Advice from My Mother that You Never Knew You Needed

Have you ever actually listened to what your parents say when they're giving unsolicited advice? Neither have I, until I started getting more and more involved in my major. Here are some basic pieces of advice that my mother has given me whenever I complain about something or am having a panic attack over another.

Interviews/Applications

Interviews are scary and intimidating but they are essential to getting into your work field. My mother has given me great advice on what to do and say in high stakes interviews.

  • Dont BS your way through it. In addition don’t say what you think they want to hear. 

    • Interviewers know when you are lying or kissing up to them. It is always best to be yourself and take the opportunity to highlight accomplishments that you are proud of not because you think they’ll like it, but because you like it.

  • Try to bring up future plans with projects 

  • Avoid passive wording. As women we are raised to be a more passive bunch. We are passive in both our speech and writing. Examples of what to say instead include:

    • Hope → will be 

    • Wish → plan on

    • This is something I did → I did this!

    • An opportunity like this... → This opportunity...

  • It’s okay to be nervous, how you channel your nervous energy is something that interviewers look at. Being nervous means you want this!

  • You’re likely to be asked open ended questions, use these to your advantage and insert as much information as you can about your accomplishments, as long as you stay on track.

  • Be honest with yourself.

  • If you accidently put yourself down, lift yourself up by inserting your willingness to learn and improve yourself.

  • If they ask about something you don’t have experience in, make sure they are aware of your willingness and eagerness to learn the skill.

  • Send an email or make a phone call after you’ve gotten home thanking them for their time and the opportunity. (This goes a long way)

 

Workplace Shenanigans

The workplace, be it a part-time job or something pertaining to your career is a crazy and life altering place. You learn a lot of skills and encounter people of all types. Some experiences are positive, some are negative. 

Positive

  • Positive encounters are an opportunity to build rapport, relationships and a network. Having short conversations with your boss can really build a friendship and they are more likely to say yes when you ask if you can use them as a reference.

  • Reflect on positive experiences, this is why you're in that job. 

Negative

  • Bad things happen, there is no way to avoid it. Grow from them instead.

  • If someone doesn’t like you, don’t push them or ignore them. Set aside your differences so that you can get your work done. Be the person who can work well with anyone.

  • If there is a complaint against you, listen to the complaint and be honest. Ask about the complaint further and try to clear it up. If it was a misunderstanding this is essential, if it wasn’t then apologise. 

 

School Policies

There's always going to be policies with your university that bother you. In the art department we keep running into bits of nonsense. This fantastic piece of advice my mom gave me about my situation can be applied to anything. 

  • Write a letter and get people to sign it. State facts about the situation and be very unbiased. Assert your passion and willingness to learn from this change. For example, our art department had an intro to printing class but nothing further. As a result, the intro class does not have lab monitors, and only one person teaching, who is a grad student. My mother suggested adding these things in my letter.

    • We have a new building.

    • The print lab has plenty of resources for a higher level class.

    • There is already a growing list of students who want an intermediate class.

    • These same students want to be monitors.

 

Life in General 

Your parents have lived longer than you, they're bound to know a thing or two. Especially when it comes to living life. Sometimes their passions heavily influence your own and you don’t even realise it.

  • Save your money, put it into a life savings account. Start your retirement fund early.

  • If you can afford it, do it. 

  • Enjoy the little things.

  • Gift flowers just because.

  • Give gifts that last both objectively and emotionally.

  • Make something.

 

Dating

Dating is a huge category full of advice. Here are just a couple.

  • Go out with multiple people before settling into anything serious. 

  • Get to know people first.

  • Friends make great partners.

  • Learn from past experiences. If someone reminds you of a toxic ex, it’s a red flag.

  • Going out on dates is a good way to move on, even if nothing serious starts.

 

Breakups

I personally went through a pretty rough breakup last year and then cut ties with my life long best friend just a few months later. That is another article. Here are a few bits of advice my mom gave me during this very emotionally rough time.

  • Move on with your life. They’re doing the same thing, they’re probably having sex with another person right now. Why aren’t you? 

  • You don’t have to jump into another relationship but it helps to go on dates with a few people. Get some variety and have some fun.

  • SELF LOVE AND CARE:

    • Go to a hot spring 

    • Get some bath bombs 

    • Travel 

    • Take yourself on a date

    • Get a massage

    • Do some shopping therapy (you don't have to buy anything)

    • Hang out with your friends

    • Reconnect with people you haven’t talked to in a long time.