TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Randi Mazzella

Randi Mazzella-profile-picture

Randi Mazzella is a freelance writer and mother of three from New Jersey. She is a Contributing Editor for Raising Teens Magazine and writes monthly for the blog Barista Kids.

Posted Dec. 18, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
transgender teens

Jazz Jennings is a student, an artist, an advocate and a published author—and she is only 14 years old. She was recently named one of Time Magazine’s Most Influential Teens of 2014. The children’s book that Jazz co-authored, I Am Jazz, is a memoir about her life. Jazz was assigned male at birth but by age two, was telling people that she was a girl. She started transitioning from male to female when she was in kindergarten. Jazz has been fortunate that throughout her journey, her parents have been understanding and supportive. Finding out a child or teen is transgender ...

Posted Dec. 16, 2014, 9 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
early decision rejection

As early decision, early action, and rolling admission results come in this month, it is a time of very mixed emotions. Students receiving acceptance letters will of course be happy, not to mention relieved. But for many more students who receive rejection letters, there will be sadness, disappointment, and doubt. Lisa Sohmer, Director of College Counseling at the Garden School, says, “For many teens, this is the first time in their lives they have been judged and rejected publically. It can be a terrible disappointment and they need time to take a breath, cry, or be mad.” How can parents ...

Posted Dec. 13, 2014, 9 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
alex from target can teach teens

On November 2nd, 16-year-old Alex Lee, a typical teenager from Texas, went to work at his cashier job at Target. He turned his cell phone off because the battery was low. When he got off work at 6 pm and checked his phone, his Twitter account had gone from 144 followers to more that 100,000. Within days—thanks to a photo and the trending hashtag, #AlexfromTarget—Alex had more than 500,000 Twitter followers, 2.3 million people following him on Instagram and he has appeared on The Ellen Show. How did this typical teen become so famous so fast? About a week earlier, ...

Posted Nov. 24, 2014, 11:24 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
Is Being a Camp Counselor a Good Summer Job for Your Teen?

Being a summer counselor is a great job – especially for those teens that have wonderful memories of being campers themselves. They get to return to a place they love and share their enthusiasm with children. But some teens can have difficulty making the transition from camper to staff. Susie Lupert, Executive Director of the American Camp Association, NY and NJ, says, “Being a camper is all about having fun. Even though being a counselor is fun, it’s a job, which means there are expectations and responsibilities.” Is a camp counselor job right for your teen? Being a Camp Counselor ...

Posted Nov. 21, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
how to make your college list

With an abundance of college choices, picking which school to attend can be a very difficult decision for teens. Some students will say that they knew immediately when they stepped on a certain campus that it was the school for them. But for other students, the process of finding the right school may be slower and they may get discouraged and think, “Will I ever find a college that is right for me?” The Myth of the Perfect Choice Students may believe they will have an “a-ha” moment when they arrive on the campus that is perfect for them. This ...

Posted Nov. 12, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
undecided college major

A few weeks ago, I went with my 16 year-old daughter on a college visit. When the tour started, the guide asked everyone in the group to say their name, where they were from, and what they planned on studying. Each student was more self-assured than the next with plans for majors, double majors, minors, and concentrations. When they got to my daughter, she said her name, her hometown, and then bravely spoke about her future plans by simply saying, “I have no idea what I want to study.” Is it Okay to Be Undecided? Like my daughter, many high ...

Posted Oct. 30, 2014, 1 p.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
Is early decision right for my teen?

In the next few weeks, high school seniors face a big dilemma. Should they apply to a school early decision or wait and apply regular decisions in a few months? In December 2013, The Daily Northwestern (a campus newspaper at Northwestern University) reported that the University had admitted about 45 percent of the freshman class of 2018 through early decision. This was a big increase from 2010 when only 28 percent of the freshman class was admitted through early decision. Christopher Watson, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, explained at the time, “The more selective you become as an institution — and ...

Posted Oct. 22, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
college fit is important

Choosing which colleges to attend is a big decision. Teens (and their parents) may think that the best approach is to focus their college search on the highest ranked institutions that they think they can get into based on their grades and resume. But this approach can be misguided. “Prestige is not a synonym for fit,” says Christine K. VanDeVelde, coauthor of the book College Admission: From Application to Acceptance, Step by Step. “Parents and students need to get out of the mindset that prestige and selectivity are the most important criteria for choosing a college. Instead the focus should ...

Posted Oct. 13, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
why emma watson is a role model

As a mother of two teenage girls, I cannot remember how many times I have watched the movies Freaky Friday or Parent Trap but my guess would be over two dozen each. My daughters and I just loved these movies, so much so that I still quote the mom (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) every morning and shout, “Make good choices!” as my girls leave for the bus. In both movies, Lindsay Lohan is just incredible and the viewer cannot help but fall in love with her. When Lindsay Lohan started having her many troubles, I felt so sad. We ...

Posted Oct. 2, 2014, 10 a.m. by Randi Mazzella | View Comments
what parents can learn from the brainy bunch

Back in the 90’s, there was a television show called Doogie Howser MD where the title character, Doogie, was a child prodigy. In the show, Doogie attends college at age 10 and is a licensed doctor by age 14. The plot seemed a little farfetched but after all, it was a TV show. While Doogie Howser was just a fictional character, Serennah Harding is not. Serennah earned a college degree in biology at age 17 and at age 22 became the youngest female doctor in the U.S. Even more amazing, Serennah is just one of the seven children in her ...

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