Crucial Advice If You Are Going to University

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I started university earlier than most, I had my first uni class at 14 in China. I officially started studying uni in America at 16, three and a half years later I had my first degree. Now, I have 2 degrees and have attended 4 different universities all over the world.  I’ve lived on and off campus, taken out student loans, paid tuition, and pulled all night study sessions. Suffice it to say, I am an expert at university life. 

In all my experience at universities, I’ve been given massive quantities of advice. Don’t drink on a Sunday, hand write your notes, focus on studies, maintain a side job. The suggestions never end. And NONE of it has helped me in the real world. No one warned me that university is the easy part of life, that studying is for an exam is relaxing compared to job hunting. No one said student loans would make me suicidal. No adult has ever given me worthwhile advice about university. 

So, I’m going to do every student the favor I was never given. There are only 3 things you need to know about university. Live by these rules, and life will be simplistic. 

  1. Unless you are going to Yale, Cambridge, Harvard or some other Ivy League, NO job will ever care where you got your degree from. They WILL NOT care if you went to your local college or a state university. (Honestly, a lot of jobs won’t care if you went to an Ivy League either). So, DON’T take out more $$ and debt to go to a fancy private school across the country. Go to the school that is the cheapest for your chosen major. 
  2. Your grades/marks DO NOT MATTER. At the end of the day, on your resume/cv you will put down that you graduated from X university with Y degree. I’ve had dozens of interviews and an employer has never asked me what GPA was, they don’t care if I got honors. An employer cares if you got the physical diploma and THAT IS IT. Therefore, don’t drive yourself crazy at university to get the perfect scores. Learn what matters for your chosen speciality, enjoy sports, party with friends and experience life outside the lecture hall. I promise that your marks/scores truly will not matter once you walk across the stage at graduation. Literally, NO ONE GIVES A SHIT ABOUT GRADES.
  3. The real world and job market all rely on one skill. The ability to sell. If you can creatively interpret your skills and summer jobs on your CV so it matches for each position you apply for, then finding employment will be easy. Every job should have a personalised resume that uniquely sells YOU to that specific employer. This is all a nice way of saying, on your resume/CV and in interviews, YOU JUST GOTTA BULLSHIT. I’ve been hired for dog walking and teaching English, and my degree is in political science. How did I get those jobs? I sold the hell out myself. I am my #1 product. 

There you have it. These 3 things are the most important pieces of advice you will ever get. By following my words of wisdom, university life will be less stressful, you will get interviews, and most importantly, you will survive in the real world. 

(Please excuse my colorful language in this post, my goal is to get the point across as clearly as possible)

 

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How To Turn a Side Hustle Into a Career

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Does your ESL teacher look like this?

Staying in England, I have struggled financially. The cost of living is high all over the country, and finding a well paid position in my skill set isn’t easy. Around Christmas of 2017, I had a lot of people to buy gifts for and no cash to do it. I was desperate, and even though I already worked 2 part time jobs, I took on another. My parents taught English online, and suggested a company that had flexible schedules and decent pay. It was called Cambly, I applied, and was hired within 3 days.

I initially took the job as a way to get through the holidays, but, I was so good at it, and I made so much money that I never got around to quitting. I’ve been with Cambly 6 months now, and I work online almost every day. I swore that I would never be a teacher, but, I have a knack for teaching English. Just a few months into working for Cambly, I became one of the highest rated teachers, and I rarely have any open slots in my schedule. Sometimes my teaching hours are booked up weeks in advance.

Teaching English was my side hustle. I never thought it would turn into more. But, I was miserable in my day job working at a nursery/daycare, and was desperate for a change. The UK is a hot spot for ESL summer camps, and all of them were looking for qualified English teachers. I applied for 2 different companies and was hired by both. So, I immediately left my job at the nursery and NEVER looked back.

My side hustle was born out of necessity. I needed money, and I had the skills to teach English (those skills were a degree and understand of different cultures). But six months in, my side hustle is now my primary source of income. I make at least $100 a week and I only work 10 hours teaching online. I make around $500 a week teaching English at summer camps. My schedule is insanely flexible, I design my own classes, and am basically my own boss.

Will I always be an ESL teacher? I don’t know. For now, it pays the bills and allows me the freedom to write. Turning a side hustle into a career was never my plan. However, side hustles are usually things that people enjoy, are good at, and treat as a hobby. Like running an Etsy store or a blog. It only makes sense that something a person is passionate about would become more profitable than a job they despise.

If you have any questions about side hustles, making profits out of them, or about teaching ESL, DO NOT hesitate to contact me. I will answer any questions and happily lend support!!

 

The Top Reasons Egypt Is Not Safer Than America

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As an ESL (English as a Second Language) I speak to many nationalities, and Egyptian’s are frequently my students. Today, the BBC published an article claiming that Egypt is safer than the UK and USA. A survey from Gallup Global claims that more people feel safe walking alone at night in Egypt than in the US.

Ask any of my students, they would all laugh and say that was ridiculous. Egyptians live in a constant state of fear, their leader is a dictator. Several of my students have had family members killed by this regime. In no way is Egypt safer than the UK. In the UK police officers don’t even carry guns, in Egypt, not only do they carry, but they use them as well.

I can only assume that people in Egypt feel equally UNSAFE at night as they do in the day. Thus, the survey results say Egypt is the 16th safest country in the world. As a traveller, I promise that I would not walk the streets of Egypt comfortably at night. And I am a fairly fearless person, I’ll walk anywhere alone at night in the US, even the ghetto of New Orleans.

This is the article that lists the safest countries. Unsurprisingly, China and Singapore were were very safe, while Venezuela was on of the most dangerous. Overall, I don’t think this survey is accurate. I mean, they suggest that Turkey is more dangerous than Myanmar. That Japan is LESS safe than UK (which is ridiculous). The survey is clearly flawed.

Red Tape Connects You, Me, and Everybody

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If there is one thing I have learned from travelling the world, it is that somethings are the same in every country. A McDonald’s burger always tastes the same amount of greasy and wonderful. People universally dislike the average American tourist. Lastly, bureaucracy is a impossibly difficult no matter where you go. I speak from experience, I have dealt with governments agencies on 3 different continents.

In the UK, it is challenging because they want multiple documents for one thing. Proof of address for example, they want you to have at least 4 items, from different sources! This is especially challenging when most bills and mail are sent via email rather than physical post.
In China, they expect you to wait in massive, huge lines (queue’s). Upon reaching the front, the believe you should already know the paperwork, documents and information you need. There is no room or error or leeway. Everything must be perfectly in order to get what you need.
I think America is one of the worst locations of this. Trying to simply prove your identity is a chore. They want your birth certificate, passport, drivers license, social security care, and your left arm. This is just to prove you exist, to prove your address/residency is a whole other matter. Today, I attempted to get a driver’s license. As I have residency in two countries, having snail mail isn’t easy. But, I managed to round up several pieces of mail with my name and address, along with a title to the house I was in that also had my name on it. Yet, none of this was enough! Proving that I had a partial ownership of a piece of property in the state wasn’t enough evidence that I was a resident. My mother had to sign a legal form stating that I was a resident at the address. Then, they attempted to say our physical address wasn’t correct. Oh, the drama!! Then they charged me $70.
I shouldn’t complain. I recently discovered that in Turkey to obtain a driver’s license, you need to have a health examination to assure the government you have no health conditions that might impede your driving abilities.
I take comfort in the fact that bureaucracies are the same world wide. We might all live in different lands, but we can all unite in our loathing of the red tape.

How Buying Local Could Be Changing Your Political Views Without You Realizing It

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Around 2010, a “buy local” trend started to emerge in America. Suddenly, it was considered wasteful and un-environmentally friendly to buy products that were grown or made abroad. Initially, this trend has solid logic. Local businesses like farmers directly contribute to their local economy. By buying your vegetables solely from them, you are ensuring that your money is going directly back into your own nearby economy. This ensures that your area continues to thrive and doesn’t face unemployment or poor living conditions.

But, eight years later, and the “buy local” trend has really taken hold. Some people will only buy products that are made within 100 miles of where they live. And they shun products that were made abroad. I’m aware that this might seem like a stretch, but has the encouraged people to lean more towards nationalism and less towards being international participants?
If you aren’t buying goods from other countries, then you aren’t supporting international trade agreements that the US has made. Those agreements provide millions of jobs world wide. By not purchasing a toy made in China, you could be putting someone out of work. Furthermore, by focusing only on your local economy/area, you are forgetting that there other people and places out there. These people/places deserve income and money just as much as you do. The “buy local” trend is pushing the idea that American products are more important and worth more money than international sourced ones (because “buy local” always costs more money). A belief that American goods are better pushes people to believe more in that American’s are better.
Nationalism is at an all time high under the regime of Trump. He holds a lot of responsibility for this with this “Make America Great Again” and “America First” propaganda. But, he is feeding on sentiments that people were already growing. I think that “buy local” has caused people to put too high a value on what American’s do. And it causes them to ignore the importance of being part of a global economy. America could never survive if everyone lived the “buy local” lifestyle. As much as Trump hates to admit it, America needs other nations to feed it’s people. The US simply can’t produce enough foods and goods for its citizens on its own. “Buy local” is a good, but only in small doses. Taking it too far can lead to extremism that I believe harms foreign policy.

The Forgotten Victims of Terrorism

“UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond echoed her call, saying Muslim countries had “suffered the greatest burden of terrorism”
-BBC “EU urges broad alliance on terrorism, at Brussels talks”
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This quote struck a chord in me.  Following the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Westerners have tended to focus more heavily on terrorist attacks by ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other militant groups committed in Western countries. In the aftermath of the Boston bombers, the American media could talk of nothing else. A similar situation is occurring in France.

Now, while these atrocities are horrific, and deserve widespread discussion/attention and to have efforts made to prevent them, I think that the world tends to largely ignore the terrorist attacks that are occurring in the Middle East. Arguably, the countries that are harmed the most, and victim to the most violent attacks are Middle Eastern states. However, media coverage on these attacks is negligible. A news story will pop up in the headlines of BBC, The New York Times, or any other major media source, but there is very little follow up or discussion afterwards or it is relegated to the little viewed sections.
 It is fair to say that these news sources don’t focus on these attacks because they report on American or UK news, but is it fair to solely focus on the terrorism that occurs on Western borders? When discussing ISIS in Afghanistan, it is usually in reference to the military attacks, how it threatens U.S security, and the involvement of the US army. It is not discussed from the perspective of ISIS continually inflicting terrorist attacks on the citizens of Afghanistan.
A prime example of the focus media sources take on Western based attacks is the school shooting that recently took place in Pakistan. 141 people were killed by the Taliban, most of them children. It was a top story for a day or two, then it was forgotten. In France, 12 were killed, and the attackers were found within days. In Pakistan, the terrorists weren’t found, and 120 more people died in this attack than in France.
I don’t intend to imply that the deaths in France mean less than those in Pakistan, or that those in Pakistan are worth more because more died. I just find it curious that in a world that is increasingly more global, and interdependent, media and politicians for the most part still focus on crimes committed in Western countries and push other crimes to the side. While Western politicians don’t have control of what occurs in Pakistan or Afghanistan, they most definitely could be more pragmatic and make more of an effort to support the victims of these attacks. If none of this can be done, then media sources could give more press to the attacks, so the suffering of the victims is known, and the hardships are acknowledged. No one wants to feel that their sorrow is silent, that the world doesn’t care about the pain that has been inflicted on them. I respect the UK foreign secretary for acknowledging that Western countries aren’t the only targets of terrorist attacks and I hope more acknowledgement is given to this in the future.