A Dummy's Guide To Everything

A Dummy's Guide To Everything

The REAL guides we all need to rely on.

It seems like people struggle more and more everyday to do simple tasks, or they lack the motivation to get up and be productive. Whether it's not knowing how to be social and talk to people, or unaware of their surroundings when they drive, people have gotten -dare I say it- dumber.

If only there were some manuals or guides on how to improve certain skills or necessary requirements for basic survival. These are the most influential "A Dummy's Guide To" that most people should be reading.

1. "How to Drive A Car Properly, A Dummy's Guide to Driving."

I grew up in Miami, and learned to drive with some of the world's worst drivers. No turn signals, not allowing others to merge while they run out of road, and randomly stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason were just some of the things I learned to deal with while driving. Trust me, this book would be a crucial part of some people's study material for a driver's permit.

2. "How to use Proper Grammar when Writing and Speaking, A Dummy's Guide to the English Language."

This one is aimed at the people who only speak one language, their first language, English, and yet they can't spell, nor can they tell the difference between "they're, their, and there" or "where, we're, and were." We've grown accustomed to typing in acronyms or strange abbreviations for everything, and it's begun to seep into our everyday speech. This guide would benefit a portion of college students that still haven't quite mastered basic grammar, and who think "your shit" and "you're shit" are interchangeable.

3. "How to Dress According to the Weather, A Dummy's Guide to Not Freezing in the Cold."

Shout out to all my girls that sacrificed their health for their Halloween costumes. If the weather channel says it's a chilly 52 degrees out, there is no need to wear half a top or just a skirt without some kind of tights to keep you from freezing. I know, it's so hard to choose between looking good and feeling good, but sometimes you've got to listen to Mother Nature and dress in a warm fashion. And to that guy on campus that wears shorts and flip-flops when everyone else is bundled up and says, "it's not that cold," just stop and put a damn sweater on.

4. "How to Take a Hint, A Dummy's Guide to Getting Turned Down."

The girl at the bar has turned away from you at least three times already. The guy that texts you sporadically because he's "busy" has only been responding with one-worded texts. This is a guide for those that need to learn how to take a hint. People are trying to be nice and let you down easy. They're either not interested or in a relationship, and most likely aren't looking for any more friends. So take the hint and back off before you get hurt.

5. "How to Blend in, A Dummy's Guide to Not Being Out of Place."

We've all been there. Your friends invited you out somewhere, and you know you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe you were the only Freshman at the Upper Class party, and everyone knew it. Maybe you showed up to a tailgate without any knowledge of the sport. This guide is to help those awkward moments of not blending in by demonstrating the simple steps on how to blend in: act calm, be cool, stay collected.

6. "How to Keep Your Mouth Shut, A Dummy's Guide to When to Shut Up."

First time meeting your significant other's parents. You can't stop rambling about things your S.O's parent's don't know about. This book would be the Bible to those moments of "oh God I can't believe I just said that." Or you're trying to pick up a girl at a party, and every word out of your mouth is making her want to run away, just not with you. Know when to shut up, and when to act.

7. "How to Do Your Groceries When You Live on Your Own, A Dummy's Guide to Being an Adult."

Grocery shopping is hard enough as it is, with all the brands offering the same products for different prices, but now you have to shop for your groceries on your own, for yourself. This guide book would teach the basics, including the food pyramid, which we all same to forget whenever we shop, or how much pasta we really need to buy.

8. "How Not to Spend All of Your Money on Useless Crap, A Dummy's Guide to Saving Money."

A majority of people have no idea how to budget, and proceed to spend their life savings on useless crap, like fuzzy socks for your dog or buying shots for the whole bar even though you only showed up with two friends. Budgeting is a huge deal, and a guide on how to budget would be a smart investment for most people.

Cover Image Credit: John Arnold & Michael Becker

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.

So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Competition Isn’t Real, So Stop Worrying About What You Think Is Your 'Competition'

When you stop worrying about being better than "your competition," you will succeed.


"What are your plans for after College?" is the one question every college student wishes they could never hear again. After hearing those seven short words, the body of the college student is flooded with waves of irritation, paranoia, and worry.

When you set all your triggered thoughts and anxieties aside and manage to hurl out an answer, you're probably told "That's nice, but how are you going to get a job? That field is so competitive." At this point, you are probably ready to excuse yourself from the conversation for a timely breakdown.

Throughout high school, conversations at family gatherings and holiday parties typically went through this vicious cycle.

A naive junior in high school who was quick to say his major was going to be Musical Theater in college was always infuriated by the response "You'll never find work. That field is so competitive."

After a while, I started to believe it and decided to look elsewhere for a career path. I considered nursing, to where I was told how competitive college nursing programs are, and how little students they accept. I figured I wouldn't stand a chance, so I kept looking.

I circled back to the theater and was reminded by everybody how rigorous the Musical Theater college audition process was, and how they only accept a handful of kids. Surely there were other students more capable than me, and I wasn't going to let the ridiculously annoying boastful comments of theater kids ruin my search for my path in life.

My Dad always reminds me how much money I could make pursuing business, but working a 9-5 desk job dealing with hot-headed businessmen being choked by the tightness of their neckties never appealed me.

I felt fatigued like I was being told that I need to pursue what other people want me to, instead of following my dreams.

At this time I was a senior in High School, and my CommonApp was filled with prospective schools that I might attend, but the "intended major" section part of each application wasn't filled.

The loud "you can't" and "you'll NEVER get work" boomed in my ear until I was convinced I couldn't follow my dreams of becoming an actor, so I caved and intended to pursue journalism. I was told by all my teachers I was a gifted writer, so I figured it would be worth a shot.

"You can always do theater on the side," is what I heard. Now in college pursuing journalism, a field I was told: "will be one I can actually get a job in," some professors tell me after graduation, I will be doing journalism "on the side" because of how "competitive" the field is.

All occupational fields are competitive, whether that be communications, business, nursing, etc. Here is one thing that I learned through this experience and many others…

You have no competition.

In the eyes of someone who is hiring for a job, they are going to pick whoever's work they feel best fits the position. This isn't the product of a cutthroat field, it's solely the product of your work fitting the part.

You can't mash two puzzle pieces together because you THINK it's what fits, whatever is meant for you will come to you. Your puzzle pieces will fit together naturally.

In the end, it will come together to form a beautiful picture.

As for me, I decided to tune out the comments about competitive fields. What used to consume me cannot phase me anymore.

I still intend to pursue my dreams of becoming a performer, and at every audition I will remind myself that it is not the field that is competitive, there is no competition. The performer sitting next to me at an open call is not my competition, but my inspiration to work hard to find the job that will best fit me.

In the words of Cinderella, "there is one thing, they can't order me to stop dreaming."

The reporter who grabs every single story shouldn't turn me into someone who viciously grabs every story they can to build their portfolio, it should make me look for stories I WANT to tell that will progress me as a writer. After all, I am still learning.

I learned that I shouldn't belittle other people that are deemed "my competition" to disorient them, giving me a better chance at getting a job. Kindness will be more rewarding than contributing to the vicious dog-eat-dog world.

"I'm not in competition with anyone except who I used to be, and everything I do now is just an evolved version of something I've done before" -Kali Uchis

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