Archive | Teen Life

Job Tips For Teens

by Shaina Owens, High School Student

Tired of begging your parents for money? Looking for ways to save for college? Or maybe someone in your family lost a job and you want to help out? Whatever your reason for wanting a job, below are some tips to help jump start your search.

Tip #1: Gather Your Personal Information. This consists of your social security card, driver’s license, or some other form of photo identification. If you’re under sixteen, you may need a special permit signed by your parents. Check with the nearest Texas Workforce Commission office for rules on teen employment.

Tip #2: Create a Resume. It’s not as hard as you think. There’s plenty of templates and samples online. Include your accomplishments, extracurricular activities and any volunteer work you’ve done. This type of information will make you stand out from the other applicants.

Tip #3: Dress to Impress. Although our generation opts for the trendy fashion, job-seekers prefer the conservative style. That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie. Simply tailor your wardrobe so that its neat, clean, pressed, with no holes, tears or rips, and it modestly covers your body. You may also want to ditch the body piercings and hide the tattoos. Some companies frown on these artsy additions.

Tip #4: A Job Search Requires Research. Networking, scouring the want ads or delving into the internet is a good place to start. Make note of the companies that are hiring, the ones that hold your interest and the ones where you meet the criteria. Don’t settle for the typical teen jobs like fast food restaurants, grocery stores, childcare, or life guard, unless that’s what you want to do. Consider opportunities that line up with your future career choice. If you want to be a doctor, look for a job at a hospital. If you want to be a cosmetologist, check out the local hair salon. Also, utilize your friend and parent connections. Sometimes word of mouth will open an employment door faster than the usual route.

Tip #5: Practice Your Pitch. Job hunting is a competitive environment. You want to do your best and sound your best during an interview. Solicit the help of a friend, sibling or parent for practice Q&A sessions. A candidate who can clearly articulate why they’re the right person for the job will grab an employer’s attention and perhaps give them the hiring edge.

Tip #6: Apply and Interview for Jobs. It’s time to hit the pavement with confidence and persistence. If you’re invited to an interview, put your best foot forward. Smile, maintain eye contact, dress the part, and mind your manners. Employers are becoming more meticulous in their selection process. Because of that, be prepared for lots of questions and possibly more than one interview.

Tip #7: Send a Thank-you Note. After your interview, follow-up with a thank you note. This can be done through snail mail or email. Be professional in the wording and offer to provide additional information if this will help in their decision making. Taking this initiative might push you to the top of the applicant pile.

Tip #8: You got the Job. Yay for you. This is when your work history begins. Arrive on time, be courteous, pay attention, limit the absences, and follow the rules. A good evaluation can lead to wage increases and promotions.

A teen’s first job is a big deal and a big step towards adulthood. Use this opportunity to grow and learn. It’s also pretty awesome to earn a paycheck. I should know. I work for Panera Bread.

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Rejection Doesn’t Define Who You Are

by Shaina Owens, High School Student

I think out of all the negative words in Webster’s Dictionary “rejection” ranks right at the top. Rejection says we’re not good enough. We don’t fit in. We don’t’ have what it takes. We lack the skill, ability, know-how, or talent to accomplish something. We associate rejection with unacceptance and exclusion. Rejection is a hard, cold reality that every human faces at one time or another. I’ve learned through the years that rejection is just part of life. We can’t always be the best at everything. We can’t always be the winner, the popular kid, the golden child, or the flawless, perfect person that we see on TV. On the flip side of that, I’ve also learned to accept who I am. I’m no Michelangelo, but I can draw a descent picture. I’m not J.K. Rowling, but I have won a couple of writing contests. I love music, but I couldn’t hold a tune to save my life. And although I’m no Victoria Secret run-way model, God has given me the ability to love, show compassion, kindness and the heart to share and forgive. You see rejection may close doors, but determination opens new ones.

For teenagers, rejection can leave a nasty scar. We identify ourselves through friendships and relationships. If our friends reject us, we think it’s the end of the world. If our boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with us, we think we’ll never find love again. Looking past the ends of our noses and realizing we have years of life still yet to live is a difficult truth to grasp. We tend to function in the moment. Here’s the good news. Take it from a fellow teen. You will make new friends and you will find love again. Through college, jobs, church, clubs, our paths will cross other paths. The person you’re destined to be with is out there somewhere so don’t give up. The lifelong loyal friend you yearn to find may be just around the corner.

With the hurt of rejection still fresh in our hearts, the real cure is time and some good ole’ fashion resolve. Refuse to be the victim. Set your mind to make changes in your life that will give you the upper hand. If you want new friends, then take the initiative to meet new people. If you want to make the basketball team, work harder and practice longer. If you want to get into a certain college, then study more and reapply. However, sometimes we have to accept the alternative and know when to let go and dream a new dream. But that does not mean that rejection has won out.

When I was younger, I heard a story about a little girl who saved her money so she could buy a cheap imitation pearl necklace. Over time, the necklace faded and the gold layering chipped away. No matter to her, she adored the necklace and would wear it every day. One night, after her bedtime prayers, the little girl’s daddy asked her if she loved him. The little girl answered, “Yes, daddy.” He asked her if she would be willing to give up her pearl necklace to show that she loved him. The little girl said, “Oh daddy, I do love you, but please not my necklace. You can have Rascal, my teddy bear.” Her daddy kissed her forehead and told her, “That’s okay sweetheart, daddy loves you, sleep good.” This went on for several weeks. Each time the little girl’s daddy tried to coax his daughter out of her old, scraggly pearl necklace and each time the little girl would offer something else in exchange. One day, while the little girl’s daddy was working at his desk his daughter came to him with tears in her eyes, holding the pearl necklace in her hand. She said to him, “Here daddy, you can have my necklace. I do love you.” Tears welled in the father’s eyes as well. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a beautiful, new, real pearl necklace and gave it to his daughter.

The story is sweet and the message is strong. We may feel the sting of rejection to the core of our souls. Sometimes we go through these things because we’re holding on to the artificial, not-so-healthy stuff, when God has something better for us. We have to be willing to let go and let him take the lead.  Never let rejection define who you are. Instead, let it make you a better person. And please don’t let rejection ever discourage you from taking chances. You’ll only be doing yourself a disservice. It’s okay to stumble. It’s even okay to fall. Not trying would be the real tragedy.

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SAT and ACT Know the Difference

by Shaina Owens, High School Student Continue Reading

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Teen Pregnancy

A Baby Changes Everything

by Shaina Owens, High School Student

According to recent studies, Teen pregnancy is on the decline. That’s good news, except for one thing. Teen girls are still getting pregnant.  Being a Teen myself, I’ve encountered firsthand girls my age and younger who’ve gotten pregnant, and for all the wrong reasons.  They wanted a baby.  They thought a baby would strengthen their relationship with their boyfriend.  They had unprotected sex.  They trusted their contraception to protect them.  They didn’t know that you could get pregnant on your period. Or, they didn’t know that you could get pregnant the first time you had sex.

Here’s the thing. I’m in no way saying that having sex before marriage is acceptable. What I am saying is think it through before you act. Know the facts and consider the consequences. And take to heart that it’s not just your life that your decision could affect, but the life of an innocent, helpless baby, your parents, friends, and the baby’s daddy and his family.

To put this in a clearer perspective, let’s first look at the facts.  Yes, you can get pregnant while on your period.  Sperm can stay alive for several days.  With that said.  If you have sex while on your period and you ovulate shortly after that, you could get pregnant.  And don’t think you’re safe from getting pregnant just because you haven’t had your first period yet. There’s always a chance that you could ovulate 14 days before you start your first period.  Girls who ovulate can get pregnant no matter if it’s their first time, second time, or hundredth time to have sex. Another fact is that contraceptives are not 100% pregnant proof. The only sure way to not get pregnant is to not have sex.

Now that we have the facts covered, let’s move on to the reality side.  I agree babies are cute and cuddly.  Here’s the thing, though. They’re expensive and they’re little time hoarders too.  It can cost up to $10,000 or more to support a baby the first year of its life, and that’s only if the baby is completely healthy.  Of course, this estimate doesn’t include the pre-natal care or the hospital charges.  About 80% of Teen fathers do not marry the mother and even less than that actually contribute financially to raising the child.  For those who do help out, that price tag ranges from $800 to $1000 per year.  And forget about having a social life.  Babies require 24/7 care and attention. They nap when they want, eat on demand, cry, poop and spit-up.  Want to finish school and go to college?  Your chances at succeeding with that goal have just been cut by 85% if you have a baby.  So, unless you’re ready to give up your free time, your 8 hours of uninterrupted night’s sleep, your dreams and any hope of living outside of the poverty level, you should reconsider having sex and put off having a baby.

I hear people say when the time is right or when you’re really in love, that’s when you’ll know you’re ready for sex.  Not true.  The right time is with the person who loves you enough to marry you and not just sleep with you.  No Teen is ready for parenthood. No Teen should have to face the stress and burden of taking care of a baby when they can barely take care of themselves.  The baby deserves better.  You deserve better.  Remember, a baby changes everything.

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Public vs. Private School

The Similarities, Differences and Challenges

by Shaina Owens, High School Student

Eyes wide with apprehension, I stepped through the doors of public school and entered Kindergarten. Little did I know that I’d be entertaining those same uncertainties eleven years later when I decided to enroll in a private school my junior year. The change has come with mixed emotions, probably because there was much to be considered.

To help ease my worries, my parents and I attended informational meetings. We visited the school website. We talked to other parents and students. We filled out a mountain of paperwork. We interviewed one-on-one with the principal and faculty. We met with the coaches. We even attended a couple of high school games. For me personally, I couldn’t have made up my mind without a lot of soul searching and prayer. There’s one question I had to be 100% clear on. Is this where God wants me?

My answer came once I resolved to do my own research and make a list of similarities, differences, likes, dislikes and the challenges I would face. The similarities were simple enough. My subjects would basically be the same, minus chapel time. Something that’s not offered in public schools. Classes will run about fifty-five minutes. Lunch is at noon. My Private school offers all the sports I play, including academic and extra-curricular competitions through TAPPS, which is similar to UIL. And dual credit classes are also available.
The differences I can live with too. While most public schools require students to arrive at 8:00 a.m. and stay until 3:20 p.m., the bell for my first class doesn’t ring until 9:15 a.m., and I leave at 2:00 p.m. An even better bonus is that my regular classes only take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my dual credit course is located on another campus. And let’s not forget the uniforms and books. Thumbs down on the uniforms and my parents have to foot the bill for the books and classes because private school comes with a fee while public is free.

The challenges would be a bit more demanding. My private school, along with the college campus for my dual credit class, are in different towns. As a result, my driving time would increase and I would be putting extra miles on my car. My flexible schedule would require a greater discipline on my part.

Having too much free time can be distracting and filled with other things instead of using that time to do homework.
My likes and dislikes mainly deal with nostalgic reasons. I’m leaving the only school I’ve ever attended. There’s teachers I’ll miss. Friends I’ll leave behind. My school colors will change, my alma mater will change and the letterman that I worked hard for will now hang in the back of my closet. Ironically, though, my school mascot will remain the same. So that’s a definite like. I’ve already met and made friends with several of the students and I’ve been invited to my first junior class get-together.

When I realized how welcoming everyone was and how they never made me feel unwanted or unworthy, that’s when I knew this is where God wants me. I’m looking forward to attending Denton Calvary Academy this fall. It’s the place I want to be at. It’s the place I’m proud to say is my school.

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Church Camp

The Ultimate Experience

by Shaina Owens, High School Student

Located somewhere in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by towering oak trees, relaxing rivers, open pastures and rolling hills is one of my favorite spots to visit…CHURCH CAMP. I look forward to it every year. Why? Because it’s a place I can go to and just be me. There’s no pressures to conform, no judgmental eyes to criticize, no favoritism, no gossip, and no worries. It’s a little slice of heaven right here on earth.

Camp offers so much for teens and kids of all ages. The one I attend is chockfull with adventure. Everything from rock climbing, water slides, swimming, and hiking to sports, games, team challenges and zip lining. Which, by the way, happens to be one of the biggest, longest and most thrilling zip lines in the State of Texas. I rode it and it was amazing (). For those who’ve never been to camp, I strongly encourage you to go. If cost is an issue, many churches offer payment plans, fundraisers and scholarships.

Like most church camps, the technology is left at home. No cell phones, no iPods, iPads, two-way radios or any other electronic gadget. Counselors consider them to be distractions and unnecessary. The whole point of camp is to get away from the rat race and enjoy nature while you grow in your faith. Believe me, you won’t have time to play games or text on your iPhone. From the minute you get up in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night, your schedule is packed with plenty to do.

A typical day looks something like this: breakfast with your buddies, morning bible study, outside activities, lunch, more activities, group time, free time, dinner, community praise and worship and evening fellowship. I have to say the praise and worship is out of this world and the evening community fellowship will leave you hungry for more. And speaking of hungry, the food is great. You can expect to find some common favorites like pizza, hamburgers, spaghetti, a salad bar, fresh fruit, sub sandwiches, grilled chicken, tasty deserts, pancakes, eggs, toast, biscuits, sausage, bacon, waffles, and cereal. For those with a more strict diet, special attention and menus are offered. Some camps, like the camp I go to, has a country store that offers flavored coffees, smoothies, ice cream and other yummy snacks. Souvenirs, shirts, jackets, and outdoor gear is also available for purchase. So bring extra cash.

Church camp has been one of my happiest memories. It changed my perspective on how I look at life and how I treat people. We’re all connected in some form or fashion and camp helps bring us together in friendship, acceptance and love. And besides, it’s fun, awesome and the ultimate experience.

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