Tag Archive | "college"

A Letter To A High School Graduate

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A Letter To A High School Graduate

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Patricia Gras

By Patricia Gras

Your four years in high school are over. A new life begins in college soon and you may feel relief along with some anxiety and excitement. College can be challenging at times but very much like life itself, it is what you make it. Here are some thoughts and wisdom I wish I had known before I went to college.

Making good grades is important, but it will not define the kind of person you become or the sort of success you will have. Don’t get caught up like I did on grades and cease to enjoy the experience just to get a 4.0. When you finally join the working world, people will remember how you made them feel, how effectively you did your job, if you are making the world a better place, or if you are creating value, not if you were summa cum laude!

There are many types of people in college. Hang with those who share your values, live in integrity, study hard, care for others, know how to laugh real loud and dance as if no one is watching. You will know if those you choose as friends fill you with energy or drain it. Don’t waste time with those who do.

Beware of those who drink too much or do drugs. They are most likely numbing some sort of pain or hiding insecurities. Feel compassion but don’t engage in their behavior. If you too feel unbearable pain, learn to embrace it, learn from it, and know… it too will pass. You can learn from joy and you can learn from suffering and pain. In my experience I have grown and learned more from the latter.

At your age, falling in love is almost inevitable, but don’t try to complete yourself with a magical other. No one can make you happy but yourself. There will be time for great relationships in the future as well. If you decide to have one, make sure he/she supports you, respects you, studies just as hard as you do or more and is truly one of your best friends. College is a journey and you will have to climb hills, valleys and mountains, having someone accompany you can be wonderful. Having someone become your heavy backpack will only hurt you.

When you don’t do well in class, GET HELP, get a tutor, a friend, a classmate to help. Don’t wait until it is too late. Many times, it has nothing to do with you, but it is your responsibility to learn. No matter how successful some students appear to be (4.0) or perfect scores, they too will fail some day. It is a part of life, but only those who are persistent and consistent succeed. Many times, to do that you need to get help.

Study hard, but also find time to enjoy yourself. Study under the sun, be in nature as much as possible, excercise or move at least a half hour a day, and get enough sleep! Find one day of the week to have a good time or party, but don’t forget why you are in college. Remember having fun and partying is not something you should ONLY DO IN COLLEGE so don’t act like you only have four years to go wild.

Always look for the people who do well in class and befriend them. People generally want to help. To be the best, you have to hang out with the best. That is just common sense, the least common of the senses.

When things don’t go your way, in school, a relationship, a friendship… use your knees. Prayer helps. Believe in miracles. Your thoughts matter and the more positive they are, the better you will do.

Talk to your parents; communicate with them. If they are not around, find an adult you feel comfortable with. We adults may seem out of touch, but we have been there where you are now. Go to therapy if necessary but get help. Remember happiness may not last forever, but neither do your problems.

I love you and I am here for you. These are words that will come from SOMEONE in your life. If it is not a person, it may be your higher power. You are here on this planet for a reason, a purpose, a mission. Find out what it is and go for it. Have no fear. Be bold. Be strong. Don’t give up and when you think everything has failed, remember Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”

NOW, DEAR GRADUATE CELEBRATE! For a new wonderful life is just ahead of you. Congratulations Nicole!

Question: What is the biggest mistake you made in college? And what did you learn from it?

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College Smart: How to be a Leader

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College Smart: How to be a Leader

Posted on 08 July 2011 by Michelle Reed

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Find What You Love, Love What You Do

Posted on 19 May 2011 by Michelle Reed

This Week on Living Smart:

The Living Smart episode “Finding Job Fulfillment,” airs Sunday May 22nd at 3 p.m. on HoustonPBS. This episode features Rebecca Lunstroth, a former corporate Human Resources Manager. In this episode, Lunstroth discusses how people allow the uncertainty of job transitions to rule their lives, and advises others to not be afraid of looking for their dream job.

Missed last week’s episode?

Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. This Friday at 10 p.m. check out the Living Smart episode “Healthy Mother, Healthy Child,” featuring yoga instructor and author Elizabeth Irvine. In this episode, Irvine shares insight into how to sustain a healthy and meaningful lifestyle that incorporates an integrative approach to great health, meaning focusing on diet, exercise and breathing, sleep, proper relaxation, meditation and positive thinking.

Find What You Love, Love What You Do
By Cassady Lance, Production Assistant

What are you passionate about? Is this a question you ever really think about? With
the effects of the recent recession still weighing heavy on many Americans, and the
monotony of a daily routine, few think about what really motivates them.

Rebecca Lunstroth, assistant director of the John McGovern Center for Humanities
and Ethics at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, finding your true
passion should be a priority when it comes to your career.

In this upcoming episode of “Living Smart with Patricia Gras,” Lunstroth tells us why
it is never too late to make a move and find fulfillment in your job. As an instructor,
she teaches medical humanities and ethics. She oversees all of the programs,
including the center’s sacred vocation program, a workplace change program which
seeks to create sustained changes by helping employees experience meaning in their
daily work.

Prior to her current position, Lunstroth had a well-paying corporate career at
an oil company. After 14 years, she says she realized she was never cut out for it.
Lunstroth decided to make a change. She knew it was time to leave her passionless
corporate job behind, and look for a position that would be both meaningful and

Whether you are a recent graduate who is looking for a new career or a professional
who just isn’t feeling fulfilled in your current job, Lunstroth stresses it is never too
late to search for the job you want and that will make you happy; and she has some
helpful advice on how to go about finding a fulfilling career.

“The first thing to do is to put down on paper kind of what makes you tick, and so
much about what you do has to do with where you work and the people you
work with. What is the kind of environment you think you would do best in? Is
it a creative environment? Is it an office environment? Is it a field job? It’s really
looking—you don’t need a career coach to do this. It’s really sitting down and
finding out what makes you tick. Everyone needs to ask themselves that question.
What is going to get you up in the morning? What is going to make you work your
hardest, be your proudest, motivate you, etcetera, etcetera. “

It turns out that Lunstroth is not the only person who feels this way. Jessica
Hernandez, president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, also says it is important to
keep passion on your checklist at any stage in life.

“Sometimes, simply making a list will cause you to see a common theme and you
can easily identify a career that would best suit your talent, passion and interests,” Hernandez says.

While soon-to-be or recent college graduates should still keep their passions and
interests in check, they may need to approach the job search in a different way.
Kendra Nelsen, director for student services at the UVA Office of University Career
Services stresses that flexibility is key when it comes to finding a job after college.
Students also need to be proactive when it comes to finding employment in their
first few years after graduation.

Katy Hopkins, a journalist for US News gives job seekers more to think about when
she references more of Nelsen’s expertise:

Instead of focusing solely on scoring a dream job, UVA’s Nelsen prods her students
to be open to positions in fertile industries that use similar skill sets as their ideal
position might. Even if a student wishes to become an event planner or work in
marketing, for instance, it might be best to consider how those job attributes might
fit into positions in the healthcare or technology fields, where jobs are relatively
ample, in the hopes that skills acquired there can one day be parlayed into their
ideal career, she says. “Of course pursue what might be your ideal [job], but also
break it apart and get experience wherever you can get experience,” Nelsen
said. “Any experience that has a piece or two of what you’re trying to go for
eventually can still be valuable.”

Some other valuable information to consider: the job outlook for 2011 graduates is
much more positive than it was for graduates in recent years. According to studies
by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), this positivity is
coming from early economic indicators. The NACE also says that 53 percent of
employers surveyed intend to hire more college graduates from the class of 2011
than from the previous year, a jump from less than 50 percent who reported they
would in a fall survey.

Regardless of statistics or what experts say, it is up to you to find your own
interests and passions. Statistics cannot tell you what will make you happy, and
experts cannot tell you if you are where you need to be. Only you can answer those
pertinent questions that can lead you to a life of happiness and fulfillment.

And while happiness is important, don’t confuse it with reality. Lunstroth reminds
us that we need to keep ourselves in check as we search for our dream jobs.

“They call it work for a reason. There is seldom is going to be a job that you like
every single aspect of it, whether it be your commute, how far away the bathroom is,
the co-worker, any number of things, but it’s really figuring out what it is you don’t

Whether you approach your checklist with likes and dislikes or pros and cons, just
make one, and find out how you can make your professional life a happier one.
Whether you are just starting out or ready for a mid-life change – IT’S NEVER TOO

So now that you’ve had some time to think, let me ask you again… what are you
passionate about?

To learn more about job satisfaction tune in to “Living Smart with Patricia Gras” on
Sunday, May 22 at 3 p.m.


US NEWS (Brighter Job Outlook for 2011)








TRADING ECONOMICS (US Unemployment Rate)


HUFFINGTON POST (Outlook for College Graduates)



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College Smart: Connecting Your Disconnected Life

Posted on 06 May 2011 by Michelle Reed

This week on Living Smart:
The Living Smart with Patricia Gras episode on “Connecting your Disconnected Life” this sunday at 3 p.m. on Houston’s PBS features promotional speaker and author of the books I Used to Have a Handle on Life, But Then It Broke, Touching Tomorrow, and Stop Screaming at the Microwave, How to Connect Your Disconnected Life. In this episode, Mary LoVerde, who is also the former director of the Hypertension Research Center of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shares insight into how we can improve the quality of our home, work, and inner life.

Missed last week’s episode? Don’t worry, we thought about you. Tune in Houston’s Channel 8 this Friday at 10 p.m. to watch Dr. Stephanie Coulter, the medical leader for the Texas Heart Institute Center for Women’s Heart and Cardiovascular Health Disease at St. Luke’s Hospital. In this episode, Dr. Coulter discusses trigger points for heart disease to occur in men and women and why heart disease is more prevalent in women’s lives.

College Smart
As we anticipate, this week’s episode of Living Smart, the newest episode of the College Smart series features University of Houston graduate Kristen Khalaf and DePauw University graduate Christina Rivera as they take a look inside the lives of college students asking the loaded question how do you connect your disconnected life? As finals come to a close, students are rushing to make time for their friends, family and significant others. With only a few hours during the day to get everything done, college students sometimes need to find time to calm down and connect back to reality.

How do you connect your disconnected life?

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College Smart: Addiction

Posted on 03 April 2011 by Michelle Reed

As we approach the 7th Season of Living Smart our first show deals with addiction. In this premier episode of the newest College Smart web series, Intern and senior at the University of Houston Michelle Reed and Shooter and Editor  DePauw Graduate Christina Rivera explore the issue from a college student perspective.  Follow their  journey as she gets to the core reason many college students choose to drink alcohol, and use drugs.

Our Living Smart episode on Addiction with Derek Steele will air on Sunday April 3rd at 3pm on HoustonPBS Ch. 8 and repeat Friday Night April 8th at 10pm. He will be talking about his own experience with addiction and how he overcame it.

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Olympians, College smarts and the value of Silence

Posted on 03 September 2010 by Patricia Gras

What I learned this week:
Sometimes we need time to really discern what is going on in our lives, therefore we should not make any decisions when we are upset, overwhelmed or depressed.

What I am grateful for: I am going on a long trip and I can do that because I have worked in the same station for 20 years and I work to live, instead of living to work.
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Patricia Gras (Twitter)

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