After resumes we moved onto the last section of the day, which was LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not something you typically get a lot of information about from places like your school, so it was great that we had a chance to learn about it. After they explained how everything on the website works, I got to make my first LinkedIn account. It was actually really nice to see all of the possible connections I could have at my university that I will be attending in the Fall.
On Tuesday, we talked about our finances and budgeting. This class was really beneficial to me personally, because I have been trying to start saving money and planning a budget, but I just didn’t know where to start. They helped me calculate my monthly expenses and put a budget together based on my income. The one thing they said that stuck out to me the most, was to make sure my money had a purpose. It is so easy to just blow through your money and not give it any second thoughts. When you slow down and make sure all of your money has a specific purpose, it can make a huge difference. Next we talked about credit building. In my opinion, I have heard so much negativity around credit and being in debt. They taught me about all the different ways you can build your credit and also taught me that debt is not always a bad thing. There can be good debt like from buying a car or a house and as long as you stay reasonable with your purchases and are able to pay them back, your credit should not be damaged too much. They then gave us a full glossary of important words to know when dealing with credit. They also talked about the negative consequences of not having good credit. After credit building, we talked about renting places to live. The main thing I got out of this session was to read through my contracts thoroughly and make sure I know it like the back of my hand. More than likely there will be a problem and it is always better to be proactive, rather than reactive. After that, we talked about buying and renting a car. They gave us a handout that came equipped with an auto terms glossary full of words I have never heard of once again. They also talked about the insurance of the cars and how you can raise your insurance or eventually get dropped from the insurance company if you have too much of a bad reputation.
Wednesday we talked about communication. This was a session I was looking forward to, because I know I can improve on making my communication more effective. Many times in a conversation, people can set their predetermined responses before the other person is even done talking. That is not active listening. Having a conversation with someone is not always about thinking about what to say next to them or about what advice you’re going to give them when they're done, sometimes people just want someone to listen to them. Although I need to work on effective communication as a whole, a big thing for me was tone and delivery. They talked to us about how tone and delivery can completely change a message, which is true from my own personal experience. I got examples of how saying the truth can be respectful and polite, it doesn’t always have to be so harsh. Lastly we talked about forgiveness. The biggest thing I learned in this session was to forgive yourself. It is easy to get mad at yourself for what you did or what you allowed, but you cannot truly forgive someone until you forgive yourself. It can be hard to ask for help in some situations, so it was nice to see people getting the help they deserve and allowing themselves to start to heal and forgive themselves and others.
On Thursday, we talked about our mental and physical health. First we talked about our mental health. Mental health is one of the most important things in one’s life. We mainly talked about self care. Everyone deserves self-care whenever because it is not a reward, it is something that is needed. They gave us different ways to practice self-care and showed us that it does not always have to be a day blocked off to take care of yourself, you can practice self care every single day. They gave us examples of healthy habits you can use during the day to relieve stress before it even has the chance to build up. Along with our mental wellness talks, we filled out a wellness wheel to visualize where we are in different aspects of life. It is always interesting to see progress you are making or where you are in your life at the moment. After we talked about our mental health we got into physical health. We started off by stretching and then went into a Zumba class. The zumba class was a little difficult as I am clearly not in shape, but it was still a fun experience. The main thing that kept me going is, right now this routine may be difficult, but if I stay consistent this routine will be a breeze in a year. Just doing this inspired me to start working more on my physical health. It also showed that exercise can come in many different ways. Dancing with zumba is one of the fun ways to exercise that encourages me to keep going, instead of doing basic exercises.
The last day of the week was bittersweet, but we talked about our goals on Friday. As I mentioned earlier, one of my goals has been to save money. They helped me write down this goal in a SMART goal format. They mentioned a quote that read, “a goal without a plan is just a dream.” I am well on the way to achieving my goal amount by August of 2022. Next we talked about vision boards and made some. I absolutely love the idea of vision boarding, because I like visualizing what I want for my future and thinking about how I can make it happen for myself. It was wonderful to see how different everyone’s boards looked. It just goes to show that everyone is not the same. Lastly, we talked about bringing your best self. This was a good session, because many people like to dwell on the parts of themselves that they don’t like when there are so many other parts to be blessed about. The most important thing she said this session was, “being your best self just means being better than you were yesterday.” This is important because a little progress is still progress. If you are progressing yourself everyday, there will be change.
Overall, it was an amazing week that I hope one day every teen or adult can experience. I am thankful for the wonderful staff at WINGS, who were supportive every step of the way.