Month: May 2014

Check Out TMCC for Further Education

Today I wanted to take a few minutes to talk to you about Truckee Meadows Community College here in Reno, Nevada.  Established in the 1970’s, it originally went by Western Nevada Community College.

This community college’s main campus is located just north of Reno.  Credit and non-credit classes are held here as well as four other college sites and over 20 community locations.  The college offers 40 programs of study that can lead to over 100 different degrees.  The Associates of Arts (AA) and the Associates of Science (AS) degrees are designed for those who plan to transfer to a four year college or university to continue towards a bachelor’s degree.  This is an economical way to get the first two years of your degree out of the way for a fraction of the cost.

TMCC is also a great place to earn a certificate of achievement in a specific occupational area.  This type of program is shorter than a degree program and more specialized to your chosen field.  Certificate programs are offered in a number of areas, such as:

  • Web Development
  • Dietetic Technician
  • Health Sciences
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Automotive Certified Technician
  • Music
  • Solar Energy Technician
  • Nursing
  • Paramedic
  • Welding
  • Veterinary Technologies

TMCC is well known in the area as a job college, establishing or strengthening job skills for students to contribute to the local community.  95% of students end up staying in Reno after completing their schooling.  Affordability and flexibility are keys to success for the diverse student population at this institution.

The TMCC Re-entry Center was established to assist those returning to school and/or the workplace.  Some of the services they provide are:

  • vocational assessment
  • counseling
  • work experience
  • job search assistance
  • referrals

In addition, financial assistance  can be available for tuition, childcare, books, supplies and transportation.  The campus also offers students child care at the campus’ on-site day care center,  the E.L. Cord Child Care Center.

Don’t be afraid to ask about other services available on campus to help you succeed.  What services would make going back to school a reality for you?

 

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Don’t Let Hidden Insecurities Keep You From Pursuing a Goal

Since starting this blog in January of this year, I have had some fantastic opportunities to connect with some great women.  Our conversations revolve around the power women have when we support each other, the importance of motivating others (for them as well as ourselves) and how education broadens the choices we have for ourselves as well as our families.

There are four women I can think of off hand who are facing financials constraints as they contemplate further education.  I am a planner and like to have a budget set up prior to taking a financial leap such as going back to school.  But when I applied to grad school,  my plan wasn’t rock solid.  I had submitted my FAFSA and brainstormed with my family but it wasn’t until I jumped in and started school that all the pieces fell into place.  Maybe I didn’t think I’d get in or some major family issue would keep me from taking that leap.  I think many times women let these financial worries hold them back when deep down it is our fear of the unknown as well as other insecurities that keep us from pursuing a goal.

By checking out scholarships and other assistance programs, we can alleviate some of the anxieties and get the push we need to move forward  towards our goals.  Check out these resources and see if it will give you the incentive you need to reach further towards your goal of further education.

The Talbots Women’s Scholarship Program is specifically for women who choose to return to college later in life.  Thirty scholarships of $5,000 and one of $30,000 are given to women pursuing a bachelors degree.  Scholarships are given in honor of Talbots founder, Nancy Talbot.

The Linda Lael Miller Scholarship was established by #1 New York Times bestselling author, Lindal Lael Miller, to encourage women to improve their lives through education.  Applicants must be over the age of 24.  Maximum grants are $1,000.  $10,000 is awarded each year.

PEO Program for Continuing Education is one that I have mentioned in a previous post. Up to $3,000 can be awarded to women who have a break in schooling of over 24 months and are within 24 months of reaching their educational goal.  An applicant must be sponsored by a chapter in order to apply.

Emerge Scholarships awarded 14 women over the age of 25 with scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 this year.  This organization believes in empowering women through education as well as recognizing the importance of giving back to a community.

The Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship is named for the first woman to be elected to the United States Congress.  Women applying must be over 35 as well as low income to meet eligibility requirements.  87 women benefited from this scholarship program in 2013.

Whether you proceed to the next step or hold off for a bit, I hope you check these programs out and keep that information in your back pocket.  Hopefully it will come in handy one day!

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Have I Told You Everything You Need to Know?

IMG_2359With a daughter who will be graduating high school is less than a month now, I have a “to do” list a mile long.

The list of family and friends has been formulated and announcements and invitations have been sent.  We had been stressing about which professional pictures we’d use for the announcements as none of them really screamed “this is who I am.”  Her and I finally went up on the hill and took a bunch of fun shots and compiled a collection of photos that truly show each diverse facet of her personality.

Plans for her first year of college are on track as she is anxious to move on to the next stage of her life.  Thank goodness she understands prerequisites and won’t be too disappointed with a boring first year course load.   Unsettled on a career path as yet, but heading the right direction.  She is anxious to be with a new group of people and experience a new set of challenges.

The graduation party planning is not yet complete but on track.  Just a few friends and family to celebrate the past 18 years as well as excitement for the future.  I spend a few hours a week sorting pictures from her childhood to show during the gathering.  I only get through a few pictures a week as I end up reliving the memories of her youth.

Nearing the end of my list, I can’t help but sit back quietly and reflect.  Have I told her everything she needs to know?  Is she really ready to face the world?  What if I missed out on passing along an important lesson?

Did I tell her…

to have a plan,

to always give 110% at whatever you do,

to not be afraid to ask questions…ever,

to accept being wrong sometimes,

to always give love,

to take time for the little things,

and most importantly,

that this is just the beginning.

You have your whole life ahead of you and you are the navigator in this crazy thing called life.   Stand tall and be strong, you can do this!

Be Patient: 21 Days is Not the Magic Mark!

If 21 days were all it takes to form or change a habit, I would have it made!  I’d be eating healthy, exercising and getting all my schoolwork done.  Three weeks just isn’t long enough when I am looking at establishing an exercise habit or healthy eating habit.  We all know that there is no safety zone once we hit day 21. There is no guarantee that will keep us from cheating once we’ve made it to that magic mark.

Unknown-1Research shows that 21 days may be sufficient to establish a simple habit such as drinking the required 8 glasses of water a day.  But a more challenging habit such as running 4 miles 3 times a week (for a non runner) will take a lot more than 21 days to establish.  To vary the timeframe even further, every person has different goals and motivational factors.  This allows for even further deviation from any kind of standard habit forming timeline.

Ok, enough harping on how long it’s going to take to form a habit.  The important thing here is to decide to make a change for the better by establishing goals.  Hopefully, with enough perseverance, we can manage the goals to ultimately form great habits.  Here are a few tips to do that.

  • Start slow.  Don’t overdo it by running the full 4 miles on day 1.  Set up a schedule starting slow and increasing progressively.  This will prevent discouragement early on as well as sore muscles!
  • Be consistent.  Engage in your new habit every day for a good 30 days.  This is just giving yourself every opportunity to latch on to your newly acquired habit.
  • Forgive yourself.  Sticking to your new commitment will be tough so allow yourself a few “oops”, acknowledge the slip and move on.
  • Partner up with a buddy.  By working with another person on a common goal, you provide accountability and much needed motivation.
  • Remove as much temptation as possible.  Why make it any more difficult that it needs to be?!

Healthy living and eating habits will benefit you for years to come.  So remember that building any habit takes three things:  intention, consistency and time.  Commit to those three items and your habit may be attained sooner than you think.

What’s on your “habit making” list?

 

Solitude: A Necessary Component of Leadership

William Deresiewicz delivered a lecture titled “Solitude and Leadership” in October 2009, you can read the full length essay here.  It was given to the plebe (first year students) at the United States Academy at West Point.  It is a great essay that is still very relevant today.

Deresiewicz points out that many students are conditioned to be hoop jumpers rather than thinkers.  Corporate ladder climbers are moving up by saying the right things to the right people and going with the flow.  Conformity is rewarded rather than risk taking.  This lack of creativity and independence has led to a crisis in leadership in America.

We need more thinkers willing to take the risk of climbing the ladder while exhibiting the moral courage to stand up for what one believes in.  These independent thinkers must possess confidence and not be afraid to reach beyond the safe boundaries.  Arguing for one’s ideas even when they may not be popular should be acknowledged and commended.   We need to nurture thinkers rather than doers and encourage independence in order to develop great leaders.

Today’s social media society is constantly barking other people’s thoughts and ideas, never giving one time to hear their own thoughts, let alone develop any ideas to go along with them.   We need to stress the importance of developing one’s own thoughts and ideas.  Deresiewicz points out that his first thought is never his best thought.  In fact, it is always someone else’s thought, the conventional wisdom.  It is only by taking the time to concentrate that he can bring all the parts of his mind into play to develop an original idea.  Letting our thoughts simmer rather than moving onto the next text, tweet or update brings us back to thinking for ourselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASolitude is an important component of leadership.  This doesn’t necessarily mean being alone but it does mean getting to know yourself better.  With the constant barrage of other’s thoughts and opinions, a little self reflection can be helpful to develop our own reality.   Friendship is an important part of gaining this introspective.   When we converse with a  trusted friend, we gain better insight into who we are as a person.  The value of one or two trusted friends will by far outweigh any number of virtual friends.

Take some time to yourself today.  No updates, no tweet and no texts, just you alone or with a friend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADevelop some thoughts you can call your own.

Believe in yourself and your ideas.

Argue for what you believe in.

You are worth it.

 

Is Multitasking a Good Thing?

How many times have you seen a driver trying to multitask?  Whether they are drinking a cup of coffee, applying makeup or reading, its a sign that our lives has gone beyond the scope of norm.  If our frenzied, chaotic lives require this type of multitasking, it is a sign that something needs to give.

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Per Wikipedia: Human multitasking is the apparent performance by an individual of handling more than one task at the same time. The term is derived from computer multitasking. An example of multitasking is taking phone calls while typing an email. Multitasking can result in time wasted due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.  Multitasking can also involve performing a number of tasks in rapid succession.

We are all guilty of it.  I know I am.  I work full time and have three kids at home.  Over the past year, I have been working on graduate classes on top of my other commitments.  It hit me like a brick wall when I was working on the computer, typing up an assignment as my son is trying to talk to me about his day.  I was not giving him 100% of my attention.  Later that night, he asked if we could just talk, rather than reading a bedtime story.  I realized that I owe him, as well as the others in my life, my undivided attention.

Multitasking in the workplace is often viewed as a positive when it actually can reduce productivity by as much as 40%.  Trying to handle multiple tasks at once can make it harder to tune out distractions and can produce mental blocks.  Whether at work or at home, trying to do too many things at once keeps us from being present moment oriented.  We are often distracted and lack focus as well as losing out on the enjoyment of the task at hand.

Try it for a moment.  Choose a task or chore that needs to get done and focus on that task alone.  You will find that even something as basic as folding laundry can be enjoyable.  Additionally, you will find that you concentrate better on these tasks when only taking on one at a time.  I can retain more when reading, complete a better homework assignment and really enjoy our family time when I choose not to multitask.

Are You an Innie or an Outie?

No, I am not asking about your bellybutton.  That’s getting a little too personal!  I am referring to whether you are an introvert or an extrovert.

Now, more than ever, it is okay to say it and be proud.  Each of us gather and process information differently.  If we were all the same, life would be a bore!

Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, has stood up for introverts quietbookiconlargeworld wide.  She has brought to light the great contributions introverts have made as well as the complexity in how their minds work and what it takes to get the most from an introvert.  Her 2012 TED talk is a great motivator for any introvert and can help extroverts to see the benefits of the other side of the coin.

Typically, introverts prefer less stimulating environments.  They do not enjoy highly social events but prefer quiet intimate gatherings with friends.  They work better in solitude with little distraction. They prefer to focus on one activity at a time, often studying and contemplating it prior to diving in.  It is not that introverts are shy, many are perfectly capable of participating in large groups but prefer and often perform better in less stimulating environments.

Extroverts are energized by social interaction.  They feed off this type of stimulation.  They enjoy socializing in large groups and could chit chat all night with a variety of new people.  In a work environment, they enjoy working within groups and committees, collaborating on ideas and leading conversations.

Both introverts and extroverts can and are effective leaders, it really depends on the type of people working for them. Introverts often empower their teams to make joint decisions and seek innovative solutions, whereas extroverts often grasp at this opportunity for attention to highlight their and their teams’ contributions.  Given the opportunity, an introverted leader with an extroverted team can lead to great success in the workplace.  Results can be positive with an extroverted leader of passive people but when their team is outspoken, power struggles often ensue.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the bid for leadership positions, extroverts make up the majority of leaders.

By focusing on the strengths of both introverts and extroverts as leaders and team members, embracing their unique workplace needs and being conscientious of our team dynamics, we can diversify the workplace and bring more success in the long run.  Are introverts and extroverts embraced differently in your workplace?  How so?

The Things I Value

 

When I watched this Ted talk, I cried.  What an enormous amount of loss Andi O’Conor has endured and the incredible growth that has come from this loss.  This video made me think about the things we value most in life.

My home is comfort.  It is where I feel safe and warm.  I know I will be enveloped in love upon arrival and showered with hugs and kisses when I depart.  It holds everything I care about the most.

My photo albums that document our lives together and adventures we’ve had.  They show the evolution of my children  from infants to young adults.  They enable outsiders to get a sneak peek into who we are and the many faces of our personalities.  They represent many hours of laughter and happiness as we made these memories.  Creating the albums to chronicle our adventures was all part of the fun. My scrapbooking friends and I shared sweat and tears over these photos as we pasted and cut.

The kids’ keepsake boxes that hold special items from their lives for them to share with their families someday.  My oldest daughter has the blue suede booties that made me realize she hated shoes.  My youngest daughter has the little white saltwater sandals she’d wear to water the trees, with nothing else on.  My son has the camo pants that he wore to shreds to honor his dad who missed his birth while serving our country.

The momentos we have gathered through our lives that take us back to another time.  The Precious Moments figurines that my mother gave us at every major event of our lives.  The quilts that all tell a story about the who and when.  The painting of the Puget Sound that takes me back to my childhood.  The spoon collection that belonged to my grandmother, whom I hold in deepest regards. The American flag given to my husband as a token of gratitude.

None of these items mean as much to me as my family and friends.  Those who have accompanied me through good and bad.  Those who love and support unconditionally.  Those who I consider a gift.  How is your support system? Does it need strengthening?  By breaking down our walls and allowing our lives to be “big”, we expand and strengthen our support system.  With continued care and nurturing, we can fully appreciate the true value of a support system.  You never know when you may have to rely on it.

Looking Close to Home for Educational Funding

When looking at funding your educational ventures, be sure to look close to home at the numerous local organizations that offer grants and scholarships.  One such organization is Soroptomist.

Soroptomist is a global organization whose goals is to improve the lives of women and girls through programs that lead to social and economic empowerment.  With over 80,000 members in 120 countries, the variety of programs offered helps multiple women on so many different levels.

One of their main focuses is providing women with access to education which we know leads to empowerment. Educated women are more involved in their communities, less likely to become a victim of domestic or sexual abuse and feel the need to educate others.

Live Your Dream award program is the Soroptomist program that focuses on educating women. Each year $1.5 million is awarded to over 1,000 women. This enables the recipients to pursue training at a vocational or technical school or enroll in an undergraduate program.

In the social media age, soroptomists have reached out with Live Your Dream.org. This online community uses articles, tips and blogs to inspire women to better themselves. Its’ members share the common goal to support women and girls in their quest to lead better lives, while gaining inspiration in their own lives.  Some topics discussed within the community are women’s economic empowerment, ending violence against women and human trafficking to name a few.

This non profit organization began in 1921 when a group of 80 women wanted to serve their community. Women, at that time, were not permitted to volunteer in men’s service organizations. Their initiative grew to a global organization which helps shape and support women as they venture towards growth and wellness.

Soroptomist have put out a great video called “Soroptomist Empowers Women & Girls“.  You can find it below.  Check it out.  The video was a Bronze winner in the 35th Annual Telly Awards, which honors outstanding video productions.