Jessie's Blog

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TALKING TO YOURSELF, AGAIN? — Everyone does it, but is what you are telling yourself taking you where you want to go?

guitar_strummingWhat’s that tune you can’t stop singing to yourself? We’ve all got one; in fact, I feel pretty safe in saying we’ve all got more than one. We’ve got a whole chorus of tiny voices demanding our attention, but here’s the thing: Some of our internal voices empower us, reinforce our authentic selves, and feed the greater good. Too often, though, they are the roadblocks that spring from our deepest fears about ourselves. And, they are remarkably good at keeping us stuck, especially when we don’t even…

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Don't Wear the Puffy Shirt — and Other Advice on Nailing that College Interview

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At least Jerry had a good reason to wear The Puffy Shirt. —Seinfeld, Season 5, Episode 2

I was a high school sophomore that rainy day I was to interview at Blair Academy as a transfer student. I laid out multiple outfits. The navy wool skirt and the white blouse with the Peter Pan collar. Or maybe the sweater with rainbow hearts woven with hints of gold metallic. Why couldn’t this be as easy as it was to dress in the fifth grade, when my go-to was always those double-zippered jeans and horse ha…

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Sometimes School Sucks, but Thanks Mom & Dad

“If you spend your life feeding people’s vanity, you get so you can’t distinguish what should be respected in them.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Leave your pride, ego, and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce your children’s most primitive fears.” —Henry Cloud

Martin Family Vacation, Spring 2009 Martin Family Vacation, Spring 2009

Bryn, our sophomore in college, called in February. “I just don’t get it, Mom.” One of his closest friends had just withdrawn in the second semester of his sophomore year. …

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Why Striving for Excellence Trumps Obsessing with Perfection

Yes, Let's! Yes, Let's!

Report card day. Just the thought of that is bound to elicit memories (of many varieties). My elementary school report card came on dull mint green cardstock, in a sturdy manila envelope. My heart beat just a tick faster while sliding that card out, marking period after marking period, even if I had a pretty good idea of where I stood. The finality of the letters and digits, in permanent ink. And the “soft marks”: E, VG, G, S, and U carrying an even greater weight—the teacher’s judgm…

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Whatever you do, don't ask about my major.

dontaskaboutmajorBRIGHTA few years out of college and newly married, David and I headed back to South Mountain for the annual Lehigh-Lafayette Football Game (in this century this tradition is known as LeLaf). Following the game we went to a cocktail reception at Theta Chi, and the brick exterior, white columns, and pungent odor of beer long-seeped into the parquet floors greeted us — almost as if we had never left. As the crowd gathered and the volume rose a couple of drinks in, I overheard a question posed by one of …

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Boredom, Questions & Zombies

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Zombies. They are an official "thing."

One Saturday evening, I was walking through the living room with a load of laundry in my hands. A commercial for a new movie flew across the screen. I exclaimed, startling everyone including Pickles, our evil cat: “Zombies! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”

I don’t know how you feel about it, but the term zombies is creepy to me. It sounds creepy. It looks creepy (I know they are just letters, but they're both visually and audibly grating.). And the image…

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How Teabag Wisdom Can Help Your Teen Raise that All-Important GPA

Jessie's photo holder keychain, in use since 2008. What mother would dress her pre-schoolers in such clashing attire on picture day? Jessie's photo holder keychain, in use since 2008. What mother would dress her pre-schoolers in such clashing attire on picture day?

Delia, a bright-eyed high school junior, sat in my office.

“You saw my transcript?” She asked in a cringing tone. “I’m trying harder. I’m working on that.”

I had reviewed her transcript. She clearly had the best of intentions. Her freshman year, though, was killing her confidence, not to mention her GPA. One B, 3 C’s, and 2 D’s. She had a 2.3, brought up only by a so…

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What Are Admissions Officers Looking for in the Essay?

admission officers are looking for

The reality is that admissions officers are interested in what each individual student has to say---and something only that student can say. It’s impossible to identify the exact topic or tone that comprises a winning essay, but we know that a student writing in his or her voice is a great place to start: The student should come alive and be present in the essay; after all, this is designed to be the part of the application process that demands each student take a close look at his or her essen…

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