Post Vacation Lull

For many of us around the world, winter break is coming to an end and school is starting back up. The problem we face now is this: how to shake off the post vacation laziness and get back into the swing of things.

06B94CE8-B80D-437E-AD95-808D4D9BD227Even with my many years of school experience, it’d be hard for me to give an exact solution to this issue. This semester, however, I’m determined to raise my grades as high as I possibly can and so I spent the last week of my vacation preparing.

Step 1 was to find my motivation. Personally, I find it difficult to get anything done if I don’t know what I’m working towards. So I created a sort of moodboard. I printed out pictures that represent things I’d like to achieve (the logo of my dream university, for example) and put them up above my desk where I do all my school work. Whenever I feel discouraged I can just look up and be reminded of what I’m looking forward to.

Step 2 was to get organized. I sat down for a few hours and made a study schedule. I took note of the subjects that would need more attention from me and gave more time to those. I made sure to leave some space for relaxation and family, though it was a tight squeeze.

Step 3 is really a work in progress: stay focused, stay motivated, stay on task. It’s easy to start off on the right track and then fall off the wagon a few weeks in. I definitely have a problem staying consistent, and it shows in my grades. I’ll do extremely well on one test and then almost terrible on the next and my teachers seem to be at their wits end trying to figure me out. A lot of it comes down to me procrastinating and not allowing enough time for myself to get things done. These are things I’m hoping to improve.

Admittedly, it might be almost too late for me to be stepping up, but better late than never, right?

These steps might not work for everyone. It’s up to you to figure out what works for you, but feel free to take inspiration from me or anyone else. There’s no right or wrong way to get yourself focused.

 

Public Transportation

I’ve been considering this a lot lately, as the time is drawing nearer for me to apply for a license. Should I learn to drive? My city does provide a fairly decent bus system and where the bus would fail, a taxi would work.

 

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In cities where public transportation systems are very well advanced, there isn’t much need for cars or drivers licenses. In New York City and Singapore for instance, most residents are not licensed drivers.

Using public transport is beneficial in a whole lot of ways. First, it’s much better for the environment. If you know me, you know I care quite a bit about my carbon footprint and what I can do to reduce it. Instead of

Second, it frees up a little bit of time. Whether your commute is ten minutes or two hours, that is time you can spend finishing up some last minute homework or working ahead on schoolwork instead of focusing on keeping your car on the road. If you’re well used to the process, you might even be able to catch up on some sleep.

If you’re underage, using public transport gives you just a little bit of independence. Having to rely on friends or parents to drive you around can be annoying. You’re forced to abide by their schedule and can only do things when they’re free to transport you. With public transport, you have to deal with nobody but the transport schedule.

Finally, public transport can actually be cheaper than driving yourself. For frequent travelers, metro/bus cards are available. In my city, using the bus costs less than a dollar no matter where you’re going. If you choose to drive yourself, you’ll have to fork out money for drivers’ tests and license fees where applicable, fuel, car maintenance, etc. In the long run, it’ll probably end up much cheaper depending on where you live.

In cities where public transportation is not readily available, carpooling works as well. Instead of five people taking five separate cars, which is terrible for the earth, there are five people in one car. If more than one person in the carpooling group is licensed, you all can take turns driving. To pay for fuel, members if the group all contribute a certain sum of money.

Learning to drive is definitely a skill one should have. It’s very useful, especially in an emergency or on the very rare occasion that public transport fails you. Whether or not you choose to use the skill, however, is completely dependent on you and the city in which you live.

 

Handling Success

We see it every day: young people achieving success and not knowing how to handle it.
It’s a particular problem in young celebrities, but it can affect anyone. We’re used to not necessarily getting what we want or having things go our way, and so when life works in our favor we might freak out just a bit.
Faced with power or money after not having it your whole life, it’s easy to lose track of yourself and where you were hoping to go.But nobody ever talks to us about how to handle success, only failure. So how do we prevent it from taking over our lives?

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First, it’d be wise to only tell the people who deserve to know. If you don’t immediately think about texting them, they don’t deserve to know directly from you. They can hear the news through mutual friends and the like. This will prevent you from seeming like you’re bragging and make you seem a lot more mature, like past pain doesn’t bother you anymore.

Don’t ever forget where you were before you hit it big. Remember how you got here and what you had to do. This will humble you and make you appreciate your luck a lot more.

If you ever said “when I’m ___, I’ll do ___” then follow through on that. Share your success with the people you love and anyone else who could benefit from it. Don’t be selfish with something that can be taken away from you in a second.

Don’t immediately jump into a lavish lifestyle because you can afford it now. Put some money away for your future or in case something goes wrong. It’s never too early to be prepared.

Ultimately, don’t forget to be proud of yourself! You worked hard, you struggled, you failed, but now you’re where you wanted to be. It’s okay to be happy about it, to be proud of yourself, to want praise. Just don’t let it get to your head too much.

Success is what we all aim for, and I hope we all get what we wish for. And when we do, hopefully we’ll be able to handle it well enough that it doesn’t destroy us and our morals.

The Future is Female

Growing up, I never saw myself on TV. As in, I never saw anyone that I could relate to. I had little to no strong female role models in media to look up to. I internalized the fact that boys are better than girls, because that is what I was led to believe.

All the best superheroes were men. All the smartest characters, all the coolest, funniest, strongest characters were boys. If there was a smart female character she was painted as the ‘know it all, goody two shoes’ that nobody ever wanted to be around.

I used the phrases ‘run like a girl’ or ‘beat by a girl’ when referring to weaknesses, because that’s what I felt was true. And because I’d been led to believe this from such a young age, I never noticed how toxic it was to my self-esteem.

Now that I’m older, I see the effect it has had on me and both my male and female peers. I see how girls have to fight to be taken seriously. Every year, the girls have to petition teachers so that they’re allowed to play football with the boys because there isn’t a female team. I see that girls who had a large interest in STEM fields, largely male-dominated, have changed their paths to more female-dominated fields, such as nursing or teaching. They made this change not because they lost interest, but because they “feel it would be a better fit.”

Historically, men have assigned women a certain field to work in, and then taken over it when it seemed like women were getting too good at it. Cooking is a ‘woman’s job’. Why then, are so many celebrity chefs men? Care taking is another thing that is seen as strictly for females, but the number of male doctors far outnumbers the number of female doctors.

Women have had enough of being pushed aside in their work. They are standing up and we are getting to see the product of their efforts. The new Ghostbusters movie was phenomenal for me to see. Smart, strong, brave women saving a whole city? Yes, please! And then I got to see the joy in little girls afterwards. Little girls who finally have someone to look up to, to make them believe that yes, they can be smart and strong and still be female.

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For so long Wonder Woman did not get her own movie, and when she finally did, it was directed by a woman and it broke records! The movie is now getting a sequel, and Gal Gadot is in extremely high demand to play the character again. If that does not prove what the world is missing out on by ignoring women, I don’t know what will.

Young celebrities turn themselves into role models as well. Zendaya, a former Disney star, sees the bias and works to correct it. She speaks out on a number of issues, including sexism and misogyny, all while being a fantastic actress. Lily Singh started out as a YouTuber. She now advocates for girls’ education in Kenya, has done a bit of acting, and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for children’s rights. She was Forbes’s 3rd highest paid YouTuber in 2016 and ranked #1 on Forbes’s 2017 list of Top Influencers in the Entertainment Industry.

“The future is female” does not mean that women seek to remove men from all the positions they hold. It means that women will fight to get the positions they deserve and will not stop until they do so. It means that the future holds great, amazing things for women and girls of all races, nationalities, and talents.

I might not have had good role models, but I can work to make sure that little girls growing up now do. I might have had to wait until my self-esteem had completely deserted me before I realized my worth, but little girls who come after me should not have to.