Me at 29…

So not sure who knows this or not but I am a student. I am not your “traditional” student between the ages of 18-23. I am turning 30 years old this June and will be graduating next May. Returning to school has been a few things to me. It has been challenging, sacrificing time away from family, and rewarding. Being a part of New York University has allowed me some really great opportunities and has taught me so much about myself in just the short time I have been there. I would like to share my tips to all those non- traditional student returning to school. These of course are things that I have personally found helpful in my own experience and are based on my personal opinions.

 

  • Communication: One of the first things I did when making the choice of going back to school was communicating with my spouse. I have been dating my fiancé for 7 years now and been living together with him and my son for about 4 years. My fiancé was very supportive in my decision and was actually a big part of making my decision easier to go back and finish school. I think it is important for people to have communication with either their significant other, parent or anyone in their group of circle that they trust to talk with. Having a really good support system and someone that you can talk to about your goals and passions with is very important. Having a full- time job, a son and a being in a committed relationship was already a lot of work. Dedicating my time as a student was just another thing to juggle which leads into my next bullet point.
  • Dedication: If you are planning on going back to school, I think it is important to realize the time and dedication it takes to be an adult student. I will always be grateful for my other half in making it possible to become a part- time employee and a full- time student. I know not everyone may be able to do that and there are a lot of people who go to school part- time/ work full- time or work full- time and be a  full- time student as well and do great. I made that specific choice for myself because I wanted to make sure I would still have time to spend with my son and give my family the attention they deserved. Going to a school like NYU or any university for that matter requires so much more dedication. Taking four or five classes at a time can be very stressful and challenging at the same time. GPA is something that becomes very important for employers when hiring new students. If you are looking to be in a specific industry, I would also advise to look at internships in those fields to get an idea of what types of GPAs they are looking for in their candidates.
  • Network: One of the main reasons I chose to go from an online university to a traditional campus university was this specific thing. Having worked in Corporate America for almost 10 years, I know just how important it is to network. As a student, it can be a bit easier to build a network if you have a plan. This is not to say that you cannot find promotion or networking events in a company but it is much more difficult in a major corporation with hundreds of employees all scattered in different departments. Networking at a campus can be easy if you make time to become involved. Signing up for newsletters would be the easiest way for people who cannot afford the time to be on campus as much. This will keep you informed about the events that the campus is having and that way you can pick, choose, and plan accordingly. Of course, you many not be able to attend all events but more often than not, you can always find a time to go to an event. Once you go to a few events, you may even begin to see the same faces because, just like you and me, they are too trying to expand their network and meet new people.
  • Don’t be shy: By this I mean, do not be shy to use all resources that the school provides. I mean ALL! (You are paying to attend your school so you should use the resources they provide) For example, my school has a career center, career fairs, exclusive events only for students (Ted Talks, Important speakers & guest, student discounts, and much more), free wifi ( I mean HELLO, who wants to use their own data!!), etc.. you get the point. I have personally used my career center many times for different things. I have gone to employer presentations (basically an employer, lets say NBC, comes and speaks to students about potential employment or internships and usually provides special links to apply to), had them review and fix my resume, applied for programs that I didn’t think I would get into but did anyways. If you are not shy about using the resources that the school provides for its students, you will most likely miss out on great opportunities. I was actually able to go with 30 other students to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. and meet with members of Congress. I mean c’mon, if I had not signed up for the newsletters, not applied for the trip to D.C. I would have missed out on that great experience and not have built a connection with those individuals.
  • Have Fun: I can honestly say, that as stressful as I may get about my grades and classes at times, I absolutely love being a student again. I don’t know if I appreciate it more because I am much more mature and have gained life and work experience or if its just because I am that much of a nerd. I love the opportunities that I can get through being a student, making new friends, learning about things that I may have taken for granted before, and much more. I recently became the Social Media Chair for my particular school at NYU (you know NYU has A LOT of schools), and I cannot wait to start my role and being involved in that. I will basically gain knowledge, experience and work with others in marketing (which is my major btw) doing what I basically do on my personal time which is being on social media. Of course with a bit more of an agenda, but still. Again, if I didn’t make time to become more involved in school, find ways to be involved and network, I probably would have never gotten this role. Just enjoy it and have fun.

At the end of the day, you define the level of your own success by what you do and how hard you work towards achieving your goals. My version of success may be different from others and vice versa. I hope my own experience and opinion was helpful in anyway to anyone who may have read this. Its 1am and I have to be at work at 8am tomorrow so I should go to sleep. Until next post….

Sinceramente Jane

 

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13 Reasons Why

So I am sure everyone has heard or seen this show on Netflix by now. I mean c’mon, it has been all over social media and is at the top of the list whenever you go into your Netflix account. I wanted to write about this show because I wanted to share my experience about it and my perspective about the show. The only reason why I started to watch the show was because it had been deemed as a controversial show and said to have been promoting suicide. I read one article that said the show was glamorizing suicide. I personally beg to differ with that article but after watching the show, I did have a better understanding of why people would say it was a show that was saying suicide was “ok”.

It was a little difficult to watch this show because it is something that I have personally dealt with myself. The show goes through the life of Hannah as she starts her Sophomore high school year at a new school. It talks about the different ways that she was bullied and how different students did different things throughout two years that eventually led to a feeling of no control, no emotion, void and emptiness inside of Hannah. I do not want to share all the details of the show in case some of you have not watched the show but I will share the part where I can see why some may say that the show may promote suicide. Even though I do not believe the entire show is promoting suicide whatsoever, I do feel that the lines used during Hannah and Mr. Porter’s conversation would be the part where the show changed my perspective. This was Hannah’s last chance for hope as she looked for a reason to live after everything that had happened to her. She went to visit her counselor in search for hope or possibly just to have someone to talk to. Mr. Porter was supposed to be Hannah’s last chance to stay alive. The show has the two of them talk and almost reach the point where Hannah confesses the last act that caused her to loose her soul. This of course does not happen because Hannah does not open that conversation and Mr. Porter does not posses the skills needed to get the answers. Hannah has just been raped and is trying to find a way to tell Mr. Porter but cannot seem to put the words together and is too afraid to even speak them aloud. Mr. Porter senses that something really bad has happened to Hannah but eventually tells her that if she is not willing to talk about it, press charges or let him help her, her only choice will be to move on. THIS IS THE WORST LINE OF THE ENTIRE SHOW! I get that the writer had the overall goal to have Hannah die since that was the point of the whole show but I still hate the line. Hannah was not ready to talk about what had happened to her at that exact moment and because she was already walking towards the point of no return, hearing those words out of Mr. Porter’s mouth allowed her to cross that finish line.

I myself was once in a position where I too had suicidal thoughts. People who know me now may find this surprising. It is not something that I have shared with many but think that it is an important issue to talk about. As a teenager, especially ones that are not in the best home environment or even the ones who are (like Hannah was), tend to feel that the feelings that they are feeling are going to last forever. I remember sitting at the dining room table, in a dark room, in a dark place in my life debating on whether to do it or not. I can’t remember exactly how old I was at the time but I must have been around 14 or 15 years old because I was in high school. I had been a victim of sexual abuse since the age of 5 and was tired of my life at that point. My entire life  was a big secret and I did not really care what happened or what did not happen. I was just living an empty and very pathetic life. I had no say or control of my life and suicide felt like the only thing that I could control. I can sympathize with people who are going through thoughts of suicide because it feels like at that moment, the only thing that is right is to make it all go away. When Hannah got raped, that was the last straw for her and she says that it was like her soul had been taken away. It is hard for people who have never had suicide thoughts to understand where people who have suicide thoughts are coming from. Many people would call those individuals weak and cowards for ending their lives but one should never judge someone or their actions until they have been in their shoes. I like Hannah, never gave the impression that something was going on inside of me because, I don’t know… I just never did. I was always hiding my emotions and like Hannah ignored the bad moments in life and tried to find the good ones that made me smile. Unfortunately, Hannah was not as lucky as I was to have survived that suicidal moment in life but hope that if people watch the show, they will speak to someone.

There are so many people and even online resources that people can talk to now a days. The internet has become a way to find easy ways to communicate with others. 13 Reasons Why is not glamorizing suicide but rather showing how people can influence someone without even knowing it. Kids in school are mean and that is the honest truth. Not all of them of course but most of the time, kids are influenced by each other and it only takes one person to stand up for someone else who is being bullied for things to change. I have added some links for anyone who may be thinking that suicide is the only way to end their pain. I know from experience that it gets better. It takes a lot of work to get better and there will probably be more bad days ahead than good but when the good days finally get there, it will feel like the bad days never existed. Sometimes I can barely even remember the bad days I had as a young child. I have a little thing that I am doing called my count down. I lived in misery and abuse for the first sixteen years of my life. I have been out of my childhood home for 13 years now. I have 4 more years to go to be able to say that I have lived more happy years in life than bad ones. I don’t know what I will do when that time comes but I do know that if I would have ended my life when I was that empty teenager, I would not have the pleasure to find out.

Sinceramente Jane

 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention Resource Center