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Personal Growth 🌱

It’s important to better yourself, stay sharp and be well rounded. Regardless of age we should always strive to keep growing and progressing as people. Sometimes it’s good to take a step back, evaluate your priorities and work on yourself because we all know there’s always room for improvement when it comes to personal growth. Self-improvement is a never ending task because there’s always something to work on and comfort zone to step outside of, but seeing the growth is what makes it so rewarding.

As we grow we learn about ourselves, which is one of the most beneficial outcomes of self-improvement. You may want to try something new, acquire a new skill or just simple step of outside of your comfort zone. Anything you want to do that will help you grow as a person is always doable. Just set a realistic goal for yourself and put the work in. Think about what it is that you would seriously like to do in life OR what it is that you want. We all have many facets to our personalities that are brought out depending on what strikes our interests and what sort of environment we’re in. We have so many options to choose from to help us progress. I would like to share some ideas that would promote personal growth and maybe inspire you do something that’s more along the lines of what you want to do.

Learn a different language

Collectively, I spent about 5 years between middle school and high school learning French, but I also learned a little Ukrainian and German thanks to an app called Duolingo. Duolingo is an interactive iPhone app that is great for learning a new language or brushing up on one you already know. The app teaches you vocabulary, different parts of speech and how put all of the things you learned together to form sentences. You can play memory games, work on your diction by using the audio input for one of the activities and get an update on your progress. The app also allows you to add your new language skill to your Linkedin profile. The languages they offer lessons in are German, Spanish, Esperanto (I didn’t even know that was a language until last year), Swedish, French, Danish, Greek and more. They’re still adding more languages. It’s a cool app to use for learning in a fun and comprehensive way.

Expand Your Palate and Try New Foods

There are so many restaurants and grocery stores that sell an assortment of foods that I’m sure you’ve never tried before so ditch the chicken tenders and fries so that you can try something new.

Here’s a list of some of the restaurants that I’ve tried before:

Lebanese Taverna which has various locations in Maryland. This restaurant offers a Lebanese cuisine with so many options to choose from. When I went there I tried the Shawarma and it was SO good.

Di Pasquale’s Marketplace is located in Baltimore, Maryland is an Italian Marketplace & Restaurant. You can sit down and eat their amazing and humongous lasagna or you shop from their authentic Italian food products.

Iron Age Korean BBQ has various locations in Maryland where they offer all you can eat food with a wide range of meats to choose from so that you can cook them Korean BBQ style on the grill built into the table.

Mi & Yu Noodle Bar which is located in Downtown Baltimore. Mi & Yu offers authentic and creative ramen. It’s considered one of the best in the city.

Mezcal Mexican Restaurant & Bar is one of my favorite places to go to for authentic Mexican food. Their menu is full of options to choose from and they have really good margaritas as well. The last time I went there I got the chipotle pork wings that served with rice and black beans.

Watch a documentary 

Personally, I have learned so much from watching documentaries about pretty much everything. The most recent documentary I watched was Time: The Kalief Browder Story. It’s a six-part docu-series that focuses on the life Kalief Browder who was a young man that was failed by the justice system and wrongfully imprisoned at just 16 years old. I also watched a docu-series called Rotten which delves into the “secrets” of the food industry. There’s another docu-series called Dope that follows the different perspectives of people who play different roles in the drug dealing industry.

Read a book

Reading is another good tip. It could be any type of literature and if you’re already an avid reader step outside of your usual genre. Not too long ago I bought Love and The Bluest Eye, which are both by Toni Morrison along with The Handmaid’s Tale written by Margaret Atwood. Reading is good for brain stimulation, expanding your vocabulary, and improvement on your reading and writing skills. Two of my favorite books that I had to read as part of a required assignment were Sula by Toni Morrison and Native Son by Richard Wright. Reading assignments always seemed like a drag back in college and high school, but I will admit when I actually got into the literature I learned new words, which ultimately improved my writing skills along with my vocabulary because I started picking up on the vocabulary that was used in the text. From reading, you can learn about different writing styles. Over time you will learn to pick up on different authors’ cadence and fluidity, which will help you with developing better writing skills.More importantly, I developed stronger analytical thinking skills because I had to identify themes, hidden meanings and pivotal moments in the books that don’t jump out at you unless you’re in tune with the story. Two other great benefits are the development of stronger analytical and critical thinking skills. You are digesting the plot, getting to know the characters, and identifying the problem along with possible resolutions and conclusions. All in all, reading is a great stress reducer because the literature can whisk you away into deep thought about your characters and what may happen next.

Watch Foreign Films

I particularly enjoy watching foreign films because they’re different from the typical and predictable American films that I’m used to watching on the regular basis. So far my favorites are French,  Korean, and Swedish. Foreign films depict things in a different light than the Western world so there may be some themes and characters depicted in a way that you would’ve never seen or thought of before. Culturally, there’s already a big difference especially in Asian films because their cultures are homogeneous so in their films you would mostly see things through the lens of an Asian person who only ever deals with things relative to their culture with little to no diversity. The homogeneity of Asian culture plays out interestingly in films with themes like death, dishonor and scandal because culturally their depiction and response to those themes are different than an American or French film. Foreign films are easy to come across if you have Hulu or Netflix. Here’s a link to some of my favorites.

Get Out More

I’m sure there are tons of things in life that you want to do, but never actually got around to doing.  There was point in time in my own life, where there were so many things on my to do list that I just felt were so far-fetched or not going to happen, but my level of determination gave me the push to finally accomplish some of those things. Life is short and you don’t want to waste time thinking about the things you could easily be doing or accomplishing. With that being said, tap into your spontaneous, open minded and adventurous sides. Check out some art exhibits, go to an expo, hit up a music festival, go on a hike or a maybe a road trip. Last year, I went to a Black Girl Expo in Lanham, MD where there were all types of black women showcasing their art, music, modeling, clothing and etc. I had never been to something like that before it was eclectic and fun. I would definitely attend another expo.

DIY projects

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DIY projects are so fun. They definitely brings out your creative and crafty side. There’s nothing like knowing you created something of your own by yourself and well maybe with a little guidance from a YouTube video or two. For graduation, I decided I didn’t want a boring, blank cap so I went to the craft store and bought some stuff so that I could stand out among the crowd. I designed my own glittery graduation cap and did a DIY video for it check it out below.

Volunteer 

Giving back is one of the best things to do. Helping out those in need is something you’ll never regret and will leave an everlasting impression on you. Being able to meet people who come from all walks of life with different struggles and life experiences will change your outlook on life. Volunteering may change your life based on the people you come across and the stories you hear. When it comes to helping people you should do it if you know you are genuinely doing it out of the kindness of your heart.

There’s various options to choose from for volunteering. One of the common places to go to are soup kitchens in churches. However, there are a plethora of ways to help people rather than the typical soup kitchen thing. For example, you could volunteer to read to children in low-income schools with programs like the Baltimore Reading Partners. Reading to children is a great volunteer opportunity. You would be working with the youth, helping improve their reading skills and ultimately their literacy. Another option would be to work with a homeless shelter or a program that provides needs for the homeless. Healthcare for the Homeless would be one of the best options. Healthcare for the Homeless has a partnership with advocates, caregivers, and donors. They all work collectively in order to provide healthcare and supportive services to homeless clients. Their volunteer opportunities vary from smaller activities like creating care packages with hygiene products to group activities where multiple volunteers work together on advocacy projects. In addition, you could do something like work with refugees at the International Rescue Committee, which is a global non-profit program that works to resettle or give refugees the resources needed to be thrive. I worked at the IRC as a case management intern during my senior year of college. It was a really great experience to meet and learn about people who come from different backgrounds.

These are also good opportunities for college students to consider for building up their resume and seeking internship opportunities.

I hope these tips for personal growth got your gears turning so that you can consider what it is that you would like to do to learn, grow and become an even better person than you already are.

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