Friday, May 11, 2012

Finding your Organizational Planning Style - by Rachel

I have never been one for organization. Occasionally, I would write a sticky note and post it somewhere, or write in my high school issued planner that began to collect dust. To quote one of my favorite bands, The Jonas Brothers, “Oh how the tables have turned.” Now that I’m in college, organization of my weeks and events are essential.

A few weeks ago I was in a training session for Resident Advisors, and the facilitator brought something to my attention that I foolishly hadn’t noticed before: left brain and right brain people need their own specific ways to plan and organize their time effectively.

I’m going to give you a quick run-through of what we did.

First we took this test, and you should too:

Next, after we established if we were left brained, right brained, or a perfect balance of both, we learned the different methods of organization that benefit each type.

Logical Lefties
You left brained people are detail oriented. You believe there is a right and wrong way to do everything, and often the right way to do something is to follow the directions. There is a place for everything and everything is in it its place. You like to assign numbers to things. You like to keep your room clean, usually.

This is what you need:
  • A Planner: Get a planner, whether it is daily or weekly, you need a place to write down your thoughts. 
  • Graph Paper: Writing down your ideas or homework on graph paper can soothe your mind because it keep you inside the lines and stay neat.
  • Folders: Buy a folder for every aspect of your life, color coordinated based on importance or time. Definitely have one for school and every one of your classes (or similar classes). When you are old enough to manage your money, have a folder for all of your receipts. 
  • Labels: Labels, Labels, Labels! If you feel like you need one of those handy label makers from Office Max, go grab one of those, but if not sticky labels will do the job. Labels will help keep you organized in every aspect of your day. Label your notebooks, label the organization boxes in your room, and even label your drawers if you want!
You will usually stick to one major planner for a long time because you will feel comfortable with it.

Radical Righties
You right brained people are big picture people. You believe in the journey and not the destination, and prefer spontaneity along the way. You often let your emotions guide you rather than logic. There are always many ways to approach a situation and there are two sides to every story for you. If you could classify everything with a color you would. Your room is usually messy (not messy, you just haven’t had time to clean it!)

This is what you need:
  • A Journal: Grab a journal or whip out your laptop and write about your life. Writing down your days or your weeks will be good for you because you can write anything you feel. It doesn’t have to be organized thoughts, which is just what your right-brain dominated mind needs. 
  • To-Do list: Get a piece of printer paper or a colorful lined piece of parchment so you can write all of your plans in the same place. Sometimes you need some organization, so having all of your important tasks for the week written down on a paper you can carry with you will be very beneficial. 
  • Post-it Notes: Take those sticky little guys and write down everything you need to do on high traffic areas like your mirror or your door. Buy some that are preferably bright colors, so you can see them from a long ways away.
You will often change methods for organization every year or maybe even every month, depending on the situations. You’re mind is always changing.

Those of you that find yourself stuck in limbo between these two, well, you’re just going to have to figure out what works best for you! Take a few examples from both and incorporate them into your life. Use what works and throw out what doesn’t.

If you’re curious as to which side of my brain dominates my world, I’ll have you know that I am right brained, though I was relatively in-between. I let my emotions guide my actions, and though I try to be organized, I’m really not. I am a big picture person. I have post-it notes strewn all about my room, especially when I have a big assignment or event coming up. I keep a planner, which is very helpful, but I don’t always use it.

I hope this helps, especially if you are going into middle school or high school next year! It’s really important that you figure out what organizational style works best for you because you’re going to start getting very busy, you distinguished ladies, you!

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!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Everyone Needs to Laugh - by Kelsey

Everyone needs to laugh. At least once a day. Minimum. So, here are a few things to help that giggle escape from your belly today. 

Simba was walking very slow, so Nala told him to “Mufasa!”

Why aren’t there any planes where Peter Pan lives? They can Never Land! 

Why is Cinderella a bad soccer player? She runs away from the ball!

What’s your favorite joke? Leave a comment and let me know! 

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! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What I Learned in a Year - by Hannah

Well, it is the end of another semester.  As I see people from my high school getting ready to graduate, I realize that it has been an entire year since my own graduation.  I really don’t know how time flew so fast or how I’m still standing from this hectic first year of college. 
We all go off to college in order to gain a degree in order to obtain a job.  However, I now feel that there’s a lot more to college than just going to class or learning about chemistry or English composition.  Here is my list of things that I learned this year—both practical and wisdom-filled.

  • Take a pack of gum to class in order to make new friends and meet people. It works every time.
  • Go to the gym...not to lose weight, but to de-stress. We have a great racquetball court!
  • Wash clothes in cold water. You don’t really have to separate your laundry if you do this!
  • Making one B is not the end of the world; it may seem like it though.
  • Sleep, a social life, and good can only pick two.
  • Major in what YOU are interested in—not in what will earn you the biggest salary.
  • EVERYTHING happens for a reason. Not getting a class you wanted may = avoiding a horrible professor.
  • Time FLIES!

I feel like I learned a lot this year, from balancing chemical equations to learning about integrals, but a lot of what I learned is practical, life-applicable lessons.  However, the biggest thing I learned this year is that college does not have to be all about stress and class.  While yes, it is important to maintain good grades in order to graduate and get a degree, it is also important to make lasting bonds and relationships and learn a few life lessons before you are thrown into the working world.

Like I said before, time flies; additionally, it seems like college time passes by much more quickly than high school time.  I remember being in middle school and high school and thinking that a single school day lasted FOREVER.  Now, I barely notice the length of my classes and wish that days were longer!  So lastly, good luck and congratulations to all the seniors this year.  Your freshman year of college will definitely be rewarding as well as eye-opening.  Also, I know you are all probably counting down the days until you will graduate or just get out for the summer, but don’t wish your time away—I wish I had some of it back.

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, May 8, 2012

Write It Down - by Kinsey

Hi ladies!
I’m about to expose my inner dork and talk to you about how great journaling is.  I’ve never been a huge writer, but there are so many benefits to keeping a journal.  

Here are my top five:

1.    Journaling is a great way to improve your handwriting!  Seriously though, that’s one of the reasons why I love journaling because it’s fun to use a nice pen and pretty paper and write in cursive.

2.    Journaling helps to organize your thoughts.  Sometimes, I’ll have random revelations throughout the day and I love being able to put them down on paper and help analyze what I’m thinking.

3.    I like journaling because it illustrates the growth I’ve experienced over the years.  Reading my journals from elementary school is absolutely hysterical! I used code names for people whom I was mad at so that if they ever discovered my diary, they wouldn’t know I was talking about them.  But journaling is a good way to see the progression of your maturity.

4.    Journaling is great for emotional health!  It’s definitely a release to write about your frustrations and lessons you have learned.

5.    Journaling can get you ready for your participation in the Distinguished Young Women program some day!  Writing throughout your week(s) during the competition is a great way to be able to absorb your experiences.

I hope I’ve inspired you to head to Barnes & Noble and buy a pretty notebook and start journaling your thoughts!

Lots of love,


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, May 7, 2012

Summer Abroad - by Alessa

This summer I will be studying abroad in Uganda in Africa before I make the trek back down to Mobile as a has-been!

Traveling is extremely important to me; I want to see the entire world.

Here are the top five places I want to visit!

Spain: I plan to study abroad here as well before I am in college. I have taken Spanish since I was in first grade and love the language and culture. I’d specifically love to see Granada.

Australia: Please get me to the Great Barrier Reef! Or anywhere in Australia for that matter.

Poland: My ancestors came from Poland, so I would love to see the country.

Italy: Pizza and pasta and bread sticks! Enough said.

Thailand: Wouldn’t that just be awesome?

Where do you want to go?

Alessa Strelecki is a college freshman at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa majoring in Secondary Education and Mathematics. Originally from West Des Moines, Iowa, Alessa was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Iowa for 2011. Learn more about Alessa here!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie - by Allii


In case some of you did not know, I am currently studying abroad in beautiful Australia where I will be for a month! I have limited time on the internet, but I wanted to share with all of you while I had the time. I decided that my “lesson” for this month would be take advantage of opportunities given to you.

Coming to Elmira College this past year, I was surprised with our Term III option where I get to travel abroad to lovely places like Australia. I am currently with 18 other students, including 3 of my closest friends. I have already seen Sydney and four other cities are on their way. The trip has been absolutely fascinating. I have learned so many things about the country and its relationship with America. I am eager to learn more.

When you get to high school and college, take advantage of opportunities like this one. Travel when you can. Because when you’re all grown up and on your own with a job, you may not be able to travel as much as you want to.

I have always agreed with Peter Pan and never wanted to grow up, for exactly this reason. There is so much to do when you have time so use it. Be a kid for as long as you can because before you know it, you’re 18 and in college. And before you know it again, you’re graduating and starting a real job!

So remember, be a kid and have fun!

Allii Fontaine is a college freshman at Elmira College in Elmira, New York majoring in Nursing with a Pediatric tract. Originally from Burrillville, Rhode Island, Allii was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Rhode Island for 2011. Learn more about Allii here! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Favorite Distinguished Men - by Veronica

Lately, it seems as if this blog has been contributed by multiple entries from my fellow Distinguished Young Women about boys – how to pick them out, waiting for Prince Charming, and more, because let’s face it, boys are a very popular subject! So, I figured I’d hop on the boy bandwagon and discuss some distinguished men that have influenced both myself and others throughout the span of their lives.

1. Tim Tebow – Known for his incredible football skills just as much as his faith, this man has well more than enough distinguished qualities. Tebow was a football all-star in high school, and then moved on to be quarterback for the University of Florida, where he led them to the national championship and won himself the Heisman Trophy. Once he graduated, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos, where he spent the last season demonstrating his unmatched ability at both rushing and passing the football. Tebow recently signed to the New York Jets, where he will continue making a splash in the NFL. However, Tebow has definitely become quite the talk and a controversy, which seemingly makes him even more attractive. He has received both praise and criticism for never denying his faith, something that shows his loyalty and devotion. Not only is he a talented quarterback and is distinguished with his amazing athletic abilities, but his sharing of his Christianity in clinics, hospitals, orphanages and more makes him an all-around phenomenal human being. Ever since Tebow entered the NFL, he became associated with the term, “Tebow-ing”, where during games, he bends down on one knee and prays. Tebowing is something that fans and non-fans alike have found themselves doing (myself included!). Tim Tebow is not only a Godly and devoted man, but a talented athlete who will continue to demonstrate his athletic ability with some of the most successful football players for years to come.  

2. Nick, Kevin, and Joe Jonas – Considering I was absolutely smitten with the Jonas Brothers when I was younger, and even saw them in concert for my 16th birthday, I had to include my favorite boy band to this list. Not only are they adorable and talented musicians, but they are known for their wholesome image as well. Coming from a religious family that included a pastor father, the Jonas Brothers wore purity rings in order to stay pure until marriage and set themselves apart from a great deal of society. It was this group of young men that even inspired me to purchase a purity ring, which I still own and wear to this day. Not only did they start their own charity, Change for the Children foundation, in order to support programs that motivate children who face adversity to succeed, but they also support and advocate for a multitude of other philanthropies. Perhaps what makes this esteemed group of young men so notable is that Nick, the youngest member of the group of brothers, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. However, instead of letting this defeat him, he has used it as a platform to reach out to a multitude of children, and even testified in front of the U.S. Senate to ask for more diabetes research funding. This group of boys will forever hold a special place in my heart, and I probably will always have a little crush on Nick Jonas. No matter how famous they get, they always lived by their family motto , “Live like you are at the bottom even if you are at the top,” in order to keep them grounded and always remind them to keep working hard to be successful and influential young men.

3. Chet Townsend – Perhaps my favorite and most distinguished member of this list is my very own father. Not only is he the absolute hardest working person I know, but he is such a devoted and dedicated member to my family. He has always encouraged and supported me in all that I do, he has been an excellent role model, and has provided me with some qualities that will help me to succeed in life. As a commercial fisherman, he is constantly on the job. Whether he wakes up at 2 AM to go out and provide my family with a source of income, or is slaving away constructing pots in the yard, or selling lobsters with our family seafood business, he is never taking it easy. I can only dream of being as hard working and accomplished as he is, and his work ethic is something I try to instill within myself. Despite his tough and hard-working qualities, his heart is absolutely one of the best I have ever known. He is sensitive and loving and no matter how hard he has worked during the day, he looks forward to coming home and putting his chef skills to the test, constantly creating delicious meals for my family. My family will forever be something that keeps me grounded and that gives me something to work towards, as I want nothing more than to make them proud and to give back to them all that they have done for me. I am eternally grateful to them and blessed beyond words to have such loving family members by my side in all that I do. 

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, May 2, 2012

Four Letter Words That I Use in College - by Amanda

When I started looking for colleges, all I wanted was somewhere different. I had spent almost fifteen years with the same people doing the same things in the same way. I was left with two choices: the school three hours from home with some of the same people, or the school that requires three flights to get home with one person I barely knew. Stay in the frigid north or join the football obsessed south. No visit. No orientation. No idea. But I wanted change. I needed change. I came to Huntingdon College in the hope that I would experience new things. Through college I have found that four four letter words have changed not only my college experience by my life overall.

Be bold in all that you do. Get out of your comfort zone! Try something new! The first two weeks being at college I remained completely sheltered and stayed in my room. I saw a poster for rush week for sororities. I didn't know what to expect, but I had to escape the misery that was building up from my solitude. I put some cute outfits together and went through rush week. I met several girls from the different sororities and forced myself not to be shy. I ended up pledging Chi Omega. Joining a sorority has definitely been one of the best decisions I have made whilst at college. There have been so many opportunities that I've been afforded through my sorority. Even though I'm scared of heights, I jumped off of a cliff-like rock at a sisterhood event. Being involved in a sorority has made me more fearless, more bold. 

Find something you're passionate about and take the lead! Find a community service project you want to be a part of and take the reigns! Get involved with the student government on campus. People will notice those who take a stand and lead a group of their peers to accomplish a common goal. Leading is the best way to learn, and that's exactly what college is about. If being a leader isn't something you're used to, start small. I've never really been much of a leader, but I decided I wanted to change that, but I wasn't sure where to start. I ended up becoming the treasurer of Freshman Forum, an event planning governmental organization specifically for the freshman class. It's a small leadership role, but it will lead to more demanding leadership roles in my future.

I have had a couple boyfriends in my life, but I was never really known for being surrounded by guys. I was never the girlfriend, always the friend, and there was nothing wrong with that. It gave me time to focus on academics and excel in extracurricular activities. So I thought that I would continue this lifestyle, because I was pretty successful in college. I had planned on not dating in college. That seems rather unrealistic when you think about how college is generally a four year process, but it was my plan, and I took it very seriously. But that kind of went out the window pretty quick. I met a guy and the plan had to change.  I changed my plan not for the guy; I changed the plan for me. He makes me happier than I can remember being. College is a stressful time, and honestly, life after college is going to be stressful too. So sometimes we have to find things, activities, or people that make life easier. I'm not saying that when you go to college your first stop should be a fraternity party in order to find “the one,” or that your sole purpose in college should be to find a boy and fall madly in love. I'm saying that if life hands you happiness and love on a silver platter, don't turn it down! Being willing to change your plan is an important part of college. It's the best change I've made. 

I didn't have many good friends in high school. There was no one who I felt extremely close to outside of my family. When I came to college, I prayed this would change. As always, God answered my prayers with a complicated reply. He gave me several new friends, but then left it up to me to realize which friends were worth keeping. You will meet a ton of people in college. There will be people who talk behind your back, and there will be people who you call friends. Make sure they're not the same people. Find true friends. I've been blessed with a few girls who have changed my life. I was just fine before I met them, but now I can't imagine my life without them.

College is a time to learn more about yourself and experience new things. These are the most important 4 letter words to me. They have affected my life in the best possible way. Hopefully it helps you in your life.

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!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Life Goals - by Ann

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!