How to Change the World: A Guide for Millennials

Why A Guide for Millennials?

Life on your own is a bit scary. I get it. I’ve been through job losses, roommate issues, and other things. Really, some of my worst fears have come to life and really I’d never thought I’d make it. But I am making it. I’m a perfectionist and mistakes I’ve always seen as a waste of time.  I wish I could take them all back, but if I did I would never know the amazing relief of knowing that I really can make it on my own.

Over the next few months, I will have to rely on my family more than I would like, but the fact that I’ve even made it this far is quite amazing to me. Most of my friends still haven’t left their parent’s house. I won’t be able to take back my mistakes, but I can use them to help others and I hope this guide for millennials will start that process. It won’t answer all the questions, but it will get you started to changing the world in no time.

Last week I wrote a message to millennials because I want to see this generation do great things and I believe we do have the right tools to do it. But some of us are a bit misguided about how the real world works. I decided to do some research and develop this guide for millennials. I want to see us make the difference, but first we’re going to have to realize a few things.

Life on your own is a bit scary. This guide for millennials won't answer all the questions, but it will get you started to changing the world in no time.

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You Can Change the World: A Message for Millennials

Mixed Messages

If a had a penny for every article I’ve read that was a message for millennials, I’d have a lot of pennies. There’s a lot of mixed messages out there for millennials. Are we good, bad or indifferent? Lazy or we go getters? Are we going to change the world or we going to stay living in our mom’s basement forever?

If a had a penny for every article I've read that was a message for millennials, I'd have a lot of pennies and there's a lot of mixed messages. But we can stop playing into the stereotypes and actually change the world.

Two Sides

I too have mixed feelings about millennials. Supposedly, we’re the ones that break all the social norms and change the world. In some ways I see that. Our rally behind Bernie Sanders was pretty incredible. We’ve come up some of the best technology, we show the world how to accept others, and we care about the issues facing our world. We see the injustice, care about more than making money, and we have creative solutions.

But I also see the other side. I see millennials making more than parents and still not moving out. And the opposite, millennials who complain about the injustice of everything and still don’t work more than part time and minimum wage. There’s a lot of whining and not a lot of getting hands dirty. I see a LOT of selfies.

It’s Unfair

When I first had the idea for this article, my message for millennials was we should give ourselves a break. And in some ways that true. Millennials have it rough. So much is expected of us, but at the same time nothing is expected of us. We’re called self-centered, lazy and entitled. We’re told time after time, if we don’t get a degree, we’re going to fail eternally at life.

Then those same people hike up the tuition so high, there’s no way you could pay for it a reasonable amount of time. So then we graduate, with crap loads of debt, but we can’t find a job to pay it off. Guess where they are? Being hogged up by the same generation that told us we’re worthless for not going to college and the same people who say we’re stupid for racking up college debt. Quite a few things have changed since that generation went to college. Yes, people always had to work their way up, but the retirement age was significantly lower then. Also, the rate of inflation for college tuition is astronomical.

In 1950, a family sending their child to the University of Pennsylvania would only spend 18 percent of their annual income (if they paid in cash) to send their kid to study.  Today it would consume 79 percent of gross annual income.  Even if we look at net take home pay a regular family in no way could send their child to school without going into massive student debt.

What If?

I was going to say what if we’re not the lazy generation, but the efficient one? Why are we lazy for not wanting to go to college when there is a whole world of resources that we can look into for free?

Instead of waiting our turn and waiting until we’re 50, the elders finally retire, we’re going to do our own thing. Some might call it lazy or selfish, but we call it living.

Yes, we do live with mom and dad because we aren’t able to find a job that pays more than minimum wage because ‘we’re paying our dues’. Minimum wage times 40 hours= about $1,200 before taxes. Tell me, on what planet can a person find an apartment, pay the bills, plus all the extras that come up, buy food and still be able to save? It’s just not possible. For that reason, it’s hard not to play into their message for millennials- that we have no place in the workforce.

As a side note, I should say I KNOW not all millennials out there doing great things. They’re in the news, I read about them and I think wow! But I feel like those are the exceptions, not the rule. Those people who are the exceptions or know the exceptions might take issue with the next part, but I’m not talking about you. The rest of us need a pep in our step.

But…

And in a lot of ways these things are true. Seeing that I haven’t been alive to see how easy or hard the other generations had it, it’s kind of hard for me to really know, if we’re better or worse off than the other. I do see a unique situation that other generations haven’t faced. But in a lot of ways, I know that’s a bunch of crap.  There’s a reason I don’t spend a lot of time with my co-millennials and that’s simply because I can’t stand them. We got everything handed to us when we were kids and now we expect our dreams to be handed to us as well. We don’t want just a job, we want the standard of living our parents have when we haven’t earned it. And if I run into another person, who has stopped to take a selfie, I’m going to take their phone and smash it.

Yes, we want to change the world because the generations before us messed it all. We cry and wah, because the world isn’t right. But how do we go about doing that? Well, we post pictures with deep sayings and memes pointing out the hypocrisy in the world. I hate to say it, but that’s not really going to change anything. We’re going to actually get off our parent’s couches and get our hands dirty. We’re playing into their message for millennials- we’re lazy and self-centered.

Earn It

As far as student loans go, it’s understandable for millennials to be upset. Our folks told us to go to college, told us we won’t amount to much we don’t go, so we went. Now, we have all this debt and we still can’t a job for more than $7.50 an hour. But then again, I know quite a few students, who switched their major several times, instead of saving money they partied their way through school. Now, instead of finding ways to develop what they learned in school while looking for their dream job, they’re just complaining on their mom’s couch waiting for the perfect job to find them. Sorry, but a piece of paper doesn’t prove anything. Develop a portfolio, start a project, start your dream job in your mom’s basement, find the people who need it and find a way to get paid for it.

Why we’re not moving out on our own? Yes, the average student is walking away with a piece of paper that’s worth about $15,000 to $33,000 in debt. They’re putting off getting married, buying cars and houses because they simply can’t afford it. Many millennials graduated in the middle of the recession, so what are they supposed to do? Get a job? That’s madness!

Make Your Own Way

Yes, I get it. It’s infuriating to owe $33,000 in debt and still have to go work at McDonalds. It seems like the worst. Absolute worst. But sitting on your mom’s couch, not doing anything is so much worse. Seriously, go get a job. Any job. Work on your dream on the side, build up a network and a reputation and slowly work your hours down at the job you hate and replace it with your new income. You don’t need people’s permission or the perfect opportunity to do what you love, you just do it. Make a place for yourself. Millennials can change the world, but first they need to get over themselves.

And while you’re at it, put down the $5 coffee, cancel your Spotify and all your monthly box subscriptions, and yes you can live without the latest smart phone.

Message for Millennials

The thing I love is that millennials can change the world. We have the right tools. The disdain for corrupt institutions, the question of all traditions. My message for millennials is that we can’t allow these older generation to keep us down through debt and lack of jobs. It’s not all about happiness and rewards, but being able to look in the mirror and know we made a difference. Stop posting memes. Get out there and do something.

Next week I will get into more details about the steps we need to take make a difference in our communities and in our world.

If a had a penny for every article I've read that was a message for millennials, I'd have a lot of pennies and there's a lot of mixed messages. But we can stop playing into the stereotypes and actually change the world.

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7 Women Who Influenced the Environmental Movement

7 Women Who Influenced the Environmental Movement

Since March is Women’s History Month, I wanted to share with you a little about women who influenced the environmental movement. Some of these women might not be known to the general public, but their work should not go unnoticed.  I researched many women and these are the ones that stood out to me. I respect them for many different reasons, but they’re all very inspirational to me.

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Little Sprouts Learning Garden- How to Garden with Kids

How to Garden with Kids

This video, How to Garden with Kids, is the last of the 3 major projects I’ve been working on for the past couple of months and it was by far the biggest project. There are so many benefits to being in the garden with kids. They learn major life skills and skills they can use in school, such as how to count with seeds, how to read labels, how to measure and so many more.

Christina Kamp, owner of Little Sprouts Learning Garden, and I wanted to give a comprehensive video to bring these amazing lessons to your home. It gives an in depth look on everything you need to know to be able to garden with your kids. On July 25, 2016, Little Sprouts Learning Gardening is now offering a free webinar to help you bring these lessons home.

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The 20 Leadership Camp

The 20 Leadership CampOver the past few months I have been working for several months I have been working on a project for 20 Leadership Camp, which is based in Oklahoma, but they travel around to many different cities around the US and the world.

The 20 Leadership Camp is known as 20 Camp and the name comes from the Pareto Principle, which says 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. Their camps  are for people who are looking to become better. They are a Christ-focused camp, so they have several activities that focus on being leaders in Christ and what that looks like. Their camps  are for people who are looking to become better.

The mornings are started with a moment of prayer and self-reflection to help bring the campers lives into focus. After the day filled with activities, they spend the evening worshiping and meaningful messages.

They already had several hours of footage, but they needed some updated videos that showcased different areas of their camp.

All the videos are less than a minute and just about different aspects of the camp. I chose to make a video about their worship services and the role it plays in their camp, the benefits of volunteering with 20 Camp, how participants can benefit from 20 Camp, and an overview of the camp and the principle behind it.

My best friend worked with this camp, which is how I got involved with this project. I’ve never been to a camp, but I’ve heard such great things from my friend, so I was very excited when they asked me to do these videos.

Check out their website or watch the videos below to learn more about 20 Camp.

Service Learning Volunteer Center

The Service Learning Volunteer Center is housed in the OSU Student Union and it strives to help OSU students and facility find a volunteer project that suites them.

I started this project a couple of months ago and met with the three interviewees: Katelyn Spencer, Cassandra Rodenbaugh and Nada Abd Elhadi. During this project, I found all the different perspectives of the interviews to be interesting. They all had different motivations and interests.

Cassandra had a passion for animals. She was a first year veterinary student, but she had all kinds of experience volunteering with animals. She worked at the eagle habitat near Stillwater,  Centro de Fauna de Vallcalent which is a animal rehabilitation center in Lleida, Spain, Tiny Paws kitten rescue, and all sorts of other places. As a first yet vet student, she still managed to find time to volunteer and I thought that set a powerful example for the rest of us.

Katelyn was a Masters student and a graduate assistant for the Volunteer Center. Her interests were focused on international trips and studies, as she wanted to teach English in these foreign counties. Most of her volunteering was done through an organization called Chi Alpha, which is a campus ministry, but they are known for their volunteering efforts, including helping students during move-in week, bringing Freshmen cookies during the first week of school, international mission trips and various other things throughout the semester.

Nada Abd Elhadi was an intern for the Volunteer Center, which let her be involved in a little bit of everything. She just had a huge heart for people and helping them with the right attitude. Her main project this semester was working in Primrose, which is an assisted living facility.

I think this project could have been a pretty overwhelming ordeal because of the amount of footage there was to go through, but we had a script lined out beforehand, which made it a lot easier in the editing phase.

I did a couple of things different with this project. Music is becoming a common attribute in my videos and at first I wasn’t too sure I would like it, but it seems to make a big difference, so it will probably be something I add to every video. I’ve done a lot of research about what makes an effective video and one of the most important things is a catchy intro. I used to create custom intros introduce the video, but with the first 10 to 15 seconds being what can make or break a video, I’ve decided to put them at the end instead, which leads to the concluding animation.

In a perfect world, you should put a sequence of 3 second video clips for the first 15 seconds of your video. It seems like a lot, but it will catch the attention of your viewers because they know they’re going to have to pay attention, so they don’t miss anything. Because of scheduling conflicts, I wasn’t able to get enough video for the variety of volunteer opportunities to accomplish this, but it’s something I will strive for in the future.

I like to make intros/outros to relate to theme of the organization its being made for. Memories and photographs seemed to play an important part in the volunteer experience, so I wanted to convey that. I made what looks like falling Polaroids with some of the benefits of volunteering written out for this video’s outro. It was one of the more difficult parts of this project, but I’m happy with the way it turned out.

Obviously I couldn’t get video for all the volunteer options, but the women had a lot of pictures of them having fun during their trips. I wanted to make sure those pictures were labeled, so if a potential volunteer saw the video and thought they would like to do something similar then they would know where to start or what organization to contact.

For more information about volunteering with the Service Learning Volunteer Center, check out their website, where you can find a list of places to volunteer, log your hours, or just check out the services they offer. Or if you live outside the area or aren’t a student or faculty, then check out their Facebook page to keep up with their news.

Vacation! My experience at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights

vacation-01.png

My family and I went on vacation last week, taking a road trip through the South and ending up in Georgia to see my great aunt and great uncle. Because we have the Queen of Planning on our side (my mom) it was an awesome trip and the best part is it has all been fairly inexpensive. For the first several days, we brought our own food to make things like sandwiches and even spaghetti, we also did free but awesome activities such as seeing the Mississippi river, the Cypress Preserve in Greenville, and the Sloss Furnace Historical Landmark. We’ve had the perfect blend between activities and downtime.

Although I had many favorites, there is one that stands out in my mind relevant to the message that I am trying to send through this site.

On Tuesday, the day after we made it to my aunt and uncle’s house, we went to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Malala Yousafzai Quote

Video about lack of women’s rights. “We must believe in the power and the strength of our words. Our words can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

I come from a family that truly believes that all people have value and should be be treated with respect and dignity. My mother instilled a deep sense of compassion for all types of people and Martin Luther King was the focus of many of my research and English papers. I’ve been to my share of civil rights museums, but this one takes the cake.

It didn’t just cover the struggles of African Americans, but it covered the struggles of many groups, such as those with disabilities, women, immigrants, LGBT, Americans, citizens of other countries, etc. It was highly interactive and started out an exhibit that featured stories from the groups mentioned above and even more. It had several touch screens set up and as you moved close enough to a particular one, it activated your choices and let you pick a story to listen to. All stories were prompted by the words “I am…” Jewish, Gay, Christian, a woman, etc.

Human Rights Champions

Human Rights Champions

This led to my favorite part of the museum “The Spark of Conviction,” the Global Human Rights Museum. It talked about different dictators and featured people throughout the centuries, who defended human rights (Human Rights Champions), such as Martin Luther King, Gandhi and Yelena Bonner.

Human Rights Champions

There was an exhibited dedicated to the Civil Rights movement of the ’50s and ’60s. This part of the museum was also interactive with videos, recordings of the different stories, but the most involved part was the lunch counter simulator. This simulation helped give you a taste of what participants might have experienced during the events such as the sit-ins.

They sat you at a diner table, had you place your hands in a designated spot and listen to a recording of people antagonizing you, whispering in your ear, saying whatever they could to try to get you to fight or back down and leave. The seat jostled like they were bumping up against you. They encouraged that you closed your eyes and though I knew it wasn’t real, I just was just too scared to do it.

What is Your Ethical Footprint?

What is Your Ethical Footprint?

My favorite part of the museum, partly because it’s something I’m passionate in learning about and one day hope to be apart of the solution in a major way but also because it’s something I have never seen in a museum before, was a portion of the human rights exhibit. It didn’t have a name I could find, but it had the sign “What is Your Ethical Footprint” posted.  It gave information about the process for every day products such as electronics, chocolate, clothing, etc., and how the how the process to get those products violates human rights. It is a fight that isn’t commonly acknowledged like the Civil Rights Movement, but it’s something that’s very real even now.

Civil and Human Rights Exhibit

Civil and Human Rights Exhibit

The electronics portion (Not shown in picture) was one of the many processes that caught my attention. Many, if not all, electronics are made in factories that use child labor and workers that have to work impossible hours at ridiculously low wages. Many of the product lines have leukemia causing substances like benzene, formaldehyde, arsenic and radioactive material, in addition to hazardous working conditions, medical services are not covered through these companies.

Not only do these company use sub par conditions to make the electronics, but they also have to mine for these materials. Commonly used materials are copper, cobalt and coltan and children between 5 and 14 are commonly used in these mines. The numerous health risks associated with mining these materials are why the UN’s International Labor Organization called mining one of the worst forms of child labor.

I found this section of the exhibit to be very fascinating because it’s not commonly talked about or even thought about. Our actions have consequences in many areas and it’s important to consider others when making these decisions.      Martin Niemoller Quote

 

15 Seconds: How to Make Them Count

15 seconds: How to Make Your Views Count

15 seconds to prove your video is worth watching.

Fifteen seconds. That’s all you get. That is all you get to convince someone to stay and watch the rest of your video.

You can spend a hundred hours on a project and have the most important message about how to save the world, you might even get a millions of views because you’ve got a great title, but if they are only watching the video for a few seconds then they’re not going the rest of your message. Unfortunately, you’ve only got the first 15 seconds to convince them the rest of the video is worth watching.

So how can you make an impact? Well I’m glad you asked!

  1.  Fast Paced Intro is Essential.

For at least the first 15 seconds, use a sequence of clips or videos that last no longer than 3 seconds. If the clip does last longer than 3 seconds, make sure it is a clip with a lot of movement. It gets their attention then keeps it because they know if they look away, they will miss something.

2. Start With a Story.

People like feeling connected with the subject and a story with a main character is a great to get them involved, connected and feel compelled to finish the video to see how the story ends. Make this character easy to relate to and if possible, use this character as a way to show people how a situation, product or subject might affect or benefit them.

3. Listen and Understand Your Audience.

If you’re making a video to announcing the opening on your new toy store, don’t start with a scene from a graphic mobster movie. Know your audience, what they would be interested in watching and make it the focus within the first 15 seconds of your video. Some ways to get to know your audience better are:

  • Social media conversations, questions, and replies
  • Surveys sent to your users, subscribers or followers
  • Frequently asked questions from your support inbox
  • A Twitter hashtag search of something meaningful to your brand
  • Popular question headlines in a search of your brand’s keywords

4. Keep It Simple.

A  lot of videos go viral because they manage perfectly execute that joke or some crazy stunt. Luckily, you don’t need to be one of the few who accomplishes that. You can still have a great video and capture people’s attention. Just keep it simple.  Once you’ve done the first couple of videos and are more comfortable, you can start to experiment.

Also, don’t lose people with unclear language and complicated jargon.

5. Share!

Although this won’t be in the first 15 seconds of the video, it is by far the most important thing you can do for your videos. If no one knows it’s out there then no matter how great the video is or the information, no one will watch it. The best places to share your video are the front page of your website, all your social media platforms, your company newsletter, send it to your mom, who undoubtedly will send it to all of her friends, and don’t forget to share it again every so often.

These tips are just a few of the best things you can do to make sure your videos become successful.

Proof of Your Potential Impact

I’m sure that just about everyone on this planet, at some time or another, felt insignificant. It’s easy to sit back and say, “No one cares about what I have to say, so I’m not going to try.”

Money, time, convenience, lack of intelligence, not connected enough-these are the common excuses someone might have for not wanting to try to make a difference, and while they might be valid, they are certainly not very good ones.

'If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.' -The Dalai Lama

‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.’ -The Dalai Lama

Even mosquitoes have a place in this world and even mosquitoes can make a difference.

Most everyone has heard of a chain reactions, such as the domino effect or ripple reactions, such as the butterfly effect. This video is a great example this effect.

It shows that even the tiniest of actions can result in the knocking over a 100 pound domino. Actually, he goes on to say that if the movement continued, it would even knock something as huge the Empire State Building.

We have many opportunities in our day to day lives to make a difference. No one is born doing great things. We most hone are skills, work really hard, but little by little we will see that first effort we made, or domino in this case, develop and turn into bigger and better things.

Please leave a comment and share your ideas on how to make a difference on small or large scale!