It’s just never worked for me.

I have always been an introvert and a deep-thinker, ever since I was a child. Writing gave me an outlet to express my deepest wonderings and observations about life, as well as a means of self-expression that didn’t require anyone else to be involved.

My parents noticed that I enjoyed keeping a journal, (likely filled with nonsense), and they enrolled me in a creative writing course when I was around seven years old.

I remember my first day at “writing camp,” we were asked to share a piece we had written. …

Maybe it’s time to leave the classroom.

Years ago I attended a professional development training for teachers. The trainer was discussing the different types of people who become teachers. Some, she explained, enter the professional enthusiastically and with passion. Others become teachers later in life, desiring a career change in a helping profession. Many, however, are what she referred to as “reluctant teachers.”

Yup, that would be me.

I started college with a desire to help others, which naturally led me to pursue a degree in psychology. My mom was a teacher though, and so I ended up taking a…

In a world full of catfish, be a guppy.

I recently received an email from LinkedIn with a list of job recommendations. I have worked in education, in various settings, for over fifteen years now, and while I’m not currently seeking employment, I always like to keep abreast of what opportunities are out there. So I clicked on one of the jobs offering remote teaching.

The first thing I noticed was that prior to listing any desired skills or qualifications, the job description read more like a sales pitch. It stated that you could “work from anywhere” and that it offered a “flexible schedule!” All they needed from the…

What to do when the universe puts you in a box.

I have flown through Beijing airport twice in my life. The first time, I was traveling with my sister and we had one of maybe five total fights that we’ve ever had.

The second time, I found myself unceremoniously trapped in a glass box.

I was flying direct from Beijing to Washington DC, heading home after a 1.5 year stint in China. The flight was fourteen hours and I was hell-bent on getting an aisle seat. With not a single ticket agent to be found in the small layover…

How to listen to your inner guidance

Cathy Heller, author, and creator of the podcast “Don’t Keep Your Day Job,” begins each episode by saying, “the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is purpose.”

Ah yes, purpose. The ever-elusive sense of purpose.

I went to the podcast website and took the free “passion finder quiz.”

Apparently, I am an investigator.

While this information is nothing new to me, I have often found with typing quizzes that they try their best to put my skills and talents into a particular box.

The truth is that finding your…

Money is meant to give you more freedom, not less.

I landed my first job out of college teaching middle school Spanish. Woefully underprepared, I went in with nothing but an open-heart and an unlimited supply of energy.

I remember when they told me my salary: $35,000 per year.

They might as well have said I won a million dollars.

On my first day, I drove to school, beyond nervous, in the same forest green, ’95 Honda Civic, that my parents bought me in high school.

I don’t remember much about that first day, other than the thrill of day one as an official adult.

I told a friend that…

And how to not feel like a failure.

I spent a good portion of my life feeling like a failure.

After college, I was horrified to discover that after all of my training, hard work, and preparation for the workforce, I was wholly unfulfilled by it.

By most accounts, I am not a failure. I have a good job, I have traveled the world, I have grown tremendously as a person, and I am in a good place financially — although there’s always room for improvement.

And yet after all of this life and work experience, at age 35 I looked around and still found myself largely unsatisfied…

He only knows his own

Image of the yellow lines at the center of a long, empty road with mountains on either side.

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” -Tony Robbins.

This may be true in his case, but this is not my path and it may not be yours either.

And that is totally okay.

Take coaches with a grain of salt.

According to Forbes, the coaching industry is worth approximately $2 billion and growing rapidly. There are so many “gurus” out there pedaling the keys to success and a life of wealth, freedom, happiness, and abundance.

Please know that many of them are full of it.

This is not to say that the coaching model has no value, it…

Hulu’s Pen15 is a sensory journey down memory lane.

Every Sunday as a child we would go to my grandmother’s house for dinner.

Walking into her house, the specific and comforting smell of her homemade spaghetti and meatballs would be the first to greet us at the door.

Now, on the rare occasion that I encounter this exact smell, I am taken on a brief vacation to my past. It is not a memory, but rather, a sensory experience. I can feel the inexplicably-crunchy, green shag carpet under my bare feet. …

The other day I was working from home as many of us are these days. My desk has a beautiful view of trees and lush grass and shrubs. My view at work is of a brick wall.

At around noon I looked out and saw a deer ambling along just outside my window, slowly munching on some flowers, (yes, annoying because those flowers were put there intentionally, but I’m practicing forgiveness).

I watched her for a while and after she finished snacking, she simply sat down on the ground and took a break. I watched her there for hours, relaxing…

Alexandra Rizzi

International Student Advisor | Mindful writing coach. I empower people to see their potential.

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