Browsing Tag:

college

  • College, Confidence, Dating, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health

    From Girl to Woman: 10 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I was 20

    There was something significant about the year that I turned 20 in which a lot of things clicked and finally made sense. I realized that I actually don’t know everything, and things could have gone a bit easier for me had I listened to those with my best interests in mind. Learning from one’s mistakes is a big part of life, which is why I have made a list of 10 lessons that I have already learned for you:

    !. It is O.K. to ask for what you believe that you deserve.

    It is easy to get taken advantage of when you are young and naïve. If you have a feeling that you are being treated unfairly, speak up. Whether it is by a teacher, parent, boss, friends or whoever, do not hesitate to calmly say, “I feel like I am receiving the recognition or treatment that I deserve, and here are the reasons why.” People are not always going to have your feelings or interests in mind, so do not be afraid to remind them to be considerate of you.

    2. What is on your resume is important.

    Now, colleges definitely take your GPA and standardized test scores into consideration during the application process, but your resume is what makes you stand out from the thousands of other kids that are just as much or more qualified as you are. You will have a resume that will be continuously updated for the rest of your working life. Therefore, do not hesitate to start getting involved and take advantage of the activities your school and community provide. Even if you spend your free time working, that reflects your time commitment and work ethic on your resume. College admission and jobs want to see how YOU utilize your talents and time other than schoolwork.

    3. Take care of your vehicle. Just do it.

    This may seem like a lame piece of advice, and hopefully you will not stop reading after this, but if you own a car… please take care of it. Keep up with scheduled oil changes and know what kind of gas your car uses. Little things like that will keep your car running for much longer and save you a lot of money and tears. I destroyed the transmission on my first car because I did not know that diesel fuel was only for special vehicles like semi-trucks. It was expensive and embarrassing.

    You are so lucky to even be able to own a vehicle as a teenager, so do not take it for granted ladies.

    4. Save money… seriously.

    What is obvious to some people is a lesson for the rest of us. I may have had a job of some sort since I was 16 years old, but I never saved a dime of those paychecks. Understanding monetary value came late for me, and for years I would just spend my money on every whim without thinking about how it could benefit me in the future. People are not lying when they say hindsight is 20/20. In fact, go to a bank as soon as you can and open a savings account. It takes about 20 minutes to open one and you can begin by saving 25% of every check or allowance you receive. You will thank yourself one day.

    5. Friends and family are more important than boyfriends/girlfriends. Period.

    Your first love is a great thing. Whether or not you have your first love interest during your teenage years, it is critical to remember what is actually important. Your first serious boyfriend/girlfriend/love interest is probably not going to last. Anything can happen, and who will you turn to when things go sour and you have neglected everyone else important in your life? Friends and family are the most consistent forms of relationships, even if the people who fill those roles change. Hopefully, you will always have a support system, but you are not always going to have a significant other.

    6.  Remember that you are not the center of the universe.

    Yes, it is necessary to set goals and strive towards whatever form of self-actualization you desire for yourself. Still, don’t forget that you are sharing this planet with billions of other people. Being courteous and kind to others will always set you apart from the masses. Remind yourself to ask other people how they are doing and make an effort to remember names. Send a thank you note after birthdays or holidays. Show people that you care.

    7. Don’t forget about personal hygiene please.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to avoid those who knock me off of my feet every time I’m within a 3-foot radius of them. Dirty fingernails, stinky sweat and evil breath should disappear as soon as playground days are over. There is just simply no excuse anymore unless you are being active or doing manual labor. Cleaning yourself up when you go in public is just good practice. If I am too lazy to shower (which happens more than I would like to admit) I spray in some dry shampoo in my hair, put deodorant on, brush my teeth and spritz on some perfume before walking out of the door.

    8. Now is better than later when it comes to failure.

    It is inevitable that you are going to make mistakes and experience failure. However, the way you go about these experiences is what determines self-improvement. Very few people are just handed success and happiness, and adolescence is the best time to start figuring out what you are able to do. It will benefit you more in the future if you go ahead and discover your limitations and talents. Go try out for the debate team. Who knows- maybe you are a natural-born lawyer, or maybe your talents lie elsewhere.

    9. Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is all about ups and downs.

    Every person on this planet has problems that are relevant to their own circumstances and individualism. However, try not to dwell too much on the negative. Life is supposed to suck sometimes, because that is what makes it feel so great when things are actually going right. A wise Delta agent once approached me while I was crying at the airport after a terrible day and said that “life likes to kick you in the butt one day so you can wake up stronger the next”. Then she proceeded to waive my bag fee. Even small acts of kindness like that show that good still exists in the world. Just don’t forget that life really does have a way of working out sometimes, despite how grim it may seem in the moment.

    10. Learn when it is your fault and how to admit it.

    Some people never learn how to recognize their own fault in a situation. Growth as a person stems from self-awareness. Therefore, learning from one’s own mistakes is a part of that process. People tend to blame others because it is easier than experiencing the consequences of their actions. Next time you receive a bad grade or hurt someone’s feelings, maybe stop and think about what you could have done to avoid that reaction instead of making up excuses. Once I started telling myself that I could have tried more or that joke was too far, I began to stop repeating those mistakes. Acknowledging your faults and weaknesses is the foundation of self-improvement.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com

    Portrait of a Gap Year: Work, Activism, Writing, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery

    Interview with Allie and Sonita

    Guest Post by Alexandra Zehner

    Ever since middle school, I had my life all planned out: graduate from high school, launch straight into college, graduate from college, and immediately enter grad school or a career. Straying from this pin-straight path didn’t seem like an option; however, here I am, writing this piece at the end of my gap year.

    Looking back, I don’t remember the exact moment I said, “Hey, mom and dad, I’m taking a year between high school and college.” Because this option did not pop up on my radar until eleventh grade, the only way to describe my decision is as the perfect collision of four distinct circumstances. First: at the end of my junior year, certain projects arose that I was extremely passionate about pursuing. However, I knew that juggling these opportunities with the intensity of school would be extremely challenging. Second: in the fall of my senior year, my family hosted two young women, Priya and Winona, who were in the middle of taking gap years to travel the country, interview people about their intersectional identities, and write a book on racial literacy. Third: I met Abby Falik, the founder and CEO of Global Citizen Year, an organization dedicated to making bridge years between high school and university a socially acceptable norm. Fourth: after continuously pushing myself throughout high school and becoming co-valedictorian, I was afraid of burning out.

    So, I committed to Barnard College of Columbia University in New York last spring and asked for a deferral of admission, elucidating my gap year plans. Barnard approved my request, I filled out a one-page form, and just like that, I was taking a gap year.

    And so the year began.
    In the summer, I worked part-time jobs and saved some money.
    In the fall, I worked with Sonita Alizadeh, a young activist who uses music as a tool to catalyze social change, particularly looking to end the detrimental traditional practice of child marriage. Through my work with her and a nonprofit, Strongheart Group, I conducted research, interviewed young activists from around the world, and traveled to the United Nations Foundation’s Social Good Summit in New York City.

    In the winter, I started focusing on curating a book about the next generation of young women. Formatted as a collection of essays, I will write about half of the chapters and other teen girls will write the rest. From omnipresent social media to an extremely divided political climate to gun violence, this book will speak to the most pressing, serious issues my generation is facing on our journey to adulthood. Learning through doing, I taught myself how to write a book proposal, draft a query letter, reach out to agents, and build a website.

    In the spring, I was extremely fortunate to travel to Colombia, where I practiced my Spanish, attended a women’s conference, and shadowed an incredible nonprofit, Juanfe, that works with teen moms in Cartagena. And, coincidentally, I met another teen who is taking a gap year to live in South American cities, work, become fluent in Spanish, and volunteer. I have also spent the spring loving (pretty much) every second of learning how to write a book.

    The other key aspect of this year is that, having struggled with a chronic illness since the seventh grade, I made time to see doctors and get necessary testing. While I still do not know the root cause of my health issues, I am better equipped to manage my symptoms and look after my own well being: two things I did not prioritize in middle and high school.

    And that is my gap year in a nutshell.

    Let me just say that taking this year and venturing from the extremely narrow life path I had envisioned has been one of my best decisions. From around the time I could walk, I was in school five days a week, seven hours a day. For 15 years, being a student was absolutely core to my identity.

    Spending a year outside the classroom has given me time to nurture other facets of my persona: I am an activist, daughter, employee, friend, sister, and global citizen.

    I will be attending university this fall. Contrary to what is sometimes believed about gap years, I will be going back to school with an immensely stronger sense of self, more direction, and a readiness to return to the classroom. I could not be more ecstatic to finish my book throughout freshman year and continue to grow as a person.

    Gap years are not for everyone, but they should be considered a viable alternative to going straight to college. My hope is that society recognizes the immense possibilities bridge years can hold.

    Originally published by Rowland Hall, a Salt Lake City preK–12 school inspiring students to lead lives of learning and purpose.

  • Artwork

    My Senior Portfolio:A Study of Skin Tone

    My Senior Portfolio

    A Study of Skin Tone

    A Piece From My Senior Portfolio by Olivia Porrill

    My Senior Portfolio My Senior Portfolio

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This piece is an in-depth look into the colorful combinations that make our skin tone, entitled “Self Portrait as an Array”. It is also a part of my senior portfolio, which is a huge factor in the college submission process. The key purpose of this piece was to practice my technical ability and explore the many colors that go into the skin. Throughout my execution of this piece, it became obvious that skin tone is much more than a single, flat tone. In fact, everyone has some combination of blue, green, red, yellow, or purple undertone to their skin.

     

    Olivia is a Senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts.

  • College

    Women in the Military and Sororities

    Military and sororities

    When you think of active duty military members, do you picture young girls in a college sorority?

    Women have had to fight for so long to be taken seriously. Sometimes people disregard traditionally “women-centered” organizations, thinking that it brings us down as a gender. It is time that the world knows that women can be anything and do anything that they want to. This includes being a part of the military and a sorority.

    In 1917, Loretta Walsh became the first woman to enlist in the U.S. Military. Since then, many brave young women have signed over their lives to help guide and protect those they love.

    I was given the opportunity to interview some of these young women.

    Madison Fritts, her sister, Amber Fritts, and Shelby Pitts are active members of the United States Army National Guard, the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps), and UAB sororities. Madison and Shelby are members of Sigma Kappa sorority, and Amber is a member of Kappa Delta sorority.

    The Fritts’ both began their ROTC journey from an ad their father found in the newspaper one day. The ad explained that the Army National Guard was offering a scholarship to those who enlisted. They applied immediately. They were given the opportunity to serve their country and attend school for free. Madison stated, “I wanted to join because it was a way to push myself in a way I never thought I would.” Amber said she was originally planning to enroll in the Air Force ROTC program before the National Guard scholarship was found.

    Shelby’s story hits a little closer to home.

    She started college by following her family’s footsteps by enrolling in the Air Force ROTC program her freshman year. After doubting herself, she left the ROTC program. When her grandfather passed away in 2017, she chose to honor his memory and returned to ROTC.

    The Fritts and Shelby felt the need to get out of their comfort zone to make friends on campus. Madison and Shelby became founding mothers of Sigma Kappa at UAB in 2015. Amber is one of Kappa Delta’s founding members, which was founded in 2017. Amber stated, “I… fell in love with kappa delta and all the beautiful and smart women in the sorority and became a founding mother of Kappa Delta on 28 Oct 2017.”

    Being a founding mother of a sorority means that you have gone through the proper channels to bring a chapter of that sorority to your University. These three girls joined others in doing this, but it shows their leadership qualities in their ability to bring an entire chapter to their school.

    Shelby believes in fighting sorority stereotypes by showing that the women of her sorority and those around her are all unique and talented. Madison stated, “I never saw myself as a sorority girl, but all of the women from Sigma Kappa were so genuine and kind.”

    These three young women find that the biggest challenge being in both ROTC and their sororities are the time conflicts.

    Madison stated: “Sometimes I am unable to come to events because I am at an ROTC event or drill. However, my sisters are very understanding and are always there to catch me up on what I miss.” Amber recalled missing her chapter’s first “recruitment”: “I was unable to attend recruitment because I was doing CERFP training in Mississippi.”

    CEFRP (Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and Explosive Response Force Package) training involves a team practicing how to handle contamination during battle, and how to decontaminate those who do not live through it. (https://www.army.mil/article/29824/physical_training_gear_does_double_duty_for_cerfp_soldiers )

    That description represents how terrifying being a part of the military can be. You never know what kind of curveballs are going to hit. These girls go through months of training to be prepared for anything.

    Sorority recruitment also requires extensive training.

    You spend months prior to the week of recruitment preparing conversation pieces, uniformity, and chants. It may seem easy, given that rush week is advertised as lasting a week, but it is so much more.

    The Fritts sisters not only participate in Sigma Kappa/Kappa Delta and ROTC, they are also members of the organization Universities Fighting World Hunger. Amber was once the President of the Blazer Running Club and the Pre-Physical Therapy society. She is also an intern for the campus recreational athletic training room. Madison has held leadership positions with Sigma Kappa and is a member of the ROTC Color Guard. Shelby is also member of the Pre-Physical Therapy society, Black Student Awareness Committee, and Her Campus.

    So, not only do these women spend a large amount of time dedicated to the military and their respected sororities, but they also try to better the world through other campus organizations.

    I asked the girls who inspired them and what advice they could share with you. They all find strength from their friends in ROTC, their sorority sisters, and their family. Shelby finds inspiration from her future. She stays motivated to give herself the best future she can imagine. She also stated: “The military can seem intimidating, but without the army I wouldn’t be who I am. I have become a better version of myself and this is something I wish everyone finds…”

    Their advice for you is to get out of your comfort zone, whether it be joining a new sorority or signing up for ROTC. You won’t know how you feel about it until you give it a try. They have both found lasting friendships and have greater confidence in themselves.

    If there is anything you should take away from this article, it is that women can be anything and do anything if they just try. You do not have to join the military to be brave. You can be brave by fighting for what you believe in and securing the education you need to help the world in different ways. Madison and Amber are being brave by serving our country, completing college courses, and meeting new people.

    Please, comment down below to share how you are/can be brave!

  • Photography

    Welcome to the College Life

    Welcome to the College Life

    To All Middle School and High School Girls:

     

    I want you all to know, as a black woman who is in her third year of college, that higher education is nothing to fear. I know it is easy to think that the more that you continue to grow in your education, the worse it becomes and that is not true. The amount of diversity and the amount of girl power that you can find in these institutions can be quite freeing and quite liberating. There is finally a chance to be able to define your life in your own terms, without anyone stopping you. You will finally learn how great you are.

    Often times, as women, we are socialized to depend on how we look to speak for who we are and that is not true. There are many intelligent women among us and in these sacred, educated spaces. Here, you have the ability to deconstruct those stigmas and be who you have always dreamt of being. If you are able to create this type of space at an even younger age then that is amazing in itself because you have an earlier start to see what it is that you are in this world. Through this, you can help other women or other girls your age to feel comfortable in who they are.

    Sometimes it is hard. The workload can be stubborn and it may feel as if you aren’t going to move far from where you are. This is not true either. The opportunities the world has for us is truly endless. I often look to my ancestors, like Lorraine Hansberry and Zora Neale Hurston, who dedicated their lives to the liberation of all people through their writing and allow them to build my confidence. I think that it is okay, during times like those (when it can be tough on the mind to deal with) to reach out and look to other women that have paved the way for us. Doing this, has helped me to be grateful for the things that I have in the moment and has allowed me to believe that anything is possible.

    Do not forget your dreams and aspirations on this journey and do not begin to start on this quest when you are a senior in high school. You are never too young or too old to make a detailed plan on these kinds of things. The younger you are, the better it is to see what you want and to build an in depth career plan off of it. Make yourself proud.

    Do as much research on your own as you can and do not let anyone steer you away from what you feel is yours. Study for the ACT early. Make a list of schools that you could see yourself being at in the next few years. Be confident in those choices and allow it to radiate. Do not give your power away to anyone else and keep a humble head because the choices are limitless.

  • Articles

    College Advice to Incoming High School Freshmen

    College Advice to Incoming High School Freshmen

    by GirlSpring intern Makayla Smith

    Being more prepared for college, ahead of my senior year of high school, would have helped a great deal if there were the proper resources there to guide me. Waiting until the last minute to become serious about topics concerning college was one of my biggest regrets. Unfortunately, I had to learn a lot of tips and tricks on my own. Below are a few suggestions I have listed would want you all to consider, even if the idea of college does not affect you right now.

    If your school offers dual enrollment, take those courses instead of wasting time in AP classes. The credits in dual enrollment courses are more likely to roll over, unlike the dice being rolled over on a chance of probably not getting the college credit during AP testing.

    Start taking the ACT when you are in the 9th or 10th grade. Do not wait until your senior year of high school to do so. This will be a huge burden on your shoulders especially since getting scholarships on the federal level is becoming a bit harder. It is important to have a high ACT score so that you can qualify for a good, hefty scholarship that will help you with tuition (at the least).

    Make a list of schools that you are interested in. Be confident in the schools that you have chosen. Look into the majors that they offer and make a choice around that. Look into the student diversity. Look into the scholarships the school has to offer, and the opportunities that could span from it after completing your degree. If it is something that you have personally gravitated towards, then take a tour of the school.

    In an article from www.grownandflown.com, they encourage students to “keep an open mind.” I agree with this because now that you are having to include elements such as finances, independence, and education it is important to keep a well versed amount of colleges and other opportunities open. There are many different ways to be successful so do not limit yourself to just one or two schools. Your parents are not tagging along with you for this experience, so work on catering this avenue to you and yourself only and build your happiness up from it.

    Become close with some of your teachers now. Improve those bonds and make sure to add some insight on class discussions and in academic performance. This is important since teachers write letters of recommendation and could spearhead you into an arena that you could have only imagined, beforehand. This boosts your chances of getting into the school of your choice.

    Most importantly, be confident. Keeping a positive mindset, throughout this process, is just as important as making sure your grades are in alignment with your ACT scores. Make sure that the support system you have encourages you to stay on the right path. And even if your support system is yourself, understand that you are not alone in that experience and that you are tougher because of it.

  • Articles

    How to Prepare for the ACT

    How to Prepare for the ACT

    The ACT can be a pretty nerve racking test to take if you have never taken it before. Thankfully, it is nothing to fear with the proper preparation and time management. Below are a few ideas to consider when registering for the ACT and taking the time out of your day to make sure you are as ready and as confident as you can be in making a high score:

    Registering for the ACT requires creating an account through the ACT website. The next thing to pop up will deal with choosing a specific location or testing center. When choosing the day in which you want to take the test, make sure that it is “atleast three months in advance”, according to blog.prepscholar.com.

    Begin to become comfortable with the format of the ACT. Familiarize yourself with the times given for each section (English, Math, Science, and Reading). Doing this will make it easier when navigating the test and could potentially heighten the ACT score that you are given in the end. ACT prep books can be a big help in showing you what could be on the test, the tests format, and the test answers in the back of the book.

    It is important to make note of the sections that you are not as strong in, in order to guarantee yourself a higher score. Because the test happens over a long period of time, you do not want to waste time on questions that could have been done in a smaller interval. Additionally, as seen in blog.prepscholar.com, you’ll “want to establish a baseline of your own skills. The most important component of this is identifying your weaknesses, so you can target them in your prep.”

    Think of a specific score that you are aiming for and stick to it! Create a study schedule that balances and encourages time management. Practice this while doing practice tests for the ACT that are offered online and focus on deeply analyzing what was right about certain answers and what was wrong about others.

    Although it can be hard to stay motivated with a test that depends heavily on your future, it is important that you prioritize these kinds of thoughts with positive thinking/ affirmations. Allow other people to hold you accountable when you fall on your own end. Make sure to get as much rest as possible. Make sure that you are eating a well balanced meal. Make sure that you have the proper number 2 pencils and the proper type of calculator to bring along with you.

    Most importantly, do not hesitate to ask for help during this time. There are private tutors that are hired to work one on one with these types of things. Check to see if your school offers ACT Prep classes or ACT assistance. Try asking close friends if they would want to dedicate a day to studying for this with you so that you won’t feel alone.

    Keep all of these reminders in your head and in no time, the ACT will be the test that you conquer.