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.

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Why you Shouldn’t be a Rebel?

Yesterday, I was walking around campus and saw two girls smoking weed right next to the bus stop in broad daylight. I started talking to them and they seemed nice. As we started heading to a local cafe to grab something to eat, we came across two police men. This two girls started smoking weed right in front of him and mocking him. I asked them why they were doing this. Their response was, “we are doing this to stand up against police brutality and for homeless people”. So this post is going to be a PSA about why doing things like what this girls did is a really bad idea.

When I was 13, I used to be a rebel. I did every single thing that I could come up with on the list to try to get expelled. I skipped class, I talked back to teachers, and I used to have pink hair. I used to be one of those “social justice warriors” before it became cool. I’ve been there, done that, and probably mastered it. So trust me when I say that I know what the “rebel” and “hippie” lifestyle is like.

And what I also know is that this lifestyle will most likely not make you happy. You will not make any significant changes in this world, you will make a lot of people hate you, and you are more likely than not will eventually get in trouble for all of your shenanigans. Smoking weed in front of the police officer is not cool. It’s stupid. In fact, rebelling against a police officer, who’s simply doing his job, is stupid. Your statement against “police brutality” is not going to help homeless or black people. The only thing that it will do is potentially get you locked up in prison. If you actually want to make a difference, you can volunteer, make a petition, organize a political movement, and do a variety of other things that do not involve you harassing a police officer, burning other people’s property, or doing other destructive things to other people. If you want to make a real impact in this world, learn how to play by the rules before you can break them.

Also, realize that those people that you are fighting for do not care about you. If you get hurt, those homeless people will not help you. If you get in trouble with the law, they will not help you. And if you want to get a head in life, they will not help you. In fact, from my experience, it’s more likely that a successful person will be willing to help you than a random person who you see bagging for money on the street. People are primarily selfish. They do not care about you. Therefore, why should you put yourself at risk, helping people who do not care about you? That makes no logical sense, is crazy, and a waist of your precious time that you do not have a lot of. (Just to make this part clear, it is a good idea to help your friends, your family, and other people who you know will help you. Also, helping people who actually want to do something with their lives is an incredibly rewarding experience and can pay back in the future. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t help others. All I’m saying is that it should be a benefit for you and shouldn’t put you at risk.)

Not only is being a rebel a futile endeavor, it also comes from a place of pain rather than happiness. You are rebelling not because you are so happy with your life but because you don’t feel like you fit in, you feel angry at the world, and this is your way of making yourself feel better. You are in misery. This behavior doesn’t help you grow, become a better human being, or become successful. Instead of rebelling, you should find a group of people that you can belong with, activities that you like doing, and things that you are good at. Fitting in will make you much happier than standing out. Focus on making friends, studying, getting into a good college (if you are still in high school), or on building up your skills and on your future career (if you are in college). At the end of the day, focusing on becoming the best version of yourself will be a much more fulfilling activity than rebelling against society or trying to make social statements about the police.

So my advice to you rebels and trouble makers is to focus on something more productive in your life. You will be happier, you will have more friends, and you will make more of an impact in this world.

XOXO

Katy Bronsk

Should You do Your Homework?

I’m not a teacher and this blog is mostly focused on expressing my opinion about the education system. So, no, I will not make a statement about how “you should always do your homework”. Doing that is simply a waist of your precious time, which you do not have a lot of. With this said, never doing your homework is also an awful idea. So in this post, I will outline when I consider it being logical to do the homework/readings and how thorough they should be done.

When Should you do your Homework?

  • When you know that your teacher will grade it or check it. Yes. If your teacher will not give you a grade on the homework but you know that she will check if everyone had done it, you should still do it. Not doing it, will make the teacher dislike you, which will cause for you to get a lower grade in the class. (Unless you know that the class is graded externally or all exams are multiple choice).
  • If the class is more focused on problem solving/application of knowledge, rather than memorization. For example, you should do your math or accounting homework. However, if it’s psychology and your teacher will not check it, feel free to skip.
  • If the class actually has significance to your real life.
  • If there is a lot of material in class that you know it will be hard to catch up on.
  • If you are trying to turn around your “bad girl” image and want to get the teacher to like you. Doing homework and than asking for help from the teacher (even if you don’t need it),

When Should you not do your Homework?

  • When you have something more important happening than school work. For example, if you have an interview with Facebook coming up, it’s way more important than one homework or reading assignment. Even if that assignment will be graded (assuming it’s a small percentage of your grade), skip it and focus on the interview.
  • When it’s busy work and you know that your homework will not be checked.
  • For the readings, if you know that all of your tests are based on the lectures, don’t bother doing the homework. Likewise, if you know that all of your tests are based on the readings, feel free to “check out” during class and do homework for your other classes or day dream.
  • Extra credit. Seriously, get your normal work done correctly and than you will not need extra credit.

To summarize, you do not go around doing extra work if it will not make your life better (in this case, help you get a good grade). You have or should have enough of other things to focus on apart from obsessing over doing unnecessary homework that will not help you. If you don’t, than go and join a club, get yourself a part time job or an internship, or spend more time with your family or friends. Homework that is busy work should not be the most important part of your day. If it is, you are doing something wrong.

How Thorough do you have to be?

  • When it comes to doing the readings, I would recommend actually putting the work in to making the notes on the readings. Otherwise, you will forget what you’ve read and will have to reread it before the test anyways. Which means, either don’t do them at all, or do them properly by taking notes. Don’t waist your time. And yes, this notes should be thorough, neat, and readable by you. 
  • For busy work assignments that you know will be graded, do the minimum amount of work to get an A.
  • For math, do it thoroughly and make sure you understand everything (unless the problems are so easy that it turns into busy work). 
  • For classes that will not relate to your life, do the minimum amount of work. 

Basically, ask yourself if the class matters, if it’s a challenging class, and if the homework will help you do well in it. If yes, put the effort into doing it and seek to understand. If not, do the absolute bare minimum to get a good grade for the homework. Feel free to google the answers, ask your trusted friends for them, etc… 

Audience and Purpose of Essays

When a copywriter writes and advertisement, he considers his target audience and tailors his writing to them in order to increase sales or brand awareness. When screenwriters at Disney write a script for a new movie, they also consider their audiences. So if all of those important people and companies consider their audience and purpose, doesn’t it make sense for you to do the same when you are writing essays?

Most students do have some understanding about those concepts. For example, most of you probably have enough common sense not to write swear words in an academic essay (unless it’s part of a quote that you are analyzing, of course). However, a lot of people do have some misconceptions about audience and purpose of High School/College Essays.

There are a lot of different types of essays that you will write and they all require a slightly different approach. There is the essay that your teacher assigned to you, the essay that you write at home vs. the one that you write on an exam, the SAT essay, the scholarship essay, the college application essay, and probably other types of essays that I forgot to mention. For the sake of time, I will focus on essays that your teacher assigned to you as part of the course/class (I will not make the distinction about wether it’s on an exam or you have time to write at home) and college application essays (for the US). However, for all of this essays, you should consider your audience and purpose so this post applies to those as well.

An Essay that Your Teacher Assigned

Purpose: A lot of students think that the purpose of an essay is either 1.) to do research 2.) to learn something 3.) to express themselves 4.) to inform the teacher about the topic or 5.) to show the teacher what you know about the topic. All of those explanations might be accurate from the perspective of the teacher. However, we are focusing on your perspective not the teachers.

From your perspective, there are only 2 purposes for writing an essay:

  1. To get a good grade on the assignment
  2. To make your teacher like you

This means that you write what your audience (teacher) wants you to write and in a style that your audience (teacher) wants you to write it. You should focus on those two aspects more than on actually expressing your opinion on a certain topic or choosing an exciting topic to research. Save your ideas and opinions for your diary, your blog, your novel, or your collection of short stories. Feel free to express yourself freely outside of class. However, the classroom is not the time and place for you to do so.

Audience:  The audience of an essay that your teacher had assigned is obviously your teacher (Or in some cases, your TA’s). However, knowing this fact isn’t enough. You need to figure out what your audience (in this case your teacher or TA’s) like and doesn’t like.

Most teachers like:

  1. Formal, academic language and the use (overuse and abuse) of relevant jargon/key words. By key words, I mean words that she had defined or that were defined in your textbook.
  2. As much information as possible that had been covered in class.
  3. Boring, long sentence structure, word choice, organization, and tone. In fact, if you want to fall a sleep while reading your essay, you are probably doing something right.
  4. If the teacher wants to see an outline, you should submit an outline. And you should stick to that outline. Even if that means that your essay will sound unnatural.
  5. Paragraphs (this one is obvious)
  6. Introduction (can be boring, in most cases), body paragraphs (minimum of 3) and conclusion (will be even more boring than the introduction).
  7. Longer than it actually has to be. If something can be written in 10 words instead of 1, you should write it in 10. The longer you write, the better. Even if there is a word limit, teachers almost always over estimate how much you should write. So you will end up using a lot of useless words to fill up space.
  8. Whatever aligns with your teacher’s personal and political beliefs and what she thinks is the best answer. If your class contains controversial content, you choose the side of the teacher. If your teacher is a liberal, you write about how affirmative action is good, economic inequality is bad, woman are being oppressed by the patriarchy, etc… (Obviously, it should be relevant to the lesson. Don’t just list random facts that match with your teacher’s political beliefs). If your teacher has a certain interpretation of a novel and you believe in another interpretation, stick with your teacher’s interpretation. In most cases, assume that your teacher/professor/TA is liberal (Statistically speaking, there are more of them in Academia)
  9. Over explanation of the analysis. Even if something sounds like common sense, it’s always better to explain it.
  10. And of course, it should have good grammar, spelling, and match the rubric.

WARNING: This is an awful way to write anything in the real world. This advice only applies to how you should write in the classroom. Outside of school work, you should do the opposite of most items written above.

Now, what I have listed is what most teachers like/expect to see. However, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some teachers want to see counter arguments. Some, do want their students to challenge their ideas and play devil’s advocate. Some want the writing to sound pretty. For example, one of my teachers wanted all of our essays to be  poetic because she was obsessed with Shakespeare. (In this case, you better start reading Macbeth and learning poetry). Therefore, if you know who will be grading your work, you need to figure out what that person wants. If you can’t figure out who, specifically, will be grading your work (there are 10 TA’s in the class and the professor randomly hands out essays for them to grade),  stick with the outline above. It’s the safest bet.

How to Find out What Your Teacher Specifically Wants?

If you know the exact person who will be grading your work, than you are in luck. You know who to tailor your writing to. Now, what you should do is conduct “research” (figure out what your teacher wants).

There isn’t one way of going about research. Also, some methods work and others don’t in certain situations. With this said, here are some ideas of how you can go about this:

  • Ask for samples of work from previous students that got A’s. Make sure that that student was in your teacher’s class and that she is not simply handing out some old exemplars from the department.
  • Ask people who had previously been in her class about what the professor/teacher is looking for.
  • Read Ratemyprofessor.com and other websites. You might find something on them.
  • Talk to the teacher during office hours or recess (if you are in High School). No. Don’t ask your teacher, “what do you want me to write?”. That’s a stupid question. You will not get a good answer. Instead, ask for specific advice, casually talk to her to understand the type of person she is, ask her what she thinks is “good writing”/”bad writing”, etc… During this conversations, what she says is often less important than how she says it.
  • If your professor/teacher talks politics, pay attention. If your teacher emphasizes something over and over again, pay attention.
  • After you get feedback on your first assignment, make sure to read it carefully. This feedback will give you an idea about the type of writing that the teacher wants to see in the future.
  • Find a classmate who got an A on the assignment and ask to read his/her work. Chances are, at least one of the A students will agree.
  • Talk to the TA’s (if in college). They might have important insights that they might share with you.
  • Do a quick, Google search of the teacher. And no. Don’t friend your teacher on Facebook or stalk her.

College Admission Essays

Purpose: Similarly to the teacher case, the purpose of the college admission essay should not be about expressing yourself, about telling “your story”, or about being honest. There are a bit more variation when it comes to the purpose of your college admission essay (from your perspective). The purposes of the college admission essay are:

  1. For you to get accepted with an unconditional (preferably) or conditional (less preferable) offer.
  2. Get a scholarship/grant/financial aid (if this is important to you).
  3. To get directly excepted into the specific school/major/honors program, etc…

Similarly to the previous case with your teacher, this means that you have to write what your audience (admission officers) wants to read. This means that your admission essay should not be your diary or your honest account about your life. You are not trying to convey to the admission officer who you are. You are trying to convey to the admission officer what you think she wants you to be. You are trying to sell yourself and make yourself sound like the “perfect candidate” that the University wants to have. This probably will not be the real version of you. So feel free to lie (as long as it’s something that can’t be checked) in order to “sell” yourself to your audience.

Audience: Your audience are the admission officers of the University. So similarly with the previous example, you should figure out what they (most likely) want to hear. Unlike with the teachers, you will not be able to identify the actual people or person who will be reading your work. So you will have to think about the “most likely scenario”. If you are absolutely obsessed with doing research, try to find something on College Confidential or contact students that already got accepted by the University. Maybe, they will say something useful.

The admission officers most likely want to hear:

  1. About how you want to “make the world a better place” and “save the world”. Basically, make yourself sound like a nice, caring person who cares about social issues, loves volunteer work, and wants to work for a non-profit. It doesn’t matter if this story is true. However, to make it more believable, volunteer or participate in some fundraising activity at some point during your 4 years of High School. Also, keep in mind that it is extremely unlikely that the University will check the exact details of your “story”. So feel free to exaggerate the truth but don’t go over board.
  2. Leadership experience: If you had an official leadership position/title, than you are in luck. Just like with volunteer work, feel free to over exaggerate your involvement. If you did nothing extra but was named the team captain, feel free to talk about how you gave speeches to motivate your team before the games in the locker room, gave feedback to everybody after the games, helped the coach organize practice, etc… It’s extremely unlikely that the University will actually check all of those claims. If they do decide to conduct an informal “background check”, they will just ask your school “is it true that John is the team captain of the football team?” not “is it true that John gave feedback to players after every single game?”. The admission officers are human beings and human beings are lazy. They will not check every single claim and part of your “story” as long as your “story” sounds realistic.
  3. Liberal bias: Your admission officers are most likely liberals so avoid writing anything right wing.
  4. Diversity: If you are a minority, make sure to highlight that somewhere in your application. Universities are obsessed with diversity now days. This will make you look like a more attractive candidate and also lower other expectations/requirements, which will make it easier for you to get in.
  5. Special circumstances: If you were bullied as a kid, your family was poor, your parents got divorced, you were sick with a life threatening disease, your mother died, you are physically/mentally disabled, etc… make sure to include this in your essay. In fact, you might even decide to make one of these points the central part of your essay. Similarly to the other cases mentioned above, if it’s 1.) hard to check or 2.) it’s easy to check but you can come up with proof, feel free to include it. This point on it’s own will not help you get in. However, this “special circumstances” will make your other achievements sound more impressive, which will help you get in. For example, if John got a 3.9 GPA and was a captain of his Speech and Debate team, this sounds impressive but not too impressive. However, if we also know that John’s family was incredibly poor so he had to work while going to school to financially support himself, his mother was extremely ill and so he had to take care of her, he got bullied at school every day due to his families’ income, and he managed to get a 3.9 GPA and become the captain of his Speech and Debate team despite all of this adversities, all of a sudden, John’s accomplishment’s sound extremely impressive.
  6. The writing style should be better than the one you use for essays assigned by your teachers. It should not be boring.

So by this point, I’m guessing this post turned into a “college admissions essay” advice. 😀 However, the main point of this post was about how you should consider your “audience” when writing for schoolwork, just like authors consider their “audience” when writing for other purposes in life.

 

XOXO

 

Katy Bronsk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Care of Pets While Being in College

Through out the whole last year, I have been taking care of my 2 incredible animals: my two cats while being in College. I had brought them together with me to the U.S. from Europe because I felt like they were my family and that I couldn’t abandon them. I really love my two cats and think that they look super cute. However, owning pets is a huge responsibility and will cause for you to have certain inconveniences while being in College.

Your pets will require your time, attention, and money. They are like young children. They can’t provide for themselves and so you will have to provide for them. You have to understand this concept before you decide to bring your pet with you for College. Pets cost money and they also cost time. If you know that you will not be able to afford to have a pet while in College (due to not having money or not having time to take care of the pet), you should not buy yourself a pet in College or bring your pet a long on your college journey.

With this point/disclaimer out of the way, here’s how I have been taking care of my pets and some things that you have to keep in mind/tips that I can give about being a responsible owner of a pet (or pets) while being in College.

Place to Live

Most College dorms will not allow for you to bring your pet with you. This means that if you plan on owning a pet while in College, you should forget about living in a College dorm and rent out an apartment, instead. If your College forces all Freshman students to live in a College dorm there first semester, your only options are 1.) to not go to that College or 2.) not bring your pet with you. I chose option #1. Therefore, if your seriously plan on owning a pet starting your freshman year, this will have to be one of your considerations when choosing a College. And do not even think about braking the rules on this one. If your RA finds out about your cute little puppy, he will not have a lot of options but to confiscate it. And you do not want that to happen to your animal.

Some apartments that were made for College students will allow for you to have a pet. However, most of them have a one pet restriction. So if you own two cats like me, you will have to look for other options. If your College is in a big city, finding a pet friendly place to rent out will not be a problem. Although, you will most likely have to rent out a normal property that was not created for College students and find a roommate on your own to split the bill with. Unless your parents are rich. In which case, you can live on your own without a roommate and have your pets as your roommates. Keep in mind that you will probably end up spending more on housing with a pet than without it. You will also need to pay pet deposit fees and pet rent (although a lot of places allow for you to get away with it if you don’t). Some pets will also require for you to have a certain climate in your apartment. In this case, you will end up paying more for electricity.  If your College is in the middle of nowhere, however, it might be hard for you to find pet friendly housing options. Therefore, this should be something that you have to consider before choosing a College as well. Once you get accepted, you should search for different pet friendly options and if you can’t find anything and are set on owning a pet while being in College, you will have to pick your other options.

Also, owning a pet might prevent you from being able to live in a sorority/fraternity house or significantly limit your options. Some sororities/fraternities do not allow pets while others might still have hazing. I personally do not understand why a person would choose to get hazed in a sorority and not simply walk away but you getting hazed is one thing. Having your pet hazed is another thing. You do not want your pet to get hurt because of some stupid initiation ritual that your brothers/sisters came up with. This would be incredibly irresponsible of you. So if you are really set on greek life, owning a pet might not be the best idea for you.

Money

The second thing that you have to understand is that your pet will be a recurring cost. Unlike make up or clothes, you can’t just decide not to buy food for your cat tomorrow. Your cat will starve if you do that. You will have to spend a certain amount of money on your pets every single week. How much you will have to spend will depend on the type of pet you own and where you live. For cats, your recurring costs will be pet food (both can and dry), sand for the litter box, and maybe medication (if your cat needs it). You will also have to buy at minimum a liter box, cat dishes, and have some extra money saved in case you will need to take your cat to the vet. You will also probably want to buy toys and accessories for your cat (but those are not necessities. You can have your cat play with shoelaces or other improvised toys). At minimum, one cat will cost you about $30 per month for food + litter. For the fixed costs, it will be about $200. However, if you are bringing your pet with you, you can bring the litter box, cat dishes, etc… and not have those fixed costs. You also will need to either buy pet health insurance (which will cost you $175 per year) and/or have $1,000 to $2,000 in savings separate from the rest of your money that you will not touch under any circumstances. (I chose option #2 due to my distrust of insurance policies and my believe that the best insurance is cash. Cash doesn’t have “I cover this procedure but I don’t cover that procedure” after all. Even if you do decide to go the pet insurance route, I will still recommend to have about $500 that you will not touch, in case your pet will need a procedure that the insurance will not cover). If you do not have $30 per month to spend on your pet (or do not have a sound plan of making an additional $30 per month), than you should not buy yourself a cat. The costs of owning a dog or other pets will be different and I can’t say anything about those expenses because I do not own those animals.

Whatever that cost will be, you will need to make sure to set that money aside accordingly and not spend it on other stuff. What I mean by this is, if you have a part time job that you use to pay for your cat, you can’t just decide to spend that $30 on clubbing instead of buying your cat food. Also, if your part time job is your only way of paying for your pet and than decide that you don’t want to do it anymore, you will have to come up with another idea for paying for your cat before you quit. Remember. Your cat is like a really small child. It can’t provide for itself and it’s your responsibility to provide for it.

Taking Care of the Pet

This one will depend on the type of pet that you own. For cats, you will need to feed it 2-3 times/day with canned cat food. This is not too hard to do, since you can feed it one time before heading of to class in the morning and one time in the evening when you come home. You should also give your cat dry cat food in the morning so that it will have a “snack” to eat through out the day. You will also have to clean out your cat’s litter box. How often you will have to do that will depend on your cat. I clean it out after my cats every day. The good thing is that doing all of those activities will take you a maximum of 1 hour/day. This will obviously be different for dogs and other animals.

If you have some free time, you can also play with your cats, brush their fur, etc… You also have to remember to regularly shop for their food. I often buy their food online and have it delivered to my apartment. I find it more convenient than physically going to the store and buying it. After you figure out your routine, it should not take you a lot of time to take care of your pet. After a while, taking care of your pet will become a routine and it will not cause you a lot of stress or issues. It will even make you feel more put together.

With this said, you have to remember about your pet. You can’t just go our partying and forget to feed your cat or take your dog out for a walk because you are hungover. You also can’t ignore your pet’s needs because you have an exam tomorrow and are pulling an all nighter. So you if you are really bad at time management, a pet might not be the best idea.

The Vet

This part is a bit controversial and depends on what you want to do with your pet. Some people take their pets for check ups to the vet once a year (or more often). Other people choose not to do this. I used to take my cats to the vet in the past but due to a situation that  happened with one of my cats (that I do not want to discuss because it’s too private), I do not do this anymore. If an emergency happens, I will take my cats to the vet. I’m not crazy. However, I do not want to cause unnecessary stress to my cats by having the vet come once a year or taking them to the vet. My cats don’t like strangers or being moved from place to place too often and having this interaction with the vet causes unnecessary stress for them, which I do not believe is worth it.

With this said, the vet question should be based on what you think is best for your animal and not on what you can or can’t afford. If you believe in taking your pet to the vet once a year, you should find the money and time to do this. I would recommend doing this during one of your breaks and definitely not before exams.

Roommates

If you choose to live with roommates, they have to be made aware of you owning the pet (or planning to own one). Your roommate might have allergies or be scared of your pet. Or you might have cats and your roommate might decide to get a dog. All of this situations are bad for both of you. You do not want to anger your roommate. For this reasons, you should discuss this matter with them. If you are unofficially choosing a roommate, choose someone who is OK with you owning your pet and who will not get a pet that will make your pet unhappy. For example, if you own a cat, don’t get yourself a roommate who owns a large dog (or is a dog person).

On the other hand, your roommate might get really excited about your pet and will want to pet it, play with it, etc… Wether you allow for your roommate to do this or not is up to you. My recommendation is, if your roommate decides to consistently play with your pet, he should share some of the responsibilities of taking care of it.

Also, you will have to decide if the pet will only stay in your room or will be allowed in your roommate’s room, what will happen if your pet damages your roommate’s shoes, etc… Your roommate might like animals and will be OK with “sharing” the pet or he might be OK with you having the pet but will not want anything to do with it. All of this questions have to be discussed with him/her. If you are choosing your own roommate to split the bill on your own somewhere in the city without an RA, than you should choose somebody who will ideally like your pet and help you out. In this case, you have more options.

Transferring/interning/Study Abroad

Once you own a pet, you are not alone anymore and it’s your responsibility not to abandon it. This means that if you decide to transfer to another University, intern in another town, or do study abroad, you will need to figure out what you will do with your pet. You might find someone to take care of the pet and pay them a monthly fee to do so until you come back, if you plan on interning. Currently, there are a lot of legitimate firms that provide this service. They will come to your house, feed your cat, clean up after it, and play with it. If you plan on transferring, you should bring your pet with you. If you plan on doing study abroad, you will also have to think things through in terms of what to do with your pet. If you will be doing study abroad for semester to a year, you should either bring your pet with you or not do it. Or realize that your pet will get incredibly lonely and upset about you being gone for so long.

So here are the major points of having a pet or taking care of a pet while being in College.  It will make your life a bit more difficult and expensive. But you will always have a furry friend with you and I can almost guarantee that your pet will make you feel less stressed out before exams (and about life in general).

 

So think things through before brining a pet with you,

 

XOXO

 

 

Katy Bronsk

 

 

 

 

The Time of No Excuses

Through out my life, I have heard (and was guilty of) making a lot of excuses and complaining about different things in life, all the time. However, the amount of excuses and complaints that my friends seem to be making have increased in recent years. So, in this blog, I will talk about some of the most popular and memorable excuses that I have heard over the past year and give my opinion on what I think about them.

I’m Too Poor To Work

Yes. I’ve actually heard one guy say this one, while he was depressed and hoping that money would fall from the sky into his hands (news flash: it never does).

While it is true that you need money for certain ventures, there are a lot of ways that you can start making money from nothing. For example, you can get yourself a part time job, do small tasks for other people, or, even, fill out stupid surveys online and get paid for doing that. Yes. Some of those ideas might fail. Miserably. But if you are going to sit around not trying and complaining about being “too poor to make money”, you are not going to make any money for sure. 2/3 of billionaires in the world right now are self-made. If the “I’m too poor to become rich” logic was true, this would definitely not be the case.

So don’t complain about being “too poor to work” and instead at least try to find yourself some form of income. Complaining about being poor never helped anybody become rich.

I Don’t Have Enough Time

I used to make this excuse incredibly often. In fact, this was one of my favorite excuses in terms of starting this blog. I would always complain about “not having enough time to do it” until I set down and did it.

After I’ve done this, I realized that what you actually mean by this excuse is: “I don’t really want to do this thing and would rather be doing something else. Because if I want to do this thing really bad, I would have found the time to do it.” There is nothing wrong with not wanting to do something or not doing something. Not everyone has to write a novel, win a Nobel prize, and become an Olympic gold medalist. If you don’t want to write a novel, don’t write a novel. If you don’t like sports, don’t do sports. But don’t say “I want to play sports but I don’t have time” because if you actually really wanted to play sports, you would have found the time to do it by not doing something else, such as by not watching so much TV, not spending so much time hanging out with friends, or not taking on such a rigorous academic program. Your priorities would have shifted and you would have made it work. Yes. With whatever you decide to do with your time, there will always be trade offs. However, if you really want to do something, you will find the time to do it and will be OK with those trade offs. Otherwise, you are simply lying to yourself about wanting to do it in the first place.

Parents

Yes. Until you turn 18 years old, this is a valid excuse/complaint. Before you legally become an adult, if your parents don’t want you to do something, they can legally stop you from doing it. Therefore, unfortunately, you have to play by their rules until that point. Your parents own you, which is why I often said, “happy parents, happy children”. And, yes, I do have a lot of sympathy for you if you have parents who don’t let you follow your dreams.

However, after you turn 18, you do not have this excuse any more. You are legally an adult. Which means that if your parents are holding you down, you can get yourself a job, start living on your own, and do whatever it is that you want to do. If you choose to live with your parents or listen to them, that is your choice. Therefore, if your parents are holding you down, you should either accept it and not complain about it or start living on your own, making your own money, and doing your own thing. I do not have a lot of sympathy for you if you are older than 18 and complain about your parents not letting you do something.

I Do Not Have Enough Education or Experience

This excuse is sometimes valid. For example, if you want to be a surgeon, you will have to go through medical school first before you can start operating on people. If a job requires an official certificate and/or is dangerous, you should get the required training.

However, for all other things in life, this is simply an excuse. I was also guilty of making this one. I would always think that I needed to get another degree/diploma/volunteer, etc… before I could start doing something. The problem with this approach is that the only way to have enough experience to do something is to start doing something. Also, the only way to learn certain skills is to start practically doing that particular activity in the real world. The best example of this is sales. If you want to get good at selling, selling lemonade outside your house or going from door to door selling make-up will teach you more about sales than any class or professor ever will. If you are sitting around and thinking, “who on Earth will hire me with no experience to do sales?”, I would like to remind you that loads of start ups and small companies always need help selling. (Yes. I’ve worked in sales for a small start up for a month this summer so, trust me, I know what I’m talking about. They didn’t even asked me for my resume when hiring me. Most of the work was called calling random companies and I did not enjoy it but the point is, it was not hard to get this job).

Similarly, if you want to write the novel, go and write a novel. If you want to dance, start dancing in the basement. If you want to start a blog, go and start a blog. When you run into difficulties, you can always use Google or ask somebody to help you. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t take classes to improve on your chosen endeavor. What I’m saying, however, is that you should not let your lack of education or experience stop you from pursuing what you want to do and if you can (legally) start doing something today and you want to do it today, you should start doing it today rather than waiting for the “right time” or “when you will be ready”. The time will never be right and you will never feel truly ready.

Those are probably the main excuses that I can think about (or remember) right now. I might end up expanding this list if I remember any others.

 

Feel free to share your favorite excuses/excuses that annoy you the most in the comments,

 

XOXO

 

 

Katy Bronsk

 

 

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