An Open Letter To The Students Of 2020

Dear Students of 2020, 

Here you are! You are stepping into a world where no one has gone before. You are attempting to continue your education during a global pandemic. Someday your kids and grandkids are going to read about you in history books. 

They are going to read about your Chromebooks and iPads sent home to you from your schools for virtual learning. 

The face mask mandates in the districts and the creative face shields to replace masks.

They are going to see pictures of desks 6 feet apart and hanging sheets of clear plastic hung strategically throughout the school. 

Books and articles will talk about hybrid learning at home part-time, and at school for the rest of the time. 

It will highlight the stress of teachers, parents, and the stress of you as the student. 

You are being asked to learn on platforms that are still developing instead of classrooms that have been established for centuries. 

We are asking you to rise up and take a step into the darkness. The darkness of the unknown for our future. The unknown of when “normal” school full of chatting friends sitting nearby, tag at recess, and less than 6 feet apart for group work, will resume. 

It’s hard, and it’s scary, and you are the pioneers for this. Your feedback on Zoom meetings, Google Classroom assignments, and in-person lectures with adapted seating will drive our school system to success as teachers, administration, and parents navigate and troubleshoot this new layout of education. 

To the students of the 2020-2021 school year, our future is in your hands more than it has ever been in student’s hands before. And we trust you. Together, we can make it through and create a better world for those to come. 

You’ve got this. 

A Letter To The 2020 Graduates- Pt. 2

Recently I wrote An Open Letter To The Graduating Class of 2020 and for how well it was received by graduates, I knew it needed a part two. Although, this time I’m going about it a bit different. 

I asked around for what advice others would give and brought them all here. So instead of hearing from one person, we can read the responses of multiple, and even some who are graduates themselves. Here’s what they have to say. 

“It is okay to mourn this. It sucks for sure.”

“You will be better because of this. It will teach you to appreciate everything that is to come. And honestly, the best is yet to come. You guys have so many great things about ahead. The classic line of “the best is yet to come” is so true!”

“Life sucks sometimes. Be happy anyway. Congratulations, we are proud of you!!” 

“I understand what you’re going through. Part of you puts on a happy, optimistic face and say “it’s okay there’s life after high school” “at least we’re at home and get to sleep in” etc. but all you want is a traditional graduation, your senior sunset, bbq, slideshow, sob, and all-nighter. You don’t get to take pictures on the front lawn with your favorite teachers and friends after graduation in your cap and gown.”

“You’re a part of history and we are proud of you!”

“The lack of celebration doesn’t diminish your effort, you still did it!”

“We, seniors, are keeping a happy face on and trying to stay positive, which generally is true! It just doesn’t feel fair when your family/parents/school doesn’t try to make up for it. Bigger and better things are coming!! But it’s okay to want what feels important and deserving now. And no matter how much you want to have what you’ve worked for, it’ll be made up to you at some point in your life! We’ve got this class of 2020!”

“No one else has ever experienced this! It is unique to the class of 2020.” 

“Your life is just starting. This isn’t the end.” 

“We’re proud of you. You get your diploma either way. Your degree means the same, either way.” 

“Congratulations on reaching a major milestone in your life! This year has been so much different than anyone could ever have expected. While you may not get a traditional graduation experience, you definitely are part of a historic event. The graduates of 2020 will always be remembered for the unique situation they faced. Life is always full of challenges, but also opportunities. We are so excited for you and the opportunities you now have. We can’t wait to see you continue your successful life.”


You did it, and you deserve the recognition for that. It sucks that this is the timing, but how many other people can say that they’ve been a huge part of history like you? Congratulations, you did it! 

Tips For High School Graduates- Congrats Class Of 2020!

Hey, high school seniors! It’s graduation season! That means you just successfully made it through more or less twelve years of schooling, that’s incredible! While graduation is exciting, it can also be so daunting. Pestered with questions of, “Where are you going next?” and, “What career are you going to have when you graduate?” fill your time. Let me give you some tips that can help you get through this transitional time in your life. These tips are both from me and trusted friends of mine. 

  1. You’re only 18 years old, you don’t need a concrete plan for the rest of your life. This is a great time to explore options and see where you want life to take you, so take that time! 
  2. The options for after graduation are endless, take your time to break each down and decide what you really want to do. 
  3. Listen to the experience from others to help you decide where you’re going and what you’re doing. 
  4. Find a way to serve. The best way to be in tune with yourself and what you need is to forget yourself- really! Find some way in your community that you can serve and reach out, especially if it’s in a field of work you hope to pursue. It may lead you down a path you never knew you wanted to go down as well! 
  5. Let others share the excitement with you. I know during a global pandemic it can be hard to find a way to get together with close family and friends to celebrate your achievement, but great creative! Drive-up parties are popular right now where friends and family drive up, stay in their car, and talk to you from a safe distance. Once they are done, they pull away and the next car drives up. 
  6. Read this post about an open letter to the graduating class of 2020. 

Happy graduation! You did it! 

Tips On Choosing Your College Major

Hey seniors! College is coming, and one of the many decisions you are about to make is what your major will be. It’s daunting to choose a path that can determine the rest of your life. Here’s hoping that after reading this, the decision will be slightly easier for you. Here are some of my favorite tips from myself and other trusted sources on how to choose a college major. 

  1. Know your personality type. I am a big advocate for Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and how it can help you be successful in your life. Knowing this can help you with the direction in your college path and eventually where your career will end up. You can read about it here or take the test to find your personality here. You can even read about your personality type in the workplace and common careers among that MBTI in the description of each type. 
  2. Decide what degree of education you want to obtain. You can stop at an associate’s degree, or continue on to a doctorate. How far you take your education can help you decide which major to choose. 
  3. Don’t stress over choosing one right away. Some people know what they want their major to be by 8th grade. Others it takes until their Sophomore or Junior year of college before they know. It’s all in your own timing. Take a variety of classes if you don’t know right away. Most importantly, remember that this is the time in your life where not having a direct plan or having an opportunity to explore is okay and even encouraged. Take advantage of that! 
  4. Truly consider your school choice when choosing a college major. Schools are known for and will put more funding into certain majors that they are known well for. 
  5. Know that it’s okay to change your mind. On average, the majority of college students will change their major at least once before graduation. 

What helped you choose your major in college? 

An Open Letter To The Graduating Class Of 2020

Dear Graduate, 

Your time is finally here, you did it! You made it through. 

You survived the endless group projects. 

You walked the hallways and sidewalks of your school’s campus for years, and now you’re walking them for the final time. 

You created new relationships. 

You slacked off at times and worked hard at other times. 

The hours you clocked doing homework, staying up late studying for tests, and re-watching powerpoints have finally paid off. 

You are applauded for your dedication to your education. 

You are inspiring others to push on to graduation as well! 

You are our future. 

Our future doctors, electricians, lawyers, agriculture scientists, professors, journalists, and more. 

And now you’re about to embark on a journey none of us have had to go through before. You are pioneering a way for us all, stepping into the unknown.

Because of the Coronavirus shutdowns, many of you aren’t finishing your schooling in a traditional way, and your graduation ceremonies have been canceled. You are packing up, heading home, and resorting to a completely online platform to finish.

There won’t be a day for you to zip up your graduation gown or put on your cap, which is absolutely heartbreaking and scary for most. It seems unfair, and it truly is. But please know this- Just because you were robbed of your opportunity to walk at graduation does not make you less.

It absolutely does not mean you are any less of a student or graduate.

It does not mean you didn’t work incredibly hard.

It does not take away those endless nights of studying or editing papers.

It’s hard to go through something so big in your life and not have the proper recognition for it.

It’s scary to be the first, and maybe only, that has to go through this unique situation.

Here’s your recognition, while not sufficient, please know that we recognize you and applaud you. We see the hard work you’ve gone through and the time you’ve put in. We see the hurt you have for not being able to walk at graduation.

You pushed through the hard times and made it here today. 

We are proud to call you our future.

Congratulations graduating class of 2020!

Is Handpicking Your Children’s Teachers Really Benefitting Them?

How often do you hear as a teacher or a parent in a school, “Oh, Sally Sue is in Mrs. Smith’s class because her mom requested her to be there.” Or, “I would never let my child be in that teacher’s classroom, the principal knows this.” 

Is there a benefit to choosing your children’s teachers? There could be because you know your kid best, you know how they work, if they can handle disorganization or not, their interests, and how those line up with the teacher.  

But, could you be doing a disservice to your child by handpicking their teachers? Someday, your kids may not have the opportunity to pick and choose their employers and especially those they work with, they will have to know how to handle different personality types. 

One excuse I hear often from teachers is that their kids do not do well in disorganized classrooms, they are too Type A to handle it and their grades would be affected. But here is a question we all need to consider. Is it better for your child to struggle and learn coping skills in 5th grade, or in college with their professors? Or roommates? What about their first boss? 

Also, let’s dive into the teacher’s perspective. First, it can be slightly offensive to them when they hear a student cannot be in their classroom because their parents had a hand in who educates their child, it can make the teacher feel inadequate or unappreciated. Maybe an unorganized teacher has had a Type A student in the classroom before and they know what tools to use to help these students. 

Maybe you’d be surprised at what students can accomplish in circumstances that are less than ideal for them. Maybe they will struggle for a time, but then know how to learn in various ways, a tool they will need for the rest of their lives.

So maybe we shouldn’t handpick teachers for our kids. Maybe we should let our kids grow and learn outside of their comfort zones. 

 Do you choose your children’s teachers? Teachers, how does it affect you when you find out parents choose their kid’s teachers?   

10 Tips for Rockstar Resumes!

Much about 21st century job searching has changed, but resumes remain an important aspect.  Check out our tips for a strong resume, as well as suggestions for more modern approaches.


5 Tips for a Traditional Resume

#1: Be genuine!

Make every word count!  Avoid nonsense terms that don’t truly add meaning (Check out this article with the best and worst phrases that experts see on resumes!).  Employers can see through insincerity right away, and that’s NOT the kind of first impression you want to make!

#2: Be careful with your objective

Conflicting opinions (for and against) alert!  If you do include an objective, keep these two, closely-related pointers in mind:

  1. Tailor it to position for which you apply!  Just as each company, school, and organization varies in its priorities, so should your objective reflect how you can meet their unique needs.
  2. As Richard White points out in his article:  “…It is not about how you can benefit from the company, but how the company can benefit from you.” For this reason, your objective should not say what you hope to get out of working there!  We recommend starting with a brief description of yourself, followed by what you would truly contribute if hired by the company.  For example: Highly enthusiastic teacher with a passion for educational technology seeks to contribute to increased technology effectiveness in the classroom.
#3: Skip your address

Donna Svei shares the risk in her article, “The Real Reason You Shouldn’t Put Your Address on Your Resume.” She cautions that if you would need to commute, employers definitely take note of the your potential burn-out liability.  Instead, she recommends you put down your most recent employer’s city location.

#4: Quantify and Qualify with power verbs & nouns

Strunk and White’s tip to “write with nouns and verbs” in their book, Elements of Style, is true in resume writing, too!  Beginning each accomplishment with a power verb & using specific nouns can help focus your description (ie, instead of “Helped with training new teachers,” try “Mentored 3 first-year teachers through peer observations, coaching, and co-teaching.”).  However, be conscious of tip #1 as you do so–make sure these are honest and objective descriptors!  This word cloud of power verbs gives you a visual of the most commonly recommended power verbs we compiled from the sources listed below.

Power Verbs Word Cloud

#5: Create a proper balance between white space & text

Be sure to utilize indentations to make your resume easy to scan through!


5 Tips for 21st Century Resume Writing

#1: Recognize the need for a traditional paper resume

Many companies now have online systems in place for applicants to type in all the information from their resumes.  However, it’s still valuable to have on hand a paper copy for interviews, job fairs, and other instances of personal contact.

#2: Have your resume ready for digital sharing

We’ve seen other companies that simply ask you to enter a link to your resume.  Make sure you have a shareable version ready to go, such as a PDF downloaded in Google Drive!

#3: Consider a visual resume

The changes in a visual resume may be as subtle as adding blocks of color to organize your presentation, or it may be as dramatic as adding charts.  This can be an eye-catching and efficient approach to your resume-writing.  However, be sure to check out this article for some disadvantages to consider, too, such as the incompatibility with ATS (automatic tracking systems).

#4: Consider a creative resume

Emilie Ogez
Emilie Ogez

A creative tier above visual resumes is the infographic route!  This is a more obvious choice for those in creative fields, such as designers, but it could also be an opportunity to stand out if you’re willing to take the risk!  See some examples of Infographics resumes on Pinterest, and and excellent list on Cornerstone University’s blog.

#5: Consider your audience!

Evaluate the company’s characteristics.  Is it a more established, traditional organization, or does it have more of an entrepreneurial history?  Chances are that if it’s the former, you’ll want to stick with more traditional resumes and objectives.  If it’s the latter, employers may appreciate your gutsiness in trying out bolder strategies.

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