No matter who we are or where we come from, we are responsible to become our best self.  That means that if we are not successful, we have no one to blame but ourselves.  However, it will still take a lot of hard work.  Learning new ways of doing things, changing the way we look at the world.  So, where to start?

1.  Decide What You Want to Do

Think about what you really want out of life.  Do you have dreams of what you want to be? Do you have any hobbies that you love?  What are your interests?  If you are interested in computers, nursing, medical or dental assisting, lab technician, biotechnology, dietitian, biology, robotics, telecommunications, and many others; you can find training and employment that will get you a good job.  The important part is deciding what you want and putting forth the effort.

2.  Set Goals

Once you decide what you want to do, set some goals.  Steps that will get you where you job goalswant to go.  First and most important goal is to make it to class.  Second is to make the effort to study and learn what you need to do to reach your ultimate goal.  You can also set goals or steps that you will take to reach the ultimate goal.  Sometimes steppingstones will help you get jobs that will pay bills while you are getting the education.  For example: Your ultimate goal might be Nursing.  You can get the training of a CNA so you will have a job in your field while you are studying to be a nurse.  The most important thing is to make a plan so you get what you want.

3.  Read Books or Watch Podcasts

There are plenty of books that can help you with all kinds of things.  Books about what has made others successful can help you to learn how to be successful too.  Books on goal setting, self-improvement, speaking to others, personal development, improving self books-500confidence and many others are out there to help you improve your life.  Getting books on audio can be very helpful.  You can download them and listen when driving to work or riding the bus.

Watching podcasts will also give you a lot of good information on how to improve your life.  For example, there are Ted Talks with all hotspot-4764531_1280kinds of information.  Also, YouTube videos can give you small doses of information that can help you.  Some of them are just a few minutes long.  You can listen when you are cooking dinner or riding the bus.

4.   Find Mentors

A mentor is someone who helps you get where you want to go.  While you are working to reach your goals, you will find people who are willing to help you achieve your goals.   They can give you ideas of how to get jobs, education and support you while you are working toward your goal. Many times, these people will become friends.  You can learn from their experiences and make networking connections through them that will help you achieve your goal.

5.  Get a Job that will Help you Reach the Ultimate Goal

When you first start out, you may have to start in fast food or working at a restaurant.  success-413093_1920However, you don’t have to be stuck there for very long.  Often you can get steppingstone  jobs that will give you experience in the field you want to go into.   You can work as a nursing assistant while you are going to school to get your nursing degree.  Do some deep thinking and figure out ways to get on the job experience for the job you ultimately want to get to.

6.  Schedule your Life so you Get Things Done

Setting up a schedule will help you reach your goal.  I don’t mean a daily schedule; I mean a job and education schedule so that you know where you are going and how you will get there.  Know how long classes will take and when you will be able to move onto the next thing.  Example:  Get a job waiting tables so that you can get the money to get an associate degree.  Then if you will go on for a bachelors and what you will do to reach that step.

reward7.  Reward Yourself for Achievements

Celebrate achievements.  Take yourself to dinner to celebrate when you achieve the first step  Example:  when you get your associates, when you get your CNA, when you finish your RN, when you complete your BSN.

8.  Re-evaluate When Necessary

It is important to re-evaluate your goal.  Make any changes you need to.  Sometimes when you get into something, you find you don’t really like it.  Re-evaluating your goals will help you find the job you like.  One thing to look at is whether or not you can still use your current knowledge and training to get you through to the next step or the next job.

9.  Never Give Up

Keep your end goal in mind to keep you working towards it.  Reaching smaller goals and being rewarded for them will help you keep going until you reach your end goal. I guarantee you will feel good at the end for accomplishing your goal.

10.  Show Up                                show up

The very most important thing is to show up and take control of your own life.  It doesn’t matter where you came from or what your parents did.  You can make your own decisions and reach your own accomplishments.  You must show up to register for classes.  You must show up to class.  You must show up for homework and completing assignments.  The results will be worth it in the end.

Books to read.

books on speaking

Speak With Confidence : Powerful Presentations That Inform, Inspire and Persuade 1st Edition

by Dianna Booher

Fearless Speaking: Beat Your Anxiety. Build Your Confidence. Change Your Life. Kindle Edition

by Gary Genard


The Alchemist- Author: by Paulo Coelho

The Magic of Thinking Big Written & Narrated by David J. Schwartz

Think and grow rich Written by Napoleon Hill

As a Man Thinketh  by James Allen

The Power of Positive Thinking  Author‎: ‎Norman Vincent Peale

Unlimited Power The New Science Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement by Robbins, Tony.


The Last Lecture: Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow


Book by Donald O. Clifton and Marcus Buckingham

7 Habits of Highly Successful People- by Stephen R Covey



The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg

How to Set Goals with Kaizen & Ikigai

By: Marcus Sullivan

Self- Discipline: 10 Day Self Discipline Blueprint to Achieve Your Goals, Become a Success and Develop a Mental Toughness Mindset

By: Callum Rawling


What the Most Successful People Do at Work

A Short Guide to Making Over Your Career

By: Laura Vanderkam


Goal Setting: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Goals

By: Susan B. Wilson, Michael S. Dobson

How to prepare for the Interview


You have an interview.  What are you going to do next?


Before the Interview

  1. Review interview questions and figure out how to answer them.

writing-923882_1920There are several places to get lists of interview questions.

  1. You want to develop answers to the questions and be prepared but don’t memorize them. You want to look natural when asked these questions during the interview.
  2. handshake-2056021_1920You also want to share stories that show your skills and successes.
  3. Include the ways your successes helped your company.
  4. Be yourself in the interview.
  5. Turn negatives into positives



Dress for Success

  1. When going to the interview, you want to look dressed up and professional.

Start by researching the company’s dress code.

Choose clothes that make you feel comfortable and attire

Use your best judgement and don’t overthink it.

Avoid revealing clothing.

Choose clothing accommodating to the climate and season.

Check for stains, snags, pet hairs and holes.

Ensure clothing is pressed and wrinkle free.

**Dress One or Two Levels Up

“The rule of thumb is that you dress one or two levels higher than the job that you’re going for,” explains Kate Wendleton, president and founder of the Five O’Clock Club, a national career counseling and outplacement firm.

After the interview

Send a thank you note.thank-you-515514_1920

It reminds them of who you are and thanks them for the interview.

Looks very Professional


When you get the job offer:

Here’s what to do when you get a job offer:

Use your manners.                                                        notepad-job offer

Get the offer in writing. …

Don’t skip the benefits section. …

Determine what’s what. …

Understand objectives. …

Consider negotiating. …

Read everything. …

Take some time.

Once you have the offer in writing make sure you look over everything.  You want to be able to make a good decision.  (You don’t have to accept the job, just because it is offered.)

Evaluate everything making sure that it fits your needs and job desires.

Are you getting paid a fair wage for your experience and talents?

Make sure you understand everything.  If you don’t ask.  Don’t assume anything.

If the money is not right, are there other things you can negotiate with to give you what you need? IF it isn’t what you want come up with a counter offer.  They may turn them down, but they may not, you never know until you ask.

Some perks you can negotiate with:

Perks-sideHealth Insurance

Vacation/Paid Time Off

Performance Bonuses

Paid Sick Days

401(k), Retirement Plan and/or Pension

Flexible Schedule                                                    calendar-flex schedule

Office Perks

Employee Development Programs

Tuition Reimbursement

Employee Discounts

Gym Membership or Wellness Programs

Stock Options and/or Equity

Condensed work week. While not every organization can sustain this, a condensed work week is one of the most powerful perks you can offer your employees. …

Flexible schedules

Professional development. …

Transportation subsidies.


Handling declines

If you are declining the offer, you should do it nicely.  Better not to burn any bridges in case you need to reapply for another job with the company in the future.

  1. Tell them immediately of your decision
  2. Show Your Appreciation
  3. Give a good but brief reason
  4. stay in touch


Last but not least:

If you don’t get hired, don’t be afraid to reapply for the job again if you see it re-posted.  Especially if you have gotten more training or education, or have more experience.  It is always worth another look.

How to Find a Job


So, you have a college education, now you need a job.  A successful job search is important to getting a job.  But,

                                       Where do you start?      


There are several things you need to do before you start.

These things will help you see where your personal assets are and get you a little organized.

First of all, make a list of all of your accomplishments. Just brainstorm.  Include things clipboard-accomplishments (1)you did in college, places you have volunteered for, the jobs you have had in these places.  You want to include things like; president of your clubs, clubs you were a part of and anything you did in these clubs. face-brainstormAdd things that you were in charge of, assisting other volunteers, teaching someone how to do something.  This shows leadership and the ability to get things done.  List all education.  College, extra-curricular things you have learned and after college classes you have taken.  You want to include things you are great at.  Even things like having a green thumb, hobbies, and things you like to do can be included.

offer employerSecond go over your list and figure out what you have to offer an employer and why they should hire you.  Make a list of things you have to offer your employer. employers

Third, make a list of the places you want to work.  This can include small doctors or dental offices, large hospitals, large corporations.  Dream big.  You may not start your first job there, but you will be amazed at where the list can take you. Make a list of companies you would like to work for.  Research what these companies do and figure out how they fit into their employment qualifications.

Last, Figure out your salary requirements.  Go over what salaries are for your experience salary (1)and education.  Remember, you can’t start at the top, but know what you can expect. This is important, so you don’t take too little and know what you can ask for.  You may be able to ask for a little more, depending on your additional accomplishments. This will let you negotiate the right salary.

After making your lists there are some other things you need to know about looking for a job.  Clean up your social media.  Remember, everything you post on social media is mobile-phone-1917737_1920there for everyone to see FOREVER.  Stop posting questionable material.  Don’t get too political.  Politics are a personal decision and even though you should stand up for what you believe in, you don’t want to get into it with people on Facebook and Instagram or other places.  Companies look at the internet as part of background checks and some stupid post that only meant something at the time, could ruin ability to get your dream job.

When looking for a job you want to use your network of friends, professors and co-workers to get that job. You will have better success getting your dream job by men-1979261_1920networking and meeting people face to face. Also, don’t apply for every job in your field.  Show good judgement and apply only for the jobs you are qualified for. It’s a waste of your time and the employers time to apply for jobs you don’t qualify for. You don’t want to burn bridges by wasting time.  It is better to start with the job you can do now, get education and experience to get the job you dream of.

Now you are ready to start on your resume and cover letter.  Go back to the lists you have made in the first section.  You want to build a general resume that includes your resume-1education, job experience, volunteer experience, and anything else that shows your ability to get things done, leadership or other skills.  Also include things that show your accomplishments, like how you improved sales by 20%.  Increased donations by 15% or other things that show what you have done.  You want to do the same thing with your cover letter.  Keep in mind with both of these that you will change them to fit each job that you apply for.  The resume and cover letter you submit needs to show how you will be able to do the job they are hiring for. You want to include about 10 years of job experience.  Now if you are just starting, you may not have 10 years, so include what you have.  Also, if you work 1 job for 12 years, it doesn’t look great to have only one job on your list, so you might want to include more.  For one thing, you want to show what you have done in your career as well.

With, your resume written, Where do you go to find jobs?

Again, you are going to use your network of friends and contacts.  If you don’t have a networking groupsnetwork, you should build one.  A place is to go to meet up groups for your kind of job.  These are groups that help people get ideas on how to learn about their jobs and get more information, but you are also meeting people who are already in the field.  They work for companies who will be hiring. Also use professors from college who can help you with finding a job, co-workers and friends who might know someone who is hiring or works in your field. This is networking.

You can also use job boards and search engines to help you find employers who are hiring.

What is the difference between a job board and a search engine?

Job boards typically include positions posted by employers, while job search engines are a collection of job listings from job boards and company websites.” ( )

Balance careers also has a list of the best websites to find jobs.  Keep in mind the kind of job you are looking for.  Some types of jobs may only post on certain websites, so find the one who works best for your job.

Here is the list of the “10 best places to find jobs“:

  2. CareerBuilder.comjob-boards
  3. Dice is the leading site for tech job seekers 
  5. Google for Jobs

** “Career coaches recommend spending no more than 10% of your job searching time online. Devote the rest of your time to generating leads, networking, researching companies, and meeting people face to face.

Now, You have all of the information you need to look for a job.  Get to work.



Referral Letters

skills-3371153_1920Referral letters are letters from others to tell what you do, how well you do it and why you would be a good employee. They should include: work experience, skills, expertise, personal qualities, and/or academic performance.  There are 3 types of referral letters. Professional, Academic, and Personal.

The Professional letter is written by someone you have worked with, a manager, coworker, or possibly a client that is familiar with your work and can tell how good you are.  The Academic letter will come from teachers, or professors with whom you worked.  These are people you worked with in school who can tell how you did as a student.  The third letter is a Personal letter.  This can come from a friend or co-worker, maybe a neighbor.  The personal letter will give information about your character and stability. 

So, each type of letter includes different things.  The Professional letter, since it is written by someone at your job, should include your professional work.  You wantwoman-2773007_1920 someone who will be able to talk about your abilities, qualifications for the job and the accomplishments you have made within the company.  They should include a description of your job, your responsibilities and how long you have been with the company.  You want to pick someone who will give you a positive reference.  Choose a manager who is familiar with and likes your work.  Co-workers are alright if they can give you a positive reference, beware of picking friends.  They may like you as a friend, but may not be positive about your work.  Don’t get offended if someone declines writing a letter.  It is important to have a positive letter that will help you get the job.  Client letters are alright if you choose clients who are thrilled about something you have done.

board-2449726_1920The Academic letter will show what you did in school, the things you learned.  Its great if they can show your abilities to plan, organize, your hard work.  Also, use professors or teachers where you have worked with them on internships or studies outside the classroom. 

The Personal letter should be a good character reference.  That is why friends and neighbors can write this letter.  They should explain how they know you.  This letter should explain how the personal attributes you have will work in the employment setting.

Referral letters are used when applying for jobs, volunteer positions, colleges, graduate school programs and internships.  It should show what qualifies you for the job and why school-4279290_1920they should select you.  When you apply to organizations or schools, they may request them.  When you apply for employment, you can offer a reference letter on your resume, or in the interview.

For others:

If you are writing a letter for someone else, there are things that need to be included in the letter.  The letter should always be in a formal format.  Use easy to read type and normal size letters.  If you want more information on what to include, this is a great site to get all the details:

There are also a lot of places online to get templates that will help you write a letter. Some of these are listed below.  You also may want to get copies of the persons resume or a list of their accomplishments.  The most important thing to remember is to keep the letter positive and show the person in a good light. If you can’t write a positive letter, don’t write it.












How to Build a Good Resume



Having a good resume is important to you finding the job you are looking for.  We will start out with the basics of building a resume, then add the touches that will make it your own and help you find the perfect job.

When you start your resume, you will have 7 main sections:  heading, objective, education, experience, skills, activities and interests, references. This will make your basic resume.  Let’s go over these sections and review what should be included in each section.

First is the heading.  This section will include your personal information.  Your name, table-3268746_1920address, phone number, email address. If you have a personal web page, you can also add the URL for that in this section.  This will give the employer all of the information they need to contact you.  This should be centered at the top of the page.

Next is the objective.  This explains your goal in why you think you are good for the job.  This is something that should be changed with every job you apply for.  It should explain your job goals and why the job you’re applying for meets these goals and what this will do to help the company.

open-book-1428428_1920Third is education.  In this section you want to include all the education you have completed since high school.  You don’t need to add high school.  It is assumed that if you have a post high school degree, you graduated from high school.  Also, high school degree will show your age.  This is illegal for employers to ask about and is not really pertinent for the job you are able to do.  You can also include any study abroad classes.  Include the degree, dates received and even the GPA, especially if it is over 3.0.  If you have completed masters or doctorate, include the name of your thesis.  Also start with the latest degree first.

Fourth you will list your experience. This is where you want to include your jobs.  Both part time and full time.  Make sure to include any internships, summer jobs, volunteer jobschemist-3014142_640 and anything else that shows you can do the job for which you are applying.  You will include dates and what you did on the job that shows your talents.  Make it as short and precise as possible, but make sure you have the important things included.  Start with the latest first and work your way back.

Fifth is the skills section.  These is kind of a repeat, but it gives you a way to pinpoint your skills for quick reading.  Include things like ability to complete spreadsheets, skills you obtained in classes you attended that might pertain to the job.

Sixth is activities and interests.  I think that this section is optional.  If you have happiness-3368263_1280activities and interests that pertain to the job, you may list them.  Maybe things that show your dependability, perseverance and your work in the community. Include school organizations you were a part of. You may include art and music and other things that may pertain to the job you are trying to get.  This is not to be used as just hobbies and relaxation interests.

Last is references.  You will want to use people as references that can provide proof of business-woman-2697954_640your skills and talents.  Managers from previous jobs, instructors that you may have worked with in school. People you have volunteered for.  Managers from internships.  Even school counselors that might be able to show what you have accomplished.  You may put your references on a separate sheet and just notate that it is available upon request. 

While filling out the resume, remember you are trying to sell yourself.  This is an advertisement about you so you want to keep it professional and highlight your best qualities and those that pertain to the job.

If you don’t want to type your resume in MS Word or in a PDF, you can find many resume builders online that will help you.

Now that we have gone over the basics, here are some things to make your resume your own and stand out.

  1.  If you are still in college, looking for an internship, or fresh out of college, you can add a section for relevant courses.  This will give employers some idea of what you can do, even though you don’t have a lot of experience.cup-1614530_1280
  2.  If you have received any awards or honors, you should also include these in.  This shows what you have accomplished and been awarded for.
  3. Keywords are important in your job description.  Today employers and recruiters use an application tracking system.  This locates specific key words in the job description so you want to be sure to add them in yours.  Don’t abbreviate or use just the first letter of things.  Spell them out.  So, you would want to spell out Certified Public Accountant or any other job names.
  4. Don’t get too fancy with the font.  Usually better to use something easy to read and not too large. (About 12 is the best font size.)
  5. Things you don’t want to include are writing samples, photos and the references unless the recruiter is asking for them.
  6. Last, you want to have a professional looking email address.  If you don’t have one, get one that looks more professional and use it just for employment and resumes.


If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to write an award winning resume and get the job.  



Here are some other links to help you:

Internship Resume Example:

other information:







Setting up your profile on LinkedIn



In the last blog, we talked about networking and how important that is for your career.  One of the best places for networking is to set up an account on


This is the perfect place to meet people in your chosen profession. It’s also a great place for students.  It will give you a great start in your career.  This is a place where you can resume-1000post your resume, and give other information about yourself.   It gives you the ability to link to others and build an online network.   You will find job recruiters who are looking to fill positions, people who are working in your profession and can help you answer questions and make other contacts.   You can also connect to new people who need to make connections and become a mentor to them as well.  It is also a great place to learn.  The members on LinkedIn can write articles that will give you information.  You can learn new things about your profession, get advice on insurance, setting up for retirement, writing a resume and how to network.  LinkedIn, is a great help to working individuals.

So, in order to get access to all this information, you must join linked in.  I have gathered information that will help you to set up an account, post your resume and find people to add to your network.  This is just the beginning.  Let’s get started.

Go to    icons8-linkedin-48 

A big box will pop up.  Put in your first and last name, email address and set up a password.

Click on join now.

The website should then walk you through setting up the profile and adding your information.  You will also see the steps below taken from the LinkedIn website that will help you fill out the information.

Step 1: Upload a professional photo

Step 2: Add your Industry and Location

Step 3: Customize your LinkedIn URL- remove the numbers at the end of the URL

Step 4: Write a summary

Step 5: Describe your experience

Step 6: Add 5 Skills or more

Step 7: List your education

Step 8: Connect with 50+ contacts

Step 9: Turn ON “Let recruiters know you’re open”

Linked in also has a lot of articles that will help you in building your profile.  Be sure to use them.

When building a profile, you want to make it look as professional as possible.  You will want a professional headshot so that they see your best side.  You will need a snappy headline that shows a bit of your personality and then be sure to include work information, certificates that show your achievements and accomplishments.

To increase visibility, you will want to have people recommend your work.  Get people who you have worked for before so that they know what you can do.  It also helps to write articles about things you know. writing-1209121_1920 Writing about your knowledge will show others what you can do as well as get your information out there.  Make sure that as you change jobs, achieve new things, you include them in your profile.  This helps you make connections with mentors and recruiters who may help you get new jobs and increase your knowledge as well as achieving career goals.



What is networking?

“Networking is when you interact with a group of colleagues, peers or professionals in order to create relationships, connections, and opportunities for your professional future. It doesn’t mean you have to know someone important, and she’ll just “give” you aadult-3365364_1920 job. Instead, it means building relationships that can lead to other relationships that can lead to success. That’s why it’s called networking—you’re creating a web of contacts in your life.”

The problem with networking, is that most people don’t like it and so they aren’t very good at it.  Networking can be uncomfortable, especially for those who are introverts and don’t like to socialize.  The Harvard Business Review has identified four strategies to help people change their mindset about networking.

  1. 33 ways to network1. Focus on Learning   If you are an introvert, you can’t simply will yourself to be extroverted, of course. But       everyone can choose which motivational focus to bring to networking. Concentrate on the positives—how it’s going to help you boost the knowledge and skills that are needed in your job—and the activity will begin to seem much more worthwhile.
  2. Identify Common Interests The next step in making networking more palatable is to think about how your interests and goals align with those of people you meet and how that can help you forge meaningful working relationships.

When your networking is driven by substantive, shared interests you’ve identified through serious research, it will feel more authentic and meaningful and is more likely to lead to relationships that have those qualities too.

 3. Think Broadly About What You Can Give Even when you do not share an interest with someone, you can probably find something valuable to offer by thinking beyond the obvious. When you think more about what you can give to others than what you can get from them, networking will seem less self-promotional and more selfless—and therefore more worthy of your time.

4.  Find a Higher Purpose Another factor that affects people’s interest in and effectiveness at networking is the primary purpose they have in mind when they do it.  Any work activity becomes more attractive when it’s linked to a higher goal.

You don’t have to wait to network until you are through school and get a job, you can        start in college. There are a lot of great places to meet people.  Alumni events, job fairs, or join a club. Visit your career services office. Talk to faculty. Take advantage of internships. Professors and even other students can be part of your network.  The most important thing is to keep in touch with those people after you graduate.  You never know how these people may affect your career in the future.

Some important things to remember when networking at an event:

  1. Be genuinely interest in other people.  It doesn’t all have to be work related.  Talk about interests, hobbies, books, activities, pets.workplace-1245776_1920
  2. Set realistic goals for yourself.  Make 4 or 5 meaningful connections. Once you reach your goal you can leave. You might be having so much fun you don’t want to leave.
  3.    Arrive early.  There are fewer people when you arrive early.  Not as overwhelming to talk to a few.  Use those people to be introduced to others.
  4. Identify a few icebreaker topics in advance.  Have some things to talk about so that there are no silent uneasy moments.  It will also get the conversation going.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take a breather.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, don’t hesitate to slip outside, to the bathroom, or to the food table to have a tiny recharge moment for yourself.

Other ways to network:

  1. Volunteer to help run the event. This gets you involved and makes it easier for you to meet people because you are the go to person.
  2. Join groups online where you can meet people. There are a lot of employment type sites where you can connect with people in your field.  LinkedIn is a great man-791049_1920place to meet people and network.  You can locate people within your career choice.  You can write articles about things you have learned and that might be important to others.  Other people will find you. and are great places to find networking events.  There are both business and personal events listed.  Both types of events will help you.

Once you meet people and collect business cards, connect with those people online.  To keep in contact you can send emails, include things like job leads, and interesting article you read, good books you have read.  It is important to keep in touch.

Most importantly you need to just start. You might find you like it.  It will become easier the more you do it and you might even make some friends.


How to Write a Paper

Make sure that you start paper in time to put it away and let the information set for a desk-500few hours or overnight.  I found that I did write better papers under pressure, but you do need time to set it aside and come back to rewrite it.  The time away from the paper will prove invaluable to writing a good paper.

Make sure you know what your topic is.  Either chosen by yourself or your instructor, you need to decide what it will be about.  The topic is very important so that you can get the pertinent information when doing research.

It also is important to know what format you need to write in. This will tell you how to set margins, line spacing and how to notate source information.  There are two popular ways of writing papers.

Paper-formatting MLA – Modern Language Association format, this is normally used for papers in literature or foreign language.

APA – American Psychological Association format, the most popular method in academic work in the social sciences field.  Sometimes the school you attend will decide which format to use.  Other times, it will be the teacher or the type of paper you are writing.  You can find templates and guidelines for writing papers in both of these formats on the internet.

Start by writing an outline showing what you want to include in the paper.  The order of writing-500the key points does not matter at the beginning.  Just get down the important parts about the topic.  You can also add more after researching because you may find more information.

Then brainstorm writing down everything you already know about the subject.  If you have read your textbook, you may already have a lot of information.  After you have written down everything you know, then begin by looking up information in the textbook.  Get any new information that you may not have remembered.  Next, research computer-500the topic on the internet or in the library. You are looking for new information that you don’t know.  I type or copy what I find in a word document.  Make sure you keep track of the sources of your information.  I copy the links under the information in the word document.  You also want to make sure the information is coming from legitimate sources.  (Wikipedia is not a good source.)  You want text books, legitimate journal articles from legitimate journals on the subject.

Now you can rework the outline making sure information is in order and all new information is included.

Now it is time to write the rough draft.  Write your introductory paragraph explaining what the paper will be about. Explain the introductory paragraph expanding on the study-921885_1920topics in the following paragraphs.  Explain the topic in your own words.  You can refer to your notations from the internet, but make sure that you quote important information and notate where you go the information.  It is also important not to quote too much.  You want to write what you have learned, not just regurgitate the information from books or journals.

conclusion-500Write the conclusion paragraph.  This should include the important points of the paper and how it proves your thesis or your findings on the subject.  Again, this should show what you learned on the topic.

Reread the paper. Fix the spelling and grammar errors and make sure to use complete sentences.  Also check for run on sentences.

Put the paper away for a few hours.


This is important because your brain will work on what you have learned during the down time and when you go back, you will see where changes need to be made.  Read the paper.  Then rewrite the paper fixing the issues you find.  You might also find places where you can expand on the information.  Make sure the paper is complete and explains everything.

Last you want to check the formatting and punctuation. Make sure that it meets the write-593333_1920requirements for the format of the paper.  Make sure that all words are spelled correctly.  Large, scientific words may not show up in spell check so make sure all of those are spelled correctly.  I add those words to spellcheck because if you write a similar paper later, they will be available.

So, these are the steps to take to write a good paper.  They will also make it easier and less overwhelming.  Here’s to good paper writing.






Studying in College

Studying is very important if you are going to learn.  Studying in college is quite different than studying in high school.  There is a lot more work to do.  You have a ton of reading, papers to write and tests to take.  Deadlines come fast, so it’s important that you learn techniques to read fast, gleam the information you are supposed to learn and be able to write papers and pass tests.  So, there are a few steps to learn so you can study effectively.

The first and most important step is to get organized.  You have to be organized so you can get everything done. paper-3327341_1920

  1.  Go over the syllabus for each and every class.  Find out when test are scheduled and when papers are due.   It will be helpful if you use some sort of a calendar either on paper or on your computer to record this information.  That way you are not surprised when you show up for class on the day they are due.
  2. Next figure out which chapters you have to read.  You need to allow 2 to 3 hours of study time per hour of class you attend.  Sometimes it may take more on more difficult classes.
  3. Put everything in your schedule.  Include job hours (if you are working while going to school), extra-curricular activities and test and paper due dates.  You might also want to include exercise.  It is good to strengthen your body as well as your mind. Then you can figure in your study hours.
  4. You will find in college, every minute is precious.  You want to be sure you have something with you at all times that will help you learn.  Flash cards, professor notes or notes from your reading.

Second you will want to learn how to take notes in lectures.  It is important to get the high points of the lecture.


  1. Don’t take notes on your laptop.  Research shows that you may take notes faster, but the retention of the notes is much less.  You will retain more information from the lecture if you take notes with a pen and paper.
  2.  Make sure to leave space to add information in later.  Writing on every other line of the page helps you to be able to fill in missed information.
  3. Use your own symbols to take down information without having to write down the whole word.  Abbreviate words, use arrows to connect concepts.  Make lists writing only the important words and leaving out small words like, and or the.  Use stars or asterisks to point out important information or things you want to research later.
  4. Don’t write on the back of the page.  It is easier to read if you only use one side of the page.  You can also add notes later on the back if necessary.
  5. Right after the lecture read over your notes to make sure they make sense.  This is also a good time to fill in missing pieces.  If there is something you don’t understand make note so you can speak to professor about it either during office hours or during the next class.
  6. Make sure to include examples, things written on the board or in overhead.  These will be important that is why instructor took the time to write it down.

Third you want to learn reading techniques so that you can read through information quickly and still get the information from it.  It really helps to highlight the important parts.  A lot of times the first sentence gives you the information then the paragraph explains what the first sentence means.  Righting the most important things in the margin.  It helps when you are reviewing to have the stuff in the margin.

A.  Skimming

With this technique, you just skim over the material to get an idea of what is in the paragraph. Parts to look for:

  1. Introduction- The first sentence or paragraph will show you they main reason for books-1149959_1920the article or chapter.
  2. Body- Goes into more detail about the information.
  3. Conclusion- Tells you what the information means.

B.    Scanning  Used for finding information in books quickly.

Step 1: Review- look at table of contents for the following parts of the book. This should include:


Diagrams or tables or illustrations


Chapters in sequence




Step 2: Headings- Read the chapter headings to see if they contain information you are looking for.

Step 3: Search the index- Check the index for relevant topics or key words

Step 4: Assess content – Go to the page in the book and read the first 2 paragraphs and              the last 2 paragraphs to see if they are what you are looking for. Can also read                     paragraphs before and after to see if they specify the information you are looking              for.

C.  Keywords Spotting

Look for key words that help you understand the topic. These are found in the opening paragraph of the chapter.  Look for any hints given by the author. These might include:


bold type



section breaks

This will help you understand the material and give you a chance to look up difficult  terms for comprehension.

D.  Analytical Reading

With analytical reading you want to gain understanding through active reading.  You want to try an interpret what the writer is trying to say, look for connections between literal and interpretive meanings.  This helps with retention of material.

There is a technique to help with analytical reading.  The SQ3R technique which offers an active approach to understanding. SQ3R stands for:  Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review.


Take 3-5 minutes to go through chapter.  Look headings, subheadings, figures, tables and sq3rsummaries.


This step is for figuring out questions about the content of the chapter.  What is it about? Figure out the main point, the examples, how does it support the point?


This step is where you read for the answers to your questions.  This constitutes active reading which will help you remember the information.  Here it will help to take notes about what you are reading.


Using your own words, recite what you have read.  List the important points, write them in the margins of the text using short phrases or key words. You can also highlight important sentences. Speak out loud like you are telling someone else about the material.


In this step you want to summarize the main ideas and review your notes.

E.  Critical Reading

Critical reading is about evaluating what you are reading.  What the strengths and weaknesses are.  What the information implies.  How does it fit into the academic context of the chapter.

F.  Difficult Texts

Sometimes you will run into reading that is complicated and hard to understand.  There are ways to get through difficult texts and actually learn the material.

  1. Look at the text, how it is organized, review the headings and subheadings.
  2. Read the first and last paragraph to get an idea of what it is about.
  3. Go through the chapter, looking up the words that you don’t understand.
  4. Review what you have read in your mind and try to restate what you have read.
  5. Take notes
  6. Keep reading since some future parts may make more sense.
  7. Reread what you don’t understand
  8. Put it away for a while and look at it again later.

You will find that putting it out of your mind and working on something else, or exercising, your mind will keep working and you may understand it better when you go back to it.

Fourth Learn to take breaks, get exercise and have some fun.  Even though it is kickboxing-course-1178261_1920important to be prepared.  Your brain needs some time to rest, relax and process what you have learned.  It also is important to have a balanced life.  Having fun and getting exercise will help you be a more rounded student.


Here are some links that have worksheets and more information on studying.






New Year Vision Board


Here we are in a new year.  Most people use the new year to look over their life and make new goals or new years resolutions.  Often we make goals like eating healthy, losing weight, starting an exercise program or accomplishing something like getting an education or getting a job.  Often times we keep those resolutions for a few days or weeks, then we are back to our old ways.  Setting goals is good and trying to accomplish things in our life is important.  However, is the usual new years resolution really the way to accomplish those things?  Especially if we give up on them so soon?

There is a different more powerful way to set up your ideas.  It’s called a vision board.stones-451329_1920

So, what is a vision board?

The theory behind a vision board is that if you can dream it, you can live it.

A vision board is a way to put your ideas and dreams on paper.  When you really decide what you want, you put yourself in a position to accomplish it.

There are only a few things you need to do in order to make a vision board.

First is you need to decide what you want.  Dream big and remember no dream is too big.  If you want to finish school, buy a house, a car, start a business, or get a new job.  scrabble-931988_1920There is nothing too big.  Also put down all of your dreams.  You might need to finish school to get the job you want, put school and the job on your vision board.  You may need the job in order to buy a house or a car, so put the job, the house and the car on your board.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to accomplish everything right away or even in this year.  It will still help you to get where you want to go.

You also want to find uplifting sayings or things that will inspire you.  Adding words like success, health, confidence, happiness and uplifting sayings will help you maintain the confidence in yourself and your dreams.


Adding other pictures of things like coins, money, lucky numbers, lucky       shamrocks, will also help the luck and prosperity of your vision board.


Next you want to gather supplies.  Pull out old magazines, get on the internet and find pictures and words that fit your dreams and goals.  You will need a cardboard poster to put it on.  Use a large one that gives you room to include all of your pictures, words and sayings.  You will also need scissors, glue, markers, and anything else that you can think of to decorate your board.

Third, you need a place to sit down and put your board together.  You need a place big dream-catcher-1904179_1280enough to set out the pictures and words so you can see what you have.

Last, place the things on your board and decide where you want to put things. I suggest doing a dry fit so you can see how it will look.  Put some things to the back, smaller things to the front. Overlap the pictures so they fit on the page.  Once you have it laid out where you want it, then you can glue it together.

The result is a vision board of where you want to go and what you want to be.  I like to put mine up where I can see it, but just the fact you have put the board together, will help you to go in the right direction.  Many people throw their vision board in a closet and forget about it, only to be surprised when they see it again to see how much they have accomplished.