Category Archives: Student Success

Failure Can Lead to Success

Failure really can lead to success.   Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, knows this all too well.  I recently listened to a story broadcasted on the NPR network.  During this segment, Jeff explained how he originally set out to be a cartoonist.  He was rejected time and time again as his artwork was considered too childish.

As stated in NPR’s interview with Jeff Kinney, “I just could not draw like a professional cartoonist,” he says. “I was like, ‘I draw like a middle-schooler, right?’ And eventually this idea came to me … maybe if I act like I’m doing it on purpose, everybody will think that I was doing it on purpose, and they won’t be able to reject me … that’s where the idea of Diary of a Wimpy Kid came from.”

Just think what would have happened if Jeff would have simply accepted rejection and walked away?  His book series has become a HUGE success.  He has published 6 books, and a seventh is on the way. The books have been translated into 40 languages and there are 75 million copies in print worldwide.

Jeff did what so many of us have failed to do…he took difficulties and a could be failure and found a way to make it a success.  He would not take” no” for an answer.  Instead, he found a way to use criticism of his work and mold a masterpiece.  Sometimes things don’t end up as we intend.  However, if we strive to find the positive in our obstacles, success can be attained.

Do You Have a Problem or a Possibility??

Ask yourself this question – Are you in a problem or possibility mode right now?  If you begin to talk about the possibilities in your life, you will see a big change in the way you look at things, and the outcome will differ greatly.  The quality of our life is as good as the quality of questions we ask ourselves.

Think of your moods and emotions like a water faucet.  When we are focused on our problems, the water pours out.  The more we dwell on our problems, the more stress, fatigue and anxiety we feel.  It’s like turning on the “problem faucet” full blast.

When we shift our focus to thinking about the possibilities in our lives, we turn on the “possibility faucet”.  This is a trickle of water that can create excitement, optimism and new ideas.

The questions becomes, which faucet have you turned on – the “problem faucet” or the “possibility faucet”?  Is your faucet running full blast or it is trickling?

When we can stay focused on possibility – it becomes reality.  That is when true magic begins to occur in our lives!

Have a Magical Day!!

Homeless and Penniless to Harvard

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I recently read an article about an amazing young lady who has defied all odds, took her life struggles and used them to fuel her desire to turn her life around to earn herself a full ride scholarship to one of the most prestigious colleges in our country.

Dawn Loggins, of Lawndale, North Carolina is an exemplary example of someone who refused to give up, no matter how many obstacles were placed in her way.

This young lady overcame an extremely difficult childhood.  Homeless at an early age, and abandoned by her parents, she refused to let this get her down.  She worked hard to excel academically. She was blessed with counselors, teachers, and a community that believed in her.   Living most of her life with no electricity, running water, and later – no home, this young lady is a true success story.  Her refusal to give up hope, when all else seemed to be working against her displays her determination and drive that would be an asset to our youth today.

Dawn had the drive and insight to continue to focus on her future.  A straight A student –  and armed with determination, she applied, and was accepted to, a number of distinguished schools such as University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, Davidson College and Warren Wilson College.   Dawn was also accepted to Harvard – her reach for the stars school – and will be attending the Ivy League school on a full ride scholarship.

These types of students give me hope for a brighter future.  Dawn has proven, that no matter what is in your past, your future is yours to mold.

There’s a Birdie in Your Future

This is just too good not to share.  I receive numerous emails that have been forwarded from one person to the next.  This one has a great message that I felt I needed to pass on… 

“If you were flipping through the TV channels this weekend, you might have seen something really unique at the U.S. Open golf tournament at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.

There was a senior playing and he did remarkably well. I’m not talking about Michael Allen, who is 53.

I’m talking about Beau Hossler, who is 17, a senior at Santa Margarita High School in Orange County, California.

Amidst the top golfers in the world, he not only qualified for the U.S. Open as an amateur, but also led the leader board on Friday for a few magical moments. That is, ahead of such famous golfers as Tiger Woods and Phil Michelson.

On Saturday, he shot even-par 70, followed all four of his bogeys with birdies on the next hole. I checked and learned that a bogey means one above par. A birdie means one score below par. Birdies are  preferable.

That means that Beau was able to focus when things did not go well on holes number 3, 6, 11, and 13, where he got bogies. He was apparently able to mentally put those holes behind him and charged ahead with birdies on holes 4, 7, 12, and 13.

Although the final day of the tournament, Sunday, did not go as well for Beau, his quiet demeanor, his focus, and his determination have garnered him sudden fame in the game of golf and legions of fans worldwide.

What a great lesson we can take from the amazing performance of Beau Hossler in The Open. As I teach in my seminars, “It’s not what happens. It’s how we react.”

Every round of golf, as in every day in life, offers another opportunity to do better on the next hole or the next step. “Bogeys in my past. Birdies in my future” might be a great mantra for success.

If you’ve recently had an experience that could be equated to a bogie, that is done. You cannot change it. May I suggest that you mentally step up to the next tee, see your ball going far and straight down the fairway, swing the club and strike it with everything you’ve got.  

There’s a birdie in your future.”

More Job Opportunities for 2012 Graduates

Graduation ceremonies and festivities are popping up all around us. A time for happiness and celebration, and a start to a whole new life. But, what lies ahead??

According to U.S. News & World Report, recruiters say 2012 college graduates will see more job opportunities.

As written by Catherine Groux and Posted March 21, 2012 11:24 am, “Although the economic downturn affected countless people across the U.S., the nation is slowly showing signs of recovery, especially for bachelor’s degree holders. According to a 2012 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, hiring managers plan to employ 9.5% more new college graduates in 2011-2012 than they did in 2010-2011. Additionally, hiring is expected to increase across almost all majors, with the sharpest growth predicted for those who study business, computer science and engineering.”

What can you do to help land that dream job? Your resume says a lot about you and is the first impression the company has of you. However, writing a resume as a recent college graduate has some challenges. As a recent graduate, you have limited professional experience which may make it difficult to prove your value to a potential employer. Focus on your successes achieved while attending college and create a one page resume that highlights important information about you. You may also want to consider an internship, which will give you valuable on-the-job training that will be sure to add experience to your resume.

Practice your interview skills. Make sure to use proper grammar – not slang, street talk. Ask a friend or family member to perform mock interviews with you. You will want to make sure this person is willing to provide you with constructive criticism. Be familiar with most frequently asked questions during the interview process. This will help you be prepared. Monster.com has a list of questions that are likely to be asked during an interview.

Be on time for your interview. Nothing says “unreliable” more than a late applicant.

Dress for Success. Always show up to your interview dressed appropriately for the workplace.

Put your best foot forward. Be yourself and be honest. Your potential employer is trained to know when you are pulling their leg.

Go out there and get that dream job! After all, isn’t that why you have been working so hard to obtain your college degree?

The Successful College Student’s Pyramid

Infographics seem to be the coolest thing since sliced bread. It’s easy to understand why. They provide a lot of information in a easy-to-understand and appealing way. If a picture says a 1,000 words, than infographics must say 1,000,000 words!

To expand on the topic of uncluttering your cluttered life (our last blog post), we thought this Successful College Student Pyramid infographic was perfect for our readers. No matter if you’re starting your first semester this fall or you’re looking forward to graduating soon, this guide will help you organize your priorities.

Successful College Student’s Pyramid
Presented By: Online Colleges

So you should organize your priorities from bottom to top:

  1. Learn as much as you can and get the most out of your college education
  2. Take care of your health
  3. Get social and enjoy the college experience
  4. Gain experience (and money) with jobs and internships
  5. Take a break sometimes and visit home
  6. Party sometimes, just don’t make it a bad habit

Thanks Online Colleges for bringing this infographic to our attention!

Unclutter Your Cluttered Life

In this fast paced world we live in, it is so easy to get caught up in this rat race we call life.  No one knows this better than Vonda White, President of Collegiate Risk Management and Author of Success Against the Odds.   We are all moving 100 miles per minute, and between work, school, kids, friends, email, Facebook, voicemails, housework,  etc. it is easy –and inevitable – to become cluttered and out of control.

So how do we take the clutter out of our life?  Some would say, get rid of all of your unnecessary belongings and eliminate possessions that have accumulated over the years.    However, clutter comes in two forms, physical and mental clutter.   Just as we need to organize our belongings, we also need to organize our life.    It is important to be mindful of what clutters our life and what we can do to fix it.

Getting rid of mental clutter can be accomplished the same way as getting rid of physical clutter.  You must first figure out what is important to you.  Once you have accomplished that goal, you can begin to set aside the other things that are taking up your time and energy, and focus on what is important.

How do we organize our lives, and begin to unclutter ourselves?

Make a List of Priorities

Knowing what is important to you is the first step in organizing your life.  Take the time to make a list of what is most important to you, in order of priority.   Life will be a little neater when you gather your priorities in a list that you can physically see.

Rework your Calendar

If you have too much scheduled on your calendar, it wouldn’t hurt to unclutter your Success Planner by rescheduling things that can be done at a later date.   For example, rescheduling a pedicure to free up some time for other things won’t hurt you.   Don’t stress about something you can easily change?

Take a Time-Out

Time to ourselves is sometimes the thing we need to get back on track.  A little breather can be very refreshing.   Taking a step back and a deep breath can put some sanity back in your life when things are hectic around you.

Recognize Time Wasters

Make a list of the things that waste time in your routine.   While talking on your cell phone, IM’ing with your friends, posting on Facebook or checking Facebook status’s or Tweeting are a great form of entertainment, allowing these things to take over your life can be detrimental to your calendar and wreak havoc on your state of mind.   Set aside a certain time of day to get your social media fix.  Remember your priorities on your list.  If you are checking your Facebook while you are in a work meeting or your daughters play, you may not be focused on your priorities at hand and clutter will begin to take over your life.  Set your automatic messages on your phone to alert persons IM’ing you that you will get back to them, and set aside a time of day to do so.  Don’t allow time wasters to overtake your day.

At the end of the day, there are only so many hours to accomplish all of our daily tasks.  Find out what is important to you and focus on your priorities.   Learn to say “No” to things that clutter your schedule and see how balance and serenity will enter into the world around you.

Mother’s Day Breakfast Idea

Mother’s Day is this upcoming Sunday. While browsing through recipes on the Whole Foods website, we came across this cute bed-in-breakfast idea. It’s a morning treat that’s super easy to prepare but special enough for mom.

Heart Shaped Egg-in-a-Hole

Ingredients

2 slices brioche loaf, each about 3/4-inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Chives for garnish
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Using a large (2.5- or 3-inch) heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a heart from the center of each slice of brioche. Or, use a paring knife to cut the heart shapes. Reserve slices and hearts.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the slices and the heart cutouts to the pan and cook until slightly toasted. Turn slices and cutouts; carefully break an egg into the center of each slice. Cover the skillet and cook until the egg white is just set and the yolk is cooked to your liking, 3 to 4 minutes.

Carefully transfer a slice and a cutout to each of 2 plates and snip some chives over the top. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutrition

Per serving: 240 calories (150 from fat), 17g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 205mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 14g total carbohydrate (0g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 9g protein

Source: Whole Foods Recipes

Top 6 Ways to De-Stress From Finals

Some of the schools we serve had finals last week and others have it this week. But… I guess it really doesn’t matter when you have finals. The point is… you do and they are oh-so-stressful! What’s a student to do?

Here are some ways you can de-stress from finals week:

Lay out in the sun
You can really lay out anywhere. Just find the closest beach, pool or lawn and whip out the towel and sun block. To make it extra sweet, read a fun magazine like Cosmopolitan or ESPN. Something that’s the complete opposite of your textbooks!

Movie marathon
Don’t you just love spending a lazy day with your good-ole pal, Redbox? There really isn’t anything better than spending a day (or two) unwinding with a few good movies.

Host a get together
Share your post-final fun with your friends. Host a small get together, like a game or move night.

Organize your desk
Does your desk look like a war aftermath? Well, you and your desk did just survive finals. Clean it up by throwing away stuff from the semester that you don’t need anymore. And try recycling your old folders and binders by re-using them for the next semester.

Exercise
If you’re finals week was pretty crazy, I’m sure the gym didn’t see much of you. Get back into your exercise routine to wind down from finals and prepare for beach weather.

Take a mini road trip
Who doesn’t love a good road trip with friends? Whether it’s a one day trip or weekend get-away, adventure off to a nearby city, beach or theme park with friends.

We totally give you permission – no, you deserve some time to slack off, relax and have some fun. All-nighters can do a number on your body. So have some summer fun before those summer classes begin.

Be sure to tell us how you de-stress from finals by writing a comment below.

College Students Should Make Exercise A Habit

Having exercise as a habit means never thinking twice about working out!

Recently the Founder and CEO of Collegiate Risk Management, Vonda White gave advice to Pretty Hard Work on how to get motivated to work out. Working out is very important for being healthy and succeeding in college… so here’s the scoop on exercise motivation.

First off — Here’s some insight on Ms. White. Vonda not only started the successful student health insurance company, Collegiate Risk Management in 1996, she has also become a success coach and author. Her book, Success Against the Odds and Success Planner have helped others turn their dreams into reality. She strives to inspire and help others achieve their goals through her effective goal-getter process. Learn more here!

In the article on Pretty Hard Work, Vonda explains how the best way to get motivated to work out is by making it a daily habit. You want to stop saying that you “should” work out and just start doing it one day. It only takes 21 days to have a new positive habit, after all! So decide right now when, where and how you will work out regularly.

Try looking at exercise like school — you have a set schedule on when and where your classes are that you can’t change. If you skip class, you’ll miss valuable information that may hurt your grade or even worse… your future. Therefore slacking off isn’t even an option — You work hard and finish strong with positive results!

Don’t waste another minute of wishing you were fit. See below how to get motivated and make exercise a habit!

So… what motivates you to work out?