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What did you say?!

A good life skill to master is effective interpersonal communication. Having the ability to successfully communicate your wants and needs to another person makes life that much easier. By no means is this attained overnight. If it were that easy, anti-wrinkling cream would be a thing of the past.

The first step in learning interpersonal effectiveness skills is patience. Keep in mind when that while you may be working on better communication, the other person may not be… so be mindful when approaching a situation that may become one-sided very easily. Be considerate of your body language; have good posture and make steady – but not staring – eye contact. Have a 90-degree chin when addressing the person.

Be assertive. Don’t fall into passiveness, aggressiveness, or passive-agressiveness. Stay neutral. Avoid “you” statements. For example, instead of saying to your sister “I don’t like when you take my clothes without asking” you could say “I don’t appreciate when someone takes things from me without asking.” This way the person you are addressing will less likely become defensive. Make your case and then let the other person state his or her side after. MAKE SURE TO LISTEN! Treat them the way you wanted to be treated. Be an example.

Remember good communication takes a lot of practice so do not be discouraged if at the first time it’s rocky … they usually are. Just keep trying and encourage others. You can do it!

UMass Scholarship

This just in! Amidst the two-year effort of mapping out my college plans, I was recently awarded the University of Massachusetts Amherst Cape Cod Alumni Club Scholarship. The hard work put in to the applications has paid off. It’s an honor to be a recipient of the scholarship and I am so grateful to the UMass Cape Cod Alumni Club.

UMass Visit Round II: What I’m Now Thinking

For February break my dad and I ventured out to Amherst, Massachusetts to tour – for the second time – one of my accepted big schools: UMass.  And almost exactly like it was a year ago the roads were snowy, the walk-ways slushy, and the skies were blue.

This time I needed to really hunker down and ask more probing questions since this may well be where I end up for the next four years. Suffice it to say it was a great visit and I left more informed and where I may fit in.

To start with, I tried resisting the urge to compare UMass to my Arizona school visits to ASU and the UofA.  But when its cold and slushy, that’s not easy.  The Amherst campus is smaller compared to the Arizona campuses, and it was funny to hear others on the tour say how big the campus was.

Here are the top marks I gave UMass:

1. The 5-college connections with universities in the area
2. The Commonwealth Honors College – which btw was designed after ASU’s Barrett Honors College
3. The study abroad program
4. The domestic study program.  For example I could study in Arizona for a semester
5. A “create your own major” opportunities
6. Breadth of Internship opportunities
7. Dining options

On the last one, apparently UMass is currently rated #2 in the country by the Princeton Review.

The visit helped solidify both what and where I want to spend the next four years. My ideal school would be virtually in perpetual motion.  Meaning I want to go somewhere where there’s something for me to do and be involved with all the time.  I want an expansive campus with indoor and outdoor places to study and hangout. I want to feel like I can just go and explore.  To have a pick of the many clubs to chose from.  (And my dad says if there isn’t one, start one!)  At UMass I kind of felt the non-academic opportunities would be limited to a handful of buildings and walkways. For sure though it was cold outside so naturally at the time everyone was bundled up trying to go from building to building.  I think I’ll want one more visit in the spring to really get a sense of the campus.

The bottom line is UMass is a great university. For me, attending a big campus school like UMass is very important because there seems to be a good balance of always lots to do and being able to focus on school work.

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At the Commonwealth Honors College – A Living-Learning Environment

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Future Minuteman?

Let the Applications Role

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It’s THAT time of year! A time that I’ve been anxiously (to say the least) waiting for… APPLYING TO COLLEGES!  Yay!  I’m finally getting things put together for my applications. Stressful and busy times, but it can only get easier.  Of course though, teachers are DRILLING me with honors projects and loads of homework.  Managing them, thankfully!  Meantime, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I’m trying to enjoy the autumn season.

 

We Must Never Forget

911_fountain_memorial We must never forget the events that played in New York City and in neighboring states 13 years ago on this day. As we all (hopefully) know, on September 11, 2001 two passenger planes were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists to fly into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Shortly after, news of another two planes were taken over, one to crash into the Pentagon and the other which crashed onto a Pennsylvania field. Nearly 3,000 people died – those on the planes and those on the ground. To Americans, this was something that they couldn’t wrap their heads around. As a nation we were in disbelief, shock, and horror. Families thought, “How could this be?” “Why today… why us?” We can all come up with guesses, but we will never truly know. A disaster that took months to clean, years to repair, and a lifetime to move on. I had the amazing opportunity to visit New York City in the spring of 2012 with my sister and my dad. We made a special note to visit the 9/11 Memorial, that had just been finished shortly before. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon we went to the site. We were in awe of the perfectly aligned buildings, the breathtaking waterfalls, and heart wrenched reading the names of so many loved ones. It was truly an honor to be there. I want to take a moment to recognize all of the first responders, the policemen, the teachers, the parents, the volunteers — everyone — who led our home out of this nightmare. Our country has show strength through this. We keep moving forward… but we will never forget.

The Memories Don’t Get Burried

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“You will have bad times, but it’ll always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” – Robin Williams

No one saw it coming – at least I sure didn’t.

Hearing the news of the death of Robin Williams was nothing but total shock. When I think of this man I think of life; someone who could cheer up a crowded theater,  make a first date less “awkward,” or simply bring a smile to the dull man in the room, just with a click of ‘play.’ I guess we missed the most important smile, and that’s the one who was giving them, Mr. Williams’ smile. Behind the staged laughs and jokes was something very wrong. Robin was fighting demons and finally couldn’t take it anymore.  No amount of fame or fortune could change how he felt. I’m sure many of you have read numerous articles about the severity of depression and how it effects ANYONE, so I won’t get into it much further. I hope that our eyes can be opened to signs and symptoms of this fatal disease. It’s a shame Mr. Williams had to die to make this a concern to millions more.

So, for the sake of Robin, love on and laugh with friends and family whenever you get the chance, and make the most out of what you’re given. Even when you can’t see it right away, there’s ALWAYS a sun behind the clouds.

Sister Brittany Takes on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

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I’m sure that recently you have seen countless videos being posted all over social media sites of your friends and family participating in the popular ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! This “challenge” is to recognize and raise funding for the disease. According to the ALS Association website, “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.” (http://www.alsa.org/) Friends and family will nominate people to participate in this challenge where you (usually) fill a bucket up with ice water and dump it over your head. You have 24 hours to respond to the nomination, or you have to donate $X to the fund. I like to see people rising up to the challenge AS WELL AS donating. Are you up for the challenge? Post your video online with #ALSIceBucketChallenge
Donate today at http://www.alsa.org/