To the Graduates, from a Graduate

First of all, I’d like to say a big congratulation on earning your degree! That’s a feat that not everyone has accomplished. You’ve put time and effort into bettering yourself. That is something to be proud of.

Now, you’ve got all of these dreams and aspirations that you can move forward to achieving. You’ve probably heard the job market is awful, that it’s going to be hard to get a job, that you’re still going to have to put in even more blood, sweat and tears. That can be depressing after you’ve just worked your butt off to get a piece of paper that basically says “hey, I’m smart! I’ve finished learning about this topic and I’m excellent in it now so you should hire me!”

I graduated college just a year ago with a Bachelor’s of Science in Mass Communications with a concentration in Journalism. I thought that I would be able to go on an interview and have my dream job within a month.

But that didn’t happen- it still hasn’t happened.

In the last year I’ve gone from excited, fresh-eyed and ready for the world, to depressed, jobless, and gaining weight, to having a job that pays a decent $14 an hour. I’m still not where I want to be, but that’s okay. I’m somewhere. And that’s more than many people can say. I still live with my parents because I want to be completely comfortable when I move out, but I’m slowly building a good amount in my savings account and learning to budget my money.

Now, our lives may be totally different. You may have picked a major that has a huge need for employees or that isn’t competitive. Maybe you’ll interview like a champ and you had a vast amount of internships and awesome people who will recommend you. Maybe you built a great network of people who will help you get into the job market. So maybe you’ll get an amazing paying job right out of college. That’s amazing and I hope you continue to have spectacular success!

But a lot of us don’t. I have plenty of friends who are making the same or around the same amount of money as I am making and it is not because we did not apply ourselves in college. Some of us don’t want anything to do with or just aren’t working in the field that we went to college for.

I’m just here to say that it’s going to be okay. I want everyone to remember to breathe. We’re still young. We have to keep working hard and striving to achieve, just as we did in college. Whether you go to grad school or not, do your best. Keep thinking of new things to do. Keep searching for a job.

Most importantly, have fun.

Please, please have fun. People love to say that they’ll enjoy life later when they have a high-paying salary, but in my opinion we should never let our lives pass us by. Life is too short. I don’t want to look back and say “I should’ve spent more time with my friends when I was in my twenties.”

To all those graduates: Congratulations. Don’t stress. You’ve got this. You just have to keep trying, even a year later.

-Jocelyn H.

 

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Studying Tips from a Genius…

Okay, not really. But still.

It’s that time of year again. That time of the year where everything you’ve learned in the semester but unceremoniously tossed to the back of your mind needs to come back to the forefront. It’s stressful, trust me I know, but I somehow always managed to get good grades on my finals in both high school and college. So here’s some of the things that I did to make my life a bit less stressful during the dreaded Finals Week.

  • DON’T CRAM: I know you’ve probably heard this from your various teachers before and rolled your eyes, still choosing to study anyways the night before. But trust me when I say studying for your final beforehand and then using the night before as a review day works so much better for retaining information and feeling less stressed. You won’t even have to stay up the majority of the night to do it, which would result in you being tired for the test and therefore missing an answer that you most likely could have gotten correct.
  • Predict the Questions: Since a final is usually a review of everything that you’ve learned that semester and not new information that you’re being tested on, it is a very good strategy to study old tests or study guides (hope you saved them! If you didn’t, be sure to next year in neat, organized folders). If you have the course syllabus still laying around somewhere, it’s good to review the course objectives or your old homework assignments too. Don’t forget to find the correct answers to the questions you got wrong the first time around!
  • Create mnemonic devices: Be creative! Ever heard of Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally/Parantheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Addition, Subtract? Yeah. That definitely stuck in your head didn’t it? Create acronyms, rhymes, etc to help you remember things easier!
  • Write/Draw It: Writing the information down over and over or drawing a picture of it always seems to burn information in my brain better!
  • Reward Yourself: When you’re finished studying or even when you’re taking a break, reward yourself! Scroll through your social media, go have a chat with a friend, eat a tasty sweet treat! It’s important to keep your stress levels down and in my opinion, a reward at the end of the race is a great way to do that.

 Happy studying and good luck! Be sure to comment if you have another good studying tip! -Jocelyn

Things to do Mother’s Day 2016

Let’s face it- these holidays can get repetitive. Fast. You always send her a fruit basket, a card of flowers on Mother’s Day and you’re looking for something new and fresh to do. Here’s a couple of ideas that will hopefully solve that problem!

  • Spend TIME together: If you don’t live with your mother, why not drive down there and visit her? Spend the entire day together. You could go out to eat or cook her a nice lunch or dinner at home, see a movie at the house or go to the theatre, take a walk around the park or spend time in the backyard. If you do live with your mother, this still applies because even though you share the same house, do you ever really just spend the day together?
  • Help her get away: Whether this includes the man in her life or if you’re going with her, get her in a nice hotel room/resort room! Sometimes just a night in a nice hot Jacuzzi with room-service and a change of scenery does wonders to rejuvenate our hard-working moms!
  • Go Shopping/Exploring: Oh, come on. Who doesn’t like a bit of shopping? Take her somewhere she has never been or somewhere she hasn’t been in a long time. That place could be a mall, a boardwalk by the beach, etc! Get creative and think about the things that your mother likes.
  • Paint: Here’s a good creative project! Dip your feet and hands in paint (along with any other family members that wants in) and place them on a large enough construction paper to fit everyone in and write your names on it! Let it dry and there you go! A cute, sentimental gift that your mom is sure to love!
  • Treat it like Christmas: Get the entire family together, even extended family! Have everyone give her a gift and have a giant dinner! She’s sure to appreciate the fun time with the family and feel well appreciated!

No Black & White in Music

Bored, my friend and I scoured through our social media. After about fifteen minutes of showing each other this video and that picture she came upon a post that said “name the first five songs on your iPod/playlist/phone/iTunes,etc alphabetically using A as 1, B as 2, and so on…”

Mines went like this:

  1. A-Team by Ed Sheeran
  2. Baby One More Time by Britney Spears
  3. California King Bed by Rihanna
  4. Dance Floor Anthem (I Don’t Wanna be in Love) by Good Charlotte
  5. Emergency by Paramore

She proceeded to scrunch up her face and ask, “who the heck is Good Charlotte and Paramore?”

I glanced at her list and saw that hers were all recognizable, mainstream, R&B artists. Not to say that my artists aren’t all mainstream- but the fact that she only had one genre throughout the list, even when we went further down the alphabet surprised me.

“Do you only listen to one genre?” I asked, this time scrunching up my own face.

She shrugged and said yeah, continuing to laugh at the songs on iPod that she had taken from my hand. She struggled to pronounce “Kimi ga Kureta Mono” by Ai Kayano and asked how I could “like not only White people music but Japanese people music too”.

That brief moment stuck with me because it brought me back to several times in middle school that I had long forgotten about or had suppressed to the back of my memory bank. I used to hide my taste in music because kids would laugh at my choices and say that I was trying to be white or that I was listening to so-called white people’s music.

It surprised me that my friend would bring up this stigma again- that she was in the same mind-frame as a sixth grader. But it’s not just her. It’s a lot of the world, especially (unfortunately) in the Black community. We repeatedly shun artists like Iggy Azalea and Mac Miller for “stealing” our culture and having the nerve to rap.

And it may very well be true that people like Kim Kardashian have gotten plastic surgery to make their lips and butts bigger, therefore wanting to look more like a Black woman, but in my opinion that is something that is totally different and should not be associated with music.

My question is: is there a such thing as white and black when it comes to music?

Yes, Black people may have invented the Hip Hop genre and the culture surrounding it but does that mean we should be so stingy and not share it? So what if a white person wants to rap and enjoys the music for what it is? Are you saying that I, as an African American woman, should not be allowed to sing in a country accent when I am not making fun of it?

Separating music genres is rooted in racism- a ruthless, unnecessary evil that still grips our world in an iron grip. Don’t we get enough of that without letting is spread to something that is designed to make us happy?

So excuse me if I want to have Eminem, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood and Kirk Franklin on the same playlist because I can and I will.

Having a wide variety of musical tastes shouldn’t be shunned but embraced.

Things I do to Stay Awake at Work

I never thought that my bad habit of falling asleep in class would follow me in to adulthood. Unfortunately for me, it did.

I work in a cubicle, typing away all day. The work can be repetitive and just plain boring. By the time I hit the 2 o’clock mark I feel my eyes start to get heavy. I’m pretty sure I’ve sleep-worked a couple of times.

As must as I would like to indulge in nap-time right at my desk I realize that I can’t exactly do that. So in the short couple of months that I’ve been working there I’ve come up with some pretty interesting ways that seems to work best for me when I get sleepy at work!

  • Go to the bathroom/Take a walk: Truthfully, this is probably the most obvious one that everyone does all the time but I figure I’d mention it because it definitely works. Getting up, stretching and using your muscles, taking a quick walk around the office is really rejuvenating. I like to go to the bathroom even if I don’t have business to attend to and simply run my hands under some cold water to jolt my senses back awake. I look in the mirror and make sure my hair is intact. Sometimes I even go in a stall and do some stretching exercises or check my social media. I do whatever it takes to make myself feel alive again!
  • Snack: I always bring a little snack as a pick-me-up to work! Try not to get into the habit of bringing unhealthy snacks, though. I usually bring a fruit, apple sauce, or yogurt. Again, the movement helps to wake me up. A sweet treat going into my tummy definitely makes me feel better.
  • Listen to Music, etc: I love to pop in my earbuds when I’m getting sleepy and play Pandora or a playlist on my phone. If you can concentrate on both, it’s even a great idea to find an audiobook or podcast that interests you! Not only does it keep me awake, but it makes the time go faster!
  • Text: Okay, I’m not sure if everyone can get away with this but I can since my boss doesn’t really care as long as I get my work done. So text to your hearts’ content as long as you can make sure you get your work finished efficiently!

Does anyone else have any other things they do to stay awake at work or simply to make the day go faster? I’d seriously love to hear them!

-Jocelyn

Skinny-Shaming (in the gym)

 

I always feel self-conscious when I go to the gym.

When people hear that they usually immediately start to think of a heavy-set woman sweating with a drenched back and armpits.

But that’s not true for me. I’m self-conscious about going to the gym because I am skinny. Whenever I go I can feel eyes on me. At first I thought that I was just being paranoid or even an attention-whore but my fears were confirmed to be true one gym day when a girl whispered just a bit too loudly (perhaps purposely) to her friend, “I hate when skinny people come to the gym. She’s skinny already.”

Well newsflash to you, too-loud-whisperer-girl, you don’t have to be out of shape to go to the gym.

I don’t go to the gym to get skinny or to look like some girl I saw in a magazine, though it is admittedly nice to keep my stomach toned and tight. But the main reason, which should be everyone’s reason, is for health.

Working out helps you to sleep better, builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones and joints, strengthens and boosts your immune system…and that’s just some of the benefits.

We have to stop shaming each other for our body-types and just realize that everyone is beautiful in their own way. I personally think that thicker women are beautiful, curvy creatures even if they pack a little extra flub in their stomach. I would never make fun of someone else for how they look so the thought of someone doing it to me makes my blood boil over.

Why make fun of someone who is trying to better themselves?

The gym should be a place where we help each other- because Lord knows that equipment and coming up with a good work out plan isn’t always the easiest to figure out.

Getting the courage to move your body in all these fast paced movements while grimacing in pain and sweating is a choice that is hard enough to make without someone whispering behind your back that you’re too skinny or too fat. So let’s stop the skinny-shaming and the fat-shaming…let’s just stop the shaming and start the uplifting already.

Painting with a Twist Review

Back on Valentine’s Day my boyfriend and I wracked our brains for something new we could do other than our usual dinner and a movie. My friend suggested we go went to a painting class. Of course I thought “how much money does this girl think we have?”

That’s when she told me about Painting with a Twist. It’s a franchise that mixes “instructional art with friends, wine and a lively instructor to produce individual works of art” (of course you don’t have to drink alcohol if you don’t want to. It’s just as much fun without it, I promise. You can also bring snacks and other beverages).

I wish I had bothered to take more pictures but I’ll try to explain how this goes in detail for you.

When we went in a cheerful greeter was at the door and gave us instructions on what to do. We could put our jackets in the back on the coat hangers. Then we could pick any open seat with a canvas and paint in front of it.

We picked our seats and put the smocks on that were waiting for us on the chairs. A sense of giddiness settled over me since I had not painted anything since probably the second grade. We took the time to look around, noticing the vast amount of detailed paintings covering the walls. I wondered how in the world they were going to get us beginners to paint such beautiful paintings and became nervous because I knew that my painting skills weren’t exactly the best. Okay, I paint worse than most five year olds.

A screen that would allow everyone to see clearly was on the back wall as our cheerful instructor stood at the front of the room with her own canvas.

Fast forward and we began to paint a picture step by step. Another instructor wandered through to give us more paint and answer any questions we had.

Halfway through we took a break to play a little painting game, something I hadn’t been expecting but found pleasure and laughter in nonetheless.

By the end of it, we had painted a beautiful picture!

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I think the coloring and the shape of our clouds are a tad bit messed up because at one point we weren’t paying much attention as we spoke with the other guests (oops!) but the picture is still nice and was fun to create! I even got a bit carried away and added those hearts on my birds.

I’d definitely go back. They have workshops for couples, friends and family where you can even bring your kids! I urge everyone who wants to do something different to go to paintingwithatwist.com and check out their website to see if they have one near you!