How to Not Get Stressed Out throughout the Semester

This semester had been incredibly smooth and calm for me so far. Even though the midterms are coming, I feel collected and in control. Everything seems to fall into place and the stars seem to be aligning. So in this post, I will share some advice about how to get into such a state in College or High School so that you don’t end up freaking out the week before exams.

1.) Cut Down on Procrastination and Social Media

I know, you love Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and probably can’t imagine your life without it. Which is why I’m saying “cut down on it” instead of “eliminate it.” Although “eliminating it” would be ideal.

By “cut down on it”, I mean that you should not be checking it every 5 minutes while you are studying or sitting down in class. This behavior will make you unhappy in the long run because you will not be in control of your life. Check it when you are taking a study break or (ideally) once a day before you go to sleep. If you have to use social media as a tool to organize your extra curricular obligations, promote a certain product, etc… than use it for those purposes only and set up specific times during the day for that type of social media use. If you just can’t keep your hands off of social media, than download a website blocker and block every social media website on your laptop for the time periods when you will be studying (and lock your phone away as well, of course).

Once the social media problem is resolved, half of the battle with procrastination will be won. The other half is not watching YouTube videos instead of doing work, talking to people, and entertaining yourself in other ways. To clarify, you can (and should) do all of those activities. Just not when you are studying. This type of multi tasking will only cause procrastination, force you to do everything at the last minute, and inevitably lead to stress. In order to stop yourself from procrastinating, remove as many distractions as possible, establish a special environment for studying, and if all else fails, find a friend to scream at you every time you decide to procrastinate.

2.) Make Yourself Look Presentable

No. I’m not suggesting that you should wear a suit every day to class or make yourself look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

All I’m saying is that you should look neat. This means that you should not through on the first thing you see lying around in your room. Make sure that whatever you choose to wear doesn’t look like something that you went to sleep in (Yes. There are some people who actually look like this at my university).  Make sure that you brushed your hair, your clothes are clean, and everything in your bag is somehow organized.

The point of doing this is NOT to attract attention or to make you look attractive in front of someone you like. In my personal opinion, you shouldn’t worry too much about that issue in High School/College anyways. The point is to make yourself feel organized and “put together”. Doing this is much easier when you look the part than when you don’t.

And yes, you should also keep your room clean. Being in a clean environment will help you feel more organized.

3.) Establish a Routine

This is probably one of the most important items on this list. You should create a rough schedule for when you are going to work on your assignments and stick with it. This schedule should not be too strict because things will come up that you will need to take care off and too strict of a schedule will make you feel stressed out when those issues come up. However, having no routine will cause for your life to be all over the place, which is equally as bad.

Look at your schedule and decide when you can dedicate a certain amount of hours on studying each day. If you have a long term project (academic or otherwise) that you are working on, include it in your “schedule” and commit on working on it at least 3 times/week. If you are in High School, this part will be easy because most likely, you will have time to do homework after you come home from school. If in college, you will have more freedom of studying whenever so use this freedom wisely and study when you feel the most focused during the day. If you have a new extra curricular activity, part time job, or any other commitment that you want to add to your life, revise your schedule to include that activity.

You should allocate enough time for studying so that you can always be caught up with all of your readings and have most of your writing assignments/homework done a day in advance. You should also allocate some time for ongoing unassigned practice of the course material. If you do this, studying for the actual tests will not take that much time. With all of this said, I would not recommend going as far as allocating time for studying each specific subject. You might simply not have anything to do during a certain day and doing something simply for the sake of doing something is a waist of your time.

4.) Don’t Over Think

When it comes to academics, don’t make your life harder than it has to be and stick to the rubric. Do what you know is expected of you. Do not spend too much time crafting a perfect short story if your goal is to get an A and it doesn’t have to be perfect for you to get that goal. Don’t get passionate or attached to your academic work. You are not getting graded on”passion”. You are getting graded on standards and benchmarks that you must match. No one, except for your teacher, will read your work. Your work is mostly meaningless and is there for you to build up your skills, not to make significant contributions. Don’t spend too much time thinking about each specific assignment. Simply get it done, make sure that it matches the standards, and move on to doing something else. If you are obsessing too much over your academic work, it means that you have too much free time on your hands and you should get yourself another hobby, a part time job, an extra curricular activity, or anything else that’s productive and that you will find more significant to stop this behavior.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying to not take your academic work seriously. In fact, you should take it seriously and do all of your assignments thoroughly. However, there is no need to obsess over one assignment for days and days. In fact, doing this will most likely cause for you to have a lower grade on that assignment. So do your work, edit it, check the rubric, submit it, and move on.

5.) Have a balance of activities, not just academics

In order to resolve point #4, you should start doing things outside of academics. You are probably thinking that this advice will make you more stressed out because you will have more work to do. However, I found the opposite to be true. Having a hobby that you can focus on, a club that you attend, a part time job, etc… will help you 1.) get experience on your resume, which will decrease your stress later when you will be looking for a job or a summer internship (or help you with college admissions if you are still in high school 2.) do something that you enjoy and take your mind off of academics 3.) help you get out of the house and talk to people 4.) stop you from over thinking your school work and 5.) have experience with the “real world” outside of academia.

For specific activities, I would recommend doing 1-2 major/career related activities (or activities such as community service that will help you get into college if you are still in High School. Yes. I am including part time jobs and internships in this category) and 1 activity that you find “fun” so that you can relax. This is what you should do at minimum. If you find yourself having too much free time as mentioned in point #4, you should get yourself another activity. I’m using the term “activity” loosely here and don’t mean just extra curricular activities but also internships, part time jobs, hobbies that you might do alone at home, etc… If you are doing the IB program, than obviously you will already have guidelines in terms of extra curricular activities that you will have to follow. I have already described my advice on that in my post on IB so follow that guideline instead.

6.) Hang out with Friends

Even if you have a lot of school work to do, you should not allow for that to stop you from having social interactions. Going out with friends will allow for you to get advice, encouragement, and much needed social interaction in the week. Your friends will help you feel less stressed out. I usually hang out with friends a minimum of once a week. Again, I’m using the term “friends” loosely here and mean “anyone who you want to talk to”. For you, it might be going out to parties and meeting random people, speaking with a mentor, or going out to a restaurant with your best friend. Basically, you should have at least one “social” activity a week. This will help you get out of the library/house and not turn into a socially awkward person.

7.) Think of Education as You Becoming the Best Version of Yourself

Now that I am done with the more practical items on this long list, I am moving on to more of “things that I think about to remain chill through out the semester” type of items.

The most important thing that you should do in order to stop yourself from stressing out about schoolwork is to start thinking of the education process differently. Instead of thinking about how you “must get a certain grade”, think of it as a process of you becoming the best version of yourself and your grades being there to help you reflect on what you did wrong. This doesn’t mean that you forget about grades. You still pay attention to them and do your best to get the highest grades that you can get. You are still striving for excellence. However, you are focusing on the process of studying, completing assignments, and improving in order to get good grades rather than on the actual grades. Once you get a score on the test, you reflect on what you did wrong and change your studying/test taking strategy. You don’t start freaking out over your GPA or stressing out about needing to get all 100s on other tests to get an A. You concentrate on learning, not making the same mistakes again, and becoming the best version of yourself. If the subject is actually significant and you enjoy it, than you focus on doing your best for that reason. If it’s a stupid elective, than you think of the class as teaching you how to complete assignments on time, improve your time management skills, and soft skills of figuring out what the teacher wants you to say.

If you always do your best, good grades will follow and you will have nothing to worry about.

NOTE: point #4 is still valid. You do your best on assignments but you don’t over think them. You think of them as “practice” and “work that helps you become better” not as “masterpieces that I need to spend countless hours perfecting”.

8.) Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Your focus should be internal (on yourself) not external. You shouldn’t care about what other students are doing, what grades they have, and wether or not they interned at Facebook this summer. Their life is the their life. Your life is your life. You don’t know for how long they have been getting good at something, if they have connections at those firms, and other circumstances in their lives. Instead, you focus on comparing yourself with yourself, looking at wether or not you are making improvements, and wether or not you are achieving your own, individual goals. Yes. You should ask what other people are doing in order to get ideas about what you should be doing. However, they should be just ideas and not what you “absolutely must do to be successful”.

9.) Focus on What you Can Control

You do not think about “what if” scenarios or complain about what happened in the past. You can’t change the past and you can only react to situations as they arise. You can’t change global events. Therefore, you should not worry about them. This should apply to everything that you do in your life but because we are discussing academics (college/high school life) here, I will apply this concept to academics.

For example, if you got an F in a class during your first semester, that sucks but their is nothing you can do about it now. Therefore, worrying about it now makes no sense. You can’t control or change the past. What happened, happened. Let go and move on. Also, you do not spend a lot of time thinking about how you will do a certain academic program or assignment, unless you are actually in that program or working on that assignment. You don’t start worrying about the IB Program at the beginning of 10th Grade. Why? because you are not yet doing that program. You think and address  everything when it comes up not when it might come up.

So this are the main points about what I do this semester to remain calm and in control. A lot of those points will probably help you become a better student as well. Just remember that stress is an emotion that (just like any other emotion) you are in control of (or you can learn to be in control of).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Teachers are Not the Best People to Give Advice  

In most cases, your teachers are NOT the best people to give you advice. This will most likely anger a lot of teachers (if they will ever read this blog). However, I don’t really care because I’m writing my honest opinion on this matter and it might help a lot of naive students out. 

Now, let me be clear, by “Advice”, I don’t mean when a teacher tells you that 2+2=4, he is wrong. Or when an English teacher teaches you grammar, you should ignore those lessons. To a certain extent, good teachers are mostly competent at what they are teaching you (there are always exceptions to the rule so if you feel like your teacher is teaching you things that don’t make sense, it’s always a good idea to double check with Google). What I do mean by “advice” is when your P.E. teacher tries to teach you how to trade stocks or when your English teacher starts giving you fashion advice. 

The first issue with teachers giving advice is that they often do so when students don’t want it or need it. In most cases, it is only important to seek advice only when it’s relevant to what you want to do with your life. For example, when an English teacher starts talking about how to write a novel, most students don’t want to write a novel and, therefore, should not listen to this advice. Regardless of wether or not this advice will actually help one write a novel, this advice is simply irrelevant unless the student actually asked the teacher for it. However, most teachers don’t wait to be asked and want to “share their wisdom with the next generation” instead. And than they feel offended when students (rightfully and understandably) ignore this type of unwanted “wisdom”. 

The second issue is that their advice is often too general and not applicable to your particular situation. For example, my High School counselor gave advice to go into “the cheapest University”. While this advice makes sense to students who want to become teachers or social workers (or other professions where brand names don’t matter as much), it makes absolutely no sense if you want to work for an elite law firm or do investment banking. Therefore, if you are searching for career related advice, a better option would be to ask and listen to people in your desired career rather than to listen to your High School counselor. They know better which degrees you need and, believe it or not, it’s not that hard to ask them for help. 

This brings me to my next point: if your teacher is not an expert in his field and he didn’t “walk the walk”, his advice is, by definition,  bad, because he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. For example, when your English teacher starts giving Financial advice, you should probably ignore it (especially if your English teacher doesn’t even know what a Hedge Fund is and thinks that it’s “something similar to a government bond that rich people trade”.) In order to be “qualified” to give financial advice, the person must be an expert in the field and/or at least be a self made millionaire him or herself. If not, this advice should be ignored. When it comes to fashion/beauty advice, you must want to look like that person. If not, than again, you should ignore it. If you are looking for studying advice, you should get it from honor roll students, not guys who are about to fail High School. If you want to get lifestyle advice, you should want to imitate the lifestyle of the person, from whom you are seeking such advice. Most teachers do not have more than $1 million net worth, do not look super attractive, and do not lead lives worth imitating. Therefore, they can’t possibly give you good advice in those areas. 

Now, what about teachers giving advice in the   subject that they teach? This advice may be valuable, in some cases. The teacher might have friends who actually do practical work in the field that relates to the subject and/or the teacher might have done some work in the industry him or herself before turning to academia. This does happen, although not often. Also, in some rare cases, the teacher might be an expert in the area that he or she doesn’t teach. For example, I met a consultant from McKinsey who was teaching PE at a school as a hobby. In those cases, before taking the advice of that person at face value, you should check the background of the teacher. Now days, it’s not that hard to do with Google. 

However, in most cases this is not the case and the teachers do not have the in depth understanding of their subjects or how things are done in the industry rather than in academia. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be teaching. 

To quote Jim Simons: 

Why don’t we have enough teachers of math and science in the public schools? One answer is well, if they knew the subject well, they’d also know enough to work for Google or Goldman Sachs or God knows where. 

Teachers do not get paid a lot. While we all go around pretending like money doesn’t matter, it does. So if the teacher was actually good enough at the subject that he/she teaches, he/she wouldn’t be a teacher in the first place (of course there are exceptions to the rule). This does not mean that you should ignore your teachers or that they can’t teach you anything useful. What this does mean, however, is that after you learn the basics, you will have to start learning on your own and experimenting with your desired subject on your own at some point, if you want to be truly great at it. Your teacher will not and can not give you enough knowledge on any  subject for you to go out and make a career out of it. Remember, in most cases, you are not learning from “the best” because “the best” are not interested in teaching you anything. They are too busy doing research, making money, and living their lives for themselves. 

So to conclude this very long rant about teachers and our current education system: have some common sense and don’t listen to everything that your teacher tells you. 
XOXO 

Katy Bronsk 

The Guide for Choosing Best Friends

First of all, let me start by saying: it’s better to have no best friends than low-quality best friends. I know, human beings are social animals. I’m not suggesting that you lock yourself in your room and spend the whole day watching Netflix and not talking to anyone. If you don’t have a group of friends (and even if you do), you should go out there, socialize, and meet new people. However, you have to be comfortable with being on your own and not needing a best friend for emotional support or motivation. By not being desperate, focusing on gaining skills, and living your life to the fullest, you actually increase your chances of finding a best friend. 

You should not settle for a low-quality best friend simply because you really want one. Settling for a low-quality best friend will most likely make your life miserable, might get you in a lot of trouble, and will end up causing a lot of unnecessary stress. If you don’t have a best friend, it’s perfectly fine. I got my first high quality best friend when I was in 11th Grade in High School. The truth is, finding high-quality best friends is extremely difficult and maintaining these relationships is even more difficult. Most likely you will end up having maximum 10 (more realistically 5) best friends, if you are lucky. 

Also, I know that this sounds harsh but a lot of people don’t deserve to have high-quality best friends. Friendship is a realationship that goes both ways. If you are not a high-quality best friend material, than you don’t deserve to have a high-quality best friend. Your bff should benefit from the relationship as much as you are. Otherwise, it’s simply not fair. You should possess the same “best friend” qualities as your bff. If you currently don’t, you should work on developing them first. 

Core Requirements of a High Quality Best Friend 

No matter your preferences, your high-quality best friend must posses this qualities (and you should possess this qualities as well if you are interested in finding one). 

Safety: You should feel safe around this person. Ask yourself: “Am I comfortable having a sleepover with this person without having anybody else around?”. If the answer is “No”, this relationship is simply dangerous and you should not consider this person even as a friend, let alone a BFF. Delete this person’s contact information right now and don’t even think of talking to him/her ever again in your life. 

Trust: You should be able to trust this person with sensitive information and know that this person will not rat you out to your parents/your teachers/ your boss (if you are older)/the police, etc… Ask yourself: “if I were to do drugs in front of this person, what would this person do?” If the answer is “this person will rat me out to the police”, this person is NOT a high quality best friend and you should stop sharing sensitive information with this person. The answers: “this person will slap me in the face and tell me to stop,” “this person will drag me to rehab if it becomes an issue”, “this person will do absolutely nothing”, or “this person will do drugs together with me” are all good answers and depend on your preferences (Personally, I prefer #1 or #2). 

Now, I’m not saying to do drugs in front of your friends. In fact, I think that you should avoid doing drugs. All I’m saying is: make sure your best friend can keep secrets. Nobody in this world is a saint and everybody needs to sometimes complain about his parents or his boss (if older). You do NOT want this information to get out to the wrong people and if you can’t be yourself in front of him/her and constantly worry about what information you are sharing with your bff, than you are not going to be happy with this relationship.

You should also trust that your friend will not steal from you, spread rumors about you, etc… 

Ethics and Morals: you should have clear boundaries of things that you are not willing to do and moral/ethical lines that you are not willing to cross REGARDLESS of wether or not they are legal or illegal actions. This is the only way you will be able to sleep at night. You should also hold your BFF to the same ethical and moral standards. If your BFF breaks one of your ethical/moral lines, you should stop being BFF’s with this person. If you meet somebody who had broken your ethical/moral lines, you can’t be BFF’s with this person. This relationship will simply not work. You will feel unsafe and disgusted by that person (and, by definition, disgusted by your own decision to be best friends with this person). 

Now, different people have different ethical/moral guidelines and when you are young, they are also not going to be 100% clear. Therefore, you should probably have this discussion with your potential BFF sooner rather than later and make sure that you have similar ethical/moral guidelines. (I know, it will be an extremely boring and awkward conversation but it will save you a lot of trouble later.) 

Common Interests: Your BFF doesn’t have to be your clone and like exactly the same stuff you like. However, in order to have a worthwhile relationship, you must have some common things that you both can do together or enjoy. I would say: you should have at least 3 activities that you can agree on. It can be something as simple as you both liking Chinese food or going to the library to study together or play tennis on the weekend. Again, if your BFF likes doing something and you don’t, that’s fine. However, if you can’t come up with a single activity that you can do together, that is an issue and you will end up being miserable because you will constantly have to compromise on what to do. What I learned is that this compromises suck and should be avoided as much as possible. Therefore, do your future self a favor and get a BFF that shares at least some interests with you. 

Supportive: Your BFF shouldn’t necessarily have the same life goals that you have but he/she should be supportive of your long term goals. For example, it’s ok if your goal is to become super rich and your best friend wants to join a Non-Profit and save the world. However, if your best friend thinks that all rich people are evil that’s not fine because he/she will end up dragging you down and make it harder for you to achieve your goals. 

Now, if you are constantly stressed out about getting into an Ivy League college and pulling consecutive all-nighters and your BFF says: “Are you sure that getting into an Ivy League in order to get a high paying job is worth it?” that is a different situation. Your BFF is simply concerned about your well-being and is trying to offer emotional support. Wether or not his concern is valid is a different question for another time. 

Caring, Respectful, and Helpful: Your best friend must genuinely care and worry about you. Your BFF also should respect you. Your BFF should almost be like an extra family member for you (and you for him). If you get sick, your BFF should ask if you are alright. 

If something bad happens,  your friend should be willing to help you during tough times. This help could be emotional (your friend listens to your problems and comforts you) or practical (he offers to help you solve the problem or practical advice on how to solve it). Which type of help you want more of is a preference. I prefer a friend who offers about 60% emotional and 40% practical help. But I know a lot of people who are the other way around. However, the point is: your BFF should be doing something to help (Yes. Listening to you complain/cry IS considered help). 

Your BFF should also help you with small stuff / requests. No. Your BFF is not your secretary. But if it’s something that your BFF can do and is important to you, your BFF should gladly help you out. Best friends are meant to help each other. That’s one of the reason that you should want to have a BFF in the first place. 

Time Commitment: You should spend a significant amount of time talking with your BFF. How much is significant depends on your preference. However, I would say, you should communicate with your BFF at least once every month if you are in College and it’s a long distance thing and at least once a week if you are in High School (and this is assuming you and your BFF are super anti social.) 

Yes. If your BFF now lives in a different place from you, chatting on Facebook or Skyping counts. 

Natural Chemistry: you should have natural chemistry with your BFF. What I mean by this is that your relationship isn’t forced. You can both talk or chat for hours without getting bored or having awkward pauses. You can joke around with each other without offending each other. After a while, you know what the other person will say before he/she even says it. This requirement is one of the hardest to find but is incredibly important for a genuine relationship. 

Past History: If you already knew this person for a while, this person made fun of you/bullied you/blackmailed you, etc… in the past, and now this person offers to be your BFF, don’t go for it. Yes. You can forgive. But you should never forget. There is no way this relationship will not end as a disaster. 

Loyal In Front of Others: Your BFF should not embarrass you in front of other people and stand up for you if needed. She should also not abandon you simply because you are not fitting in with a certain crowd or because you had a bad hair day or because of some other ridiculous reason. If your social standing had fallen, your BFF should continue to be there for you and she should not abandon you simply because she wants to improve her own social standing and you are “getting in the way”. 

All of this core requirements are MANDATORY. Your BFF must possess all of them, regardless of your preferences. Otherwise, your relationship will suck and you might get hurt. If your current BFF does not possess all of this qualities, I would recommend for you to reconsider your relationship. You should also  possess this same qualities. If you are not loyal, not trustworthy, not caring, and don’t want to make time for a BFF, than you don’t deserve to have one. 

Optional Reaquirements of a High Quality Best Friend (Preferences) 

Now, you are probably thinking: “Katy. These Core Requirements are easy to meet. I should have a ton of BFF’s” 

Well… you should not forget about preferences. Preferences is something that is important for you that your BFF has but not important for somebody else. For example, you might only want to have BFFs of the same gender as you while I might not care about my BFF’s gender. Keep in mind that preferences are subjective and this list is not an all incompassing list of preferences. I’m sure you will have items that you would want to add to this list. Therefore, instead of following this list, you should probably make your own. Items on this list are simply suggestions. 

Also, keep in mind that your BFF must possess the optional/preference requirements (that you pick) as well as the core requirements. 

Note: This list is NOT a list of my personal preferences. (Some of them are. Some of them aren’t). This are simply examples. 

Gender: If you believe the “girls and boys can’t be friends” theory, than you should probably consider gender as one of your preferences. Worrying about your BFF falling in love with you is not a great idea. (I personally disagree with this theory but this is a conversation for another time). 

Location/Online Relationships: some people are cool with having long-distance best friends (and can maintain those relationships). Some can’t. 

Also, some can develop friendships first on line and than in real life and some must know the person in real life first. 

Drive/ Life Goals: Some people only want to have friends who are driven and motivated to become successful as well as have the same goals as you. They would often form “packs” and make common goals to achieve. This can be very motivational and help keep you accountable. A lot of people need to be surrounded by people who are striving to be the best in order to be influenced by the positive peer pressure of those people. Some people also hate having friends who complain all the time because they think that those people are dragging them down. 

Bad Influence: likewise, some people easily fall susceptible to negative peer pressure and want to minimize bad influence. If you are one of those people, than don’t get a BFF who likes to party all the time and do drugs. 

Illegal Stuff: if you find out that your BFF has a criminal record, you should seriously consider wether this relationship is a good idea. The issue is that other people (your other friends and family) will (justifiably) try to protect you against this person and they might end up going too far. You might continue having a relationship with this person but have to keep it secret (assuming that this person had not crossed your moral/ethical lines) and you can’t be true BFF’s with somebody if it’s a secret (you are not meeting the “loyalty in front of others” requirement). 

Advisor: For some people, it’s important to have a BFF who can offer a lot of guidance and advice and almost be like an older brother or a mentor. Likewise, some people want to be in the “offering more advice” to their BFF role. In this case, make sure that your roles complement each other and probably consider getting yourself an older/younger BFF. (Older BFF if you want advice. Younger BFF if you want to give advice). 

Hobby/Interests: you might want a BFF with a specific hobby/interest. If this hobby/interest is central to your life, include it. 

Personality: This preference will come naturally as part of the “natural chemistry” point so you shouldn’t really spend time thinking about it. Basically, different people have different personalities and get along with different personalities. 

Intelligence: This point will be extremely controversial and non PC but for some people the intelligence of their BFFs is important. A more intelligent BFF means having more interesting conversations and also increases the likelihood of your BFF following through with the core requirements. (Yes. I had one BFF who ended up betraying me simply because she was mentally disabled and got taken advantage of. She didn’t even realize that she betrayed me.)

 So, yes, (as controversial as it is), mental state/mental disability of your BFF can be consideration/preference. If your BFF’s mental illness/mental disability prevents her from having “core requirements” of a BFF, things will not work out and you will get hurt. And, no, it’s NOT your responsibility to “shelter”/be careful with this person. If you can’t be yourself in front of a person because you think that this person will betray you because of her mental disability, this person should NOT be your BFF. 

Future (or Current) Field of Work: Some people don’t want to have BFFs who work in the same field in order to not compete with them or not to compete with them in the future. On the other hand, some people only want to have BFF’s in the same field as them so that they can get to “work together”, share ideas about work, or discuss common issues/offer advice to each other on how to “make it” in a chosen career. 

Background: controversial stuff like religion, ethnicity, family lineage, etc… is a preference for some people. If this is you, I recommend keeping this one private and finding creative ways not to be friends with people who don’t satisfy this criteria. With this said (even though I disagree with you), you should have it as a preference if it’s extremely important for you. 
Honesty: you are probably wondering why this is a preference. The reason is: some people don’t like being offended and would prefer for their BFFs to sugar coat everything and lie to them to make them feel better. Others would rather have BFFs who are brutally honest. Some people are in the middle. 

Money: If you, yourself, are rich or come from a wealthy family, being friends only with people who are wealthy will eliminate the issue of having fake friends who are there simply because you are wealthy. (There are other ways to filter real from fake friends but you might do this for convenience.) 

However, this only applies to you if you are wealthy. If not, you shouldn’t try getting rich BFFs. This would be simply hypocritical of you. Especially, you shouldn’t get rich BFF’s who don’t possess “core requirements”. If you want to, have them as friends or “use” them (although this is unethical) but don’t get emotionally attached or share your dirty little secrets. Sure. Go on that trips to Maldives. But don’t start discussing your deepest secrets with this person. 

Note: you might end up having a rich BFF who possesses all of the other requirements. If this happens and it’s a genuine relationship, great. If not, it shouldn’t matter. You should focus on making yourself rich (if you want the lifestyle), rather than making money one of your BFF preferences. 

Again, this is not a complete list and there are loads of stuff that you can add. The optional parts are really up to you and I (or anyone else) can’t say what should be on it because I don’t know you as well as you know yourself. However, I would say having 4-5 preferences is normal, having 6-7 is OK, and having more than 8 either means you are repeating yourself (can combine stuff into a similar category) or you are writing down superficial nonesense. 

Keep in mind that all of the preferences have to be things that are very significant to you in a best friend. It shouldn’t be stuff like “I want a BFF who looks less attractive than me so that I could look hotter than her” or “I want a BFF who likes to take selfies/looks good in them”. If you choose your best friends based on incredibly superficial criterias like this one, you will (most likely) end up with low-quality best friends. 

Most people who are genuinely caring would not want to participate in superficial nonsense such as High School popularity contests or being friends with people simply to form a “squad”. More importantly, you shouldn’t care about this type of superficial nonsense. Your BFF should be there for you to provide support, companionship, and help you during tough times NOT to play a game of politics, look good in pictures, and be your accessory. If you want to play this game, play it with “friends” but don’t get too attached and don’t confuse them with “best friends”. They are not. Trust me, you WILL get hurt if you make this mistake.
Similarly to the “rich” topic, your best friend might be popular and if it’s a genuine relationship, that’s great. But it should not be a preference. If she is popular, great. If not, you shouldn’t care. 

Finally, if you are currently in High School/Middle School and all of the people are superficial/you know would not be high-quality best friends, don’t get desperate and settle. Focus on yourself, your skills, and living a life that you enjoy and, eventually, you will naturally find a group of best friends. (Although it will be a small group and that will be fine.) Things will get better. 
Choose your friends wisely, 
XOXO

Katy Bronsk 

It’s OK to be Perfect

When I was 10, I had really long and beautiful hair. It looked a lot like Khaleesi’s from Game of Thrones, only I was a brunette. Even though it was difficult to take care of, I absolutely loved it.

And then, I woke up one day and decided to cut it. It was the worst decision I could have made in regards to my appearance. I absoluely despised having short hair.

It had taken me more then 2 years to grow back out to an acceptable length. It now looks long enough to make me feel happy.

There are two things that I’ve learned from this experience:

  1. I love long hair.
  2. If you are going to change something about your appearance, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. 

When I made a decision to cut my hair, I did it because other people wanted me to do it. Kids in my school made fun of it for being too long and one of my teachers made me feel guilty for having it. A bunch of my classmates would also constantly bug me about how I should cut it and donate it.

All of those reasons listed below are a wrong reason to cut your hair or do anything else to your appearance. The only right reason to change anything about yourself is because you want to do it and because you think it will make you look better. All of the other reasons, no matter how altruistic in nature, are wrong and will make you unhappy.

Especially, one of the worst reasons to cut your hair (or change anything else about yourself) is if other people are pressuring you into doing it by making you feel guilty for having it. I understand. There are kids who lost their hair because of cancer or less fortunate people who were born with worser hair. However, their misfortunes are not your responsibility. Making yourself look worse in solidarity with somebody in order to make somebody else feel better about him/herself is probably the worst reason that you can come up with for changing your appearance (Or trying to prove to yourself or to others some concept of “real beauty” or how you will look gorgeous regardless of how your hair looks).

Even writing this feels strange and counterintuitive. In no other context does it make sense. Imagine, your best friend just lost his ability to sing because he got sick. Are you going to pretend like you don’t know how to sing? Or that your friend is not smart enough to be able to do well on exams. Are you now going to fail all of your Math exams in solidarity with him to make him feel better? Probably not.

If God or nature gave you something beautiful (and you consider it beautiful yourself), don’t change it to please others or to make others feel better. People who are less fortunate then you should figure out how to feel more confident on their own and that’s their struggle, not yours. You should strive to be your best self and do what will make you feel and look beautiful. If somebody is jealous or offended, it’s on them. People are often quick to destroy beauty now days. However, there is nothing wrong with striving for excellence and to be your best self. If you think that something in your appearance is perfect, then it’s OK to be perfect.

Unlike other areas in your life, where there is always room for improvement, you might think that you or a part of you looks perfect. Beauty is subjective after all. If you think you look perfect, then cherish it, enjoy it while it lasts, be grateful to God or nature for giving you this gift, and don’t change a thing. No matter how good or altruistic it might feel for a few minutes or an hour, changing yourself to make yourself look ugly (especially if you think it will make you look ugly/less perfect), will make you less happy for the foreseeable future. When you come home and look into that bathroom mirror and the euphoria of being a “good person” passes, you will be standing in that room alone, facing only yourself. And if what you see in that moment doesn’t please you, you will be stuck with that feeling for as long as your appearance doesn’t go back to something that will please you, which you will justify by telling yourself what a “good person” you are. And so you will end up having battles with yourself, trying to convince yourself that you like it even though you know that you don’t. It’s much batter not to have this battles with yourself and simply to not go there.

If you feel the need to change something about yourself because you got bored with the way you look but you do already like what you see in the mirror, then keep the “signature” part of your style and make some small changes or enhance what’s already there. Work on making yourself look better rather than worse. Striving for excellence, for perfection (as long as you are doing it in a healthy way), is good.

This applies not to just hair but other parts of your appearance as well. Dress up in expensive clothes if you enjoy it and can afford it. Wear makeup, if you think it makes you look better. Lose weight if you enjoy looking skinny (just make sure to do it in a healthy way and don’t go too far where it will cause you health issues). Don’t start gaining weight simply because you heard a bunch of feminists complaining about a lack of “real beauty”.

I usually do not like discussing beauty or give fashion advice. However, I felt like sharing this story with you right now. I guess this is more then just fashion and style advice. It’s also life advice in a lot of ways.

Strive for excellence and don’t make mistakes on purpose in order to make other people feel better about themselves. If you are amazing at something, show it off and work on improving yourself.

To quote Gordon Gekko:

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.”

And in this case I agree with him. Greed, in terms of striving to be your best self, is good. Greed, in terms of wanting to look your best, is good. Greed for beauty, excellence, and knowledge is nothing but good.

So, when it comes to being the best version of yourself, be greedy. Be selfish. Be the best, most perfect, version of yourself that you can be.

You only get one life. It’s better to live it out in style,

XOXO

Katy Bronsk