Monday, July 18, 2011

Aloha From Hawaii (Pictures!). Blog Will Return Mon 8/8/11

Aloha Everyone. As some of you may know I am in Hawaii for the next few weeks (pictures in this blog are from my first few days). My brother dropped us off at the airport and about halfway through security I realized I had forgotten my phone. My amazing magical smartphone - the one I held off getting for years and upon finally succumbing fell instantly in love and wondered how civilized life could survive without one. 

But now I was without any phone at all. 

By the time I realized the phone had fallen out of my purse in my brothers car it was too late to get it. I've spent my first few days in Hawaii without a phone and it has been bliss. I have joked that I'm living Aloha 80's style as I've used a phone book, had to have meeting spots with people anytime I go somewhere by myself, and feel the need to buy postcards. I also haven't checked Facebook in days which feels weird and yet kind of wonderful.
Technology, no matter how much we try to resist it, pulls us from the present. Not having my phone has forced me to fully live in the present - and I can say there is probably no better place to do that than in Hawaii. Everywhere you look here is saturated with beauty. And I can't imagine anything on my phone to be better than this.
And yet the pull is heavy. My phone is being shipped just so I have it with me for safety purposes when I'm off by myself, but in so many ways I am happy to have left it. It forced me to see what life feels like without being constantly connected, and it felt incredibly and deeply satisfying. 

So I've resolved to take these next few weeks to truly disconnect in order to refuel, refresh, and re-engage with who I am apart from all that other stuff. I don't mean that in a big "find yourself" kind of way. I simply mean that I want to separate from all that pulls our attention in our increasingly ADD society and truly relax - unencumbered.
It is not an easy task. The pull is still there, and I know once my phone arrives it will take even more discipline to keep it off unless truly needed, leave it in the car when at the beach, and resist the temptation to click that e-mail or Facebook app and check in on everything and everyone.
I love the social opportunities technology presents, but I am constantly contemplating how to find the balance between social networking and social hiding. The balance between increased knowledge and information overload. The balance between meaningful connection and disconnect from the present. 
I'm not saying this is going to be easy, but I am going to do my best to fully immerse myself in this incredible experience without the pull of technology. I am going to soak it up and share with you all of the inspiration I gain when I return. 

Maholo for reading and I so look forward to connecting with you again when I return.
Pancake Sandwich. Legendary.
For more pictures as the trip progresses feel free to friend me at 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Weekend 4Cast: Mentors, Social Boom!, Harry Potter, and Sun Dresses

Happy Thursday Everyone. The weekend is almost here and I am actually heading on an airplane right now to Hawaii and am unbelievably excited. 

* Weekend 4Cast *
Compilation of all of the things I'm dying to share with you. 

-  Random - 
I have found the best way to learn about anything is to learn from someone who has been there and done that. I have learned almost everything through the guidance and generosity of professionals who have shared with me their time, their wisdom, and their life story. Do you have mentors in your life? 

It is easier than you think.  Just start asking people you admire for their story and their advice. You'll be amazed at who will talk with you if you simply ask. The best place to start is This was started by two passionate young people dedicated to you and the power of mentorship. Registering is so quick and the rewards  - incredible. 

- Movies - 
I am more excited/nostalgic than I thought I'd be for Harry Potter. 

SUCCESS magazine recently featured David Heyman, the Harry Potter films' producer, and he mentions that the young actors were able to stay relatively grounded because they did the filming in a small town in England. Isn't interesting how environment affects things...especially the Hollywood environment?

- Fashion -
Speaking of environment, I am so beyond ecstatic to be able to wear nothing but sun dresses, flip flops, and hats for the next two weeks. I tried on a new dress I got for the trip complete with hat and big necklace and thought yes, this is me. 

I often miss the freedom I had in college to wear my favorite clothes (enjoy it while it lasts :). And if you're in a working culture where your favorite style isn't appropriate for work, plan as many activities on the weekends and vacations when you can break out your favorite pieces. There is something freeing about it. 

- Books -
Are you making the most of your social media presence?As I'm sure you've realized by now, social media is so much more then telling your friends what you had to eat that day.  It affects so many aspects of our lives - especially your future career. Social media can help you find a job, land a job, make connections, build a positive image, and even make money. You have to know how to market yourself to get a job after college. And you don't want to be caught marketing yourself in a way that seems self-obsessed. 

Social Boom! by Jeffery Gitomer taught me so much about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube and I have already connected with incredible people I would have never met if I hadn't read this book. No matter how technological things get, business and getting jobs will always be about people. In Social Boom! Gitomer explains how to use technology to make sure you stand out and connect with people who will help you reach your goals. A++++

Monday, July 11, 2011

You Are Not Alone in Feeling Alone: How to Make Friends

Sitting on a bus on the way to a conference, one of the students I advise asked to sit with me. She wanted to talk about friends. Or rather, the lack thereof.

We talked about the sudden death of her brother and how she was afraid to get close to people because she learned early in life that they could leave you unexpectedly.

She lamented that after almost 2 years of community college she felt like she didn’t have a core group of close friends. Her grandpa’s words to her were always:

“In life you'll have lots of acquaintances, but you'll only have a handful of friends. People come and go, but if you are able to maintain at least one or two good friends, consider yourself lucky.”

She wanted to be lucky. She wanted some really good friends but looked around and felt alone. Really alone. Despite being around tons of people.

Making friends can be truly difficult in community college. I learned when I transferred to a University that most students made their friends in the hallways of their dorms or at the nighttime activities of their organizations and didn’t seem to have much reason to strike up a conversation with a new friend in class.

In community college, however, everyone was a commuter and class was our only opportunity to make friends. But few did.

Most go to class and go home, go to class, and go home. No interaction beyond what is necessary. Just get through the class. And go home. I call this drive-thru education and I think it’s kind of dangerous.

Relating to our peers is part of how we challenge our perspectives and develop our interpersonal skills. And making new friends is fun.

But as my student realized, it can also be really, really hard. She is not alone. And if you feel lonely – you’re not alone either.

In fact, many surveys and articles report that college students are often the loneliest group of all.
Media depicts college as a constant social party, which leads many to assume that if you don’t have tons of friends and a full social calendar something must be wrong with you. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We live in a fast-paced, technology driven, “Me-generation”, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Our modern life is not conducive to human connections. Real friendships take work. Creating community, making friends, takes real effort – and it starts with you.

In high school friendships are easier because you are with the same people, from the same town, of the same age, all day, for 4 years (sometimes more).

Life after high school makes making new friends difficult. But if you learn those skills now they will help you for the rest of your life – because making new friends can be difficult after college as well, just ask any post-grad you know.

If you find yourself feeling lonely and wondering why no one is calling or texting you, realize almost everyone else is feeling the same way. Only you can change your social situation. And while it does take effort and courage to put yourself out there, it is so worth it.

Because friends allow us to unleash a different part of ourselves. We don’t have to be our high school-self. We don’t have to be our college-self. We don’t have to be our work-self.  We don’t have to be our dating-self. We don’t have to be our I’m-trying-to-impress-people-self.

We can explore our real self.

We can delve into various interests, talk about our lives, and grow our perspectives.  And there is almost nothing better than laughing till you cry or crying till you laugh with a friend.

I’ve read a lot of quarter-life crisis books that talk about the college and post-college friendship struggle, but what drove me crazy is they only said the struggle existed – they didn’t tell me how to overcome it, how to make friends.

And then it made me feel like a loser because maybe no one else needed to know how to make friends during or after college. Maybe I was the only one.

But after many conversations I realized that was far from the truth. Many people struggle to make friends during the transitions of life, but not many people are as brave as my student was to talk about it.

Because we often think we are the only one.

So while I’m not the expert, below are some tips that I hope can help you expand your social circle, make some connections, and enjoy other people during and after college.

1.Take away the pressure. 
If you start imagining what your social life should look like and try to create it you will either overwhelm people or retract into your own little shell. 

Don’t try to imagine what your social life should be. Just enjoy whatever it is in the moment and in your current life stage.  Know it will change and know that is okay and perfectly normal.

2.Friends don’t have to be “forever.” 
BFF. It was fun to write each other's hands with gel pens. And some do have friends for almost their entire life and I think this is wonderful and an incredibly lucky feat.

But people move, people change, and sometimes that means our friends change.  Don’t let this get you down. Embrace the friends you have while you have them, and appreciate what they bring to your life during that time.

3.Turn Facebook into facetime. 
It’s so easy to hide behind our status and our tweets. Don’t let your social life be entirely on the computer.

Use Facebook to learn about what people are interested in or events they’re attending and GO. How many events lay dormant on your Facebook homepage? Try showing up and see what happens.

4.Be the inviter.  
How often do you wait for other people to text you to hang out? How many social events have you initiated? It isn’t hard. Invite someone out for coffee. Go to an event and invite some more people to go with you. 

Notice what’s going around town. Notice what’s going on in your campus. And just invite other people. They will love you for it.

(disclaimer: when you become the inviter sometimes you will want to put something together and everyone will be busy and no one will come. This is not because they don’t like you. It’s because we live in a world where as you get older friendships aren’t easy and people have to purposefully make it happen. Just because you are doesn’t mean they are. But keep inviting. Don’t give up. And don’t take it personally).

5.Join a club. 
Community colleges often have robust student life programs. The problem is so many students don’t take the time to engage with them.

Show up at an event. Join a club. Become an officer in a club. And you’ll have more friends and social events than you’ll know what to do with. (if you’re a post-grad, try joining a professional association in your field).

The United Way has a database in almost every county for volunteer events and opportunities. Show up. Start conversations. And contribute. You’ll meet great people.

7.Be vulnerable. 
I’m not saying to cry out your whole life story the first time you meet someone, but don’t be afraid to let out your insecurities, your fears, your hopes. Being honest is what bonds us. And when you’re vulnerable you give others permission to be themselves too.

8.Do something that interests you – alone. 
Too often we’re too afraid to try something new without trusted people at our side. It’s hard to make friends when you cling to the ones you already have. Go do something by yourself and be open to the new people around you.

If you want any further advice on friendships feel free to e-mail me at And if you have any tips to provide please share them on the comments section of this blog or on Facebook or Twitter #makefriends. 

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Weekend 4cast ep.1

Hi guys! So I know today is Thursday, but I am rolling out a new section of the blog  - my weekend 4cast. 

I love to (constantly) read, analyze pop culture, and consider new ideas that don’t always need an entire blog post to unpack; so my weekend forecast will give you the scoop on books I recommend, random thoughts I’m having about current events, movies, fashion, and any other quick ideas/questions that will give you something new to ponder.

I also hope this will be a place for you to share your comments and recommendations.

 And when it comes down to it, I am having so much fun with this once a week is no longer enough =) Enjoy and thanks as always for reading/watching!

- Books -  
So many students talk to me about motivation, or rather, the lack thereof. The funny thing is, these students want to be motivated, but it’s just not happening and they don’t know why. I just finished (and loved) Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink.

What U need 2 know if U don’t have time 2 read Drive:
We aren’t as extrinsically motivated as we think. People are more motivated when the rewards come internally – from a sense of purpose and autonomy.

Questions 2 ask yourself from Drive:
 Are your goals really your goals? Getting a good grade or a degree to add to your resume is not what drives those who are truly motivated in college. How can college be a part of the bigger goal/dream you have for your life?

- Movies - 
Has anyone seen Larry Crowne yet? I’m curious to see how they depict community colleges. Please comment below on what you thought if you’ve seen it.

- Random -
There is something about getting a monthly magazine in the mail that  makes me feel like its Christmas. It is a monthly reminder that can re-fuel and re-focuse you.

Whether it relates to your career, college, or a special interest – it is a monthly reminder to not forget about something you love or something you want to do.

Magazines are cheaper than you think  - keep publishing alive =)

- Fashion -
 Fashion can actually help you connect with people. There’s a reason why they call some things “statement pieces"-- because they often invite people to talk to you. I wore this turquoise ring today and had some great conversations that started with “I love that ring where did you get it?”

Also, one time at a conference where I didn’t know anyone I wore the pendant from Pirates of the Caribbean. I also have the Harry Potter time turner necklace.

And it spins! (below are my bloopers/many tries to get the time turner to spin. Or perhaps it is just you going back in be the judge). 

 Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

Monday, July 4, 2011