It’s time to say goodbye to frigid temperatures and blowing snow and welcome warm sunshine and tranquil breezes. Spring is the time of year that marks new beginnings, so it makes perfect sense to shake off the chill of winter and put your best foot forward. And can you really say you’re giving the world your best if your study area looks like it endured a blizzard or two over the past few months? We’re going to help you clean up your act and make your study area look as pristine as a freshly bloomed tulip.

Clean but don’t overwhelm yourself

If your study area isn’t too cluttered or untidy, this section doesn’t apply to you. However, if your home study area is an absolute disaster, please take note. When attempting to spring clean your study area, or anything else for that matter, don’t overwhelm yourself. Make a cleaning plan and take your time. If your spring-cleaning efforts encompass a day, or two, or even three don’t fret. Just get the job done right.

Declutter and organize

More clutter equals more distractions and when you’re trying to be serious about your work, distractions are your worst enemy. Remove the unnecessary trinkets and decorations that do nothing more than sway your focus and only add items that won’t act as the proverbial shiny object. Furthermore, get rid of piles of paperwork and books and organize them in a file cabinet or bookshelf. Try to have a system so you can find important papers. The toss to the side and forget them method will only serve to frustrate you in the future.


This is spring cleaning, after all, so the actual cleaning part does have to occur. While you are decluttering and organizing, break out the vacuum, broom and dust cloth. Before adding items back to your study area, make sure everything is tidy and dust free. Vacuum around (and under) your desk and try to deep clean. You want to welcome in this beautiful time of year with a beautiful study area.

Add some life and color

Although you don’t want too many distractions, you also don’t want your study nook to feel drab and boring. After you have completed your cleaning, decluttering and organizing efforts, add a bit of color with a painting or a vibrant vase of flowers. You want to set an upbeat mood before and during your study time. The quest for knowledge doesn’t have to dull and colorless.


If it fits into your budget, a new desk or computer can really give your study efforts a nice morale boost. You can also spruce up your study area without breaking the bank. A nice used bookshelf or cool vintage lamp can provide a new look on a budget. Just remember to keep your new and old equipment and furniture clean.


Once everything is clean and ready to roll for countless successful study sessions, do your best to maintain. Set a weekly time to dust and vacuum. Additionally, consider continually organizing so the next time you decide to perform a deep clean, you won’t have nearly as much work. You’ll thank yourself.

A clean study area won’t guarantee an A+, but it can at least make your work more pleasurable. So, don’t be afraid to bring out your cleaning supplies and get to work. We’ll give you an A+ for effort.

It’s no secret that having technical savvy can go a long way in furthering your career or helping you land a job. But do you know which skills can set you apart from the competition and improve your chances of being a superstar at work? You are about to discover four vital areas you need to master to become the envy of coworkers and the apple of your boss’s eye. You’ll even impress yourself.

Keyboard shortcuts

Your mouse can come in handy, but don’t let that little gadget get in the way of increased efficiency and productivity. It’s time to reduce your mouse habit and learn the secret most advanced computer users know, keyboard shortcuts are awesome. You probably already know shortcuts like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V (well hopefully anyway) but there is a whole tech-savvy world filled with shortcuts you haven’t even imagined. Research and discover the plethora of keyboard shortcuts that will make your mouse almost seem unnecessary.


Even if you consider yourself a bit technologically challenged, you can learn how to code. It may seem intimidating but it’s not when you find the right teacher. An excellent coding school can set you on a path to learning the ins and outs of creating incredible apps and software. And if you’re not interested in discovering the next big thing in mobile applications, having at least a basic understanding of code can help you become a better business owner or employee.

Microsoft Office

Like it or not, most office workers will need to delve into the productivity staple known as MS Office. For instance: When your boss wants a stellar presentation on your newest project, what do you turn to? PowerPoint. Did your coworker just send you a file filled with raw data? It’s time to open Excel. Oh, and speaking of that email you received from your coworker, you probably used MS Outlook to open it. You don’t have to be an expert at Office, but in today’s working environment, having at least an intermediate grasp is vital. If you feel uncomfortable learning Office on your own, find an instructor or school that can help educate you on this important software solution.

Improved typing

In the past, typing was a nice skill to have, in our present day, it’s a must. But it’s a skill we tend to learn and then fail to hone as time passes by. Don’t allow this to occur. Improving your typing speed, and accuracy can skyrocket your productivity. Admit it, how many times have you backtracked because you made an error in your presentation or article? Maybe, you still need to look at your keyboard from time to time. There are classes, apps and even games that can break you free from mediocre typing and help you become a keyboard master.

With an investment in time, and a little effort, you can master these four vital skills. Just be forewarned, once you do, you’ll be in high demand. Hopefully you won’t forget the little people.

By Mira B., Age 14

Many people use social media apps such as Instagram or Snapchat, which have face filters for people to take and post pictures of themselves. But many people do not realize how these filters are created and the technology behind how they fit people’s faces almost perfectly. The mechanics behind face filters was originally created by a Ukrainian company called Looksery; they used the technology to photoshop faces during video chats. Snapchat bought their algorithm, called the Viola-Jones algorithm, and created the face filters seen in many social media apps today.

Creating face filters is more difficult than you may think, so I’ll break it down into five key steps:

The first step is face detection. The image is initially viewed in ones and zeros, so the algorithm scans the image, looking specifically for color patterns. This can include finding that the cheek is lighter than the eye or that the nose bridge is lighter than surrounding areas. After detecting these patterns, a face can be distinguished in the camera.

The second step is the landmark extraction. Using specific algorithms in a 2D image, facial features such as the chin, nose, forehead, etc are determined.

The third step is face alignment. The coordinates of landmarks on people’s faces are taken to properly fit the filter to a particular face.

The fourth step is 3D mesh. Using the 2D image, a 3D model of the user’s face is built to fit the filter animation to a specific face.

The last step is face tracking, which approximates and locates the 3D mask in real time. This allows the user to move their face without the filter disappearing or moving to an incorrect location.

Another way to think of these steps is to imagine a human body. The landmarks identified in a 2D image serve as the skeleton for the future mask. Similar to how bodies differ in shape, so do people’s face structures. Using face alignment, the filter matches with the coordinates of landmarks from a certain face. People’s skin makes them look the way they are and 3D mesh step is like aligning the skin to the skeleton. Similar to how bodies move while keeping the skeleton, skin and muscle together, face tracking follows the face to make sure the filter stays on the right coordinates.

You’ve been working from home for weeks, just about every recreational activity you normally enjoy is closed and your choices for entertainment are starting to dwindle. Finally, when pacing around your house and walking the dog for the 10th time is no longer an option, you figure it’s time to tackle a new challenge. But what are you going to do? Why not try to learn a cool new skill? Quite frankly, there is no better time to dust off your hippocampus and become a student. And there is no better skill to learn than coding. Here’s why.

Coding is cool

We may be biased when it comes to this opinion, but coding is downright cool. You get to be a member of a technological community that creates amazing things like apps, games, software and websites. Not only do you get to create but you also have access to the latest cutting-edge technology. Admit it, what part of that doesn’t sound cool?

Coding makes your resume more appealing

Instead of binge watching another crazy documentary on your favorite streaming service, why not make your resume pop? When you can feature an appealing skill like coding on your resume, hiring managers will take notice. Furthermore, if you are looking to change careers entirely, coding allows you to consider job opportunities you couldn’t have in the past. Occupations that allow you to create and have fun.

Increase your earning potential

When you can boast having coding skills, you’ll earn more money. According to one study conducted by Course Report, graduates of coding bootcamps enjoyed a 44% increase in their salaries. Investing an hour or two a day to learning this amazing skill can pay off.

Coding careers are flexible

From flexible working hours to the ability to work anywhere you’d like, a career in coding enables you to work and live the way you want. As current circumstances have taught us, the ability to perform your job functions from home is not just a luxury but during challenging times can be a real lifesaver. And when life returns to normal, working from an exotic beach doesn’t sound too shabby either.

More time for side projects

You have dreams that go well beyond your occupation, and when you have a flexible schedule you can pursue those aspirations. Whether you have a great idea for an app that will revolutionize an industry or even a business idea that isn’t specifically related to coding, your new skill will greatly increase your chance of success. Feel free to dream big.

These were just five reasons to help convince you that right now is a great time to learn coding. You can probably think of countless more. So, what are you waiting for? Start learning.