Tag Archives: college kid

Lesson #339: Playing defense.

6/24/15.

When I was given a lower grade than the rest,

I was caught off guard.

I sat down my laptop, and angrily and confusedly typed away in the “Make a Comment” section—which is completely unlike me.

“Was it one of the slides?” I asked. “Or maybe the joke I made?” I paused to think, and then typed some more. “Was it the games I incorporated into my part of the presentation? The directions told us to make it fun and engaging. I don’t quite understand if and why I’m being penalized for it.”

I was met with this response.

“Great job. I would have liked for you to focus on the content and not the performance on this assignment.”

He ended it with a smiley face.

I am all open to feedback and constructive criticism, but I just didn’t see this one coming.

I was absolutely upset—and quite honestly—a little bit hurt.

For one, it’s a summer class. Two, I worked hard on my part of the presentation, within the time frame I had. Three, I had this professor before, he knows what kind of student I am, and I did very, very well in his last class. Four…my “performance”? This hit a personal note for me.

I thought I was only being myself. Anyone who knows me knows that I am animated and energetic—and it’s not like I was a stranger to him. You can only imagine that this seriously made me question myself: how I act, how I come off to others, who I am as a person. It felt like a punch straight to the stomach.

I think it’s safe to say I was stumped, so I asked.

He answered, explaining his reasoning a tad bit more.

I was still upset, but I forced myself to step back, get out of my own head, and assess the situation realistically.

I asked to meet up with him and talk through it; I needed to understand. He is someone I value, respect, and trust—so it was important for me to do this. If what he was saying was true, I needed to know how I could do better and be better in the future.

I promised myself that I’d go into the conversation with an open mind, and I did. He told me he holds me to a high standard. He told me that compared to my last presentation, this one seemed a tad overdone; like a performance. I told him that while the purpose of my last presentation (a television episode pitch) was more professional and serious, I assumed this one (an informative group lecture on the entertainment industry during the 1910’s/20’s) was more entertaining and engaging. But I agreed with him. While I didn’t agree that the presentation was of the same caliber, I swallowed my pride and accepted that part of what he said had to be true: if the content didn’t come through clearly, at least to the guy who’s grading it, then I didn’t get the job done.

In the end, though, I realized that it didn’t matter if what he said about my “performance” was true or false: and that’s the answer I think I came into the conversation looking for. While I agreed with some things, others in my heart I knew not to be true. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t be getting an answer—because only I could answer that for myself.

You have to be true to yourself, and only you can decide if you’re doing that or not.

You’ll know it in your gut when you aren’t.

Feedback is easy, when we ask for it.

But when we don’t, it’s easy to be on the defensive. In fact, it’s our natural reaction to most things when we feel caught off guard or personally attacked.

But what you can do, is take a second, open yourself up to feedback (as long as they are being constructive), be open to becoming better in whatever way you can, and be open to how you are coming off to others.

Playing defense is important; we have to protect what’s ours.

But today, I learned the best (and hardest) thing I’ve learned in a while.

You have to relax those muscles every once in a while in order to become a better player.

Day 339.

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Lesson #332: Lessons from a GPS.

6/17/15.

Sometimes we take the alternate route thinking it will be easier, or quicker, or better.

Then it’s not.

But with each wrong trip, we learn a thing or two about how to navigate life.

And it may be quite scenic along the way.

Day 332.

Lesson #291: What I learned when I just went for it.

5/8/15.

Whether you’re uncomfortable with stepping out of your comfort zone, scared you might fail, or embarrassed by the lack of things you know:

1. Start somewhere.

You don’t and won’t get experience if you never put yourself out there and physically go after what you want. Seth Kingsley, one of the head writers and producers at E!, emailed me this after I sent him my resume:

You rock. I love students who know what they want to do and go after it! I talk to kids all the time who say they want to be writers but don’t write. Or aspiring actors who don’t act. You, on the other hand, are getting things done! So keep it up.

I promise you, I didn’t realize that what I was doing was special. I still don’t. I’m just truly doing what I love to do. But what Seth said inspired me to think about my life and pursuing my dreams even more. Actually—it helped me today in my attitude towards tackling what seemed like something I didn’t know how to do or think I could do: just go for it.

A few months ago, a friend from high school saw my final video project that I talked about in a previous lesson, and asked me to film her wedding. My response:

“…………You know I’ve never done that before right?”

She told me she knew. But she believed in what I could do.

Honestly, I was scared shitless. All the way up until today, and even all the way through the wedding, I was terrified.

All I could keep thinking was: “Am I doing this right? Do I look stupid? Am I getting the right things?” 

My lesson of the day isn’t “how to stop nervous thoughts” or “overcome them” or ‘”solve them.” Oh, no. When you’re nervous, you’re nervous. When you’re scared, you’re scared.

But as you’ve probably heard before,

do it afraid.

Do it not knowing what you’re doing or if it’s right. Do it with questions. Do it with doubt.

But do it with belief that that you can get through it, that you will learn from it, and that it’s your first step towards something.

2.If you want something, don’t settle for not getting it.

Gonna be real for a moment.

Sometimes I just have to hope and pray the whole world doesn’t read this blog.

Tonight, I also met a really attractive and nice guy. And we ended up kissing.

This is completely not like me.

No. You don’t understand.

If an attractive person even looks in my direction, I’m like: “What are words?”

But tonight, I decided that it wasn’t going to end with me going home and wishing we had kissed. It was going to happen.

It was somewhat obvious that we might be into each other. And then it became blatantly obvious. We talked all night, but then it started to get late so I said bye. I looked back at him and walked really slow. He laughed at me from down the hallway and caught up with me to walk me out. When we got to the door, we awkwardly stood there for a minute and then said bye again and went our separate ways. I got in my car and was like, “What? What? No. I’m not leaving until—no.” So I seriously got out of the car, went back in, pretended I left something (classic), found him, and made him walk me to car.

You know how it went from there.

Anyway.

This is really awkward. I’m literally posting this on the internet.

But basically, what I’m telling you is this.

IF YOU WANT IT, GO GET IT.

Period.

The end.

Thank you, today, for teaching me a great lesson, and helping me realize that I have way more guts than I give myself credit for.

It all starts by—well—starting.

So whatever it is,

go after it.

Start by starting, and don’t back down until you get what you want.

Day 291.

Lesson #289: Unpopular.

5/6/15.

Sometimes we need to do what’s best for us and make the unpopular decision.

What you decide won’t always be popular with others.

Th unpopular decision may not even be unpopular with yourself.

I mean, let’s be real.

Being the only one on a team is scary, lonely, and discouraging—

and no one wants to bring that upon themselves.

I know I don’t.

But sometimes, it’s what’s needed.

You’ll know in your gut when it’s what you’re supposed to do.

And you have full permission to be selfish, because you’re the one who has to live with it.

Day 289.

Lesson #287: What we forget during finals.

5/4/15.

Just a reminder:

If you’re having a hard time with the overwhelming amount of what’s on your plate,

break it up.

Both mentally and physically.

Work in sections.

Reward yourself with breaks. Or human interaction. Or snacks.

You have to create the light at the end of the tunnel.

And shorter tunnels are way easier to get through.

Day 287.

Lesson #268: What are you doing today?

4/15/15.

A few days ago my dad texted me this:

“Good afternoon my BEAUTIFULLLLLL Princess. What are u going to do today to make it a wonderful day? I love you.”

Isn’t he the cutest?

I know it happened a couple of days ago, and I promised to write a lesson each and every day about something that inspired me or encouraged me or made me think that very day—but this is different.

I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

How wonderful is this?

We wish people a good day, or a better day. We say good morning, or good afternoon, or good night.

But how often is it that we are actively encouraging? Not just wishing greatness upon people, but encouraging them to create greatness for themselves? Saying to them—”You can do this, and I’m right here beside you”?

I just have to take a moment to acknowledge how absolutely lucky I am to have such an incredible father in my life. He doesn’t just love me, but encourages me and believes in me too.

Can you be that for someone today?

Can you be that for yourself?

As my dad would say:

“What are you doing to make today wonderful?”

Day 268.