What I Wish I Learned In School

“Back in school they never taught us what we needed to know – like how to deal with despair or someone breaking your heart.” 

And okay. Maybe no amount of education could prepare us for that sort of stuff. But there are a lot of things that schools can and should prepare students for. I think that whenever education reform occurs again instead of creating overly complicated ways to do math (yes, I’m looking at you Common Core), we should instead worry about ensuring students are being taught to be thoughtful, critical thinkers who are educated about the world they live in. Here’s how:

1) Media Studies
Okay, so I studied media as an undergrad. I may be a bit biased, but think about it: how much of your life is on the internet – paying bills, shopping, developing relationships, updating your social media presence(s), catching up on TV, streaming music… that’s just the stuff I’ve done in the past three hours. I really believe that when students are in 7th grade (or maybe earlier because, let’s face it, – many kids as young as 10 years old are on social networking sites) should be taught about privacy, protecting their identities, and how representing themselves can affect their future. 90% of teens have used some form of social media – shouldn’t we be showing them how to use it correctly?

2) Current Events
I feel like the last time a teacher covered this in a class I took it was paired with Social Studies in the 7th grade… or maybe even earlier. In high school is when we should really be talking to students about the news. Soon these kids will be able to vote, and we should be working to produce educated citizens who not only care about the world they live in, but see the impact they can have on it. That’s not to say we should shove any opinions down their throats. Instead, we should be teaching students  how to access news (explaining that not every mainstream source is unbiased) and helping them to understand hot button issues that will always exist. Show them how what’s going on the world affects them and ultimately trying to help them develop their own well-educated opinions about what’s happening in the world.

3) Personal Development
This may be more of a college-level idea, but I think high school is an aspirational time when kids are really starting to figure out not only who they are, but also who they want to be. I’m not sure if there’s a way to teach this sort of thing in a safe setting that would be taken seriously, but wouldn’t it be cool if there could be a sort of What Would You Do? class where teachers talk through the tough stuff and help kids figure out their stance on any variety of issues (this may sort of overlap with my current events topic, but I like to think of it as a preemptive strike). Instead of waiting for something bad to happen before tackling an issue – i.e., discussing race in the wake of everything that’s happening with Ferguson – talking about the subject before that. Maybe if we can get to students earlier we can help shape the way their minds work and how they think about certain topics.

I acknowledge that similar classes may already exist in some school systems, but I believe these courses should be required in all schools. I use Facebook and Twitter a helluva lot more than I use any of the chemistry I learned junior year.

TL;DR: We need to add classes that help students better represent themselves, while also helping them understand the world they live in.

What do you think? Are there another topics you think students should be educated about? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time.

Always,
Julia

Does Posting About Diverse Interests Prevent Follower Growth?

I’m a gal with a lot of interests. Since I’ve started this blog (less than a week ago) I’ve written about topics varying from marketing/loyalty programs to my guilty pleasure reality TV addiction. And I’ve got to admit, I’m sort of worried that no one will want to follow me because they can’t necessarily count on me for consistency, at least not in terms of the kind of content I’m producing.

Of course this makes me really curious: is there only room in the world to build a following if your posts are always targeted? For my sake, I sure hope not.

This sudden fear also stems from a recent desire to really take advantage of everything that Twitter has to offer. Unlike other social networking sites, I feel like Twitter’s primary affordance is that it gives you the opportunity to connect with people across the globe who share your quirky niche interests, but who you don’t necessarily know in real life. As cool as that is, and as much as that’s what draws me to the site, I’m sure 15 year old pop punk teeny boppers won’t always share the same interests as fancy shamncy marketing specialists who decided to follow my twitter.

The things is, as much as I really would like to build a network of individuals I can connect with about each of of my passions, I don’t want to have to split myself into multiple personas. I don’t to want to have to run multiple blogs or multiple twitter accounts to feel as though I’m allowed to interact with a particular group of people. What I do want is to be respected no matter who I’m interacting with.

I feel like most people must struggle with this if they share my goal of developing some sort of following. We, as people, are multi-layered individuals. We have a variety of passions, interests, and things we care about. So why are we (the collective we, all people), as followers, only interested in following people who talk exclusively about whatever topic stems our interest. Why aren’t we more interested in getting to know people on a deeper level?

A quick example: when I first started using Tumblr I maxed out when I hit about 100 followers on my blog, but when I decided to create a niche blog with content that was exclusively water color and art themed my number followers sky-rocketed to 3,200. If I still used that account I’m sure that number would be higher, but it’s exhausting to only embrace one side of yourself; it forces you to ignore all the other little things that makes you who you are.

Granted, since I’ve started writing here people have been following me, so maybe it is possible to live in that best of all worlds. Though, I have a sneaking suspicion a few of them are just looking for the follow back, but hey that’s cool. I can respect that, and provided your posts are in English (or maaaaybe French if you catch me on a good day) I’ll happily follow you back, read, and potentially comment on your innermost thoughts and opinions.

I guess only time will tell if interactivity will grow on this blog or on my twitter.

Anyway, let me know what you think about posting (or tweeting) about a variety of topics versus only about one subject. What about following someone who does this?

(To any current or new followers reading this: I really appreciate you and would love to connect and get to know you better. Feel free to connect with me on Twitter – @jujubeesx, and let’s chat!)

Always,

Julia

P.S. I’m sorry this post didn’t have any cute memes – I really couldn’t think of any that would mesh with this post!)

Daily Post: Grateful and Guilty

Daily Prompt: Whether it’s a trashy TV show, extra-pulpy fiction, or nutrient-free candy, write a thank-you note to your guiltiest guilty pleasure.

Dear Dance Moms,

As a former competitive dancer, thank you for giving me an outlet to relive the good, the bad, and the ugly of dance competitions. Thank you for showing me that there are 12 year old girls who dance more beautifully than I ever could, and for exposing their talent to the world. Thank you for thrusting Maddie Ziegler into the spotlight, so that mainstream artists like Sia knew she existed and could consequently incorporate her artistry into music videos seen by millions.

Thank you for the cat fights, the drama, the tears, and for reminding me every day that while it’s fascinating to watch, that life sure as hell isn’t for me. Thank you for creating a show that my mom, my sister, and I can all agree on and watch together while reminiscing on our own past experiences.

I’m very grateful you exist, even if it is slightly embarrassing to admit, sometimes.

I hope that things don’t change too drastically when Abby moves to LA because tbh I get bored any time the show doesn’t focus on the original girls.

I’ll probably still watch though. After all, you are my guilty pleasure.

Always,
Julia

P.S. I hope the real world experience really isn’t as traumatizing for the girls as it seems, and I hope that all of these lawsuits go away soon because they make me feel even guiltier for loving the show so much.

IMO: A Definitive Ranking of the Tracks on Everything In Transit

For a very long time Jack’s Mannequin was my “all-time” favorite band. To be honest, I’m not really sure why. I never really got into their second or third albums – but that first album, Everything In Transit, changed my life in the best way. It just sorta made me understand why music mattered. I think I first heard their music on a mixed cd when I was 15 or 16, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Quite possibly my favorite album of all time.

To this day, if I’m feeling bummed and need to feel like someone out there gets me, I’ll play this album and let Andrew McMahon sing me back to sanity. It works every time.

What follows is a ranking of the album from worst least best track to best (there are no bad tracks on this album). As well as my favorite lyric or two from each, because anything I could say about each song just wouldn’t feel like enough.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

11) La La Lie 
Every scene was a sign, we made out through their meaning.

10) The Mixed Tape
This mix could burn a hole in anyone, but it was you I was thinking of.

9) Kill the Messenger 
Oh my god, this hurts like hell.

8) Holiday From Real
You are my favorite sweater, being poor was never better.

7) Into the Airwaves
It’s gonna be a hard day, so hang on – don’t panic, don’t panic there simply is no need.

6) MFEO (Parts 1 and 2)
I still live with my high school friends, some people never change at all.
You waited for me in the rain, in the parking lot. Cold hands, lips blue, clothes stuck to you.

5) Bruised
Sometimes perfection can be perfect hell.

4) Dark Blue
Have you ever been alone in a crowded room? Well, I’m here with you.

3) I’m Ready
As I’m finding the words, you’re getting away.
I need caffeine to the bloodstream, I take caffeine to the bloodstream.

2) Rescued
Don’t you think I wish that I could stay? Your lips gave you away.
I’m finally numb, so please don’t get me rescued. 

1) Miss Delaney
In no time there’ll be one less sad robot, looking for a chance to be something more than just metal.
Where’s your boyfriend? He isn’t up in heaven so why treat him like he’s dead?

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments below and let’s discuss! If there’s one thing I could talk about forever, it’s this album.

Until next time.

Always,
Julia

Why I Wouldn’t Bank on SnapCash

So yesterday I (like many of you, I’m sure) glanced down at my smartphone to see that I had received a snap from Team Snapchat. I tried to think to myself what this could be about – it’s not a holiday right? There’s no big sports thing on right now that I should probably know about, but simply don’t care? But nope, I was greeted to (the abridged version of) this:

Oh boy. Now don’t get me wrong – I majored in Musical Theatre in high school. I can appreciate a cheesy dance number – especially one with tappers. Especially, especially one about money! There’s Money from Cabaret, We’re in the Money from 42nd Street – believe me I’m all about it.

But then Mr. Monopoly’s deranged, evil uncle comes out telling me to connect my debit card to my snapchat – “a wiiiiiiise investment at any aaaaage.” Again, I’ll say it, oh boy.

Really Snapchat? Really?

Why on EARTH would I connect my debit card to a service known for making things disappear into thin air? Immediately there’s a disconnect in my mind – if I wanted to make money ~*disappear*~ I could do that without the help of an app. I would just head on over to modcloth.comPlus, with its lack of transparency, the company isn’t exactly known for making the maintaining of a customer’s privacy a priority. I don’t think anyone should be too quick to hop on the bandwagon.

The majority of Snapchat users are in their teens and early twenties. Already this new service will not be used by a good chunk of your audience, considering you need to be at least 18. I’m also curious as to how this will be enforced. How can you ensure that the only folks using this service are over 18? How do you know they didn’t just steal mommy or daddy’s card and register it to their account?

While engagement on the site may be high (especially in that coveted millennial demographic), there are so many better ways to quickly transfer money, including often through an app run by the bank itself. Or just walking to an ATM, taking out cash, and handing it to another person. That works too.

How often do people our age transfer money to each other anyway? This is a serious question. The only people who really would ever put money into my bank account would be my parents (but really, they haven’t done that in years) or my employer, and that’s what direct deposit is for.

Perhaps they’re trying to get in on Apple Pay’s market.. but even if they are I think they need to worry about establishing their brand as one to be trusted by users before requesting access to their bank accounts.

Sorry Snapchat. Thanks, but no thanks.

Snapchat_Rejected

Always,
Julia

Hey there, world!

Isn’t that how you’re supposed to start a brand new blog or webpage? I think that’s what my Intro to Digital tools teacher told our class before she taught us Dreamweaver, haha.

But ANYWAY – hey there, internet. My name is Julia. I felt as though I needed a new outlet to share my thoughts, feelings, and opinions about everything from “how is it possible you spelled my name incorrectly in that email if my email address literally has my name in it,” to “opportunity knocked: you’re moving across the country for three months – get stoked!”

A little about me: I’m a recent graduate from NYU who studied Media, Culture, and Communication and minored in the Business, of Entertainment, Media and Technology as an undergrad. I’m currently pursuing a career on the business side of the entertainment industry – specifically kids and family entertainment. While New York is my home (and the greatest city on Earth), I’m currently living the LA life, and will be until the end of the year.

I like music a lot, a lot. For a very long time I was adamant about #DefendingPopPunk, but now I guess I’ve accepted that if you like it that’s cool and if ya don’t, that’s cool too.

I was never into Man Overboard, but I still thought this was the coolest fan phrase.

My latest obsessions have actually been a step away from the teenyboppers with the brightly-colored hair. I’ve been listening to Neon Trees, A Great Big World, Vampire Weekend, etc. I’m not exactly what genre they are, or if they’re all even in the same genre, but I like them. I have also finally accepted my love affair with The Beatles. Boy, do I love The Beatles.

Moving far away and not having any real friends, I’ve found solace in both reading and Netflix. But mostly Netflix. Speaking of TV-viewing (see what I did there?), my favorite show of all-time would have to by either Boy Meets World or The Office (US). I honestly could not tell you which. As for what’s currently on I watch Once Upon a Time, How to Get Away with Murder, About a Boy, Black-ish, and New Girl. (Dear Mindy Kaling, I would love to watch The Mindy Project, but it’s not streaming on Netflix or Amazon – so how can I catch up? Sincerely, a wannabe fan. P.S. Just finished your book and loved it.)

To be completely honest, I just bought it because it felt especially relevant as I spend every weekend in California watching my friends from back home plan their days off in our GroupMe.

If I’m being completely honest, that’s probably all you need to know about me for now. I’m sure you’ll learn more as this blog continues to grow.

If you’re still reading I already love you and can tell we’re going to be friends. Stay golden.

Always,
Julia

Is the Starbucks Rewards Program Worth It?

Today I decided that I would make the plunge and get myself a Starbucks Rewards Card.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. I decided this yesterday when I downloaded the app and thought it would be that simple – ha! Little did I know it was a little more of a process than that. Okay, maybe it wasn’t – but I wanted a physical loyalty card too, and I was on a mission to get one.

Let me start this off with a confession: lately I’ve been spending unhealthy amounts of time at various Starbucks locations. Living alone in a city where I really don’t know anyone other than my coworkers, it gives me an excuse to get out of my pjs and venture out into the world on days other than the three days I intern. In the past week I think I’ve been to Starbucks at least 4 times. I switch up the locations because I don’t want the Starbucks employees to think I don’t have a life – even if aside from work, that may be pretty true at the moment.

To be completely honest with you, I’ve actually pretty much kicked my college caffeine addiction. I don’t drink coffee while I’m at work, and only started drinking it again so I have an excuse to sit in a public location and mooch some free wifi.

I chose to go to the quieter of my regular Starbucks locations so that I would be able to get some assistance from one of the baristas. I should have gotten his name because he was great/super nice/overall the best (I still could because I’m writing this post from said Starbucks, but I don’t wanna be a total creep). He explained that basically the rewards program required you to get one of their gift cards and then to proceed to use it like a debit card.

Really? I need to get a debit card?

This stressed me out. I don’t need another debit card! No way, Jose. Thank you, but no thank you. I prefer to have as few cards as possible and I was kiiiiiinda hoping this rewards program would be like a CVS loyalty card where I could just scan it (or give my phone number) every visit and accumulate points and coupons.

My new barista friend was so kind and helpful though and made it very hard to say no. He pointed me to a gift card display and said, “We have 100 to choose from, pick your favorite and I’ll get you all set up.” Damn, he got me. How could I say no to his kind eyes?

And wait – 100 TO CHOOSE FROM? Yes. There were literally AT LEAST 100 loyalty cards to choose from. I settled on a pretty flowered one after about 5 minutes of internal debate because some I liked, but felt like baristas would assume I was flirting with them if I flashed a card that said, “You’re a peach!” with a giant watercolor peach on it, even if that was the cutest one.

New card in hand, my new barista pal allowed me to cut the now crazy-long line and set me up. He explained that the card was good to go and that I should hook it up to the app to learn about all the different possible rewards levels and their perks.

Now I’ve done that step and want to know if this rewards program is actually worth it. Should I really be putting money on another debit card?

Ooooh, let’s look inside and check out these details!

Welcome Level (Level 1)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)

So basically I need to wait until August to get much of anything. Fine, fine. I wonder how good the deals in those emails will be anyway. The fact that they describe them as “custom offers” already leads me to believe that they’ll be taking my data and making them offers I can’t refuse – more on this later.

Green Level (Level 2)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)
  • Free in-store refills on hot or iced brewed coffee and tea

This new perk is something I could get into! All I do is sit around drinking coffee. In the time it has taken me to write this post I’ve already finished my Grande Unsweetened Iced Coffee and could use a refill. In order to reach this level you need to collect five stars in 12 months – I’m sort of unclear about how I go about doing this. I’m pretty sure I just need to pay using my card.. but that seems too easy and attainable. I will probably cry silent tears of joy if this is, in fact, how it works.

Gold Level (Level 3)

  • Birthday drink or treat on us
  • Birthday coupon for 15% off a purchase at StarbucksStore.com
  • Custom offers via email (be sure to opt in)
  • Free in-store refills on hot or iced brewed coffee and tea
  • A free food or drink item after another 12 Stars earned
  • Personalized Gold Card

Wait so I need to come here 42 times, consequently earning 42 Stars, in order to get a free drink or food item? (I say this because you need 30 Stars to reach this level in the first place.) That seems like an awful lot visits to Starbucks to get my $3 drink for free. Personalized gold card sounds cool and bougie though – I’m into that. Unfortunately, by the time I reach that level I’ll probably be attached to my beautiful new floral card.

You have to admit, that's one pretty card.
You have to admit, that’s one pretty card.

Is the rewards program worth it? Only time will tell, I guess. It probably depends on the person. As of right now, I think as soon as I reach the Green Level it will be, since I spend so much time just sitting in Starbucks applying to full-time jobs and working. However, once I’m busier and at work all the time, I sorta doubt it.

Do any of you guys have any experience with the Starbucks Rewards Program? I’m still sorta confused about what it really means, other than that I’ve accepted my addiction and am admitting that I’m a little bit #basic. Have you guys found it to be worth it or do you feel like Starbucks is benefitting more than you are? What I mean is, for every purchase you make, Starbucks is collecting data on you. What time of day you get your fix, what drinks you prefer, how often you come to the store, etc. Do you feel like you’re actually benefitting from giving them your data? Do you feel as though you’re being properly reimbursed for the “sale” of your data? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time.

Always,
Julia