Archive of ‘Ultimate Blog Challenge’ category

Roomies

I met my college roommate the day we moved into our freshman dorm. Months earlier, I filled out a survey and ta-da; there she was with her entire life in tow. She seemed nice enough and although we weren’t the best of friends, we got along fine. One night, she didn’t come home from a party and since this was before cell phones were a thing, a few of my friends and I went to find her. We found her alright – completely wasted and unsure how to get back to the dorm. We helped her find her way back, got past the security guard and R.A. before we practically carried her up two flights of stairs to our room where she promptly passed out on my bed.

It was then that I knew I was officially in college.

Unfortunately, she turned rather mean as the semester went on and I decided to move to another room which turned out to be a much better fit.

I’m reminded of this story because today we met my daughter’s roommate at Admitted Students Day. They have been Face Timing each other for the past month and a half and when they saw each other they embraced as if they had known each other for years. They were adorable and inseparable–taking selfies and walking shoulder to shoulder through the student activities fair remarking on how cute college boys are and how awesome it was to be there. We parted ways with her family after lunch and they were texting each other on the way home.

I can only hope that they stay friends and avoid the girl drama that high school tends to bring on. I hope they help each other navigate their way around campus and inevitably back from college parties. It’s an exciting time for her and for all of us. It is the beginning of a new era and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

 

Are Cover Letters Extinct?

What happened to the art of writing a cover letter?

A few weeks ago, I posted a job for a staff writer and it was amazing how many resumes came in without a cover letter? Did I mention this is a writing position?!

If the best writer in the tri-state area didn’t send a cover letter, it immediately went into the “no” pile. Why? In my opinion, cover letters help candidates stand out among a sea of writers with all too similar qualifications. Bachelor’s degree in writing, check. Editor of your school paper, check. Proficient in Microsoft Office and WordPress, (zzz….) check.

Cover letters are literally a different story. They prove to me that you can write and show how you organize your thoughts and tell your story. And here’s a piece of advice, if you are applying for a staff writer position and I specifically state that I want a cover letter, not writing one is just plain lazy.

I did a little googling on this subject and one article said that only 15% of hiring managers read the cover letter. If this is true, count me as a proud member of the minority. I read all cover letters. They give me insight into who you are as a person and a professional.

Upon further research, I found that most career advice articles tell job candidates to write a cover letter because it’s an opportunity to stand out in a pile of applicants and show that you would be a great hire. Even if the hiring manager doesn’t ask for one, sending a cover letter shows you are a motivated candidate who will go the extra mile.

And that’s what I’m looking for. A little motivation. A little creativity. A little extra effort. Is that too much to ask?

The Name Game

I have a first name that you will never find on a key chain or a coffee mug.

Once though, I found it on a nail polish label. I hated the color, but I bought it anyway. Just so I could have something with my name printed on it.

As a child, my sister always found her name on everything. Karen is an easy name to locate. I was a little jealous. I always had to settle for Lisa and then draw a big E in front of it to spell it right.

It took my rabbi three times to spell my name correctly in the prayer book I was given at my bat mitzvah. Somewhere out there are two prayer books that have the inscriptions Mazel tov Alisa and Mazel tov Elissa.

Collectors items, right?  I’m sure of it.

I also have the kind of first name that is hard to pronounce. One person will say Alyssa, with a short i. Another says Elisha with an h. Still others say Eliza. That one is where I draw the line. There is no z in my name and when I’ve been going to the same doctor for 20 years, you would think he would get it right.

I’m extremely appreciative of the people who ask me how to pronounce it or if they got it right. I think it is a kindness to do this. Sometimes, I get so tired of correcting people and, let’s face it, there are worse things in the world so I just let it go. Call me whatever you want, I think. But then, someone called me on that too. A friend pointed out the right way to another friend and that person was mortified that she was saying it wrong all this time. And she was upset that I never corrected her.

I can’t win. Honestly, I never could figure out the proper etiquette for this kind of thing.

For all of high school, I went by Lisa and I didn’t mind. It helped me fit in with my fellow classmates. But after college, I gained a lot more self-confidence and realized my name was pretty and different and I embraced it whole-heartedly. From day 1 of my career, I introduced myself as Elisa and never went back. Now, I no longer care if I ever find it on a key chain or a coffee mug again (although I’m happy when I do 🙂 ).
So thanks Mom & Dad for giving me a beautiful name.

And for the record, it’s pronounced Eh-Lisa or Uh-Lisa. But, its okay. I still love you if you get it wrong.

Awesome Swim Moms

I am at the age when making new friend groups doesn’t happen all that often anymore.

Between my husband and I, we already have high school friends, college friends, work friends, synagogue friends, and neighborhood friends.

I think the last time we made a set of new friends was after my daughter was born. Every weekend, we took her to endless birthday parties and preschool events which paved the way for what continues to be years of wonderful friendships. When she started kindergarten, we made even more friends. Let’s face it. First children are friend magnets.

By the time, our son was born though, we already had a well-established social circle. Sure, we met other parents who shared the same classrooms and weekend activities as we did and we laughed and talked and schmoozed, but for some reason the friendships never really stuck. This always made me sad because they are the nicest people and had we met them the first time around, things might be different.

But this year, we miraculously found a new friend group. After Andrew joined the high school swim team, we were invited to a party at the beginning of the season. I admit I was a little reluctant to go because I didn’t know many people. But that one party changed my mind instantly. As soon as we introduced ourselves as the parents of a freshman swimmer, we were literally embraced by the other parents as if we had been there for years. And by the end of the night, I’m happy to say that we made some amazing new friends.

Friends to work the snack bar with at swim meets. Friends who saved seats for us when the stands above the pool deck were crowded with parents. Friends that I could text in my newly-minted “Awesome Swim Moms” group chat and within 3 text messages learned what brand of purple shampoo was best to use on my son’s bleach blond hair- a tradition among the swim team members.

And even though swim season is over, our friendships are secure as ever as we sit at water polo games and carpool for lifeguard training. Each family belongs to a different swim club so there is already talk of spending our summers together.

I didn’t think it would be possible to find a new friend group. But my fellow swim moms are a rare find and we are all becoming fast friends and this fish out of water is forever grateful for all of them.

 

On the Nose

Do you need a Kleenex? Do you have a cold?

If you spend enough time with me, you will inevitably ask one of the above questions. Why? Because I sniffle–like a lot.

Until recently, I hadn’t looked into why this is the case. After all, this isn’t anywhere near an emergency medical situation. I can breathe fine and my seasonal allergies are treated regularly. But, recently, I began to notice how often people ask about my “cold.” My office is an open floor plan so you can imagine how annoying I must be to my co-workers. Of course, they are too polite to say anything.

I admit that there is another reason I’ve been reluctant to do anything about this condition. Years ago, I had a traumatic experience at an allergist appointment. (Sniff. Sniff.) With very little warning, this jerk – I mean doctor –  stuck a scope so far up my nose I thought at one point it was behind my eyeball. I had to lay down in the waiting room afterwards because I was so freaked out and his lack of a bedside manner did not help. So, I haven’t been keen on a return visit to get this resolved.

And then, one day I had a face-to-face appointment with someone I met on LinkedIn to interview for a book I’m working on. It took her less than 5 minutes to hand me a tissue box and inquire about my non-existent cold. First impressions being what they are, this was the last straw.

I called a family friend who is an ENT and made an appointment. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious about it. Anxiety is a funny thing. I tried to talk myself off the ledge by spending the entire day convincing myself that after giving birth to 2 children, enduring multiple dental procedures and a colonoscopy, I can handle a scope up my nose. Right?

Anxiety can be a crippling thing, Even for something as minor as this. But, my anxiety teaches me an important lesson that I continue to re-learn. When I empower myself to face the things I once feared, I am better for it in the long run.

And I’m proud of myself because I can honestly say that it was a much better experience this time around and thankfully I didn’t pass out. And although my blood pressure told a different story,  I was finally able to relax and take charge.

 

 

Where Blog Posts Come From

“OH! That would make a fantastic blog post.”

This is what I say to myself daily, but frequently I don’t sit down and take the time to write. Work obligations and family time and—of course—laundry, are inevitable obstacles and the idea quickly fades away.

But the buck stops here (at least for the month of April). Writing a new blog post every day is a challenge for me. We are talking 30 posts in 30 days. They call it the ULTIMATE BLOG CHALLENGE (UBC for short). That’s a lot of pressure. I’ve done this challenge before and the farthest I’ve accomplished is 18 posts straight through. That’s more than halfway through, but this time I’m planning on reaching day 30.

Honestly, it shouldn’t be THAT hard. After all, it isn’t hard for me to come up with something to write about every day. Inspiration can come from the latest news cycle or a trip to the local supermarket. I never know when or where lightning will strike so notebooks are appropriately stationed in the car, on my nightstand and in my purse to capture whatever comes my way.

It’s a good thing I’m a morning person because I find that is the best time for me to write. Ideally, I’ll have a post published for you to read by the time you check your Facebook page in the morning (like today). But, no guarantees. 😊

There is so much to write about these days. For instance, I’m obsessed with the college admissions scandal in which 50 people including 2 famous actors bought their child’s way into highly-regarded universities. Not only did these parents have the means to get their children all the tutoring and coaching they needed to get accepted on their own, but they also took a spot away from a more deserving, hard-working and honest student.

As the mom of a soon-to-be college freshman, I understand this process is grueling. It can be incredibly stressful and full of fear and judgement. It is the ultimate test to our self-esteem as parents and students. But in the end, my daughter is going to a wonderful school and she worked hard to get there—and I’m incredibly proud of her for that. And I’m furious that Aunt Becky didn’t have the same faith in her own kids. And I’m sad for the kids that didn’t know their spot at the school their attending was bought. And yes, I believe there are some who didn’t know. What does that say about our faith in our children to create their own success stories?

Did I mention my daughter is going to college in the fall? Yep, our first child is spreading her wings and leaving the nest. Soon to be followed by her brother who I plan to be present for over the next few years of his high school career. I will probably drive him crazy.

Through my little blog in cyberspace, I’ve created a space to share my views like these (and much more), bring a little slice of life and hopefully a smile as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts too. Has what I’m writing about happened to you or is it just me? Do you have a different opinion or experience? I want to hear that too. I love to learn from the other side when it is done in a respectful way. So please, leave me comments on my posts. Notes of encouragement are welcome as well. Writing is my passion and I’m looking forward to sharing it all with you.

Above all, let’s have some fun.
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