8 Ways To Help You Fall Back In Love…With Yourself.

I’m a lover.

Here’s a short list of some of the things I love:

  • My family
  • My friends
  • My cat
  • My dogs
  • Traveling
  • The beach
  • Mexican food
  • Singing and dancing in the shower
  • Writing
  • My bed
  • Netflix
  • Watching Netflix in my bed
  • Medium rare filet mignon wrapped in bacon
  • Sweetarts
  • Fridays
  • Yes, even that boy that’s screwed me over too many times to count

the list could go on and on.

Being a lover also means I care.

  • I care if someone leaves my texts on “read”. (I’m actually convinced people who leave their read receipts on are the worst kind of people and only do so to inflict pain on others)
  • I care when someone makes plans with me and doesn’t follow through
  • I care if a fictional character in a movie gets dumped
  • I care when Shadow limps over the hill at the end of Homeward Bound (if you don’t know what I’m referring to then shame on you)
  • I even care if someone looks at me the wrong way

You probably get the point…I have a big heart. It’s my biggest strength and my biggest weakness. Sometimes I care SO much just to get so little from others in return, and nothing is more devastating than that for someone like me. I’m sure at least some of you know the feeling…

But recently, as I’ve been going through the life change of leaving college and trying to find my place in the world, I’ve had some time to reflect on something very important and my biggest takeaway is this:

Sometimes we get so caught up in loving and caring for others that we forget to love and care for ourselves.

 

In college, you’re constantly surrounded by people your age. It’s easy to become invested in these people because you see them so often. Don’t get me wrong, some people are worth investing in (besties you know who you are…LYSM). But I would say that majority of people you meet in college are people that don’t deserve too much of your energy.

Leaving college forces you to distance yourself from all those people. The people that really matter, you will find a way to stay in touch with, but the others will fade away and you will begin to realize how little these people actually matter in your world.

I just realized that if you’re still reading, by this point, you probably think I’m severely depressed. (I promise you, the message behind this blog is actually positive, so don’t give up on me quite yet.)

Back to what I was saying…

Sometimes we get so caught up in loving and caring for others that we forget to love and care for ourselves.

 

If you’re anything like me, you love a lot of things. But, there’s one thing you’ve forgotten to love…

yourself.

Loving myself has been especially hard for me as I get turned down from job after job, but if I don’t remind myself every day to continue loving myself despite rejection, I will never have enough confidence to hopefully one day land that perfect oppportunity.

So to help all those other big-hearts out there who may need a little bit of motivation to share a piece of that big heart with themselves, I’ve decided to come up with the eight best ways (in my opinion and from my prior experiences) to practice self-love:

  1. Cut off the people who bring you down more than build you up

Like I already mentioned before, when surrounded by a bunch of people, it’s easy for our brains to get confused between seeing people a lot and caring about people a lot.

You know that saying “out of site, out of mind?” …Well this is like the opposite: “in site, in mind.”

Don’t get sucked into the trap! Just because someone is in your mind, that doesn’t mean you should pay them any mind.

  1. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friends

I didn’t come up with this one by myself. I was told this once and it really just stuck with me. It’s a simple idea with huge importance. Would you ever say to your best friends “you’re looking pretty fat today” or “ that guy/girl is too good looking for you” or “you’re having a bad hair day.” No you wouldn’t. (And if you would, then you probably have issues and a lot more things to learn to love than just yourself.)

But, do you ever say these horrible and demeaning things to yourself?…

*gasp*

If you’re anything like me, then you probably have plenty of times…STOP DOING THAT. Who said you can’t be your own best friend???

  1. Don’t be afraid to be alone

Moving away from all my college friends back to my hometown, where most of my hometown friends no longer live, kind of forces you to spend a lot of time on your own. At first, I will admit I struggled a lot with this. But change gets easier with time and as that happened I started to cherish my alone time more and more. It gives me the opportunity to discover myself, which leads me to my next point…

  1. Find a hobby

If you struggle with loving yourself and knowing your self worth, nothing can be more rewarding then figuring out what you enjoy doing and then (hopefully) becoming good at it. As you can probably already guess, my hobby is writing, and I’ve found a way to use that hobby to share my thoughts and inspiration with others (as well as hopefully occasionally making them laugh).

This has really helped me so much when I get down on myself during my job search process. I’ve had so many people reach out to me (some people I barely even know) saying that they “read my latest blog post” and “think I’m super talented.” Nothing is more satisfying than having other people recognize your talent for something you sincerely just love doing.

Side note: To all of you who have said something to me, I honestly can’t thank you all enough. You have no idea how much positivity you have brought into my life.

  1. Be selective about the people you invite into your life

Similar to how you should get rid of people who aren’t positively impacting your life, you should be smart about what new people you’re welcoming in as well. I’m someone who’s really bad (or good-depending how you look at it) at repeating my past mistakes and falling into the same fatal patterns. Don’t rid your life of negatives just to add more negatives.

  1. Order that side of queso

“Loving yourself is all about loving your body”-every gym rat ever.

Okay, yeah maybe??…if exercising is what makes you happy. But, if queso makes you happy then….

Don’t get too caught up in society’s standards of perfection/beauty. Some of the prettiest people in the world have also been the most depressed. Being skinny or fit does not always mean being happy. If exercising is what makes you happy, good for you…go for it! If it doesn’t make you happy, queso will do the job just fine, I promise.

  1. Put the phone down

I mentioned earlier my hatred for read receipts. Well, if I had one way to describe how our mobile-centric society makes the majority of us feel about ourselves it would be this: the way it feels when you send a risky text to your crush and he/she leaves you on “read”:

LIKE SH*T. (sorry for the language, but it really is the best way to describe it.)

Social media is the drug and we are the drug-addicts. Social media ruins our lives. We’re constantly being reminded of the “awesome” things other people have or the tropical vacations people are going on with their “perfect” significant other. (Newsflash: a lot of times people post things to create the perception that their life is amazing, when in reality it’s far from it.)

It makes us constantly unhappy because we are always craving something more. We’re ALL the victims. So why don’t we just all stop posting things all together???

Oh yeah…because we remember the high we get from posting something ourselves and then seeing the notifications roll in, so we partake in the madness…and it’s a vicious, never-ending cycle.

Okay that might be a little bit extreme^

Social media is a pretty nifty thing. I use it a lot and I’ve seen it be used to uplift people as well, but I think it’s important that we’re all at least aware of its downfalls, because it can be a pretty scary thing as well.

Basically what I’m saying is use your phone in moderation, but don’t get so consumed that you start to believe the world in your phone is more real than the real world you actually live in.

  1. Post that selfie

This might seem contradictory to my last point, but it’s really not. Social media, like I said, can be a positive thing if used correctly. While you certainly don’t want to be that self-centered person that only posts pictures of themselves, it does not hurt to post a selfie here and there. I know a lot us worry about posting pictures of just ourselves because we’re afraid of what other people might think of us for doing so.

Sometimes saying “screw it” and posting a picture anyway is the easiest way to build confidence and step a little bit outside of our comfort zone…and confidence is a HUGE factor when considering self-love.

Well, that’s all I have to say for now. I hope I was able to provide at least a tiny bit of inspiration for you before you start your Monday. This week, I urge you to try your best to remind yourself how awesome you truly are.

With love,

Kaitlin

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Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Getting Out of My Parent’s House

So back in May, I graduated from college. Now, it’s August…and I still don’t know what I’m doing with my life. I’ve been applying for jobs and I’ve had many interviews, which most (from what I can tell) have gone pretty well. But yet, here I am without a job. People think nothing can be worse than bombing an interview, but they’re wrong. Killing an interview and having great, friendly conversation with the interviewer(s), then either hearing nothing back or receiving a scripted email about how they “enjoyed meeting you, but didn’t think you’d be a good fit for the position” and that “they’ll keep your resume on file for future openings” is much worse.

 

It’s.

So.

Exhausting.

 

I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s all for a reason and keep pushing forward even when it seems like there’s nothing left to push for. I’m eager to start my own life in my own apartment in a new city and nothing is going to stop me from doing that.

 

I often feel alone in my pursuit of getting out of my parent’s house and living independently. But, I know in reality I’m not alone at all. There are many people out there that are feeling the same way I am. The problem is no one really wants to talk about it. I’ve been wanting to write about this for awhile now actually, but I haven’t because I didn’t want to publicize the fact that I still don’t have a job because, truthfully, I’m embarrassed.

 

On that note, I would like to share some inspiration with others who may be in the same boat as me. So here are some things to remember before you get too down on yourself:

 

  1. No one ever said it would be fair.

Let’s be real here. When has life ever been fair? Yes, that person you went to school with who had straight C’s or straight D’s the whole entire time might have a job and be bragging about how “C’s/D’s get degrees” and you might feel like you want to bang your head against a wall. But don’t. That could cause brain damage and you really don’t want to stoop down to their level.

 

  1. Surround yourself with people who remind you how awesome you really are.

If you’re living at home like I am, sometimes it’s easy to be sucked into hanging out with people who used to play an important role in your life, but don’t anymore (usually for a very good reason). It’s fine to hang out with these people, just don’t let yourself get sucked into old feelings and patterns that might bring you down. Getting rejected from job after job is already excruciating enough. Don’t put yourself through more pain and hurt than necessary. Instead, surround yourself with your family and people that have always cared about you. If you’re closest friends are living across the country, then try your best to take a weekend to go visit them. (But don’t make it more than a weekend. It’s important to always be ready and available to interview during the weekdays.)

 

  1. Get out of the house.

It can be so easy to want to lay in bed until noon when the only thing you have to do is get up and apply for jobs (most of which you never even hear back from). It’s fine to sleep in a little bit because you deserve it after all the hard work you’ve put into your job search, but don’t get carried away. Wake up at 8 am and go straight to Starbucks and get to work. It’s a pretty great feeling when you actually do. The only thing that might feel better would probably be getting an actual job LOL.

 

  1. Get outside.

This goes along with “getting out of the house”, but seriously…get outside. Sometimes all you need is a little fresh air and a new perspective. At the beginning of the summer I went hiking with a friend on one of the hottest days in Illinois. I hate bugs and I hate humidity…Did I mention I HATE humidity? But, it was probably one of my favorite days of the summer. We still made it fun somehow and I left feeling refreshed (despite the heavy amount of sweat dripping from my body and the layer of dirt covering my feet).

 

  1. Stop making excuses.

“I have all day tomorrow to do that. I’ll just get up super early tomorrow. I’m going to get so much done, it’ll be great!”- NO. That’s all I have to say about that.

 

  1. Go out.

If you know me personally, you probably know I’m an avid believer in nightlife. I’m not encouraging alcoholism by any means, but I do encourage getting out and socializing (whether there’s alcohol involved or not). It’s important for everyone going through a rough patch in their life to see people and socialize. Besides, who knows…maybe you’ll run into someone who wants to give you a business card or help send your resume on to important people. That’s definitely happened to me a couple times.

 

  1. Make new friends.

If you’re living back home until you find a job, many of your old friends aren’t there anymore and your friends from college obviously aren’t there either. When you’re having a down day, it can be hard knowing who to turn to. You can always turn to your family, but sometimes it can be easy to feel as if they’re putting too much pressure on you to find a job.

 

Instead of being sad about how you have no friends, it can never hurt to make new ones. The best part about new friends is you don’t even have to tell them about your job search struggles if you don’t want to—sometimes it’s nice to hang with people who don’t know much about you so you can get your mind off of the negatives.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to tell others you’re job hunting.

If you’re like me, as I already mentioned, it can be pretty embarrassing to tell people you’re still job hunting three months after graduation. But, you shouldn’t be. If people ask you your life plans, tell them. Even if people don’t ask your life plans, find a way to tell them. People are usually more willing to help than you think they are. You never know who people might know. Moral of the story: it never hurts to bring up you’re aspirations to strangers you meet on the street.

 

  1. Make sure your resume is readable by computer software.

This one’s a little more practical, but it’s VERY important. People don’t usually talk about how you need to make your resume readable by computer screening software. The truth is, when you apply for a job anywhere online, you’re resume is being thrown into a pool of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of other resumes. Recruiters and HR people don’t actually sit there and hand-sift through all of them. Instead they use computer software to find the best matches for them. Problem is, these computers are not accurate at doing so. So, in order to make sure the software picks your resume as a top applicant, it is important to know the right way to word and set up your resume. This usually means that it can’t be visually appealing in any way, which sucks because who wants a boring non-aesthetically pleasing resume?? NO ONE.

 

If you need some help with this here’s a helpful site I found online. Or there’s many resume writing services out there you can pay to do it such as TopResume.

 

It’s still very important to have a pretty resume, as well, so you can hand to people you meet or give to people that want to pass on your resume to people they know. But, anytime you are applying through a company’s website, it’s best to just use the simplified version that’s easily readable by the software.

 

  1. Smile—you never know who’s watching.

This one is a hard one for me sometimes (okay, most of the time). Anyone who knows me knows I have a horrible case of RBF. And anyone who really knows me knows the past year of my life has been anything but easy. Sometimes it’s hard to find things to smile about. After all, I graduated magna cum laude from the best Journalism school in the world, and yet, 3 months after graduation, I’m still living in my dad’s house. But that being said, sometimes a smile works miracles. A smile makes you more inviting and more likeable, which are both important when it comes to getting people to want to hire you. Even smiling to random people on the street can always benefit you.

 

 

I know all of this probably doesn’t mean much coming from someone who still doesn’t have a job, but I have spent a fair amount of time searching for a job and I truly believe all of these things to be incredibly important. So, either dive right in and indulge or simply take it with a grain of salt. Up to you.

 

With love,

Kaitlin

 

 

An Open Letter to the Boy who Emotionally Abused Me

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to write this for a while now. There’s just so many things I want to say, so many screenshots I want to post. I want to show others what you did to me. I want them to know that you’re not who they think you are. I want you to feel what you made me feel. I want to send you websites that list signs and examples of emotional abuse, just so you can really see how many of the things on the list you did to me on the daily.

 

I also want to hug you. I want to tell you that whatever happened in your life, that makes you show so much hate towards the people you supposedly “love,” is something you can overcome. I want to believe what others believe about you. I want to erase from my memory all the dirty names you called me, all the times you told me to “f-off”, all the times you mocked me in that high-pitched voice, all the times you screamed at me and looked at me with those devil eyes, all the ultimatums you gave me, all the times you threatened to never talk to me again, all the times you told me I didn’t deserve your comfort when I was upset because I was “asking for it.”

 

But more than anything, I want to be a friend to you…because you’ve obviously never felt like you’ve had a friend that you could go to when you’re in a dark place. You think darkness is something you need to conquer yourself. I know this because you told me you had “no sympathy for me” when I was upset and came to you because you “got over your depression yourself.”

 

But did you really? Or did you just take that depression and turn it into anger, into hate for those who care the most about you?

 

You’re the most lonely and angry person I know. But no one would know it. No one sees that side of you. You think it’s a sign of weakness to turn to people for help and you’ve bottled up your pain and anger for so long that you decided to bring me down with you.

 

The worst part is that I let you.

 

I let you call me a “spoiled brat,” I let you boss me around and punish me like I was your child, I let you convince me I was “lucky” you still wanted to talk to me because I didn’t actually “deserve it.” Many nights you made me cry so hard, that I found it hard to catch my breath. I wondered if anything bad ever happened to me, if you’d even care.

 

It’s been a week since I last had to hear you screaming at me through the other end of the phone without being able to get a word in. I’ve been happier this week than I have since I don’t know when.

 

Maybe since that first night we really hung out? That night was so fun. I’ll always remember the nights like that one that we had together. Everything was so innocent. We knew nothing about each other. You didn’t want to hurt me or call me names. All you wanted was to see me smile and you made every effort to do so. I appreciated you so much because I had never met anyone who was so determined to help me conquer my chronic RBF. (I think it actually worked for a while, so thank you.)

 

Times like that make me believe you really do have a big heart. It’s just a little tainted…

 

I don’t even know if you’ll see this, but I really hope you do. I want you to know I’m here, as a friend, to talk to if you ever need it. And if you never talk to me again, I just want you to know that I forgive you and I hope you find peace in this world.

 

With love,

Kaitlin

 

 

Advertising: The Truth Behind the Stigma

Every time someone asks me “So what’s your major?” or “What do you want to do once you graduate?”, I tend to hesitate before I answer.  I try to take the time to construct my response as carefully as possible. I feel the need to justify my reasoning for wanting to go into advertising because for some reason there’s a stigma surrounding the word. But why?…My goal is to debunk this stigma, one accusation at a time.

“Advertising is annoying.”

Okay, yes. I will be the first to admit that I absolutely hate pop-up ads and  I don’t think I’ve once clicked on one of those flashing banner ads. The truth is, some advertising is annoying. But, if you are making sure to visit credible websites, you should be seeing these kind of “annoying” ads less and less. Google is constantly on its toes updating its algorithm in order to prevent websites with these kinds of excessively annoying ads. For example, Google’s panda update makes sure Google’s search algorithm is stopping sites with poor content from working their way up into top search results and Google’s penguin update is designed to catch websites that are spamming search results.

“Advertising is too expensive. We can’t afford it. It’s a waste of money.”

Have you ever considered the fact that you possibly can’t afford NOT to advertise? There are constantly new ways being discovered to use advertising to cost effectively bring businesses traffic. Let’s use Google Paid Search (otherwise known as Adwords) as an example. Let’s say you’re opening up your own local organic smoothies business. Sure, your friends and family might all know about your business through your Facebook page or word of mouth, but what about everyone else? What about those people you don’t know that are running errands and all the sudden get the craving for a smoothie? They pull out their phone, click on their safari app and type “smoothie places nearby” into their search bar. All that comes up is Smoothie King. They’re slightly disappointed because they were looking to try something a little more different and unique, but they settle for Smoothie King anyway, because they didn’t know your smoothie shop even existed.

Google Paid Search gives you the opportunity to bid on keywords that you think people might type into their search bar when they desire what your business has to offer. You can choose to bid as much or little as you want. According to the quality of your ad and maximum bid you specify for each keyword, Google will place your ad accordingly. One of my favorite things about Adwords, is you can also add on ad extensions, which help by giving your audience a call to action.

The moral of the story is, it is very unlikely that word of mouth alone will get you the ROI that investing in even the simplest advertising tactics will.

“Advertising is unethical.”

Actually, advertisers are held to very strict standards put forth by the FTC in order to prevent false or misleading advertising. Recently, advertisers have been testing the water by using cookies and tags to gather information on their audiences. You might be quick to say this is unethical, but without it, advertising would be even more annoying because it would not be as targeted, therefore of less interest to you. I don’t know about you, but I would rather see ads for products I’m interested in. They actually can come in handy. For example, recently I have spent a lot of time searching swimsuits for spring break. Advertisers know this because they have tracked my activity. I have started getting swimsuit ads served to me without even having to search for them.

Some could say that advertising is exact opposite of unethical. Many companies have started generating content marketing, which is material made by a brand that customers often seek out by themselves because of its value. (Yes, that DIY drink video you saw on Facebook IS advertising.)

“Advertising does no good- just harm.”

Advertising increases business sales, competition, and the growth of new businesses and ideas. Advertising also matches buyers and sellers more efficiently. All of these things increase GDP. In other words, higher levels of advertising spend = higher GDP. Higher GDP=a nation that is moving forward. And that’s a fact.

I hope if you have/had any biases about advertising, that this blog at least somewhat helped you put everything in perspective. I also hope that if you currently work in advertising or dream of someday working in advertising, you do so confidently and with perseverance. As Don Draper once said, “You want some respect? Go out and get it for yourself.”

Check me out on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kaitlinzurkammer 

Why you should hire me

I’m usually not one to brag, but desperate times come for desperate measures. And by “desperate times” I mean searching for a job…

I’m writing this, not only for all the potential job-seekers that might aimlessly wander onto my blog with 9 followers, but also for myself. Job searching is stressful and I’ve learned that it can really get you down in the dumps if you don’t remind yourself of the good stuff. So if you don’t want to read a blog about why I think I’m awesome, then you’re more than welcome to leave, but otherwise, please excuse me while I toot my own horn.

 

Why you should hire me reason one: I’m one of the most trustworthy and honest people you will ever meet.

Even if I wanted to lie or be deceitful, I wouldn’t be able to…just ask my mom. You could always count on me to perform by the rules.

 

Reason two: I find the most joy in life when doing nice things for others.

For example, I often buy people I care about random gifts that remind me of them. If the job includes working with clients, I guarantee I will be able to build valuable relationships.

 

Reason three: I enjoy getting along with others, but I am not afraid to say something when someone is doing something that I know is wrong.

A lot of people are afraid to say something to someone (a friend/a coworker) because they don’t want things to be awkward. I, on the other hand, would rather just get everything out on the table so the issue can be resolved. In other words, I’m not afraid to be confrontational when it’s needed. I think this is a great skill to have in any workplace.

 

Reason four: I’m a good communicator.

I may not be the best at public speaking (very few people are), but I am a great communicator when it comes to writing, speaking to someone one-on-one or speaking in group settings. Not to mention, I like to believe I have a pretty good sense of humor, which can always come in handy.

 

Reason five: I’m a creative that’s good with numbers.

I enjoy creative writing and devising creative strategies, but I’m also good with numbers. What more could you ask for? Instead of hiring someone creative and analytical, you could just hire me instead!

 

Reason six: I have a curious mind.

One of my top motivators according to the DISC personality assessment is “theoretical.” This means that I have a constant drive for the discovery of truth. What kind of person is more hardworking than someone who is always on the pursuit of knowledge? No one.

 

Reason seven: I’m graduating cum laude from the world’s number one journalism school.

The University of Missouri has given me so many hands on opportunities to better my strategic communications skills. If you’re looking for someone that has already had real client experience, look no further. I’ve also gained quality experience working in advertising/marketing at my internship at True Media.

 

Reason eight: I’m confident enough about my abilities that I wrote a blog about it and posted it publicly. 

Confidence is key my friends.

 

If you would like to know more about my experience, please check out my LinkedIn page at www.linkedin.com/in/kaitlinzurkammer !!! 

-Kaitlin

 

 

What I wish I knew from the beginning: A note to college undergrads

Dear undergrad,

As a soon to be graduate, I would like to share with you a few tips I have accumulated over the past 4 years to help you live up your college years to the best of your abilities:

Having more free time will NOT motivate you to work ahead and do things you’ve been putting off

One semester I made the mistake of only taking 12 credit hours and only having class two days a week. I was convinced that I was going to get SO much accomplished. Maybe I would redo my resume, maybe I would beef up my linked in page, maybe I would write a lot of blogs, maybe I would take up a new hobby like running or writing poetry??? Nope, the only thing I accomplished is about 5 different Netflix series. What I’ve learned is the more you get involved, the more you will be motivated to push yourself beyond what you “have to” do and instead do things that are not a necessity, but will be of benefit to you in the long-run.

It’s okay if you don’t know what you want to do, even if you’re a last semester senior

Seriously guys, don’t stress it. You probably have enough stress to deal with. Just do life. More likely than not, what you’re meant to do will hit you out of no where. I honestly wasn’t sure what I wanted to do until this semester. One day it was such a mystery and then the next it was completely obvious. Everything sort of just fell into place and made perfect sense. Another good thing to help you do if you’re feeling really lost is to take personal assessments quizzes. You can find a lot of great ones online for free and they are VERY helpful. I promise they will help point you in the right direction.

Befriend your professors

If you don’t have at least a couple professors that you would feel comfortable asking for a letter of recommendation from, you are doing it so wrong. Your professors can connect you to more people than you can imagine…just think about how many students they’ve had in previous classes who now have jobs! Also, I feel like many people just forgot that professors are people too so talk to them!!..Answer questions in class, ask questions in class, go to office hours, comment on how cute their kids are or bond over your love for cats, seriously whatever! They are much more likely to be more understanding of unexpected events that may lead you to not be able to finish an assignment or come to class if you simply try to create a relationship with them.

Just because each meal swipe gets you an unlimited amount of food, that does not mean you should eat an unlimited amount of food

I left my senior year of high school weighing 115 pounds. By the end of my freshman year I weighed about 135 pounds. The “freshman 15” (or in my case the “freshman 20”) is not some urban legend, it’s real life. Love your body and it will love you back.

Odds are you won’t be dating your high school boyfriend by the end of your senior year. Don’t waste the best years of you life

Okay, I may be a little more on the cynical side when it comes to relationships, but if history repeats itself (and it does..*cough* high-waisted jeans *cough*), then it is more than likely it just won’t work out. I’m not saying don’t date at all, I’m just saying if you do date, please get a good grasp on your priorities. By this, I mean please don’t stop hanging out with friends or living college life to it’s full potential. There’s way too many good drink deals for that.

Try to call your mom every day

Or your dad, or your best friend, or your dog…whoever. You have plenty of time for a quick chat on your walk between classes or your walk back to your apartment/dorm. College is not easy and it’s so important to keep reminding yourself of the important things in life so you don’t get too down in the dumps.

Sometimes sleep is more important

Don’t push yourself too hard. Just try your very best. Unless you’re an insomniac or something, too many over-night stays in the library WILL mess you up. And you WILL cry.

Chase your vodka with water

Mio is a magical thing. Use it. Also, make it a habit to chug a glass of water before you go to bed and maybe eat something too (S/O to Jimmy John’s). A bad hangover can literally steal a whole day away from your life.

HAVE FUN

I remember when I was in grade school and high school students looked old. Then I remember when I was in high school and college students looked old. Now I’m a senior in college and I don’t feel old at all. Moral of the story, undergrad goes faster than you can imagine. Don’t waste it…because one day you’re writing a college acceptance essay and the next you’re two months away from graduation writing a blog post about your experience.

Good luck,

Kaitlin

 

Follow me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/kaitlinzurkammer

 

 

Why Americans Should Care About Brexit

There’s a stereotype that Americans are ignorant, especially when it comes to politics. Being American, this can be rather offensive, but I will be the first to admit that it’s far from false. A 2007 National Constitutional Center poll found that two-thirds of Americans can’t even name all three branches of the U.S. federal government.

A perfect example to display this “American ignorance” popped up on my Twitter feed a couple weeks ago:

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Normally, I wouldn’t think twice about a tweet like this. Embarrassingly enough, I’ve done a pretty good job, in the past, upholding this “ignorant” stereotype. I’ve never been one to care about politics, let alone European politics. But spending this summer abroad in Belgium has really opened my eyes to how I, and the majority of Americans, are dangerously ignorant to the world around them. Brexit is bigger than some made up blended word, it’s bigger than the U.K. and even bigger than the E.U.

*****

The E.U. was established after WW2 to create peace and prosperity. Ever since, it has done its job, creating a single market that regulates free movement of people, goods and services and fuels economic growth. If Brexit creates a domino effect and more and more countries start leaving the E.U., the union will no longer survive. Peace and prosperity will be replaced with conflict and loss, and if history repeats itself, there is no question that the U.S. will be involved.

I spoke with Frank Versmessen, head of Regulatory Affairs at the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), about the issue. “It (Brexit) is not just about the U.K.; it could have a spill-over effect. It could enact nationalist forces where populists will try to take advantage of the situation to create turmoil,” he said. “Just imagine the world before 1950. The Americans were getting involved in war back then.”

A broken E.U. could also mean much more expensive trade across Europe. The single market of the E.U. provides the advantages of wider choice, better quality and lower prices. The U.S. can buy goods and services from anywhere in the EU without having to worry about different contractual conditions between each country.

Very similar to the issue of trade is the issue of travel. Frank Versmessen from SWIFT did a great job of explaining this issue.

“If you want to travel fast, you travel a lot. If you want to travel far, you travel in a group,” Versmessen said.

In the same way that a broken E.U. will cause trade to be much more complicated and costly, a broken E.U. will cause travel across Europe to be quite a headache.

Another issue is the U.K. has been the USA’s primary connection to the E.U. in the past. Illinois State Representative Dan Brady gave me some good insight on his fears.

“The U.K. will no longer be a gateway to the E.U. that it once was,” Brady said. “Relations between the U.S. and the E.U. must be stronger in the future.”

According to the Financial Times, U.S. companies have invested $558 billion in the U.K. Meanwhile, a recent survey by BritishAmerican Business said that 88 percent of U.S. companies in the U.K. believe that the U.K.’s access to the E.U.’s single market is the main appeal of the UK for American business.

The single market provides a large market to sell into without the burden of tariffs at internal E.U. borders. Companies can also organize their supply chains using any supplier within the E.U. All of this results in the potential for businesses to maximize efficiency and be much more competitive. The single market of the E.U. is what allows companies to grow. If the U.K. loses access, so will all U.S. businesses based in the U.K.

Following Brexit, American businesses will have to either consider other options (which could be quite costly), or take the risk of keeping the U.K. as their gateway to the E.U. (which is filled with uncertainty and could cause severe economic loss). In other words, it’s a lose-lose situation. Leaving the U.K. to find other places within Europe to do business will likely cause economic damage in the short run, while staying in the U.K. to weather the storm will likely cause economic damage in the long run.

Although the Brexit issue might seem like it’s physically distant, theoretically it is anything but. It might not cause the existence of porn, pizza, WiFi or sports to be at stake, but it clearly has the potential to change the world as we know it.

As Danielle Pletka, senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute said, “Brexit could be a wake-up call, or it could be 1933 all over again.”

Works Cited

Brady, D. (2016, July 5). Email interview.

Commission, European. “Europe’s Single Market Benefts EU Citizens and Businesses.” (n.d.): n. pag. Http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/publications/docs/citizens_en.pdf.

European Commission Internal Market and Services. Web. 2016, July 6.

Versmessen, F. (2016, July 5). Phone interview.

Whitman, E. (2016, June 23). Brexit and US: How British EU Exit Would Affect Americans. International Business Times. Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/brexit-us-how-british-eu-exit-would-affect-americans-2384835 .

2016, June 25 . How Brexit Will Change the World. Politico Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/06/brexit-change-europe-britain-us-politics-213990 .