A Personal Letter to Hofstra University from a Soon-To-Be Graduate.

When my alarm went off this morning at 10 am (exactly an hour before my class starts), I decided to take the L for the day and miss my first class. I wanted to get to the gym but I didn’t want to go at night. I rested my eyes a little longer then checked my phone. 10:22 am. Alright, fine. It’s the last full week of classes ever and the second to last class for the course. I’ll go… I fumbled out of bed, got ready and dragged myself to class. I shared my mental struggle of the morning with a few classmates as I logged into the Hofstra computer. I’m in a social media and web design class so I’ve spent about 4 hours last week working on my ficticious company’s website home page. My last task of the assignment was to export it and upload it to a website simulator. 5 clicks and I was done! “Could not complete request because an unexpected end-of-file was encountered.” Lit.

My original vision of the day involved getting stuff done and skipping class. A “thriving” type of day one might say. But I changed my mind to go to class. A “responsible” type of day one might say. As the days pass, I catch myself verbally reminding myself how many days I have until graduation. “17 days,” I said as my professor told me to “start over. It’s not that complex.”

Despite the beginning of my day, I had the most amazing 4 years of my life at Hofstra University. I started as a Psychology major to get prerequisites done for a Physician Assistant Graduate Program. After one semester, Hofstra extracted realization I don’t want to fucking do that. (Side note: Professor BIO 12 and Professor Daniels are the reasons I came to this epiphany.) I spent hours in the library and still getting 60s or worse on exams. I don’t take it as I wasn’t smart enough for it, I simply realized that my brain doesn’t think the same way one does in the medical/biology field. I ran with this lesson and swithed my major to Marketing.  From there, my life fell into place.

Appreciation encompasses my feelings towards Hofstra as my time comes to an end here. What better way to show this than write a letter to Hofstra discuss my unfiltered opinions about the university itself? So, here we go.

 

Dear Hofstra University,

First of all, there really wasn’t anything you could do to get the bars back?  I feel like there was definitely some sort of agreement between you and McHebes.  Whatever, I’m not here much longer anyway.  I wanted to take the time to express my gratitude regarding my experience over the last 4 years as a student of this beautiful university.

I want this to be a mainly positive letter, therefore I’ll start with my complaints. Frankly, we all feel like you’re constantly trying to get money out of us. One time you took $4,000 from me without telling me. You also charged me $100 because you didn’t approve my loan efficiently and it didn’t get processed to you until after the due date. Aside from that, I only went to an advisor twice.  During my freshman year, I wasn’t sure how to do my schedule so I went to her to discuss what to do.  She told me to take a spanish credit because my college credit from high school didn’t fulfil the requirement. Guess what, Hofstra, it did. I wasted a semester in Spanish 3. It seems like a tactic to get as much money out of me as possible. Another complaint has to deal with, and I’m sure you get this a lot, the parking. You’re in the process of assembling a building in the middle of one of the parking lots. You had a parking issue to begin with and this construction is not helping whatsoever. Oh, and one last thing, HofUSA used to be tight; now it’s iight. I understand it’s a business and you were probably going to get more money out of it, but you’re thinking short term. You’re beginning to build a poor reputation which will wind up losing you more money in the long-run. Some friendly advice and my opinion as a consumer.

I would also like to share something else. I received an email about a month ago with the headline saying “We’re offering a new course – you may be interested!” Of course, it’s a social media marketing class. Long story short, I’m diving into the social media marketing/management field upon graduation. It’s not your fault, but I spent the last four years getting a degree and the semester proceeding my departure you’re offering probably the most useful class I could have taken; more useful than any class I had to take as an undergraduate student. I’m just being selfish because I understand it is a new and growing industry, therefore I want to thank you for providing this class to students. It could spark their interest in a growing industry and that’s ultimately the goal of college.

With that being said, let’s get back to the main reason I’m writing. Thank you so much for the experiences I’ve had here. I rerouted my career path and I’ve never been more excited about a job. I’ve made friends with hundreds of people who have made an incredible mark on my life. I joined Danceworks, I moved into their home, I became family with members of the club and I currently am the President of the club. This is one of the most impressive college organizations in the world which has taught me tons of things about myself as a person, professional and leader. I’m insanely honored to have worked for this organization and proud of my sucesses. I’ve also recieved an incredible education. Although sometimes many of them are of no interest to me, your courses are tedious and they establish a work ethic I never had before attending. I’m the most confident I’ve ever been in myself as a result of who I’ve become over the years as a Hofstra University undergraduate student.

I appreciate everything you have provided to mold my mindset and life. The friends, knowledge, empowerment, confidence, determination. I’m completely prepared for whatever life throws my way. Unfortunately and inevitably, it’s time for me to go.

Hofstra, we’re going to be homies for life. I will perpetually look back on these past 4 years with fondness and appreciation. Without you, I would have never learned crucial lessons about myself and the world around me. I will succeed because of this experience and for that, I thank you.

Stay Positive,

Tom Fraher

 

Life is about the experiences we have and the lessons we learn from them. The more we learn, the better we evolve as a person.  Hofstra University has given me the experiences I needed to lead a successful life after graduation. Positivity radiates around campus as everyone is waiting for summer. I, however, radiate positivity as I wait to begin my life.

 


 

Are there any other undergraduate students on the verge of graduating or have already? How do you feel about your undergraduate experiences? I’ve been having this conversation with my peers and the positivity keeps me going!

 


 

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Breaking Up with my Phone

I ran downstairs to put my laundry in the washer machine at around 10 a.m. the other day.  “What are you doing up so early?” one of my housemates said as I half startled her while rushing to the laundry room.  “I’ve been getting up earlier recently.”

If you were to ask any of my friends about my sleeping habits a month ago, they would tell you I go to sleep way too late and wake up past noon everyday.  This wasn’t detrimental to my success because I purposely schedule my classes later in the day.  However, I’ve been reading about numerous success habits and I’ve come to realize my sleeping habits are damaging to mental health.  I decided to take action and make some changes to my lifestyle to improve my focus and mental stamina.

Throughout my life, I’ve learned that little changes yield big results – jumping into a lifestyle change is never going to work.  One slight change I made to my life was breaking up with my phone and not sleeping in the same bed.  Said without the metaphor, I began sleeping with my phone on my table about 10 feet away from my bed.  This did two things: I couldn’t lay on my phone in bed wasting hours scrolling through feeds and I wasn’t always anxious to check my phone for no reason right before falling asleep or if I got up in the middle of the night.

Until now, I have always had struggles falling asleep.  My childhood night terrors led to my mom giving me Melatonin every night to help put me to sleep and keep me asleep throughout the night.  Inevitably, I grew a dependency to and tolerance against Melatonin.  My only memories of going to sleep up until this point in my life involved laying in bed for at least an hour; tossing and turning to get comfortable and shut my brain off.

To focus on how fast this little habit has transformed my life, let’s look into the past 3 months of my life.  On January 23th, I (most likely) went to bed around 4 a.m. and layed there until I fell asleep around 4:30/5 a.m.  I woke up the following day around 12:30/1 p.m.  This was my usual sleep pattern for the first 3 and a half years of college.

On March 23rd, I went to bed around 1 a.m. (with my phone on my table – more than an arms reach away) and fell asleep around 1:30 a.m.  Although I was watching some Mad Men, I fell asleep easier than I did 3 months prior.  I woke up from this particular sleep at 9:30 a.m. (30-minutes before my alarm goes off).  It was my off day from the gym so I decided to read a little before getting up and taking a shower.  Over the past few weeks, this has evolved from a rare night’s sleep to a reoccuring habit.  I naturally get tired around midnight and fall asleep before 2 a.m and I get up before my 10 a.m. alarm everyday.  This gives me time to wake up, read and/or go to the gym, which makes me feel way more energized throughout the day, before I go to class and get work done for my job.  It’s been an incredible little habit that has transformed my lifestyle completely.

This is only one habit of a few that I changed to fix my atrocious sleeping schedule to match one of a (almost) normal human being.  I’ve also forced myself out of bed everyday by 10:30 a.m. with a 10 a.m. daily alarm.  This has trained my mind to turn on around the same time everyday, thus waking me up naturally without the use alarms.  It is the best waking up every morning feeling awake without an obnoxious alarm, rather than waking up and fighting with everything you have to get your head off of your pillow.

Do you have any tips or tricks for better sleep or to change your sleeping habits?  I’d love to hear them.

5 Ways to Overcome Senioritis

I cannot stand my professor as he babbles on about something I have absolutely no interest in. He shouts and uses ridiculous code names for scenarios to exemplify his ideas. I am currently 40 days away from graduating and I actually do not think I can make it that much longer.

Because I’ve already thrown tens of thousands of dollars at my university for my education, there’s no point of dropping out now.  Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 5 ways I’m combating my serious case of senioriti

Write a blog post about it.

I’m extremely limited as to what I can do to keep myself entertained as I sit in class. I’m on my laptop because “phones are distracting” (what’s the difference if I’m not paying attention on my laptop or not paying attention on my phone?) so I have to make it look like I’m taking notes.  Writing a blog post to vent about my third-world problem of being anxious in class is a fantastic way of making it look like I’m taking diligent notes, when in fact, I’m not listening to a single word.

Count how many people in the class you’d sleep with.

Don’t lie to yourself, there are a few people in your class that you would definitely not say no to if the opportunity presented itself.  Classrooms are a great way to make friends but not necessarily the enviornment to get some digits and figure out if someone is d.t.f.. Use your imagination and daydream for a little!

Learn something you actually care about online.

There are plenty of blogs, YouTube videos and articles regarding a vast spectrum of interests on the internet.  Take the time to learn something you actually want to be learning.  For example, I’m a social media manager and digital marketer so I spend a good chunck of my class time reading blog posts about others who do a similar job or watch videos on the latest Instagram algorithm.  Instead of wasting your time paying attention to your teacher talk about something useless, find a venue to learn something that can better your future.

Organize your life.

I once heard the quote, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Yeah, you can get away with going with the flow and getting everything done, but planning has been a huge key to my success.  I use Google Calendar to plan out my weeks down to the minute.  Take the time in class to figure out assignments due, when you have class and during what times you have to be at work.  This has helped relieve some anxiety of getting everything done and has given me a visual of what my week looks like.

Reward yourself for getting through the impossible.

I like to reward myself with the bar.  I’m the social media manager at a bar and grill so my “work” time is going into the restaurant and taking pictures/videos of the food, drinks, and environment.  When my classes feel longer than usual, I plan to go up to CANZ and have a drink as a reward for putting up with my professors all day.

These are only a few ways I keep myself entertained in classes I don’t care about whatsoever.  We all have our own means of coping with boredom so take these as you’d like or leave them.  I’d love to here other ways you pass time in class – help me finish my last 40 days of school!

 

 

 

 

How Coaching and Gymnastics Have Influenced My Mindset

I grew up and still am an athlete.  I’ve played tons of sports; baseball, lacrosse, tennis, track, skiing, volleyball – you name it.  When I was in pre-k, my mom was offered a job as a gymnastics instructor and took it.  At that point, I had already done gymnastics for a year or two, but my mom’s career influenced my elementary-school years to be spent in a gymnastics facility.  Once I was able to stay home alone without my parents, I stopped taking classes on a regular basis; however, my mom continued to coach and my sister became a competitive gymnast.  This may not be a surprise, but eventually I began coaching gymnastics myself.

By this time, I had learned a vast repertoire of skills.  On top of that, I can’t even estimate the number of gymnastics meets I’ve sat through.  I had developed an understanding and an eye for the technique and judging of the skills.  Through past training, countless observations, and learning how to coach skills I was unfamiliar with, I applied what I told my students to do to myself.  In my mind, the more skills I was able to do, the better and more effectively I could teach someone else.

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My Bronze IGC gymnastics team in the beginning of 2017.

This job enabled me to understand anything is possible if you put your mind to it.  Also, I learned that converting knowledge to action results in great rewards.  When I taught myself and executed a new skill based on my understanding of how to teach one, I would be flooded with accomplishment and pride.  Let’s be real, gymnastics is a scary-ass sport; you are literally throwing your body against gravity and doing things you probably shouldn’t . There’s a overwhelming amount of mental strength involved, so when you can overcome various fears, you learn what you are truly capable of.

Our minds are more fluid than we think.  In my opinion, if you want to be excel at gymnastics, you MUST have a stronger mind than body.  The same holds true for obtaining any goal.  In other words, if you break down the steps you must take to obtain a goal, you will have the building blocks on how to reach whatever it is you may desire.  From there, all you have to do is execute.

I think many of us expect everything to be perfect or accomplished instantly; I’m guilty of it too!  It’s up to us to take a step back and understand that great things do take time.  We’re going to accomplish everything we want to as long as we continue to work at it.  Looking back at my experiences so far, everything I haven’t excelled at have been things I didn’t allocate the proper amount of time and planning to be successful at.  If you want to succeed at something, you must put in the effort to define the goal, break it down, and execute.


 

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Danceworks Productions is More Than Just a Club

Starting college is like jumping off of a cliff into dark waters; you see the water but the water is a mystery. Is the water going to be fresh or salty? Is it going to be warm or cold? Is it deep or shallow? For me, I jumped in with my arms out and mind wide open. I hit the water and made a fantastic group of friends. From there, it’s been nothing but a deep, warm, fresh water lake. I’ve learned a lot about myself. However, I couldn’t have done this without becoming involved in Hofstra’s largest club on campus, Danceworks Productions.

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Me posing for a dance recital around the age of 7.

Fortunately, I had a mom who wanted me to do (almost) everything. She made me, my brother, and my sister do dance for at least one year. My brother dropped it after the first year, but I continued to learn how to dance. I dance for around five years (ages 4-9). It’s not that I lost interest in it, I actually was annoyed by another dancer in my hip-hop class and decided to stop. Although that was it for dance lessons for me, I never stopped dancing whenever I was listening to music.

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Dancing at my high school’s Battle of the Classes in 2013.

My first semester of college was the shortest amount of time I ever learned so much about myself. I was thinking about changing my major and figuring out how I’m going to leave my mark at Hofstra. My lab partner was a dance minor and got me to go to the fall 2014 Danceworks show. I had an amazing time in the audience; in fact, I went to both shows. Watching the professionalism of the students and the energy I felt throughout planted the idea that I wanted to be up there someday.

Just before the auditions for the following semester’s show, my lab partner texted me to remind me. We met up and both went to the auditions. This audition was much different than a normal audition; everyone created a welcoming environment and it was an amazing time. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it into a piece that semester.  However, Danceworks does more than just dance – it is also a social and philanthropic club. I went to hang out with the club members at their off-campus house by myself for a social event. Every member welcomed me with open arms. This was the start to how the rest of my college experience was going to pan out.

 

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Hanging out for one of the first times with Danceworks Productions!

I commuted my freshman year and I hated it. I loved everything about Hofstra, except for the fact that I had to drive 20-40 minutes one way each day. This prompted me to apply to be a residence assistant. I got through both rounds of interviews and was awaiting the email regarding the decision made. On February 24, 2015, I woke up for class with a Facebook message from one of the Danceworks members. The message read, “Hey Tom I was wondering if ud be interested in living in the DW house next year?” I explained how I would love to but have to figure out the finances and logistics of living there. She told me to just let her know as soon as I figure it out.

Danceworks has club meeting every Monday at 6:00 PM in the Student Center (room 142 to be exact). I had class until 5:55 PM, and on my way to the meeting, I had received an email informing me that I did not get the RA position. YES! I know – not a typical reaction to not getting something you interviewed and worked hard to get. The RA job would have given me free room and board, which I would have saved a boat-load of money. However, deep down, I really wanted to be living off campus. I entered room 142 and gave the girl who offered me the room in the house the thumbs up; she knew exactly why.

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The night I was inducted into Hofstra University Danceworks Productions’s executive board in 2015.

I continued going out with the club. I began to get to know many members and became an active member of the club. As the semester dwindled to an end, elections for executive board positions came around. At this point, I had decided on changing my major to marketing, so I figured I would run of the Publicity and Promotion chair. Luckily, I got elected which enabled me to become even more involved in the club. I served as the P&P chair for two years (my sophomore and junior years). My involvement in Danceworks has been nothing but positive and I am grateful for the experiences each member contributes to my college experience.  Because of that, I ran for and am now the President of Danceworks Productions at Hofstra University.

I couldn’t tell you where I would be right now if my lab partner was not a member of Danceworks and urged me to come to the shows back in 2014. I would not have the family of friends I do now, have had the opportunity to grow as a dance, and have the honor to part of such an amazing club.

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Me featured in Kevin William’s Danceworks Productions piece in April 2016.

 

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Rainbow Sprinkles

OCD stands for obsessive-compulsive disorder. Honestly, I’m not diagnosed by a doctor, but I do show many signs of it and I feel like the best way to deal with it is to accept it.

Over the years, my OCD has gotten worse.  I’ve always liked things neat and organized.  With a cluttered thought process like mine, just the simple look of pens all facing the same way can ease my mind and make me not feel completely crazy for a second.

Once I started college, I began thinking for myself and being confident.  I continued to work for two years and finally got to where I wanted to be mentally.  Unfortunately, that work went to shit when I dated someone who used my kindness for personal gain.

Imagine you’re stacking quarters – one quarter per day.  For approximately 2 years/730 days/$182.50 in quarters, I stacked and stacked for him to come in and pull the bottom quarter out from day 1.  I spent the next four months gathering my quarters.

For those four months, I stopped doing everything that eased my OCD tendencies.  I kept my things together but I wasn’t itching to constantly make sure everything was in place.  I shut down as a person to build myself back up; I was holding the home button and power button on my life.  My life went black and then the brightness came back.  I realized that I wasn’t acting much on my anxious ticks of organizing my drawer or tearing my closet apart just to put it back in a more organized way.  Having this epiphany helped me get back on track.  I shortly bounced back from the collapse of my quarter tower.

So now imagine having a constant need to make things neat and organized.  I would describe my thoughts as a pile of rainbow sprinkles and I’m constantly sorting them by color.  I’m also going to throw in the fact that I’m blue-green/blue-red color blind.

It’s one of those piles that continues to get bigger.  Every fucking second it multiplies exponentially.  I can’t control it.  I’m always sorting through: am I making him happy enough?  Am I doing everything right?  Am I doing a good enough job as President of Danceworks?  I need to post about my workout today.  I hope I don’t fuck up.  How should I handle a communication issue?  I don’t wanna be overbearing.  Am I’m being too much?  Am I going to ruin something else again?  It’s just a constant domino of thoughts swirling around my head.  All day.  Everyday.

It wasn’t until recently when I felt like someone was beating me down that I realized that, besides my anxious ticks, I have to be around people to ease my mind.  Friends, acquaintances, strangers, whatever it may be.  The connections I make with people I know (or don’t know) make me feel full inside.  I’m glad I decided to run as President even though I was scared that I wasn’t ready for it.  I’m glad I have put myself in stressful situations with people I don’t know because now I know a handful of people that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life.  I’m glad I care about everyone else around me just as much as I care about myself.  The people around me everyday get me through the jumble of rainbow sprinkles constantly being shuffled in my head.

How Beachbody Has Changed My Life Already

“So, Thomas, you remember Ms. Kennedy, right?  Well she lost all this weight and looks amazing and I’m going to be a coach like her.”  “Does she get paid for it?”  “Yeah!  Her friend just quit her full-time job because she started making more doing it than teaching.”  “How do I do that?  Ask her to sign me up too.”

This is a conversation I had with my sister right after she picked me up from the airport one day at the end of March and on April 4, 2017 I became a Beachbody coach.  To be blunt, I did it for the money and social media experience.

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I’m a Marketing major at Hofstra University and I have fell in love with studying this.  I loved the creativity it entailed, as well as the analytics necessary to be successful.  At the time I became a Beachbody coach, I was taking a Digital Marketing class (which includes a heavy amount of social media).  I have never enjoyed a class more; I realized this is the section of Marketing that I want a career in.  When my sister planted the Beachbody seed, I couldn’t wait to apply what I’m learning in class and monetize that knowledge.

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I quickly set up a Facebook Business and Instagram Business page.  I worked hard to brand my pages with logos and cover photos using Canva – I spent my first month as a coach (all of April) creating an image for my coaching pages.  I thought that if my pages looked attractive, people would buy from me and I’d be able to sit back and just watch my bank account grow.  I didn’t take the training from my upline coach too seriously; I was so overwhelmed by the training pages and notifications from them that I just ignored it and went in with the mindset that “I can just sell this and do my own thing.”

I was completely wrong.

All of the members in the Beachbody training page that Christine Kennedy added me into were women.  This is not a problem whatsoever – it was actually amazing to see how motivated these women were (and still are) to help themselves and pass that onto others.  However, I felt that I couldn’t utilize the training I was getting because the target market for those coaches was completely different than mine, and that’s when I took it upon myself to figure it out on my own.

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Towards the end of May, I decided to buy Shakeology.  By this point, I figured out that I need to use the product to sell it.  I gained my first customer (my cousin) the day after I ordered Shakeology for myself.  Wow!  That worked faster than I thought it would.  I started drinking Shakeology everyday on June 1, 2017.  From there, I was able to get my mom and dad onboard as well.  This was awesome!  Now, the commission I received from my customers was paying for my Shakeology order.  Perfect!

WRONG.

Unfortunately, my customer gain plateaued and I’ve been pretty much stuck in the mud since.  For all of June, July, and August, I posted consistently on Instagram and shared those posts on Facebook.  I spent countless hours messaging people on Instagram to convince them to buy Shakeology to get the results I’ve already seen.  When I stopped seeing success as a coach but was still doing all of this work, I realized that I should start again from scratch and take it from there.

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You may be wondering how Beachbody has changed my life besides the stress it put me through.  I basically wasted my whole summer trying to build a brand and gain an income through Beachbody.  Well, technically it wasn’t a waste because I took the time to learn how Facebook and Instagram’s algorithms work, and gained a following on both platforms.  I also started using Shakeology which steered my diet and fitness motivation in the right direction.  I discuss this more in my post Shake(ology) It Off.  What was I doing wrong?  I wasn’t listening to other successful coaches.

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What did I do?  I started listening to male Beachbody coaches on YouTube on my commute to and from work (I love listening to Caleb Thomas talk about how to be a Beachbody coach).  Because I felt like I could relate to these guys more, it put my thought process about my business on a different track and I have never been more motivated about something than ever before.  I was focused on the income and just getting, not focused on helping others and giving.  Because I’ve seen what Shakeology and the community that Beachbody provides, I have been able to focus on my health and fitness and I would love the opportunity to be your coach and do the exact same for you.

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If you’d like to join my challenge group (a Facebook support group of my team members), Get Off Your A$$, feel free to email me at tiptomshape.tbb@gmail.com.  Simply provide your name, age, fitness and/or health goal(s), a link to your Facebook page, and a fun fact about yourself so I can get to know YOU better!


 

For more information on Shakeology, click here.

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