A 10 Step Plan on How to Have Your Best Year Ever

I never Black Friday shop, partly because up until a few years ago I lacked the money to buy anything, but mostly because my mother was a firm believer in the idea that if you cant afford it, you must not need it all that much. So I don't really Black Friday shop, unless going the next day to fuss about the mess left behind counts.

This year my sister and I braved the crowds at the only store we knew would be empty, Michaels Arts and Crafts. We needed Christmas lights and figured why the hell not, we're young but also old ladies at heart, so we chose the most calm store imaginable. While there I realized I didn't do too well with my yearly resolution, not terrible, but not to my standard either. Knowing exactly why I had failed to meet my goal, I decided to do something about it now. I bought a planner,  one of those fancy ones that come with stickers and pocket folders.

As I flipped through my planner I figured there was a lot more stuff I could do to make 2017 more successful, cause let's face it, I think everyone gets a pass for 2016. Overall it was kind of a crap year, beginning to end.

If you're looking to make this new year your best year yet, or get a head start on your New Year's resolution, take these ten steps to set yourself up for success. You can substitute any step to better tailor it to your goals, or go the extra mile and just add on to what I've created. Skip whatever is gonna stress you out or isn't necessary for you, because this is about starting the year on the path to your best year ever. 


1. Declutter your closet

Decluttering my closet was a goal I set for the month of November, and while the task took hours, once I was done I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Minimizing your wardrobe not only leaves you with options that you love, it clears space for new pieces while giving you the opportunity to donate the clothes you no longer want to those in need. 

2. Change something big in your living space

My apartment layout has been the exact same since I first moved in. If you're not looking to change address but want a change of scenery, take an afternoon and reorganize your living space. Simply shifting your furniture or finally getting around to hanging up your gallery wall can make your home feel like new.

Related Post: 8 Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Apartment Feel Like Home

3. Make one thing easier for yourself in the new year

I'm a firm believer in the idea that small annoyances can add up to a bad day, so when you have the same daily issues you're setting yourself up for failure. Do something now that will make your days in 2017 easier, such as auto reloading your commuter card, unsubscbing from that newsletter that fills up your inbox or setting up auto pay on a bill your always forgetting to pay. 

4. Choose a resolution/goal before others do

Choosing your new years resolutions, or better yet, goals for the new year ahead of time not only saves you the stress of having to think of one on the spot, but also allows you to prep for whatever you want to accomplish. For example, because one of my goals is to be better organized in the new year, I took the step to buying a planner in December to start practicing getting in the habit of writing things down. 

Related Post: 10 Important Resolutions Every Twenty Something Should Make

5. Remove something from your life

If you ask me I think we have a little too much of everything nowadays. Friends we don't really care for, clothes we never wear and photos on our phone we'll never post. Remove something from your life you no longer need, whether that be because it takes up space or brings no value to your life. 

6. Complete a challenge

Challenges are a great way to get yourself motivated, as long as you choose one that you can commit to and set a reasonable goal. Some of my favorite challenges are the 40 bags in 40 days challenge, quitting soda or candy for a week, or committing to seeing friends at least once a week. Choose a challenge that aligns with your goal for the new year, and try it out to see what areas you need help with most. 

7. Identify your one regret this year

Stop and think for a second, what do you wish you had accomplished by the end of this year? Can you still reach that goal, and if not, what can you do right now to get one step closer? If the goal is still important to you, add it to your list for the new year, and if not, don't get discouraged just because not everything went the way you planned. 

8. Find your squad

Friends are the best motivators, and by motivators, I mean they're pretty great at telling you to get off your butt and get to work. Find someone who will push you no matter how many excuses you list, plus one more with a similar goal as yours. Having a friend with a similar goal gives you an accountability partner, plus someone to bounce off success stories with year round. 

9. Be cheesy

I'm gonna tell you something I've never admitted to anyone else, the reason 2012 was my most successful and productive year was because of one big thing, I was cheesy AF. I spent the entire year surrounding myself with quotes I found on Pinterest, reciting my goals in the mirror and constantly encouraging myself to not give up. It was weird at first, but after a few weeks it's what kept me motivated when progress slowed. Be cheesy, write your dream with lipstick on the bathroom mirror and become your own biggest motivator.

10. Talk to your future self

When I wasn't busy talking to myself in the mirror or pinning quotes on how travel changes your life, I was taking the time to talk to my future self. How exactly? Well I wrote myself a couple letters. It's easy to give up on a goal when you forget just how important it once was to you, which is why I wrote a letter to myself four, eight and twelve months from New Years Day. Doing so gives you enough time to make progress between each letter, while also reminding yourself why you set this goal in the first place. 


I want to know what your biggest goal is for the upcoming year! On top of that, what's one thing you can do this week to help make your dream a reality?
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How to Get All As on Your Winter Finals

With two years out of college, I'm starting to forget the stress that comes with having four exams all in one week. Thankfully Facebook time hop likes to remind me of all the whiny posts I use to write back before I knew how much trickier adulthood would turn out to be.

If you're struggling to balance all your exams, or just have one that you're convinced you can't pass, take some time to set yourself up for success. Winter finals were always my least favorite, with the possibility of a bad grade hanging over my head until grades were finally released.

Since you're probably low on time and looking for a simple way to ensure you don't forget to review chapter, below are five tips to help you get an A on every single exam you take this winter semester. If you have a little more time to review or need help with studying in the last few days, read my post on the 10 most effective ways to help you study last minute.


1. Use the time in between class to study

To spare yourself those late night study sessions, use the time between your classes to study for your exams. A few thirty to sixty minute intervals throughout the week can add up to an entire night of studying, so take advantage of this time while you're on campus anyways.

Related Post: 11 Things to Do In Between Your College Classes

2. Schedule time to take breaks

The hardest part of studying for me was never knowing what it was gonna be over, which is why scheduling breaks was crucial for me. Setting a timer to notify you when to stop and step away from your notes will help you feel less tempted to just quit because you're bored. I recommend a timer on your computer, to lessen the need to grab your phone to check the remaining time.

3. Collaborate with students in class

Working with classmates not only gives you a network of people to ask for help, but also another set of notes and study guides to look at. Find a few people you know in class or send out an email letting people know you're looking to form a study group, you'd be surprised how many people are interested in working together around finals week.

Related Post: 10 Stupid Mistakes I Made My First Year of College

4. Have a reward to work towards


Nothing is more motivating that treating yourself to something at the end of it all, which is why gifting yourself something is a great way to keep your motivation up throughout finals. Choose an A grade and B grade gift, and stick to this! Once grades are released, you can both celebrate and purchase whatever you promised yourself.

5. Focus your energy on the hardest exams

Not everyone might agree with this, but not all finals are of equal importance. Figure out what classes you are doing well in and which are relying on a good final exam score to boost your overall grade. My advice is to spend more time studying for exams that are in class or cumulative, or worse, both.



If you need more help on finals or college overall, click here for all college related articles. Good luck on finals, and remember, GPAs do not define your college experience!
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The Best and Worst: Can We All Admit the Gilmore Girls Revival Sucked?

Three days. For three days I sat in front of my Macbook and relived the episodes that helped me navigate my early teens. Pop cultural references that suddenly made sense to me and judgments about characters that I had never made before. The Gilmore Girls Revival was set to be released Friday after Thanksgiving, and like a fool I had underestimated just how much I had to catch up on.



Near the end I started fast forwarding over scenes I remembered well enough, wanting to only relive the important stuff like graduations and breakups. Even though my love for the small town characters runs deep, it was only Lorelai's plot I found myself caring about by season 7. As for Rory, I had begun to dislike her the moment she started dating Dean again. Who knew her habit of being the other woman would stick with her into middle adulthood.

I watched the four new episodes in one sitting, waiting for the moment where I would spit out my popcorn or tear up like everyone else claimed to, but it never happened. Jokes sounded forced, or worse, offensive. Lorelai was still an overgrown teenage girl and Rory had grown up to be the privileged woman her mother fought so hard for her not to be. Plot lines of men being disrespected, from the forgettable Paul to our favorite diner owner being left in the dust yet again.

The entire thing seemed...staged. And not in a we haven't done this in a long time so let us get our groove back kind of way. More of a, this show should have been left in the past, where fans could imagine better lives for the characters who unfortunately came back to life to do all the things we never imagined they would go along with.

But instead of focusing on all the bad, which there was a lot of, I thought I'd highlight three good, and three not so great moments. I mean, it did take me a full three days to catch up on a show I used to love. Now, I'm not so sure either women are the best role models for young (and old) women today.

Bad: Realizing Rory has always been terrible.

It wasn't until I began rewatching the seasons that I realized that Rory is nothing special, and I know that sounds harsh, but she just isn't. Maybe it's because I wasn't raised being told I could be anything I wanted to be, or that a call would be made if it turned out I couldn't.

The revival episodes just demonstrated her biggest faults, including her issues with men as well as her belief that she should be offered any position she applies for. And don't get me started on her mocking the thirty something group, at least they would be appreciative of a woman taking the time to interview them, whether they wanted the job or not.


Worse: Everything surrounding Sookie's character.

Whether it was the reason she wasn't there or the fact that fans know the real reason why, but not having Sookie around felt like a big piece of the show was missing. Not only were fans deprived of Sookie and Michel banter, but we also had to deal with her being declared Lorelai's best friend in one scene only to be excluded from the wedding ceremony altogether. I'm sorry, but they could have freaking asked her! Too much Kirk, not near enough Sookie.

Worst: Rory and Lorelai's relationship with men.

I think we can all agree Rory grew up to be kind of a bitch in the relationship department. Dating a guy whose name she cant even remember, sleeping with an engaged man, then waking up after a one night stand shocked that it even happened. Let be honest, one night stands are more respectable than sleeping with another woman's fiancee.

As for Lorelai, I always knew she had man troubles, but I guess we all assumed once it happened with Luke things would snap into place. We thought wrong. How do ten years go by and no one mentions kids? Only to be swept under the rug because the both of you cant be bothered to talk things over like adults. Oh, and the whole running away to do Wild? Ridiculous. As we all saw the people out there were in their twenties, thirties at most.

As a woman pushing fifty, she should be able to figure her shit out without abandoning her life. Nothing made me angrier than Luke having to fight for her again. At what point does this man have to stop fighting for her, can the man just have a relationship that doesn't require a routine crisis every few years?

Good: How well all of the Gilmore Girls' exes are doing.

I never imagined I would watch the Gilmore Girls Revival and end up rooting for all of their exes, but by the Spring episode I found myself caring more about them than the main characters. For a show that set up Rory and Lorelai as women who would always be remembered as the one who got away, it was great to see that most of their exes were living successful, stable and happy lives. Trust me, even if you were strongly on Team Dean or Jess, you'll end the episodes thankful that they both grew up to be responsible adults.

Better: Paris Gellar proving a woman really can have it all.

Her role in the show walked the line of villain and best friend, which made her character all the more enjoyable. Liza Weil perfectly fell back into her role, and even though her character had grown so much, all the typical Paris trademarks were still inside the now grown up version of the girl we grew to admire.

This the women we should all be striving to be like, unapologetic, strong, and hardworking. The girl who will call you out for having an affair with her husband all while telling him he's not welcomed to sit on her couch. No she's not without flaws, but she's damn near perfect.

Best: Emily's portrayal of moving on with your life.

During the seven seasons the show aired I never really cared for Emily's character, but trust me, she is the only thing that kept me watching through the painful Summer episode. Emily's journey of learning to live without her husband is something anyone whose ever lost someone they loved can relate to.

In the Gilmore Girls Revival she finds her own place in the world, finally tells her DAR friends how fake they all are, and does something we could all probably benefit from, declutters her life. Emily Gilmore is the charm that kept my eyes glued to the screen, and if you read any review of the new episodes, you'll see this is her best performance yet.

Honorable mentions

Terrible: All the stereotypes and misplaced jokes.

Even though episodes from the past got away with less than appropriate jokes, there's no reason why their revivals have to commit the same mistakes. Something felt...unnecessary about the whole Berta and her whole family moving in situation. As for the fat shaming and millennial jokes, I don't understand how the writers missed the memo on body positivity and the fact that millennials are basically the only ones with the time to binge watch a series.

Heartwarming: Luke's relationship with his daughter.

Even though I was never a big fan of this plot line, it was nice to see that April grew up to be such a successful young woman. Her panic about how to navigate her early twenties was relatable without feeling too forced or belittling those who also feel as if they have no idea what their next step is.

Adorable: The fact that Lane is so much like her mother.

Maybe it's the ten years of wisdom I've gained, but current me sees Ms.Kim as less of a controlling mother and more of a woman who just wants to protect her daughter. You know, from things like affairs and unplanned pregnancies. Lane stepping into her mothers shoes while still holding on to her rebellious nature is the best thing the show could have done for her plot line.


So tell me, did you love or hate the new episodes? If you hated it, which part was the most cringeworthy for you? And if you loved it, am I missing something or have I just become far too cynical?
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10 Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

Lately I've been writing a lot of cover letters, like a lot a lot. I'm in the early stages of my clinical training, so basically I spend my days writing letters to employers begging them to trust me with their patients. In return I promise them months work of free work and to not get in the way.

Thankfully I'm not half bad at this stuff, with all credit going to the career advisers at my university who drilled into my brain how to write a cover letter that won't get tossed into the trash. My first job out of college was helping individuals apply to jobs and create resumes, which helped tremendously when it came to moving on to my next position.

If you're having trouble writing a cover letter that shows why they'd be wrong not to pick you, read on to see if you could be making any of these ten common cover letter mistakes. With employers receiving more applications than ever thanks to websites like Indeed and Monster, you want to do everything you can to pair your resume with a cover letter that will make you stand out from the others in the pile.


1. Beginning with your name

A cover limited has very limited space, which means none of it should be wasted in stating information the employer already has. Your name should be listed on your resume, application and will be signed at the bottom, so skip stating your name and start off with something stronger than "My name is xyz."

2. Repeating everything that's on your resume

It can be tempting to repeat your resume in the form of a cover letter, but it's a complete disservice to you and redundant to the person reading your cover letter. Instead of rewording your resume, try highlighting one of the skills or experiences mentioned on your resume, or discussing how your past experiences are applicable to the position you are currently applying to.

3. Writing more than one page

Just like resumes, employers prefer you keep your cover letter at a one page maximum. Be careful to not submit something less than half a page, with three quarters down the page being the happy medium. Typically I discuss the job I am applying for, how I meet the qualification, what I can offer, and my interest in discussing more during an interview.

4. Focusing on any negative aspects of your work experience

Employers understand people have gaps in their work history and don't always enter a position knowing everything they need to, so there's no need to focus on the negative. Skip talking about how you were out of work for a few months or lack training in a specific area, instead talk about your eagerness to learn and past abilities to adapt to new work environments. You can address any inconsistencies or obstacles once you are being interviewed, but until then stick to the positive aspects of your resume and experiences.

5. Sharing information not relevant to the job position

This one totally gets me every time. It can be so tempting to mention a skill or job you totally rock at, but unless it applies to the current position steer clear of talking about it. With space being limited, you want to highlight one experience and/or a few skills to focus on, all of which you should be able to tie back to the position you are applying for. 

6. Submitting the same cover letter for every job

So many new job applicants make this mistake. Actually, scratch that, all types of job seekers make this mistake. And why? Literally every cover letter article tells people to not reuse cover letters, yet people still do it. Taking the time to write a cover letter specific to the job makes the difference when it comes to your application being reviewed, plus it's so obvious (and slightly annoying) to hiring managers who are taking the time to review your application.

7. Undermining yourself in any way

This is me officially telling you to not apologize for a damn thing in your cover letter, so now you have no excuse for making this mistake ever again. I don't care if they asked for you to have three years experience and you only have two, do not apologize! Focus on your strengths and explain any areas for improvement in your interview, anything before that is you reducing your chances of being hired before getting in the door. 

8. Using the wrong format

When you're a beginner, no one really tells you what employers are looking for in regards to format, so here it is. At the top should be your contact information, followed by theirs, a greeting, a paragraph on the positions your applying for, why you're qualified, and a conclusion that states your eagerness to be contacted for an interview. All of this should be within one page, Times New Roman, and size 12 font. 

9. Forgetting to proofread 

Just how resumes should be typo free, the same goes for your cover letter. Besides the occasional misspelled word, you don't want to accidentally submit a cover letter with the wrong company name or contact person. Doing so shows potential employers that you are recycling cover letters, which again you should not be doing even if the positions are similar. 

10. Stating your salary requirements (when not prompted to)

The hardest part for me when writing a cover letter is stating my salary requirements, which is why I'm always surprised people bring it up with no instruction from the employer. Unless you are specifically asked, leave the salary negotiation until you are being interviewed, or better yet, once you've been offered the position.


Tell me, what's the hardest part of cover letter writing for you? Or, what's the best advice you've received to write a cover letter that stands out?
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Why the 2016 Election Matters So Much to Me

The 2016 election is something that I have been waiting eight years for. Back when I was sixteen my sister and I took a trip to San Francisco to hear Hillary Clinton speak at a rally. On that same day I picked up the sticker that still sits on my laptop, the one that sported the name of a woman who was was brave enough to not give up on a dream I did a long time ago.



When I was growing up I didn't want to be a princess, or a teacher, or a dancer. I didn't dream of riding horses or being a pop star. Somewhere along the way I decided I was going to be the President of the United States, and my ambition led me to run for student council in the fifth grade, then again throughout middle school, until the day I lost. 

I lost to a girl with no experience in student government. She like me was thirteen, except she was friends with a girl everyone had decided was popular. I think it's because she had figured out how to pluck her eyebrows long before any of us. Anyways, this popular through association girl beat me, despite my years of experience, days I spent making posters and the speech I spent hours reciting until it was just right. 

The day they announced over the loudspeakers that she had won was the day I realized life was one big popularity contest, so I gave up. I gave up on my dream of being U.S. President and I stopped caring what girls in school thought about me. My life didn't fall to pieces, I mean cmon, I was thirteen. I went on to do great in school, with my own group of friends, and actually ended up being student body president every year of high school. But despite all those big wins, that seemed very small back then, I majored in psychology and continued to ignore the fact that growing up I always wanted to lead this country.

Related Post: What To Do If You Haven't Registered to Vote

Somewhere in that time Hillary Clinton ran for president, and she too lost, which pulled up all the feelings of losing to someone who you at the time feel like you're so much more qualified than. But then she did what I couldn't, she tried again. 

And this is why this election matters so much to me. I've moved on to a career I love, but no day goes by in this city when I forget the reason why I fell in love with Washington DC. You see, I visited Washington DC the year I lost that silly election, and on that trip I fell in love with this city. So I may never live in the White House, but I can cast my vote so that the woman who has continued to inspire me can once again call it her home and workplace. 

For those that say because we are voting for her because she's a woman or we're uniformed, you're wrong. I'm voting for her because she did what I couldn't, faced rejection from an entire country, then had the courage to get up and do it again. 

So I'm not just casting my vote for Hillary Clinton, I'm casting it for every girl in this country who once lost something that made them want to give up. For little girls who have no one to look up to, and for thirteen year old me, who hid behind her Series of Unfortunate Events book unable to understand why no one chose me. 

If you haven't registered to vote, regardless of who you're voting for, click here to learn if your state allows same day registration. 
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What to Do If You Haven't Registered to Vote Yet

So you haven't registered to vote yet and election day is just days away? Don't stress! If life got in the way, you're registered in the wrong area or you just freaking forgot, thirteen states allow same day registration either before or on Election Day.

The list below indicates states that will allow you to register as late as Election Day, and below that are the things you need to make sure you face no obstacles once at your polling place.


States that allow same day registration:

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming


What to bring with you:

Proof of residency

To help with this, bringing with you a government ID and one other piece of information that shows your address will help. Examples are a utility bill, current lease, paycheck or cable/internet bill.

Identification

In order to verify you are who you are, it helps if you are able to bring two proofs of identity. Apart from a government ID, a passport, Social Security Card, or birth certificate can help with this. Not all states require your identification cards have a photo, but to be safe bring at least one that does.

If you're not sure if you're registered to vote, or to see if you're registered in an area you no longer live in, click this link to verify your registration status and receive more information on what to do in regards to your specific state.
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The 8 Important Lessons My Second Year of Grad School Taught Me

You know that meme with the old lady in the first scenes of The Titanic, where she's looking out into the distance and says "it's been 84 years"? That's going to be me on graduation day.

My graduate school experience so far has been more stressful than I ever imagined. Two years ago I placed my deposit and moved to the DC area with nothing more than two suitcases full of clothes. Today I am very much the same woman, except I own way more stuff and have a much less positive perspective on grad school. I'm not saying that I regret attending or my choice of school, I'd do it all again in a heartbeat, but I just wish someone would have told me how hard it is to survive in a city like Washington DC while balancing school and work full time.

I don't know who you are, but at the very least you're someone who's been through this before or is thinking about diving into the world of post graduate studies. To help you avoid the same mistakes I did and enjoy every moment of your educational experience, read on to hear all the lessons I learned my second year of graduate school, and what you can do to make the very best of every minute of  it.

Related Post: All the Important Things My First Year of Grad School Taught Me



1. Classes aren't hard, balancing them is.

This might be my own personal experience, but classes in graduate school so far have felt a lot less difficult than my undergraduate courses. The workload is very similar and the grading has been more difficult, but because the topic is something I love, it's somehow easier to learn it and produce work that I'm actually proud to present. The hard part comes in when you're trying to balance 4 courses at a time, or worse, four courses and a full time job.

Learning to make both aspects of your life a priority can be stressful, but just know that so many before you have done it, and your biggest ally will be not leaving work from any part of your life until the last minute.

2. You have to be your own advocate.

Being a graduate student is funny in the sense that while you are very much a part of your university, most of the campus programs and resources are targeted towards undergrads because they are the majority. Plus, everyone assumes you've got everything figured out by now in this stage of your education. There's just one problem, grad school comes with its own stressors and obstacles, minus the team of people ready to guide you through it all.

Don't be afraid to stand up for what you want, whether that be a class you desperately need to be offered next semester or an appointment with one of those administrators that is somehow always too busy to do their job.

On multiple occasions I've had complete meltdowns at my university because I finally came to realize that we all pay too much money for our educations to be ignored or told no without explaining our side first. Don't be scared of being a bitch if that's what comes between you and graduating on time, getting the class you need or simply someone picking up the damn phone already.

3. Know what you want, and don't settle for anything less.

Midway through my first year of grad school administrators pulled all first year students in my masters program and informed us that they were creating a new program, under a different title and a slightly different focus. For weeks they pushed everyone to switch into this new program, urging us that this would be the best decision for us. There was one problem though, I hadn't come to this school for that program, I wasn't interested in that program and I had already began the coursework for my masers. So me and about 4 other students in the entire school decided we wouldn't budge.

It has been a struggle since then, mostly when it came to signing up for courses that were now never going to fill up. Don't let intimidating administrators and automated emails scare you into making any decisions you're not sure about. Ask a question a dozen times just to make sure you're comfortable with the answer, and if you need more advice, ask again. Thanks to my stubbornness I will be graduating with the masters I want, still be eligible for my licensure and best of all, can walk the stage knowing I wasn't pressured into making a decision for other people's benefit.

Related Post: 11 Things To Do In Between Your College Classes

4. Now is the time to start networking.

Ugh, I know, networking is the adult version of torture. Here's the thing though, it pays off (literally), so maybe it's best to do it while we can still blame our lame networking skills on being young and inexperienced? I'm not saying go to happy hours and pass out business cards, what I mean is now is the time to start talking to your professors about more than just what you might have missed last class.

If any of you have had a professor for more than one course, that's an automatic person you need to switch contact info with and consider asking for recommendations down the line. Trust me, professors know you're nervous and they too were once desperate for mentors too, so stop stressing about it and just strike up a normal conversation with them.

5. Take advantage of school resources while you can.

So far I've spent two years out of college, and in those two years I have never had trouble finding a job. Even though I spent my undergrad volunteering and gaining experience, I also give a lot of credit to the campus resources that prepared me for life after college. If your university has a career center, go to it! Do not graduate without having your resume looked over and a list of resources that your campus continues to provide one you are an alum.

Once you leave a school setting resources like interview prep and resume workshops are things you will have to pay for, so take advantage of them while they're free and easily accessible.

6. Your education isn't a race.

This was the hardest pill for me to swallow. At the end of my first year of graduate school I realized I personally couldn't balance working and attending school full time, at least not if I wanted to move into the actual city. I did what was best for me and changed my school schedule to part time, which allowed me to accept an amazing job offer and be able to afford the apartment I always wanted. One problem though, suddenly I wasn't on track to graduate in two years.

It took a few months but I realized school was no longer a race, I was already making good money and my entire masters degree was very much my choice, so there was no need to put all this extra pressure on myself. Today I'm on track to graduate in three years, which is perfectly fine with me because in that three years I've done so many things that would have never been possible had I stayed on a path that left no time to enjoy my life.

Related Post: The 10 Most Effective Ways to Help You Study Last Minute

7. It's okay if you make a mistake.

Remember how I said it will take me three years to graduate instead of two? Part of that is 100% my fault. See, I was so focused on completing the master course requirements that I totally failed to register for any electives, like ever. So in my final year I'm finally getting around to taking the courses my friends took in their first. Don't stress about small stuff like this though, because at the end of the day no employer is going to ask what semester I took what and why it took me three instead of two years to get a masters degree.

8. Pay less attention to what those around you are doing.

Going into my second year of graduate school I had just accepted this amazing job at a law firm in the city. The pay was great and the work environment was exactly what I had been looking for, there was just one tiny issue, all of my friends were working in the mental health field. As a student getting a masters in counseling psychology, it can be hard to explain to people why you chose to work outside the field during your coursework. (It was the money, it was always the money.)

Learning to care less about what others around me were doing and paying more attention to my own necessities helped me let go of the guilt of no longer wanting to work minimum wage in exchange for a job that would just look good on my resume. Work experience and good deeds don't pay my rent, so do what works for you and don't compare your experiences to those of others.



Are you thinking of going to grad school? If so, what's one question no one has been able to answer so far? And if you've been through the process, share a lesson with prospective applicants below!
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November Goals + Why I'm Setting Them

The beginning of my 2016 was nothing I could have predicted a year prior. If you had told me I would be single, spend months channeling all my energy into my blog only to become completely overwhelmed with everything and disappear I would have believed you. Only because my life has a way of totally giving me the middle finger when things are going well.



See, in early 2016, I was making serious strides towards growing my blog. I wasn't thinking of monetizing or even the next step, my only goal was growing my little slice of the internet into a place where other confused twenty somethings could find some advice, laugh at my mistakes and generally distract themselves from whatever boring tab they had open next to mine.

But shit got messy ya'll. I was fresh out of a relationship, dating a genius who fascinating yet intimidating, my graduate program was getting more difficult and I just couldn't cope with a bunch of my friends deciding to move out of the area. So I gave up. Which is ironic, since my word of the year was perseverance.

Except, I never fully give up on anything. You can ask the dozens of drafts I have sitting unpublished on my computer. Do I ever plan on posting the stuff I wrote in that bad state? Probably not, but part of me knew I'd come back eventually, so I didn't want to lose the talent I stumbled upon a few years ago when I was also at home alone with nothing to do.

Yes, I bailed on my own goal and yes, I've lost a lot of my progress, but my passion for blogging never went away. It took the backseat, but nowhere in those few months did I stop writing. So I'm introducing to my blog monthly goals. A lot of bloggers do these so I get they're kinda boring to read, but these are more for me than anyone else. The embarrassing stories and tips on how to get the job? Those are for you! But these goals are to help me put myself in check when I find myself getting lazy or discouraged again.

Blog Related Goals

Increase my page views by 2,000.

There was a time when I was getting close to 15,000 page views a month, which is substantial when you factor in how unstable my posting schedule is and the very little promotion I do.  I know I can get there again, so this month I want to push myself to hit at least 2,000 more than what I get without any effort on my part.

Write more about me

Sometimes I laugh at how little I focus on myself even though my site is called When Life Gives You Rubi. It's not that I'm embarrassed or anything, I just began writing for websites that taught me to always have something to offer the reader, not just throw some anecdote on the page and call it a day. But this is my space, so I plan to get a little more personal in the coming month.

Update my popular posts page. 

The last time I updated this page was...so far back that I cant even remember. Turns out my readers have some new favorites as of late, so I think it's time to change my recommendations to new visitors to the site.

Everyday Life Goals

Go on a hike. 

Okay so very few people know this about me, but I freaking love hikes. Big long ones where I feel like I may not make it back to the car? No. But the type where you can stop for picture and snacks and don't need to pack your inhaler? Heck yes! Before fall is over I really want to enjoy the season one last time.

Sort through my closet. 

Every morning when I get dressed I feel like I have nothing to wear, even though I have a closet full of clothes. The problem is all the clothes I have either don't fit comfortably anymore or I just plain don't like them. Poshmark is this thing I keep hearing about so I really want to purge my closet of all things I no longer need or want.

Plan at least one meet up per week. 

Early this year I realized I had zero close friends in the city. No exaggeration! For this reason I started a meet up group in my city, and since then it's really grown. While I'm active on the site I don't always host events regularly, so I really want to change that this month to encourage more girls to come out and meet new people.



Do you have any goals for November? Or better yet, how are your yearly goals coming along? Let me know in the comments below!

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Things Bloggers Don't Talk About (& why I do despite the hate)

The past few days have been a whirlwind of crazy, the type that make you stare intently at the sidewalk in the small hope that it won't get directed at you. Even though I've been running all over the city enjoying my favorite holiday weekend, I did pause to reflect on the fact that all of this would be so avoidable had I never taken my love of talking and turned it into a full time hobby/job/whatever you wanna call it.



Here's the thing, I've been writing since early 2012. I saw an ad for writers for a popular collegiate website and figured why the hell not? As someone who has been reading women's magazines since the age of six, I know a thing or two about what young women like to read. With friends my whole life telling me I should write my stories down, I finally took their advice and applied for the position. That turned into another opportunity, which turned into another, all of which ended with me creating my own space where I could talk about what I wanted, how I wanted.

There was just one problem, no one seemed to be talking about the things I enjoy talking to my friends about. Angry moments on the subway, deciphering out if you're in a relationship or just hooking up, and figuring out how the hell to write a resume that won't get tossed in the trash. Basically websites we're too niched, or simply so big that you lost the relatable factor. So I set out to create exactly what I wanted to see in the world, a place where a basic ass millennial could write about that time an ER doctor said her UTI was caused by too much sex! (This is very much debatable and will definitely one day be written about in depth, because I'm shameless.)

One problem though, not everyone likes when you tell it like it is. Bloggers don't talk about sex and people don't like you talking about your experiences with them. And that's when I realized, there's so many interesting topics bloggers miss out on just because we see others being successful when writing about the topics we were all taught are marketable, or worse, we're scared of the backlash! We live in an age where we're obsessed with the intimate details of celebrity lives, yet I don't think any of my favorite bloggers have ever referenced anything more personal than their dress size.

I know that I'm not going to change the direction of blogging and that my blog is not pulling in millions of readers every month. But there is one thing I do have, other bloggers with similar platforms to mine reading my content. So maybe if we started talking about the things that we all really wanna hear about, blogging will no longer be this place where everything needs to be picture perfect and every critical/hateful comment is discussed in our Facebook groups.

Currently I have my ex-boyfriends current girlfriend completely harassing me in the comment section of one of my latest posts, on top of the string of Facebook messages that I swiftly ignored. And do I give a crap that she thinks I'm pathetic for putting my experiences out there? Hell no! At the end of each day, every time she click my page to comment about how pathetic I am, that's one more page view that helps me later along the line when choosing how much to charge companies who want to partner with me.

If you're a blogger who sometimes gets bored of publishing the same type of content, or just a girl who wants to say more in her Instagram captions that how nice the sunset was, do it! Write about the time you cried on public transportation, take that selfie on day one of your period and let your followers know how bad your cramps are, say the things you say to your best friend without the fear of what some judgmental person may have to say back.

As for me, I plan to keep writing about the topics I always wished others would talk about when I was younger. Currently I have a post on the first page of Google that every girl sees when searching how to get over a guy. And you know what? That feels awesome! Four years later and that post is still helping young women deal with a breakup that they too weren't ready for. And until I write another post that goes as viral as that, I'm just gonna keep oversharing on the internet, hoping someone reads it and finds it totally relatable.



So tell me, are you a blogger who keep certain things private, and if so, why? And if you're just a everyday reader, what's one thing you wish more men and women would talk about online?
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