A Perfect Scorer Looks Back on Senior Year: A Different Kind of Senioritis

Categories: Education, Guest post, News

Whether it’s their first year of school, their last, or somewhere in the middle, summer is winding down for students everywhere, and the new school year will bring new challenges. Ada, the new Up Your Score: SAT Guest Editor, is attending Stanford University in the Fall. Read this look back on her senior year of high school, as she prepares for the next chapter: college!

One thing that no one tells you about senior year is that by the time summer rolls around, you will be a pro at small talk. From the check out lady at the grocery store to the all those people you haven’t talked to in years but run into at graduation parties, there is one line of questioning that every high school senior comes to expect: what are you doing after graduation?

UpYourScoreSAT_cvr 2015 mech 1pp.inddThe stock answer to the senior-year-question is simple: insert college and major here. Indeed, I dutifully chirped “Stanford University, environmental engineering” countless times. But while this is the easy answer to the after-graduation question, I think that a lot of seniors are asking themselves a bigger question throughout senior year, about who they’ll be after high school, and the answer is more complicated than college choices.

As senior year progresses, relationships change. Your friends apply to different schools in different states. As everyone begins to go in new directions, certain relationships crack under the pressure of change while others grow stronger, even as new opportunities approach. There are the awkward days of acceptance letters, where everyone wants to know who got in where… but no one wants to ask. And then there are the lasts—the last time you will see your lab partner, the last test you take, the last time you have to awkwardly encounter an ex-best friend or former flame. And after those lasts come the even tougher ones—the moments with close friends and family.

But the goodbyes aren’t limited to people. Like many teenagers, I had a full schedule of activities in high school, partly because I enjoyed and even loved them, and partly because I knew it wouldn’t look bad on a college application. Now that my friends and I aren’t worrying about which activities will look attractive to colleges, the old reasoning falls away, and there are choices to be made. Is it worth playing sports so you can put it on a future resume? Starting college means preparing to enter the working world in just four short years. What activities do you still love? And is that enough to continue participating? Should you think about just moving on?

When it comes down to it, the tough part of the classic after-graduation question is knowing how to move on. It’s easy to pin the stresses of senior year on the pressure of perfecting the last draft of a college essay or raising a standardized test score. In reality, there are plenty of ways to make a strong college application and there are plenty of guides to beating standardized testing (I should know, I had a great time working on Up Your Score). But there are less sure-fire handbooks on how to handle the other pressures of senior year. There is no simple guide to leaving the people and habits that have made up the majority of your life so far.

The symptoms and side-effects of these pressures are often called “senioritis.” In part, it might mean studying a little less for those final exams or blowing off the occasional homework assignment. But it also means figuring out which parts of your paper-perfected college-applicant-self you’re actually going to bring with you to campus.

So what am I doing after graduation? I’m still figuring that out. But I’m OK with that.

For more about Ada, visit the Up Your Score Facebook page here!

 

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Wednesday Cute: Robin Williams and Koko

Categories: News

This week’s Wednesday Cute video is in honor of the beloved, comedic actor Robin Williams. Watch his heartwarming meeting with Koko, the Gorilla here.

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At that meeting, Gorilla Foundation staffers say, Williams made Koko smile for the first time in six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, had passed away at the age of 27.

“Not only did Williams cheer up Koko,” a Foundation spokesperson said this afternoon, “but Williams similarly seemed transformed — from a high-energy entertainer, into a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy, who also happened to be really funny.”

RIP, Mr. Williams.

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Comics and Cosplay in a Galaxy Not So Far Away

Categories: News

I’ve been a comic book reader for 21 years. I’ve attended a few local NJ cons, as well as the New York and Chicago ones when I was younger. I’ve always entertained thoughts of attending the Shangri-La of cons – the San Diego Comic Convention –  but I never went so far as to purchase the tickets. Let’s just say I was overjoyed (and danced a little jig) when I was asked to work at the Workman Publishing booth this year.

Our booth was located in the Lucasfilm Pavillion with other companies who make books, shirts, skateboards, and key chains featuring the Star Wars world.

booth

It was the perfect place for us since were debuting our new line of Star Wars Workbooks. We brought a few hundred copies along to give away (we were also looking to sell a few).

workbooks

I shared one image of the freebies on Instagram and Twitter, and the stack started dwindling. It was hard to turn away requests to take more than one, particularly when those requests came from adorable kids.

We kept busy in the booth with people browsing our wares and some author signings, including Chris Alexander, author of Star War Origami , who signed books and taught folks how to make origami light sabers.

chris_signing

My colleague Moira and I were on our feet for 10+ hours every day, so in between promoting our books and ringing up customers, we had to find ways to keep energized and focused. I tried some yoga, which was only partially successful. Here’s the “before” photo:

yoga

I’m kind of glad there is no “after” photo. Ouch.

I also set out to take photos with various cosplayers over the course of the week. For the uninitiated, cosplay is short for costume play, i.e., getting dressed up in an awesome outfit. Since it was a comic convention, I knew I’d see tons of superheroes. I wanted pictures with my favorites.

Batgirl:
Batgirl

Zatanna (looking like she just leaped out of the DC Comics Fandex):

Zatanna

Supergirl and Power Girl (who you will learn is actually Supergirl from a parallel earth, if you read the Fandex):

supergirls

Now, I know you’re thinking: I’m just getting photographs with pretty ladies in costumes. Well, you’re partially right. Here I am with a good friend dressed as Harley Quinn:

harley

But that’s not the only reason I wanted to take pictures. These people are awesome. The time and effort they put into their costumes is remarkable, as is their enthusiasm once they’re at the show. And that enthusiasm is contagious.

Not every cosplayer sets out to complety recreate their fictional counterpart. Some of the fun is finding ways to reinterpret the characters. Here, we have a Batwoman who is actually dressed as a bat-woman, ready for the ballgame, along with a vintage Rosie-the-Riveter—style Wonder Woman. The lady in black and blue is doing something that’s referred to as Rule 63, which is when you dress as a character of the opposite gender. In this case, she’s a female Nightwing.

trio

Cosplay isn’t limited to comic books either. TV stars like Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama could be found…

zoidberg

…along with amazing yet obscure characters, like Kuato from the 1990 film Total Recall:
Kuato

Or, going back to that Rule 63 concept, a Freddy Krueger who is slightly less scary than the classic Freddy:

Freddy

Some cosplayers went as themed couples. There were plenty of Batman & Robin duos, but by my favorite was this pair of hard-to-find characters, Waldo and Carmen Sandiego:

waldocarmen

Ingenious!

Moira got into the fun as well, tracking down a Darth Vader who was surprisingly huggable:

photo (23)

And a few moments of each day, I managed to get away from our booth to do some shopping of my own. I tried to limit my spending, but I couldn’t resist some Con exclusives, like this variant cover edition to the Monster Motors comic by Brian Lynch and Nick Roche, or these limited edition Blu-rays from Fox which came with lithographs. (The shirt and Blu-rays from Scream Factory was an unplanned impulse purchase, but I couldn’t resist. I love those guys.)

purchases

For five days, I was in a truly odd and wonderful world where I got to talk to hundreds of people, sign some autographs, and catch up with old friends.

muppets

Fingers crossed, I’ll be back next year. And this time, I’ll be ready.

nextyear

- Randy

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#SummerReads – Love and War

Categories: Fiction, Friday Reads

Good afternoon, readers! This summer an English teacher/mentor of mine sent me one of her favorite books, as she believed it was one I would enjoy and that I could take lessons from – Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion. Not only is it challenging intellectually, it is also a perfect summer read.Jeanette_Winterson_The_Passion

The Passion takes place during the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815), and is told from the perspectives of a simple French soldier who religiously serves Napoleon all the way into the depths of the Russian cold, and a young, strong headed Venetian woman who works in a casino and has seen how gambling transforms from a thrill, into a game of luck or death. Both characters learn what it means to be in love, the thin line between passion and obsession, and how both can consume you fully.

I have always enjoyed novels where the reliability of the narrator can be questioned, and The Passion unexpectedly became a story that, by the end, I wondered if any of it was true. Winterson utilizes history to shape who her characters are – Henri, the French soldier, dedicates all of his love and admiration to Napoleon. He realizes, however, his passion is undeserved, as he sees how the war destroys cities and violently ends men’s lives only for Napoleon to treat such tragedies as replaceable and insignificant. Villanelle is born and raised in Venice, however throughout the novel she is depicted as having mythical qualities and there are elements that indicate something unreal about her and Venice itself. Despite reference to actual historical events, Henri’s narration continually leaves open ends where the reader would only naturally wonder if the stories being told were real or made up.

There are many impactful descriptions and reflections throughout the novel regarding love, pursuing the heart’s passion, and faith. Winterson’s mixes fantasy with reality, as well as immersing the reader in a tumultuous history and making us believe in the lives of Henri and Villanelle.

Enjoy readers! – Luriel

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Wednesday Cute: Charlie Says “Sorry”

Categories: News, Wednesday Cute

It’s Wednesday Cute time! This video went viral this past week and you don’t even need to watch it to know why. When Charlie the Beagle decided to help himself to his human sister’s stuffed animal, heartbreak ensued. Charlie quickly realized his mistake and attempted to apologize in the cutest way possible. Watch his adorable apology here!

 

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#ReadWomen2014 – Sharon Salzberg

Categories: Health, News, Self-help

2014 has been declared as the year of reading women by writer & illustrator, Joanna Walsh! In a blog post that she wrote cartesfor Berfrois this past January, Joanna stated that: “though women read more books than men, and female authors are published in comparable numbers, they are more easily overlooked: a smaller presence in literary journals both as reviewers, and the reviewed, they also account for fewer literary translations.” This isn’t a question of whether female writers are published, because they are. It’s a matter of how they are published.

Between the dedicated Twitter account to a slew of reading list suggestions, readers, publishers, and publications have created their own definitions of #ReadWomen2014, and have supported female writers in various ways. Here at Workman Publishing, we’ve decided to feature one of our female authors a month until the end of the year, through Q & A’s, book features, and more!

Now, without further ado meet Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Real Happiness at Work, which was just chosen by Oprah.com as a “Book That Every Joy-Seeking Woman Needs to Read.”
real happiness

Q: If you were to name one small thing a person could do every day at work to get closer to real happiness, what would it be?

A: The single thing I’d suggest would be “remember to breathe.” There are times we get so stressed it seems as if our ability to breathe normally freezes, and a few conscious breaths can release some of that tension. Also, periodically placing our attention on the feeling of our breath moving in and out of our bodies returns us to ourselves, and to the moment, even in the midst of crazy, hectic momentum all around us. When we return to ourselves in this way we can remember our priorities, what we really want out of an encounter or an endeavor. I like mindful awareness of the breath as a tool because it is independent and private. No one needs to know you are doing it.

Q: What surprised you most about writing the book on the workplace?

A: How similar peoples’ descriptions were of the sources of stress in their  jobs, (communications difficulties, feeling unappreciated, and a sense of an overwhelming workload), though the range of livelihoods represented was enormous: including writers and artists, special ed. teachers, firefighters, hedge fund managers, divorce lawyers, and an undercover policewoman.

Q: What was the most memorable thing you learned while researching and writing this book?

A: How people can find meaning and fulfillment at work even if it isn’t the job of their dreams.For example, several people with jobs not afforded much respect in society at large (eg. working at a call in center, or as a home health aid) found great fulfillment through their commitment to kindness towards all whom they encountered.

Q: Who are some of your favorite female authors?

A: Barbara Fredrickson, Annie Lamotte, Naomi Shihab Nye (poet), Elizabeth Lesser, and for most of my life, Harper Lee.

To find out more about Sharon Salzberg, visit her site here or check the Workman Facebook page throughout the week!

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#SummerReads – Young Adult Edition

Categories: Friday Reads, News

Hi readers! In the past month, I have been visiting various bookstores (as one does) searching for new books to read this summer. After talking to friends about what books I should check out next, it was suggested that I read a novel by Rainbow Rowell. I hadn’t heard of the author before, but with a first name as awesome as Rainbow I figured it was only appropriate to read all of her books immediately! On my following trip to the bookstore, I gravitated toward the Young Adult section where I found one of her most popular books – Eleanor and Park.

Eleanor and Park takes place in the late 1980’s – in the time of Walkmans and phone cords – and is about two misfit high schoolers who fall in love with each other amidst the chaos of their own lives.  I know that it sounds a bit overdone but Rowell’s book is not a typical sad story YA novel; this novel is about falling in love with someone because of who they are personally and intellectually, forgetting about 9781250012579physicality or what others think of them. Rowell writes from both perspectives of these two very distinct characters: Eleanor, an overweight girl with wild, curly red hair, incredible sarcasm, and a penchant for eclectic clothes, and Park, a half-Korean, half-Irish kid who loves punk rock and manages to remain on the good side of the popular kids (but at the expense of not being able to share what he really thinks and feels). When these two meet on the bus to school for the first time, it’s anything but love at first sight – Eleanor quickly becomes the target of jokes and ridicule by the popular kids, and Park begrudgingly gives her the seat next to him in order to save them both from the embarrassment of the situation.

Coming into a new high school and being made fun of for the way you look is never an easy thing but Eleanor’s issues go even deeper than being a victim of bullying. Her family is very poor, and her stepfather is an abusive alcoholic whom she tries her best to avoid every day. Through the character of Eleanor, Rowell does a spectacular job giving insight into the hardship of poverty, neglect and abuse.

As I read, I realized Park was an excellent safety for Eleanor – someone to escape to, or someone to bring her out of her every day. He loves her, and he makes it evident – Park is from a family that openly expresses love and supports each other, which is very different from where Eleanor comes from. Eleanor never shares what happens in her home life with Park. She keeps him separate from the danger that looms there. This is what I think makes Eleanor and Park so unlike those cliché knight saves the damsel in distress stories – it is about a love that blossoms between two people in spite of what is going on in the outside world. Despite his ignorance to her situation, Park loves Eleanor for who she is rather than for her circumstance. In so many fairy tales, the prince comes to the rescue not because he loves the princess and her awesome personality, but because she is so obviously in need of saving. That is not this story. Eleanor and Park each have an individual depth, and they love one another because they understand each other in a way that they had never shared with anyone else before. The solace they find in one another is one that reminds the reader to not take what you love for granted and to love with your whole self, regardless of any obstacles or differences that may be in the way.

I hope you pick up this book the next time you go to the store or the library to find something to read. It really is an excellent story, and I highly recommend it.

Have fun this summer, and stay well-read! – Luriel

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The Great Selfie Scavenger Hunt

Categories: Diet and fitness, Health

Workman’s shelves are full of healthy books–Thinner This Year, The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick, Real Happiness–and this year, the company has been making a special effort to practice what it preaches with a new wellness initiative. Already, Workman wellness-niks have hosted a health fair in our office, held a biometric screening for employees, and arranged a healthy potluck lunch. The latest stage of the initiative has been a scavenger hunt that encourages Workmanites in New York to get out and walk during the day. So far, employees have received 10 photos of mystery locations within walking distance of our offices, along with the instructions to find the spots and take selfies at each one to prove it. So if you’ve notice a rash of publishing employees posing for selfies throughout lower Manhattan, don’t worry, it’s just our wellness initiative at work.

The first 10 locations are below (with 10 still to come), and the goal is to snap selfies at 15 of the 20 by the end of the summer to prove yourself a champion healthy scavenger. You can check out some of the resulting pictures by searching #workmanwellness on Instagram.

Batch 1

find this 1 find this 2 find this 3 find this 4find this 5

 

Batch 2

Find This 1 - week 2 Find This 2 - week 2 Find This 3 - Week 2 Find this 4 - week 2Find This 5 - Week 2

Recognize any of the locations? Inspired to take a healthy walk of your own? (Who knew selfies could be such an important step on the path to good health?)

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Wednesday Cute: Sloth Crossing!

Categories: News

It’s time for Wednesday Cute! Here’s a timeless video of a very slow sloth, crossing the road. If you’re like us and can’t get enough of these funny little friends pre-order the Hangin’ With Sloths 2015 Wall Calendar today!

Watch the video here.

sloth video

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#SummerReads – We mean business

Categories: Friday Reads, News

Happy Friday, readers!  Today’s book is part lifestyle guide, part memoir, part business how-to, and all empowerment: #GIRLBOSS! It’s written by Sophia Amoruso, the founder, CEO, and Creative Director of the online shopping store sensation NASTY GAL. The book is bursting with Amoruso’s straight shooting, quick wit and punky attitude, and I found her take on the business world to be refreshing and inspiring.

GIRLBOSS

Sophia Amoruso had no intention of becoming an entrepreneur, and instead began NASTY GAL as an eBay shop when she was broke and bored at her part time job at the front desk of a San Francisco art school. In her book, Amoruso shares how she stayed committed to her eBay store and her customers, her passion for vintage clothes and her unconventional style, and her tips on who and what to focus on when starting your own small (or big) business.

As a young adult and new college student who is interested in business/entrepreneurship and also eager for new work experiences #GIRLBOSS gave me not only strong guidance and great information on both of those things, but also encouraged independence, honesty, courage, and being oneself. Amoruso shares both her mistakes and successes in order to give the most candid and humble advice, and features other “#GirlBosses” who share their tips and anecdotes as well, essentially making this book a collective effort to encourage you to be the best #GIRLBOSS (or #GUYBOSS) you can be.

#GIRLBOSS is an excellent read regardless of whether or not you plan on going into business – it holds lifestyle guidance and inspiration that anyone can use. It’s a book about accessing your potential; taking hold of your dreams and ideas and doing something about them, not letting them sit idle. And by the end, you’ll feel like you can take on anything – because you can!

Read on and stay awesome, bosses!

By: Luriel Balaurea

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