Post-Grad: Real World Problems

As the weather gets warmer and the days become longer, the arrival of summertime has many teens embarking on summer vacations. For high school graduates across the nation the arrival of the warm weather signifies the celebration of milestone events. You might be part of the select group of students who find themselves at a crossroads either in your Junior or Senior year. The reality for these students is that with the end of their High School career comes the million-dollar question of “What will I do after graduation?”

For many Latinas who are the first in their family to graduate High School the topics of college, earning a degree, and life post-grad in general are all of great mystery and uncertainty. Already facing other financial and cultural obstacles, this absence of knowledge can greatly and negatively impact the aspirations of the Latina collective of accomplishing their professional and academic dreams.

As “women of color” it is important to keep in mind the following “Golden Rules” to strengthen your post-grad journey:

I. Be Informed

As Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, explained, “Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” As a graduating student it is important to have information on the educational options and opportunities that are available. If paying for college makes you anxious, don’t fret! Getting the funding via scholarships, student grants and other government aid that is accessible will help fund and therefore fulfill your academic dreams. Do not let money be a determining factor in deciding what academic or professional route to take. Do your research and stay informed!

II. Have Clear Goals

So, how can you prepare to enter the real world as a recent Post-Graduate? For one, having clear goals of your academic and professional interests and expectations decreases the anxiety. Knowing what career path you wish to follow can direct you towards volunteer and internship opportunities that will provide you with the necessary experience and can help you establish a network. Ultimately, spending a couple weeks during the summer interning at a firm or at a non-profit can help in creating a support system that can guide you while on the job search or when in need of academic letters of recommendation when filling out college applications or scholarships.

III. Seek a Mentor or a Role Model

Dina M. Horwedel explains, in her article Latina Women and Higher Education – Making it Happen, that by identifying the power in knowledge, developing self-confidence and a support system as well as seeking out role models and mentors can Latina women be better equipped to achieve success in the workforce or in the classroom. It is therefore important to find that someone that you look up to, whose professional life interests you or that individual whose support has greatly inspired you.  You will find great comfort in their personal experience and great motivation in their knowledge.

IV. Confidence is Key

Sometimes “planning ahead” for the real world means taking a different path. While in college you have the opportunity to take a “gap year.” Often times this translates into neither entering the workforce nor entering the classroom but a combination of them both: taking a gap year and living abroad. The idea of the gap year is an option that allows you to gain some international experience via volunteering. This not only helps in building an international network and having life-changing experiences but it also allows you to acquire real-world life and work skills that will help determine and strengthen your goals and future professional interests.  Do not fear taking an alternate route by crossing international borders, the key to success when taking the road less traveled is confidence!

With graduation there emerges the pressure of not knowing what is to come or what is expected of you once you have concluded your High School career. Therefore it is important to explore the different possibilities there are, whether it is heading off to college in the fall, taking a year off and volunteering abroad or even entering the workforce. The key to success when planning ahead for the real world is knowledge, confidence, and determination. Whatever route you decide to take it is vital to consider that as an educated Latina if the road you decide to take is the one less traveled, despite the uncertainties, it is what will make a difference.

Talking to Parents 101: Boys

There’s no escaping them: boys. They’re everywhere and we can’t help but to be drawn to them. This isn’t just a girl thing; guys are naturally attracted to us as well and, if we’re lucky, the one we are crushing over is also crushing over us. But what do you do when he makes a move and now you’re a couple? Do you tell your parents? Do you keep it to yourself? Are you old enough to be in a relationship? These are the most important questions when it comes to boys.

Every parent is different when it comes to the “boyfriend/girlfriend” subject. Some would rather have you wait until you graduate college or high school, some think sixteen is the appropriate age and some (but rarely any) think it’s okay to start dating in middle school. But how does this work out? Truth is we have no control over who we are attracted to, it happens.  So, if you happen to think you’re ready, consider these four rules.

Never try to overpower your parents 

First, never say: “I have a boyfriend and I want you to meet him” or anything in this context. Never say: “I am or I have.” You shouldn’t exert any authority. No parent wants to be told what to do or to accept something, and this will immediately shut them off, leaving no room for compromise. Instead, ease them into the idea. For example, during dinner, say something like: “so there’s a guy at school, and he’s telling people he thinks I’m cute.” This is a good way to bring the topic up, because you’re sharing your personal life with them and they’ll love that. This will also form trust between you and them, making the boyfriend situation easier to consider.

Observe their reaction

Observe their reaction, did they cringe? Did they get angry? Did they find it funny? But most importantly were they open about the topic? If they seemed upset or blew off your comment, this is a sign to back away from the subject (for now). I know this is something you don’t want to hear, but there’s no way around it. There’s no point in pursuing the conversation any further and angering them. Instead, wait a couple days and bring up the conversation again, but this time say something like “so remember that boy I was telling you guys about, well he asked me to eat lunch with him during our lunch break. But I don’t know what to say. What do you guys think?” This is your attempt at forming a trust/permissive relationship with them. They’ll respect you for asking them  but don’t demand an answer right away, let them think about it. Don’t push them, because they’ll just push the topic away even more (and we don’t want that).

Confront your parents with an open mind

Finally, confront them. But when doing so, never say “you don’t, you need, you, etc.” Using the word “you” is a form of attack and this can cause the other person to shut down. You don’t want that. Instead, let them know how you feel. You can do this by saying, “I would like to go out to lunch with him and I want to be able to talk about situations like these with you guys. I know I’m still young, and this is hard for you, but I want you to know that I’m not rushing into a relationship; I just want to try this out.” Let them speak, but most importantly listen. If you want them to hear you out, you need to let them speak also. Hear them out! And if they’re response is not what you wanted to hear, don’t jump up and start justifying yourself or argue. You want them to see you as an adult; arguing, crying, screaming, etc. is going to do the complete opposite. Keep in mind that your parents mean well. I know that is a very cliché thing to say, but it’s true. So, if they don’t think it’s time to date, then respect their decision and this will show them maturity. This is key to gaining their approval!

Be patient

Getting your parents to accept the idea of dating is a process and if at first it doesn’t work, let the subject cool down, and try again! A mature attitude is the pathway to approval. And ladies, please keep in mind that middle school isn’t the time for boyfriends! Those years are made for friends and making memories! Getting ready for high school, joining a sport, dances, or practicing for high school try outs with your BFF’s. Boys will always be there. There’s no need to rush, believe me.

Advice: Abortion

My best friend is pregnant and she wants to practice an abortion. She’s 16 and I don’t know how to help her because I think a baby is gift from God. She’s my friend but it’s against my belief, what do I do?

“Of course, if she’s your best friend you usually support her, but if you’re a real friend then you help her and make her change her decision. I am totally against it because you are killing a human. You created it, you made the mistake, and you need to learn from it. Also, there are other options like adoption. That’s great because at least the baby gets to live. God brought him/her for a reason. If no one is there for her support, support her in many ways that you can. Of course, everyone will be judging, but you have to look at the positive side and be happy. Help her change her mind because it’s not worth killing your own child.” – Jocelyn, 17

“It is important that you are supportive of your friend during this difficult time. However, you must also remember that she is panicking and has very tough choices to make. Abortion certainly seems like an easy way out of the problem, but you must educate your friend on this decision. The library has many great resources on the physical and psychological dangers of abortion. I suggest finding some resources to show her the pros and cons of abortion. There are also clinics that one may go to for more information on pregnancy. Remind your friend that there are other options to abortion. A great alternative is adoption. Many couples would love to have a baby but cannot conceive. If your friend gives up her baby to adoption, she will be helping both the couple and the baby. I also suggest speaking to a trusted adult in your community. It is very possible that your friend is seeking an abortion because she feels very alone and does not want to jeopardize her future. However, talking to a trusted adult will help the both of you cope with this situation. Finally, you should suggest to your friends that she speak to her parents about it. It may seem very scary and it is possible that they may be very angry with her at first, but they are her parents and will love her no matter what happens.”
– Sara Maldonado, 22

 

“Although you feel strongly about abortions being incorrect, you must keep in mind that they are your personal beliefs. Your friend might have other beliefs and also it will also ultimately be her decision to make since it is her body. Remember, that a true friend will respect the opposing beliefs of other friends and offer their love an d support in hard times such as these. Also, be cautious of your word, such as “killing you own child.” These words are harmful and will not help you friends. Instead offer her other choices, but respect whatever decision she makes in the end.”  – Liz, 22

 

 

Traditional Dating

There are common stereotypes that Mexican families have strong conservative traditions when it comes to dating. One common stereotype is dating within one’s culture.

It may have been like this a long time ago specifically for our grandparents and great-grandparents during a time where things were more traditional, and the world wasn’t so modern.  As a 22 year-old Latina I can say first hand that things have changed tremendously, at least for my family. Times have changed and my parents have coped with things they were not used to when they were my age. I constantly hear from my parents how strict it was when they were growing up.

When love and culture clash:
It all comes down to your family, and how easy they are on coping with traditional change. If a family is really close to their rural Mexican roots, they will have their own set of customs such as going out in a group, instead of alone with the date. For example, in Mexico, one common expectation is getting the father’s approval since he is the head of the household. For women, the guidelines are more strict because the father is letting their little girl  go off with another man.

Debora Hernandez, a senior at the University of California, Riverside stated, “As an individual you always want to please your parents and make them proud, but I have always been very independent and moved to the beat of my own drum.”

Victoria Servin, an editorial-translator intern for Latinitas and Linguistics and Translation student at the University of Texas at El Paso, explains how she followed her mother’s wishes, “Personally I didn’t want a boyfriend in high school so it didn’t really bother me too much. I never really felt the need to rebel against my parents and I didn’t do it out of spite, I guess I just agreed.”

In Mexico, your family is your biggest dating pressure.

Essentially, you are not only dating the man/woman, but you are dating the family; almost becoming part of the family in which they expect you to hold conservative values. Another common conception is that girls are not officially allowed to date until they turn 15, the age they become a woman and have the option to have a quinceañera.

When asked about dating in high school at a young age, Victoria Servin stated, “My mother didn’t want me to have a boyfriends because she didn’t want me to fall under the hispanic teen pregnancy statistic. She wanted me to go to school, or travel, she didn’t want me to date anyone.”

Today the Mexican-American culture is really not much different from other cultures in the U.S. Like all concerned parents, my parents did have some influence over who I dated. They wanted to meet them and learn more about them, rather than “I’m going out with so and so.” And questions most parents ask, “Where did you meet him?” “What does he study?” “How old is he?” etc.

On the other hand, some parents are less eager to want to meet every person their daughter dates.  Servin comments, ”Most mexican moms want to know who you go out with, my mom doesn’t want to meet anyone; I think it’s because no matter who I date, it’s not going to be good enough.”

Today, women are also seen as more independent and as  the breadwinners of the house. Melissa Garcia, a graduate from the University of California, Riverside states, “I think my parents main concern is that I date someone that can support me, but as a 2012 Latina, that is not needed anymore. I think I am capable of fending for myself.”

We all have different experiences especially since we all come from different backgrounds. What are yours?

Under Pressure

1. My friends only talk about sex. I don’t feel comfortable talking about those kinds of things and I feel peer-pressured into talking about it. How can I tell them to stop including me in those topics without losing their friendship?

Be honest and let your friends know that you feel uncomfortable with the topic of sex. If they are your real friends, they will understand. If they decide this is something worth losing a friend over, then it is their loss, not yours. It is also good to branch out from a small group of friends. This will allow you to gain new perspectives and meet new people with similar interests! You can join new after-school clubs or sports. Making friends through these activities will ensure that you will all have something in common that you can talk about.

2. I have my v-card, but my boyfriend is peer-pressuring me into losing my virginity. I don’t want to and he won’t stop trying, what do I do? I want to break up with him, but I don’t know how to without him talking behind my back.

Break up with him. Definitely. This may sound cliché but it’s true: if he is not willing to wait for you, then he is not worth your time. When you break up with him, be very clear about why you are no longer interested in being in a relationship with him. Tell him that you are not okay with the way he has been pressuring you into losing your v-card. You cannot be forced into doing something that you don’t want to and if you feel threatened by him, talk to your parents, counselor, or teacher.

You certainly run the risk of him talking about you behind your back; however that is something that you really cannot control. I think it is important for you to not focus on what he’ll say by letting it go and move on. He cannot force you to do anything and if you feel threatened, talk to a teacher or counselor. Surround yourself with a group of supportive friends and focus on other things such as school and extracurricular activities. A boy is not worth your time. In middle and high school, rumors change at an extremely rapid pace. In two weeks, there is a possibility that no one will be interested in anything your soon-to-be-ex is saying

Healthy Relationships Tips

Every relationship is different. Even though all relationships are unique and function on their own terms, like sharing your own super cool secret language with a sibling or friend, there are certain guidelines that can either strengthen or damage your relationship. Here are some pointers that should help you keep your relationships healthy and happy.

1.) Communicate: Often times we are hearing what our loved ones are telling us, but it goes in through one ear and out the other. We end up picking the things we want to hear. How convenient, right? Being a good listener is the first thing one should work on when wanting a healthier and happier relationship. Laura Werthmann, who is a Club Leader and Editorial Intern for Latinitas says, “I feel that communication is probably the number one most important thing to have in a relationship. When others know what is going on in your world, or visa versa they are able to uphold a sense of empathy or have a better understanding of your actions or who you are as a person. I feel that maintaining positive forms of communication builds trust in a relationship, forming a stronger bond that can potentially last forever.” Avoid the awkward small talk with your BFF or loved one, communication is key in maintaining a healthy relationship.

2.) Trust : Trust is extremely important when maintaining healthy relationships. Trusting someone means not questioning their actions and knowing that they have your best interest at heart. Whether it’s trusting your friends or your parents, know that trust is the foundation of someone always being there for you. ”To get along better with your parents, show them you trust them. Show them you appreciate them and try to see things from their perspective. It is not out of this world to fight with your parents now and then; sometimes it’s part of being a family,” states Janette Mendoza, Senior at Harmony Science Academy.

3.) Empathy/ Consideration :  Being empathetic towards the ones you love is a much appreciated quality.  When the ones you love are going through a hard time you should be considerate and supportive, because having empathy is a form of expressing that you care. According to Education.com, Dr. Robert Brooks claims empathy is  ”a common characteristic of individuals who are successful as business leaders, teachers, parents, spouses, or healthcare professionals.” Aside from these positive traits, “empathic people are skilled in placing themselves inside the shoes of another person and seeing the world through that person’s eyes,” adds Dr. Brooks. Being able to put yourself in their shoes has the potential of not only increasing communication between your loved ones, but also in strengthening a relationship.

4.) Showing you care :  Showing that you care for someone can be shown in different ways.  ”I’m always concerned with the health of my mom,” shares Heather Marronne, Senior at Mission Early College High School. “Everyday, without fail, whether I have a few seconds to talk, I always ask her if she’s eaten, if she slept okay, or how her day went or if she needed anything. She does the same for me. We stay caught up like that.” Consistently telling people that you care and love them can have a positive impact in your relationships. Being an affectionate person does not come easy to most people, but the fact that you are making an effort is what truly counts. Always remember that going overboard with affection, like telling someone you love them every 5 minutes, may smother them and can potentially be counterproductive. If you’re on the shy side, tyou can always write your loved ones letters or surprise them with their favorite chocolate or candy bar. Be creative!

5.)Loyalty: There is a reason why there is a saying that a man’s best friend is his dog. The reason this saying exists is because dogs are loyal to their owners. Loyalty, whether it’s from a furry friend or a loved one, is important in a healthy relationship. A loyal friend, family member or significant other is a very valuable person, because it is someone who will be there to pick you up when you’re down and will always have your best interests at heart. There is no better feeling than knowing the people you love and care about will be by your side no matter what may happen in your life.

 

How to Prepare for a Job

Are you ready for your first job? Knowing how to act professional is the first step in getting ready for job hunting and starting in workplace. Being professional means acting respectful, mature, polite and responsible. There will be times when you will be required to behave professionally in any job you hold.  Here are some tips that will help you earn brownie points both at work and in life.

1. Appearance: Always dress professionally, maintain a clean appearance, keep a good posture and smile. Make sure to wear clothes appropriate for the event or environment you are entering. And ladies, avoid wearing provocative pieces like short skirts or low cut blouses. Instead, standard dress for the office is a solid color blouse, a blazer, chino pants and some flats or kitten heels. For your hair, try a simple up-do or bun to leave a clean appearance. During your interview you’ll be able to see the office dress code leaving you room to try and match it.  

2. Persona: Observe proper etiquette, maintain eye contact and don’t be afraid to voice your opinion in a respectful manner. Always stay calm and controlled,  carry yourself with professional confidence and  keep your chin up regardless of the situation. When going into an interview stay confident but always polite, let the employer know you work well with others. While in an office meeting, express your opinions and give comments when you think it’s appropriate that way your employers know you are participating and care about your job. Always stay friendly and keep an attitude targeted towards teamwork. It’s always good to have reliable friends in the work place.

3. When speaking: Be clear and concise and set the context for your audience. If you are asked to make a speech, prepare before hand. Speak at an understandable pace and engage your audience in your presentations.  Make sure to be clear and understandable in any situation so that it’s easier to get your ideas across. Make sure to keep your boss informed of your progress and ask questions when you need something clarified. Communication is key in any relationship, especially in the office.

4. First Impressions: A strong  first impression will always lead the way for a good first impression.  Stand up straight, smile and make sure to give a firm, confident handshake making direct eye contact with the other person. If you are sitting down, it is proper to stand up and greet whomever you are being introduce to as a sign of respect.

5. Superiors: Always respect your boss regardless of the situation. Make sure to refer to them by their last name unless given permission to do otherwise. Try and have a sense of humor but only at the appropriate times, never during a serious or very import task.

6. Don’t chime in on conversations you over hear: Even if it is work related and you know the answer to their question, do not jump into conversations that aren’t being directed at you. It is not polite and they could get the wrong idea about you. Avoid gossip and do not get involved in problems or drama.

7. Phone calls: Phone calls at work should only be work related. While talking on the phone, be polite. Don’t use inappropriate language at any time even if the person on the other end is being rude. If the person is upset, allow them to vent and tell you their side of the story. Instead of raising your voice to the match the caller’s volume,  keep your voice calm, so that things don’t escalate further.

8. Be polite: Do not look down while walking because it shows lack of confidence, fear, or nervousness. Always carry yourself with confidence, and be friendly with those you encounter. Be polite to strangers by saying ‘Good afternoon’ or ‘Good morning’ and greeting them with a smile.

9. Internet:  Keep computer and internet activity work related. Always keep your websites PG-13 at all times. Be as respectful to people online as you would offline, or face-to-face. Use proper language and make sure to respect everyone’s ideas or comments online. Do not surf through websites you know you shouldn’t be surfing through.

10. Cell phones: Never be on your cell phone while speaking to someone else, it is rude and very distracting. Cell phones should only be used to answer emergency calls or during break time.

Professionalism isn’t just for the adults you see working in banks and law firms wearing their pinstripe skirt suits. Get a head start now in preparing for future success by practicing these professional tips.

Overcoming Shyness

To some degree everyone has felt shy. For many it is “natural shyness” and for others it’s something they acquired as they got older or only in certain situations. Being shy is not a bad quality, but it can sometimes be an obstacle in school, since you are sometimes required to participate in discussions or do presentations. For those who don’t participate, it can truly hinder your performance. You don’t have to change your personality, but if you feel like your shyness is hurting you or you dread the moments when teachers begin to randomly call names, then you know you must do something about it. Here are some tips to help you overcome shyness.

1. Sit in Front:

Shy people are often known for sitting in the back of the classroom. Sitting in front of the classroom can actually push you into taking an initiative to overcome shyness. It can help you begin feeling comfortable being in the class. If you feel uncomfortable when people turn to look at you when you speak, being in front can actually help you not notice those glances, and slowly you’ll gain the confidence to voice your opinions. By sitting in front you can confront your fears and maybe realize that your fears weren’t so scary after all. Maria Galvan, 21 college student, states: “It always helps to sit in the front; you’ll hear everything clearly. For me, I would sit in second or third row because it makes me comfortable. You’ll still be in front, but not the very front. You’ll feel like you’re a part of the classroom. If you sit in the back it gives the message,’ I’m not going to be engaging, I don’t want to be interacting.’ But if you sit closer to the front, it gives the message that you’ll be part of the class and that you are ready to share with others.

2. Speak up! People are not going to judge you:

Do you sometimes feel as if a fellow classmate can tell if you are nervous? Well, the truth is that most of the time they are unable to tell that you are nervous.  There are many times where we feel that they are because we tend to be a little too self-conscious, but after taking the initiative of overcoming your shyness, like not letting the fear of being judged paralyze you with fear, you start to realize that others think do not matter — only YOUR opinion matters. Most of the time, the person who you think is “judging” you is more than likely not. Remember to keep your mind off of what others think and if you decide to raise your hand to answer a question, keep your mind on that. If you have to make a presentation to the whole class focus on the materials that you are presenting and not on how they may be judging. There are also times when you think you made a mistake, but they won’t be able to tell either, so if you do make a mistake: keep moving forward.

3. Keep trying and push forward:

Think sitting in the front or making bold moves like speaking more in class is too risky or difficult?  Set a goal for yourself and start small by speaking once per week. Over the course of the semester, slowly build up how many times you talk in class, but don’t give up. It might feel awkward at first, you might feel self-conscious or maybe even embarrassed, but this will go away the more you keep at it. There will be instances where speaking up may not turn out as glamour as you have imagined, but everyone makes mistakes. Try not be too critical on yourself, but instead feel proud that you did speak up and expressed your opinion. Keep moving forward! The more you get out of your comfort zone the easier it will get. Keep in mind that by moving forward gives you that confidence booster that you can do it and it is not as scary as you originally thought it was. If you stumble or stutter in your journey, always remember to be kind to yourself, don’t beat yourself over your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes and being kind to yourself should be a priority.

4. Talking, the right or wrong answer:

Sometimes we might be afraid to speak up for fear that others might criticize our thoughts/opinions. Criticism, especially when we feel attacked, can really hurt a shy or introverted person. Another fear can be having an opinion that is very different from your peers. Don’t let fear dictate your life, because all opinions are equally valuable and it is through the diversity of opinions that you are able to experience vibrant interactions. Don’t be afraid to participate for fear of having the wrong answer, chances are that almost everyone has had a wrong answer at some point. Know that what you have to contribute is important and must and deserves to be heard. To overcome this fear, try being more open with your family or friends by talking about topics you normally don’t discuss with them but are of interest to you. Build up your confidence and transfer that to the classroom.

5. Engaging in social interaction:

There was one point in my life where I thought I was painfully awkward. Going to my first high school party was excruciating because I was terrified of the people there. Social engagements in the company of a boy you have a crush on at 16 can feel like the end of the world. The sheer fear of being awkward or embarrassed made me force my sister to drop me off a block away from the house so I could breathe and clam down. [At the party] I mostly did not speak all night and came home feeling utterly ashamed at my introversion! I think the only thing that helped me was to keep going to social experiences. Shyness (or social terror) definitely can flare up, though. 

Looking back, I see now that it was part of the whole growing process. What I do when this happens is a technique a speech professor gave me: take a deep breath *exhale* and think to yourself, ‘ah, I’m so grateful to be here.’ Every experience with another human being is a divine one, I believe. For whatever reason this person has crossed my path, now what are we to learn? This has worked numerous times when I felt I would be out of place.

But feeling shy, awkward, and out-of-place is all a part of finding and growing into a new place. Usually shyness can come from feeling out of one’s element. It’s uncomfortable, but it signifies that a person is growing, and the fast-beating heart and sweaty palms means they are truly alive!” shares Michelle Knight, 22 year old college student.

 

Peer Pressure Advice

Being young and trying to move smoothly through school, life and friends can be difficult, and may lead you to many road blocks. There are many instances where you might not know how to deal with situations that come your way. Good and bad events in your life are all part of the process, Latinitas has a way to help you get through uncomfortable or difficult times when it comes to what’s most important in your life.

“What do you do when most of your friends are gone because they’re into partying, drugs and drinking?”
Being the odd one out is tough, especially when your friends are off making decisions that you don’t feel particularly comfortable with. Keep in mind that there is no reason you should ever feel pressured to give into partying, drugs, or drinking! Stay true to yourself and your beliefs. If your friends have decided that partying is more important than spending time with you, then you should reevaluate your friendships. Take some time for yourself and focus on what makes you happy and what you like to do. Even better, go out and make new friends that share similar interests with you. Don’t be scared to say no to your friends and start to drift away to make new ones. It happens to all friends, especially when tough issues like drugs come into play. Step outside of your personal comfort zone and have fun in a safe, healthy way. If you feel you can’t say no to your friends, be honest about the way you feel with them. Let them know how their actions have negatively affected your friendship. Reflect and grow.

“One of my best friends sometimes lacks hope and belief in herself. She complains about how she doesn’t think she can complete certain things. Whenever I try to encourage her, she tunes me out and is ‘hard headed.’ I want her to not worry and always have faith in herself. Any suggestions?”
It’s difficult to spend time encouraging someone only to be turned down, but keep at it. Despite what she can portray by being “hard headed,” chances are she’s hearing you from time to time in the back of her head. You may feel like you’re repeating yourself too often or that she’s never going to accept your encouraging words, but she will and she’ll appreciate it. It’s important to remind the people we care about the most how loved and appreciated they are, especially when they’re feeling the exact opposite. It’s part of being a good friend. Being there when friends experience the good and when they experience the worst is extremely important. If you feel like you’re not being heard through spoken word, maybe try writing a letter. Write down what you’ve said before so that she can look at a written copy of it. If she see’s you’ve taken enough time to sit down and think about her, she’ll definitely notice your support. Most importantly, continue being as encouraging and kind as you’ve always been to her. Let her know that no matter how she may feel you will always be there to support her.

“I’m always busy with work and school, which is stressful. But my friends think I am ignoring them and always making excuses about being tired and have sometimes not invited me to places because I am always “busy.” What do I do?”
Don’t feel bad about not being able to balance school, work, and your social life. Those things are hard to keep balanced, especially when one is busier than the other. You’ve made the right choice in focusing on what’s important to you, which is your studies. Be honest with your friends about your priorities. Definitely do not disregard their friendship or their invitations, but make it clear that as much as you would love to hang out, you are busy with school, work and pursing your education. They might need to know exactly what is keeping you busy and away from them. If your friends not inviting you to places has started to hurt your feelings, maybe try to invite them to do something, or say yes every once in a while. This will show that you care and that you’ve taken steps to be with them and enjoy their company. Better yet, if you have a class that you’re all in maybe suggest having a group study date. You’ll have fun and learn together.

Road to Success: Internships

With the tough economy and competitive job market, more and more high school and college students are turning to internships to get that extra experience. Internships are also a great way to network and make connections with different people.  There are two types of internships: physical (on location) and virtual (work from home).  But which type is better or are they both equally beneficial?

Virtual Internships

Pro: They are often more flexible

Con: There sometimes is not as many mentoring or networking opportunities

Current college students with internship experience were asked about their views on virtual internships and whether they were any better or worse than physical internships. The overwhelming response was that virtual interns’ schedules are generally more flexible- so flexible that they often have time for more than one internship. However, at the same time because virtual interns do not meet in person with their supervisors, communication can be more of a problem and it can be difficult to network with coworkers.

Some responses from college students:

“Virtual internships give you more independence and not as much mentoring as on location internships. For virtual internships you also have to organize your time wisely and respectively and wait for online advice from your supervisors. It is very doable and rewarding.” Laura Werthmann

“Virtual internships give you that freedom to have more than one internship or job at a time. For example, I’m working full time for a campaign, but I’m also a virtual intern for Latinitas and the Independent Voter Network.  Both virtual and physical internships are just as rewarding though- you just have to balance your time wisely” Gabriella Marie Landeros

“I am currently doing three different virtual internships. This is my first time doing virtual internships and I admit I actually do like virtual internships over physical location internships. Sometimes it depends on where your internship will take place, but since I have had several other internships where I had to physically go to work I enjoy working from home and school. The only down part about virtual internships is that you have to schedule the time to sit down and do all your duties. I work on-campus part-time in a department and go to school full-time, but once I am done with all my work duties and school work, I dedicate the rest of time to my virtual internships. We communicate with the entire team and the bosses via emails, Skype, phone and text.” Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell

“Virtual internship do provide a little of independence and freedom, but they also force you to learn how to communicate a lot better. For example, without the communication skills you need for a virtual internship, it would be really hard to pitch article ideas and suggestions without having an interactive, personal conversation. They are incredibly beneficial for anyone wanting to learn how to better their personal skills in whatever work they may be pursuing, and also in instilling independence and self-guidance as well as strong communication skills.” Mary Ruiz, high school student.

Physical Internships

Pro: There is more direction and it is often easier to network

Con: There is not as much flexibility

Although physical internships are not as flexible as virtual internships and often do require a set weekly schedule (and transportation!), there are usually more opportunities to make new connections and to develop more of a relationship with supervisors and coworkers. Plus, you can get more of a feel for the work environment to see if that career path is right for you!

Responses on physical internships: 

“Physical internships are great because you get to meet new people, and network easier, and become a little more involved in behind the scenes action.” Laura Werthmann, St. Edwards University graduate

“I had a virtual internship last year that I learned from, but definitely would have gotten more out of it had it been at a physical location…On the other hand, I’m currently a virtual intern at iAcquire, an SEO company that I worked at physically in NYC this summer.  This experience has been just as rewarding as when I was in the office because…I’m doing a lot of independent work. However, this is possible because I started in the office and was taught a lot in person for the first few weeks of my internship before I was able to do everything on my own without having to consult with people.  So overall I would definitely say that having an internship in a physical location is better.” Amanda Gallucci

Overall, both virtual and physical internships have their own pros and cons. They both provide great experience so go get those internships, Latinitas!

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