An Open Letter to Coffee Shop Fanatics and Frequenters, With Love, Your Ex-Barista

An Open Letter to Coffee Shop Fanatics and Frequenters, With Love, Your Ex-Barista.

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Snow Days and Senoritis

Last weekend was great. Until, eight episodes of Friends and two lattes later, I realized, holy cow there’s  school tomorrow and horror of horrors I have an unfinished paper! I had several options: take a sub-par grade for it, stay up late or get up early to finish it, or…check the weather. Apparently school was checking the weather too because twenty minutes later we got a call cancelling classes for the next day.

Ah yes, every year North Carolina gets a light dusting of snow. This year we got a wintry mix which means…NO SCHOOL.

To my northern friends, I hope at some point in your life you will be in the south on a snow day to witness simultaneous expressions of panic and pure joy at the sight of snow. I’ve found that extended vacations created out of fear and awe of solid rain, promote cases of senioritis.

Senioritis: being so excited about the future that you are incapable of doing anything productive in the present

Senioritis occurs at the worst time too! Just when you need to be more and more on top of things you lose motivation. The key to avoiding it? Making lists! (one of my favorite things actually!) Short lists, long lists, pros and cons, daily, weekly, monthly yearly, the list goes on…Focus is key and lists have helped me to stay on track for so long. And if every once in a while you binge watch netflix on a snow day, it’s gonna be okay, because it’s senior year.

Stay gold,

Emily

What I Needed to Hear Junior Year of HS

High school students are constantly pigeon-holed, stereotyped, and told to aspire towards a career that is the “best fit”.

Junior and Senior year of high school especially, you’ll get some serious déjà vu from all the times you’re asked:

“Where are you applying?”

“What do you want to major in?”

“Do you have a specific career in mind?”

“Who are you dating?” (Every time. At every family gathering. From now on. For the rest of your life.)

And my personal “favorite”: “What are you passionate about?”

This one always stumps me. It’s not that I’m not passionate about different things: faith, writing, running, politics, learning new languages to name just a few. It’s just that my mind starts whirling when the question comes up. I start thinking, “What do I say? I don’t know what I want to do and I can’t pick just one!”

After having a short panic attack, then mumbling “umm” until it’s socially unacceptable not to say something, I impulsively decide to talk about writing.

As a senior, or as I prefer, Professional Test-taker, I have gotten extremely comfortable with answering multiple choice questions and filling in the blank. Answering questions like this is ideal for institutions try to compare students, but for students making life decisions, or even answering a question as simple as, “What are you passionate about?” this method falls short of functional.

What I needed to hear Junior year was this: It’s okay to pursue more than one passion!

And it’s okay not to have it all figured out. Whether you like theater and medicine, literature and math and sports, or politics and interior design and learning languages, there is a job out there for you. You may not have heard of it yet, but if you continue to pursue what you love, you will find those opportunities. Who knows, your future career might not exist yet because you will create it!

Bottom line: Instead of worrying about your future, continue to do what you love now because that is what will prepare you for the future.

What are you passionate about? Is there anything you needed to hear when you were a junior/senior in high school?

Stay gold,

Emily

Lessons from Tolkien (Part 1)

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,

A light from the shadows shall spring;

Renewed shall be blade that was broken,

The crownless again shall be king.

I think this poem, from The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien, is one of his most beautiful pieces of writing because of its authenticity. There are two thematic parts to this poem, so I’m splitting this post in two. Each line holds a bit of encouragement or reminder:

  • “All that is gold does not glitter,”

Translation: Everything that really matters is not glamourous.

Let’s face it, our friends, family, and faith can all be pretty messy—nothing glittery there. But they are also the most              important parts of our lives, worth even more than gold to us.

 

  • “Not all those who wander are lost;”

Some certainly are, but not all. We are not necessarily lost just because we have not reached our endgame goal.                 That’s why we try new things. We “wander” from one experience to the next, learning more, gaining experience and             figuring out a way to get to where we want to be.

 

  • “The old that is strong does not wither,”

Your real friendships will stand the test of time. The older you get the fewer true friends you will have, but at least you          know who you can count on.

  • “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.”

Plain and simple. When everyone else has disappeared, your family will be there for you.

Let me know what you think of this post in the comments below, or feel free to tell me how you interpret this poem!

Stay gold,

Emily

Do You Have #NewYearNewMe Syndrome?

Do You Have #NewYearNewMe Syndrome?

How many resolutions can I fit on this sheet of paper...?

How many resolutions can I fit on this sheet of paper…?

Symptoms can include:

-Copious lists of resolutions

-Multiple social media declarations of said resolutions (even those who are on a social media cleanse announce their anticipated social absence! The gall of some people!)

-Numerous new memberships: gym, clubs, church, the list goes on…

And finally the most obvious symptom:

-The downcast face of an individual who set goals so high not even Chuck Norris could meet them

If you can relate to one or more of the symptoms above, you may have #NewYearNewMe Syndrome

But don’t panic! I am happy to say that there is a cure for this epidemic.

Step One:

Tear up your pages of resolutions! An idea without a plan of action goes nowhere. Try setting one new reachable goal for this month, with an action plan—reach it—then set a new one for the next month. By the end of the year you could have completed one big goal, twelve small ones, or any combination between!

Step Two:

Refrain from posting your goals all over social media. I know this one sounds a little strange, but it is harder for online friends to keep you accountable than it is for your best friend to remind you “Hey, didn’t you make a resolution to (insert goal here)?” Posting your goals can create a false sense of accountability, while asking a friend or a family member to remind you will ensure that you’ll have someone helping you stay on track.

And you’re cured!

Now that you have mastered making achievable, tear-free resolutions you can start to tackle other long-term plans: college, resume-building, career…But don’t stress out yet! I’ll cover how to take long-term planning one step at a time in the next couple week’s Walk-in Wednesday posts.

Do you know a friend who might have #NewYearNewMe syndrome or get a kick out of this post? Refer them to this blog!

Stay gold,

Emily

10 Best Books for the College-Bound

Sometimes reading the right book at the right time can really inspire you be a better person or change your perspective of the world! Here are ten books to expand your mind, make you laugh, make you cry, and prepare you for college.

1) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Adventure, revenge, love, murder, treasure, mystery. While many great works of literature lack action, this cannot be said of The Count of Monte Cristo. If you are looking to keep your mind sharp this action-packed novel is a good read.

2) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

About high school and the tension between the two gangs in town, the Greasers and the Socs, this book epitomizes the high school experience, set in the 1950s. I’m recommending this one because of how lovable some of the characters are and because high school can be a rough place. Especially when things happen that are completely out of our control. This book does a really good job of portraying that.

3) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This may seem like an odd book choice for a high school graduate, but if you have never read Harry Potter before, I’m sorry, but it must be read, if only for pop culture references (but trust me you will love it and and then have the next six books to read, so you’re welcome!).

4) One Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Millennials like us have heard a lot about conflict in the Middle East during our lifetimes. One Thousand Splendid Suns goes back fifty years to the points of view of three women living in Afghanistan. This unique setting accurately portrays fifty years of history in a tear-free way. Lovely writing + World Knowledge + Vivid Storytelling + Strong Female Characters = Win

5) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This is my all time favorite book, and so I must recommend it! Its themes of love and sisterhood are timeless, and the consequences its characters must face when they judge others before they get to know them, are a subtle reminder to readers not to do the same. If you are not already completely convinced that you too should read this book, Stanford did a study a couple of years ago on how reading Austen novels helps your brain. Check it out here.

6) There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

Sometimes even extremely driven people don’t end up where they thought they would be. Finley Sinclair’s world is shattered when her brother, Will, dies. With one more year of high school left she has to deal with this tragedy along with preparing for the most important audition of her life, adjusting to her new school in Ireland, and figuring out her feelings for friend/boyfriend/whatever you call someone in a complicated relationship, Beckett Rush. Let’s just say, it gets real.

7) Divergent by Veronica Roth

I’m recommending this one because of the love story 🙂 Oh, and also because the factions in Divergent, while extremely efficient, are not good for the people. They all need balance in their lives just like we do.

8) Some Shakespeare: Hamlet, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Take your pick!

To be “well-read”, a quality valued by the most pretentious of colleges and every other one in between, one must read some Shakespeare. It’s good to have at least a knowledge of several works of Shakespeare, however actually picking up one of his plays is not for the “faint hearted.” Happy reading!

9) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It is impossible to recreate the past. Those who try, like Jay Gatsby, are utterly disappointed and destroyed by their own efforts. Yet, still it’s fun to read about him, and it’s even more fun read about the opulence of era, the tale of star-crossed lovers, and well, anything written by F. Scott Fitzgerald is worth your time.

10) You Are Special by Max Lucado

Throwback to…preschool. What? Yes, you read that right. In this children’s books all of the characters label each other with gold stars or black dots depending on how exciting or beautiful or popular they are; however, the more time the characters spend with their creator, the more the labels fall off, until none of the labels stick. This book is a reminder for anyone at any age that the more time we spend with our Creator, the less the labels we are given matter. Every once in a while I still get out my copy and flip through the pages. The pictures in this children’s book, of toys choosing to be themselves and letting judgements simply bounce off, are powerful.

I hope this list was helpful! Leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

Em