College Ready

Sharing strategies for student success, college readiness and academic coaching


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Page One, Chapter One: Happy New Year!

Wishing you all the best for a 2014 that is filled with family, friendship, laughter, and new opportunities.

Thank you so much for supporting this blog for the past 6 months. It has truly been a labor of love. I have been so fortunate to have visitors from 47 countries and I appreciate each and every visitor here.  I’ve also enjoyed reading your posts, and learning and growing from all of you!

I’m looking forward to a new year chock full o’ possibilities and opportunities to share and connect with all of you.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!~

xo~Lisa

 

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A new year, a new artistic you

This list “How to Feel Miserable As an Artist” from Street of Dreams was shareworthy, so I’m reblogging. I think we can all relate! #1 on the list is particularly true-regardless of your art form. (For me, it’s writing & photography.) Comparison will rob us of our creativity every time! As will trying to make others happy with our art. It can be hard to avoid that type of pressure, especially since we are aware of the audience as we are creating. But don’t let it stop you. Whatever type of art you create, resolve to JUST DO IT in 2014! Visit and read the full post-it’s chock full o’ fun! xo~Lisa

Street of Dreams

I’ve never been particularly fond of New Years. Maybe it’s because I have always sucked at keeping my resolutions. Maybe it’s because I find the song “Auld Lang Syne” incredibly depressing.   Or perhaps it is because I feel like its a manufactured holiday that most people my age use as an excuse to get smashed.

Whatever the reason, I usually find myself plopped on the couch watching the “Twilight Zone” Marathon that runs on SyFy with a bottle of non-alcoholic strawberry sparkling water

But then I ran across this.
New Years IdeaWhat a wonderful idea! Instead of making a crapton of goals as an artist based on making money, procuring fame or producing a product, perhaps, we can instead find a way to help produce the inner peace in our art.

It’s so easy as an artist to fall into these traps. I especially fail with number 10…

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On Making Your Soul Grow: Advice from Kurt Vonnegut

“Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow”

~~Kurt Vonnegut

Do it for Art’s Sake. Vonnegut at his best!


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Top 5 Ways to De-Clutter Your Mind, Improve Your Focus & Find Peace in the New Year

“Your Focus Determines Your Reality.”~~George Lucas

So, what are you planning to do in the New Year to increase your focus or productivity? Besides naps, of course. Naps are always a good thing!

I love the new opportunities and new beginnings the New Year brings to focus on what really matters. You know, the big things, like family, friendship, and doing what you love with passion and joy.  Sometimes, though, you first need to clear out the mental clutter before you can do that. All the distractions on that mental “to-do” list can keep us stuck.

Focus. I learned to focus in high school as an athlete.  You only hear one voice - your coaches even when the crowds is roaring.  You focus on the point guard who calls the play.  You focus on the ball.  You learn to drown everything out and to focus on what is at hand.

Over the next month, I’m going to be focusing my posts on ways to embrace the new year feeling peaceful, energized, focused, and yes, even organized. This article by Janet Choi of The Daily Muse on how to declutter your mind is a good place to start. Read it here, “5 Ways to De-clutter Your Mind and Regain Your Focus.” I like this particular list because it is short and sweet. Highlights: Make Lists, Automate (or delegate, if you will), Embrace the Junk Drawer–of your mind–the crumbled thoughts of those things we need to get to, but just can’t seem to do, Manage that In-box (Truth! I can REALLY relate to this one. I once had over 4000 unread messages.), and finally, just Think About it. Make time for some reflection on how you’re spending your time.

It might not be easy, but finding some focus is one way to embrace the new year with a peaceful attitude and positive outlook. You’ll feel more in control and right away, you’ve scored a personal success. I am on the same journey and I’m looking forward to checking some items off of the mental to-do list, pronto!

Napping is still recommended. Heck, with a de-cluttered mind…you’ll be certain to have peaceful dreams. Score! (Again!)


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At Semester’s End: Closing Thoughts from an English Prof

Keep Moving Forward.

As a college instructor, beginnings and endings are an integral part of my life. Each semester, I meet a new group of students, in each of my classes, and we get to know each other. We connect and we learn each others’ stories, if you will. 18 weeks later, we part ways, having shared the classroom experience. Although I occasionally have a student for another semester, for the most part I won’t see many of them again. Our time together is brief but significant.

I believe that the way you begin a semester is absolutely critical. From day 1, you’re teaching and you’re leading and you’re setting the tone. But on the flip side of that, I believe that endings are equally crucial. One part of their journey may be over, a class checked off a list of requirements, but the next steps are still to be taken, and the finish line of graduation, still a long way off. By ending on the right tone, you set your students up for taking that next step. You set them up to keep moving forward.

For a sense of closure and to mark the end of the semester, I always have a class party, in the form of a potluck and a mega-trivia challenge, based on the course content. These are celebrations of all the hard work, critical thinking, sharing of ideas and ok, blood, sweat and tears, that students have put into their writing and learning for those 18 weeks. These parties are so much fun. Students bring in all sorts of amazing delicacies, and this semester, one of my students even brought in homemade tamales-cooked by none other than his abuela–for the entire class. Another student made 2 different types of cake pops, while another did a homemade pie…we are never lacking sweet treats at these shindigs! Far more important than the food though, these gestures show the students that they have meant something to each other, and the connections made have been important.

I also write a “Final Thought” blog post, to reflect on the semester and wish my students well as they continue on their path towards their academic goals. I specifically tell them “Don’t ever give up.” Students do need to hear that message, early and often, during their college careers. So much of student success comes from resilience, grit, and a belief that it is possible. As instructors, we are teachers. But, we are also role models, mentors and messengers, and when we believe in them, students start to have a stronger belief in themselves. Here’s this year’s post, called On Endings, Broad Margins, and Moving Forward.

How about you? What do you do to mark the end of a semester or school year? Do you have certain traditions or rituals that help you to wind down, say goodbye, and move ahead in a positive way? I’d love to hear from you.

All the best for a restful Winter Break~

Lisa xo