3 Life Lessons I Learned From My Parents

They love to tell you what to do. You hate to admit it, but you also tend to be a lot like them. You probably look exactly like one of them, too. Yes, I am talking about your parents. My family can be dysfunctional and sometimes, I hate them very much. But a lot of times, I love them. When I sit back and really think about what my parents have done for me, I see how much love and sacrifice that have put into my sisters and me. I’m so grateful for everything they’ve done and given to me. They’ve also, knowingly and unknowingly, taught me a lot that has helped me in my life.

1. Good is not good enough.

Say whaat?! Yeah, it’s true. My parents were never satisfied with the work I produced. It never made them happy. It was frustrating. For some odd reason, I have this incurable need to also please them. This sounds really negative, and sometimes it can be unhealthy, but it also really pushed me. They weren’t the kind of parents who gave out participation awards to everyone. They knew that to be a winner, you had to win. My parents pushed me to be better, to strive for more, and know that I could have more. It’s a high expectation to have, and it can contribute to my perfectionism, but it’s never a bad thing to set high standards for yourself.

2. You Have to Make Sacrifices To Have Your Dream

Man, this one took me a long time to realize how many sacrifices my parents made in order for their dreams of me having a good life could come true. My mom took 9 years to finish her bachelors because she had me. And when I refused to sit in the day care for 8 hours a day (evident by the excessive crying for 8 hours), my mom quit her day job and stayed at home for me. Then, when she felt like we were old enough, and knew we needed to make a financial change, she went to pharmacy school, 300 miles away. In that time, she also worked to pay our bills and try to mother us. IT WAS HARD. It was hard on me, my sisters, my dad and my mom. But we made it through, and now she is a successful pharmacist. She’s living her dream, and I’m so proud of her for it.

3. You Must Work Hard For Everything.

My parents were immigrants. They didn’t come here with very much. And now, my mom makes some good money. But this didn’t happen because life just handed it to her. My mom worked extremely hard. Like I said in my last point, she had to make some really big sacrifices. It took her 9 years to get through her bachelors. She studied pretty much day and night to ace her exams. Pharmacy school was intense. She did well because she worked really hard. If you think that you can just be handed a good education, trust me, that’s something you’ll have to work for.

Growing up with Generation Y, I had the expectation of instant gratification. It’s only natural since we literally have the world at our finger tips (I’m referring to that box we call a phone). But I also have learned that the things that I have achieved, I’ve worked hard for. Sometimes, I work way too hard. That’s just me going back to setting such high expectations for myself, but it’s extremely important to know that most of the world isn’t going to be like Kim Kardashian. We’re not going to become famous because we had sex and everyone saw it. I, honestly, hope that never happens to you.

4 Ways To Build Your Network in College

Networking is key to your success in life. It’s all about who you know. College is probably the best place to build your network because you are surrounded with people who are in the same place of life as you, who are also networking (whether they know it or not), who love helping/mentoring college kids, and it’s where you start your career. Success becomes easier when you know people who have similar interests and goals as you because you can help each other get to where you want to go. I know from personal experience, that my network has been a true asset to me and the potential success of my career. Here are 4 ways you can build your network for success while you’re in college.

1. Meet Someone in Your Class

I know. It’s taboo to talk to people you don’t know in your class. But I’m going to challenge you. Actually, I triple dog dare you. Turn to the person next to you, and say, “Hi, I’m [Insert your name here].” And spark a conversation. Trust me. It works! The people in your class probably have a similar major to you because they’re in the same class as you. You probably have similar career goals or know people. This is also a good way to make friends! ANECDOTE TIME!

I met my good friend Sal from in Research Methods class. After one of our classes we decided to grab lunch. There, I learned that he was in the middle of filming a movie he was producing and writing, was a photographer and designed long boards. One day, when I was doing a tabling event with a nonprofit at school he came to hang out with me while we were just sitting around. The woman at the nonprofit said, “Hey, Cynthia. We have our gala coming up and we need a photographer. Do you know anyone?” ISN’T THAT SO WEIRD? THEY NEEDED A PHOTOGRAPHER AND GUESS WHO I KNEW? SAL! Sal ended up doing that gig and several more events with them. Isn’t that cool?

2. Join a Club

Clubs, social organizations, professional organizations, sororities, fraternities, and any type of college group is the best way for you to find people who have similar goals and interests as you. They always provide great leadership opportunities that allow for a lot of growth. Typically, if the group has been around for a long time, they would also have some sort of alumni association. Just being part of the group gives you leverage on your resume. I’m in a sorority and it’s really easy if I reached to my sisters for a job, and at least one person out of the 200+ knows of someone hiring. Depending on how close you are, you could probably get a recommendation from them!

3. Get to know Your Professors

This is probably one of the easiest things to do, considering your professors have office hours you can just walk in and hang out with them. Your professors are great assets to leverage since they are well into their career. Some of them have probably written plenty of books and knows at least one famous person. They also can help you get an A in your class. The better you get to know your professor, the easier it is when you’re applying for a job or graduate school to ask for a recommendation. Some classes are too big you can get lost in the crowd; it’s up to you to get to know your professors better, you will learn a great deal. I have had professors recommend me for scholarships, to receive exemplary student awards and have even donated to some of my fundraising campaigns. In the time you get to know your professor, they get to know you too. It makes writing great recommendations so much easier.

4. Conduct an Informational Interview

This is by far the most valuable way to build your network. If you can take all of what you’ve built from your network or even use the fact that you’re in college, you can conduct an informational interview. What is an informational interview, you ask? It is an interview you conduct with someone in a field that you might have some interest in. This is a great opportunity for you to educate yourself in a new way. Informational Interviews allow you to learn about that person’s career, how they got to where they are, what work is like and anything you want to know about them. It gives you an idea of what your life could be like. The best part of this is people love talking about themselves. Ask a friend who has a parent in the career you’re looking for. Reach out to a company or organization and find someone who may be willing. It sounds scary at first, but trust me it’s well worth it. The worst that can happen is someone saying, “no.”

These have all been successful tactics for me. It’s given me lots of opportunities for growth and leadership opportunities as well as seeing what my future could look like. I’ve met mentors and have made good friends by use these strategies. If any of these sound really scary, this is the perfect time to challenge yourself and get out of your shell. I believe in you!

5 Things I Forgot I Loved About Myself

Lately, I’ve been really critical of myself. Due to a failed relationship over a year ago, I let myself believe that what the guy thought was “wrong” with me were things that I needed to change about myself. In reality, it was just things he didn’t like about me. I made this realization a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know what to do to change that. I thought, “how do I love myself again?” I started with this list. It’s a list of things about myself that I’ve recently been hating, but really should love because that’s the way God made me.

1. My need to be alone.

Right after the breakup, I never wanted to be alone. Mostly, because being alone made me think of him, and that was really difficult. In reality, I can only handle so much social time with people. It’s only natural. I need time for myself and to be able to reflect on the day, etc.

2. How much time I need with the people I love.

Since I like to be alone, I don’t have to feel like I have to spend all my extra time with others. I have boundaries. I needed to remember where they are. It’s okay to say no when people want to hang out. I decide how much is too much.

3. I have plenty of friends.

This was something that really ate at me for awhile. My ex had told me, “You need more friends.” And I accepted that was true. Honestly, I have so many, it’s hard to keep up with them all. I love to love people. I love the people I choose to spend time with. Because I get so busy, I have to be very selective with my time. I choose who I decide is in my inner circle and how many.

4. I love quality time.

Like I said in my last point, I have limited time. Therefore, the time I spend with someone must have value. I want to build something with them. Grow with them. Learn more about them, so I can care about them. If I want to spend more time with someone, it’s not being clingy, it’s loving them. My time is valuable. I’m not saying that it’s more valuable than anyone else’s; it’s just valuable. Who I choose to spend it with matters. It should matter to them.

5. I am loved.

The people that I have surrounded myself with have mutually chosen to be around me. When someone you love tells you suddenly that they no longer want to be with you, it tears a riff in your understanding of relationships with people. It made me question if people actually want to be my friends or if I’m forcing them to be around me. However, I did not force them to be my friends. They have decided to love me out of their free will.

I have been criticizing myself over and over again for a failed relationship. I spent much of my time blaming myself for it not working out. Just because he did not love these things about me, doesn’t mean these are things that are wrong with me. He just didn’t like them. But that’s not my problem.

Who I am is amazing. I love and care about people in a different way that most people do. I pay attention to the people that I surround myself with. I love to love on my friends. I love making them feel loved and appreciated. There are so many things about myself that make me great and I should appreciate those things about myself. There’s nothing wrong with who I am. I am great.

2nd Week of My Semester, and I Have Some Stuff to Tell

Hey Guys, I know I said that I would release a vlog about my trip to the Alliance Management Institute and Denver last week, but vlogging is hard. Some people make it so easy. I couldn’t go through my entire footage without getting motion sickness. I know, my stomach is weak. I have to go through the footage again and stomach through the ridiculousness. Then, edit everything together. It may or may not turn out well.

In the meantime, I just wanted to update you guys with some things going on in my life. First, last week I started my last semester of school! It’s incredible to see how much I’ve grown in the past four years, and all the work I put in coming to this point. This semester, instead of going to classes, I headed to the church office and officially began my internship. I will be spending about 25 hours a week working with the Director of Missions and on international mission trips. I am also taking a couple of online classes to finish up a general science course and my minor in Family and Human Development. I also work 24 hours a week as a Resident Assistant at a homeless shelter and participate pretty actively in my sorority. This semester is really starting on a good foot. I’ve already had an incredible first week, and it’s felt really meaningful. My goal for my internship is to make the work I do so valuable that the entire system would crumble if I left. Then, they’d have to hire me and pay me. MUAHAHAHA!

Personally, I have been working on getting healthy physically. However, I only worked out 3 days last week and did not eat enough. How am I supposed to gain that last 10 pounds if I’m not staying focused? The goal is to work out 5 times a week, Thursday through Monday. My sister coaches me in Olympic Style Weightlifting. It requires a great deal of mental stamina and focus. I truly love it. If you’re in the East Valley of Phoenix, definitely check her out.

OKAY. Deep breath. The big thing that happened this last week was a break up. Yup. I feel like break ups have happened about annually for me. It’s truly disappointing. It’s honestly why I didn’t put the effort into creating the Vlog and missed a couple of days working out.

I had decided to break up with my boyfriend after 7 months of dating. Something was really eating at me and it was a strange urge I felt needed to happen. After I did it, I immediately had second thoughts. Following that, I spent the next 10 days utterly confused seeking advice from people and just lost about my feelings. My (ex) boyfriend had been so kind and understanding and we even talked a lot about how I was feeling. Guys, he’s truly the example of God’s love. Ladies, find a man who is patient, kind and understanding. We did a lot of talking, and it came down to the fact that I’m not ready for a relationship… still. I’ve had poor experiences with relationships in the past and now I’m a little emotionally drained. I can’t put in the effort nor do I want to. My ex is truly my best friend and he’s been really understanding of how I’m feeling. I still love him, but unfortunately, I can’t be his girlfriend. While, I could have stayed in the relationship, I know that it wouldn’t have been fair to either of us to put us through that. And in the end, I can’t figure out “me” if I’m too busy with “we”.

So I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and focus on continuing to figuring out what it really means to find my identity in God. It’s such a church term, and I really need to define what it truly means. If you know, leave me a comment and some verses that have helped you figure it out!

On my ending note, I wanted to end it on a happy note, I am now a brand ambassador for Bangs Shoes! CYNTHIA, WHAT’S THAT? Great question, voice inside my head! It is a shoe company whose sole purpose (ha see what I did there?) is to promote living an adventurous life and more importantly supporting entrepreneurs. Every pair of shoes you buy, 20% of the profits goes to help an entrepreneur. Learn more by clicking here!!

Well, that is everything that’s happened so far. I’m excited for the next semester and year. 50 more weeks to go! (49 until Christmas! Yay, Jesus!)

How I Can Help YOU Achieve Your Goals This Year

Hey Guys, I’m currently in Denver, getting my learning on at the Alliance Management Institute, exploring more about the Nonprofit sector, networking, etc, etc. It’s been a blast so far, and I have been vlogging, so I will share it with you next week!

During one of my intriguing conversations, Alex, a spunky, driven, inspiring fellow student asked me, “So what are your goals this year, Cynthia?” Jokingly she added, “I need a 5-year and 10-year plan.” This threw me off guard because, one, it’s not something most people ask in casual conversation, and, two, because I have been talking about my plans a lot for the year, but no one has really explicitly asked me. I jokingly replied with, “I’m just trying to graduate college this year.” And that was it about my goals.

As our conversations continued, I started talking about my internship and I quickly said, “Yeah, I’m going to Mexico a few times and then Kenya in June for mission trips.” Alex stopped me and said, “Okay, throw that in all casually.” Then I started elaborating and talking more in depth about my plans and goals and steps I was going to take to achieve them. In the end, I realized, I didn’t want to talk about it more because I felt like I had been talking about it too much. When I said that, another student, Lindsay, a quiet,yet insightful person, said, “That’s how you achieve your goals! You tell people so they become more and more likely to happen. I watched it in a Ted Talk.”

That really resonated with me. I have been starting and restarting blogs for the past 4 years, trying to figure out what to write about and why I was writing. One of the big reasons why I started a blog was to talk about my life and hopefully inspire people to do something. And as I grow older, I keep learning about what I want people to do.

So my plan is to share with you my goals, and with your help, I can achieve them. WAIT, WHAT? Yes, you have an important part in getting them done. Not only do I need you to read these posts, but I need your help sharing them, commenting on them, and telling me about your experiences.

What Lindsay said is true; the more people I tell, the more likely it’s going to happen. And here’s how this will help you: Let me be your accountability partner. Sign up for the email list and comment below your goals. Make your goals specific, and achievable. If you want to lose weight, tell me how much weight you want to lose and when you want to lose it by. Keep them flexible, so that they can be changed, and practical so you can actually do them.

Here’s what 2017 looks like for me:

My word/theme for 2017 is BALANCE. The first half of 2016 was me doing a lot of nothing. Realizing that, I spent the last half of 2016 doing a lot of everything. I realized, in order for me to feel really good is finding the medium and getting balance in my life. As a result, I’ve decided to select 3 main focuses this year: Jesus, Friends/Family, and Health.

My faith and trust in God is ever-growing. I’m learning just how much he plays a role in my life and just how much I need him. As my relationship with him grows, I learn more about myself and just feel at ease with what is to come in the future. It’s not that I expect the future to be easy for the rest of my life, but it’s that I know that as long as I trust in him and do his work, God will have my back. It’s honestly one of the most freeing feelings.

Friends and family have always been very important to me, I usually say. But in my actions, I don’t know if that was necessarily true. Because I had spent a good chunk of my adult life engulfed in the boy I was dating, I never put in time and energy in friends and family that I need in my life to support me. As 2016 was a year I spent more time with them, I only hope to grow deeper relationships with my loved ones this next year.

Lastly, my health. To live a long a prosperous life requires taking care of yourself. When you stop doing that, it can be really hard to do anything really. I had gained a good amount of muscle in 2016, and I really liked it. But towards the second half, I got so busy, I stopped working out and eating as much. I’d like to gain the muscle back and feel strong again. It’s very empowering and it seems like more of my friends are working out more too!

So, these are some of my goals based on what I just discussed:

* Read the Bible every day. Result: Reading the entire Bible in 2017. I’m using the Bible app that has a daily plan! Join me in reading it!
* Go to 3 mission trips planned for the year: Mexico in February, Mexico in April, Kenya in June.
* Gain 10 more pounds by the end of January! I’m currently 110, and would like to be 120!
* Work out with a friend or family member at least once a week.
* Go on an adventure with someone I love once a month.
* Blog or Vlog once a week.

I have some more goals, and I think I’ll make a page on my site that goes into detail about what they are. Please help me stay accountable by subscribing to the email list (On the sidebar), commenting below, or emailing me at CynthiaDHuynh@gmail.com. I’d love to hear what you guys are doing and what your plans are for the year. I want to help you achieve your goals, so let me know how I can help!

Happy New Year!!

How I Found “Me”

This year was certainly a year of growth for me. 2016 started off with me hitting rock bottom. Someone who I thought loved me, decided he did not anymore. I tried numbing the pain or finding temporary fixes. It, of course, didn’t work.

A little part of me thought,  maybe God is telling me that I was wrong, and that I might have thought he was perfect, but that was far from the truth. He didn’t love God.

In the beginning of the year, I had decided to put more effort into my relationship with God. This decision was made halfheartedly. I didn’t realize how much I had to give up by doing that, and I was not ready for that.

But God was working extra hard on me. He sent in some of his strongest warriors to keep reminding me that He was there for me, and I was not alone, no matter how much I kept thinking I was.

Then, I decided that I needed to go on a mission. I don’t know why, but I should do it. So I signed up for the one I could afford. This trip was a real leap of faith for me. After having spent a few months fighting really hard against God, I thought, “What the fuck? Let’s do this.” I had no idea what I was going to be doing or even where I was going, but I went on this trip, and God worked his magic.

On this trip, I realized that I had been putting my identity in the men I was dating; I was always someone’s girlfriend. For a long time, I was okay with that, but after getting my heart broken 2 too many times, I thought, “Let’s not do that again.” So 2016 also became my self-discovery year. I really had to learn about myself and who I was.

But then, I started dating someone again. And, man, do old habits die hard. The funny thing was, the whole time God was telling me, “Cynthia, you’re not ready for this.” BUT of course I fought that. This was a battle I’d learn I had to lose in order to really win.

In the midst of having the most stressful semester of my entire life, I had a hard time trying to figure out “me” while also being a “we”. So I made the decision to take a big step back from someone who had been supporting my faith and my journey.

All that was left was me and God. And, guys, that is enough. God is enough and I am enough for him.

I learned that in order for me to feel real safety and security, I need to trust in God. I learned that I don’t need a guy to love me in order to be truly happy because God already loves me. Every thing that I’ve been through, Jesus already went through. God came to the earth in the form of Jesus because he loves us so much that he wanted to experience all of our pain and suffering so that we could be with Him. Only someone who truly loves you would do something like that. Because guys, God is love. And only someone who knows the love of God can truly love you.

So on December 8, when I was given the opportunity, every fiber of my being said, “Get baptized tonight. Tell the world your story.” I got up, and was baptized that night.  It was frightening how compelled I was to declare my faith in my God; I felt like if I didn’t, I would be completely denying Him. For the first time, in a very long time, I cried because I was no longer in pain.