Words of Wisdom: Walt Disney

Disney words of wisdom

Disney words of wisdom

Worry means to feel or experience concern or anxiety. Students tend to worry a lot about their grades, appearance, and much more. Parents worry about their children, job, finances, and other things. Too much worry, anxiety, or stress can affect the way you feel and live your life. Have you ever been so worried about how you will do on an exam that you can’t remember all that you have studied and end up not getting the grade you wanted? Don’t worry. Be happy!

Keep things in perspective.

Most things we worry about already happened or are temporary. Most things are solvable. Ask yourself, “How can I solve this problem?” “What can I do about this?” 

Focus on the positive.

Ask yourself: “What did I learn from this?” 

What if?

 Suppose, just for a moment, you live in a world where fear and anxiety do not exist. What could you do now?

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Mindfulness Intro For Students

Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to help middle and high school students as well as college students conquer stress and anxiety, and reach their academic and future goals. In this introductory video learn the benefits of mindfulness for students and participate in a short exercise that can be used in the future. I will tell you my two favorite FREE mindfulness apps too!

Don’t have time to check out the video? No worries. Here’s the gist of it.

Mindfulness involves using all your senses, thoughts, bodily sensations, and emotions to be present in the moment. With mindfulness we have the opportunity to learn how to respond to our emotions rather than react. Mindfulness has proven to have many benefits, especially, for students. Using mindfulness can help you meet your academic and future goals. While some students are making excellent grades, they may be experiencing a lot of stress with trying to keep up with the workload or staying organized. Mindfulness can help them manage their emotional well being, thus also positively affecting their physical health. Students who have practiced mindfulness have experienced better self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.

For mindfulness to work, we have to really try it. And in the beginning, it might seem weird or pointless. But, keep in mind that this is new and different and with practice this will be beneficial to you. If we don’t try it, we can’t determine if it is useful for ourselves or not. So, let’s list some ways that you might find mindfulness to be useful and relevant in your own life.

Raise your hand if you have ever:

  • said something you wish you could take back?
  • done something that you later regretted?
  • felt angry and out of control?
  • felt nervous or anxious about an exam or performance?
  • been in a bad mood but not sure why?
  • been in a bad mood but not even sure what emotion it is?
  • felt like you need a break and want everyone to just leave you alone?
  • had trouble falling asleep because your mind won’t be quiet or your body feels restless?
  • been accidentally spacing out in class when the teacher calls on you?
  • noticed that you do much better at sports or music when you are really focused?

Our emotions are continually changing. Difficult emotions like anger, fear, worry, and stress actually release chemicals in our brain that prevent us from learning, and can make us react and say and do things we didn’t want to. Mindfulness stops these chemicals.

So how can you incorporate mindfulness into your schoolwork? Ready to give it a try?

There are some things to know before we start. So, in practice there is a leap from the big picture we just discussed to very simple techniques. We will be mindful of sound, breath, movement, thoughts, emotions, and other things. We will be paying attention on purpose for a short period of time.

Every time we practice mindfulness, we start by getting in a mindful posture. A mindful posture has five guidelines:

  1. Facing forward
  2. Back is upright
  3. Put your hands on your lap or beside you.
  4. Be still
  5. Be Quiet
  6. Mind and body are relaxed yet alert
  7. Letting your eyes close

Ok. Now that you are in a comfortable seated position let’s begin.

  • Start by taking one breath in through the nose and out through the mouth.
  • Now, close your eyes and take one deep breath.
  • Now take three breaths, but just normal breaths, don’t deliberately change it.
  • Now, take three breaths, this time noticing what you are feeling, hearing, touching, tasting, seeing (in your mind).
  • If you feel any kind of stress take a deep breath.
  • Picture this in your mind:

You are getting ready to take a test and feel relaxed because you are well prepared and know the material. You pick up your pencil and with a positive attitude you write your name at the top of the paper. You read and understand the directions. You work through the test easily completing each question. You answer the last question and have enough time to check your answers. You hand in your test and are confident that you will get the grade you want. Imagine rewarding yourself for your hard work and feeling satisfied with your success.

The goal with this exercise is for you to feel confident and relaxed to start studying or take a test. It is an easy and great exercise to do before a test or beginning a study session. If at any time you lose focus during this exercise just take a deep breath and re-focus.

I hope you continue to try mindfulness and that you find it helps you. My favorite FREE apps are Insight Timer and Breathe. Breathe is a great introduction to mindfulness and Insight Timer is a great app for finding guided meditations. You can search by topic and/ or length. Namaste.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator who trained with Mindful Schools. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

 

What Do You Want To Accomplish?

accomplish

What do you want to accomplish?

It’s a question that we should ask ourselves often. It may even be a question you get asked when applying to a college or university, or for a scholarship. You may even get asked this question in a job interview. Think about it and write you answer down in present tense. Post it somewhere you can see it everyday as a reminder.

Examples

  • I am using my planner every day.
  • I do not have any missing assignments.
  • I am volunteering with the Humane Society.
  • I have A’s and B’s in all my classes.
  • I am confident to take my final exam.
  • I am working at my new job twice a week.
  • I enjoy participating in class and ask questions when I don’t understand something.

There is no accomplishment or goal too small. Go for what you want. You never know what you are capable of until you try. What will you accomplish this today? What will you accomplish this week? What do you want to accomplish this quarter or semester?

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Words of Wisdom: Shalane Flanagan

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/shalaneflanagan/

Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/shalaneflanagan/

On November 5th, 2017 Shalane Flanagan won the New York City Marathon with a finishing time of 2:26:53 and is the first woman in 40 years to win this race. Congratulations, Shalane! Your are an inspiration to us all.

“I’ve dreamed of a moment like this since I was a little girl,” Flanagan said, through tears. “It means a lot to me, to my family—and hopefully inspires the next generation of American women to just be patient. It took me seven years to do this. It took a lot of work for just this one moment.” – Shalane Flanagan

7 years! Shalane’s words of wisdom hit home for me not just as a runner but also as a life long learner, as someone who has aspirations to achieve many things.

How does this apply to student life?

Teens are under a tremendous amount of pressure in middle school, high school, and college. Every student goes to school from grades 1-12 to work for that one moment when they get to graduate, when they get to walk across the stage to receive their diploma for which they worked so hard to achieve. College and university students are no different. Students work even harder for 4-8 years to walk again and achieve their dreams. Sometimes with all the stress from school it may seem that your goal(s) is impossible. Shalane Flanagan mentions that it took her seven years to achieve her dream. She had to overcome multiple disappointments over the years. Her win in NYC teaches us that hard work and perseverance pays off. What is one major challenge that you have overcome in your life? How did you do it? What kept you going?

“Don’t be afraid to dream of achieving the impossible.” – Shalane Flanagan

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

How to Make a Planner Work for You

Do you have a hard time using your planner? Is it too big? Too small? Not enough room to write?

In this video I share my story of how I created a planner that works for me. Every middle and high school, and college student are different and we all have different preferences when it comes to planner yet most planners have the same layout. In this video I give some simple tips for finding and creating a planner that works for you. It’s easy. I promise. Check it out!

 

Don’t have time to check out the video? No worries. Here’s the gist of it.

I have gone through several planners to get to the one I use now, which I am very happy with. First, I purchased a pretty faux leather planner from Office Depot for about $35. It was a beautiful turquoise, which is my favorite color, and had a weekly layout along with a monthly layout. As with a majority of planners the weekly layout was standard small rectangles for each day. One week spanned two pages. It was ok but I couldn’t fit everything I wanted in those rectangular spaces each day.

For Christmas one year my best friend sent me a couple of Moleskine notebooks with a sticky note on the front that read, “Go to bulletjournal.com” This was life changing! If you don’t know about bullet journaling check it out! For about 6 months I experimented with bullet journalling and various planner layouts that I created. Eventually after using the same layout for a few months I grew tired of drawing the my template in my notebook every week.

I decided it was time to create a template on the computer, one I could print out, one I didn’t have to draw each week. I went to YouTube and found a basic video tutorial for Adobe InDesign about how to create a planner page. Once again another life changing moment! So I created my template and printed it. I put into that old pretty turquoise planner binder from Office Depot. Great! So I have my customized template and a pretty cover. All is good, right?

So this binder was too small. Back to InDesign. I made my template bigger, 8.5×11. I bought a 1/2 inch white binder from Office Depot for less than $5 and printed my template. Perfecto! I also created a photo collage, which I printed and inserted on the front cover of my binder. Then, I created a sticker collage of positive messages and inserted that into the back cover. I love my planner!

What I learned about finding and creating suitable planners.

It’s not the cover or binder that you want to base your purchase on. It’s what’s inside the planner that you want to pay attention to. However, you shouldn’t completely ignore the pretty cover. A planner’s appearance should make you want to use it. I added photos and positive messages to mine because when I look at it makes me happy, it makes me want to open it up and write in it. Lastly, creating systems is a process that requires patience and time. Patience is a virtue!

Want to make a planner that works for you? Here’s my advice. 

  1. Take a blank piece of computer paper. Cut it to the size you want your planner to be.
  2. Take a pencil and draw what your ideal planner would look like. If you are talented you could even do it on the computer!
  3. Punch holes and put it into a binder that works for you.
  4. Make it fun. Buy some stickers, print some photos.

**Use it for one month. Then reflect and decide what works and what doesn’t. Edit your template, tweak your planner accordingly.

Does this sound like too much work? There are lots of different planner systems you can experiment with but it may cost you a pretty penny. Here are some that are popular.

HAPPY PLANNING!

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Reflect On Your Success

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101332430@N03/

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/101332430@N03/

The road to success is paved with many challenges for students. Teenagers are under a lot pressure with regard to their academics. plus, their brains are still developing. College students have to deal with getting their school work completed, working one or more jobs, paying bills, and possibly taking care of family members. With all these challenges it’s important to stop and focus on the positive things.

What is one success you have had recently?

“Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” – Robert Collier

Did you hand in your homework on time?

Did you finish a major project that you are proud of?

Did you successfully help a friend or family member?

Did you do well on a recent test or quiz?

Did you successfully implement a new habit? Ex.: Using a planner, waking up or going to bed at a certain time, etc.

Every little victory counts!

 

How to Talk About College and Careers With Your Teen

The Vermeire's come together for a family dinner, sharing the day's stories from school, work and track practice. Each of the girls have different daily routines dependent on school activities, chores and after school employment. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

photo credit:  (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Bennie J. Davis III)

Sometimes parents get the big eye roll when they try to discuss college and careers with their teenagers. Teens get college and career advice all the time. Everyone has an opinion about their aspirations, interests, etc. So how can you have a powerful discussion with your teen about college and careers?

“You should be a …..” 

Ask you teen what career interests they have, but don’t tell them what to be. Even if you notice a talent they have that would make them suitable for a particular path if they have no interest in that area they will not be able to excel in that field. Try suggesting a career rather than telling them what they should do. “Have you thought about …….” “Do you know anything about ……”

You can be whatever you want to be.

While this is a supportive approach it is not the best way to help your teen. This statement gives them no guidance. Ask your teen questions about careers. Talk about choices together.

If it’s hard then don’t do it.

This is not something parents should say to students. We need to encourage our children to take on challenges and persevere. Challenging things make us stronger. We learn from challenging experiences. I know we want our children to take on a career that will not be stressful or cause emotional pain, but at the same time some people see a job as overwhelming and others may see the same job as an opportunity. Don’t discourage your teen. If you think they mention a career that is challenging explore the pros and cons together.

Picture yourself 10 years from now. Where are you? What are you doing? Who is around you?

Do you have a career vision?

What do you want to get really good at doing?

What is your definition of work?

What impact do you want to have on other people’s lives or in the world?

Whom do you admire most? What qualities do you admire in that person. (living or dead)

What is most important to you? What do you value?

What motivates you?

Do you believe that you can love what you do and make money doing it?

The best thing you can do for your teen is listen to them, ask them about their interests, and guide them to making choices best suited for them.

Melanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

Going to a College Fair

college fair

Attending a National College Fair is a great opportunity for students in grades 8-12 to talk with representatives from a variety of schools. Plus, learn about scholarship information, financial aid and how to complete the FAFSA, tips for athletes, college essay tips, and much more! There are 92 college National College Fairs offered across the United States in 2017 with over 1,800 colleges and universities participating.  Go to www.gotomyncf.com to locate and register for a fair close to you. It’s FREE! Yippee!

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

  • Remain open minded: Some students have their sights fixed on a particular school. The college fair is a unique opportunity to discover schools you may not have considered.
  • Bring a shopping bag: Vendors are going to hand you a ton of stuff. Have a bag with you so you don’t have to carry stuff around in your hands. When you go home and have more time you can lay everything out and sort through it all.
  • Pen and small pad of paper in case you need to take notes. Using the Evernote app on your phone is also a good option.
  • Do make a plan beforehand. There will be a ton of colleges and universities at the college fair. Take the time to plan which schools are a priority for you to visit.
  • Decide what you will wear to the fair. There is no need to get all dressed up but you want to leave a good impression so dress appropriately.
  • If you have a resume listing your achievements, GPA, test scores, activities you are involved in it is good to bring copies with you to hand out to representatives.
  • Talk to everyone! Don’t just add your name and email to a list. Introduce yourself to the representatives.
  • Write out specific questions you have for schools and take notes as you go. *(PLEASE! Think about the messages your questions give the admissions rep.) Ex. I heard your school is a party school. vs. What is the graduation rate at your school? Click HERE for 30 Questions to Ask at an Education Fair.
  • Follow up! Ask for contact information from the people you speak to or ask if they have a business card. Ex. “It was so nice to meet you and hear about [name of school]. Thank you for taking the time. I’m hoping to visit your campus sometime in the future. May I have your business card? I’d love to keep in touch.” After the fair email them thanking them for their time and express why you have an interest in that particular school and that you can’t wait to visit.

COLLEGE FAIR TIPS

MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR VISIT TO A NATIONAL COLLEGE FAIR

 

Melanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

How to Help Your Teen Succeed on the SAT

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Studying_(2759729091).jpg

Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Studying_(2759729091).jpg

 

Many students are gearing up for the SAT. Preparing for the SAT is similar to the way an athlete prepares for a race or a big game. There is so much to do, know, and remember. Meanwhile the students must continue to focus on their everyday classes, homework, projects, and tests. So how can you help your teen?

Put the test into perspective for them.

Yes, the SAT is important, but it is not the only thing that colleges and universities look at when making a decision about your application. Even though a good score can definitely sat

help, lots of schools these days are not placing as much emphasis on those test scores. More than 800 schools list the test as optional depending on the student’s GPA or class rank.

Help your teen with test prep.

There are many options for help with test prep. Some parents get their high school student a private tutor. College Board offers a FREE online program through Khan Academy. Parents can help quiz their teens with the Question of the Day. Create a study plan together. Creating a plan will alleviate stress and help your teen feel more confident and organized for the SAT. They do not have to follow the plan precisely, but the simple act of making the plan is helpful. When your teen takes a practice test act as the proctor. Take their cell phone, help with timing, etc. Make it feel as real as possible.

Discuss the reward(s).

Studying for any major exam is stressful. Help your teen decide what their reward will be after they have finished the exam. This could be a day at the beach, a massage, etc. Do something fun! Post this reward somewhere that it will be noticeable on a daily basis.

Alleviate test anxiety.

As an Academic Coach in Jacksonville who works with teens I notice how stressed and overwhelmed students get with regard to tests. No matter how hard they study test anxiety can negatively affect their efforts to be successful. I have also noticed things that work to help alleviate test anxiety and seen students defeat those negative feelings. Here are a few that are easy to implement.

Mindfulness: My favorite FREE apps that are perfect for high school students are MindShift and Breathe.

Music: Creating a study playlist with a few power songs is helpful not only while students are studying but when they are gearing up to study. Listen to this playlist the morning of the test to pumped and sty positive.

Stretching: Practicing simple stretching is great for the body and mind. This is useful not only while studying but also the day of the test.

Affirmations: Student affirmations are positive statements to help teens stay in a positive mindset. Hang one up a day where it can be seen. Saying them out loud is powerful. Below are some examples.

  • I am a great student and getting better each and every day
  • I am prepared for my tests. Tests are a breeze for me.
  • Today I study hard so tomorrow I can reach my goals.
  • I can learn anything! I can know anything! I can be anything!

Best wishes for less stress and more success.

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“

 

 

Taking Notes Does Not Have to be Stressful

Does note- taking stress you out? I meet students all the time who are overwhelmed with taking notes in their classes. Some try to copy down everything they see and hear while others give up and don’t write down anything. While note-taking is not fun it shouldn’t have to be stressful. In this video I offer a couple of basic tips for taking notes stress-free.

What’s your favorite color?

Your favorite color brings about a positive feeling. Take advantage of this while note-taking by writing in your favorite color.

Abbreviate to Alleviate =)

Abbreviating words, events, names, etc. like many people do while texting can alleviate some stress while note-taking.

Example: The Declaration of Independence was signed August 2nd, 1776

Abbreviated: Dec. of Ind. = 8/2/1776

Click HERE for a list of abbreviations for note=taking.

Get your attention!

What get’s your attention? Color stimulates our brains. We notice shapes and symbols before words. Use various symbols such as a star to make key words stand out. When you are reviewing your notes use various colors in the form of highlighters, pens, markers, pencils, etc. to highlight, underline, write, and draw on your notes. The more colorful your notes are the better!. Make them pop!

This week’s challenge is …

Incorporate your favorite color(s) in some way into your notes.

 

mel professional photo by kateMelanie Black is an Associate Certified Academic Life Coach and mindfulness educator. She is passionate about helping others and learning all she can in the process. With ten years of experience in the field of education, she is determined to help students succeed in school and life. “ One of my goals is to continue to be a humanitarian who helps our local community. I am passionate about my relentless pursuit of knowledge and desire to help others.“