Monthly Archives: June 2014

Why Being a Poser will leave you Broke

Honesty

Can we be really honest for just a minute? I have a question for you.

Are you a poser?

I’m guessing most of you know what a poser is, but if not, here’s what Google says…

Poser

Posers

So by Google’s definition, I’m guessing we’re all posers from time to time. Honestly, who doesn’t try to use money to impress others in some way or another? We buy clothes that may be just a little out of our price range. We drive nicer cars than we can afford so we lease them or take out loans. We buy dinner for our friends knowing that it’s going hurt later. Heck, even our cell phones say something about our status so we pay whatever we have to for them even if it costs us an arm and a leg.

Impressing other people isn’t cheap.

Sometimes we even feel such a strong need to impress others that we do it at great financial harm to ourselves. Take college selection for example.

As students start looking at colleges and begin to decide where they want to go, they have to process a lot of important school information: location, transportation, degrees offered, tuition costs, room and board costs, financial aid packages, work opportunities, etc.

The Elusive Prestige

Of course these are all really important and really smart things to be thinking about. But here’s the deal, 18 year olds aren’t only thinking about those things. If you’re going to college soon, chances are you’re thinking about less tangible, less quantifiable things; things like the culture of the school, the “fun-factor”, and how prestigious the school is.

A lot of high school seniors (and their families especially) are really concerned about that last one; prestige. Again, we turn to Google…

Prestige

Prestige is really, really important to a lot of students and their families when choosing a college. It’s as if certain colleges seem to be able to offer a higher level of esteem, respect, and status to their graduates. Highly esteemed colleges produce better quality graduates that are more desirable in the marketplace, right?

Certainly if employers knew you went to one of these highly respected schools they would be much more likely to offer you a job over the common shmuck that went to the community college down the road, right… right?

Well, probably not.

Honestly, employers are really not all that concerned with where you went to college. There are of course some careers that are an exception to this rule, but they are certainly not the norm. The truth is after you graduate college the only person who cares about where you went to school is you.

“Only the Best” Mentality

You’ve probably heard that you have to get into the best possible school that you can. This is taught to students all the time from teachers, counselors, and family members. Let me be the first to tell you, It’s not true. It sounds great but its horrible advice.

Better advice would be that you have to get into the best possible school you can realistically afford and that offers the best return on investment.

Just because you get accept to a prestigious school doesn’t mean you can afford it. It also doesn’t mean you should take out a life time of student loans to go there.

You really have to think these things through.

The kindergarten teacher who graduated with $150,000 in student loans isn’t going to be getting paid any better than the teacher who graduated with $10,000 in student loans. Remember, the only person who cares where you went to school is you.

So before you decide to sign on the dotted line and agree to take out a massive student loan in order to get into that super cool school, think about your motives. Who are you really trying to impress? Is their brief and passing admiration worth it? How super cool will it be when you have to pay $600 a month in student loans until you’re 40? How prestigious will it be when you have to move back into your parent’s basement after graduation because you’re broke?

Think about it. That’s all I’m asking.

As a guy who graduated from a rather expensive private university with a degree in education, I feel like I have a pretty decent understanding of this whole idea of getting a good return on investment for a college degree. I learned the hard way though. I spent too much plain and simple. I didn’t learn that until years later though.

So tell me your story. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Comment below to share.

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I Hate Snakes

Irrational Fear

I don’t have a lot of irrational fears, just 3.

  1. Speaking in front of large groups
  2. Flying (or rather crashing)
  3. Snakes

I hate snakes, I really do. Out of the three above listed fears, snakes are the biggest. I don’t know how this fear developed, but it did. And now I cringe at even the thought of them. When I’m flipping through a picture book with one of my kids, and I unexpectedly turn the page to BAM, a picture of a King Cobra staring back at me; I’ll jump. It’s a stupid fear I know, but I’m just being honest.

Now that you know my biggest fear, let me tell you a little story.Snake

Learning to Hate Snakes

Last week I was pulling weeds around my house. My 3 year old daughter was helping me. She’s a lot of fun to pull weeds with. To date I don’t think she’s pulled a single weed, but she sings me songs and tells me funny stories. I love it.

Like I was saying, last week we were pulling weeds. I reached down and grabbed a particularly big handful of thistles and pulled them up. I glanced down at the great big hand full of weeds and I noticed that one of the weeds was wiggling and writhing in my hand.

That’s odd. I didn’t think weeds were supposed to wiggle. You of course see where I’m going with this. Eventually my brain caught up with my eyes and registered what was going on.

I had a pretty decent sized snake in my hand.

I immediately dropped the thing, looked down, and to my utter horror I saw even more snakes crawling around the exact spot I had just been working on.  I let out a yell.   Not a scream or a shriek, just a little yell of surprise. I leaped up and grabbed my daughter, and jumped way, way back from the snakes. My adrenaline was surging.

I then noticed my daughter’s face. She was horrified, but not of the snakes. She was scared of my reaction. I’m pretty sure she saw the snakes, but wasn’t afraid of them in the slightest. She didn’t know she was supposed to be. She hadn’t learned that yet.

It wasn’t until I freaked out that she got scared. Now she knows. I taught her to fear snakes. In a quick 10 second blip of time I forever altered her interactions and views of an entire class of animals. In fact, that’s probably how I learned to fear snakes myself.

That’s scary.

Enough of my irrational fear of snakes, let’s get to the point.

The Point

Last week I shared some quotes about the importance of learning from others. This week I wanted to share how that looks practically.

Like most children, my daughter learned through observation. But, let me broaden that statement a bit. We all learn through observation. Basically, every interaction we have teaches us and every interaction we have teaches others about us. If that is true, than we must be careful of two things:

  1. Who we observe
  2. How we respond

The first is pretty simple; who we observe. Like it or not, you will become like the people you spend the most time with. I happen to like that idea because I have some pretty awesome friends. The people I hang out with I do so in part because I wouldn’t mind being more like them. How about you? Do the people you spend time with raise you up and inspire you? They should.

The second is a bit harder; how we respond.  I wish I could give you some awesome advice on how to respond appropriately in every situation, but I can’t. I haven’t figured this out just yet. I will say this though, people are watching you. What you say and do matters immensely. You have the power to build up or to destroy with what you say and how you respond. Take that for what it is.

…and be careful next time you pull weeds.

 

 

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Are you Learning from Others?

Learning happens constantly and continually. Yes, even during summer vacation!

Every person you meet is your teacher and every environment your classroom. Regardless of where your summer plans have taken you, you have the opportunity to learn from those around you. I don’t care if you are flipping burgers at McDonalds this summer, or if you are on a mission trip to Haiti, you are learning from those around you; at least you should be.

Everybody is smarter than you in some area and they are just waiting to share with you everything they know; you just have to ask. People like to talk about themselves and they love to talk about what they love. If you take the time to listen not only will you learn, but you will be seen as caring, considerate, and an all-around great person.

I’m going to leave it at that; short and sweet.  I just wanted to leave you with these three thought provoking quotes about learning from others and to challenge you to intentionally learn from others this summer.

Here they are, enjoy:

 

“Every person you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.” – H. Jackson Brown

“If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself.”  – Confucius

“We meet no ordinary people in our lives.” – C.S. Lewis

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20 Summer Vacation Ideas for High School Students

Making the most of Your Summer Vacation

Ah summer vacation; that magical time of the year when you can set aside all the deadlines and demands of the school year. Finally, you get to kick back and relax. You worked hard all year long, you deserve a break from the routine. So what are you going to do with all your newfound free time?

I’d like to make a few suggestions.

  1. Get a Job
  2. Do an Internship
  3. Job Shadow Different People
  4. Volunteer
  5. Go on a Missions Trip
  6. Start a Blog
  7. Start a Business
  8. Participate in a University Program
  9. Learn a New Skill
  10. Read –A Lot
  11. Sports
  12. Computer Courses
  13. Online Education
  14. Clubs
  15. Hobbies
  16. National Programs
  17. Take an SAT Prep Course
  18. Community Service
  19. Summer Camp
  20. Take Lessons

 Focus

There are a thousand great things you could be doing this summer to ensure you have a meaningful and worthwhile summer vacation; but, you can’t do it all. My recommendation to you is that you focus. Pursue only those things that align with your passions and talents. College admission officers want to see a theme not a hodgepodge of activities. Think laser beam, not shot gun. They want to be able to look at your transcript, extracurricular activities, and summer vacations and get a very clear picture of who you are and what you are all about.

So what are you doing this summer? Have any plans? If you do, share them here. I’d love to hear from you.

Have a great summer vacation!

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When Do I Start Preparing for College?

The best time to plant a tree

You’ve probably heard this quote a million times, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Well as it turns out, this principle applies to more than the casual arborist.

I believe that there’s no such thing as planning too early for college. Let me say right off the bat that I am not endorsing that every student should go to college. College is awesome; but, it is not for everyone.

That being said, I do believe that everyone should prepare for college. Regardless of if you decide to go to college or not, you need to have the option available to you and in order to have this option available you need to plan early.

So back to the question at hand, when should you start planning for college? Well, the earlier the better. In fact, college planning shouldn’t be something you wait until high school for.

Pre-K College Prep

College prep starts before kindergarten. No you aren’t practicing the SAT in pre-K, but you are exploring the world and discovering new and exciting things each day. All throughout elementary school you are learning about the world around you and more importantly you are learning how you fit into that world. You’re learning what you like and what you don’t like. You’re learning what your good at and what you love to do. That is some of the most important college prep you can do!file0001034424148

The Exploratory Middle School Years

By middle school, you’ve probably already figured out what kinds of things you’re good at. You know what you like and you know what you don’t. You’ve starting to think more about what kind of adult you will be. By the end of middle school, you’ve probably had a chance to learn about different careers through observation, shadowing, studies, or some other influence.

High School – Crunch Time

High school is when the more traditional college prep takes place. For a lot of students the light bulb doesn’t click until late in their junior year or even the beginning of their senior year. It’s about this time that the realization sets in that there’s a lot of work that goes along with getting into college. The truth is the earlier you start the less stressful it will be. As a freshman you can start preparing for college by doing a lot of simple things over the course of the next few years. Some examples include:

  • Take the required courses early.
  • Take the PSAT early and often to try for valuable scholarships.
  • Learn how to take the SAT and/or ACT and take it as early as possible and as often as necessary to obtain a high score.
  • Get involved in projects and take leadership roles in those projects.
  • Visit colleges, attend college event, s and talk to admissions staff and students.
  • Start saving money.

The list could go on and on but I think you get the point. College preparations don’t just take place your last two years of high school. So if you haven’t started yet, you need to.

“The best time to prepare for college is 20 months ago. The second best time is now.”

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I want to hear from you. What are you doing to prepare for college? When did you start preparing? Was the process stressful, simple, fun, nerve-wracking? Parents, are there any pressing college prep concerns you’re facing? Let’s start the conversation.

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