your skill set – You must understand your skill set. As common sense as this may sound, its definitely worth mentioning. Your skill set is what makes you qualified for a certain position or job. The better you can articulate your capabilities, the better your chances of convincing potential employers that you are the right person for the job. Far too often people leave off valuable skills from a resume, because they either don’t know how to articulate that it’s a skill they possess or they simply are not aware that its a viable skill. Before attempting to update or create a new resume you should jot down what your skills are. After writing the list, consider whether you feel the list accurately reflects all you are capable of or have done in your work history. Typically people have a set of hard skills and soft skills. You’d want to be sure to include both in your resume. Usually related hard skills can translate into soft skills when grouped together, so start with the hard skills first then tackle the soft skills next.

2. Show use of skill set in job history – As important as tip 1 is, this tip is just as if not even more important. Being able to articulate everything you are capable of means nothing if you can’t provide solid examples of when and where you have used those skills. When listing each company you’ve worked for you want to make sure you include the skills you have listed when describing what you actually did. This really connects the dots for those who are reading your resume and removes any doubt or confusion as to whether or not you actually possess said skills. You’d especially want to be mindful of this when using popular buzzwords that are common in the industry for which you are seeking employment.

3. Don’t be too wordy – Don’t be too wordy in any section of your resume. Typically, people can go overboard with the amount of verbiage they use when listing previous jobs and what they actually did at these jobs. When listing employment I like to list the name of the company, dates I worked there, position held, a brief description of what my role was and then 4 to 5 bullets which illustrate EXACTLY how I used my skills to to do my job. In the name of writing sentences that are to the point; each bullet does not have to be a complete sentence. However, each bullet point should be written in a way that suggests you have a command of the English language and that you are an effective communicator. :)

4. Tailor your resume to the potential job – It’s good practice to tailor your resume to the job you want. When submitting a resume for a particular job you want the resume to paint the picture for the person reading it. If you have access to a job description or have a good idea of what the potential job entails, its good to keep that in mind when tweaking your resume. Your previous experience should spell out what makes you capable of doing the job in which you are seeking. This is even possible when seeking a job in a different industry.

You may not have targeted a particular job but maybe you have targeted a specific industry. It really helps understand the industry you and have a really good idea of what potential recruiters are looking for. Keeping that in mind, you’d use vocabulary and phrases that speak to what they are looking for.

5. There should be no grammar and/or spelling mistakes – This particular tip is self explanatory. There should be no spelling and/or grammatical errors in your resume whatsoever. Poor grammar and misspellings suggest lack of attention to detail and carelessness in general. ALWAYS have your resume proofread before sending out. Because you wrote the resume, your eyes may miss errors. Therefore, its best to get someone else you trust to read it over as well. Also, if you are not sure of how to spell or use a word correctly please avoid it. These kinds of errors stick out like a sore thumb and serve as unnecessary detractors. There is never any excuse to have spelling errors or grammatical errors.

Hopefully these tips were helpful… this is part 1 of a two part series. Part 2 will contain writing samples and before and after samples. Stay tuned… Happy resume writing :)