New Semester Resolutions

Sorry for not writing for a while. I was incredibly busy with finals, then I traveled with my parents back home, where the internet sucked, and now I’m back in college. (Also, I didn’t really know what to write about).

So the new semester is about to start and some of you enjoyed my end of last semester reflections. So I’m going to do the same before this semester.

Academics

1.) Don’t take too many hours

Last semester, I learned a lesson about not taking too many hours. I took on 18 hours (to be fair, I kind of had to to make my degree work but still.) I ended up getting one B and one B+, which screwed my GPA up a bit (It’s still fixable and not horrible). So I learned my lesson and this semester, I’m taking 15 hours.

2.) Take morning classes

Last semester I took all morning classes and it was a great decision for me. I had the whole day to work on getting stuff done and plenty of time to do extra curricular activities. So this semester I’m sticking with doing the same thing.

3.) Pay attention during difficult classes

I day dreamed a bit too much during my accounting and statistics classes. Which is one of the reasons (apart from the 18 hours one) for not doing too hot in them. So my resolution for next semester is to put away my laptop/phone, take notes, and pay attention.

Recruiting:

1.) Don’t Procrastinate with NetworkingSo far, I did not procrastinate with my academics and with submitting online applications. So far I have two interviews that are going to the second rounds so this strategy is somewhat working. However, I did procrastinate on reaching out to recruiters, networking, and cold calling small firms (since this tasks are less pleasant.) I did do some of those activities but definitely not enough so this semester I should focus more on doing that, especially knowing my GPA issue. 2.) Start Going to More Recruiting Events During the first semester, I didn’t go to nearly enough recruiting events. Not only did I miss some free steaks but also opportunities to talk with recruiters, get to know more people, and potentially get a head with my recruitment process. I did go to a few events but not nearly as much as I used to. 3.) learn the technicalsDuring a couple of interviews, I got asked some technical questions. Even though my major is declared as “Finance”, I know as much about Finance as your average High School counselor (ok. Knowing their advice about student loans I know a bit more). Since I know Finance as well as your average person does, you can imagine how awesome I’ve done at the technical questions. To say it was embarrassing would be an understatement. So my resolution is to learn the technical things that I need to know for interviews. It might not come up and I might not need it but knowing this things would be nice anyways and in the worst case scenario, I will waist a couple of weeks learning how to use Excel better and how to do financial models.

Extra-Curricular Activities:

1.) Start Going for more Leadership Roles

Last semester, I started to put myself out their more with extra curricular activities. I ended up being committed to only one of them but to be fair, the other activities sucked (For example, I met a group of feminists who thought that wearing make up was a form of misogyny.)

With this said, I did end up being fairly involved in one of my clubs (I actually attended all meetings, events, and even advertised for it). So my goal for next semester is to go for a leadership role in it.

2.) Do more Case Competitions

I did my first case competition last semester and won third place. I won $100 (ok. I won $160 but $60 is going to Uncle Sam).

Since I’ve been successful at it the first time (and really enjoyed doing it), I want to do more of them. It is a nice opportunity to talk to recruiters, I’ll get to work with more interesting people, and I can win more cash prizes (and who doesn’t like cash?)

Friendships:

1.) Be more straight foreword with people

I had one guy who wanted to be friends with me this semester. I didn’t really enjoy spending time with him but did anyways because I felt like I “had too” and like “you can’t have too many friends”. This story ended with him thinking we were dating (we weren’t) and telling me that he wanted to “break up” with me. I told him, “I’m sorry but you can’t break up with me. We aren’t and had never even dated”.

I laughed about this ridiculous “break up” and felt relieved about not having to talk to that guy anymore. So this story had a happy ending for me. However, I could have avoided all of this by being more straight forward and telling the guy that I didn’t want to hang out with him.

2.) Find a friend who will be “the honest one”

Usually, I’m the one who gives “tough love” to my friends. If I genuinely am friends with someone, I will state my honest opinion and tell my friend to “get your life together” if I see him or her slacking off.

However, I don’t really have a lot of friends who would hold me accountable, give me advice on stuff, or call me out on my BS. I realized last semester that I really want to have such a friend and hopefully can find someone.

So this are my goals for next semester and reflection on my previous ones. Would love to hear about your goals as well.

Advertisements

What I think about Cheating in School? 

This question is incredibly easy for me to answer: I don’t care. I don’t care if other people cheat. I don’t care if other people don’t cheat. I honestly don’t see an ethical or moral issue with it.

Now, should teachers catch students for cheating? Absolutely. It’s part of their job and it also teaches students how to be better at cheating. In the old days, cheating used to be a science and an art. You can only achieve such a situation if students participate in cheating and teachers are good at catching them, which forces the students to improve (or weeds out the students who can not improve).

Do I think that students who cheat on exams are stupid? No. In fact, I think the students who cheat and never get caught and have good grades are the smart ones. Maybe not at the subjects that they are cheating on but definitely at life.

I have such a positive view of cheating in school because most of the stuff that you learn is artificial, anyways. You will end up forgetting most of  it and never using it in your job or your personal life. The teachers who teach you this subjects are also most of the time not the best people to teach you (sorry teachers). And they do so in a more theoretical rather than practical way.

The way you are tested on your knowledge is also artificial (again. There are some exceptions to the rule. But we are talking about the standard essays and exams here). How many times have you been asked to fill out a multiple choice exam at your part time job? Or can you imagine being asked to write a 12 page essay with a bibliography for a board meeting? This situations sound ridiculous because they are. Most jobs do not require for people to write essays and take exams as part of the job. Yet. This is how we test people in schools and universities.

Cheating, on the other hand, reflects the real world better than any exam ever will:

  • The rich kids get ahead by hiring ghost writers to write their essays for them just like they get the best jobs due to nepotism in the real world. Than, if teachers have suspicions of those rich kids cheating, the rich kids have to persuade and convince the teacher that they did not cheat and that it’s their authentic work. Just like sales, the rich kids have to “sell” their assignments to the teachers, if the teachers start getting suspicious.
  • Students sharing answers on homework questions or dividing the workload on homework helps them practice collaboration and management of the workload between different people. They also manage to cordinate everything with each other and do so without getting caught. It also means that worser students have to be better at networking. They have to find the right people to help them out and convince them to do so. Currently, it is incredibly rare that a single person creates something from start to finish. Most real life projects are created due to teamwork and collaboration. So students who work on exams/homework have to be pretty good at teamwork, which is an important skill in a lot of areas in life. In fact, there are some (pretty high paying) jobs that are almost completely based on this skill.
  • Students writing what teachers want to hear in essays (although technically not cheating) means that those sudents are talented at “reading people” – a skill that is arguably more valuable than whatever the topic of that essay is about.
  • Students cheating during exams and never getting caught means that they are really good at acting and pretending like they are doing their job while in reality doing something else (cheating). Students who are the best at this could easily perform magic tricks. They are so darn good that even if you film them, you will not see them cheating. The amount of creativity and imagination that goes into creating this cheating methods are incredible and sometimes way more time consuming than actually studying for exams.
  • Risk management: cheating on exams, assignments, etc…. always has risk. There is always a risk of being caught. Students who cheat and never get caught are good at assessing risk and deciding when cheating is worth it and when it’s not.
  • Kids who figure out how to cheat on stuff like community service hour requirements are good at gaming the system. They can figure out what “proof” is required and how to get that “proof” while doing the minimal amount of work. It also often requires knowing the right people (again, having a good network). And if you think people don’t “game the system” in the real world, than you must be incredibly naive. Just ask a tax lawyer who helps rich people pay minimal taxes by doing complicated tax schemes, which involve numerous different countries and legal entities. Or an immigration attorney who advises people on how to get a citizenship in a certain country through “investment schemes.” (Also, pretty high paying jobs, by the way.)
  • Oh. And students who cheat, get good grades, and don’t get caught actually DO study. It’s impossible to cheat your way 100% of the time through Middle School, High School, and than College without getting caught and getting good grades. Most students who chose to cheat and are good at it, cheat sometimes and study other times. So to all of you teachers who are saying that this students “are not learning” or “are cheating themselves”, you are wrong. Because they are studying/learning. Maybe not as much as other students. But they are still doing it. And if they are smart about it, they are not cheating themselves (since most of the stuff is artificial/useless in the real world to begin with).

You can probably add more skills/examples to the list of “skills that student have who are good at cheating” but I think you’ve got the idea.

If the education system was less artificial and the subjects were more practical, I probably would have had more of an issue with this. However, currently this is not the case and I do not feel like defending the integrity of an incredibly artificial system, which rarely focuses on or teaches useful skills. The students who “game” the system (either through the conventional definition of cheating or doing things that are considered ethical but leads to them doing the minimal amount of work) and get good grades are often the smart ones. You can’t cheat often and never get caught if you are an idiot (assuming your teacher is competent at catching people who cheat).

Do I think that you should cheat on exams? I don’t know you so can’t make any recommendations. There is a risk of getting caught and you always have to be careful (and be good at it.) And also use your best judgement. I do not encourage you to cheat (because I don’t know you) but will not look down on you if you choose to do so. And, to be completely honest, I will admire you if you are good at it.

So, to all of you people who like to cheat on exams (and are good at it, while getting good grades), I don’t think that you are stupid. In fact, I think you are pretty clever. 

 

XOXO

 

Katy Bronsk

 

 

How to Have a Fun Summer while Not Turning into a Sloth

It’s summer break and a lot of people have different ideas about what to do during the summer. However, just like everything in life, some of those ideas are simply better than others.  Most people end up watching Game of Thrones, getting drunk, and eating ice cream at 4 AM in the morning all summer long, which are all bad ideas and my definition of being a sloth. So, in this post, I will discuss how to avoid being a Sloth (or super lazy) and have a productive summer, while having some fun. This will apply to people in High School and College.

Things Not To Do

This is one of those cases when it’s easier to say what not to do than what to do:

  • Staying Up Late: My definition of late is anything later then 2 AM in the morning. The only legitimate reasons are if you have a very demanding internship that requires you to do this, you are doing some sort of a summer job and you are working the night shift, or you are talking to your childhood friend who lives in a different country and you have to do this because of time zone differences. Most of the other reasons are excuses. (Watching Game of Thrones at 4 AM is not a valid reason).
  • Sleeping in (unreasonably): If you don’t do the previous point, you will avoid doing this one. My definition of sleeping in too much is waking up later than 11 AM. (You are still getting more sleep than normal and relaxing but it’s reasonable)
  • Forgetting About Basic Hygiene: It’s the summer so there are no excuses about not doing it.
  • Eating too much Junk food: I would say, maximum once a week. It’s summer so you have more time to watch what you eat.
  • Getting drunk all the time: You actually want to remember your summer. I do not have a set definition for alcohol in terms of amounts but I would say, don’t go out drinking more than 3 times a week and don’t drink so much that you can’t function normally. What I mean by this is: you should be able to do (physically, not necessarily legally) everything that you can do sober, with the amount of alcohol that you have chosen to consume. If not, you are too drunk. If you are one of those rare people who likes to drink every day, drink one glass of wine a day. Anything more is too much. (Assuming you are old enough to legally drink.) 
  • Watching TV shows, movies, etc.. all day long: Yes. Watching TV shows is O.K. After all, summer is an excellent time to catch up on pop culture. Watching them all day long is not. My definition of too much is more than 1 series a day or more than 1 movie every 2 days. Same goes for doing unproductive/non fun things online, playing video games, etc… (Come up with your own rules for what’s too much for this activities.)
  • Doing Summer School/Taking Summer Courses: Unless you absolutely have to (you failed, transferred and need extra course credits to graduate, etc…), don’t do it. No matter how much your academic advisor advertises it. I’ve done this once and it was a horrible experience. Ironically, by doing school during the summer, you increase your chances of turning into a sloth. Summer courses are much slower/easier than normal courses, in most cases. Which will cause for you to procrastinate and increase the likelihood of you doing the things listed above. It will also be the opposite of fun, there are better options to be productive (jobs, internships, etc..), and you don’t want to end up being one of those boring “academics” people.
  • Paying for Internships: This one is just stupid. Internships should either be free or you should be the one getting payed for them. If you are paying for one, you are waisting your time and money.
  • Study Abroad: Doing study abroad during the summer combines points 6 and 7 (you are studying and paying for it). The only exception to the rule is if you got a scholarship for the study abroad for the summer. In this case, you should definitely go for it. Exploring another country for free should be a lot of fun (even if you will have to study to do so.)
  • Getting caught doing something illegal: You do not want to end your summer in a police station with a criminal record.

 

Things To Do

So what can you do (and things that I’ve tried) instead of the ideas listed above? Keep in mind this list is a list of different suggestions and things that I’ve done. You don’t have to do everything on the list. Picking and choosing works great.

Summer Job or Internship

I think that a summer job or an internship is the best way to avoid turning into a sloth during the summer. You will learn a lot and might even earn some cash.

Preferably, try to get payed (you are the one getting payed) or an unpaid internship (payed is obviously better than unpaid). It will be the best thing you can do for your resume and you will learn a lot by actually doing practical stuff (which will help you avoid becoming too “academic”). If you are in High School, you can also focus on doing volunteer work instead of an internship during the summer. (Just make sure it’s fairly easy and you are not paying for it). If you fail at this (story of my life), get a summer job. Ideally, you should get yourself a summer job that will be fairly easy (not manual labor), take about 20-25 hours a week, and have you do something that has transferable skills (sales, talking to customers, etc…). However, any summer job will do if your goal is to not turn into a sloth. A job will force you to wake up and show up to work. It will force you to maintain reasonable hygiene. It will also force you to interact with other people and get out of the house. If you can, get one for the whole summer. However, even having one for a month will be a great experience.

What you can also do is ask your family and friends to help out with random work and chores. This will not be as great as an internship or a real summer job because they will allow for you to slack off more, but it is better than nothing (and might be an option if you are too young to get an internship or a job) It will also make your parents happier. And we all know that happy parents=happy offsprings (you).

Hobbys

Whatever interests that you have that you were avoiding doing during your academic year, you can do during the summer because you have more time. You can use the summer to focus more on your hobbies. If your hobbies require for you to meet up with other people or be at a certain place (things like team sports), find that place and some people and make a commitment (or a club or a class that focuses on your hobby). The one that you have to do outside of your house is preferable when it comes to not turning into a sloth because you are making more of a “commitment” by going out of the house, which makes it harder for you to procrastinate.

If your hobby is done at home (writing, drawing, etc..), than you will have to keep yourself more accountable and responsible. Come up with the schedule of when and for how long you will dedicate to this hobby and stick with it. Set reminders on your phone if you have to or find a friend and ask him/her to keep you accountable.

Your hobby should take you a minimum of 2 hours/week (and by this I mean each hobby. If you have 2 hobbies, that’s 4 hours/week). Unless you are doing a very demanding internship, if you can’t find 2 hours/week for your hobby, you are either lying to yourself when describing it as your hobby or you are turning into a sloth.

NOTE: Playing video games, watching Netflix, or eating chocolate are not hobbies and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Stuff That You Want to Make Money From:

If you plan on doing something, from which you want to earn money, such as making Youtube videos as a business, blogging as a business, writing a novel and getting it published, etc.., you can start doing it during the summer.

I would advise you against this option because this “Business idea” will most likely take up more of your time than one summer to complete. It’s better to start it during your school year so that you can understand if you can handle consistently working on it while managing your school work. However, if you do decide to start during the summer, than you should combine it together with other big points on this list (for example, also do an internship or a part time job or 5 hobbies). You should spend a minimum of 2 hours every day working on your personal project. If you can’t handle doing this during the summer, than you can’t handle doing this during your academic year.

If you already have a “business”, you should spend more time on it during the summer because you have more free time to do so. In this case, you should treat it at least as a part time job (with the same hours), especially if you are already earning income from it.

Reading:

Since it’s the summer, you don’t really have an excuse not to read. Reading will be more important for you if you are in High School or before that because it will relate to your academic performance through out the school year. It will improve your vocabulary, reading speed for when it matters, etc… You should read from 30 minutes to 1 hour every day. Anything more than that will intervene with you doing other fun stuff that you want to do during the summer. Anything less than 30 minutes, will not be enough for you to enjoy the book or notice any significant improvements.

If you are in High School or younger, pick books that you enjoy reading. At this point in time, what you are reading is not as important as the fact that you are making a habit and reading something. With this said, you should be reading real books. Stuff like comic books or websites don’t count as reading. Bonus points if you can do this in a foreign language that you are trying to learn. You will learn a lot and your teachers will be impressed with you. In college, start paying more attention to quality and reading books that are related to what you want to do with your life. Also, it’s a good idea to start reading the real news instead of getting it from your newsfeed on Facebook.

NOTE: I didn’t say anything about Math or other subjects here because forcing yourself to do this subjects will be much harder than forcing yourself to read for the majority of people. If you are one of those people who loves doing Math, feel free to substitute reading with doing Math problems.

Taking Care of Yourself:

Summer is an excellent time to take care of yourself and work on improving your appearance. If you feel like you want to improve your appearance, work on this one through out the summer. Go on a diet and work out if you think that you need to lose weight or get more toned. Go shopping if you can afford it. Get your hair trimmed. If you have long hair, experiment with different hairstyles. Learn how to wear makeup and walk in heels.  When it comes to this topic, the possibilities are endless and can end up consuming your whole summer. (This happened to me in 8th Grade. I did look much more attractive when I started High School, though.)

If you do decide to focus on this topic (knowing how time consuming it might be), your goal is to significantly improve your appearance through out the summer in the way that will make you feel happy. I will not make any estimates about how much time this one will take because I don’t know your situation, your goals, and what specific steps you will have to take in order to reach them. It might take anywhere from 8 hours every day for the whole summer to one shopping spree on the weekends with your best friend. However, when you are done and start going back to school/college, your friends should have a “wow, you look so different” reaction. Also, once you are done with this step, maintaining your new look will take you significantly less time than getting there so don’t worry about that when deciding to change your appearance.

If you live near the beach or in a warm climate, you should also definitely go swimming and sunbathing. This point is almost mandatory. The sun is almost guaranteed to make you feel better and more confident about yourself. Don’t worry about not having a perfect “beach body”. You are not doing this to show off your appearance or get guys. You are doing this to get some vitamin D, to get tanned, and to make yourself feel happier (because it’s almost impossible to chill on the beach and feel unhappy).

Speaking about aesthetics, you should also work on making your environment pretty. I don’t mean this in a philosophical sense. I mean this in a practical, you should clean your room, sense. Most likely, your room is a bit of a mess. That’s ok. Most people’s rooms become disorganized during the school year. However, now that you have the summer break, you can work on organizing all of your books, cleaning your desk, and sorting your wardrobe. If your parents allow it, you can also decorate your room with posters to make it look even prettier. A clean and organized room is always the right step towards success.

Travel:

Traveling is fun if you can afford it. The emphasize here is on the “if you can afford it” part.

If you do decide to travel, it should be done in style. If you don’t have the money to do it in style, you are better off not doing it at all. Yes. You don’t have to be a trust fund kid in order to travel. But you also shouldn’t be head to toe in college debt and thinking of traveling (with the exception of paid internships, of course).

You should be able to afford a reasonable hotel or apartment to stay in. You should also have some money for restaurants, clubs, and other entertainment options. If you do not have the money for this, your travel experience will be much less awesome and, in some parts of the world, even dangerous. It doesn’t have to be a 5 star hotel and it’s OK if you can’t afford to rent out a yacht but the hotel should be clean and safe and you should have enough money for excursions, restaurants, and miscellaneous expenses.

If you do chose to travel (or you go traveling together with your friends and family), the What Not To Do list still applies. There is no point traveling somewhere if you are going to spend the whole time watching Game of Thrones.

Catching up/spending Time With Friends/Family. 

You are probably too busy during the school year to catch up with your friends and family (or to spend a lot of time with your parents). Therefore, the Summer becomes a perfect time for such activities. 

If you are in college, your parents probably missed you a lot so you should definitely spend more quality time with them. (As I already said, happy parents = happy kids). Since you have more free time, you can make your family more of a priority. 

So this are my main points about what you can do during the summer in order to have some fun but also not turn into a sloth. This list does not include all of the activities that I usually do over the summer and I will probably make a part 2 to this list.

Have fun for the rest of the summer, 

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 

I’m A Virgin

I have a confession to make: I’m a virgin. And I do not plan on changing that anytime soon.

I’m not judging anyone who choses to have sex in college or in High School. As long as it is consensual, I think that everyone should be allowed to have sex with whom ever they like. As you can also probably tell by now, I’m a huge fan of “do what you like and what makes you happy” mentality so I don’t want to judge anyone for their decisions. I’m just going to be talking about my personal decisions for deciding to remain a virgin through out High School and probably why I will remain a virgin through out college.

When I was in High School, I have tried dating and hooking up with guys (It never went as far as having sex. Usually it would go as far as kissing and stop there). What I realized is that I feel better turning guys down than I feel actually hooking up with them. Even though I don’t regret dating them (well… I do some of them), I do feel like dating/having sex/making out/and eventually having a family is just not for me. In this post, I will discuss the sex part and in the next two blog posts, I will discuss the long term relationships and why I don’t want to have children in my future.

This decision mostly comes down to two psychological factors for me: feeling in control and feeling more valuable. 

NOTE: This is my personal feelings. Everybody has different things that make them feel more valuable, happy, and in control.

Feeling More in Control 

When I find a guy attractive and then I turn him down, I feel more in control because I feel like I have enough discipline and will power to resist my natural temptations. Every day, we are tempted to do so many things, such as procrastinating or eating that extra ice cream. However, whenever I resist my natural desire and temptation to do something, I feel more in control of myself. The same is true when it comes to sex. To be honest, I have met and received offers from guys whom I found attractive but I would always turn them down because I felt the need to resist my natural desire to have sex with them. Resisting this temptation and saying “no” when deep down inside I do feel like saying “yes”, makes me feel more disciplined because it makes me feel like I won against my own temptation to do what I wanted to do but realized that it wouldn’t be the best decision in the long term and most likely will complicate things.

Since discipline and self control are two things that do make me feel good at the end of the day, practicing it when it comes to sex by refusing it, makes me feel good enough not to want to do it.

This is probably the reason why I enjoy checking out hot guys without flirting with them. In a way, it’s a test of self control that I enjoy taking. (Yeah. I’m weird. I like to focus on how guys look instead of their personalities often, look at male actors/models that I find attractive, and wouldn’t mind going to strip clubs once in a while.)

Feeling More Valuable

When guys find me attractive (and yes. I enjoy looking attractive. Mostly for myself, though. I often like checking myself out in the mirror) and make offers for me, I do enjoy turning them down. It makes me feel more valuable because I feel like I’m a rare and incredibly expensive, precious, diamond that everybody wants to own but no one can afford. Basically, I enjoy feeling desirable but unattainable, which makes me feel more valuable. I’m guessing it’s kind of like how celebrities feel. They know that the majority of people love them and find them attractive but can’t get close to them, which makes them feel admired and, therefore, more valuable. It’s the same type of concept only on a smaller, more personal, level. (NOTE: I do not derive my self worth from the number of guys that I turn down. That would be silly and stupid. I have more important stuff to focus on. I derive my self worth more from my accomplishment in College and, later on, will probably derive my self worth from my career.)

To be fair, when I meet a guy, I do always make it incredibly and explicitly clear that I’m not interested in doing anything romantic or sexual with him (usually, I make it clear not right away but if he invites me over to a frat party or to his room or if he asks if I have a boyfriend. Saying it right away would be way too awkward.)  I also try to make it clear as soon as possible because I do think that leading somebody on is kind of mean to the other person, since he thinks that he has a shot when in reality he doesn’t. If the guy continues trying to be persistent about it, I usually stop being friends with the guy as well. If he does something like try to get me to send nude pics of myself, I usually simply block him and try to never speak to him again (unless it’s a group project or something and we are in the same class and I have to work with him.) I stay away from those types of people as much as possible because nothing good ever comes from this. I also always meet a guy in a public place at first. I do meet some of my male friends at their place but only after I get to know them better and have an understanding that we are both on the same page. I also never accept expensive gifts from guys (things like birthday presents are fine because friends give those as well) and insist on all bills being payed equally, if we go out and eat.

Guys: If a girl says that she is not interested, this means, she is not interested REGARDLESS of her internal motivations. “No” always means “No.” Not interested means not interested. It doesn’t matter if she secretly finds you attractive but turns you down because she gets a sense of control out of it or because she finds another guy more handsome than you. Either way, she will not agree to sleep with you. In fact, you being annoying about it, will make you even less attractive. So focus your time an energy on doing something else. Don’t be an S-Hole and respect that. There are loads of girls who want to have sex and who want to have boyfriends. Focus your attention on them. You have more chances of your relationship actually going somewhere in that case.

I can also add other points, such as time commitments, not wanting to be cheated on, fear of pregnancy or STDs, fear of falling in love with somebody from having sex, etc… but I understand that most of those points are not incredibly valid. If I wanted to do it, I would find the time. Not wanting to be cheated on is more relevant to the “why I don’t want long term relationships” topic so I’m living it off for now. Fear of pregnancy or STDs is also not that valid because condoms and birth control exists now days and I could ask my partner to get tested. The only one that is a bit valid is the “fear of falling in love”. However, I do think that I would have enough discipline and self control to not let that happen.

I’m also not mentioning religion and the “you should not have sex before marriage” argument because I am never planning on getting married and I’m not that religious. For this same reason, I’m leaving off the “wanting to find the right guy” because, again, I’m never planning on finding the right guy (but more on this next week). Again, both of those reasons are valid for some people but they are just not valid for me.

All of this is my personal experiences and opinions as they relate to my personal life. I know that the majority of you disagree with me and, to be honest, I don’t care.

 

Have fun, as long as it’s consensual,

 

XOXO

 

Katy Bronsk

 NOTE: The suggestion about this post was made by one of my friends.