Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Staying Distinguished in College and Beyond - by Kinsey

Hello ladies!

This past weekend, I was back in my home state of Ohio at the 2012 Distinguished Young Women of Ohio program.  It was absolutely wonderful to meet the Ohio Class of 2012 and to be reminded of the incredible nature of the Distinguished Young Women program.  One of the participants, Brianna Barnes (who was actually the first runner-up!) asked me a very wise and, I feel, important question while I was getting to know the girls.  She said that she was aware of the fact that most participants in the Distinguished Young Women program hold themselves to a high moral standard or follow a higher Power, and she was wondering how I have kept my morals and “stayed distinguished” throughout my first year in college.

My precious friends from Lakeview, my home church, getting ready for an Auburn football game! War Eagle!
The honor of “Distinguished Young Woman” does not have an expiration date.  Being distinguished, which means to be marked by eminence or excellence, is a life-long goal that we must strive toward.  Our college years may be viewed by some individuals as a time to “party it up” or have as much fun as possible while squeaking by in our classwork – living a generally selfish lifestyle before the “real world” sets in.  However, I believe that our college years should not be squandered by being filled with activities that don’t impact those around us for the better!  We can accomplish SO much during our college careers, and our time is precious!  After college, we may find ourselves with a full-time job, a husband, or even a family, and time will be limited.  So, I propose that we stay distinguished in college and don’t lose sight of what’s truly important in life.  

 Some of the AU Singers and me, getting ready for one of our Fall shows.

 The first way I’ve been able to stay distinguished throughout my freshman year and keep my moral standards high is by finding good friends.  One of my biggest worries coming into school was the unknown of finding friends who have the same beliefs and standards that I do.  While it is good to branch out and have friends who are different than we are, it’s also essential to surround yourself with good influences.  Don’t condescend to others’ moral standards because it’s the easy thing to do.  Instead, hold those high standards for yourself, and choose friends who will encourage and inspire you!  It can be easy to “settle” and hang out with the first few people you meet, but the distinguished young woman will be patient and wait, forming friendships with those who will challenge you to become your best self.  

 Friends from Lakeview at our Valentine's Day party :)

In order to find good friends, being involved in activities you enjoy is a great place to start.  The very first weekend I was away from home, beginning my college career, I got plugged in to a local church.  The Lord has blessed me with my very best friends stemming from my small group, all of whom I met at Lakeview, where I attend!  If you get involved in things that you love, you are going to find others who love the same things!  I also auditioned and was selected for the Auburn University Singers, which is the show choir here at Auburn.  I was instantly connected with 35 other people who loved to sing and perform, and we had much in common from the very start!  Because I got involved in two of my biggest passions – my faith and music – I have found amazing friends who are great examples for me.

Be true to yourself in college!  Don’t lower your standards because it’s the easy thing to do.  Find good friends, get involved, and be distinguished!


Kinsey Crow is a college freshman at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama majoring in Nursing. Originally from Mount Vernon, Ohio, Kinsey was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio for 2011. Learn more about Kinsey here!

Monday, February 27, 2012

From Freshman Year to Freshman Year - by Megan

Between freshman year of high school and freshman year of college, the amount of learning I have done has been overwhelming. Whether it be about academic materials, life in general, or myself, these past four and a half years really have proven to be “the best years of my life.” Although we hear this all the time and think, “This is horrible” or “There’s no way this is the best,” looking back at them now, I have a completely different outlook.
So, here’s just a list of ten things I’ve either done or found out about in the last four and a half years and what I’ve learned from them.

1. Make a bucket list.
This past summer I got bored and found the idea of “101 Things in 1,001 Days.” This is a list of 101 long-term or terrifying things you want to do within the next two and a half years that you have either been needing to or wanting to do. I made this list over the summer and so far I’ve crossed off 18/101. My list included things ranging from ice-skating to mailing in a Postsecret to meet someone from every state (which is actually pretty easy in college!). Not only do you have what you want right in front of you, but there’s nothing like the satisfaction of crossing something off of such a huge list.

Ice Skating for the first time ever – Completed 11/18/11

2. Don’t let a relationship ruin you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you won’t meet your future spouse in high school,
but it’s not a big deal if you don’t. I’ve had friends in high school that got so involved in a relationship that they even chose a college based on their boy and later broke up with him. While having a significant other is a wonderful blessing, it can also be a curse. Don’t be upset if you’re single on Valentine’s Day. Take the day to celebrate YOU, and NEVER change because you think it’s what someone wants. You’ll only regret it in the end. I had a wonderful boyfriend in high school and we’re still friends, so make sure the boys you do give a chance are worth it. To this day we Skype and he gives me the best advice. (It’s also true you can be friends after!)

Before Senior Prom
Last week's Skype session!
3. Whatever you do, do for you.
The only person you need to make happy is yourself. As long as you are happy, others around you will be. If you’re choosing a college, pick the one you are most in tune with, not what your friends are in tune with. I moved 10 hours away for college to Nashville. Coming here I knew absolutely nobody; however, it is one of the best things I have ever done. My friends wanted me to stay in West Virginia and attend state school, and if I had chosen for them I wouldn’t be where I am now.

4. Take risks.
Don’t do something too crazy, but never be afraid to have fun or step out of your comfort zone. For instance, my first semester, a friend and I decided to take an impromptu trip to Greenville, Ohio with only a days notice. Although I was terrified of traveling and unsure of what was happening, it led to some of the best memories I have from freshman year.
All packed and ready to go!

5. Get involved!
Whether it’s sports, speech team, theatre, Mathletes- whatever. Get involved. Being a part of a team or club will be the best way to meet people and make friends. My freshman year of high school I wanted to try out as a cheerleader, but was intimidated because I couldn’t tumble. So, instead I joined choir and theatre and met three of the best friends I have. Even if it’s something you’ve never done, it could turn out to be something you love. (I’m actually considering a Theater minor at the moment.)

Seussical '11 Cast

6. Quality over quantity
It’s true when they say quality over quantity. In high school we all want to be the ‘popular’ girl. In high school, I was far from it. I was what many would call the "overachiever" or the "teacher’s pet." I was friends with people from all types of groups, but when it came down to it, the ones who would be there in a minute were what mattered. When it comes to friends, be there for the ones that are there for you.
7. Hold the door! The little things matter.
I’m a firm believer that no good deed goes unpunished, so every time I get the chance I hold the door for people. It’s amazing to see the shock on people’s faces and hear ‘thank you’ after.

8. Find fun in unusual places.
If you have a test the next day, don’t be afraid to go out with your girls before. Plan a study party together or something in order to prepare, but don’t take life so seriously. Make sure your academics come first, but don’t overload yourself to the point of exhaustion like I would do so often.

A fundraiser turned fun junior year!

9. Being above the influence is common.
We’re all told that "everyone is doing it," but I was in the group of kids that didn’t drink or smoke in high school and college. Never feel pressured to do these things. In fact, more people DON’T participate than do. So think about that next time you’re trying to choose between what’s right and what seems cool.

10. Have fun. HAVE FUN.
I can’t stress this more. Wake up every day with the thought that this will be the best day yet. Wake up thinking you’re beautiful and you can do anything. I promise you’ll be a happier person in just a week of this. If you have a day where you feel like crap, feel like crap. But get back up the next day and tell yourself you can do this. Without happiness and optimism, life will be more dull than it needs to be.

Governor's School for the Arts 2010

Is there something you’ve done that you look back on now and see as a learning experience? 

Megan Jack is a college freshman at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee majoring in Entertainment Industry Studies with a minor in Mathematics. Originally from Moundsville, West Virginia, Megan was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of West Virginia for 2011. Learn more about Megan here!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Fashion: The Greatest Outlet for Self Expression - by Veronica

Click, click, click, click echo her boots as she walks purposefully towards her next class. She appears to be genuinely happy and confident, growing increasingly so with each step she takes. Clad in bold colors and bright metallic, this girl seems unstoppable, but also approachable, determined – and certainly going places. As obvious by her dazzling and sparkling style, it is evident that her fashion sense is unique and completely her own. However, this style is a true reflection of the incredible individual that this girl is, no one else, just her. By portraying her personality through her clothing choices, we can make an insight into the fabulous person that she is. So the question to ask is this - what does your style say about you?

Fashion is undoubtedly my favorite topic to discuss. As a current fashion merchandising major at the University of Delaware, it truly is something I have a huge passion for and want nothing more than to make a career out of someday. But, contrary to what some may think, I am a firm believer that fashion is something that makes people unique. Just because a certain style may be trending, or all the racks in a store may be stocked with a particular item, fashion is something that you completely can make your own. Who says you can’t shop at thrift stores and turn a tacky old lady sweater into something fresh and fabulous? Fashion has unlimited possibilities and has something for everyone.

I truly believe that fashion has the power to give anyone confidence. But, it’s not the clothing that makes the girl, but the girl that makes the clothing! If you are comfortable in your own shoes and completely love your own style of clothing, then you will rock anything and everything you may wear. In high school, I wrote a fashion column in my local newspaper, where I would take a current trend or style and talk about how it could work for anyone. Each column I would close with my signature phrase, “Fashion is what you make it to be, and dress to be YOU!” Even now as a writer for my college’s fashion magazine, I encourage everyone to never feel like they have to compromise, settle, or fit a certain mold. Some may believe that fashion is society’s way of having everyone conform and to look the same, but I believe the exact opposite. Fashion gives each and every one of us the power to do something bold, beautiful, and brave. With it, we have the opportunity to not follow the crowd, but to be a trendsetter and a trailblazer, embracing who we truly are by the way we dress.

So fear not, whether you are lacking in the cash department, have no time to shop, are afraid of what others might think, any of that – it’s time to focus on you and put your best foot forward, whether it is a stiletto heel or a ballet flat! Distinguished young women aren’t afraid to be confident individuals, not dressing to impress others, but dressing to impress themselves. Be a fearless fashion leader in your own life and watch your confidence level rise through the roof. A wise man once said, “Confidence comes not from always being right, but by not fearing to be wrong.” So what are you waiting for, fabulous fashion divas? Get out there and change the world!

Veronica Townsend is a college freshman at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware majoring in Fashion Merchandising. Originally from Dagsboro, Delaware, Veronica was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Delaware for 2011. Learn more about Veronica here!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jacky's Tips for Mastering College: Some Random and Some Profound

  1. Master your Schedule 
  2. Master the BUN 
  3. Master your goals 
  4. Master your resources 
  5. Master the laundry 
  6. Master your Friendships 
  7. Master a dance move 
  8. Master your stuff 
  9. Master your mind 
  10. Master your life
Jeremiah 29:11-13

Blessings and LOVE <3

Jacky Arness is a college freshman at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota majoring in Political Science/International Relations with a minor in Theatre Arts. Originally from Fargo, North Dakota, Jacky was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of North Dakota for 2011. Learn more about Jacky here!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bras - by Amanda

There are two girls that will never leave you no matter how much you complain about them, or wish they would change. They aren't just any girls; they're THE girls. That's right. I went there. With so many girls exposed to negative images of what being a beautiful woman is really about, I believe it's important to emphasize what we as girls love about ourselves. This entry is not to be interpreted as “risque” or “inappropriate” in any way; my intention is simply to be realistic and celebrate just some of the things that make us beautiful. There is a three letter word that can solve 99% of the problems we as girls are faced with today, and no it isn't “man.” It's BRA.
I went shopping the other day with one of my sorority sisters, and we walked into Victoria's Secret; I was immediately reminded of the first time I walked into this iconic store. Simply put, the first trip to VC left me feeling horribly unqualified. Frankly, I was flat. I was not gifted with a chest that left people staring in insane jealousy. I was left thinking I wasn't as beautiful as Miranda Kerr or Giselle Bundchen, (but really who is? They are like freaks of nature, beautiful freaks of nature). Realizing the differences between me and the model in the photo, I started to feel less beautiful, less feminine. I became very insecure about my body. Was I too skinny? Was I too fat? Were my thighs too big? Suddenly I found that every magazine cover, and every TV program that featured people like Kim Kardashian or the hotties from the Hills was leaving me with an unhealthy sense of self pity. I had small boobs, and there was nothing I could do but complain and be patient in hopes that God would eventually give me the same equipment He blessed these models with. Naturally this was all at the tender age of thirteen.
On my seventeenth birthday, I was peering up at Miranda Kerr. Naturally she was modeling some kind of lingerie, which naturally I was not interested in. I was not interested in buying something cute to model to my nonexistent boyfriend; I was not interested in making my boobs each the size of Jupiter; I was not interested in making sure I had the perfect leopard print bra that would make all the girls in gym class jealous. I was on the hunt for self esteem, and there was only one place that could help me. So I took the plunge and opened the glass door rimmed with gold metal that resembled the entrance into some kind of palace. Immediately this experience was different than my first encounter with the undergarment underworld. I was still intimidated by the overwrought sexuality that surrounded me, but I was focused. Nothing could distract me from the quest to conquer my insecurities. I began the hunt. I didn't need anything basic like a white, black, or nude bra (EVERY GIRL SHOULD INVEST IN A WHITE, BLACK, AND A NUDE BRA), but I am also just a teenager who isn't known for being particularly wild or sexy, so there was no need to seek out a lacy, risque bra. After briefly glancing about the store, my confidence started to dwindle. Gradually, I became increasingly discouraged. Then suddenly, in a last ditch effort I opened the only drawer that was labeled with my size that I had not opened. Every bit of my being was praying that this drawer held my sacred holy grail. As I peered into the drawer I heard angels singing a Lady Gaga anthem behind me, and I knew immediately that I had found the bra for me. It was from the Incredible Collection. It was perfect for me, because I live in t-shirts, and this bra is so comfortable and has a playful rainbow animal print pattern. This was my bra. As I walked towards the register, I felt as though the other girls and the employees were applauding me. The pride I felt after that is incomparable.
On this most recent visit that I took accompanied by a sorority sister, I greeted Vickie as an old friend who played an intricate role in me defeating low self esteem. When I was talking about this with a friend, they laughed and inquired why a bra was what I needed to feel beautiful. She added that it was a silly idea because I was the only person who saw my bra. That's true. I don't gallivant around town in just my bra, but the fact was, I see it. I wear it, and it is just something that makes me feel beautiful. So maybe it doesn't solve 99% of girls' problems. That may have been a tad bit far fetched, but I bet that there are just a few problems a girl will face that a trip to Victoria's Secret can fix. It fixed my self esteem, and after I buy a new bra, even though it's not “sexy”, I still feel like a million bucks. Who knows, maybe this is the key to curing female insecurities forever. What's most important to remember, is that everyone needs to find what makes them feel beautiful, no matter what it is.

Amanda Wineman is a college freshman at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama majoring in Political Science with a minor in French. Originally from Cut Bank, Montana, Amanda was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Montana for 2011. Learn more about Amanda here!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Rebecca’s Top 10 Tips for Applying to and Choosing a College

No matter what stage of your teenage years you are in, it’s never too early to start thinking about colleges! The sooner you start preparing, the easier it will be for you. Hopefully these tips can help you get started and help you in this exciting step in your life!

This is a HUGE step in your life, and you should be thrilled to dive into it! Have fun exploring colleges and preparing for the next stage—it’s an amazing adventure!! 

9. Don’t stress!
If you keep your cool and follow everything that you have to through the application process, things will work out, I promise! It’s not as terrifying as some people work it up to be. Just go in with a positive attitude, and you will be fine!

8. Look for scholarships!!
There are SO many different scholarships available out there, many of which you probably don’t even know you’re qualified for! Always keep your eyes open for opportunities, and work hard in school and extracurricular activities to make even more options available. Of course, if any high school girl is looking for an amazing and fun scholarship opportunity, look into participating in the Distinguished Young Women program! With free participation, it is a fantastic way to earn scholarship money. With the program, I am going to college for free!!!

7. Apply to as many schools as you can.
Only applying to one school and not having a backup is never a good idea, just in case something goes wrong. I would recommend applying to at least four or five. Personally, I applied to seven. It’s always good to lean on the safe side! Applications can be expensive, but in the long run, it is worth it!

6. Grades matter!!
Yes, we’ve all heard this a thousand times. However, I really didn’t appreciate just what it meant until I got to the Distinguished Young Women program and realized just how many amazing, smart young women (and students overall!) are out there. I only got one B in high school, and I was still beaten out scholastically by a number of girls in the program. Even if you don’t have a perfect grade record, keep working! Colleges also look for grade improvement through the years, and how you challenge yourself.

5. Be unique, but not crazy.
Yes, colleges look for students who stand out, and students who can add something unique to their campus. But don’t go crazy and start exploring the meaning of life or telling your birth story to answer a question of “tell us something interesting about you.” In the same way, though, don’t try to over-sell yourself. Don’t turn an essay into just a list of accomplishments. Quality over quantity. Rather than simply naming accomplishment after accomplishment, talk about your involvement in the activities and what they meant to you.

4. Pay attention to deadlines!!!
“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” I think we can all relate to this Douglas Adams quote in one way or another. However, when it comes to college applications, DO NOT WAIT! A lot of schools actually have scholarship deadlines. These scholarship deadlines tend to be listed as one of the school’s earliest deadlines, so if you just assume that you’ll have time to make one of their following application dates, you may miss out on getting any scholarships there.

3. VISIT. Visit, visit, visit, visit, visit.
If at all possible, visit the schools you’re looking at. It’s amazing how much the “feel” of a school can affect your decision. I walked onto a few campuses that I was seriously considering and immediately said “I could not imagine going here.” On the other hand, I looked at South Alabama online and said “There’s no way I want to go here,” and after taking a tour, turned to my mom and said, “I don’t want to leave.” Virtual tours, pictures, and facts are great, but there’s no way of telling how you’ll really like a school until you get your own first-hand account.

2. Explore all the options.
Make sure you know what is being offered to you, especially when it comes to scholarships. Research schools online to see what kind of options are available to you. There’s more than you know! Also, don’t underestimate yourself—you never know what you’re capable of until you try! 

1. Keep your mind open!
I cannot stress this one enough. I wish I had a flashing neon sign that I could send through the computer to emphasize this. From the time I was in sixth grade, I knew that I was going to attend a college within a two-hour radius of home, so I could drive home any time that I wanted. I would never go to a school that I would have to fly home from. Now here I am, attending the University of South Alabama (roughly an 18-hour drive home so I have to fly home for holidays, and the last school on my list), and I am loving it! I could not imagine a better match for me. So when you’re looking, don’t limit yourself! You know the expression “beyond your wildest dreams”? It’s true—expect the unexpected!

Rebecca Mitchell is a college freshman at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama majoring in Elementary Education. Originally from Ijamsville, Maryland, Rebecca was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Maryland for 2011. Learn more about Rebecca here!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Katye on Being Distinguished

Let’s face it, ladies.  Society wants us to be perfect.  I am completely guilty of falling into that pit of pressure that we all get from magazines, TV shows, movies—it’s everywhere.  Now, I’m not saying I have low self-confidence or anything, but sometimes I feel like I don’t live up to the expectations that society places on women. Who’s with me? Instead of encouraging us to be strong, smart, humble, generous, beautiful, DISTINGUISHED young women, we are pushed to be sexy, materialistic, submissive, and selfish.  It is up to us to decide which of these paths we want to take.  It’s up to us to live up to the Distinguished Young Women name.  Good ole’ Webster defines distinguished as: “marked by eminence, distinction, or excellence.” It’s our turn to be excellent, girls.  Do something great this week: volunteer at a local charity, talk to someone you’ve never talked to before, read something that will broaden your understanding of the world.  It’s these little things that make your life BIG.  Don’t waste your time wishing you were skinnier, had better hair or whiter teeth—in 30 years, will those things even matter?  You should all be proud of your accomplishments, but don’t stop now.  You have so much left to do, such an impact to make on this world.  Don’t let society bring you down.

I know I shared this quote in my first blog post, but it is so prevalent, here it is again:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

“Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.”
1 Peter 3: 3-4

Stay distinguished, and much love to you all,

Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here! 

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

9 Things About College I Didn't Know in High School - by Devin

Devin Kerns is a college freshman at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas majoring in Communications Studies with a minor in Italian. Originally from Stillwater, Oklahoma, Devin was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Oklahoma for 2011. Learn more about Devin here!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Keeping Abreast - by Sydney

In colleges and universities nationwide, basketball teams are promoting and supporting breast cancer awareness during the month of February. This Valentine's Day my college basketball team (Go Nyack!) is wearing Pink in support of all the women out there fighting cancer during our game. It's close to home for my team, as one of our mothers was recently diagnosed. We aren't the only ones, turn on ESPN this month and you'll be seeing Pink, and lots of it.
We wear Pink in our game as a sign of our support, with Pink shoelaces, headbands, socks and T-shirts. I personally am a huge fan of lipstick, and will be wearing some bubble gum tinted cosmetics as well. Nothing too girly of course- I am a basketball player after all :-). 

There are some awesome ways you can raise awareness too! Maybe you're like me and play a sport, or participate on a team - encourage your teammates to set a date and wear Pink. You can sign petitions, buy Pink merchandise, or even "like" Breast Cancer Awareness on Facebook! My college is holding a 5K race for donations, a fun idea for you guys who like planning events! Do you make a killer red (or Pink) velvet cupcake? Hold a bake sale!  There are so many things you can do, I'm sure if all of the bright, driven, women get together we can do anything! I've listed a link below so you can get involved! 

I'd love to see pictures of your Pink-ness, so take a picture and send it to me! If you get really creative, I'll post your picture on my Facebook. 
Can't wait to read your comments! 

xoxo Sydney

Sydney McIntosh is a college freshman at Nyack College in Nyack, New York. Originally from North Pole, Alaska, Sydney was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Alaska for 2011. Learn more about Sydney here! 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Ann's Tips on Boys

Ann Clancy is a college freshman at Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama majoring in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. Originally from Ferrisburgh, Vermont, Ann was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Vermont for 2011. Learn more about Ann here!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Be Number One…and Number Two - by Rachel

I was very actively involved in student council when I was in high school, and we frequently took trips to State Conferences around the state. At the State Conference my senior year there was a guest speaker that had a very powerful message.

He told a story about a time when he made a button with the words “I am number two” written on it. He went about his day with this bright yellow button pinned to his shirt. Many people just gave him strange looks, but one woman asked him, very seriously, “all right, if you are number two, then who is number one?” He beamed at her and answered with a wink, “You are.” All of us student council kids went wild. It was such a brilliant idea that pushed the concept of putting others before yourself. 

After some thought on this topic, though, I’ve decided it is a wonderful concept for teenagers that are confident and sure of themselves, but to tell every teen and preteen to wear a button blatantly stating that they are number two, could be a major blow to their self-esteem.  So, I’ve come up with a slight modification:

Be number one in your head and number two in your heart.

Being Number One in Your Head
Self-confidence is absolutely important for people of every age, but I’ve found that it is critically important during tween and teenage years. Without self-confidence success in school, making friends, and (probably most importantly) having a boyfriend/girlfriend is difficult. I cannot express how critically important it is for you to love yourself for who you are. You were made perfect the way you are for the specific purpose for which you were put on this Earth. Inside that little mind of yours think to yourself that you are number one, but please don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to be massively cocky; I’m encouraging you to be positively confident.

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”
–Malcolm S. Forbes

Being Number Two in Your Heart
True selflessness can come only after you have accepted to love yourself. How can you expect to pour love into other people if you don’t know what love is within yourself? Anyways, if you have accepted yourself, find your heart (it’s that organ that you know, keeps you alive, located in the left side of your chest) and metaphorically pin a little button labeled “I am number two” on it. Just like self-confidence is important, “loving thy neighbor as thyself” is also tremendously serious business.

So whether you plan on making a bright yellow button and wearing it around, or if you just plan to metaphorically wear it on your heart and mind, always remember to be number one in your mind and number two in your heart.

Rachel Williams is a college freshman at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico majoring in International Studies. Originally from Kirtland, New Mexico, Rachel was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of New Mexico for 2011. Learn more about Rachel here!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hannah's Tips for "Facebooking" Safely


Almost all of us have one.  You probably log on multiple times a day and stay on for hours at the time—or even have it on your cell phone and use the mobile app.  I know that I use facebook all the time and almost always have instant access to the site—whether through the computer or my cell phone.
Facebook can be a great tool for keeping up with friends, especially after high school!  I belong to multiple groups, everything from my sorority, Kappa Delta, to the Distinguished Young Women facebook group.  However, if used in the wrong way facebook can ruin college and employment aspirations.
I have always been really careful about the pictures and statuses I post on facebook, and you should too!  Employers and even college scouts are now using facebook to get the scoop on applicants.  One bad picture could seriously damper your chances at earning a scholarship, internship, or job.  Listed below are the do’s and don’ts of facebook:

•    Don’t post pictures while holding a cup (even if the cup is just for water!!)
•    Don’t EVER post pictures where alcohol is involved
•    Don’t post bikini photos or revealing photos
•    Don’t post really negative statuses
•    Don’t reply to messages from people you do not know
•    Do set your profile to private
•    Do watch who you friend or accept
•    Do keep your “about you” section updated
•    Do keep a close watch on what others are posting on your wall
•    Do use facebook for relationship building and FUN

Facebook can really be a wonderful thing—when it is used safely and carefully!
Check out this link for more facebook tips and tricks:

What could you do to clean up your profile or friends list?

Hannah Roberts is a college freshman at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi majoring in Biochemistry with a Pre-medical emphasis. Originally from Mount Olive, Mississippi, Hannah was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Mississippi for 2011. Learn more about Hannah here! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Kelsey's 40 Quotes to Live By - Part 2

See Kelsey's first 20 Quotes to Live By HERE!!

21. People change and grow. Do not let something you did in your past define your future. Decide every day to be a better person than you were yesterday.

22. It’s an interesting concept to think about, isn’t it?

23. So go out on the dance floor and do the hokey pokey, even if it makes you look ridiculous. It’ll be much more memorable than sitting down and being bored while watching everyone else.

24. You shouldn’t live with God just during prayer time; God should be with you in everything you do.

25. It’s the truth.

26. Prince Charming will love you for your laugh, personality, smile, and sense of humor. Not for your shade of lipstick.

27. Every moment, event, and day happens for a reason.

28. God knows what he’s doing, just have faith and keep living your life.

29. Forgiveness is SO hard sometimes, but it is ALWAYS worth it.

30. As my best friend always says, everything happens for a reason.

31. Everything is beautiful; everyone is beautiful. You just have to look for it.

32. Not every day is easy. But take each morning as a new beginning.

33. This is a great quote for people who are trying to eat/live healthy, or for people who are trying to save money, etc.

34. If you believe it you can achieve it!

35. Do you get on Facebook to read all of the gossip and drama? Or do you spend your time reading encouraging notes? Just stop and think, right now. What do you read, and what does that say about you?

36. Exactly.

37. Always keep an open mind and take the time to listen to others. Some day, you’ll learn something of value. I promise.

38. What a brilliant quote. Whether you do the wrong thing or the right thing, someone is always going to say something bad about your choices. Always make the right choices so you can at least be happy with yourself.

39. I’ve found myself asking God, “Why?” before. Just remember, God always has a plan and a reason.

40. Self-explanatory.

It’d be great if you guys could tell me your favorite 6 quotes, or 6 things you found helpful/really liked!

Kelsey Quin is a college freshman at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana majoring in General Health with a Pre-medicine concentration. Originally from Peru, Indiana, Kelsey was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Indiana for 2011. Learn more about Kelsey here!