Your Career Can Benefit Others Too

There are an endless number of ways to help others. You can run a restaurant for the poor or raise money for children with disabilities. When it comes to helping others, it doesn’t matter who you are — middle class or part of the 1%. You can be a total busybody and still give back by using your career as a means of benefitting others. Here’s how you can do it.

Especially for university students, fearing that your future occupation may be a selfish one is completely natural. After all, being a creative writer or interior designer may seem, in a way, limited. This is far from true, as many jobs can be platforms for sharing knowledge and information with others. If you are a chef, you can use your expertise to educate other aspiring chefs, whether this means charging for a workshop or doing it for free.

Offering your services pro bono is another awesome way to do good. It may not profit you financially, but the simple joy of giving others a means to learn is almost always enough. Reach out to charitable institutions and figure out where you can be an asset. Who knows? You may be part of the success story of an aspiring engineer.

If you’re unsure of how your job can help others directly, use it to advocate for something. If you’re a graphic designer promoting mental health, make an infographic. If you’re a farmer promoting animal welfare, grow organic, vegan food. Somehow, things always fall into place, even when partnerships seem odd. Especially today, there are so many different ways to do one thing. Now is the time to be innovative and resourceful.

If you are fairly established in the working world, a sensible option would be to earn to give. Figure out how much of your salary you can set aside for a cause you are truly passionate about. Decide whether you are financially stable enough to commit to a charity for a certain amount of time. Do research to ensure that your money is being distributed fairly and doing exactly what it is meant to. Of course, sticking to a group will require some involvement. Engage with your charity every now and then via visits or events.

If you feel your vocation should be directly involved with a cause, don’t hesitate to go for it. This way, you can make helping others your career. Still, decide where you think you can be most useful and what problems, to you, are most urgent. If you are great with computers, you can opt to do research regarding statistics or patterns that may be of use to your advocacy. Maybe you’re a fearless public speaker who would do best promoting your cause. If you are brimming with passion, chances are, you’ll find your place within whatever field of work you choose.

Picking out the perfect job may be a case of what earns the most or what line of work your family is in. But keep in mind that it is also about your personal desires and strengths, as well as its potential to impact others.

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Yale Students Build Affordable Housing for the Homeless

Design and advocacy go hand in hand. There are many ways that design proves itself to be beyond aesthetics; it targets sustainability, promotes awareness, juggles being eco-friendly and multi-functional, and generally allows for an explosion of ideas. And sometimes, it doesn’t just save the planet. It saves the people in it, too. Witnessing to that are some great projects such as these portable origami tents or this efficient flooring system, especially built for refugees and the homeless.

Architecture students from Yale have worked on the same advocacy as they designed and built an affordable shelter for homeless people. The affordable housing project is part of an ongoing university tradition.

The 1,000-square-foot house for the homeless is a handsome prefabricated structure clad in cedar and topped with a standing-seam metal gable roof. According to the project statement, students were “challenged to develop a cost-efficient, flexible design that tackles replicability in material, means, and method of construction.” The house comprises two separate dwellings: one is a studio, while the other is a two-bedroom apartment with built-in storage.

Every year, the university tasks first-year architecture students to design and build structures that will benefit the community. The tradition has apparently been going on since 1967. For the project’s 50th iteration in 2017, some students that participated in the Jim Vlock First Year Building Project chose to explore cost-efficient and flexible design in giving affordable housing to those who need it the most. They executed their plans and successfully constructed the building at New Haven’s Upper Hill neighborhood.

The project also marked the first partnership between the Yale School of Architecture and the non-profit Columbus House, an organization that has been providing solutions to homelessness in the New Haven area since 1982.

If all school projects had this much impact and advocated this strongly for the betterment of the community, I probably would’ve been more motivated to get that A.

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In Your 20s? 30s? 40s? Age Doesn’t Matter in Meaningful Interactions

All too often, we hear ominous stories about how adulthood can take away our “lives.” My guy friends, for instance, would always talk about settling down as if it means giving up the freedoms they currently have — no more regular basketball live-streaming with their mates, no more beer pong and video game weekends. My girl friends would also freak out a little when imagining their lives as a soccer mom, when their everyday would be consumed by helping kids get ready in the morning, bringing them to school, doing stuff around the house, fetching kids from school, and repeating the cycle all over the next day.

But I always felt like this isn’t necessarily the case. We romanticize the idea of peaking during our high school or college years, thinking that’s when we live the best of our lives because we have the best people around us. Everything else that comes after is just the natural course of things after the end of our glory days. I disagree. For me, meaningful interactions are not necessarily limited to our youth.

Of course, our teenage years are fraught with self-discovery. That’s when we first have an inkling of our passions and the things we like to do. High school is a time to try out your interests and maybe decide what to pursue in the future. But aside from discovering your identity, it is also a time to have fun with friends and make the craziest, most random memories. Most of us also probably had our first kisses then. I mean, who didn’t go to prom? Being a teenager is like being in a whirlwind of new emotions; it’s fun, adventurous, and romantic.

Unfortunately, some of us stay behind and linger with those memories, choosing instead to idealize those golden days and not to go on and have more adventures, even as an adult. Believing that your teenage years are all there is to life is detrimental to your growth as a person.

I’m sure everyone’s college days were also intense and significant. I, for one, probably had my first real and severe experience of distress during my time in college. Algebra homework in high school? Pfffft. Between my terrifying cultural studies professor who demands a reaction paper on every reading, my thesis that doesn’t seem to want me to graduate, and my fear of unemployment once I do graduate, it’s a whole new level of exhaustion. But this can only mean that our early 20s is a time to harness one’s strengths and start working on maturity.

University is also probably where you get to meet the most diverse set of people. So it’s not just a time to gain fun friends to create crazy memories with, but also to find those who can really help you pursue your goals. Despite of and maybe even because of the raging hormones that are ever-present throughout college, it might also present opportunities to grow into the kind of mature person who can handle actual relationships.

Up to one’s late 20s, I think, is a good time to make mistakes and learn from them, through the different people you meet and the different meaningful interactions that you have, whether romantic or platonic.

I myself am in my mid-20s. And like I’ve mentioned before, real adulthood is what people my age are really afraid of. People in their 30s and 40s are probably more likely to prioritize their careers and families. The assumption is, by then, you will get so caught up in living a normal, stable, and secure life that it just becomes tedious — what meaningful interactions are there for me if I just follow the scripts?

Assuming responsibility is definitely important. But being in one’s 30s or 40s also means extending yourself fully and sharing your life with others. Putting one’s family first doesn’t necessarily entail choosing obligation over passion; maybe it’ll even be fruitful to open up to your kids and have them open up to you about things all of you feel passionate about. Likewise, marriage doesn’t have to kill romance; it can provide a whole different and exciting arena for it.

And finally, because you’ve been working all these years to settle down, now might be a good time to go out and know your community. Meaningful interactions can happen in the seemingly most simple events. Grocery shopping is just a routine, but who knows what interesting people you’ll meet there? Just because you have a home life doesn’t mean no opportunities for spontaneous friendships will make themselves present.

In one’s 30s or 40s, people can’t really afford to rethink their priorities. And they don’t have to. Just treating your neighbors sometime could suffice. Smile at someone in the park. Help a stranger out. Everyone you meet will surely give you a meaningful interaction if you let them.

* This post is inspired by BeepBeep Nation, an app that provides a platform for people to request for the help they need and others to offer their help. By facilitating face-to-face human interaction and creating a culture of kindness, it aims to make the world better. Pre-sale of the ICO that fuels the BeepBeep Nation app is already available. Check out the EMINENT token now!

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Senior Professor Schools Teachers On The Art Of Fun

It’s stories about locals risking their lives to save animals from an active volcano or a modest restaurant feeding the poor that restore my faith in humanity. Amidst a slew of tragedies, I became doubtful of the human capacity to do good. I then came across the story of Dr. Richard Overfelt, an 88-year-old professor who helps schoolteachers rediscover their love for educating. And to say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement.

“We cover teachers up today with statistics, with data, and testing almost every other day,” Overfelt said. And as a result he says “there isn’t enough time and energy to really teach the kids.”

Excellent point. On the first day of classes at Truman State University, senior professor Overfelt dresses in a clown costume. It’s unusual but hilarious, and nothing like Pennywise from Stephen King’s It. Overfelt teaches educators not just to revise their curriculums, but to relate to their students on a personal level. Looking back at my own academic life, I suppose I can confirm that what made the most impact to me then as a student is exactly what the senior professor tells his successors.

“I teach that if the heart is empty, it doesn’t make any difference how full the head [is],” said Overfelt.

Many have credited him for their decisions to remain in their professions, learning how to better educate and, in the process, have fun. Which leads me to say this… Maybe I ought to commission a therapy session with Dr. Overfelt on demotivating Mondays.

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Texas University Donates Leftover Food To Homeless

For homeless shelters across the globe, food shortages are a constant, pressing reality. On the other hand, restaurants deal with a baffling amount of leftovers. Because of this, apps like MealTech are helping facilitate donations, while select farms are growing produce for the needy. To alleviate waste issues at football games and do some good, Texas Christian University students are hauling tons of leftovers to shelters.

The donations are coordinated by the TCU Food Recovery Network, a student organization that works to eliminate food waste on campus, and Sodexo, the university’s food service company. The student organization also delivers leftovers from the campus dining hall to Union Gospel Mission twice a week.

With up to 40% of food supply wasted annually in the United States alone, it’s good to know perfectly good coleslaw isn’t being tossed. The Food Recovery Network, led by senior student Megan McCracken, also volunteers to serve their donations personally.

“People really want to help out, but they don’t know how to help out sometimes,” [food services director Robert] Clethan said. “They just need to know there’s a place like this that can use things like that.”

Thanks to TCU, Union Gospel feeds nearly 300 residents three times a day. Now that’s a feast!

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Cops Help Teen Replace Stolen College Money

In the midst of an increasingly problematic society, there are a few hidden gems among the wreckage. Among them is 5-year-old Cassie Gee, who paints for charity. Another is Katryna Robinson, who donates hotel toiletries to the homeless. But police officers at El Segundo are the cherry on top after helping a high school teen crowdfund her stolen college money.

“We started talking and we said, ‘She’s a valedictorian, a really good kid, she’s done everything right in her life, why don’t we set up something so the El Segundo community can help her?’” said Officer Joe Cameron, union president.

Cops set up a GoFundMe page in an attempt to retrieve the $2,000 student Kristin Villanueva had saved. In just a few days, the page had pooled nearly $5,000. It’s an impressive feat, seeing as how the most successful GoFundMe campaigns are for dogs.

“From El Segundo employees to El Segundo residents, everyone pitched in. Community support like this is why I’m proud to be the president of this association and serve this amazing community.”

Villanueva’s newly-raised funds are going to cover her tuition for a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

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Finance Budgeting 101 For Fresh Grads

Let’s be real. Finance budgeting when you’re a fresh university graduate is not anyone’s strong suit. Stepping into the real world often entails instant noodles and being perpetually broke. Of course, this isn’t to say that young adults can’t learn how to spend wisely.

Before making any plans, it’s most important to figure out your money goals. Where do you want your money to go? What is valuable to you? In university, money probably meant restocking your dorm with essentials and having enough for a night out. With independence comes a change in priorities. There are a lot of things to consider that are no longer your parents’ responsibility.

While outlining a budget may seem simple enough, there is always room to educate yourself. Resources on personal financing are available on pretty much any platform — whether as a YouTube video, article, or book. Collate as many tips as you can and see what money-saving methods can potentially work best for you.

At this point, you’re a step closer to actual budgeting, but not before setting short and long-term objectives. Think about what you are saving for in the next few months to the next few years. In terms of immediate goals, are you looking to purchase a car or perhaps fund an apartment? In the long run, do you picture yourself having children? The future can be unpredictable, but knowing what you want, even a decade early, is a good source of motivation.

Now for a long-awaited moment — making a budget. Understand your cash inflow and outflow. Know where your money needs to go and how much. Online tools can help paint a clearer picture on how much to set aside for rent, transportation, food, leisure, health, and everything else. Be specific, as you are basing this on a monthly income.

Insure what you can. As a fresh graduate, insurance may seem frivolous, or something you simply can’t afford at the moment. But when hospital bills start rolling in, you’ll thank yourself for being insured. If your job doesn’t offer such benefits, consider self-insuring. Either way, seriously consider plans with good coverage.

Because adults have them, you’ll probably also want to apply for a credit card. Doing so will allow banks to grant you credit scores (if you’re a smart spender) and, in turn, make you eligible for loans. In order to keep up appearances, you’ll want to always pay your bills on time and avoid being indebted whenever possible.

On the occasion you have extra money to spend, treating yourself is tempting. By all means, you should do so — but within your financial capacity. Remember to always prioritize. Spend in cash because it is easier to remain disciplined. You can’t see what you are spending on a credit card. Limit yourself and ask: do I really need this? If you can live without something, don’t purchase it.

Money is not always fun, especially when you are lacking it. But being smart about it makes everything a lot easier. Bidding a sheltered college life goodbye may seem incredibly daunting, but experiencing a smooth transition into the working world is always possible. Generally, hard work and research always pays off.

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