Understand and Embrace Your Emotions

In Uncategorized on July 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

Everyone is born with the wiring to feel basic emotions such as fear, joy, sadness and anger. As our brains grow, we develop self-consciousness and learn to feel ever more complex emotions. The trick is learning to understand these feelings, in yourself and in others. Then, you can use your knowledge to improve your emotional readiness skills for success in college, careers and relationships.

People are intuitively drawn to people who are happy—and who make us happy. We respond more quickly and easily to happiness than to sadness; in fact, the human brain actually has a preference for happy faces. This has been interpreted by many researchers to mean that humans are designed for positive relationships. You should look for and expect to find relationships with people who make you happy and allow you to feel good about yourself. You can also use this knowledge to make yourself more desirable as both a friend and coworker.

While it is important to be happy most of the time, remember that there is also a good reason for the negative emotions you experience. Emotions such as remorse, shame, embarrassment and guilt all lead you toward making ethical decisions. They are essential to developing your social and moral sense. Guilt is your own private awareness that you have done wrong, and shame comes when others are aware of your wrongdoing. When you feel shame, you may anticipate social rejection, and when you feel guilt, you may be motivated to make amends. These negative emotions impact your conscience. Along with pride, they guide you toward socially appropriate actions.

Fear and anger also have their place as motivating emotions. Listening to your fear and anger can serve in many circumstances to protect you from harm and give you the strength you need to act decisively. Both of these emotions actually cause chemical reactions which prime your brain for action. They can cause you problems, however, when you simply react instinctively and fail to use your reason to temper your reaction. Taking the time for the classic count to ten before you respond allows the part of your brain which focuses on reason to weigh in on your emotional reaction. This can often help you to use these negative emotions constructively, rather than destructively.

To learn more about emotional readiness, explore the free resources in the STEP™ Resource Guide or try the texts in our Transition Readiness Preparation Program.

Why Manners Matter for College and Careers

In Uncategorized on July 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

In today’s society, many of us overlook the impact of the seemingly small things that we choose to do – or not do – in our daily interactions. The importance of having good manners is one of the things that we often fail to consider; however, when it comes to interviewing for college or a new job, being polite can make the difference between being accepted or hired – and being passed by.

Manners are the unwritten rules of conduct which demonstrate that an individual is considerate, respectful and well-behaved. They set the standard for behavior in a particular culture or society. While there is generally no formal punishment for behaving badly, the result of having bad manners is to be disapproved of by others. And this can be catastrophic when you are interviewing or giving an initial impression of yourself at college or in a new job.

Little gestures that show your respect for others will go a long way towards making you appear to be a socially acceptable – and therefore socially desirable – person. Simple actions such as holding a door open or letting the person with only one item go ahead of you in line, demonstrate to others that you are both socially aware and have the desire and ability to behave in a positive way. This in turn, will lead to social success.

From exchanging greetings and making introductions to saying please and thank you, the simple niceties are the basis of positive interactions. Displaying appropriate manners regardless of how you feel at a particular moment is important if you want to be successful in your career, college and social situations. While no one expects you to maintain perfect conduct at all times with all people, appearances do matter, and good manners will make a difference in how others perceive and evaluate you.

Choosing to demonstrate politeness and good manners is important in every interaction you have, particularly those at college or in the workplace. And exercising politeness can smooth over many awkward or uncomfortable situations in order to enable you to get along positively with those you live, learn and work with. Good manners can be an essential element of success in college and in any chosen career.

Social Networking Sense for Job-Seekers and College Applicants

In Uncategorized on June 20, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Social networking is a powerful tool. Used wisely, it can be a tremendous help to us in today’s busy world. It can help us to keep in touch with our friends and extend our network of contacts. Unfortunately, too often we forget that it can also work against us.

We forget that what we post online is in essence public; even with the best of privacy settings, the information is now out there, and there are those who will repost, hack and otherwise share things that we may not want to become public knowledge. We also forget that those we are working to hard to impress, from college admissions officers and potential employers to the new guy or girl we are hoping to date, are likely to look us up on Facebook or conduct an internet search in order to get to know more about us.

It is essential to know how to navigate the maze of social media applications and options wisely to protect your personal information. The following simple tips can help:

Maximize your privacy settings in order to protect yourself and others who choose to network with you.

Only connect with those you know, either directly or through a common contact. If you are not certain that someone you are trying to connect with will immediately recognize you, then you should include a brief introduction or reminder of how you know them.

Choose to post and share positive, upbeat thoughts and comments. It will make others more likely to want to read your posts and hear what you have to say.

Decide not to vent anger or frustrations publicly using social media. This is not the purpose of social networking and will not lead to positive results for anyone.

Try not to react emotionally to upsetting posts or comments, and allow yourself at least 24 hours to consider the context before you respond. Keep in mind that often the best response to anything negative is simply silence.

Ask yourself before you upload a picture or video if you are willing to risk having this information shared by individuals that you may not know or may not intend to show it to – because in today’s information age, that result is always possible. This is what often happens when a post or video goes viral!

If you have information that you want to share with one specific person – then do exactly that. Social networking is only one way to communicate with your family and friends.