We often hear the saying “our children are our future,” and we just roll our eyes because it’s hard to think about someone who can’t legally drive or vote or do anything remotely “adult” being in charge of us all.

But we need to.

If your child is on the cusp of graduating high school, or fresh and new to the world, we as adults need to think about how we’re preparing them to run the world, because, well, they will in one way or another. So how can we prepare our future leaders? Here are some ideas.

Education is a big deal when it comes to shaping our young minds.

Of course our kids are going to school — that’s kind of a mandatory thing — but are they enjoying it and taking away everything they can from it? We, as parents, guardians, teachers, neighbors — whatever — need to make learning fun! Let them explore their interests but also try to make their dislikes less of a chore. Introduce learning games, songs, or hands-on learning activities for older students. Keeping a balanced life between extra-curricular activities, elective courses, and other studies is also incredibly important, and when one takes over the others, it can cause a fall in grades, lack of sleep or proper nutrition, and even depression.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics. S.T.E.M.

There is a real push for STEM activities now more than ever as the world around us moves forward into an age of technology. STEM education teaches teamwork and problem solving techniques, as well as encourages experimentation, knowledge application, and adaptation. It’s not a “nerd” thing anymore; there are real benefits to STEM education. Who knows, maybe your kiddos will find that they enjoy it!

The Arts.

With the same energy we praise and push STEM education, we also need to promote “the arts”; countless studies show how important it is to expose a child to a world of art, music, theatre, and the like as well as the classical reading, writing, and math. While it’s not something we should throw at the students and hope something sticks, let them explore both ends of the spectrum. An engineer can love theatre just as much, and maybe in the future, apply it to a career.

And lastly, emotional support.

Our future leaders will not be able to thrive without a support system, just as adults cannot thrive without one. While they may be smaller, students are still human and need that little bit of love. Teach them how to handle stress in a healthy, productive way — what coping mechanisms work for them as an individual? There are other ways that we can support and help them develop emotionally, such as encouragement, praise, and taking a genuine interest in their passions. Adults are the embers beneath their fire that keep them going when they run low, and the more we build them up, the better they will do. With these things in mind, we can help shape the leaders of tomorrow’s world, today.

You never really know what’s out there until you search for it. That’s probably the very paraphrased version of a wise proverb, but in this case, it’s literal! If you love technology and, honestly, you kind of have to at this point in the world’s evolution, you need to know that there are way more items out there for you to experience! Not just a phone or a tablet, but other cool tech tools for your main devices, and it’s like living in a spy movie. Take a look!

Portable battery banks.

These aren’t just those small blocks you saw dangling from a phone every once in a while, these things are legit. They’re compact, but have enough power to charge up to three devices at once! Some even have the charging pad, a USB port, AND a charging cable. Some banks are brand specific — Apple products, Andriod, etc — so be careful which one you buy!
P.S. The singular portable chargers are still very cool; they can come in cool designs like a keychain, or a carabiner (those metal hooks you use in backpacking or rock climbing).

Bondic.

It’s not something you would think about, but this pen uses liquid plastic to weld, repair, and build just about anything. It’s especially good for any techies who love to get into hands-on projects. Try using this next time you want to build a computer!

Drones.

These are basically the remote control cars of today, and are insanely cool! They run from small “toy” sizes, to large machines that are used in insurance claims, military operations, and other things. If you have an affinity for robotics or programming, definitely get your hands on one of these guys.

Photography lenses.

Believe it or not, they make extensions for your smartphone to turn your photos from good to unbelievable! They just snap onto the front of your camera, and give you a wide variety of effects, from fisheye to wide-angle! Add in a timer and a tripod, and who needs an old-fashioned camera?

Bluetooth speakers.

These are a necessity for anyone who likes their music. While these are more of a luxury, you can definitely put them to good use for a movie night in the living room, or a party at the beach. So long as you have a phone, you can pair it up to just about any Bluetooth device. Did I mention that they come in cool shapes and colors? Some are even water-proof and can float!

There are many different tools and fun little things out there to make your digital world a better one, all you have to do is give it a look!

We have to type for just about everything now, from school reports and homework to research and job applications to the regular nine-to-five job; we have to type at least once in a while. When we do, we can either speed through the words like we’re a cyborg meant for this one specific task, or we “chicken peck” at the keyboard, hoping to type at least on sentence before the minute ends. For those that are interested in becoming a cyborg (but not really), here are a few tips on how to improve your typing speed:

Keep your eyes on the screen.

This is actually called “touch typing,” because your eyes are never (or rarely) on your fingers. This is really the easiest way to build your typing speed, because your fingers and brain memorize the placement of the keys and the most effective pattern for a quick typing speed. It’s not even about not looking, just memorization.

Use a keyboard that’s right for you.

Mechanical keyboards (that’s keyboards with the big buttons that you actually press down on, rather than the sleek, flat keyboards that you see on laptops. While these tend to have faster response times, they won’t be much of a benefit unless you are moderately proficient in touch typing.

Listen to the right music.

If you’re still trying to learn, your focus level is amplified, and if you’re listening to music with lyrics mixed with a distracting melody, then you may find yourself typing out the words that they say. Skilled typists can balance the two, since they’ve mastered their touch typing and increased their speed, but it’s an easy mistake that happens when you really get into the song.

Don’t worry about your mistakes.

Especially when your brain thinks faster than you type — and it will, most of the time — you will make mistakes. Some people find it more helpful to stop what their doing, backtrack, and re-type the word or words they messed up on. Other people see better results when they barrel forward, forgetting their mistakes until the piece of writing is finished, and they can go back and fix the mistakes one by one. It’s something to consider trying both ways, to find the best fit.

Typing doesn’t have to be a chore; practice makes perfect, so don’t worry if you feel like you can’t get it right away. Sometimes professional typists still look at their keyboard!

Computers are such an important part of our lives; in fact, our very lives tend to depend on these miraculous machines. We use them for work as well as pleasure, shopping, bills, research, and basically everything in between. So it’s no wonder that it’s important to treat your computer like a best friend – because, let’s face it, it essentially is. Here are a few tips on how to treat your computer right!

Clean it regularly.

This means both internally and externally; dust of your keyboard (they have pressurized air that can be used to blow out the hard to reach places, so you don’t need to do much), and clean your screen with the appropriate cleaning products (a dry microfiber cloth works best, but there are some screen cleaning solutions that work great for a really dirty screen). Cleaning internally is a little less work on your part; just make sure you run your computer cleaning software often to rid the hard drive of any unneeded files and potential viruses and malware.

Buy it things!

Your computer might not be able to say “thank you,” but buying it little things can either increase its functionality or just the appearance. You could buy a new anti-virus program or maybe a big backup for your extra big files. Maybe you want a cool keyboard cover, or a cover and carrying case (if you have a laptop). When we say “treat it like your BFF,” we mean it!

Be gentle with it.

If you really want to run a specific program or game, but there is just barely enough room on your hard drive, then rather than forcing your CPU to run harder and faster than it needs to, just give it some more space. Even though it’s a machine, it still needs room to breathe. If you have a laptop, don’t toss it around without a protective carrier, and try to treat it like a bag full of eggs to avoid accidentally dropping it and watching your entire life shatter in front of you.

It’s not hard to treat your machine like a person – minus talking to it like you would a friend, even though there are some people that actually do that. Just remember to be gentle, buy it everything it could possible need, and keep it clean. We would do that for a friend, right? Why not our own machines?

 

There are a million and one ways to study, and there seem to be more ways being invented every other day. It’s great, and we’re in no way complaining, but sometimes it can be just a little too much. Sometimes, it’s just easier to go back to the roots and kick it with the basics. What are we even talking about? Here are some throwback studying methods that still work!

Sticky notes…

…aren’t just for hectic office employees, they’re probably one of the greatest inventions ever to have been birthed into this world. Obviously, they work just like taking regular notes in a notebook, but sticky notes are compact, and can be placed next to the source material for a quick reference pull.

Colored sticky tabs.

Just like sticky notes, these are for quick lookups. While you can’t write more than a word or two on them, they can be color-coded to whatever subject or topic you’re working on and can jog your memory when you see it.

Flash cards…

…help with memorization and image-based memory. This is best for whenever you know something is going to be on a test, and works best with basic concepts, rather than lots of details, because you’re memorizing it.

Hard copies are your friends.

There’s just something about getting the textbook and doing your studying, rather than reading the same thing on a screen. While we’re not entirely sure why, you require more repetition when reading from a computer or tablet, than you would with a book.

Highlighters are a god’s gift to mankind.

Because it’s simple and yet extremely effective. On a flat piece of paper, your eyes are drawn to the pop of color and you know it’s important to remember. Something as simple and easy as color has proven to be extremely effective for studying and retaining information.

Associations are also a huge help when it comes to complex answers.

While this won’t work for everyone, we know it does, indeed, work. Acronyms are a great way to remember multiple answers, or a list of things. Or, if your mind can work the crazy halls of association, then something a little crazier may work. You can use colors, animals, plants, whatever makes it easier for you!

There are tons of ways to study, but these are some of the simpler, less technology-driven ways that have been used since school required people to study! What other great studying tricks do you have? Let us know in the comments!

One of the most hated questions for a student is: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Well, truth be told, they don’t know! Some people don’t find their callings until they are twenty-five, thirty-five — some people don’t even enter their ideal career until they’re in their fifties! There’s nothing wrong with that, either; live your best life, even if it takes longer than what should be “average.” We’re here to tell you that your skills, no matter what they are, can take you places.

Arts and Design, especially with digital and graphic design, could utilize your programming skills to help you create the best art you can. Not only will the results of learning it (that is, understanding coding languages and knowledge of development software), but also the personality skills you pick up as well, such as patience and an attention to detail.

Information Technology (IT), while not technically a programming job, heavily relies on the skills you gather from programming. Individuals within this industry need to have a knowledge of coding languages such as C++ and Adobe, but they also need to understand web development, which is a big part of the programming world.

Business Analysts use computer programming skills to help solve business-related problems through understanding and modification. It’s a good combination of IT work and business-centered focus.

Technical Writers are oftentimes employed by science and engineering companies to write clear and concise instructions on different programs and products both in written word and in visual or audio presentations. Technical writers will find their work comes easier if they already know how to use designing software, which a programming student would learn long before they turn in the application!

Having coding skills can benefit you in many careers beyond simply programming alone — explore what the world has to offer!

So, you’ve found yourself in a low place. You might have failed a big test, or gotten a bad peer review on a project, and your world honestly feels like it’s crushing you into a human jelly. We get it, and we’ve all been there. Unfortunately, that feeling isn’t uncommon for adults, either, and it’s something that we all need to work on, even if it’s just one slice after another. The good news is that, even though that dark space in your mind and body feels pretty intense, it’s not the end of your journey, and it’s definitely not the last time that you can tackle that project. Here’s how you can get that motivation back:

Step 1: Breathe.

What happened, happened, and you can’t go back and change the fact that it did. (If you can retake a test, great, but not everyone is so lucky.) Clear your mind with some deep breathes, because you’re just getting warmed up, and all the world’s going to see your determination and dedication.

Step 2: Understand the Problem.

This is probably the hardest part of everything, because you need to humble yourself enough to analyze what went wrong the first time. Did you study enough? Was there something on your mind? What answers got away from you and why? Another question to ask yourself is: “Do I care?” If you don’t care about what you’re doing, then you’re going to put out sub par work and effort. Should you completely hate the subject and have only a legal obligation to complete it, then find a silver lining; what will completing this task gain you?

Step 3: Make a Game Plan.

Once you’ve discovered the issue from the first failure, then build a solid way to carry your new goal home. Realized you didn’t study enough? Set aside a specific time for studying each day so that it doesn’t get away from you. Did your nerves get the best of you during your recital? Try practicing in front of more people each day, and tell yourself every day with a new inspirational quote or two that you’ve got this!

Step 4: Rock It.

Plain and simple — own your next task, project, test, recital, whatever. You got this. We are all human, and subject to setbacks at one point or another, because no one is perfect. Take the ashes of your last failure and use them to birth the phoenix that is your next triumph.

We could all use a little more productivity in our lives, because we all have goals and tasks to complete. Truth be told, though, we have our moments where we just stare at our work, shrug our shoulders, and think, “Nah, not right now/today/tonight/this week.” Distractions — natural or man-made — play into our own human desire for procrastination, and next thing we know, it’s too late! So, here are five of our tips on how to increase your productivity:

1. Sleep well.

Sleep is pretty much the biggest factor in any form of productivity; if you don’t get enough of it, you’ll find your mind wandering, clutching at anything that isn’t the task at hand. Or maybe you’ll just say you’re too tired and turn in for the night. Either way, getting the proper amount of sleep is key!

2. Stay hydrated.

That means water. Coffees and other things are fine, but the sugar content is too high most of the time, and will send your brain bouncing off the walls like a cat who’s just rolled in a pile of catnip. Then the crash comes, and you’re too tired to carry on. Drinking water will keep your mind sharp, and your body healthy!

3. Take frequent breaks.

Pro tip: use your bathroom breaks to stretch out your limbs and get the energy flowing. Small, five to ten minute breaks have proven to be beneficial for productivity, because your brain isn’t meant to concentrate for long hours at a time! They’ve adopted this practice in schools with long class sessions, so why not adopt it for the workplace?

4. Set aside the smartphone.

Your phone is one of your biggest distractions, because a lot of your life is on it; we’re not saying the phone is bad, but it definitely can cause a problem when a task needs to be completed. Put your phone on vibrate (so you can hear it in the case of emergency), throw it in a bag or in a desk drawer, mute all of your social media notifications (especially if you have to use it on your computer), and focus on your task at hand. This is something that can’t be brought out during your breaks, but can definitely be used at your lunch!

5. Set self-imposed deadlines.

While your tasks and projects may not have deadlines, setting them yourself (even setting a reminder or two on mobile and digital devices, as well as leaving physical notes around your work space) will push you to get it done at that time. You can trick your mind into thinking that the deadline was set up by someone else with the constant reminders, and you will automatically make it something to get done that day.

What other ways do you make yourself more productive? Let us know in the comments!

It’s hard to believe that school is just about ready to start up again. While you might be disappointed, you can’t deny that there’s a certain type of joy that comes with buying all of your supplies for the year again — because they’re not just supplies; they’re a form of (albeit contained) self expression. The real trick, though, is getting everything organized for a new year — and keeping it organized. We know the struggle, so here are our five tips on how to keep yourself organized for the upcoming school year!

1. Always clean up after yourself.

We totally understand that, by the end of the day, you’r just ready to get out of there, but if you time it right, you can keep your desk clean for the next day, which will save you a whole lot of time in the long-run! No more digging through papers and pencils and handouts just for one small thing!

2. Binders.

Oh, how binders just make the world a better place. They’re a gift to human kind. They might be bulky, but trust us, these bad boys are worth it. Make sure to find one with color-coordinated tabs for easy access. Can’t find one of those? That’s fine! Grab a regular binder and a bunch of cheap, single-sleeve folders.

3. Color code everything.

We’re not even kidding. Pick a designated color for each subject, and write that subject in big letters so you can see. Eventually, you won’t need to search, because you’ll just know that purple means English, and green means science. (That’s just an example; it’s obviously your choice.) Depending on your classroom rules, try color coding your pens and highlighters, too.

4. Get yourself a pencil case.

Please, for your own sanity, get yourself a pencil case. Not only that, but fill them up with as much as you can, because pencils and pens and highlighters magically disappear during class. Make sure your pencils are the good #2 kind, and not those pencils covered in a plastic design — those are not only of poor quality, but they also clog up the pencil sharpener.

5. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to cleaning up/out your desk.

Keeping a clean work station not only makes it easier for you to concentrate on your work, but it also gives you the confidence to apply your no-procrastination skills to other things in your life.

What are your favorite ways to stay organized during the school year? Let us know in the comments!