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17 Things I Learned in 2017

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17 Things I Learned in 2017

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Well, gee whiz. The year is nearly complete. In a traditional nostalgic fashion, I'm taking a second to reflect on the year past. It's been the best of times. And it's been the worst of times. (at least that's what the people say, right?)

But for real, so much has happened. I moved to NYC for an internship, I lived that startup life, I returned to Boston for classes, I found some great new friends, I dealt with all the boy problems, and I'm still here. Anyway, here's the 17 things I've learned in 2017.

  1. Boys are important, but always put yourself first.
  2. Trust your gut. It's almost always right.
  3. Eating well and exercising make a world of difference.
  4. Money does not grow on trees. Unfortunately.
  5. Paying rent sucks a lot. It sucks your money, and your soul. Make sure you have a good landlord.
  6. Good friends will stick around. 
  7. Suck up your ego and apologize, even if you think it's too late.
  8. Try new things alone. No one cares that you're there by yourself.
  9. Ask for help if you need it.
  10. It's nice to come home and hang out for a while. Don't forget about family and friends.
  11. Make coffee at home because buying it everyday is expensive AF.
  12. A good cry can fix a lot.
  13. Updating your social media is a great way to get attention. Thank God I didn't peak in high school.
  14. Reconnect with old friends. It's amazing how much you will both appreicate it.
  15. Eat real food
  16. Surround yourself with people who make you want to be a better you. 
  17. Hard work pays off.

Thanks for a great year. Cheers to the next!

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How to Write Better Blogs

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How to Write Better Blogs

It may seem silly that a 21 year old with only a bit of experience is writing an article about blogging tips. But, I assure you, these tips have helped me survive my first few jobs.

Background

I started blogging sometime during my freshman year of college. I had just returned from Dublin and was pretty bored, so I started my first blog. Let me tell you, it was a mess. Content was all over the place, the writing was haphazard, and frankly, it was boring. But, here’s the thing about my first blog – it showed me how much I love writing.

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From there, I took my first full time position at a company doing social media and digital marketing. I was writing content every single day, learning about a new industry, and honing my skills. This first job ultimately set up the foundational blogging skills that I still utilize every day.

After leaving my first job, I did a 5-month study abroad semester in Singapore. I had the opportunity to travel around Asia and experience all this new culture, food, and people. Naturally, I had to start a blog. This is what you’re reading now! It started as a travel blog, but as I continue to grow and develop, so does my writing.

After returning from an amazing time in Singapore, I took on my next job.  While I was hired for product marketing and development, my role soon switched to content creation. In this role, my writing had a mission. This content was no longer my voice, but the voice of our mission. So each day, I hack away at writing and I’d like to think I’ve gotten pretty good over the past three years.

Okay, so before I bore you with the details of my blogging history, here are the tips:

BLOGGING STIPS

BLOGGING TIPS

Write about content you care about.

Writing about things you are passionate about is always the most important thing. If you do not care about your content, why should anyone else? Your passion, whatever it may be, will shine through in your writing. Your enthusiasm will compel others to enjoy your content too.

For example, I love travel, fashion, and food. While I have mainly focused on travel, I am moving towards additional topics. I reached a point where I was burned out from only writing about one topic. And though I am truly passionate about travel, I really wanted to talk about other aspects of my life. And so I'm going to incorporate fashion and food into travel. After all, these are important for traveling. I like to take pictures while on my trips, so I want to look my best. I also love finding new food in new places. This shift is not a departure from travel blogging - it's an expansion. This change not only re-inspires me, but I’m sure my readers will be glad I’m no longer droning on or putting together careless content. In the end, passion will always shine through.

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Don’t be a thesaurus

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Of course it’s good to incorporate vocabulary into your writing. It shows sophistication and knowledge. But too much vocabulary can be a turn off. No one wants to pick up a dictionary just so they can understand your content. It’s better to be straightforward and to the point, rather than mindlessly inserting big words because they sound intelligent. As you continue to blog and write more, your vocabulary will naturally expand. There’s no need to look up synonyms for every simple word you use.

Pictures!!!

Always, always, ALWAYS add pictures. No one clicked on your blog because they wanted to read a textbook. If I wanted to drown myself in writing, I would have flipped open my 3,000 page dictionary.

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While it is completely up to you on how you want to break up text, using pictures between sections is a great way to do it. If you save all your pictures for the end, no one will end up getting to them. Chances are, they will give up and exit your page before they scroll all the way down. Dispersing the images is great for keeping readers engaged.

Make sure that the images are relevant to the content and their placement. You don’t want a picture of a penguin located in the section about lions. Now that’s just confusing. I prefer to put the relevant picture below the text that it’s related to. Chances are, your reader will go through the text before scrolling down to the image. If you put the image first, then they may end up scrolling back up and then down again to see what the picture was relating to.

Break up the Text

As mentioned above, seeing a full page of text is not appealing. Breaking up the text with pictures helps make the piece easier to digest. Make sure your paragraphs aren’t too long either. Readers tend to lose interest quickly, so adding bullet points or numbering items helps condense the text.

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Call to Actions!

In every piece, you should have a call to action. It doesn’t need to be aggressive or obnoxious. It can be subtle. Something simple can do the trick. When I write posts for my personal blog, I like to include suggestions:

  • "Go here if you are looking for a great brunch”
  • “You 100% need to do this hike”
  • "Visit here immediately!”

On the other hand, a call to action can ask your readers to subscribe or follow you:

  • "Follow us for more travel content”
  • “Comment with your favorite coffee place in NYC!”
  • "Follow us on Facebook and Instagram”

Call-to-actions keep your content engaging, and if your readers like your content, they are more likely to perform those actions. It can’t hurt to ask.

PLEASE Proof-read!

I want to HEAVILY emphasize this. Take an extra 2 minutes and read back what you wrote. I spend way too much time editing other people’s writing just because they don’t read what they wrote. Start at the beginning of your piece and read it out loud. It doesn’t need to be loud – whisper to yourself. It makes a huge difference to read what you wrote. You might find that some paragraphs make no sense at all. Or, you may realize you forgot to add punctuation.

Not only does proofreading increase readability, it makes you look more credible. Do you see the New York Times making silly grammar mistakes? No, and that’s because they take the time to edit their articles.  If you have spelling mistakes everywhere, people will assume that you are not credible. A error-free piece of writing seems more intelligent and accurate. If the writing itself isn’t accurate, the piece feels unreliable and unprofessional.

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Why I Love Northeastern University

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Why I Love Northeastern University

This is going to sound like some cheesy university sponsored post. But, cross my heart, it's just my honest opinion. So, without further adieu, let's jump into it.

I'm a fourth year student at Northeastern, and no, that does not mean I'm a senior. I'm a 4th year business student with a dual concentration in marketing and entrepreneurship. This school has given me unparalleled opportunities. It's given me experiences I didn't even know could exist. I'm going to break down my experience so far to better explain what I mean.

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Study Abroad

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I am so incredibly lucky to have studied abroad twice. My freshman year I was a part of the NUin program. This is basically a freshman study abroad program. I spent my very first semester of college in Dublin, Ireland. Sure, it was absolutely terrifying going from a small suburban town to a whole new country, but I would not have it any other way. Dublin has a place in my heart forever, and I'm trying to go back in the near future. I was able to travel around Ireland via school-sponsored trips. We went to:

  • Galway
  • Aran Islands
  • Northern Ireland
    • Belfast
    • Derry/Londonderry
  • Cork
  • Kilkenny

And on top of all that, I was able to travel around Europe with some of my closest friends. We went to a bunch of places on our own, including:

  • London
  • Paris
  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Prague
  • Munich
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After a year in Boston, I decided it was time to try a new destination. This time, I would be traveling to Singapore for another study abroad. I went during the fall semester of my third year. Singapore was a whole different experience. Asia is it's own world. I learned to deal with different people, I traveled to places with language barriers, and I saw the world, but differently this time. In addition to exploring Singapore, my friends and I went to these places:

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  • Thailand
    • Koh Phi Phi
    • Chiang Mai
    • Bangkok
  • Bali
  • The Gili Islands
  • Shanghai
  • Hong Kong
  • Myanmar
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And there are still so many places I need to go back and visit! Cambodia, Vietnam, and Japan are at the top of my list.

Studying abroad isn't just about the amazing trips you get to take, it's also about the people you meet. I've met some of my best friends abroad. And I have connections around the world. There's always someone to reach out to. You meet the most peculiar characters abroad. And you meet those who you learn to deal with along the way. If I did not study abroad, I would not be the person I am today.

 

Co-op

Every single Northeastern Student has a co-op. It's probably the only reason people go here, if I'm being honest. Co-op, short for cooperative education, is a 6 month internship that every student must do to graduate. For business majors, most students complete 2 or 3 by the time they graduate. I'm doing 3 co-ops and graduating in 5 years. Co-op gives you that advantage over others when applying to jobs. It also helps you learn what you love doing, and what you hate doing. It's a good way to try out your intended career path before it's too late and you are stuck there.

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Co-op for me has been an opportunity to live in different places and try different things. I did social media marketing in Boston. Turns out the insurance industry is not for me. I worked on a 5-person tech startup team in NYC. Not sure if that was for me either, but I absolutely LOVE living and working in NYC. And this January, I am moving to Palo Alto to work at a software company. I'm so excited for this new chapter!

 

The Environment

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I think Boston is the perfect place to go to college. The whole city is comprised of college students. Everyone here is here for the same goal - academics. It gives a nice backdrop to your experience. Boston itself is a great city and there's always something to do. It's not too large and overwhelming, but it is also never boring.

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Northeastern is also extremely motivating. The people who go here want to accomplish something. Everyone is driven, passionate, and here with a goal. You come here to work hard, get the career you want, and have some fun along the way. Surrounding yourself with other motivated people makes you a better person.


I really don't have much else to add other than that. Sometimes I crave that traditional college experience - football games, huge frat parties, and long summers off. But at the end of the day, the opportunities I've had are far more spectacular than a tailgate party. I wouldn't give this experience up for anything.

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