TeenLife Blog

Supporting teen success, one post at a time

Author: Bill O'Neill

Bill O'Neill-profile-picture

Bill O’Neill graduated from Harvard College with a degree in economics and he’s been working with words ever since. He’s been a Lifestyle department editor at a daily newspaper and wrote PR and fundraising materials for nonprofits focused on affordable housing and animal welfare. As a freelance writer, he focuses on stories about family life, health and pop culture. Bill lives on Cape Cod, where he enjoys biking, hiking and kayaking.

Posted July 21, 2017, 8 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
 How High School Students Can Dodge Summer Brain Drain

Toss everything you need into a bag for a summer day at the beach or pool: a towel; some sunblock; and a nice, thick book about American history. Wait, what was that last one? Heavy-duty reading material might not make the top of a high school student’s list for a chill-out day under the sun, but it should. Research shows the importance of keeping the brain engaged during a long vacation – and of course, it might help with college admissions. “There’s 30 years of research on the idea of summer learning loss, tracking it over time. It’s been consistently ...

Posted June 13, 2017, 9:50 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
STEM-environment

For Lowell George, every day is Earth Day. She found a way to merge her interest in science with her love for the outdoors – and turned it into a solid job. She’s among the students who discover that participating in a STEM summer program or majoring in science, technology, engineering or math can lead to a career in sustaining and improving the environment. “My dad would take my sister and me hiking from when I was age 3,” said George, who grew up in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., a small village 30 miles north of New York City. “Later I ...

Posted March 27, 2017, 3 p.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
There are careers in the arts like make-up artist where your performing arts degree will allow you to earn money.

Visit the American art meccas: New York, Los Angeles, Cotuit. OK, so Cotuit, a sleepy village on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, isn’t quite up there with the Big Apple and LA, but it is home to a bustling community arts center. It serves as proof that you don’t need to be a Broadway singer or a movie star to make a living with a degree from a visual or performing arts program. “If you can find employment in the field you love, you’ll have no idea where it can take you,” says David Kuehn, executive director of the Cotuit Center ...

Posted Feb. 10, 2017, 8 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
performing-visual-arts

The circus employs lion tamers and trapeze artists – and the people who walk behind the elephants with a broom and a big dustpan. Put another way, show biz isn’t all about glamour. The hard reality is that only a few people have the skill and luck to make a good living as a musician, actor or dancer. The good news is that there are plenty of interesting things to study in performing arts programs that don’t include cleaning up after elephants. A recent look at Playbill.com showed a range of nonperforming job openings in theater: a stage supervisor in ...

Posted Jan. 17, 2017, 2:21 p.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
Gap Year Advisors

If you’re thinking of taking a gap year, you might feel like there are a lot of possible directions – and you’d be right. “There are thousands and thousands of options out there,” says Jason Sarouhan, vice president of The Center for Interim Programs. “Not all of them are created equally, and certainly not all of them are reputable or are going to provide you with a safe experience, let alone an experience that you’re going to find valuable.” So how do you narrow things down? Maybe you need a gap year advisor. Gap year advisors (also called counselors or ...

Posted Jan. 12, 2017, 4:54 p.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
ivy league summer programs

Whether or not a degree from an Ivy League college is in your future, there’s a way to get a taste of life in the Ivies. The eight Ivy League schools are among the oldest, most prestigious and most competitive schools in the country – and most of them have extensive summer programs available to high school students. “The students who come to these programs are students who are really academically engaged,” says Bill Holinger, director of Harvard Summer School’s Secondary School Program. “Like Harvard in general, one of our great strengths is the academics: the courses, the faculty, the ...

Posted Nov. 14, 2016, 9 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
The Pro’s Checklist to Be a Hit in the Music Business

Darryl Purpose’s life in music has taken him around the world, including to a Moscow stadium where he shared a stage with Santana and Bonnie Raitt, but there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way. “It’s really hard to have a career in the arts,” he says. “You have to have talent. You have to persevere. You have to have a little luck.” Purpose, whose latest CD hit No. 1 on The Roots Music Report’s chart for contemporary folk albums, enjoys offering advice to young musicians. The main thing teens interested in music need to remember, he ...

Posted Oct. 28, 2016, 9 a.m. by Bill O'Neill | View Comments
How to Have a Gap Year and Stay Close to Home

Spending months working on a farm in New Zealand or hiking the Appalachian Trail can be the adventure of a lifetime, but it’s possible to find meaningful challenges without getting a passport or even hitting the highway. It could be a matter of finances or a low threshold for exotic places. For some students, a gap year away from school but close to home is a better fit. It could be a gap year volunteer opportunity or a paid internship or a full- or part-time job. There are all kinds of ways to do a gap year. “You might not ...