Let's Start Encouraging Our Young People Instead Of Putting Them Down

Let's Start Encouraging Our Young People Instead Of Putting Them Down

You might be talking to a future CEO, so you should be nice.

As a college student and a young person, I hear negative comments all of the time. I hear negative remarks about my college major, which is communications with a minor in marketing. People ask me why I would want to major in that or what the heck I am going to do with it. Although I do not know exactly what I want to do yet (and neither do the majority of college students), I do know that one day I would like to maybe work with a non-profit. Once mentioning that I get another wave of negative comments, specifically about the fact that I won’t make much money doing that. I already know this. And here’s the thing: I am not really that concerned about the money. No, I won’t be a millionaire, but I will survive. I will have enough to live, is what I’m getting at here.

I feel as though whatever people, young people especially, decide to do, they are heavily judged for it. I find that no matter what young people decide to pursue, they still can't catch a break.

I just recently started a new job. One day at work I had to clean up in the back, sweep and mop. I started cleaning, and one of my managers came back and told me that I was not going fast enough. She told me, in a positive, encouraging tone of voice, that she was going to come back in ten minutes and I should be through cleaning a specific area.

This worked wonders on my work ethic. She didn’t yell at me because I didn’t know how fast I was supposed to be going. She didn’t make me feel stupid like most people do when they realize I don’t know something. She encouraged me and also showed me what I should be doing.

This is the way we need to start treating young people. If you put someone down enough and make them feel dumb, they are going to eventually want to stop trying. This is how I am, anyway.

Some people work in a way that when people discourage them, they want to try harder and put that person to shame. This is not how I operate and have noticed that many people my age don’t work like this either.

With this being said, next time you find yourself talking to someone younger than you, whether it be a college or high school student, a middle schooler, or even a young kid, watch what you say. Watch your tone of voice, and don’t put down what they are working hard at.

I know that the people who inspire me the most are the ones who tell me that I can do anything I put my mind to. Those kinds of people are the ones I remember and look forward to talking with again.

Young people are our future. Young people are our future doctors, nurses, pharmacists, athletes, secretaries, teachers, artists, writers, or even non-profit workers (in no specific order of importance, of course.) A young person you are talking to could grow up and somehow change the world.

I don’t think you’d ever want your words to be the cause of someone giving up, would you?

Cover Image Credit: Cardi

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.


It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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