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Spring Cleaning

Hello friends! I can’t tell you how good it is to be back! I’ve had finals, more computer problems than I can say and a busy work schedule. It’s officially spring break here and my number one task is to get my very first Mac. I know I’m probably one of the last standing but my Dell has given out after just one year–hence why I haven’t been able to blog the past week. My other spring break goal? To read The Hunger Games. All in all, I’m really looking forward to a little R & R (and by that I mean reading and retail)!

I hope you’re about to get a break if you haven’t had one already. We all need some down time every now and then so when your break does come around, here are a few Sunny Suggestions for making the most of it:

1. Pick a book you’ve been dying to read. We finally have time to actually read a novel of our choice this time of year instead of studying up on organic chemistry or the classics. Take an hour or two to just sit and read because you finally have the time to do it. Bubble bath not included but highly recommended.

2. Make a change: Whether it’s a new haircut, a new outfit, or a new and improved attitude, come back to school feeling better than ever. Give yourself a mini-makeover this week so that you’re ready to start up again feeling refreshed. Spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your house.

3. Catch up with friends: Set aside some time to check in with your friends from yesteryear. There will be plenty to talk about and hopefully plenty of sunshine while you’re at it.

4. Tie up odds and ends: You’ve been meaning to take care of those bills (uh, me?) and make that dentist appointment. This is the perfect time to do it when you’re not dealing with class and work schedules. Wipe the slate clean.

5. Write it all down: Make your own personal list for everything you’d like to accomplish over the break–relaxing included. Keep yourself on task by making the most of every day you have; otherwise you’ll find yourself at Friday all too soon.

I hope you have the most splendid week–make it count! Limit Facebook, love on friends, and get a start on that summer glow!

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Please follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Why It’s Time to Stop Saying Sorry All the Time

As Career and Personal Development Chair of my Chi Omega Chapter at UCLA, I like to give a little career advice every now and then. As an intern at Disney ABC Television Group for the past two and a half months, I’ve learned some tips and tricks that I think can significantly affect happiness in the workplace. One happiness hang-up you may have experienced in the office? Making a mistake. It happens to all of us, yet there’s no reason for it to take away our happiness for a prolonged period of time. Here’s how to move on and make it better.

Chances are, if you’re a girl, you probably utter, “I’m sorry” on a regular basis, even when there’s nothing to be sorry for. Sure, there’s a time and a place to be apologetic but saying sorry at the drop of a hat loses its oomph. Furthermore, if you do make a mistake and an apology is warranted, there’s one crucial thing I’ve learned from the work environment—don’t make excuses, just get it done.

You may think that excuses will save you time or face, but truly, it’s just better to own up to it and fix the problem as soon as possible. Unless you feel like there is a genuine misunderstanding, then don’t waste more time by making your boss hear out the minutia of your mistake. All they’ll want to hear at that point is, “I’m on it” and “All fixed!” Focusing on your error instead of the solution will only hold you back. Move ahead and make up for a mistake instead of making excuses.

It can be easy to fester in your slip-ups but you’ve got to get a move on. While you should always allow yourself time to learn from errors so that they don’t happen in the future, you can’t let an accidental fault loom over your head forever. Employers like an upbeat, confident (yet not cocky) employee who is ready to learn. They should be understanding when you make minor flubs every now and then as you learn (in fact, they often expect it!) and if anything, you’ll leave them actually feeling impressed when you can take an error and improve the situation tenfold.

So rather than wasting words on why you made a mistake, get to work on what didn’t work the first time. Fix the problem instead of trying to explain yourself. You’ll feel much happier when you can move on and enjoy your day! Make the most of it.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Please follow me on Twitter by clicking here!

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

KONY: Finding the Facts First

But do we all agree?

Edmund Burke famously said, “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.” An exemplary quote to live by but I think it needs a little adjustment: “All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for well-informed good men (and women!) to do nothing.” Even good intentions can be misappropriated if they are not backed by education. As is evidenced by the Kony 2012 phenomenon, propaganda should not come before research, and action should not come before investigation.

By now you’ve probably seen the Kony video. If not, I think it’s time. Even if you don’t agree with it, it’s only fair that you become aware of their argument if you’re going to oppose it in the first place. I took the time to watch the 29 minute video earlier this week and yes, I was moved by it—for about the first 15 minutes or so. I’ll be frank; I was ill informed about the tragedy in Uganda before tuning in to the now famous YouTube globe icon. I was aware of the situation but not to the extent that I should have been. And no thanks to this video produced by Invisible Children, I was only slightly more educated about KONY and the LRA; instead I was very well educated about the “campaign” to make KONY famous—of which doesn’t have my vote—at least not yet.

Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely happy to see our nation aroused by more than celeb fanfare and surface gossip. It has been inspiring to watch our country use social media in a new way—to spread a political message (albeit rather convoluted) rather than another weekly “Who Wore It Better?” buzz feed. More than 70 million views in one week—all in hopes of learning who this “Kony” persona is—even though it’s sad that many of us (myself included) had never heard the name until now. And while I love how our country is caring about this cause—I don’t want our cares to be misguided—by a temporary trend. As much as I sincerely hope it won’t be a trend. As in, I’m writing this on March 11th and I hope that by April 20th this will still be a very relevant and on-point article.

Maybe it's not as simple as it seems.

If we truly care about this cause, to save these children, then we need to properly educate ourselves before we sign ourselves to this Kony takedown. We need to find resources from more than this initial source that sparked the debate—we need to balance our facts so that our opinions are aligned with our education. If we believe blindly, then we are offering ourselves to be blindly fooled. I too was quickly convinced at first when I watched the Kony video—I thought to myself, of course, we must take Kony down immediately! But is it really that simple? Heavens no. In fact, when the very country we are attempting to aid has a backlash to the video, I think it may be a bit of a sign that the video was a little skim on the history and a little heavy on the hammed up mission to destroy one man. Uganda’s struggles are more than symbolic though—they are situational and taking Kony down is a step, but it’s not the entire solution.

No matter where you stand on the issue, inform yourself. Go to sites other than Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (where you were probably directed to the Kony video in the first place) and let it lead you to other resources, like the New York Times, CNN, and the Huffington Post. Find the facts before you invest in your opinion. I’m still finding my facts before I come to a conclusion on the Kony campaign—not that your decisions have to be resolute as you acquire more knowledge. Keep your mind open to ideas other than the original one presented.

I hope you’ll join me in taking a heightened awareness not only this week but throughout your academic and professional career to always find the facts. We may not always have videos like Kony to remind us to look for both sides of an argument before succumbing to the common consensus. I hope this video, no matter how you feel about it, has been a reminder to you, as it has been to me, that we can’t stand by and let evil occur. But we can’t do anything about the tragedies in our world if we don’t educate ourselves in the first place.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook


The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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