College 101 Dedicated Feature Life

This is why you should study abroad – I went to Madrid

I’ve always been a little hesitant and unsure of myself. When I started telling people that I planned on studying abroad for the Fall 2019 semester in Madrid, I could tell that they were worried. I mean, how was I going to survive alone? I wasn’t fluent in Spanish, I didn’t know anyone else that was in my program, and I don’t exactly have a plethora of common sense – I’m more book-smart. I think that part of it was that they didn’t want me to get my hopes up. Studying abroad could be a really great experience or a really terrible one, and there wasn’t room for anything in between. 

But, I was determined to prove them wrong. I always have been. Ever since I was little I’ve always felt that people saw my capabilities as one-sided. I could do this but never that. To me, it seemed like an expectation thing. No one expected me to be so independent and sturdy, especially when I appeared in front of them as fragile or sensitive.

The truth is that I had never been given the chance to prove myself in this capacity. The second that I took too long or wasn’t doing something precisely the way that someone else would, they took over. And, as a result, I became apprehensive, kind of shy, and extremely nervous. 

However, it turns out that I was right. I had been largely independent all along, and studying abroad was a great idea. I slowly realized that I could do anything I set my mind to, even this, all the while holding on tightly to my emotional tendencies. I learned a lot about myself while basking in the Mediterranean sun. 

During my time in Madrid, I met people and made connections in ways that are indescribable. I don’t know if it is because I finally found myself in a situation in which I was free from implicit restraints and boundaries or if I became a product of my surroundings. But, I am sure of at least one thing, that being that I was entering a moment in which I was young enough to still have the ignorant belief that nothing mattered, but also wise enough to know that everything mattered much more than it had ever before. There were so many things, and so many people, clawing at me and insisting for my attention, and I finally let go.

For the first time I acknowledged the positivism of this sweet, even blissful, point in my life—one that I may never get again. So, I gave in to the extremities. In doing so, the whole world opened up. I found security in empathy, I learned about ambition, self-awareness, and I felt genuine longing for the first time. I spent days dancing in streets that were once touched by Goya, Ernest Hemingway, and Velasquez. I read poems by Pablo Neruda on the metro and I ate TONS of churros con chocolate.

What I found to be the most pivotal about my experience in Madrid, though, would be living in a home-stay. This is where I spent the most time, had the most laughs, and learned the most about myself. The day after landing in Madrid I met my host family and moved into their home. While they didn’t speak any English at all, and whatever Spanish I did know I forgot the second I opened my mouth, we managed to work through it. 

I knew I wanted to build a relationship with them, but before I could do that, I had to conquer my own confidence battle. I had to remind myself that yes, they were strangers with whom I would be living with for months, but I was also a stranger to them. Frankly, we were all in the same boat. Eventually, I got used to their habits, learned their family traditions, and studied their culture until I felt like I belonged there. They made me feel like I was as much a Madrileño as they are.

At dinner, my host parents would always ask about my day, my classes, and if I was up to anything fun. On the weekends, they would recommend countless restaurants or art museums to my friends and I, and then ask me if I liked it the next day. They even comforted me when I felt overwhelmed or insecure. What I appreciated the most, however, is that they actually listened to my stories, which I am sure that I told in broken Spanish, and always seemed interested.

We really grew to love and care for one another. In those four short months I am sure that they watched me grow exponentially. I truly became myself and started to feel comfortable in my own skin. Plus, I came out being able to speak and communicate in Spanish light-years beyond my ability from when I first arrived in Madrid. 

My memories from this time in my life are whole, and they always will be whole. I’m finally able to show off my independence and I’m never turning back. This just goes to show that a little bit of introspection and determination could go a long way. Of course, I was scared to be alone and so far away but I knew that it was what I needed.  Once I convinced myself to just rip off the band-aid my possibilities for personal growth became endless.

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Work Gender & Identity Life Stories Humor Life

23 hilarious things that happen when you’re a millennial managing other millennials

One thing that doesn’t get said enough, is how hard it is to manage your peers. With workplaces filled with millennials, it’s no surprise that there are millennials often managing other millennials.

As previous generations have noted, there’s a certain charm with managing this generation of workers – however just because you were born between 1985 and 1995 doesn’t mean you have the secret to managing the largest working generation since the baby boomers.

1. The shock that someone actually thought you were adult enough to be a manager of people.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A woman in a yellow dress gestures toward herself saying ‘Me?’ Source: Giphy

If there’s one thing that you can identify a millennial by, it’s their crushing imposter syndrome!

2. You dress like it’s the first day of school every day for the first month as manager.

Source: Giphy
Image description: An animated animal adjusts a red bowtie which they are wearing. Source: Giphy

You have to look the part now that you’re a fancy manager!

3. How can you convince your employees to care about work when you really…can’t even.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A black man in a police uniform says “I cannot even.” Source: Giphy

The shiny new job eventually wears off. And you can’t even.

4. When you have to tell someone that it’s against company policy to come in hungover…

Source: Giphy
Image description: A dissheveled man looks up from a desk covered in papers and coffee mugs with a paper stuf to his forehead. Source: Giphy

You knew you had work today.

5. …or high…

Source: Giphy
Image description: An animated pink starfish is drooling and saying “Uhhhhhh”.  Source: Giphy

Dude. Company policy.

6. …or still drunk.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A man with a microphone says ” What is this? Where do you think you are?” Source: Giphy


7. But then there’s that one time you come in hungover.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A blonde woman stares deadeyed and says “Oh my God, I’m so hungover. I’ve never been this hungover before. Source: Giphy

I hope no one noticed.

8. There are constant reminders that you have to adult for 20 other people. You become really good at faking it until you make it.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A women raises her hands and says dramatically “I need to project confidence, you know?” Source: Giphy

If you’re not on top, they’ll eat you alive.

9. You have that one employee who’s your favorite, but you can’t tell ANYONE.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A blonde, male flight attendant looks down and says “You’re my favorite”, blowing a kiss, then looks around with a deadpan look on his face. Source: Giphy

They’re like my children. Of course, I have no favorites.

10. That feeling when you have to educate someone on what is and is not okay to say at work.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A black man in a blue suit is surrounded by coworkers and says “We’re gonna have to talk to HR now.” Source: Giphy

When you’re the first LGBTQ+ manager who’s open about their mental illness, you really don’t take kindly comments that aren’t “politically correct.” Sometimes, you have to be the PC police.

11. Giving a kick-ass meeting and motivating the team to perform well.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A cat sits up with its paws together and the caption reads “Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” Source: Giphy

Let’s go, guys!

12. But then immediately convincing yourself that was a fluke – and you’re not cut out for this job.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A man in a suit says “Man, I can’t do this right now” as he wipes away a tear. Source: Giphy

The imposter syndrome is REAL.

13. When your employees tell you that the standards you hold yourself to are higher than you can hold them to.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A blonde woman gestures with her hand and says ” I can do better.” Source: Giphy

I expect nothing but greatness.

14. Is common sense something you can put under “skills” on your resume?

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Image description: A blonde man in a chefs uniform says ” You are a smart girl, yet common sense is not your forte!” Source: Giphy

I’ve learned to believe that common sense is a choice you make.

15. The responsibility you feel when you’re having a bad day at work, and realize everyone’s watching you.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A cat slowly emerges from beind a couch to look at the cat on the other side. The caption reads “Purranoia.” Source: Giphy

You know they are. Being in a bad mood can put a black cloud over the entire office.

16. Constantly needing your manager to assure you that you’re doing the right thing and that you’re not constantly under-performing.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A blonde woman gestures with both hands saying “I am frustrated because I am a failure at everything.” Source: Giphy

One of the days he’ll realize that I’m just a big PHONY.

17. Worrying about the office when you inevitably need to take a self-care day.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A baby fennec fox is being held by a woman in one hand, water is ebing run over it to give it a bath. Source: Giphy

How can I relax when people NEED ME?

18. Spending your self-care day reading books about how to be a better manager.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A cat flips the pages of a book titled “The Art of Military Strategy.” Source: Giphy

I prefer The Art of War.

19. Walking in the next day and finding that someone left a get-well-soon card, and the whole team signed it.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A cartoon girl in glasses says “My heartttttt.” The camera pans out to show her lying on the floor in a kitchen. Source: Giphy

Aw, guys. You’re the best.

20.  When the team manages to hold it together during an all hands on deck emergency.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A group of astronauts in space gear walk together. Source: Giphy

Let’s do it!

21. There ain’t no party like a millennial work party, because when millennials party you end up on Facebook Live.

Source: Giphy
Image description: Three women are at a bar, a blonde woman raises her drink and promptly falls off her bar stool. Source: Giphy

Yeah. No one needs to see that.

22. Wondering if you should make a “no phones at work outings!” rule.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A little girl raises her fist threateningly and says “Get that phone out of my face.” Source: Giphy

We can still party with no witnesses!

23. Knowing, that despite going gray in your 20’s, you wouldn’t want to do any other job.

Source: Giphy
Image description: A blonde man with a womans arm draped arounf him says ” I love you guy, but can we leave?” Source: Giphy

Seriously, though – go home.

The Internet Pop Culture

How to take a selfie and not die

As an early millennial, I end up questioning a lot of things I learned as a kid and testing them for their relevance in today’s fast-changing times. One of the things I remember learning was ‘safety first.’ However, I find it very surprising that safety doesn’t even come in last among millennials and Generation Z. Take, for example, the number of deaths that take place around the world while taking a selfie.

For the uninitiated, a selfie is a photograph of yourself, by yourself. Unlike pictures from older generations, it ensures that you don’t need to ask a random passerby to take a photo of you with the lovely scenic background as opposed to taking a shot of just the scenery. Taking a picture of yourself is dangerous? Apparently. While the first few deaths could be counted as freak occurrences or accidents, I cannot believe how unbelievably stupid you have to be to consider that it would be a great idea to get a good photo while balancing on the edge of the rooftop of a skyscraper. So not worth it!

So here are seven rules to help you decide if you should take that selfie:

1. Time

Guy taking a selfie beside railway tracks. Gets hit in the face by the shoe of a passing train's driver.
Via giphy. Description: Guy taking a selfie beside railway tracks. He gets hit in the face by the shoe of a passing train’s driver.

Do I only have a window of a few minutes to time this shot before an oncoming vehicle will hit me? Yes? Don’t take that selfie!

2. Balance

Animated people falling off a cliff, one after the other, while taking a selfie
Via giphy. Description: Animated people falling off a cliff, one after the other, while taking a selfie

Can I stand or sit properly for an extended period here or could I fall from a height? Yes? Don’t take that selfie!

3. Animals

A herpetologist (Amphibian and reptile expert) from National Geographic being bit on the nose by a snake, when he got too close
Via giphy. Description: A herpetologist (Amphibian and reptile expert) from National Geographic being bitten on the nose by a snake, when he got too close

Are you out in the wild? Is the animal a carnivore? Is it bigger or more powerful than you or venomous? Yes? Don’t take that selfie! (The only exception here is if you’re appropriately trained to handle these animals.)

4. Weather

Guy filming himself yelling very close to a tornado
Via giphy. Description: Guy filming himself yelling very close to a tornado

Are you in the midst of a natural calamity? Yes? Are you safe? No? Don’t take it! I cannot stress on this one enough. DO NOT challenge or test mother nature. If there’s a tornado, earthquake, tsunami or live volcano, run for cover and do NOT stop for a selfie.

5. Weapons

A little girl crossing a finger across her neck, signifying death
Via giphy. Description: A little girl crossing a finger across her neck, signifying death

Are you holding something that could potentially kill you or grievously injure you? Like a knife or a gun? Yes? Don’t take that selfie!

6. Attentiveness

Two ladies in car taking a video of themselves. The one driving gets distracted to sing with actions on camera, leading to a crash
Via giphy. Description: Two ladies in a car taking a video of themselves. The one driving gets distracted to sing with actions on camera, leading to a crash

Do you need to be attentive to what you’re doing? Are the lives of others potentially in your hands? Are you driving or are you a surgeon performing an operation? Yes? Don’t take that selfie!

7. Inspiration

Kid pointing and laughing. He suddenly turns serious and shakes his head and finger while saying no
Via giphy. Description: Kid pointing and laughing. He suddenly looks serious and shakes his head and finger while saying no

Is your inspiration a death-defying stunt you saw in a movie? Yes? Are you a trained stunt-person? No? Don’t take that selfie!

Honestly speaking, one would imagine all of this was governed by the rules of common sense and learning from others’ mistakes. However, the increasing number of deaths proves how uncommon common sense can be. Plus, it encourages the insane notion of “Wait, you made a mistake? I’ll do it too!” If you’d still like a never-seen-before selfie, do what this guy did and sharpen your Photoshop skills. He’s probably got better pictures than most and is still alive.