Scholar(ship)ly Advice Is A Trilogy Now

As the deadline for our scholarship draws near, I decided to reach out to winners from previous years to check in with them and see what advice they had to offer for this year’s applicants. For more information on our scholarship and how to apply, head here.

Kayla Klurman (Our 2021 Top Winner)

Check out our 2021 post on Kayla and her Design a Better Future project, Kayla’s Care Bags. Not only did she win the $10,000 scholarship, but she was awarded an additional $5,000 to continue her project.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to this year’s applicants, what would it be?

A: If I could give one piece of advice it would be to always stay true to yourself. Be genuine. It is so much easier to talk about yourself and the things you love when you are passionate about them and they hold a special place in your heart. This will radiate off of you and without a doubt, people will love you and your story!

Q: What has been the best thing to come from your scholarship project?

A: I have been able to continue my project in North Carolina while also being active in Miami.

Q: A quick update on you! What are you up to? Are you still actively involved in your project?

A: Yes! I make care bags in Miami and in North Carolina. I come home for the summer very soon so I am excited to have the opportunity to do some further work this summer!

Always stay true to yourself… This will radiate off of you and without a doubt, people will love you and your story!

Are you beginning to notice a pattern? The most common consensus between our past winners can be boiled down to one word: passion. If you start a project that you really believe in, it is very apparent in your scholarship submission. Not only that, you are much more likely to follow through with the project if you have a genuine interest in it. For more information on exactly what we look for in a scholarship submission, I highly recommend this post.

It’s Time to Kick Some Class! (of 2022)

Graduations across the globe are underway and thousands of students are about to enter a new chapter of their lives. Facing uncertainty can certainly be unnerving, and there are many new stressors that accompany the change. For high school students, they are figuring out which college to attend, what major they want to pursue, or if they even want to get a degree. College students are now faced with finding a lifelong career and hoping it is relevant to their degree and doesn’t turn into a dementor who sucks all the happiness from their life.

Fortunately there are plenty who have experienced graduation and lived to tell about it. Even more fortunate, I am blessed to know some pretty wise people who were willing to impart some of their wisdom with you. So for those graduating high school, college, trade school, or those who chose a different direction, these words are for you.

“Once you graduate, you quickly learn that there are two kinds of people: your friends and those who were friendly just because you had a class together that one time. And that’s okay. Treasure both friendships and learn from them.”

-Kassidy Baird (Yours Truly)

“Always expect more of yourself and take others with you on your way to the top.”

“Don’t be afraid to do something just because it seems interesting! There’s a lot of pressure to build a resume or look good for college applications or whatever, but taking time just for the things you think are cool or fun is so important in being well rounded and not getting stressed!”

“It’s okay to not have it all figured out right now, or even five years from now! Find what brings you joy, be yourself, and trust in your own personal journey.”

“Don’t rush into anything and just live in the moment. Be where you are and accept all of yourself and life will work itself out.”

“Find what you love and follow that passion. But don’t be afraid to try new things on the way. You may be surprised at what else lights your fire.”

-Twin 1

“Find something you love! So often we get caught up in ambition and what’s next, when in reality life goes so fast! Take some time for yourself to get to know what you like and what things excite you. There are so many more opportunities for your future than you could ever realize! The best part is that most people love talking about what they do and would be more than willing for you to come see their day-to-day. Explore, travel, and ask lots of questions. When what you do excites you, you will love life and make the world around you a better place.”

-Twin 2

(It isn’t super relevant that they are twins but I think it’s fun to see the similarities in their responses when they didn’t know what the other had said).

“Start applying now. And know you have more experience than you think.”

“It’s not about what you know. It’s about WHO you know. Network and be KIND.”

“Enjoy the day. Let your family take the pictures and celebrate the crap out of you. You deserve it.”

“Don’t get sucked into the rat race. After high school, for the first time, there’s all this flexibility and independence and it gets really easy to judge our own paths by the milestones we see other people hitting or not hitting (whether/when people are married, when people get degrees, if someone got a degree, other people who get right into working/careers). But life is flexible for a reason! You don’t have to have it all figured out, so don’t get caught up in measuring yourself against a measuring stick that doesn’t exist.

I hope you guys enjoyed these words of wisdom! I have plenty more nuggets of advice that I will share in a future post. What advice do you have for the graduating class of 2022? Share your advice in the comments! Who knows, you could even end up being quoted in my next post.

Scholar(ship)ly Advice: The Sequel

As the deadline for our scholarship draws near, I decided to reach out to winners from previous years to check in with them and see what advice they had to offer for this year’s applicants. For more information on our scholarship and how to apply, head here.

Ben Kim (2021)

Check out our 2021 post on the Design A Better Future project where Ben, Swetha, and Johnathan successfully developed a functioning keyboard for people diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to this year’s applicants, what would it be?

A: I’d advise this year’s applicants that they should not be trying to force a project into their hands–rather, they should find genuine interest and purpose to lead them forward.

Q: What has been the best thing to come from your scholarship project?

A: The best thing to come from my project has been acquiring new engineering skills and knowledge and, perhaps just as importantly, spending time with my group and making memories together.

Q: A quick update on you! What are you up to? Are you still actively involved in your project?

A: I’m currently studying engineering at Princeton University, and I am not still actively involved in the project–however, it will always be special to me.

Find genuine interest and purpose to lead (you) forward.

Did you know you can apply for our scholarship as a group? Ben, Swetha, and Johnathan submitted their application together and they won together! They had close family members with Parkinson’s and they were able to use their experiences to come up with a project that they had genuine interest in, and they knew first-hand the difference their keyboard will make. For more information on exactly what we look for in a scholarship submission, I highly recommend this post.

Some Scholar(ship)ly Advice

As the deadline for our scholarship draws near, I decided to reach out to winners from previous years to check in with them and see what advice they had to offer for this year’s applicants. For more information on our scholarship and how to apply, head here.

Hilton Stallworth (2020)

Check out our 2020 post on Hilton and his Design A Better Future project, All the Stars Initiative.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to this year’s applicants, what would it be?

A: My best piece of advice to this year’s scholarship applicants would be to have confidence in your work and convey your passion for the issue being addressed!

Q: What has been the best thing to come from your scholarship project?

A: The best thing that has come from the project that I worked on whilst in High School was that it enabled me to encourage some of my fellow students to pursue excellence in academia. It also helped give me experience with conceptualizing and developing planning skills!

Q: A quick update on you! What are you up to? Are you still actively involved in your project?

A: I am currently enrolled at NC State University majoring in mechanical engineering. I am not currently still involved with the specific project I worked on in High School, however; I still am trying my best to encourage my peers to pursue their dreams and fight to do the best that they can!

Have confidence in your work and convey your passion for the issue being addressed.

Hilton’s advice rings true: as I’ve been reviewing the feedback forms and final submissions, you can tell when someone is genuinely passionate about their project. Passion comes through in anything that you do, and why not use that passion to better your community! For more information on exactly what we look for in a scholarship submission, I highly recommend this post.

Color Me Concluded: My Final Musings on the True Colors Personality Test

This post is part of a series of posts on teaching to different personality types as found in the True Colors Personality Test. To see more, head here.

If you’ve gotten to the end of my True Colors Personality exploration, you might be asking yourself “Now what? How can I apply this knowledge to better myself as a teacher/parent/student/friend?” Ultimately, that is up to you. I know a lot of people think personality tests can be gimmicky, and when it comes to the “What Kind of Cheese Are You on the Weekends?” sort of test, I can agree. But I do think there are some personality tests that can propel you toward valuable introspection. McKenzie did a great job of covering a few of these with her deep dives of the Myers-Briggs, Enneagram , and the Child Whisperer personality tests.

As noted on Better Help, “The true colors personality test provides a method of understanding ourselves and others. The test uses the colors orange, gold, blue and green to represent four different personality types. The four colors combine in different ways to make up different personality spectrums. For most people, one of the four types is more dominant than the others. Learning about our personalities offers insights into our different behaviors, motivations and more.

“By using colors instead of labels, the true colors personality test aims to improve global understanding. The intuitive classification makes it easier for us to identify and remember the four personality types.”

These tests aren’t meant to serve as definitive labels for yourself and others; they are merely guideposts that can help you make sense of human nature. It can be easy to see your results in black and white when they should be used to recognize all the shades of gray within your personality and the personality of those around you. I could tell myself, “As someone with a blue personality, I shouldn’t be friends with gold personalities because we are too different.” And sure, there are some personalities that might clash a little more with others, but the whole point of these tests is to prove that anyone can get along with everyone if you take the time to understand them.

Another benefit of knowing different personality tests is that you can use your results to identify opportunities for growth. As a blue, maybe you need a lesson on resolving conflict instead of avoiding it. If you are a gold, you might consider trying to live in the moment rather than planning for the future. For those with a green personality, practice identifying your emotions and giving yourself permission to feel them. Perhaps an orange needs to train themselves to think before acting. 

Think of personality test a healthy reminder that we all have strengths, weaknesses, quirks (endearing or otherwise), and something unique to bring to the table. Personality tests can be a wonderful reference point in learning how to get along with others, regardless of what their results indicate. Don’t let someone’s True Color dictate to you how you think that person will act, allow them to show you. 

As a teacher, you should distribute at least one personality test within the first week of school. If your students are too young to answer questions themselves, send the test to their parents and have them answer it. Not only is it a fun activity for your class, but it allows you to better plan lessons and activities. It opens up lines of communication and sparks meaningful conversations.

Do you know your True Color? How has this knowledge helped you as a teacher?

So You Wanna Win A Scholarship?

Time flies when you are serving your community! Graduation is quickly approaching and that means our scholarship deadline will be here before you know it. Your final submission needs to be submitted by May 28, 2022 11:59pm MST. To increase your chance at winning, you can still submit your working strategy form for feedback until April 28, 2022. For more information on our scholarship, head here.

I’ve been having so much fun reading through the submissions so far and I’m excited to see what else you guys are working on!

Here are a few recommendations for those who want to fill out their strategy plan and get direct guidance for your project:

  • It might be an optional step, but the more specific you can be, the more specific we can be with our feedback.
  • Use the SMART goal model when talking about your goals and include short and long-term goals.
  • Think past, present, and future when describing your resources. What skills have you already developed? What materials will you need to collect? How much time are you currently putting toward your goals?
  • Allies are wonderful assets but really focus on who the decision makers will be during your project. How can you use the connections you already have to get your project off the ground?
  • Tactics are going to be what propels you to accomplish your goals. A tactic is only effective if it’s delivered, in some form, to a decision-maker. For example, “raising awareness” doesn’t help unless you’re raising your decision-maker’s awareness or using that awareness to mobilize individuals to pressure specific individuals in charge. What steps can you take to do the most for your community?
  • An additional $5,000 is rewarded to the winner to help fund their project so think long-term and brainstorm ways you can continue to help change and shape your community once your project is completed.

Best of luck to everyone applying for our scholarship! I have been inspired by the submissions and I can really feel the passion you have for improving your communities.

How I Made it Through My Statistics Class

surviving statistics

In college, the majority of my classes during my freshman year were fairly easy. Show up to class, do the readings and assignments, and pass the class. During the second semester of my freshman year, I was incredibly sick the first week of classes. We’re talking in and out of the emergency room kind of sick. I missed a lot of the really important first days where you learn more about the class and are taught the fundamentals to get you through the rest of the curriculum. 

For all 6 classes I was signed up for, I met directly with professors and TA’s, explained my situation, and was given all of the material and information I needed to succeed. This worked fantastic for 5 of the classes! I was off to a great start and felt successful in the material. However, the 6th class… My statistics class. This was not sufficient. The information students were given on bell curves and percentiles took an entire class of one hour and twenty minutes to cover. However, I was given the reader’s digest version in a quick 30 minute office hours time slot with my professor. 

I walked away from her office hours feeling like I understood. But then I sat down to do the first homework assignment and quickly realized I didn’t grasp the concept as well as I thought. The very next day I was in the TA’s office hours trying to understand what had just been taught to me. This was my very first interaction with statistics and it was going over my head. I felt so defeated because it wasn’t like my other classes where I just show up, do the work, and pass. I actually had to work for this grade! 

The first test came a few weeks later and I struggled through it, but passed. Barely. Soon after, I developed the habit I needed for the class. Attend class, follow my professor to her office for her designated office hours. Go over everything we just discussed in class, plus anything from previous classes that I still didn’t understand (typically it went back to the fundamentals that I missed during the first week.) I would go home and struggle through my homework, then visit the TA the next day during her office hours. If I still felt like I was struggling, I would email my professor or TA and they would meet with me again later in the week. 

This class felt like a part-time job, and rightfully so, I was spending the majority of my time and energy just trying to obtain a passing grade! Some weeks I would even go to the same statistics class but at a different time of the day/week to relearn the material again in a group setting. 

The last day of class while taking the final was a big day for me. I walked in nervous and not quite knowing what to expect. I had just worked really hard all semester to do well in this class, so it was a hit or miss on whether or not I would do well on the test. I did the math based on my current grades and would need to score at least a 75% on the test just to pass the class. So as long as I could do 75% of the material, I would be okay. 

Going through the questions of the test, my spirits rose as I continued to feel more and more confident in the answers I was giving! They didn’t feel overly complicated and suddenly everything started coming together for me. It was a sigh of relief as I handed my test to my professor. She gave me a big smile because she herself knew how hard I had worked all semester. Neither of us knew how I actually did at this point, but we both knew how hard it had been and how much time and effort I gave for this. 

Roughly an hour later I received my score back via email. With shaking hands, I opened it to reveal my score.

100%

Yes, you read that right. I scored ONE HUNDRED percent on my statistics final. I was teary-eyed reading it! I couldn’t believe it. I had to put so much work and effort into this class, so knowing that at the end of the semester I knew 100% of the information was incredible to me. 

I still walked away from this class with a B for a grade, and coming from all straight A’s up until this point, I felt like I should have been more disappointed. Instead, I was thrilled. I wore that B grade with pride because it signified hard work, dedication, and knowledge to me. 

It also taught me a good lesson that grades aren’t just a mark to show how well you did in the class or how much you participated. Because if that was the case, I would have walked away with an A++++ for how much time and effort I gave. Receiving a B as a grade truly was an indication of how well I understood the material throughout the entire class. It taught me that there absolutely is a reason to be excited about B’s, C’s, and even D’s for grades. Even though I ended the class with a B, I can only imagine that my professor was also beaming with pride from her office.