Why I’m scared of where social media is taking us

I got Facebook in the spring of 2011. I was a freshman in high school. The days of MySpace had just died, and the livelihood of Facebook status updates comprised entirely of song lyrics among my social media network of friends was particularly relevant.

At the age of fourteen, I understood social media as an easy way to update people on the important happenings of your life. Now, at the age of twenty-three, I can see social media is digressing and feeding our newfound need for immediate gratification in the form of widespread social acceptance and the hope of free things (by way of becoming an influencer) and fame.

Social media has become this invisible goal of attaining more attention, this smoke and mirrors illusion that leaves us empty and unfulfilled until the next big thing takes place. Instagram gives us the illusion that our daily lives are important. It allows us to compare ourselves against the curated images that people portray themselves as.

Social media is not inherently bad. It’s a great way to catch up with people, share hilarious memes, and maintain healthy long-term friendships and relationships in a convenient medium. However, the way that people use it, the way that we use it, and the nature of the circumstances, breed fears of inequities among each of us as we are being influenced by ideas that were never fully true, to begin with.

I am genuinely scared of where our generations will take social media, influencer marketing, and the destructive comparative nature of virtual one-upping people.

The only way to fix that potential nightmare is to have wholesome social media with the collective mindset that projection does not always equate to reality. Comparison is the thief of joy. Continue sharing memes and everything will be alright, right? *subdued monotone anxious screaming* (always make sure to credit your meme makers)

In defense of my English major

“yOu’Re nEvEr gOnNa fInD a jOb iN eNglIsh” is one of the things that I heard constantly when I decided to major in English writing. Well, they’re right… and they’re also wrong.

 

It all began

At the ripe old age of seventeen, I was being continuously bombarded with the question from insolent adults who had no idea how to make casual conversation with a teenager… “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My anxiety filled predisposition only glared back and simply stated that I was waiting until I was in college to declare a major or even a professional choice.

So really it all began when teachers would give me good grades on papers that I wrote, and were constantly gushing over my writing style. I mean, I figured my writing was passable. Were the other kids in my class really all terrible writers that mine shone forth as some shining beacon of understanding sentence structure and clear conveyance of ideas? Guess so. High schoolers really suck at writing, myself included.

The moderate praise inflated my ego, as it tends to do. We can see other obvious examples of this simply by the fact that I am writing blogs to get imaginary cool points on the Interwebs.

I seethed in that mild ego boost for a number of years.

The next chapter

So when it came time to declare my degree in college, I chose English writing and business communication. I chose English because I liked it. There is really nothing more cathartic for me than writing my unfiltered thoughts out on paper with a Pilot Pen G2 0.07 (not sponsored, but Pilot please do sponsor me). I don’t have a lot of reason for declaring my degree, other than the fact that I liked it. I mean, I really like reading and writing.

Why I majored in English

I had been an avid reader from the time that I was a child, even up until now. No book is too small for me to read, although there are many a novel that is incessantly boring. However, I found so much happiness in the fact that I could empathize with characters and live their fictionalized lives, gaining experiences I never thought I could have.

The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (the books, you plebian) let me live in New York as royalty. Great Expectations by Charles Dickes taught me the mystifying glamour of crying all the time. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein taught me that creating life is kind of a bad idea. Jane Austen’s characters taught me it was okay to be bad at flirting and incredibly awkward. Anything by the Bronte sisters taught me that death or banishment is really just a state of being, not actually a punishment.

A major in English pairs well with other degrees

I mean, an English major is a really time-consuming thing to get. While it’s not like a degree in the sciences that has a huge emphasis on memorization of massive amounts of information, it does require a lot of brain power to cohesively synthesize ideas and research in a fun way. Like I’ve said before, it paired well with my business communication degree, especially because the two go together well professionally. A friend of mine majored in economics and English, and now he’s in law school. Proof it works, I guess.

The fact that I can write and read good has served me well professionally

I inappropriately used “good” was to be humorous, and now I realize that it was ultimately a bad decision. While I have never been able to find a lucrative and moral job where I would just be writing, the ability to write is what has proven to set me apart in the job market, at least a little bit.

That being said, some insights I have had after job hunts is that the ability to string words together is apparently rare. After getting hired in my current position, my boss stated: “You were the only applicant that could construct a cohesive paragraph” or something to that extent. And if you were wondering, yes, I will be riding the high of that mild compliment until at least 2025.

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Stop telling death jokes. Seriously, I mean it.

Congratulations! You have reached the fourth (?) article in the series of  “I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About, But I Don’t Care.” The year is 2019, and I figure it’s about time that we all collectively stop trying to “end the stigma” that surrounds mental health and start improving mental wellbeing for ourselves. The ideas in this article may seem a bit like tough love, but they are not meant to harm, offend, or hurt anyone’s feelings.

Here are some tips to improve your mental health in 2019:

Stop saying you want to die all the time

Seriously, though. I hear so many people talk about wanting to be dead, wanting to die, and just genuinely complaining about their lives. Cut it out. Sure it’s a fun joke and gimmick to have to complain about how awful everything is. But that can have pretty detrimental results on your mental wellbeing.

Why? The illusory truth effect. It is the idea of repeating something over and over again, and before you know it, you start to believe it. I learned about it in psychology when I was in high school. Repeating death jokes can sometimes trick the brain into not thinking it’s just a funny joke anymore. Of course, this is not everyone’s experience, and these jokes are funny in the right context. However, try to understand the potential gravity and toll these jokes are taking on your life.

Replace the “I want to die” phrases with a “What can I learn from this?” or “How can I grow from this?” types of questions when something difficult is remaining prevalent in your life.

Instead of telling death jokes, bite your tongue and count your blessings.

If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it

Yes, Marie is right on a lot of fronts. If it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. Get rid of those Instagram accounts that you follow because you tell yourself you want to “get cool ideas” or support a fellow friend or artist, but sometimes those things can have a weirdly negative toll on mental wellbeing. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to someone’s fictitious life on Instagram, get rid of it. If there is a toxic influence in your life, try to scale back that presence or power in a gentle way.

The same goes for things…. Just…. watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo on Netflix. You won’t regret it.

Stop listening to depressing music

This is a pretty easy step to take in improving your mental health. Here ya go, I made you a playlist. Please enjoy it. It’s called “Get Effing Happy” for… obvious reasons. It’s a good playlist of oldies and newbies that sound upbeat and cheery.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1212957884/playlist/7EWtzNOQzvUdMctP8pbI7r

Focus on the positive

Every day, try to list 3 things you’re grateful for. If you can’t list any moments of gratitude, start listing things you learned. If you didn’t learn anything, well… figure something out. List three things that are positive.

Do that thing you’ve been wanting to do (within reason, of course)

If you wanted to start that new podcast, go for it. If you want to start writing a screenplay, why the hell haven’t you started yet? If you want to start a Nerf intramural sports league, you really should do that. It sounds really cool. Write those poems you’ve been too nervous to put on paper.

Consult a professional

Seriously, there is nothing better that you can do for yourself. Finding a therapist, either a professional psychologist or psychiatrist is well worth the money. There is nothing to be ashamed of in going to one. Everyone needs help sometimes. As a bonus, it’s a great way to talk about your life in a guided manner.

 

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How To Beef Up Your Resume

Before I graduated college, I hit the ground running on applying for jobs. I applied for about 25 jobs per day. I was pretty confident cocky. All that was because of the fact that I had a pretty stellar resume. I will show it to you at the end of this article. If you don’t want to hear me ramble about all the things that I learned and how I learned them, just scroll to the end. I won’t be offended.

Step 1: Make a list

Employers want to know the following:

  • Where you went to school and when you graduate(d)
  • What you studied
  • Where you’ve worked
    • How long did you work there?
    • What was your role while working there?
    • Provide numbers and figures to illustrate your role.
      • For example, if you worked as a social media intern for a company and used analytics to track your engagement, state “Improved social media engagement by 30%,” or something to that effect.
  • What organizations you’re involved in
    • Detail your experiences with leadership positions at your respective college, organizations you volunteer for, or groups that you lead
  • Your “special skills”
    • I list mine as proficiency in Adobe suite. List yours as whatever you see fit. However, I don’t think that eating with chopsticks counts as a special skill.

Step 2: Choose a layout.

The layout is much more important than you would think. You can find some really overdone layouts on Canva, or you can find more subtle and subdued ones on GoogleDocs. After that, all you have to do is choose an aesthetic font. My favorites are as follows:

  • Helvetica
  • Lato
  • Verdana

Step 3: Make it personalized.

The more personal elements that you put into your resume, the better. I have a few friends that try and make it colorful with designing or put in a picture of their LinkedIn headshot. I tried to go for a bit more of an understated look, opting just for my branded head logo and trademark lowercase name.

As long as you’re not using Times New Roman, Comic Sans, or Raleway as fonts, you’re probably fine. Don’t go overboard personalizing it, though. Just the right amount of colors and vibrancies will go a long way.

My resume

 

To conclude

Please be cognizant of the fact that, while these tips may work for some, they may not work for all. They are a great way to help catapult you as an individual in your job search, but they are not a surefire guarantee to attaining your desired job.

 

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How to not be terrible at money in your 20s

If you went to a liberal arts college and didn’t take a financial class, or just sucked at accounting or economics, this article is for you.

If you worked a full-time job for two weeks and impulse bought a pair of Yeezys with your first paycheck, this article is for you.

If you are a recent college graduate with a job and a lot of debt, this article is for you.

Welcome to another article that I like to call “I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About, But I Don’t Care.” I graduated college with a double major in English writing and business communication. I got through economics and accounting with tears in my eyes and frequent tutoring sessions, but I learned a few things about managing money when you’re a young adult. Specifically, I got a financial advisor.

Some disclaimers so I don’t get angry comments:

  1. This is subjective and based on my very limited experience.
  2. The financial skills in this article do not include consideration for familial situations. I have no children or significant other, so this is particular to single individuals.
  3. These skills may work for some, but are not going to be applicable to all. This is just a fun way to get a general idea about how to manage finances overall.

Make a budget

Remember how you would use Microsoft Word for everything in high school? Well great news, Word has a friend. Her name is Excel. You can make a budget by copying the following format.

  1. Go to your online accessible bank account, and write down your monthly income after taxes.
  2. Go through all the bills you owe. Student loans, internet, phone bill, etc.
  3. Put them in columns that look like this:
    1. Note: This is just an example of a budget. This is a loosely-based average on the money that millennials in their early twenties are apt to make. Please also note that this example budget does not involve eating out or gas costs.

That’s how you start making a budget. Take the difference of your income and expenses, and consider that some roaming money. You can do a few things with that extra pocket change, especially because you’re young a dumb. You’re going to want that pocket change to do dumb things with your friends, like go out.

Cut out unnecessary spending

For a lot of people, unnecessary spending can look a lot of different ways. For me, I had to cut back on my wardrobe and clothing expenses. I love buying clothes, but I realize that it might not be the most healthy thing for my pocketbook.

Examples of things you may consider cutting back on:

  • Starbucks
  • Fast Food
  • Impulse buys
    • Ranging anywhere from electronics to candles to shoes to clearance Chapstick at Target, impulse buys are a bad habit to curb right now. It can definitely save you money if you cut back on impulsive spending habits.
  • Impulse trips
  • Airpods
    • You look dumb

Start investing

The next step is to invest little by little. There are a few ways that you can do this. The first is to utilize the benefits of your job if your workplace offers them. Enroll in your 401k plan. The 401k, in short, is way to save for your retirement. You can save and invest, and the money is deposited into your 401k from your paycheck.

For further investing initiatives, one of my favorite platforms is called Betterment. It’s a website that lets you choose your desired monthly deposit into your Betterment account. You don’t have to particularly choose which stocks or bonds to invest in if you don’t want to fret with all that jazz. You can simply balance your portfolio between conservative (which is more bonds than stocks) to moderate (which is half and half) to risky/aggressive (which is more stocks than bonds).

Another app that I use on my phone is called Acorns. It’s a cute little app (it’s adorable) that takes all of your purchases and rounds them up to the nearest dollar and invests literal cents for you every so often. You can balance your stocks and bonds as you like the same way that you do on Betterment. I highly recommend Acorns as the easiest way to start investing in your future.

Get a credit card, or don’t

Credit card companies oftentimes target individuals who have just graduated colleges for marketing a credit card to them. The idea, in and of itself, sounds enticing. It allows you to have an item that you want now without having to pay for it for a little while. However, that can be a bit of a deadly trap for some people, especially if you aren’t making regular payments on a credit card. Credit cards are a great idea if you have the income to support them and the diligence to pay them off before they start accruing insane amounts of interest and ruining your credit scores. Getting one or not getting one is up to your discretion, but try to apply for ones that have a “same as cash” initiative or very low interest.

Start paying off bills

I’m going to just make an assumption and say that you have student loans. It’s a tough world out there for just about any college graduate to not have loans. Make a conscious and continual effort to pay off your student loans. Not only will paying them off better your credit score, but it will also help unshackle you from the cold, dead hands of a university education. Pay off your damn bills, whether its student debt or a credit card, pay them off.

Hire a financial advisor!

Yeah, this was the best option for me! I have a great time balancing and learning about my finances with a financial advisor. I still have a lot to learn.

 

 

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