Sarah Dunlap

About Sarah Dunlap

I am a Pittsburgh native and an English major and Communications minor at Nyack College Rockland Campus. I am a devoted dancer, avid reader, and an aspiring writer. "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

10 Reasons to Consider a Remote Internship

This summer, I interned remotely at The Borgen Project, a non-profit based in Seattle, Washington. Working remotely has its benefits, including no geographical limitations and increased accountability. It has also helped me determine how I work best and how to work smart and efficiently.

Benefits to a remote internship:

  1. No Geographical Limitations

You can choose to intern anywhere in or outside your state without the travel. If opportunities in your field (or your dream job) are not near where you live or are limited, you can intern elsewhere without leaving home or having the expense of travel.

  1. Flexibility

Most remote internships allow you to set your own schedule. You also have more flexibility if you have a part-time job or need to balance course work.

  1. Save Money

You can also have a part-time job (if you can juggle both) and save transportation expenses.

  1. Save Time

You don’t have a commute or set office hours, so a remote internship allows you more time in the day and flexibility.

  1. Increased accountability

With a flexible schedule and no boss checking on you, you need a strong work ethic. You will have work and responsibilities, and although you work from home, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. You need to stay on top of it or else it will be overwhelming.

  1. Improve Your Communication Skills

You need to check emails and respond promptly. Be proactive. If you need to communicate something, speak up, whether by emailing, calling or video chatting.

  1. College Credit or Paid?

Remote internships may be unpaid but will give you college credit. Don’t skip the opportunity. While paychecks won’t be flowing into your bank account, earning college credit will save you money in the long run. Also, treat your internship like a job and a class. The work and effort you put in will determine how much you get out of it. It is also preparing you for future opportunities and careers.

  1. Work Anywhere

Work in your home, a coffee shop, bookstore or anywhere you can get the work done. You have a flexible work space and can work where you are most comfortable.

  1. Getting to Know Your Work Style

Working remotely lets you discover how you work best. When and where are you most productive? Do you need more structure? How do you develop structure and stay accountable?

  1. Develop Boundaries

As you create your schedule, get to know your work style and stay accountable, you will need to set boundaries for yourself. Know what you can handle as you juggle your internship, a job, course work and a social life. This is a good thing!  You develop more respect for yourself by taking control of what you want to get out of your internship and how you get it done by setting priorities.

How My Internship at The Borgen Project Motivates Me to Help People Across the World

I am interning as a journalist this summer at The Borgen Project, a national campaign fighting poverty on the political level. Since interning at the nonprofit, I have realized how we can advocate worldwide change.

The Borgen Project believes that our nation should be doing more to address global poverty. By contacting our nation’s leaders and urging them to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy, we not only help to secure our interests in the U.S., i.e. improve national security, expand our markets and create more U.S. jobs, we also help people across the world though thousands of miles separate us. I have realized how the efforts of one person can multiply and create global change by contacting congressional leaders about poverty reduction legislation and mobilizing others to do so as well. Congressional leaders care about the views their district has about bills, and the more support a bill receives, it has a greater chance to reach The United Sates House of Representatives and eventually the Senate.

As a journalist for The Borgen Project, I cover how the world tackles poverty and improves lives for those in the most impoverished areas. I also write about the good news, the triumphs for poverty reduction efforts, and the improvements in education happening globally. I have learned more about the nations in our world than I could have ever imagined, and it has motivated me to make a positive difference for people across the world as a journalist at home.

Founder of The Borgen Project, Clint Borgen, was a volunteer firefighter during the Kosovo War. Based at a refugee camp, Borgen saw that the U.S. needed to do more to address global poverty. After graduating college and working at the U.N. in 2003, Borgen created The Borgen Project as an organization to help fight global poverty on the political level. As an intern, I see the progress that not only the organization has made but our nation as it addresses poverty and fights for our nation and the world’s people.

In 2016, The Borgen Project helped pass The Electrify Africa Act, Global Food Security Act, and the Foreign Aid Transparency & Accountability Act by advocating the voices of the American people and holding meetings at congressional offices. I am honored to be a part of an organization passionate to help our world’s people, and I urge you to join me and advocate worldwide change.

24 Tips to Save Money in College

College is expensive. Based on experience, I can tell you that saving money and making the right choices are two of the most important skills.

Here are 24 tips to make saving money a little easier: 

1. Budget your money. What are your expenses? How much money do you make? Allocate your money into categories for your expenses, and what is left over can go into savings, an emergency fund, and/or miscellaneous.

2. Know the average prices of items so you can comparison shop. 

3. Don’t make impulse purchases.

4. Save your change and keep cash on you.

5. Take a shopping list with you to the grocery store and stick to it.

6. Buy quality clothes so they last longer.

7. Be honest with your friends about your budget and when you can’t afford to do things.

8. Start looking well in advance for big purchases.

9. Dry your clothes on a dryer rack.

10. Ditch bottled water and get a Brita filter.  

11. Use your local librarys services, especially to borrow books for English courses.

12. Make the most of your groceries before buying more.

13.  Borrow or buy used textbooks. Do you know people who have taken the course? See if they are willing to let you buy or borrow their book. Or buy used college textbooks on sites like Amazon or Chegg.

14. Buy or rent an e-book. E-books are usually cheaper than the hardcopy.

15. Limit eating out. If you live on campus and pay for a partial or whole meal plan, use it.

16. Don’t shop hungry when you shop for anything. You are more likely to stop somewhere for food if you are hungry when you are out. Instead, carry a snack in your purse or backpack.

17.  Know your expenses and what you can spend more for and what you cant. It will help you budget your money.

18.   Buy used if you have a large expense (if the item is still in good condition or quality).

19.   Keep track of your checking and savings accounts to know how much money you have versus how much you are spending. Avoid overdraft fees.

20.   Use coupons on items you buy. You will be surprised at how much money you save.

21.   Always ask if there is a student discount.

22.   Get an on-campus job.

23.   Apply for scholarships.

 

24.   Spend money on the right things. You may want to spend more money on something if it is a good investment and will save you in the long run.

Top 10 Writing Tips from Stephen King

In March, I met Doug Heuck, publisher of Pittsburgh Quarterly. His best advice to me as a writer is to read not only great literature but books on writing.

One book Heuck recommended is Stephen King’s On Writing. King’s book takes an honest look into his journey as a writer and the art of writing. I underlined, bracketed, and wrote notes throughout the book, and since reading it, I have grown as a writer. On Writing is a must-read for any writer working toward his or her dream.

10 favorite quotes:

  1. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out” (57).
  2. On learning from writing Carrie: “The most important is that the writer’s original perception of a character or characters may be as erroneous as the reader’s. Running a close second was the realization that stopping a piece of work just because it’s hard, either emotionally or imaginatively, is a bad idea” (77).
  3. Avoid passive verbs: “I think timid writers like them for the same reason timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe” (123).
  4. “The adverb is not your friend. … With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or picture across” (124).
  5. “I would argue that the paragraph, not the sentence, is the basic unit of writing—the place where coherence begins and words stand a chance of becoming more than mere words” (134).
  6. “So we read to experience the mediocre and the outright rotten; such experience helps us to recognize those things when they begin to creep into our own work, and to steer clear of them. We also read in order to measure ourselves against the good and the great, to get a sense of all that can be done. And we read in order to experience different styles” (147).
  7. “The key to good description begins with clear seeing and ends with clear writing, the kind of writing that employs fresh images and simple vocabulary” (179).
  8. “I think the best stories always end up being about the people rather than the event, which is to say character-driven” (190).
  9. On creating multi-dimensional characters: “It’s also important to remember that no one is ‘the bad’ or ‘the best friend’ or ‘the whore with a heart of gold’ in real life; in real life we each of us regard ourselves as the main character, the protagonist, the big cheese, the camera is on us, baby” (190).
  10. “But once your basic story is on paper, you need to think about what it means and enrich your following drafts with your conclusions” (208).

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

Most companies ask you to submit a cover letter along with your resume. A cover letter is your formal pitch to the hiring manager, and it highlights your skills and experiences relevant to the position. I have devised a guideline based on a cover letter I have submitted to a company and then received the position. It follows the standard format for cover letters. I wish you the best of luck!

Cover Letter Guideline

Your contact information (center or align left)

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address

Date (align left)

Employer Contact information (align left; include all information you have)

  • Name
  • Title
  • Company
  • Address
  • Email address

Salutation (align left)

  • Dear (employer’s full name)
  • Do not write “To Whom It May Concern” because it shows that you haven’t done your research or know who will receive your letter. So, if you don’t know, research. If you still do not know, write, “Dear Hiring Manager”.

The Body (align left)

(Do not indent paragraphs, but do leave a space between each paragraph.)

First Paragraph

  • Say the position to which you are applying.
  • Mention where you found or how you heard about the position and express your interest in the position.
  • If this is for an internship, describe what you hope to gain from the internship, i.e. strengthen your skills and grow professionally.

Middle Paragraphs

  • Describe what you offer the employer and your qualifications that match the position.
  • As you mention your various qualifications, explain the unique experiences and knowledge you have gained from your experiences. Do not repeat your resume. Think of yourself as a salesman. Show how your qualifications connect with the position.

Conclusion

  • Restate why you are a good fit for the position. If this is for an internship, express you are confident that your qualifications and experiences have prepared you for the position.
  • Write that you have attached or enclosed your resume and any other resources (list them) the employer requested.
  • Write that you look forward to discussing your qualifications, and thank the employer for considering you for the position.

Sign off (align left)

Examples:

  • Sincerely
  • Best regards
  • Thank you
  • Thank you for your consideration

Keep a space between your sign off and signature.

Signature (handwritten or typed)

Email Subject Line

If emailing your cover letter, include a subject line that lets the employer know the purpose of your email, that you are applying for a position.

  • Write the position’s name, and it is a good idea to include your name.
  • Keep it simple and professional.

I hope this blog post has helped and been useful to you. Feel free to review various cover letter samples and tips for formatting and writing your letter.

Being Twenty-Something

A few years ago, I researched poet William Butler Yeats for an English assignment. I countlessly read and reread his poem “The Second Coming”, and since then I have not given his poem much thought until I read Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

Slouching Towards Bethlehem is a collection of Didion’s most famous essays, many of which are set in 1960s California, her native state. The title is taken from a verse from Yeats’ poem: “And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” Didion chose her title to capture the grand scope of how she feels about the era and her life, a time in which “things fall apart”.

As a twenty-year-old still finding herself, Didion’s writing widens my eyes to the world – its beauty, ugliness, and character. I not only discover parts of myself but see how people, places, history and the era we live in affect our spirit.

Didion writes in her essay “Goodbye to All That” about her time in New York, “One of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.”

It is true. Everything seems heightened in my twenties, whether it is the stakes of the future, my own or the world’s, or my experiences. I am entering adulthood and learning about the world more than ever before.

While Didion wrote her essays in the 1960s, many of their truths are timeless. Sometimes moments appear idyllic, and other times things fall apart. So, we write. We write to process, remember and move on.

In Didion’s essay “On Keeping a Notebook”, she explains why we must write things down to help us “remember what it was to us”, the moment, the people, the experience. She says that when she writes, for example something at seventeen, it helps her remember herself at seventeen. It helps her “keep in touch” with who she was, and that is “what notebooks are all about”.

Keeping a notebook has helped me isolate what it is that inspires me and remember the moments, albeit the seemingly perfect ones or those amid chaos. I admire that as Didion dissects her life and history, her criticism and praise are neither in contempt or disillusion but in truth.

Didion writes in “On Keeping a Notebook”, “I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive or not.” Perhaps that is why in another essay called “On Going Home” she writes about a time she returned home and looked through her drawers and found remnants of her childhood.

Didion says: “Paralyzed by the neurotic lassitude engendered by meeting one’s past at every turn, around every corner, inside every cupboard, I go aimlessly room to room. I decide to meet it head-on and clean out a drawer, and I spread its contents on the bed.”

While home for the summer, I emptied my drawers, dumping their contents on my bedroom carpet. I found a collection of ticket stubs from the theater, a bracelet my roommate gave me, and just like Didion, a bathing suit I wore the summer I was seventeen. The belongings remind me of the people I have been, and some I’ve kept as memorabilia whereas others I’ve let go.

There is a time for everything, and each moment reveals something not only about ourselves but our generation and ultimately what it means to be human.

After reading Didion’s essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I have a new understanding of Yeats’ poem. If we can look on the world and on ourselves with eyes that can see the good and the bad, see their worth, we can understand the spirit of humanity.

Coffee Shop Creates a Global Community on Campus Part 2

Student-run coffee shop on campus, Cultivate Coffee, bridges the gap between cultures by purchasing fair and direct trade coffee and teas and being missions-driven.

Cultivate Coffee purchases their coffee from Coffee Labs Roasters, a roasting company in Tarrytown. The family-based company sources their coffee from fair and direct trade, which means it buys directly from the growers and seeks equity in international trade.

Co-founder, business major Benjamin Tse says that purchasing fair and direct trade coffee not only benefits the student body but creates a global impact for farmers.

Tse says: “It’s a sustainable business and missions. We want to provide quality coffee to the student body and at the same time engage in a market where the farmers will benefit.”

While Cultivate Coffee is based in New York and not directly involved with the international farmers, it impacts the farmers’ lives by supporting a transparent market.

“By buying fair trade, we are improving lives from West Africa and South Africa,” says co-founder, business major Wiktor Lasota.

The money Cultivate Coffee earns buys coffee and teas and equipment, and whenever there is a surplus, it is donated to missions.

Co-founder, intercultural studies major Peter Nehlsen says that studying other religions has helped him understand the diverse cultures and backgrounds of people groups, and it has inspired him to create a missions-driven coffee shop.

Nehlsen says: “Having the chance to grow up in Africa, I know there are families at the poverty line and those just above. There is a difference between a few dollars. We knew it was okay to sacrifice a few dollars for profit to help out the farmers.”

Though the owners do not earn money for themselves, their reward is serving the campus community, international farmers and mission organizations.

“It’s a cool way to bless someone,” says co-founder, intercultural studies major Joseph Girard.

Lasota says that their mission fulfills their ultimate goal to develop a community on campus.

Lasota says: “[We want to] create a place where people can share their testimonies and even for international students to share where they’re from. It’s all about growing the community and seeing each other grow.”

In valuing missions and supporting fair and direct trade, Cultivate Coffee creates a community beyond the college campus. The coffee shop connects the small campus community to a larger, global community.

“[By] building a community, serving people, we discover the meaning of serving,” says Lasota.

Coffee Shop Creates a Global Community on Campus

This past school year, four Nyack College roommates opened a coffee shop on campus. Cultivate Coffee founders Wiktor Lasota and Benjamin Tse, business majors, and Peter Nehlsen and Joseph Girard, intercultural studies majors, have created a global community and personal experience for students.

Following Nyack College’s mission as an intentionally diverse school with global perspectives, Cultivate Coffee is a people and culture focused coffee shop. Students try free and direct trade coffees and teas from various countries, form friendships with students from different cultures, and connect with their own culture.

When choosing a name for their coffee shop, Tse says, “We were conscious about the word cultivate. It’s like cultivating a plan, relationships, and as a community – growing and nurturing it.”

Cultivate Coffee has hosted Global Grounds, sponsored by the International Student Union, with nights of free coffee, snacks, and board games. In a comfortable atmosphere, students engage in fellowship, developing and deepening their friendships.

Girard says: “We want to cultivate an apparent community… There is an ‘l’, ‘i’, ‘v’, ‘e’ all in Cultivate, and we just want to live our lives to the fullest and to encourage others.”

As a Christ-centered business, Cultivate Coffee is a place on campus where students grow in their personal and spiritual journeys.

“…coffee shops are a good place to grow. Jesus did life with his disciples and just talked and listened to people,” says Nehlsen.

Nehlsen’s future plans are to become a missionary and open his own coffee shop.

Nehlsen says: “It gives me a small idea of what my passion is. … What’s the point of being a missionary if I can’t do it at my own home? It’s been really cool to see the impact and the fruit.”

Cultivate Coffee hopes to make an impact in students’ lives, and before work each day, the team prays for God to work through them.

Girard says: “Because of the love God has put inside me, I can wake up early and go with those guys and put the work in. … I’ve already seen it help develop a community at Nyack.”

Lasota hopes that the longer the coffee shop operates and serves the campus as a business from students to students, it will become the campus’ new hang out location.

“Coffee is like a conversation – you go and get coffee,” says Lasota.

From first crafting a plan to finally seeing their vision become a reality, the team at Cultivate Coffee has developed an apparent community on campus, as well as become a tool for personal transformation.

London, P.S. I Love You

Dear London,

In 10 days, you gave me an experience of a lifetime. I thank you for showing me a culture widely different from my own, bringing a new world to my fingertips. I’ve gained a better understanding of where I am from, who I am, and who I would like to be and where I would like to go. You’ve made me a new person.

I love your rich history, how it lives in the walls of every building as if it were cigarette smoke. I’ve been where legends of science, literature, and royalty walked, dined, and lived. On various street corners, I saw doors that said, “Here lived…” and each time I stopped, I gawked with wide eyes and my phone plastered to my hand to get the shot. I marveled at Westminster Abbey, standing on the graves and memorials of those who contributed to society beyond measure. I was inspired at Poets’ Corner, where I stood before my literary idols for longer than what I imagine is socially acceptable.

I’ve seen that language, literature, and the news is not dead but very much alive. Thank you for giving me the pleasure of hearing various languages and accents and learning a different vernacular. Seeing bookstores nearly every five minutes made my heart leap. You have given me hope as an aspiring journalist that people do read the newspaper, be it walking the street or on the Tube.

Thank you for giving me the experience of new foods from various cultures I would have never had otherwise. You have also shown me the good in people, and as I heard at the Royal Military Chapel before I left London, “We don’t see people as they are; we see people as we are.” Thank you for the adventure and teaching me about another culture. I have been to places I only dreamed I would see, and in a small way, I have seen and been a part of another country’s history. Thank you for the friends I made, and because of them, I have had some of my greatest memories.

Your breathtaking views, architecture, fashion, and history all have inspired me. Although it rained every day, your beauty is a watercolor painting, bright and vibrant. I’ll never forget running into museums for shelter from the rain or being poured on in Oxford. You are as beautiful at night as you are in the day. (Big Ben, you are one handsome clock tower.) Being on the Tube, squished between bodies and luggage, I couldn’t help but people watch, wanting to know their stories and where they came from. Whether I jumped on a train or ran in the rain, I was in for an adventure. You made it so easy for me to feel comfortable and at home here. London, you have given me a piece of the world, and for that, I am grateful.

I will never forget you.

College Girl’s Clothing Checklist

When it comes to packing clothes for college, it can become a little overwhelming. Whether you think you have too many clothes or nothing to wear, it helps to understand what wardrobe staples you actually need. Once you have the basics, you will notice that planning outfits becomes easier (and even fun)!

Below I include my checklist to help you narrow down your wardrobe and help you pack for college. Use the list as a guide and suit it to your personal style.

Dresses

  • Two Little Black Dresses
    • one winter/fall
    • one spring/summer that can transition into the fall with a cardigan
  • Three or four casual dresses
  • One semi-formal or cocktail dress

Bottoms

(Pack at least seven pairs, so that you have one for every day of the week before you do laundry.)

  • Although I don’t wear skirts often, I bring my favorite three or four skirts that can transition between seasons.
  • At least one pair of khaki
  • At least one pair of stretchy, nice black pants
  • Black leggings
    • Bring as many as you want because they don’t take up much space and are so comfortable.
  • A couple of your favorite dark wash jeans
  • A couple of your favorite light wash jeans
  • Shorts
    • Limit your number because you won’t be wearing them for long. I say maybe five.

Tops

  • Tees
    • White, black, gray, navy
    • Graphic
    • Striped
  • Tanks
    • White, black, gray, navy
  • Button downs
    • White, Chambray, flannel
  • Your select favorite five or seven long sleeve and short sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters and cardigans
    • Of varying weights and in basic colors
  • Sweatshirts
    • I bring my favorite sweatshirts. It is best to pack fewer sweatshirts because they are bulky to pack, and I don’t wear them every day.

Jackets

  • Leather
  • Blazer
  • Light jacket
  • Raincoat
  • Pea coat
  • Winter coat

Shoes

  • Casual flats
  • Ankle boots
  • Select favorite sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Winter boots
  • Rain boots
  • Heels (in basic colors like nude and black)
    • I only wore heels twice all year – once for a presentation and once for formal.

Accessories

  • Jewelry
  • Everyday purse
  • Going out purse
  • Umbrella
  • Wristlet
  • Winter hat and gloves
  • Your favorite and versatile scarves

Active Wear

  • Bring as many outfits as you know you will workout in per week.
  • Or, if you don’t workout and just wear athletic wear because it is comfortable, bring a couple of your favorites.

Swimsuit

  • Bring at least one because you never know when you’ll need it.

Intimates

  • All that you have that fits. Having more helps you extend the time before the next time you do laundry.

Pajamas

  • Whatever you feel comfortable in and are okay with everyone in your dorm seeing. Have at least one for every day of the week.

10 Tips to Minimize and Maximize Your College Wardrobe

Since my freshman year of college, I have discovered  how to simplify my wardrobe. My greatest take-away is that in order to have a well-rounded closet, you don’t need to buy more clothes, but instead, understand how minimizing your wardrobe actually maximizes your clothing options and closet space.

I have realized that by bringing only the clothes that I love and need to college, I will have a greater variety of outfits. By using styling tricks like choosing similar color pallets, I have gained a greater sense of my personal style. Since I’ve minimized my wardrobe, I have learned how to dress and shop more wisely as a college student.

Below, I detail how I decide what clothes to bring with me to college and tricks to help you pack clothing and maximize your closet space.

  1. Survey your closet and separate the clothes you wear most often from the clothes you don’t like as much or don’t wear often.  Don’t bring the clothes you know you won’t wear. There’s no reason to waste your limited closet space!
  2. Then, divide the clothes you wear into the seasonal categories — winter, summer and fall.  Bring mostly clothes that overlap into multiple seasons, except for the heavy winter clothes you know you will need.
  3. Bring only a few of your favorite summer clothes because you are starting school at the end of summer and finishing at the beginning of summer.
  4. Bring clothes of similar color pallets, so that you can easily mix and match what you have and create new outfits. As a college student, you want to make your wardrobe versatile.  Solid/monochromatic bases and patterned/colorful accents makes mixing and matching easier and increases your options with fewer items to choose from.
  5. Ask yourself if there is anything lacking in your wardrobe you will need in college. Make a list.  Do you need a lighter jacket? Another cardigan?
  6. Shop for what you don’t have and know you will need.  Try on the clothes and decide if you love them before purchasing.
  7. Bring a hanger for every item hanging in your dorm closet. Have a few spare hangers just in case. By limiting the amount of hangers in your closet, you are maximizing the space.
  8. When storing clothes in your dresser, roll them instead of folding to increase the space.
  9. When you pack to go home for your breaks, bring with you a couple clothes that you know you won’t wear or are out of season.  It will make moving out at the end of the year so much easier.
  10. If you’re cleaning out your closet during the semester or at the end of the year, give the clothes you don’t wear to your friends or place them in the college’s Swap Shop or a nearby thrift store.  That way, you won’t have to bring them back home with you.

We Change and We Learn

Freshman year for me, and most college freshmen, was about experiences. Everything was new, but eventually the excitement faded away and routine settled in.

As soon as I left for the summer, I began to miss the routine – my friends, classes, and the many faces I had seen everyday around campus. When I returned home, I realized how quiet the world can actually be. I remember laughing when my voice echoed when IIMG_9551 called my dog’s name in my backyard. I would have never thought twice about it before. I can honestly say that today I thought of the first time I heard garbage trucks on the Nyack streets on my way into town last September. Although insignificant at face-value, these reminiscences contribute to my memories and a place that I have grown to love. I love my school, even its quirks. I love Nyack College’s passion for people, God, and making an impact within the world. Above all, my memories remind me that I’ve changed since college.
Yes, change was inevitable. However, going into college, I never knew how I was going to change or what or who was going to change me. The friends I made, the lessons I learned and the experiences I had have greatly impacted me and challenged my views.

This is what I have learned:

  1. Going away was the right decision.
  2. You can’t be friends with everyone.
  3. Shakespeare is right – “This above all: to thine own self be true.”
  4. Love is unconditional.
  5. Sometimes, you need to put yourself first.
  6. We can be inspired by, and we can aspire to be.
  7. Finding the right balance goes beyond eating junk food in moderation. It is a physical, mental and spiritual lifestyle.
  8. Don’t let people’s problems be your problems.
  9. Confidence is how you carry yourself when no one is around.
  10. When you’re having a rough day, get yourself a cup of coffee.
  11. Trust your gut.
  12. Comfort zones are meant to be broken.
  13. Establish boundaries.
  14. The word “dead” in deadline is not coincidental.
  15. People love to talk. Be interested in them, and their stories will surprise you.
  16. Manage your time and schedule. Don’t let either one of them manage you.
  17. However, that doesn’t mean you will always be at your best.
  18. You will be tired and feel brain-dead, but when you give yourself a push and goals to achieve, you will get everything done.
  19. You will miss home.
  20. On those days, you may eat certain foods that remind you of home (i.e. eating fries on a salad because you’re from Pittsburgh).
  21. If you respect yourself, others will most likely respect you.
  22. Be honest with yourself, and be honest with with your friends and family.
  23. Let go and have faith.
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