Thursday

Beauty on the Inside

Today's society has placed a great deal of importance on what young women should look like. Sometimes the stress of being told what dress size you should be overpowers the significance of what lies inside your heart. This shouldn’t be what happens.

Growing up always being told to "Stay strong and be kind," I knew that I was doing something right if I was going out of my way to show unconditional kindness to someone else. Never before middle school had how others view me been important. However what should be meaningful and important is not others' superficial view of you. What should be important to you is the content of your character and the quality of your heart.


Girls shouldn't have to constantly be worried with how they look to feel accepted by their peers. The standard of beauty is constantly changing, so in turn what's considered beautiful now could possibly change in a few years or even just a few months. What's truly significant and constant is how beautiful you are on the inside.


The way you treat others says more about how beautiful you are than how you appear in a mirror ever could. Keep beauty in your heart. Be kind. Be gracious. And above all, know that you were created for a purpose that far exceeds the plan you could ever have for yourself.

Olivia Burger
Miss Columbus' Outstanding Teen

Wednesday

Be a Girl with Goals!

Happy new year, everyone! 

As you toss out your old calendars and replace them with new ones, think about what the New Year means to you. I like to look at the change from one year to another as tearing a marked up, scribbled sheet of paper out of a notebook and starting over on a new, clean sheet of paper. That's what the New Year is for a lot of people--a clean slate and a fresh start!

The New Year is the perfect time to reevaluate things in your life and make changes. In addition, it's also a great time to start setting goals for yourself and thinking about what you can do in order to accomplish those goals. 

First, I'd like to start by saying that whatever goals you want to set or things that you may want to change in your life, you should do because YOU want to, not because others want you to. The best thing about reaching a goal is the self-satisfaction you get when you accomplish something that you really set your mind to and worked so hard to achieve. It's nice to have others be proud of you and happy for you, but that shouldn't be your sole reason for reaching goals. 

Another thing about goals is that they really help you grow as a person, and setting and reaching a goal is a sign of maturity. When you set goals for yourself that you are really serious or passionate about, it teaches you to have clearer focus, persistence, and to make more effective use of your time. These are three things that teach responsibility and help you grow as a person! There is nothing worse than setting goals for yourself that you don’t work hard enough, or take out the proper time, to meet. This is why it’s important to really sit back and think about the things you desire and want to achieve; keep working toward reaching your goals, even when it seems nearly impossible; and set aside and better manage your time to put into reaching your goals.

No goal is too big or too small. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Sometimes, really big goals take a little more time to achieve. This is why you want to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to reach these larger goals. It also helps to break up bigger goals into smaller ones. For example, if you want to bring your GPA from a 3.1 to a 3.4, it would be pretty tough to accomplish within a year. A suggestion is to break this goal into smaller ones. Maybe set a small goal for each semester until you make it to your desired GPA. Setting realistic and reasonable goals can help prevent disappointment and help you to stay focused and dedicated by seeing that your goal isn’t as far out of reach as you may think. Don't forget to celebrate each small victory of meeting each small goal!

Again, the best and most rewarding part about setting goals for yourself is the feeling you get when you reach them! Whether your goal is to make the honor roll, become vegan or join a team at your school, each achievement should be taken heavily and should be celebrated! Not everyone is able to stick it out and reach their goals, so when you do, give yourself a pat on the back because you deserve it!

Sincerely, 

Tatyana Phelps

Girl Talk Marketing Volunteer


Friday

Good Friends are Good for the Soul!

Making friends is a crucial part of school. Thirty years from now, you may have the same best friend or even look back at all the good times that you shared with your inner circle. Whether you surround yourself with one or two close friends or prefer to have a large group around you, friends add a bit more depth to our normal, routine lives. 

When making new friends, it’s important to remember to surround yourself with positive people who uplift you and support you. Although we are each responsible for our own decisions and in control of our actions, it can be very easy to get influenced by the people around us. The best thing is to often be friends with people you share common values and goals with. Have you ever heard the saying, “Birds of a feather flock together”? It’s much more than a cute rhyme! It means that people usually hang around like-minded people—people who are quite similar to them. Despite the way the saying goes, this isn’t always the way things play out.

We’ve all had a bad friend or two. Not that they were a bad friend to you, but they were doing bad things or getting into trouble. Sometimes, they may have even involved you in it. Since these are the people we call our friends, we may get sucked in to joining in on those bad things. Does this kind of friend sound familiar?

If you realize that you may have a friend like that, don’t worry—you aren’t alone! Trust me, I have been there. We all have been there. Sometimes, it’s easy to get blinded by these negative influences in our lives. People like this may be really good friends to you and it may even be pretty exciting to try new, adventurous things that are outside of your norm. But I’m here to tell you that people like that aren’t our real friends. Real friends accept you for who you are and don’t try to change anything about you. True friends would never put us in the position to do things we aren’t comfortable with or potentially get us into trouble. 

If you have a friend or multiple friends like this, you don’t necessarily have to forget that they exist and never talk to them again. Instead, express how it makes you feel. One of the keys to a good friendship is communication. Tell your friend that allowing her to look at your test answers made you feel uncomfortable, or that picking on another student at lunch was not okay with you. It might put you in an awkward position, but if someone is really your friend, then he/she will listen to what you have to say and take into consideration how certain things make you feel. If he/she can’t do that, then it may be time to reconsider the friendship. 
 
A true friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are. 

Sincerely, 

Tatyana Phelps

Girl Talk Marketing Volunteer

The Importance of Community Service

Community service: two words that describe something you’ve probably done before. Maybe your school requires service hours, or your parents want you to volunteer, when really you wanna stay home. We’ve all been there; community service can feel like a drag, but it’s important to remember why community service should be one of the many things keeping you busy.

Being able to make a difference in someone’s life is one of the reasons service is SO important. But, trust me, I know this sounds cliche and unrealistic; can you really make a difference in someone’s life? You’re not an adult yet. But you absolutely can. You never know how much good a small gesture can do. When I was younger, my family used to bring donations to a local food pantry. I never understood why I had to give up my Saturday to help out, until one day, a man came to the food pantry while we were dropping off donations. He was there to get food for his family because they couldn’t afford groceries. I realized that my work did matter even though it was small. There are so many people who could use your help and regardless of your abilities, you can change a person’s life.

Community service is also important because it can be extremely humbling and can put things into perspective. I know, it’s unfair when your friends see a PG-13 movie and your parents won’t let you, but meeting people who don’t know when their next meal is, makes you think twice about your problems and gives you a more realistic picture of the world. I’m not saying that your problems are insignificant, but once you’ve met people with life-changing issues, it can make you grateful for what you have, and gratitude is an incredible thing.

Community service can help you discover what you are passionate about. Most of you probably have been asked what you want to do when you grow up, and some of you might not know yet, which is TOTALLY normal! But finding new causes and ways to give back, can show you what makes you angry or excited, which can help you determine what future job you want. Sometimes finding what makes you angry is an easy way to find your passion and career.

Hopefully, you’re now convinced to start looking for community service opportunities, or, at least, you aren’t dreading fulfilling your school’s service requirements. The next step is finding out how to get involved. Girl Talk often has service events for all ages. Also, I use Pebble Tossers, a service website, to find organizations that accept middle school or high school aged volunteers. However you get involved, you’re doing great.

I hope you all are going to start getting involved, and I know you can do amazing things! Here’s an Eleanor Roosevelt quote that keeps me motivated to give back: “Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness you are able to give.” You are all remarkable, and good luck with all future service endeavors!
 
Much love,


Katie Pleiss
Senior, The Galloway School - Atlanta, GA
Teen Advisory Board Member


School & Bubble Baths

We've all been there: it’s 1AM, and you’re still scrambling to finish the last items on your to-do list which include finishing your biology lab, studying for that impossible math test, and finalizing your Friday night plans. By the time your head hits the pillow, it seems as if the alarm clock is already blaring in your ear. So there you are, trudging to your class, yawning and shuffling your feet in sweats. Is it worth it?

School itself is a blessing.  Although it’s not going to indefinitely define every single tiny detail and aspect of your future, education is important and it’s something that you should always be grateful for. Many girls around the world don’t even have access to the kind of learning opportunities that are readily available to citizens of the United States of America. That being said, learning how to balance school is a whole other challenge to tackle. 

There is a fine line between working hard, and working overtime. If the cost of being the “perfect student” means coming home feeling exhausted and defeated every single day, then you might want to rethink your routine.  Even now, as I am moving into my last year of high school, I have to find the right balance of grades, sleep, and things I do for me. A lot of times, we can get lost in the robotic day-to-day tasks, and doing something for myself is easily forgotten. 

This small act of self-love can be anything from packing an extra cookie in your lunch to scheduling in a hot bath when you get home from school (scented candles included). It can also mean getting further involved in a sport or club that you’re passionate about. Taking an hour of your time to relax will increase your productivity and focus later so that you can really get things done. 

If you’ve ever paid attention to the safety information cards on airplanes, you know that in case of emergency, you are advised to help yourself first and foremost before helping others. If your health and safety is in jeopardy, how are you supposed to follow the rest of the instructions? The same applies to school, you have to support yourself before trying to tackle anything else. You should prioritize yourself, and figure out the best game plan for you to be happy, productive and managing your stress level well - all at the same time. As someone who is currently still struggling to do this, I can tell you it’s not easy, but it’s definitely rewarding. So go forth and conquer school, but don’t forget to stop and grab some bubble baths along the way...you deserve it!
 
Lots of Love,


Raina Gars
Senior, Pope High School - Marietta, GA
Teen Advisory Board Member