Lost arts

I think every high school student would be well served to master these ten skills.

  1. How to shake someone’s hand, look them in the eye, and introduce
    yourself.
  2. How to call someone you don’t know and articulately ask a question.
  3. How to write a thoughtful, appropriately composed and punctuated email that makes a good first impression.
  4. How to talk to adults comfortably.
  5. How to express thanks.
  6.  How to give praise.
  7. How to apologize and accept responsibility when something is your
    fault.
  8. How to laugh at yourself.
  9. How to celebrate what you’re good at (and acknowledge what you’re not good at).
  10. How to rely less on your parents to do things you can do for yourself.

All ten can help you get into college, be successful once you get there, and even continue that success once you get out.

How many of them can you do?  How long would it take to master them all?

Rule of High School?

Seth Godin, a business book author whose blog I read, published this post comparing the business world to high school.  Here's an excerpt I thought kids should see.

"Any sufficiently overheated industry will eventually
resemble high school. High school is filled with insecurity, social climbing, backbiting,
false friends, faux achievements, high drama and not much content. Much of this
insecurity comes from a market that doesn't make good judgments, that doesn't
understand how to reliably choose between alternatives. So it turns into a
popularity contest…As in high school, the winners are the ones who don't take
it too seriously and understand what they're trying to accomplish. Get stuck in
the never ending drama (worrying about what irrelevant people think) and you'll
never get anything done."

It doesn't sound like a very fun high school world to live in.  If what he describes here resembles your current high school experience, remember that you don't have to play that game.  You can be the exception, not the rule.  You can reject that vision of high school and create one of your own. 

What if you were a high school kid who went against that description?  What if you made the conscious decision to be nice to everyone, not to worry about what other people think, to be yourself, to be confident, to reject the idea of popular vs. unpopular, to be proud of who you are and what you stand for, to do what you want rather than what other people say is cool, to make it more important that you be yourself than it is to be liked?

I'm not saying it's easy.  But some kids are doing it.  They're happier, more fulfilled and more confident, and they'll probably get accepted to lots of colleges.  If you are one of these kids, good job.  And if you'd like to be one, start today.

It's got to be easier than the alternative. 

 

How to be a good audience member

I do a lot of speeches for high school kids.  And I've noticed something about audience members.  If you sit up, pay attention, give me eye contact, and maybe even write some things down that I'm saying, it sends me a message.  It tells me that you're here because you want to be, that you've got your act together and that you're serious about getting in to college.  And it tells me that you're expecting something from me.  It makes me work even harder to make our time together worth your while.  I'll give you more attention.  I'm more likely to call on you when you ask a question.  I'll feel like you owe you something in return (because I do).    

This isn't a post about paying attention to me.  It's a post to remind high school kids that how you behave sends a message to the world.  If you look and act bored and disengaged, that's how the world is going to perceive you.  If you spend most of your time in your high school English class sending the teacher a message that you'd rather be just about anyplace else but there, what do you expect her to do when you ask her to write a letter of recommendation?  Or if you miss an "A" by 2% and ask if she can raise your grade?  Of if you ask her to read your college essay and help you edit it?  What motivation have you given her to go above and beyond for you?

The engaged get more attention, more help, and more effort in return than the disengaged do.  

Unsolicited Life Advice for Teens

Lucy_doctor
We're not in the life-coaching business here at Collegewise.  But every now and then, we find ourselves passing along some life lessons to the teenagers whose college applications we're reviewing.  And like so many adults, we're life-qualified only because we've had the luxury of just being on the planet a little longer with more time to learn from those in-the-know.  So here are five totally unsolicited pieces of life advice for today's teens. 

1.  Learn how to shake hands well.

It's surprising how many people offer a handshake that resembles a lifeless salmon.  Those who do so might as well just go ahead and announce, "Hi. I have the personality of a lifeless salmon." 

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