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Student Life

10 Essential Skin Care Tips for Students

February 24, 2021

How much time do you spend caring for your largest organ? When you are balancing a busy schedule and pulling all-nighters, your skincare routine can easily become the first thing to go.

Here are some tips to help you retain radiant skin throughout the school year.

Drink Water

Water is a great method for ​decreasing toxins and improving your skin​. Not only does it help your skin, but water is also essential for your overall health.

Sleep

Getting 7-9 hours of ​sleep​ is vital for your skin health. Make sure to make time for sleep to maintain energy throughout your day and avoid puffy eyes and dull skin. And if you didn’t know it by now, “catching up” on sleep on the weekends is a myth!

Moisturize

Keep your skin hydrated! There are many​ benefits​ to moisturizing your skin regularly. Look for one with SPF to wear during the day, and an extra hydrating one for nighttime.

Exfoliate

It can be beneficial to ​exfoliate​ a few times a week. There are numerous ways to exfoliate, with chemical exfoliation being easier on your skin than physical exfoliate. Be careful when deciding to use a face scrub as it may contain ingredients that can be harmful to your skin. Talk to a dermatologist or esthetician if you have concerns about sensitivity.

Read the ingredients

It’s really important to read the ingredients on your skincare products! You always want to be mindful of what you are putting on your skin. Here are some ​ingredients​ that you should look out for when purchasing product.

Do your research

It’s important to learn what products are best for your skin type. Do some deep diving on products that will provide the most benefit to you.

Eat your veggies!

A healthy diet has been linked to healthier skin. Here are some examples of the impact that your diet can have on your ​skin​.

Don’t forget sunscreen

Sunscreen is so important! Decrease your chances of ​skin cancer​ and developing wrinkles by applying sunscreen regularly.

Don’t pick on your skin

It can be tempting to pop your pimples and touch your face. Don’t do that! Help prevent scaring by leaving those blemishes alone. Instead, opt for some of these pimple banishing ​solutions​.

Be consistent

It’s important to stay consistent with your skincare routine. One day of leaving your makeup on or not applying sunscreen can have negative results. Start small and aim to wash your face every night before bed, and applying SPF every morning.

Check out more of our ​articles​ for tips and tricks on your self-care practice.

Student Life

Essential Items to Take to College

February 22, 2021

Heading off to college is an exciting time. There are plenty of articles and advice columns listing everything you need to transition successfully. Most students, though, end up with too much stuff. It may be fun to decorate your dorm in September, but you’ll be wishing you had spent your money on different things when you’re trying to pack it all up in May.

Food

Even if you’re on a meal plan, it’s best to bring food with you to college. There are various reasons why. The first is that you are bound to miss open hours of the cafeteria at some point because you took a nap, stayed out too late or were studying too hard to take a break. Most cafeterias keep shorter hours on the weekend. If you haven’t settled into a friend group yet and don’t have a car, you may find yourself at loose ends on a Sunday night. Sure, you can walk a few blocks to a fast-food restaurant, but what if it’s raining? It’s just smart to have some ramen, peanut butter crackers or Power Life to add to a smoothie. There will be times you will get hungry when everything is closed, so be prepared.

First Aid Kit

Speaking of being prepared, be sure to bring a first aid kit with you when you go to college. Your mom won’t be around to bring you ibuprofen and water when you have a headache. Nor will she be there to put her hand on your forehead to check your temperature. You will have to do these things yourself. If you think there is a possibility that you might overindulge one weekend, keep antacid handy. A box of bandages is a great purchase too because you will probably be doing more walking than you have ever done in your life.

Water

Disposable plastic water bottles are frowned upon on college campuses. Water stations to fill up your own reusable water bottles are the norm. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run. Water bottles are also easy to lose, so bring a couple just in case you set yours down somewhere and forget it. Staying hydrated is extremely important. Keep a couple chilled in your dorm fridge so you always have a cold one handy.

Laptop

If you made it through high school on a shared family computer, now is the time to purchase a really nice laptop with your college graduation money. Many universities offer deals to college students if you buy the computer through them. Figure out a way to get the most powerful computer you can afford. You will be expected to complete almost all work electronically, and you will need a computer that doesn’t crash.

Backpack

Besides your computer, your backpack will get the most use while you’re in college. Choose a sturdy one with extra padding. Attach a luggage tag to the outside and the inside. Backpacks are THE fashion accessory for college students, but they are also a necessity.

Instead of focusing all your attention on color coordinating your throw pillows and hanging beading around your bed, skip the extra decoration in favor of spending money on what you’ll really need. Hang a single flag over your bed for a simple decoration and put your money towards more important purchases.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Career Student Life

7 Online Business Ideas for College Students

February 18, 2021

As a college student, schoolwork can be frustrating. It is not just because college life can be challenging, but also due to the lack of financial independence.

Luckily, college students these days can earn money from the comforts of their home. That is, if you know time management skills and how to meet your deadlines.

If this is something you can handle, here are seven online business ideas that you can start today.

Online Tutoring

If you know that you excel at a particular subject, consider getting into online tutoring. You don’t even need to go to your students’ house to teach them because you can do it through a video call.

When you tutor a student face-to-face, you can charge higher for it, but if you can’t do it face-to-face, especially nowadays, you can do online tutoring.

What’s great about that is that you can teach anyone from anywhere. You also have the advantage of offering cheaper rates because you don’t have to be face-to-face to teach your students.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is such an approachable way to make money online, even as a college student. It’s another gig that you can do no matter where you are, even when you’re in your college dorm. Since you probably have to write papers as a college student anyway, freelance writing is just like that, but you get money from it.

Ecommerce Store

If you have a hobby where you make things from scratch, you might want to sell them online by starting an ecommerce store.

Anybody can do it, and you can sell almost anything online. If you make stickers, knit, or even create digital products, you can start an ecommerce store.

The options are endless, but your biggest struggle might be your ability to stand out. Think about what makes your brand or product unique and how to best get the word out about it!

Website Development

If you have programming or web development experience, consider working as a freelance web developer. There are plenty of small or even large companies who want someone to make websites for them. Your expertise will surely come in handy, especially in this digital age.

Virtual Assistant

Running a business is a tough job that requires you to juggle a lot of tasks and roles. That’s why many entrepreneurs hire assistants nowadays to help them manage their workload.

In this modern world, we now have something called a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is like an executive assistant, although you do things online.

This allows you to work with someone from another country. And your tasks can include organizing your boss’ schedule, scheduling and confirming meetings, and more.

This can be an excellent way for college students to earn some money, and gain some experience you can put on your resume. And you might even learn a thing or two about running a business from your employer.

Dropshipping Business

These days, there is a growing number of people who buy their daily needs online. Whether it’s for groceries, clothes, or anything under the sun, there’s an online shop there for you.

However, inventory management can be overwhelming, especially if you are staying in a dorm. This is where dropshipping could come in handy.

That’s because it allows you to run an online store without having to worry about where to store your products. That’s because your manufacturer and supplier can handle it for you. This also includes packing and shipping products, as well as handling returns.

Luckily, there are a plethora of dropshipping guides online. Hence, you’ll never run out of ideas on how you can maximize your dropshipping business.

Blogging and Vlogging

Social media has allowed people from all walks of life to become celebrities of their own.

If you’ve always been interested in being known for your character, you might want to start blogging or vlogging your daily life. It’s like having a passion project that can make you money, but it can take a while before you start seeing money rolling in through ads or merchandise. Think of a niche and see how far it takes you!

The online business ideas listed above can help college students to earn money while pursuing their degree. The best part is that you not only make money, you are also setting up your career path.

Student Life

A College Student’s Guide to Streaming Music

February 16, 2021

Music is a backdrop to a student’s everyday life from walking to class, to studying, or hanging out with friends. Having access to music on your phone always comes in handy. Streaming music is widespread and accessible with various platforms available to use. As a student, did you know you can stream music for as little as $5 a month with no ads? That’s often half the price of a regular subscription!

Here are some of the benefits of using these top music streaming platforms.

Apple Music

Student cost: $4.99/month after 3 month free trial

Since its launch in 2015, Apple Music has become a popular choice for listeners as it is widely compatible with Apple devices. It offers a wide selection of music and curated playlists.

Spotify

Student cost: $4.99/month after 1 month trial or free with ads

Spotify is especially popular among college students for its student discount which also includes a Hulu and Showtime subscription. Spotify is especially adept at curating personalized playlists such as their Daily Drive playlist which combines news with music and their Discover Weekly playlist with music similar to your tastes.

SoundCloud

Student Cost: $4.99/month or free with ads

SoundCloud is most well known as a platform for independent artists to post their music. Listeners have access to up and coming artists as well as popular tracks. The site is free but you have the option of purchasing SoundCloud Go+ to listen ad-free and offline.

Pandora

Student Cost: $4.99/month or free with ads

Pandora offers music streaming with their radio stations based on your favorite artists and songs. They offer a premium subscription with offline, on-demand, and ad-free listening as well.

YouTube Music

Student Cost: $4.99/month after 1 month free trial or free with ads

YouTube Music heavily features music videos on their streaming platform. Their set up is similar to other streaming platforms. Your content is also linked to your general YouTube account.

Hopefully, this gave you a glimpse into a few of the top music streaming platforms! Check out some more of our blog posts for more tips tailored to college students.

Other Student Life

10 Ways for Students to Celebrate Black History Month

February 14, 2021

February is Black History Month which is a time to reflect on the contributions of Black people in the U.S.

1. Educate Yourself

It’s always good to learn more and educate yourself on topics of Black History and issues that the Black community faces. You can find resources through your school’s library or also can find valuable content on YouTube or elsewhere online, such as David Ikard’s TEDx Talk The Dangers of Whitewashing Black History.

2. Donate to Black Non-Profits

Donating what you can to a non-profit that supports Black individuals is a great way to celebrate this month. Check out charitynavigator.org for a list of reputable non-profits that you can donate to this month.

3. Support Black-Owned Businesses

Check out these resources for locating black-owned businesses near you! It’s also valuable to note that instead of making a one-time purchase, make an effort to consistently support these businesses throughout the year.

4. Listen to Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to stay entertained and hear different perspectives throughout your day. These podcasts with Black hosts focus on a variety of topics, including 1619 and Code Switch.

5. Diversify Your Social Media Feed

Social media can take up a lot of your day. It’s easy to endlessly scroll but it’s also important to notice who you’re scrolling through. If you’re looking to diversify your feed and hear from Black creators, follow accounts like @ohhappydani on Instagram and @aliciagarza on Twitter.

6. Read a Book

Here are some books from Black authors that you can read this month. You can also team up with your friends and read it together and talk about it after. Don’t know where to start? Check out this list that includes Cicely Tyson’s Just As I Am and The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr.

7. Watch a Film

Make it a movie night and pick a documentary or film that highlights Black history. Check out this list of must-watch documentaries from PBS, including Freedom Riders and Slavery by Another Name.

8. Support Black Artists

If you are looking to spice up your living space or for a unique gift, check out some of these Black-owned Etsy shops.

9. Sign Up For a Virtual Event

Check out an event that your school is holding in honor of Black History Month, even if it’s being held virtually due to the pandemic. It’s always a good idea to learn more through your campus resources and to participate in dialogue with others.

10. Stand By and Support Black Students on Campus

Find ways to support your school’s Black Student Union throughout the school year and be sure to stand by Black students amidst instances of hate that are occurring on college campuses.

Make sure to continue to uplift Black voices throughout the year, educate yourself and reflect.

Adulting Health Student Life

How to Learn to Cook When Moving Off Campus

February 12, 2021

Moving off-campus is an exciting time for a college student. It is a step closer to adulthood that can be very liberating but also challenging at times. For many off-campus students, this change means they are saying goodbye to eating at their school’s dining hall. It can be tempting to start a diet of fast food, ramen, and PB&Js but there is a much healthier option that will leave you much more satisfied. Learning to cook!

Here are 5 tips on how to teach yourself to cook when moving off-campus!

Stock Your kitchen

It is important to stock your kitchen full of essentials such as rice, pasta, beans, and spices that you can have on hand when putting together a meal. It can also be helpful to invest in some basic kitchen equipment such as quality pans, pots, spatulas, and a blender. Here is a list of some kitchen supplies that can be purchased on a budget.

Conquer the Basics

When first approaching learning to cook, it can be helpful to focus on some basic meals that you can have in your arsenal on busy school nights. Learning to master some basic recipes can provide a good foundation for when you want to get a bit more sophisticated with your cooking.

Getting Started:

  • Eggs: Scrambled, fried, over easy, omelet
  • Meat: Chicken or turkey breast/thighs/drumsticks, ground beef or patties
  • Whole Grains: Pasta, rice, potatoes

Try New Recipes to Keep it Interesting

It can be easy to fall into a routine of making the same types of meals every week. It is important not only for your health but also for your well-being to diversify the foods you eat. Food blogs are a great resource to find new and exciting recipes. Blogs such as Minimalist Baker, ScheckEats, and Budget Bytes provide fun recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

Meal Prep to Save Time and Money

As a college student, life can become very hectic and it can be hard to find time to cook. Meal prepping is a great way to enjoy home-cooked meals throughout the week without having to spend too much time in the kitchen. If you take a couple of hours on the weekend to prepare your food, you can have days of healthy meals to enjoy!

Meal Prep Necessities:

  • Food storage containers – Opt for glass, it’ll last longer than plastic.
  • Baking sheets – Great for roasting large amounts of vegetables.
  • Crockpot, Instant Pot or Air Fryer – These appliances cut down on meal prep and clean up time.

Remember Balance is Key

Nutrition is all about balance. Falling into patterns of restricting your food too heavily or not eating any nutrient-dense foods can be harmful to your mental and physical health. It is important to prioritize foods that leave you feeling nourished while also enjoying the foods that bring you joy. You can enjoy just about anything (yes, even chocolate) when it’s in moderation.

Hopefully these tips will help you kickstart your cooking journey! Check out more of our posts for more information on how to manage your wellbeing in college.

Student Life Transition

Here’s How to Pick a College During Coronavirus

February 10, 2021

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has changed the lives of everyone, but what about the students who are supposed to start their college journey? Because of the shift to online learning, the meaning of the college experience has changed for a lot of people.

When it comes to picking out a college, the decision can be overwhelming. During these uncertain times, second thoughts about your future might make you question this decision. Nearly every high school student looks forward to the full college experience, but due to the pandemic, the future is unknown.

To deal with such a nerve-wracking task, it’s important to narrow down your choices. There are several things you can keep in mind to make this decision easier for you and help you see what college you want to go to during coronavirus.

Here are some of them:

Plan Out Your Entire College Admission Process

There’s nothing more crucial than creating a whole plan for your entire college process. You can collect all the required materials in hardcopy or soft copy. The process can be very tiring, but if you’re following all the necessary steps, you’ll be fine.

  • Do thorough research about the colleges in your mind and find out what majors and courses they are offering.
  • Get in touch with any current students or alumni to get any insight about the academic offerings.
  • Figure out any goals you have and try to find a path that resonates with your intentions.
  • Make a pro and cons list about the colleges.

Consider All Your Options

The future might seem grim at the moment because of the global pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean you should settle for just any college. You still have a lot of options, so keep all of them in mind. You might think there’s no hope because the times are uncertain, but with online learning, you have more options than you think.

If you’ve recently graduated from high school, you might be considering taking a gap year and delaying starting college in person or altogether. The pandemic turned all our lives around, so it’s okay to take time to make a decision.

Look for Variety

Almost every student has a college of their dreams, but it’s healthy to seek out variety and consider multiple options. The pandemic might be the best time to adapt to openness, as we can never be sure about anything.

You might decide to attend online classes through a local community college or four-year university knowing that when the virus dies down, you can transfer to another school.

Don’t just think about the academic departments; go online and check out campus life, social activities, food, and so much more. Make sure you know what kind of routine you want because you’re going to be spending a lot of time at college.

See How They Handled Covid-19

This might be a huge deciding factor in this entire process, so keep in mind how the college has dealt with the pandemic.

Most colleges have shifted to online learning, but some of them are letting students come back to campus with half the strength, so is the campus safe for you? What are the instructions regarding the virus in the dorm rooms and the classrooms? Will your degree require more in-person classes?

Get a peek inside your future if you choose a particular college and get the answers to all your concerns.

Take a Look around the Campus

If you’ve formulated an entire college plan and have landed on a few options, it’s important to go and take a look for yourself. Your campus is going to be your home for the next four years, so it will be helpful to see where you are going to be living.

Even if they have resorted to online learning, driving to the campus will make you realize how living there might feel. A college is a turning point for most people, so moving to an unknown environment can feel strange.

If virus restrictions allow you to visit the campus, check it out so you can feel comfortable and be prepared. Before making any decision, it’s important to see if your campus will have everything you want.

Research Your Top Choices

So, you have finally landed on a few choices, and now you’re getting closer to your decision. But before settling on a final choice, make sure to do background research about your top colleges. No amount of research can be enough!

If you have a major in your mind, then find out the post-grad and job prospects of your respective field. Do the courses and degree requirements look interesting to you? Does the college have good professors you can count on? Find out everything you can.

Takeaways

Settling on a choice about the college you’re going to be attending can be difficult when you’re surrounded by vulnerable and uncertain times. But, with a lot of exploring and research, you can come down to a few choices that help you achieve the dream you want. You can learn a lot about every university and how they handle a crisis. Therefore, these tips might help you settle down for a college and make a decision considering all your interests.

BIO: Nouman Ali provides ghostwriting and copywriting services. His educational background in the technical field and business studies helps him in tackling topics ranging from career and business productivity to web development and digital marketing. He occasionally writes articles for Apcelero.

Adulting Student Life

Making Green Decisions in Your College Apartment

February 8, 2021

College can be a stressful period of life that leaves you little extra time to work with. Things like living sustainably and making eco-friendly choices can often be pushed to the backburner as you attempt to keep up with your assignments and attend classes on time.

On top of that, renting a dorm or apartment can make it feel like you have little-to-no say on how your living situation impacts the environment.

Nevertheless, there are still many small, yet powerful ways that you can make green decisions while you’re living in a college apartment.

Consider the Temperature

The easiest way that you can do your part in the fight for a cleaner planet is by adjusting your thermostat. If it’s hot outside, turn up the temp by a few degrees. If you’re experiencing wintry weather, bring the thermostat down a few degrees. If the weather is nice, open the windows up and turn the HVAC system off entirely.

This won’t just reduce the amount of pollution you’re putting into the air, it can also lower your utility bill. This can be a great first step in helping you save money, address debt, and increase your financial independence.

Embrace Thriftiness

Thriftiness is another way to better the Earth and bolster your finances at the same time. By shopping for second-hand clothing, you avoid much of the dramatic wastefulness that comes with fast fashion. You can also get gently-used furniture, sports equipment, and even electronics.

By trying to reuse rather than buy new, you will naturally reduce the quantity of garbage that you’re creating. It is also a great way to save some cash as you tighten your belt and try to get to graduation day.

Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

Even if you’re renting, it’s still up to you to clean your space. Fortunately, you can even turn the act of mopping a floor or scrubbing a toilet into an eco-friendly activity by using green cleaning products.

This can reduce the number of chemicals that you’re using, protecting both the Earth and your own health in the process.

Cook for Yourself

This one can require a little more time, but if you plan things out it really doesn’t have to impact your schedule much. By purchasing food in bulk and then cooking it yourself, you can dramatically reduce the amount of packaging that you’re throwing away.

You can even take things one step further by using reusable shopping bags each time you head to the grocery store.

Bike to Class

Finally, if you live on or near campus, consider ditching your car. Instead, get a bike or walk. By opting for a fuel-free mode of transportation you can avoid putting unnecessary carbon emissions into the air.

The extra exercise is also a great way to stay fit, especially when you’re spending so much of your time sitting behind a desk.

Going Green in College

You don’t have to be the king of your own castle to make a difference. On the contrary, there are countless smaller steps you can take to do your part in the battle to protect our planet, even when you’re renting on a college campus.

So put down your textbooks for a minute and take a moment to consider where and how you can put some extra effort into creating a brighter future.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Student Life

Your Rights as a Renter: A Guide for College Students

February 4, 2021

Going to college is a huge opportunity and one that offers an incredible number of unique and first-time experiences. At the same time, it will likely be the first time you’ve lived away from home, figured out your schedule, and made your own rules.

Amongst all of these first-time experiences, there are a couple of instances where you may be taken advantage of because of your inexperience with the process. Some of these instances may orient around your first rental experience. Because of this, it is essential to do your research and know your rights as a renter. 

Getting into a Rental

As you first start applying to and looking at rentals, there are several things to take into consideration. For instance, how much are you able to pay for rent each month with or without utilities included? Are you willing to live with roommates? Do you have specific conditions that you can’t live in?

Determining these things will help you set a budget and narrow your search a bit. Once you start looking at places, you should also think about your rights and requirements for living, such as:

  • Deposit Limits: Most states have rules about how much a landlord can charge you to secure your spot in a rental.
  • Documentation of Rental Facility Conditions: If you have to pay a security deposit that will be used to fix and clean things when you leave, it is important to document the condition when you move in with pictures and notes that are signed by both you and the landlord.
  • A Lease Copy: You will be provided a copy of your lease agreement. Read it and ask questions before signing.
  • Livable Conditions: Landlords are required to meet certain standards of living conditions that include working utilities, safety features, and free from certain types of damage including asbestos contamination, mold, or vermin.
  • Rental Raises: Your lease stipulates what your rent is for the duration of your lease and it cannot be raised until your lease is up.
  • Insurance: Your landlord may or may not require you have renters insurance, but it is always a good idea. Check out GradGuard for renters insurance that’s made for college students.

Making it Your Own

Once you’ve researched your rental rights, asked questions about them, and feel good about signing your lease, it’s time to start moving in. There are plenty of exciting things you can do now that you have your own place, so take the time to make it your own! As you make yourself at home, you should keep certain things in mind like:

  • Privacy: Your landlord is not allowed to come into your home without giving you notice and a reason.
  • Decoration Abilities: Your landlord cannot tell you how you can or can’t decorate your rental as long as you are not damaging anything.
  • Prohibitions: Your lease will stipulate prohibitions like painting walls, putting large nails or screws in to hang things, or tearing out carpet.
  • Landlord Installations: If you’re interested in installing anything that could make the rental facility more valuable or more energy-efficient, talk to your landlord about it. You may not be able to install it yourself, but your landlord may be open to the changes. Then they can cover some of the costs and install it themselves.

Being a first-time renter can be an awesome experience if you take the time to find a good place to live with an honest landlord. Do your homework and know your rights as a renter — things will work out for the best!

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Student Life

How To Gain Life Experience While You’re Young

February 2, 2021

It may seem like until you get experience, you’ll never be hired for anything. The common paradox is that you can’t get experience until someone hires you. There are, in fact, many ways to gain experience for the future while you’re still young.

Read Critically and Expansively

One of the easiest ways to prepare for the adult world is to read as much as possible. Through other people’s lives and experiences in both fiction and non-fiction, you gain insight into human nature and different lives you’ll never lead. Read so that you will be well read. Read so that you will understand allusions made by others. Read the nonfiction works of Dr. Gundry MD or Malcom Gladwell or Christopher McDougall to expand your knowledge about ideas and form opinions of your own.

Listen to Your Elders

Yes, older people sometimes repeat their stories, and, yes, sometimes they are slow to get to the point, but 80-year-old brains contain decades of wisdom that you are, well, decades away from achieving yourself. You may imagine that older people could not possibly understand your problems, but even though the names and dates may have changed, human problems have essentially stayed the same for hundreds of years. You may be surprised to discover that some old-school wisdom like “your word is your bond” and “say please and thank you” can actually take you pretty far in the modern world.

Travel Often

If you have a chance to go someplace new and try something new, take it. You never know what you might learn on the journey or gain from the destination.  You might see a bald eagle, learn how to change a flat tire, or discover your waitress grew up next door to the guy who runs the company you just applied for a job at. The world is interconnected, so get outside and see some of it before you’re tied down to a career with only ten vacation days a year.

Learn a Another Language

The older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a second language. When you were three, you probably didn’t think twice about singing songs in Spanish, French, German or Chinese. The older you got, however, the more uncomfortable you became at making mistakes. It’s human nature. Fight against it and keep learning. Become as fluent as you can in school, and then if possible, take a semester abroad or sign up for a volunteer trip to solidify what you know. Sometimes knowing a second language can leapfrog you right over the more experienced competition when you are ready to look for a job.

Volunteer on the Weekends

You may be too young for the job you want, so take this time to volunteer on the weekends or over the summer. Find an organization that will let you do the kind of work you’re interested in such as helping animals, tutoring or computer work and treat it like a real job. Show up on time. Be polite to your fellow volunteers. Don’t shirk menial work. Before you know it, you will probably be given greater responsibility. When it’s time to apply for jobs that pay, you will have references who will speak glowingly about your work ethic and can-do attitude.

Keep a Journal

It may be difficult to understand how keeping a journal when you’re young will help you when you’re older, other than aiding your recall when you write your “before I was famous” memoir. But a journal is a great way to reflect on what you learn and what you still don’t understand about life. It’s a place to write sage advice from others, lists of things you may never do again, and dreams for the future. It’s your past in the rearview mirror and also your future out the front window.

You won’t know exactly which event or skill you learn while you’re young that will help you in the future, but the more you pack into your elastic brain, the better prepared you’ll be. Don’t assume that just because you don’t have the job of your dreams that you’re not gaining experience.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.