By Sierra Morris, Staff Writer 

For the career-minded millennial living a fast-paced lifestyle, taking the time to sit down and read books about managing finances, entrepreneurship, health & wellness, and professional development isn't always easy. Below I've compiled a list of 8 business-centered podcasts that gave me some practical advice and didn't put me to sleep. 

Ted Talks Business – if you’re a visual learner (like me) and you also want to find a career you love, make a difference in the world, and create a business with a mission that’s more important than the profit, TedTalks Business is probably-definitely for you. In approximately 20 minutes or less, professionals share their stories in video format for your viewing pleasure. 

Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life – straight-forward financial advice from Laura Adams that can help you get a jumpstart on managing your credit, contribute to your 401k, and pay off your debt. Understanding your money is a constant process, and Laura's podcast archive is sure to feature topic that's relevant to the financial situation you're currently handling. 

Joblogues – childhood best friends Joymarie and Cortney interview millennials making waves in the business world in an honest, colorful, and informative way with a mix of full-length and “minisodes” that cater to a variety of listeners.

From Rags to Niches – JR Rivas interviews people from all walks of life that overcame their hardships and built their careers from the bottom-up, perfect if you're in a motivational-slump.

Entrepreneurs En Vogue -  scientist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and pageant queen, Iman Oubou, hosts this podcast featuring young, female entrepreneurs from around the world.

Millennial Money – money management advice from Shannah Compton Game; tips on how to budget, save, invest, boost your credit score and more geared towards millennials. The ever relevant question “After I graduate, should I save money or pay off my loans?” is answered on this podcast that features episodes that are the appropriate amount of time for your morning commute.

The Good Life Project – a motivational take on the importance of finding your purpose, balancing business with pleasure, and health/wellness as they relate to success, Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project interviews people that seek to be happy as much as they seek to be successful in the business world. 

Fizzle.fm - another podcast geared toward the entrpreneur that wants to make a change, Fizzle.fm is entertaining, honest, and relatable from the outset. These episodes are a bit on the lengthy side, so folding some laundry or exercising while you listen is the way to go. 

Whatever goal you're currently trying to accomplish in your professional life, there's most-likely a podcast for it. For more listening options, you can visit: Her AgendaMaptive, and 100 Must Reads

By Sierra Morris, Staff Writer 

 If you weren’t lucky enough to have secure a job post graduation or you're looking for a fresh start, we come bearing good news. Hiring season peaks during the Fall. Below we've come list ways you can use your downtime to wow employers. 

The Basics and Then Some

First, update your resume. 

Everytime I learn a new skill or take on a new task at work, I add it to my resume. I also reread it for grammar and spelling errors, remove unnecessary information, and make sure my objective is a reflection of a career field I can really see myself working in. 

It’s also important to use your social media pages for networking and recruitment purposes. You can give your Facebook page a face-lift, or create an entirely new page dedicated to your work persona. It’s important that your social media pages are a representation of your personal brand so that companies will want to have you promote their corporate brand. I’m a teacher, and when I can, I try to add pictures of myself with my students (faces not shown) to my LinkedIn so employers can see me working. I also make sure I mention work I do that doesn’t involve a paycheck.

Give Back and Win Big

I genuinely love teaching and I often find myself doing it for free when I volunteer to teach the children at my church. I also volunteer at my old internship site from time-to-time. Whether you’re volunteering as a tutor, helping build houses, picking up trash, or helping recruit blood donors, companies that’s going to hire you is going to take your volunteer work into consideration. Pick something you love to do and then find a place that will allow you to come in for a few hours whenever you’re available. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot-in-the-door with a company you’d like to work for in the future.

It’s also an excellent way to make connections and show that you have a passion for something, not that you're just in it for the money.

Create Order

One thing I wish I would’ve done while I waited to hear from prospective employers: Organize my belongings. 

Now I have to fit it into my schedule and that doesn’t always work out the way I would like it to. 

Getting rid of old clothes, books, papers, toys (yes, toys) and anything else you’re not using is an excellent way to prepare your space (and ultimately your mind) for any job that’s to come your way. If you won't use it and it’s in good condition, donate or sell it. I’m a fan of donating because selling requires a lot of time and effort, but there have been times that I’ve decided to sell things online and it worked out in my favor. 

I also have a habit of holding on to paper - bills, receipts, schoolwork, greeting cards -  those create so much clutter. Take a day to turn on some background noise and fire up the shredder. And when you're finished, taking out the trash feels great.

Perfect the Look

Getting rid of the old, allows you to make space for a legitimate business/business casual wardrobe.

Yes, I said business/business casual because you don't need to go out and buy a three piece suit to impress. But it's important to keep in mind that first impressions do matter. Take this time to learn the importance of dry cleaning, tailoring, and finding clothes that flatter your body type. Once you’ve found business wear that you like and that fits, you’ll feel more confident going into your interview, and you're future employer will be take notice.  

The Leap

My last piece of advice is to recognize the importance of taking a risk during this down time.

In other words, apply for a job you don’t think you’re qualified for or ask someone who seems completely out of reach to coffee. You never know who you’ll encounter or what you’ll learn and how it can impact your future career.

I took the first job that was presented to me before I graduated, without even thinking about it. I was asked to be a preschool teaching assistant and said "okay" because it was easier than trying to look for a job while I was interning as a social worker. I've always liked kids and had been babysitting off and on, but that was different from being in a classroom. In the end, I learned I really love being with children in an educational setting and I also got a chance to explore and experiment with different teaching methods. I've been able to take what I learned at that job and apply it to the teaching positions I've had since then.

The sun, holidays, vacations and fireflies can make summer feel like it will (and should) go on forever, but those months will slip by before the grill has had time to cool off and you'll be glad you made good use of your time. 

Before You Go

If you absolutely must work this summer, Forbes has a list of jobs you can start sooner rather than later that you can check out here.

By Sierra Morris, Staff Writer

"Women in power aren't really likable in our society," Emilie Aries said to me, as she explained the difficulty women face in finding support in their communities. As women, whether we're in positions of power or not, we spend a lot of our lives putting others' needs before our own. Millennial women have the opportunity to change the way we represent and perform as women in power.

I had the opportunity to speak with Emilie Aries, Founder & CEO of Bossed Up - an innovative personal and professional training organization that helps women craft sustainable careers. Below Emilie discusses her journey to achieve balance and shares with me her top tips for preventing burnout in a connected world. 

S: Tell me the story behind Bossed Up?

E: In a journal, I chronicled the rocky years of my life between the ages 24 and 26. I went from being laid-off and in bad relationships, to training for my first triathlon, getting a good job, and getting into a healthy relationship. I then asked myself, “How do I bottle this good transition?” I also did a lot of deep thinking about how to help others replicate that transition. I started Bossed Up during the summer of 2013, and I made it an interactive experience. I wanted to get women thinking critically about how to put themselves first. 

S: Do you think it's important to have a support system when trying to prevent burnout? If so, who do you look to for support? 

E: Absolutely! It’s important to step back and acknowledge the term "burnout". The World Health Organization (WHO) says burnout is a disorder. Some symptoms of burnout include; feeling a lack of effectiveness, feeling exhausted and depleted, and feeling like no matter what you do you can’t escape those feelings. Burnout can be a gateway to other disorders if you don’t try to fix it. It can also be hard to try to combat because we're connected to work 24/7 through our mobile devices. In otherwords, there's no longer a clear line between what constitutes work and home. Regardless, people that allow themselves to step away from the work and the stress are proven to be much happier and healthier. And happier and healthier people are more effective and efficient in their work. 

Community is also a good cure for burnout. Women in power aren’t really likable in our society, so it can be hard feeling supported in that way hence the reason for creating Bossed UP Bootcamp. My family, my friends from college, and my significant other really help keep me motivated and keep me going when I need support. You have to surround yourself with people that aren’t full of anxiety themselves. 

S: What would you say is the difference between preventing burnout and just managing stress? 

E: I don’t think there’s a huge difference between the two. Burnout is chronic stress, so to reduce stress is to reduce burnout. We feel this perceived state of trying to catch up with one another and trying to catch up with where we think we should be. I’ve finally learned to flip it. Daily, I make a conscience effort to enjoy the journey as much as the destination, because achievement is not as satisfactory as progress. If we celebrate progress, we are in a much better position to learn, we’re much more likely to experience reduced stress, and we’re much less likely to burnout.

S: What's the first thing millennials should do to create a healthy work/life balance?

E: Well, the first thing I think you should do is an energy audit. I’m a big believer in using your calendar in two ways:

1. As a way to track certain behaviors. 

Calendars can provide a lot of insight into your week, but most people don't look back once the week is over. I encourage everyone to look at your calendar over past week and ask yourself, "What days did I feel really good or feel really stressed, and what were the good or bad outcomes?" This segways beautifully into number 2. 

2. As a forecasting tool to forecast your capacity in the future. 

I have different colors on my calendar for fun, fitness, work, and writing and I build them into every week. At a glance, I know whether I'm going to have a balanced and lifegiving week. It’s not knowing when you’ll have time to pursue your pleasures that can stress you out even more. It’s like, "Where can I find the time?"

Well, you can make time by using your calendar as both an analysis tool and a forecasting tool. Then you can actually say to people, “Hey, I can’t do [that thing] this week, but I can absolutely do it the next week.” Or, you can say “no” and make room for the bigger  “yes”. I find I’m feeling most burnedout when I go off the schedule (like, when other people are asking of you and of your time and energy and limited resources, and you want to give everything you can), but over-committing is, I think, the base of all real stress.

S: Why is it important for millennials to understand the importance of work/life balance? 

E: If we want to make an impact in our lifetime, I think it’s really important that we stay engaged in the workforce and that our full talents are realized, and our full potential is realized. We’re only going to do that if we are feeling as energized in a decade as we do right now. I think it’s so critically important to feel a sense of engagement and sustainability in our lives, for the same reasons it’s important to pursue sustainable solutions for the planet. We  can all be here and live to our fullest extent and make this place a better place for the entirety of our time that we have here. It’s really just to be able to live and create a world in which all of us can realize our full potential.

S: Any concluding thoughts you'd like to share? 

E: I think this is a great topic that you’re discussing and I’m glad that you’re giving me the opportunity – which I appreciate. There aren’t a lot of people that speak frankly about gender, burnout and engagement, and if folks want to learn more, they really should sign up for my email at bossedup.org - that’s where the real magic happens.

You can learn more about Emilie and watch her Tedx Talk "The Power of No" at her website: www.emiliearies.com

You can learn more about Bossed Up, Bossed Up Bootcamp, and the Bossed Up Email at: www.bossedup.org 

By Jacqueline Twillie, @JVTWILLIE

  Me chatting with Lilly about her advocacy work and my mission. She hugged me warmly before taking this amazing photo and encouraged me to continue to give millennial women the tools they need to ask for what they’re worth.

 

Me chatting with Lilly about her advocacy work and my mission. She hugged me warmly before taking this amazing photo and encouraged me to continue to give millennial women the tools they need to ask for what they’re worth.

Is it possible to be star-struck, inspired, energized, appreciative, and make history in the same day?  

Welcome to the first annual United State of Women Summit. 

Hosted by the White House, the event convened 1-thousand women, yours truly included, and it featured a who’s who of speakers in celebration of the achievements of women. Among the speakers we’re President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Oprah Winfrey, and Lilly Ledbetter.  

The goal, however, was to not only to recognize how far women have come. But also, to campaign for the advancement of gender equality on several issues - including violence against women, healthcare, economics, education and business.

Below are my key takeaways from the United State of Women Summit.

 

Violence Against Women

We will have succeeded when no woman asks what did I do to deserve this.
— Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden delivered an emotional speech on ridding society of rape and gender-based violence. He told the audience violence against women is an epidemic, especially at universities where recent findings suggest 1 in 5 women have experienced some sort of sexual assault. Biden suggested to change the culture all of us must take a stand, men included. “It’s ultimately about the abuse of power,” he said. “It’s all about power.”

Call to action: Talk about it. Address violence on college campuses. Move past the shaming culture of sexual violence victims.

Health & Wellness

We don’t have time to be sick.
— Connie Britton

It was hard to think of anything else after the Vice President's emotional talk, but Connie Britton, the star of the hit show Nashville, lifted the audience spirits by celebrating the recent advances in women's health made possible by the Affordable Care Act. 

Despite the progress, women’s health and wellness does not get the attention it should. Britton strongly emphasized this highlighting the issue of unpaid maternity leave and it's effect on mothers. I'm in agreement with Britton. Nothing about that is right. The the only way to enter the world is through a woman’s body; therefore, shouldn't our policy makers do their upmost to ensure women's health and wellbeing is a priority?    

Call to action: Fight against policies and laws that take women’s healthcare rights away. 

Economic Empowerment

Ensuring the full and equal participation of women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.
— Deputy Secretary of State of Mangement and Resources Heather Higginbottom

The first bill that President Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Act. To provide some context, Ms. Ledbetter is crusader for pay equity. After discovering she was being underpaid for decades as a supervisor for a Goodyear plant in Alabama, she took her case before the surpreme court and eventually won.  

Ms. Ledbetter joined a panel of hardworking women who simply want to be paid the same as their male counterparts. Among the speakers were Charmaine Davis, Betzaida Ventura, Kevin Burton. and Mary Kay Henry. Each shared their personal experiences in the workforce and provided their insights on how policies and organizations can level the playing field to earn pay equity. Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Heather Higginbottom also took to the stage to remind us of her departement's commitment to women both domestically and abroad by outlining the goals President Obama has set.

Speaking of President Obama, he too had a thing or two to discuss on the issue of economic empowerment. The crowd erupted in cheers throughout his address, but especially when he made the following remarks; 

"Our country is not just about the Benjamin’s," Obama said. "It's about the Tubman’s, too."

"If we really want workplace policies that work for everybody, I will say, though, it would help if we had more women in Congress."

"I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like."

The president also proudly referenced 28 Companies have pledged to end the Gender Wage Gap. 

Call to Action - We must rally for increased workplace flexibility across all industries and increased women’s leadership in senior positions. It is profitable, and it’s just the right thing to do. 

 Entrepreneurship & Innovation

I am here today to remind us all that these are not separate issues… we can not actually separate out these issues when it comes to empowering women.
— Kerry Washington

Women entrepreneurs like myself experience great joy from serving others. But in order to serve customers, make payroll, and purchase goods to operate our businesses, we need access to capital. The Tory Burch Foundation has introduced a fellowship program to spotlight women thriving and growing businesses and offers access to capital and mentorship. Programs like the Tory Burch fellowship is a blueprint to catapult more women entrepreneurs into positions of power. The impact of investing in women doesn’t stop with the ones who receive the funding, it spreads throughout the community.

Call to action: Support and invest in women owned businesses at every level, because when one woman succeeds the entire community succeeds. 

Educational Opportunity

Marley Dias, 12-years-old Founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, walked on the large stage with so much confidence and swag it’s clear that she’s the boss and she’s making waves in the early education sphere.

She saw a problem; there were no books about girls who looked like her and she decided to make a difference. Together her family began collecting books about girls of color, and Dias generously shared those books with girls in her geographic area. Soon she'll take her cause national. She’s planning to roll out a campaign to all major cities in the U.S. While the're massive challenges facing the educational system, Dias showed me that solutions to the problem can be found in each of us.

Call to action: If you see a problem, be the solutionist!

Leadership & Civic Engagement

If you’re going out into the world as a professional and you don’t know who you are, you don’t know what you want, you don’t know how much you’re worth, then you have to be brave. And then you have to count on the kindness and goodness of others to bestow that goodness on you when you should be working to get it on your own. Because you deserve it.
— Michelle Obama

Towards the end of a day filled with speeches from powerful women, two of the most powerful women in the world graced the stage. First Lady Michelle Obama & Oprah engaged in an open conversation about confidence, power, and knowing your value.

Michelle referenced her time cramming a full week’s work into a part-time schedule as a lawyer, which was the catalyst for her embracing the value she delivered. She also referenced a time when she had no childcare and brought her kids to an interview for the top position at a University hospital. She said it showed that she would work hard and get the job done, but she required flexibility to do that.

She got the job because she was confident in her ability and she knew exactly what she wanted. As a salary negotiations career coach, I connected deeply with this portion of the conversation because many negotiations are lost when a woman does not embrace the value she adds to the organization through the work she’ll be paid to perform.

Before Your Go: Take A Stand for Women

It’s worth watching the videos on YouTube for continuous inspiration to keep fighting for women’s equality not only in the United States, but also across the world. However, don’t let it end with this article and the videos. Here's how you can take a stand and begin moving to solve one of the issues addressd at the United State of Women Summit. Check out my photo album of United State of Women Summit here.

By Sierra Morris, Staff Writer

My taste buds have a way of demanding what they want, when they want it. So even if my favorite leftovers are in the fridge, I can't always pull myself away from the allure of a meal made-to-order. The leftovers end up getting tossed out.

Food Waste: Enormous Economic & Environmental Implications

I'm just one person. Americans are tossing-out 30 to 40% of their food annually. That equals about $165 billion and weighs approximately 33 million tons a year in food that could’ve been eaten. Or to put it another way, we could feed the world’s 870 million hungry people with the amount of food we waste every year. 

So What Can We Do To Combat Food Waste? 

Recently, the USDA and the EPA got together and started the U.S. No Food Waste Challenge, an effort to "reduce, recover, and recycle food loss and waste" by 50% by the year 2030. There are over 4,000 participants in the challenge across the nation. Restaurant and grocery chains, public schools, and non-profits alike are making the efforts to create less waste by giving to those in-need.

In my opinion, government deserves kudos for taking action against food waste. But the real change happens with you and me. I recently challenged myself to a 3-Day No Food Waste Challenge. The rules we're simple; try my best not to throwaway any food. 

3-Day No Food Waste Challenge

Saturday, Day 1: Eat Three Meals

Food I Probably Would've Wasted: leftover stir-fry (pictured above), stale chicharrones, stale cookies, shriveled-up lemons (not pictured) 

How I'm Feeling: I began my usual weekend routine of grazing, but as lunchtime neared I found myself craving something more substantial than cookies, granola bars. and chips. Unfortunately, the the microwave broke which left me with only one option: eat my leftover stir-fry cold. I genuinely didn't feel like it and was very tempted to skip that meal altogether, but I decided to not give into temptation. The day ended with an enjoyable dinner of Chinese food. Any leftovers we're stored in the refrigerator. 

Sunday, Day 2: Eat Three Meals & Yesterday's Leftovers 

Food I Probably Would've Wasted: potatoes with the sprouts (not pictured), leftover take-out rice (pictured above), tomatoes in sandwich (pictured above)

How I'm Feeling: After church, I enjoyed a breakfast of a banana, coconut milk, and yogurt. It was light, but very satisfying. The biggest challenge of the day was pulling myself away from Netflix long enough to reheat the leftover Chinese food for lunch.

But by the time I finally went down to the kitchen, the leftovers were gone, which was probably for the best. The fridge was full of a random assortment of foods that weren't readily available to eat so I went to Jimmy John's for a sandwich. The sandwich was good, but I forgot to say "no tomatoes". I wanted to pull them out of the sandwich very badly, but resisted the temptation. 

Monday, Day 3: Make Sure Leftovers from the Students' Meals are Eaten

Food I Probably Would've Wasted: leftovers: ravioli (with spinach and ricotta), penne (with ground turkey, and spinach), honeydew, and green beans (pictured above)

How I'm feeling: Today I returned to work. Before I go on about my day, it's important to mention that I consume more calories during the week due to chasing toddlersNow to proceed with my day. I typically eat the breakfast and lunch provided to my students as well my own breakfast and lunch. But today, I was too stuffed from eating with the students and consuming their leftovers to eat the additional meals. Sorry curry! I'll just have to eat you tomorrow. My biggest slip-up though was not telling my co-workers to save their classes leftovers. So much food wasted!

What I Learned:  I'd give myself a B- because I neglected to tell my co-workers to save their student's leftovers. Other than that, I'm extremely proud that I resisted temptation on mutiple occassions to quit or toss things out. If I did this again, I'd plan my meals ahead of time and stick to the plan. And should I choose to eat out, I'd order from companies that are actively reducing their waste and recycling their leftovers. Lastly, I'd invite others to join me because it's difficult trying to save the planet when you feel you're doing it alone. 

Before You Go: You Can Eat the Whole Thing

As promised, here are some tips on how to waste as little as possible with various fruits and vegetables:

Apples can be consumed in their entirety (core included! See photo above).

Orange peels can be used to make an all-natural cleaner for your home; orange and lemon peels and can be put in the garbage disposal to make it smell less like garbage and more like citrus sunshine.

Banana peels can be used in compost; overripe (black) bananas can be used in banana bread

Avocado and lemon seeds can be replanted 

Note: I've only listed things that I do myself, or that my friends and family do because I know they work, but the list of things you can do with your cores and peels goes on and on...

By Michelle Adams, Staff Writer

Millennials are often accused of being lazy, unskilled employees and students. Our views in politics, world issues, and even education vary extensively from older generations, causing much clash and frustration. We fight for acceptance from our parents and grandparents, while battling our inner morals and pushing for progressive change. Despite conflict and backlash, millennials are relentlessly fighting for change in all areas of our lives, from school to global problem solving, and studies show that their attempts are going to be widely successful:

In Education:

Millennials in America are some of the most educated people in the world. Despite the fact that the cost of college is constantly rising, higher education is becoming less of an elite opportunity, and more widespread. Because of this, the faces of education systems nationwide are rapidly changing.

Because millennials are requiring more diverse skills in the workplace, general education is at an all-time high. We aren’t afraid to spend a little more to learn this information, though: Generation Y is staying in college a little longer. Only 19 percent of full-time students are finishing their degree in four years. We need to be well-rounded for the constantly-changing industries that we seek to work in, so we focus on the quality of education, not the time spent working on it, unlike many of our elders.

In The Workplace:

Even though many of us are still in college, millennials are already changing workplace values. Because we hold family and psychological health highly, the United States is becoming more like European nations in that work does not dominate our lives as much as it used to. We are more focused on actually making change in the world than completing just our job as well, prompting us to run more well-rounded companies, rather than simply create products.

Currently, on the job, millennials are constantly trying to adapt to the wants of our bosses from older generations – but this will soon change. By 2025, Generation Y will make up a whopping 75 percent of the workplace; the face of corporate America will be the face of the millennials.

In The Nation:

As millennials become old enough to vote and take part in politics, the political world is changing. Politicians are unable to ignore the requests of their youngest constituents, some even changing their platforms to appeal to young voters.

Gen-Y had a large impact on the allowance of gay marriage, because, as David D. Burstein, author and millennial advocate, says, “whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry is not a big moral question,” to millennials. “To us, it seems obvious that the answer should be yes,” he says.

We are also becoming active in elections, and were one of the key reasons for the election (and re-election) of President Barack Obama. We hold politicians to a higher standard than our elders, have a genuine mistrust for government, and expect our representatives to be open-minded to directly helping make our lives better.

Clearly, our voice is being heard – whether older generations like it or not. 

In The World:

Once we’ve changed things on a domestic level, millennials won’t stop there. We are increasingly looking to become global citizens, and are concerned about the wellbeing of cultures outside of the United States more than past generations have been.

“Millennials don’t have much sense of American exceptionalism,” said Robert Cruickshank, a Democratic campaign manager. We are much more likely to be immigrants, to travel, and to accept diversity than our elders. We see a place for ourselves in the world, and we want to take advantage of that by expanding our goals to a global scale.

Why Are We This Way?

The values of Generation Y are making us powerful and innovative, from college to career, in the United States and throughout the world.

Entrepreneur Stephen Blair Venable even calls millennials “the highest iteration of the modern homo sapien.”

“As a generation, they are the least racist, least sexist, least homophobic, least xenophobic, most inclusive, collaborative generation,” he said.

We refuse to sit around and wait for change to happen – we are go-getters who want to be the change we want to see. We keep an open mind, but make decisions and stand by them. We aren’t afraid to take a stand against social injustices. We take steps to make things happen, and that makes us unstoppable.

As millennials grow, our views are only becoming more defined – giving us confidence to make change. There is no doubt that millennials will make global change during their lifetimes – one step at a time.

By Sierra Morris, Staff Writer

“I was in a really bad place,” is how I often describe the summer I graduated from college.

The day after I turned 22, I secured a full-time internship and had no time to transition from student to “business woman”. I began working in a maternity home/pregnancy resource center for homeless women in Washington, DC. It was my first time working a 9-to-5. I wore clothes that needed to lay-flat-to-dry, carried a lunch bag with a balanced meal inside, and had a regular commute. Literally, overnight, I became a “professional” but genuinely had no idea what I was doing. 

I was going to church, exercising and “eating right”, and really passionate about the work I was doing at the maternity home, so I had trouble understanding why I was still so weighed down by feelings of stress and anxiety. I thought I would be happy, or at least content.

I was also taking two classes (one online, and one 2-hours away in Pennsylvania) so I couldn't work a part-time job that would put extra money in my pockets so I could hang out with my friends on the weekends. Almost immediately, work, school, and financial stress beheaded all of my other emotions and I was overwhelmed with negative energy. Even if I made time to socialize, any positivity I was displaying was an act. I was constantly being followed by the sound of crying babies, the uncertainty of where my commuting money would come from, and the pressure to manage my time effectively so I could graduate at the end of the summer. I was going to church, exercising and "eating right”, and really passionate about the work I was doing at the maternity home, so I had trouble understanding why I was still so weighed down by feelings of stress and anxiety. I thought I would be happy, or at least content.

Silencing the Noise with Meditation

I understand, now, that I couldn’t settle into any positive emotions because I wasn’t taking time in my day to search for them, or let them find me. I was always rushing and not one part of my day was dedicated to silencing the noise – the noise of the city, the noise in my head, and the noise of my monster-like emotions.

Only recently have I discovered the power of meditating for a few minutes a day and the ways that it helps positively impact all aspects of my life. I fall asleep quicker and feel rested in the morning, I can focus at work and get most (if not all) of my tasks done in a timely fashion, and it’s become easier to separate my emotions from one another.

According to Psychology Today, meditating daily can increase your positive emotions and decrease your feelings of stress, aid in your ability to focus, think outside of the box, and remember information, and increases your immune function. Meditation can also help decrease any feelings of loneliness that might be creeping up on you (and if you’re anything like me, you eat when you’re feeling lonely, but that’s an entirely different article…).

There's No One-Size-Fits-All Meditation  

With that in mind, it is important to remember that mediation does not look the same for everyone. Some people use mediation as a way to listen when their god responds to their prayers, others might take a walk or find a task they can do with their hands, and for some people it might mean taking a moment to turn everything off and simply exist. You can even incorporate more than one technique into your day, if you wish. My ideal-day full of meditation looks something like: 5-quiet-minutes in the morning to focus on breathing, a quick, technology-free walk outside of my job/home in the afternoon, and indulging in a bath and soothing music at night.

It’s very easy to let stress consume you, especially during transitional periods in your life. Such stress can lead to coping in unhealthy ways, like binge eating, binge drinking, binge procrastinating (yes - that is a thing and I am a survivor), and everything else we do to distract ourselves in destructive ways. Some of those might've worked in undergrad, but won't hold-up so well in the real world... 

Begin Your Practice

If you’re feeling like you want to begin de-cluttering your mind in preparation for that new gig (or if you want to get ahead in your current position), schedule time in your day to relax. Even if you can't sit still or hate when a room is quiet, be sure to take a deliberate break so that when you walk away from those meditative moments you’re focused, free of negativity, and confident. You’ll begin feeling more motivated, start getting more accomplished at work, and you’ll have less (if any) anxiety when you’re out with your family and friends. 

Leaving your comfortable campus-life behind for the corporate world doesn’t have to be scary or stressful once you learn to dedicate some time to clearing your head each day. Get comfortable and start with a few wind-down minutes here and there, and soon, the benefits of meditation will be adding clarity to parts of your life you didn't realize were muddled. 

#WOCinTech

Before You Go

For more information on the benefits of meditation and various techniques to try, you can visit: Psychology TodayLive and Dare, and the Mayo Clinic. Should you need help getting started, download a meditation app. Click here for a list of Healthline's 2016 Meditation app winners. 

By Nick Salacki, Staff Writer

Less is more.

A phrase first made popular by German-American Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to describe his modern architectual style is now a global movement.

The movement, more commonly referred to as  Minimalism, defines an approach to life that focuses on owning fewer things, decluttering your space and mind, and prioritizing spiritual and personal growth. It's attracting followers of all ages, genders and cultures. And it's becoming especially popular among my generation (millennials) - a generation whose purchasing power has become severely limited by sky-rocketing college tuition, ballooning student loan debt and depressed wages.

The minimalist lifestyle requires sacrifice and laser focus. Admittedly, this is hard for americans. We tend to succumb to endless shopping trends, and we continue to follow blind leaders. However, it's more important than ever to assume this lifestyle. The world is changing faster than it has anytime in history and by focusing on what's significant you'll enjoy life more fully.

Here are just a few reasons why you should choose minimalism.

1. Less Stress

When you have less stuff in your space and on your mind, you're able to focus on the more important aspects of life. Your thoughts eventually become less cluttered as a result.

2. Willingness & Drive

With less stuff holding you back, you can focus more on your priorities and destinations, literally and figuratively. This will build into a second nature of entrepreneurial ventures within your professional and personal life.

3. More Friends

Living with less can grant you more time and more chances to make new friends, building your networking skills, and more time to keep in contact with the ones you already have.

4. See the World

Material possessions lose their luster quickly and once accumulated ground us. Knowing this, minimalists ditch the goods and spend their money on enriching experiences such as travel. 

5. A Healthier Mind & Body

Keeping your body in shape is known to be important to self-identified Minimalists (and honestly, it should be to everyone else). By freeing up space in your mind and your daily activity, your brain will also perform at a higher level.

6. An Attitude of Gratitude

Minimalism forces us to recognize and appreciate life's highs and lows. And that attitude is certainly contagious. 

7. Concern with the Welfare of Others

We're hard-wired for empathy; however, many us have trouble acting unselfishly. By eliminating life's excess, we become sensitive to the needs of others. Imagine what a world full of minimalists could accomplish?   

Before You Go: Take The First Step

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a change like this in life. Lack of motivation or being in a state of denial may be the cause. The truth is starting is the hardest part. Just start with your closet. If that’s too much, choose a drawer. Sort between what you regularly use and the non-essentials. Be smart. Donate what you can and throw away the rest. Eventually, it becomes a domino effect.

Want to more? Check out the following articles7 Tiny Steps for the Beginner Minimalist19 Reasons Being A Minimalist Is The Best Way Of Life, and 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life.