What I’ve been up to

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It seems like just yesterday I was writing inspirational quotes and making music video parodies with friends. The Grady School of Journalism has made me switch gears and try my hand at reporting. You can watch my latest news package by clicking here.


HOBY: An Experience of a Lifetime

Last weekend I went to an amazing youth leadership conference at Bentley University, called HOBY. The main idea behind HOBY was to promote leadership and to discover the hidden potential within teens to make a difference in society. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure how much I would get out of the program when I was first going into it. But I would come to realize that HOBY would far exceed my expectations. The schedule was pretty jam-packed with activities: From attending lectures given by successful guest speakers, to going to a local organization where about 300 of us helped kids in need. I loved all of these experiences.

What impacted me the most were all of the new friends I made. Nearly everyone I met at HOBY, from teens to adults, were very like-minded and we shared common opinions about everyday matters. This made it much easier to quickly make new friends, who I hope to keep in-touch with for a very long time. Bottom line: This experience was life-changing for me, and if I had to sum up the HOBY conference in one word, it would be: OUTSTANDING!

If you get a chance to go to a HOBY conference or something like it; believe me, it will be well worth your time!

The Drive to Drive

If you’re at that age where you’re thinking about getting your learner’s permit… don’t “jump the gun” too soon. You just turned 16 and you’re anxious to go get that permit to get behind the wheel… but ask yourself, are you really ready yet? Driving a car or truck is very serious business.

The best way to prepare yourself is to take a driver’s education course.  Here you’ll learn the rules of the road and get a good understanding of what’s expected.  You’ll also learn a great deal about what it takes and what you should do to be safe. 

Besides preparing yourself through driver’s ed., you really need to have a couple other things in place.  You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times.  And you have to have a certain level of responsibility in order to take this new endeavor seriously. 

There are so many benefits to driving, but remember… driving is a privilege, not a right. To achieve the ability to drive a car, you must reach a certain age, right? Well, in my opinion it’s not so much the age that’s important, but the maturity level you must attain. When the day comes for you to drive, remember to stay aware and always drive responsibly.

Why Do Community Service?

First off, what is community service? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like: it’s any form of non-profit help or assistance you give to the community. This could be like cleaning up a park in town, staying after school to tutor other students, or helping your community food bank. This is an obligation that usually goes hand-in-hand with high school. In my school, if you don’t fulfill all your hours of community service, then you aren’t aloud to graduate. Needless to say, this is a pretty big deal for some people.

But why is it that some just don’t want to do it?  Do you realize that the benefits, not only to others, but to you – outweigh your “sacrifice”?   When you offer your assistance to the community, you are most likely helping a lot more people than you would imagine. A simple park clean-up helps everyone who uses the park—the workers and the clientele.  When the park is clean, it’s safer so people can avoid certain injuries.   Not to mention, all the garbage in a park will draw people away from that public area. And, pay attention to this . . . when you provide assistance, you will be drawing more positive things into your own life. So, not only is it important to many others whom you’re helping, but it’s important to you, for your own benefit, to give to the world and offer a helping-hand.

Not sure how to help?  Look around and discover ways.  You can ask your school principal, public administrators, local charities, and even local churches.  Point is, there’s always someone who could use your help.  When you help out, you assist others & make others happy & you will be assisting yourself and will feel great about what you did!

Let’s keep this simple . . .

Texting Do’s & Don’ts

      –  Text when you have a clear & concise message to pass on to someone and can’t speak to them directly.

      –   Text when you don’t want to be heard by others around you but have something important   to communicate to someone else & they have to get it right away.




      –   Don’t text if you have something lengthy to say.

      –    Don’t text if it takes your attention off something else you’re doing that’s important which could cause harm to yourself or others if you lose your focus.

      –    Don’t text if you’re with someone else.  This makes the other person you’re with feel unimportant.

      –    Don’t text if you’re at a party with a bunch of friends, even when others are texting at the party.  You’re supposed to be socializing face to face with your friends – that’s why you’re there.  Just get back to your texting buddies some other time.

      –    Don’t text your friends when they’re sitting right next to you!  Just have a conversation with them!

      –    Don’t text if you don’t have to.  Have a phone conversation instead.

Have fun and get ahead by having real live conversations with people!

Next Time You Text, Consider This:

Texting has become a trend . . .  practically everyone loves to text on their cell phones. It’s now a common form of communication. But the question is, what’s the limit? How do you know if you’ve gone overboard with texting? Simple, if you spend any more than a few minutes at a time texting on your phone, that’s way too much.

Texting can be great if you have a quick message to pass along – that’s what it was designed for.  It was not intended to replace speaking with your voice. Wouldn’t you rather see the person you’re talking to or at least hear their voice if you can’t be together…rather than pressing a bunch of key on a tiny keypad? When you think about it, texting wastes a lot of time!  It’s much quicker to speak what’s on your mind instead of  typing it out. Besides being a time-waster, another very big problem with this impersonal form of communication is that often, your text messages can and will be interpreted the wrong way by the person receiving the text. This is because neither one of you can notice crucial details like a person’s tone of voice or facial expressions. Many misunderstandings, unnecessary arguments, and delayed solutions to problems have all occurred due to this inferior form of communication.  There is a time and a place for texting, just understand when that is so you don’t create problems for yourself or others. 

Here’s something else to consider… it’s called “text talk.” That refers to those little abbreviations that you use when texting, like “ttyl”(talk to you later), “lol”(laugh out loud), and “u”(you). If you get so accustomed to writing this way through texting, you might just find yourself slipping up on a test or writing assignment in school, consequently losing points.  Bottom line, next time you pick up the phone, instead of texting a greeting to your best friend, call them! That’s what phones are for! Talking in person is definitely the way to go.

Paper or Plastic?

You probably already know the answer . . . it’s neither!  What am I talking about?  The check out line at the grocery store.  Some stores ask you if you want your groceries in paper or plastic bags.  Here’s the problem w/ that – either choice presents an environmental issue.  Paper is made of trees and the more paper bags being used, the more trees have to get cut down.  Our planet needs trees in order to be healthy.  There is already a problem w/ too little trees on our earth because of people cutting them down for things like paper and building materials. 

Plastic is a problem because it does not break down very well, therefore pollutes our earth if not properly re-cycled. 

The best alternative is to purchase a few reusable bags and bring them with you every time you shop.  They are made from recycled material, are real sturdy, and last a very long time.  You can find these in most stores for only a dollar or two.  Even department stores carry these to encourage their use.  The next time you go to the grocery store or a department store where you’re buying a lot of items – or someone else is, notice how many bags the cashier uses to pack people’s stuff!  What a waste!  So remember to re-use & recycle –  you’ll be helping our planet and everyone on it!