Author: Samuel Farmer

Differences When Living Abroad

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Whether it be for study abroad, for work experience, or for any other reason at all, moving abroad can be both an extremely stressful and exciting opportunity in life. Once abroad you will find that many things are different and that some things that to you seem small and insignificant could be a big deal in another country. Here are five things you learn when moving abroad.

What Things Are Worth Can Be Different

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Things cost different amounts in different countries but the changes can be a lot more drastic than expected, especially if you are moving from a country with high costs like the U.S.A to a country such as Greece where the economy is struggling and prices are relatively low. It is a good idea to check conversion rates and the cost of living in the country that you are moving to in order to figure out how much you will need to spend.

People May Judge You

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Although everyone likes to think that they don’t have any predispositions towards other races, everyone has their own stereotypes and views of different cultures and races. It will be different being in a foreign country where people are not the same as you, and you are likely to be seen as different and judged based on where you are from. The liability of foreignness is a concept that says that being foreign is a liability in another country based on cultural views of what it means to be a native.

Other Cultures Aren’t Always as They Seem

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As mentioned in the previous point, you may have predispositions towards other races when going abroad. However, it is often nice to see that some of these can be completely wrong and may catch you by surprise. Although some cultural tendencies and stereotypes may come from a true place, it is important to keep an open mind as you never know how people may behave.

Actions that Seem Trivial May Not Be So

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Things that may seem small in one country, may have a much greater level of importance in others. In Europe and many other countries, check kissing upon greeting is very normalized. The amount of kisses varies from country to country and even within countries. However, this action within the United States would often be seen as an unwarranted familiarity that is inappropriate.

Things Can Mean Something Completely Different

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Signs, phrases, and actions in one country that are deemed appropriate may be completely inappropriate in others. One example of this is gift giving in India. In the United States there are not many real rules to gift giving, but if you hand somebody a gift in India, it can be seen as dirty as that is said to be the hand you use when utilizing the bathroom. The backwards peace sign in the US also means relatively nothing but is a extremely rude gesture in the United Kingdom.

There are a lot of things that might surprise you when living abroad, so do some research on the country and culture to be prepared!

How to Improve Your Political Efficacy

As 2016 gets nearer and the presidential election looms closer, it is more and more important for voters to be informed. For many college students, it is the first time that they will be able to vote in a presidential election. It is thus very important to be informed to make sure that you are voting for the candidate who reflects your views and who you believe will do the best job. Here are some ways to become more informed about politics on the main stage.

Join A College Political Group

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Most colleges have political groups for many different interests. These offer an opportunity to talk with like-minded individuals, increase political knowledge, and attend political events and speeches that many others would not have the chance to. These groups can have varying levels of involvement so check before joining or do a trial to make sure it is right for you.

Figure out your Own Stances

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Spend time reading over each topic in the internet or watching on television in order to figure out what you believe and your personal views on topics. Often your view may change slightly after reading more information and learning more about the topics.

Learn the Candidates’ Stances

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Charisma is an important trait, but most elections come down to stances. In order to figure out who you want to vote for, you should take a look at each politician’s stances on issues that are important to you. This can help separate out the candidates that you would like to be president from those who you think would be wrong.

Attend Political Speeches and Debates

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It is much easier for college students to gain access to political speeches and debates. Try to gain access through school affiliations first of as it may be the cheapest and easiest way to get in. However, events that are not affiliated with schools also tend to allow students to attend, sometimes for a small entrance fee.

Life Skills College Doesn’t Teach You

When entering the real world after college, many recent graduates are unprepared for the real world and lack basic life skills and knowledge. This isn’t always the fault of the education system or a lack of effort. There are simply some things that we need to know that we are not taught in traditional education. Rather we must make an effort to learn these skills ourselves and must ready ourselves for the real world. Here are five important life skills all students should be taught before graduating college in order to be ready for the real world.

How to Prepare for An Interview

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One of the most important aspects of the real world is knowing how to prepare for a job interview. It is important to know how to dress oneself properly and appropriately and how to behave within an interview. Although past experience and knowledge are very important in getting a job, the interview itself is how employers decide whether or not you are suitable for the job.  Before going to an interview it is of vital importance to do proper research on the company, the position itself, and the culture of the position.

How to Do Your Own Taxes

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Although many people rely on personal accountants to do their taxes for them, it is important to at least have a grasp on how to go about doing your own taxes. Everyone has to do them and by learning how to do them, you can save money by not hiring someone else to do something that you can do yourself. If you are employed and earning money you will have to file taxes. Understanding how taxes affect your income and whether or not you are being taxed too much or too little is quite important.

How to Cook Proper Meals

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In college it is possible to skate by with only knowing a couple basic meals or by relying on meal plans or the traditional ramen noodle diet that college students seem to go with quite often.  Once in the real world it is necessary to not only know how to cook for yourself, but to know how to prepare healthy meals that get you all the nutrients and vitamins that you need. By learning how to cook proper meals you can not only keep yourself healthy, but can also save quite a bit of money by cutting down on how often you eat out.

How to Manage Money

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Many college students have never had much financial freedom and have had their parents either handle their finances completely or control them for the most part. In the real world, it is necessary to keep track of what you are spending and earning in order to ensure that you have enough to make it through the month or to do the little things you want to do. Investing in a basic finance course or enlisting the help of a friend to teach you how to handle money is a great idea. It is also a smart idea to learn a little more about banking and to learn to budget expenses monthly and weekly.

How to Balance Social and Work Life

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One of the worst mistakes that recent graduates make is focusing too much on either the social or professional aspects of their lives.  Some focus wholeheartedly on work, putting all of their effort into furthering their career without leaving time for relationships and friends. On the other hand, many do not know how to focus on their work without cutting down on the social life that they enjoyed during college, and struggle to either find a job or keep up with their work life. Just because you have graduated doesn’t mean your social life needs to be over. However, it doesn’t mean that focusing on work isn’t important. It is imperative to find a healthy balance between the two.

Although it is important to enjoy college and the freedom that you enjoy, it is also necessary to learn a few life skills that are of the uttermost importance.  Doing so will help you find success upon graduating.

Female Country Music Artists Sticking to Their Values

Country music is a genre of music that has traditionally been dominated by men. When you think of the most popular artists of the past and today, most of the big names that pop up are those of men. However, a group of young female country music artists from the great state of Texas have popped up as of recent and have risen in popularity over the past few years or so. These women have been inspirational not in creating success for themselves, but by also sticking to their principles and standing by their roots. Here are three young female country music artists who have found success without compromising their values.

Kacey Musgraves

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Kacey was discovered in Austin, Texas in 2008. She got the first big break of her career touring with Lady Antebellum in 2012, and released her first album the next year. On her album “Same Trailer, Different Park,” Kacey made hits with her songs “Blowin’ Smoke” “Merry go Round” and the popular “Follow Your Arrow”, which eventually reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.  Critics applauded Follow Your Arrow for its strong message about non-conformity and living one’s life to the fullest. On her second album released just a week ago, Musgraves has already found success with her hit song “Biscuits” which uses traditional southern customs as metaphors to explain her views on how to live life and treat others. Musgraves career is continuing to blossom, and her ability to stick to her roots has made her a fan favorite within Texas.

RaeLynn

female country music artists- RaeLynn

RaeLynn, another Texas born girl, exploded onto the music scene with her impressive performances on Season 2 of the popular singing show “The Voice.” Although she was eliminated in the quarterfinals, RaeLynn signed with Republic Nashville and is currently working on a studio album. She has since collaborated with her coach on “The Voice” Blake Shelton, doing backups on his popular redneck ballad “Boys Round Here.” RaeLynn release her first single “Boyfriend” in 2012, and followed up with the immensely popular “God Made Girls” in 2014. This song helped to catapult her onto the main stage as it reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs Chart.  RaeLynn’s most recent success has come with the release of her new song “For a Boy.” Although RaeLynn has been criticized for her song “God Made Girls” which many feminists deemed as sexist and overly traditional, RaeLynn has stuck by her principles and Christian values and continues to do so in her music.  Having only just turned 21, RaeLynn has much room to grow as an artist and it should prove interesting to follow her career trajectory.

Danielle Bradbery

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Bradbery followed RaeLynn as a voice contestant, competing on the show “The Voice” in 2013.  Danielle ended up winning the show under the tutelage of Blake Shelton. Bradbery, born in Houston blew judges away with her rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Mean” and with her powerful performances of other mainstream country songs. She was so impressive on “The Voice” that she had five studio performances on the show reach the top ten on iTunes! Danielle released her first single “The Heart of Dixie,” in July of 2013 and released her self-titled first album later that year. The “Heart of Dixie” reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot Country Song Chart. Danielle is currently working on her second album and hopes to release it in 2015. Although she has not had quite as much mainstream success outside of the Voice as some of her fellow artists, Danielle has a strong future ahead of her as she only recently turned 18! Danielle Bradbery continues to stick to her southern and Christian roots and has already made a name for herself. It will be just a matter of time till she finds the one song to really put her among the giants in the country music business.

It is increasingly hard to make it in the music business without compromising values, but these ladies have done a great job of sticking to their roots while climbing up the ranks. I expect more like them to follow despite the increasing trend of young stars compromising what they used to believe in.

 

Dating Someone Immature vs. Mature

Finding someone who you are compatible with is hard enough, but in today’s society it is often more important to find someone who is closer in emotional age rather than physical years. When analyzing someone’s age, many people focus purely on physical age. However, physical years are often not as important as the emotional age of a person. It is important to be able to differentiate between dating someone who is immature vs. mature. Simply reaching the age of 18 does not make you an adult. Rather, it is the way one carries themselves and how they interact with others that shows maturity. As far as dating and relationships are concerned, there are a couple major differences, which help to separate someone who is immature vs. mature.

Knowing How and When to Say Sorry

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It is human nature to make mistakes and to be wrong. In a healthy relationship, it is of vital importance to know when you have messed up or done something wrong and to apologize or make amends for it. Mature individuals have the ability to understand when they have done something that has affected their partner negatively. They also have the capability to not only understand what they have done wrong, but apologize in a sincere and meaningful way. Saying “I’m sorry” and really meaning it is instrumental in fixing and maintaining a strong adult relationship. In contrast, immature individuals struggle to understand when they have done something wrong to upset their significant other.  And even if they do realize, they often fail to make proper amends for it.  Their cognition of what the problem may be is often weaker and thus they do not understand the proper way to fix the issue at hand.

Selfishness vs Selflessness

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Since the beginning of mankind, humans have struggled with the battle of selfishness versus selflessness. It is important to have some of each, as one with complete selflessness often sacrifices their own happiness to please others, whereas one with complete selfishness cannot find a connection to someone else’s happiness.  The main difference between immature individuals and mature individuals is that mature individuals fall more towards the selflessness end of the spectrum. Whereas immature individuals often put themselves first and seek their own happiness, mature individuals are able to derive happiness from the joy of others. Although not always, the ability to make someone else happy helps to fulfill mature individuals needs and enhances interconnectedness. Furthermore, a mature individual is often willing to go out of their way in order to make their partner happy.  This lies in sharp contrast to immature individuals, who often act selfishly to fulfill their own needs.

Comfort with Oneself

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No matter what anyone says, deep down everyone has insecurities. Whether it be about appearance, abilities, or any other subject, everyone has something about themselves that they do not like.  Immature and mature individuals alike find fault with themselves. However, it is how they perceive their own faults and the degree to which they see them that separates them.  Part of growing up is learning what you excel at, and what you struggle with. It is about learning how to leverage your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. Immature individuals are prone to focusing on their weaknesses whereas mature individuals slowly work on their weaknesses and focus on what makes them great rather than what they lack.  Body image is one major component of comfortability with oneself. Immature individuals stress a great deal about what others think of their appearance and will stress and work endlessly to improve themselves in the eyes of their partners or others.  Mature individuals also may struggle with body image but they are usually more concerned with how they see themselves rather than how others do. Whereas immature individuals change and work to improve themselves for others, mature individuals do it to improve their self-image and how they feel about themselves.

Commitment Issues

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Not everyone is looking for a long term relationship and that is perfectly fine. However, at some point in an adult relationship, the topic of commitment is going to be broached. When it is, it is very easy to see how someone can be oriented as immature or mature. Just because someone is a grown up, does not mean that they are looking for a commitment and are ready to make one.  Sometimes it just isn’t what they are looking for at the time, and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense with the specific person. However, the way that the topic is handled can easily identify whether someone is immature or mature. When the topic is brought up, a mature individual will be straightforward with their intentions and will speak their feelings and thoughts. In contrast, an immature indiviudal will often mask their true meanings or simply flee. Either they will be scared off and attempt to escape from the relationship or from the conversation, or they will answer in a non-specific way that doesn’t really answer the question.  Immature individuals are also much more likely to give a non-definitive answer and to try and bypass the question. Whereas mature individuals tend to be straightforward and think about the topic, immature individuals may hide their true intentions and feelings. Commitment is a future-based decision that often counters childlike selfishness. As stated previously, immature individuals have a higher focus on their own happiness and thus often avoid future-based decisions and focus on enhancing their own happiness in the present.

Although these four differences do not always come together, they are each in their own way a strong indicator when deducing whether one is dating some immature or mature. There are many other factors that help to differentiate these two groups, and it is important to not just pinpoint these reasons as sole differentiators. It is important to seek out someone with a like mindset to your own. For those people who may still be immature themselves, it is advisable to seek out somebody who mirrors your needs and wants. If you are looking for an adult relationship and see yourself in this mindset, it is important to find someone who you can designate as a mature individual and who values your happiness as much if not more as their own.

Comment below with your thoughts on dating an immature vs. a mature individual.