Tips On How To Make A College List

Surfing Online

Hey everybody, I’m back today with a post on creating a kickass college list coming up with an actually good solid College list is a lot harder than it sounds but don’t worry. I’ve got your back. So before I get into this, I just want to make very clear that picking a great list of schools to commit yourself to is not easy. It involves a lot of work on your part like spending tons of time on college websites with a million tabs open French cleat checking if that school has the program that you want to be in or frantically messaging your friends who had already graduated are now going to schools you’re considering. watching endless YouTube videos and students who are already at those schools going to college visits at your high school or at the surrounding high schools in your area.

Embracing The Entire Experience

The entire experience of applying to college is such an incredible learning process and I think you learn a lot about yourself especially during the process of figuring out which schools you want to apply to. For example, what kind of person are you? What kind of environment do you want? What programs are considering? What are you trying to get out of college? And why are you applying really coming up with a college list pretty much boils down to answering those questions and figure out which schools that match up with those answers It generally said that you should apply to a good mix of reach match and safety schools. So schools that you probably won’t get into schools that you probably will get into and schools that you’ll definitely get into and I don’t have a strict number that I would say, like everyone should apply to but I would say that around six to eight schools is a really reasonable number but what do I know? I applied to 14, but I think that if you know you have time and if you think that writing more college applications won’t hinder the quality of those applications and you have the means either through vouchers or just paying the fees to apply to all these schools. I say go for it being at the stage in your life at the end of high school about to apply for undergrad. It’s such a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I don’t think you should let anybody tell you that you should only apply to a certain number of schools anyway. Before I get even more sidetracked than I’ve already gotten here are my 7 tips to help you go from ideas to a concrete list of schools to apply to tip number one have a conversation about finances with your parents or guardians or whoever else would be responsible for paying your tuition before you apply to these colleges.

Don’t Fall In Love With A School

Let me tell you, you do not want to get into a school fall in love with it and then be heartbroken because you can’t afford to go. I almost had that experience and it’s pretty much like the worst case scenario for any college applicant in terms of like the outcome of their application process, so make sure you communicate with whoever is responsible for paying your tuition before and like I’m just going to say it again before you apply to college and even if you have an understanding or you think you know exactly how much your parents are willing to pay even if you’re sure that your family or whoever else is responsible for paying your tuition can afford a certain amount for your apology. Education double check before you actually apply. There’s no harm in doing so because you confirm what you thought before or  you get a more realistic sense of you know, where you’re at and what college is you can apply to accordingly.

Know What You Can Afford

Once you have a concrete idea of what you and your family can afford. Then you can move on to the next step of applying to colleges applying for scholarships applying for student loans applying for financial aid finding a job the list continue. So this all happens after you have this conversation because until then you don’t really know what the situation is. So I would say this is the most important tip.

Take Advantage Of Every Resource

Basically, this means reaching out to your parents or reaching out to friends reaching out to alumni of your school who are in college now and ask them about particular schools and their application process. They might have some insight into whether or not a school be good for you because there are a lot of things that make a school great that extend far past classes clubs and connections.

For example at colleges website probably wouldn’t say that there’s a raging crap scene although a friend or a friend or a friend who goes to that school would probably tell you that tip number three remember balance don’t just load your list with the US News top 25 or with just one of your local state schools because as I said, you want to have all your bases covered this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and you don’t want to mess it up so that you screw your plans for the future and you want to make sure that you have a back-up plan that you have. Have a path forward even if things don’t go the way you want tip number four love your safety schools. I can never say this enough a safety school is not safe. If you don’t love it because then when you go you’re going to dread the idea in my experience, the University of Toronto is my safety school and I went out of my way to like fall in love with that school when I got in I was so excited. I was ready to go.

I found a student’s blog and they put pictures of their times as a university student and they posted pictures of coffee shops in Toronto and I’m a sucker for coffee shops. So it’s just really excited about the prospect of going to that school find a way to do that with your own safety schools. And if you wouldn’t ever want to go to a school in any circumstance unless you absolutely had to then don’t put that school in your list. It’s a waste of your time money and energy tip number five be realistic.

This is just to shield yourself and make yourself prepared for any disappointment because if you have a 20 on the ACT, the chance that you’re going to get into Harvard are probably pretty low. And I’m not saying that you can’t get in if you have a 20 but I’m just saying that’s probably a very unlikely scenario.

So what you can do is you can look up a school’s common data set and it’s available for most of the schools that I applied to and probably available for most of the school’s out there and section c basically tells you the GPA and test scores and whatnot of like the people who got admitted to that school. So with that information you can see whether you’re above. Within our below those ranges and then accordingly you can figure out whether that’s cool would be a reach match or safety. But I do want to caution that for schools with acceptance rates of less than 10 or 15% after certain point.

Even if you’re in the range, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get it. So just keep that in mind while you’re applying if you’re thinking of applying to those caliber schools tip number six, that’s not six tip number 6 step out of your comfort zone. And I know this is kind of hypocritical because I just went on a little rant about being realistic but I don’t think that realism should stop you from pursuing your dream. I just mean that you need a backup plan. But why I’m trying to say is even if you think something is impossible whether it’s an Ivy League or business school or a direct entry medicine program, make sure you add it to your list because it never hurts to try and lastly tip number 7 don’t worry and I know that’s easier said than done but it’s only July you have many months until you have to submit your For the most part and until then you can change your mind you can add schools. I added three schools in the last two weeks of applying to colleges.

So I would say don’t worry what you pick right now isn’t necessarily binding till the very end. So any choice that you make before the school year and even until you submit your applications or totally subject to change. So those are my seven tips on creating a kickass college list.

Steps On How To Apply For College

Taking Down Notes

Today, we are going to be talking about applying to college. Now. There are lots of different reasons to apply to college or not apply to college some of you might be like, why would I apply to school when it definitely definitely definitely does not guarantee me a job in the major of my choice. So why apply to college at all? Here are some reasons why you might want to apply for me college was a deeply important experience not only academically, but socially and personally not only did I discover more about myself. I was given the opportunity to actually just be myself which I think is so incredibly important what school you go to where you go to how much Prestige and blah blah blah doesn’t really matter so much as the experience that you are going to get out of it. And hopefully that experience is taking yourself seriously and pursuing your own happiness. So that’s all the wonderful stuff about actually going to college. But how did I get there?

Going For It

It was not of my own motivation I had guidance counselors some dedicated teachers and some good friends who really really really encouraged me to go to college by saying things like you deserve to give yourself a chance. I believe you can do it. Well, do you want to if you want to then you should try and go and many many many many more sentences like that. So just in case some of you don’t have people like that in your life telling you those encouraging things, you know, please read this post like six times and get yourself going. So that’s encouragement to get there. Let’s talk specifically about filling out applications, which can be as daunting as mustering up the energy to even try at all the written portion of a college application essentially has these three sections one. Tell us your entire life story to why do you want to go to this school and three something about the major specifically question number one is super hard. How are you supposed to tell your entire life story in two hundred to six hundred and fifty words and there’s always that crippling self-doubt of who even wants to hear my life story anyway.

Don’t Be Too Emo

Stop being emo about this is not going to help you get your application done. So you are worth it people are interested. They’re asking the question because they want an answer. So some advice for the whole write your life story and 650 words or less thing is this what really helped me was I wrote shitty first draft at the top and then I just dumped some stuff out and if you don’t have anyone in your immediate proximity that you can talk to about this go to the Internet.

Know Why You Want To Choose That School

The next question, why do you want to go to this school specifically now this will change for every school you’re applying to so you might want to really think strategically for instance read the description of your school be like, well, I really think that fits with me this one’s kind of a bullshit answer so, you know, just try and make it work. There’s like tips and tricks. But you know sincerely and authentically to you strategically try to answer this question in a way that fits in with the school’s Mo shitty first draft and question number three what appeals to you about the major specifically not just the school. Now this answer kind of like your first answer will be your swap answer so you can put it on a lot of different applications.

If you’re applying to the same major at a lot of different schools. So that’s where you really just kind of get to explain what it is about the subject that makes you feel passionate for instance if you’re like, I really want to study anthropology. Do I want to become an anthropologist? No. Learning about people’s in different peoples throughout the history of time sounds fucking fascinating.

Anyway guys, most college applications. I think are due sometime in April, but you can also send in your applications by January which is encouraged. I just want to let you guys know that the only reason I got to go to college was because I was surrounded by people who are lifting me up and supporting me and encouraging me to go. I am deeply and permanently forever indebted to those teachers those guidance counselors and those friends in my life that encouraged me when I didn’t have the tools to encourage myself applying for college can be tough leaving high school can be tough. But this is where you get to start to establish the patterns for your life. Do you want the pattern of believing in yourself and giving yourself a chance last but not least if you don’t get into your first of your choice, don’t worry about it. That might happen that really might happen. But you’ve got to raise my cup practice reckless optimism and accept that if it doesn’t happen, you’re going to be fine. Anyway, what has happened is that you’ve listened to what you want and you’ve acted on it how great is that?

Tips On How To Learn A New Language

Writing Notes

Today, I’m going to be sharing with you seven tips that I’ve used over the past five years to kind of get a basic grasp of the Swedish language. So hopefully if you are thinking of learning a language and you don’t really want to take classes, but you kind of want to keep it casual that these tips will help you guys out.

Get A Notebook

What I really like to do when I learn a new language is to get a notebook and pretty much anything that I write in that notebook has to be related to the language and I’m learning. So for example, when I was learning French in University, I had a notebook where I would write everything that I was learning in French and also key like a diary or a Blog where everything you feel like expressing has to be in that language that you’re learning at first. It will be really hard because Find that there are some things that you want to express but you can’t find the words to express them in that language. And so that’s a really great time for you to kind of like go and Google translate or open your dictionary and learn new vocabulary for the words that you want to express.

Listen To Music

I also really like to listen to music in that language that I’m learning. So right now obviously I listen to a lot of Swedish music and it really helps me to kind of comprehend what they’re singing about and when I first saw a listen in Swedish music, I couldn’t understand like a single word. But over time I kind of learned to grasp the different context of songs, especially because there are a lot of like love songs out there heartbreak songs and you will pick up common word. They use when I really like to do is I like to read the lyrics as I listened to the song any words that I don’t know I’ll translate and if I really like the song and its really resonating with me, I’ll turn it into an artwork. I like write it down. I’ll make a painting out of it. I think being able to write what you’re listening to is a great way to kind of keep all those vocabulary and words and phrases in your mind. And that’s really helps me because he invited for those three did there’s an economic her for Stockton Sabrina leave at the awful events.

Watch TV Series

Next I will suggest that you find a really good TV series in that local language, but I suggest watching movies and watching TV series because it will kind of help you to learn the way that words are pronounced or the intonation of the voices when they speak that language and that is really helpful because it’s easy to kind of just like read the words that you see and think that they are pronounced, but it’s another thing. Into like have that information. For example, I could be like your girl’s good day. Like it makes sense but it lacks that internation. Like they’ll skid a that’s really important too. If you’re learning a new language is to like surround yourself with people who actually speak it and listen to the way that the words are spoken.

So yeah, definitely check out foreign films in language that you’re choosing to learn next is reading I suggest getting maybe children’s book. Books to start off with because it’s going to be hard if you just dump in straight into like an adult novel but children’s books are really great because you’ll learn how to say the basic things basic vocabulary.

Using Translated Books

And as you build your confidence, you can progress to higher levels. I would suggest getting books that you already know in your native tongue. So for example, I don’t know Twilight Hunger Games something that you’ve read before and get the translated version of that.

I also follow a lot of people online who speak the language that I’m learning finding YouTubers who make videos in their native tongue and following them on social media. There’s also specific Twitter accounts in specific languages that you could also follow and you’ll learn a lot from that too. Usually there is like quite a tight knit community of these YouTubers who make videos in the native language. So once you find one YouTuber, it’s really easy to kind of Vine. And their community and start following all the people who make videos and that language. I would also take advantage of free applications.

There are so many apps out there that lets you learn a language for free and I’ve wrote about this before but it’s the app called Duolingo and they have quite a few languages that you can learn on Duolingo and waiting for them to have like a Chinese Mandarin course so that I can start learning Mandarin, but this is a really great. That way if you need extra resources and extra help to kind of guide you along that way and it’s great for grammar practices. It’s great for expanding your vocabulary and it’s kind of like a gamification process to so there’s like levels. I don’t go on at very often anymore. But I just kind of go on there to refreshing up my French skills mostly and to see how my Swedish progression is going. So it’s also a really great way to kind of gauge how far along you are in the process of learning your language.

Find Someone To Talk To

And lastly, I think it’s probably the most important is to find a buddy who you can actually talk to in that language. You’re learning. I think this is definitely being the best way for me to learn Swedish because I have Matthias around and every now and then we’ll have a conversation and Swedish usually like 5 to 10 minutes and he’ll teach me new vocabulary.

He’ll teach me if I’ve said a phrase wrong. It’s really helpful when I’m listening to a Swedish song or I’m watching Swedish television program. I don’t understand what’s going on and he can translate for me.

Obviously three Matthias. I have some of his friends who also helped me on my Swedish language Journey. So I will like type to them in Swedish and they will touch them back and I have no idea what I just typed and it’s a great way to learn new phrases and to kind of get a better understanding because Matthias is very lenient on me. If I say something dramatically wrong, sometimes he’ll let it go but with his friends, they’ll be like, huh? No, you’re supposed to say it this way, I think two years just like to see me make a fool of myself. But yeah, definitely try and find yourself. Someone who you can talk that language you’re learning to it’s really helpful and it gives you great practice to actually put all that passive learning to use.

Anyway, those are my tips and those were the ways that I have managed to learn Swedish over the past five years without really taking any classes or really putting much effort.

Obviously the more you invest in it the more time you spend into it the more you see Jewel time to learn another language the faster you’ll progress let me know if you’re learning a new language and what are some of the things that you’re doing to reach that goal.

Five Cheap But Amazing Business Ideas For College Students

Business Meeting

All right guys take me talking about some business ideas for college students. I have five of them here and they’re all pretty good with low capital to start them up. All you have to do is follow the instructions that I give.

Public Notary

This one is interesting because not many people think about it as a business idea to pursue but it’s actually a great way to make some money for this business idea. You need to get a notary certification granted by the state. This usually costs around $100 or less. Less to get once you become certified. You can charge whatever fee you want to notarize documents for people or you can also become a loan signing agent as well. Basically this means that you will be an impartial witness in official fraud deter attacks.

So when people need important documents to be signed, you’ll be there to be a both a witness and someone who’s going to sign these documents. Usually you can charge around 25 to 40 dollars from one to two notarizations. Just be sure to look up all the information about becoming a public notary in your state. Then you can begin to advertise your services in whatever way you want to this can be done in your local newspapers Craigslist or your areas Facebook Marketplace or buy sell trade page. This is perfect for college student because it doesn’t require too much time to be put in.

Fix Smartphones

For this, all you’ll need is about $40 of start by buying a repair kit. I recommend that you start out by doing just one type of phone. Such as limiting your fixings to just iPhones in doing this you should then buy a nice iPhone repair kit on Amazon or eBay once you’ve invested in getting the tools. You can start to learn how to fix iPhones the best website for learning. This is ifixit.com here. You can select the specific phone that you’re trying to fix and they can read the pre-made guides for exactly how to do it. The link is in the description this website Narrows everything down for you. For example, if you need to fix just the screen then just choose the LCD screen guide in Fallout 2 t or if you just need to replace the battery, then just choose the battery guide and follow that it’s amazing how much info this site has for you. You can charge you whatever rate you want to but I’d recommend that you charge around $50 though since that undercuts most professional businesses and will probably get you a decent volume of customers.

Amazon Affiliate Marketing

This one is a business idea that literally anybody can do it’s perfect for a college student for this. You’ll usually have to create a website. I’d recommend that you go through I page or HostGator and by domain for this I’d recommend you go through Namecheap. Then you begin writing content for your website. You should choose a specific niche for your website though, sir to learn SEO and how to rank your articles in Google.

There are actually many great Courses and videos on how to do this. But I recommend that you start utilizing maz’s beginner guide which the link is in description and that can really help you. Learn the basics of SEO and can put you on a good path for starting your site off. Well from this I’d recommend that you go through websites like blackhat world and begin learning more tips and information about ranking your articles.

eBay Retail Arbitrage

This business idea is one that causes $0 a start-up and can lead to you making some good extra income as a college student for this. You should go to any stores near you and check and see if they have clearance bins or you go to flea markets secondhand stores, and then you should open up your eBay app and scan products with the app and see what they’re selling for. I recommend that you sort by sold items so that you can see what they’re actually sold for on the website then put in your information and final feet calc.

Cam this website allows you to know exactly what your profits will be for selling things on eBay after eBay fees shipping and PayPal fees then try to spend your time only on items with good margins.

This should work out well for you. Once you start selling a lot of products, you can even end consider purchasing an eBay store. This will allow you to list many more items on your store and even lead lower eBay fees.

Vending Machines

There’s another perfect business idea for college students since it’s mainly passive income. Once you get the ball rolling to begin you’re going to want to choose some equipment start your business with obviously vending machines come in a variety of types.

You have your little candy machines that carry pop snack machines and prize machines. And also now there’s a lot of machines that accept cards once you decide which machine you want. You can then find one in buy it the best place for this is usually on Craigslist that avoid paying a high shipping cost then you’re going to want to choose the products to put your machine.

Usually people that do this by in very high bulk. So they can save money on stocking the machines then you’re going to want to find a place to put your machine. This is the most important part and I’ve actually linked to guide below which is walk you through this.

Basically you’re going to want to do some math and figure out the estimated foot traffic in the venue. You’re considering check to see if they have other machines and then consider the commission you’d be given to the people who own the place.

Great Online Courses For Designers

Woman Using A Laptop

Today, we’re going to talk about learning because learning is something that never stops when you’re a designer. When I was getting started with design, I went to design school and I studied a bachelor of design with honors in visual communication design but since finishing University and being out in the real world, there’s still a lot more learning to do the things that I perhaps didn’t learn during my degree or just things I need to supplement my learning on and my favorite way to learn these days is through online courses and this video. I want to tell you about three online courses that I’ve taken and we found a lot of value in and give you some advice for selecting online courses to take yourself.

Enrolling In The Class

My favorite online course I’ve ever taken is the designers pricing class by the new school. I enrolled in this class and quite a panic one day when a big client project came in and I really had no idea how to price it before then. I just been doing fairly small freelance things charging a couple of hundred dollars each, but this was brand-new has line that I knew I should be charging thousands of dollars rather than hundreds and I didn’t know how to justify the pricing and how to figure it out.

They’re really well written well scripted. They’ve got lots of funny bits thrown in as well which made the course really enjoyable to take most importantly though. Of course, they gave really valuable information in it, and I learned how the price my work how to create a proposal and I know for sure. Some of the tips and tricks I learned during this course are what helps me win a few freelancing jobs, and I’m very glad that I took it as great quality and well worth the 297 dollars that it costs. So if you’re new to freelancing and if you’re trying to figure out this whole pricing thing this is the course for you to take next up is a course that I’m doing at the moment and that is Treehouse.

Treehouse

Now Treehouse isn’t online code school is basically how I described it and they’ve got many different tracks that you can take. So rather than purchasing one course you purchase a subscription and then you and I’ve in and take as many of the tracks or courses as you like at the moment. I’m going through the WordPress one because the convertkit website is built on WordPress. And so that’s what I need to learn but there’s many others in there and I learned a lot of code Basics through Treehouse when I was getting started in this coding Journey Treehouse subscriptions are $25 a month, I think and again, it’s well worth it the quality of all of the tutors and the videos and the lessons are really excellent and really worth your money what I like to is that interspersed. In video lessons, there’s little tests or maybe it’s a coding test.

Course Activities

We have to write something and then they’ll check it or maybe it’s a quiz where it’s like multiple choice, but it’s really great for keeping your brain active and making sure that you’re taking in all the information that you’re learning which can sometimes be a problem for me with online courses. So I really appreciate that and if you’re wanting to learn to code then Treehouse is where I would suggest you start. The last one is one of the first online courses that I purchased and that is learn lettering by Sean McCabe. This is an expensive course. I’m not going to lie it cost. And $99 for the master class and I was lucky enough to buy it before the price went up. This is of course as the name suggests for learning littering. I’m going to be honest. This is a very long course and I’ve not even finished it yet because lettering hasn’t been much of a priority for me, but I’ve got access for lifetime. So I know that it’s going to be there for me whenever I want to dive in and take a lesson and I’ve been through quite a bit of it in all of the videos are amazing quality as you would expect from trauma K because everything he does is amazing quality and he’s really good at teaching the basics of lettering. My favorite part of this class though and the most value I’ve gotten out of it is the business side. So we’ve got several levels of this class is like a starter intermediate and in the master class and in the master class that features not only learning lettering but learning the business side of it as well how to sell yourself as a lettering designer and be a freelancer creating lettering for people for clients and it’s that business side that I found to be incredibly useful and it’s helped me throughout all of my freelancing projects and he gives like a proposal template and a contract template that I still use to this day.

Combining Business With Learning And Creativity

And for me, that’s what makes this course really worth it is the business side combined with the learning creativity side. So those are some of my favorite online courses and I will say that personal recommendations go a long way when you’re selecting an online course, I personally like to take something when I can see other people have taken it as well. Maybe there’s some testimonials and they can tell me what value they’ve gotten from it so I can judge for myself what value I’ll get from it as well. If you search for the thing you want to learn and Google you’ll likely come across many different courses, but I would say the number one thing thing to think about when choosing an online course before parting with your money is who is teaching it understand the course creators back story where they came from what they do what the quality of their workers like and the quality of the rest of their content is like so it’ll give you a good judge as to what the course will be like as well.

Basically just make sure that you’re investing in something that has someone behind it who is a professional who knows what they’re doing and can be trusted and you can probably tell this from their social media and the output of their other content and again through testimonials.  

Planning Outdoor Weddings In Malta

Outdoor weddings in Malta have become increasingly popular among Maltese and foreigners alike. In this guide you are going to learn more about wedding trends in Malta, in 2018-2019.

These days, people don’t always choose to get married close to home. It’s becoming very common for people to plan destination weddings. One very popular wedding destination is Malta.  Malta is absolutely beautiful, and it’s a wonderful place to get married. Here are a few things you should know about planning an outdoor wedding in this area.

You Won’t Have To Plan Everything On Yourself

When you’re planning a wedding in Malta, you won’t have to come up with everything on your own. You should be able to find a wedding planner that will help you to put everything together.

Working with a wedding planner in this area can actually be tremendously affordable to you. It will also make things easier if you can’t afford to travel to Malta until your wedding date. Your planner will check things out and make sure that your wedding is going according to plan.

There Are All Kinds Of Weddings Held Here in Malta

There are many islands in Malta, and there are many different kinds of weddings held here. If you want to have a religious wedding, you will be able to do that. If you would prefer a civil ceremony, that is also an option.

Some people like to combine traditional church weddings with outdoor weddings. People say their vows within one of Malta’s many lovely churches, and then move out onto the beach for their reception.

However, it is more than possible for you to hold your entire ceremony outdoors, even if you’re having a religious wedding. You’ll be able to come up with the ideal setting for your special day.

Preparing For The Weather

Obviously, you won’t be able to predict the weather in Malta before your wedding date. You will only be able to make educated guesses based on what the weather has been like in the past.

If you travel to Malta during peak season, it is likely that the weather will be absolutely lovely. Even if there is some rain, it won’t last for long. It’s common to see sunshine for months at a time.

If you go during the off-season, rain and other problems are a lot more likely. You should look at what the weather has been like in Malta on dates in the past. This will give you a better idea of what to expect.

Choosing The Right Location

Malta is home to numerous islands and multiple beaches. However, you’ll have to choose just one location for your upcoming nuptials.

How can you pick the right spot? You might want to look at some pictures of past weddings. If you see beautiful photos from older weddings, you’ll be able to picture what your own wedding would be like if it was in the same location.

Hiring a Car in Malta

Public transport is not the best here in Malta. Hiring a car is highly recommended. Here are some of the car rental companies in Malta

KWL Rental Cars
Joes Rent A Car
Drive a Way Malta
Car Hire Malta Group

Planning outdoor weddings in Malta can be absolutely wonderful. Because this is such a lovely area, it won’t be hard for you to plan a picture-perfect affair. You’ll have a lot of options, and you’ll be able to put together the ceremony of your dreams.

Things To Check For When Choosing A Real Estate Company

Have you saved up enough money for you to be able to do your first ever real estate investment? If you answered yes to that question and you know that you’ve exerted a ton of effort just so you can come up with the sum of money that you currently have then you have to see to it that you spend that cash on something good.

A good way to make sure that you buy the right property is by getting help from a reputable real estate company. They have the right professionals who will be able to assist you in making the right choice for your investment. That way, you won’t end up wasting your money on something that’s old, rotten, and broken down. This is something you don’t want to do especially if you’re thinking of buying your first home.

The first thing you need to check for when you choose a real estate company would be their reputation. You can easily do this by reading reviews about them that their previous customers have written. Those will give you a good idea about the quality of service that they offer. Another thing you need to check for would be the kind of properties that they cover because some companies exclusively cover residential properties and others only cater to people who are looking to buy commercial properties.

Stillaguamish River valley

The Stillaguamish River valley is stunningly beautiful. Groves of fir, cedar and spruce reaching skyward unfurl in ever-increasing numbers as you motor along state highway 530 eastward from the coast in the direction of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The cloud cover is low as we approach the tiny community of Oso, and it produces little halos that encircle Whitehorse and Wheeler Mountains.

Signs along the highway indicate “road work ahead.” Suddenly, those once-abundant trees cease and, turning a corner, there’s nothing but flat brown earth on either side of the two-lane road, stretching for a half mile in either direction and peppered with tree limbs and debris. This is the first weekend this road has been opened since a devastating mudslide tore this community apart two and a half months ago.

At 10:37 a.m. on March 22nd – a Saturday – a hill collapsed, sending an ocean of mud across the Stillaguamish River, engulfing the Steelhead Haven neighborhood. The slide moved at 60 miles an hour and within a minute had covered just under one square mile. Entire trees, uprooted like weeds, snapped as the mud took them with it, sounding like rapid gunfire. Forty-two people died that day. One person remains missing.

Today is the first time Scott North, a veteran editor and journalist at The Herald in nearby Everett has been back in a month. Along with 15 other reporters and photographers from news outlets tasked with chronicling the tragedy and its aftermath, he has come to decompress, to take stock, to talk to peers who covered what will likely be one of the biggest stories of their careers.

As part of its mission, the Ochberg Society hosts gatherings designed to help journalists make sense of the effects of covering tragedies like these — both on themselves and the subjects of their stories. Often, those journalists and photographers return home from telling the hardest story of their careers with a sense of isolation from friends and family who don’t understand what they’ve had to do.

Recounting stories of human suffering is tough. It’s tougher when you must internalize the reporting you’ve done and move on to the next story. It’s the nature of the job. But it’s useful to have an outlet to decompress, and the Ochberg Society knows the benefits of peer-support after chronicling difficult stories.

North says it was cold and wet the day the hill came down: “The temperature was in the low 50s. The mud itself was in the low 30s. It was miserably cold, and when the rain came back it made it even worse.”

There was the very real danger of another slide. There was fear of flooding. Those were the conditions under which journalists covering Oso operated — some for weeks on end.

The Mystic Mountain Bed and Breakfast is a restored 1920s dairy barn that sits just the other side of the Stillaguamish River from the slide area. It’s here, on this bright morning in early June, that 22 journalists, photographers and social workers have gathered for a day of talking and connecting around coverage of the devastation down the road.

Stillaguamish River at Lime Kiln Trail from Troy on Vimeo.

Patricia Murphy, a reporter with NPR affiliate KUOW in Seattle, says it’s a privilege to tell trauma stories, but that the work can take an emotional toll. “Having somebody to decompress with afterward is so instrumental,” she said.

The journalists talked about what challenged them most covering this story, from access on the scene of a massive search-and-rescue and recovery effort, to privacy and management concerns. This meant deciding whether to use pictures of victims taken from their Facebook or Twitter profiles; giving survivors the time and space they needed before interviewing them; explaining the how and why of a natural disaster without jumping to conclusions; and deciding how to move on, when the time came, to other top news stories.

North, who wears two hats as writer and editor, had to help manage the needs of staff and the needs of the readership for updates and information. He knew reporters and photographers at the slide scene were hungry and cold, for example, but he also knew they had to get the story.

With so many facing so much, journalists working the Oso story found themselves struggling with something approaching guilt. It hurt to watch people suffering, to repeatedly bear witness to such deep grief and shock.  At the same time, that pain seemed out of place, particularly when measured against the losses and hardships endured by those directly touched by the disaster.

“I know people went into their cars and cried after their shifts. They cried in the showers. They cried in the newsroom. They had permission to do that but they still had stories to write,” North says.

The newspaper was rotating staff, but no one wanted to stop covering the slide. You could try pulling an obviously drained reporter or photographer off the story, North said, but “They wouldn’t even sit down.”

Diana Hefley, the senior crime and courts reporter at The Herald, was having health problems and was on rest when the mudslide hit.  It was difficult for her not to be out at the scene, being there to help community members process their pain. “These are our neighbors in a general sense. We don’t just parachute in and out. We are here to stay and there is a responsibility to get our neighbors’ stories right,” she said.

Her colleagues at The Herald were struggling with the massive challenges of on-the-ground, as-it-happened coverage of the disaster in a remote corner of Snohomish County. A writer got a phone number wrong; another felt like she overstepped in an interview with a mother who’d lost a baby; blame was being pointed before the dead and missing were even correctly counted.

Chuck Taylor created visual explanations of the geology, the neighborhood, the force of the mudslide. He worked to find answers to the “Why” of the story.

But it was the magnitude of the grief — so many dead — and the community’s response that really challenged and inspired the journalists to keep reporting on the people, the place, and what were referred to as “Oso moments” that could be at once beautiful and horrific.

North says: “We spent a lot of time asking questions without revealing that lump in our throat.”

One question that comes up for a number of people is this: how bad should you feel for feeling bad?

“I think of it like this,” Hefley says, “If for a moment I can shoulder a little bit of their pain, then it’s worth it. But it’s a lot to ask of someone. And ‘someones’ do crumble.”

“I was almost ashamed for feeling bad; for feeling pain or discomfort when someone has lost that much,” says another reporter.

Murphy says that she was up there for several days reporting the story and couldn’t sleep at night — but she told herself that she should be grateful she wasn’t pulling someone out of the cold mud; that she had no right to complain about insomnia.

Posey Gruener, a producer who works with Murphy at the Seattle-based KUOW, says she felt challenged moving from Oso coverage onto other news stories and then back again. “I’m not sure I wanted to be full time on the Oso story, but moving from that to a story on City Hall politics felt like I was trivializing both. Going from depth to depth is much better than going from depth to shallow,” she says.

Likewise, Rikki King, a younger reporter on The Herald staff who was in the thick of things from the outset, went to a friend’s wedding in Spokane after covering the slide for seven days straight. “Moving from something so terrible to something so wonderful was very surreal,” she says.

The places affected most by the slide – Darrington, Arlington, Oso – all have a strong sense of  who they are and how they expect people to conduct themselves in the face of suffering. They expected no less of strangers coming to cover the story.  Most people at the Ochberg Society gathering saw the role the national media played as hampering their ability to serve their communities. One journalist described them as “predatory,” shoving cameras in faces. Another says she witnessed a national news reporter walk up to a group of volunteer rescue workers and ask: “Did you find any bodies today?”

“I know these national guys parachute into these things all the time, but are they just desensitized?” asks one reporter.

The journalists were asked to think about the choices they made covering the story that they are proud of.

Jim Haley, now retired from The Herald, says he thought it was a important that the newspaper profiled every single victim of the mudslide. “I thought it was brilliant and sensitive,” he says.

North says it was also a conscious editorial decision early on at The Herald not to publish a  photograph of a body bag. It was used two months after the slide as part of a special section. The image showed people from the community working together to recover a neighbor. Some of those same people went on to spend a month in the mud engaged in more of the same heart-breaking work.  The image documented how people from the valley took care of each other. For them, it was personal, and the newspaper waited to publish the image until they were ready to talk about that aspect of the story.

Several journalists in attendance said their outlets focused more on the human stories in the aftermath of the tragedy rather than on who or what was to blame. “There’s plenty of time for what went wrong; for accusation,” Hefley says. “These are our neighbors, so it’s time for tribute, not finger-pointing.”

She adds that it was also vital to be right rather than first with the news. North says that at The Herald,  each family who lost a loved one or who had a relative still missing was assigned a reporter so that they weren’t passed from stranger to stranger.

We asked what the assembled reporters would want other journalists covering future disasters to know, based on their experiences covering Oso.

“That you’ve got to take care of yourselves if you do this work,” North says. “Make sure you take breaks; make sure you eat regular meals.”

“I found it helpful to forge a relationship with one other person on staff to talk to,” says Gruener. “Someone who has the empathy and ability to understand. Everyone has to have somebody they can pull aside.”

Herald photographer Genna Martin says it’s important not to forget these are real people you’re reporting on — and this should be uppermost in your mind, even in the language you use in the newsroom.

It’s problematic when photos of tragic events are posted on social media and people in journalism make comments that are insensitive to victims.  “Saying ‘look at these great photos’ just sounds awful,” Martin said. “These are people who have lost family members or their homes. You’re just thinking aesthetically. There are no ‘good’ pictures, because they’re all sad.”

Alexa Vaughn of the Seattle Times says she felt incredibly thankful for the kindness shown by the people in Darrington to the local media there to cover the story. “After community meetings, they’d hug us,” she says. “There was a group of photographers and reporters in the corner of the community center, and the mayor would come over and check on us regularly — to make sure we were okay.”

Eric Stevick, a veteran Herald reporter, says he ended up talking to seven grieving families. He says it was important not to rush the interviews; not to seem like he was in a hurry. “Each of their circumstances was different. They can sense if someone is thinking about their deadline, and so we decided early on we’d be taking a long-range approach.”


Stevick was invited to memorial services for some of the dead; families appreciated him coming — not in his capacity as a reporter, but as a person they knew cared. This led to many other family members wanting to talk to him afterward so he could eulogize their loved ones in print.

A number of journalists said it was important to look for stories that showed how people rose up bigger than the event – searching out those moments of grace and power of the human spirit.

“And there were so many of them in Oso,” says North. “There are so many good people. If you can’t come out of a story like Oso and feel better about your fellow man, you’re dead inside.”

This is a unique piece. To be updated frequently by ochergsociety.org