College Essay Taboos: Can I Curse? Can I Write about Sex, Drugs, or Mental Health?

hello my name is Stacy Brooke and I am the founder and chief advisor at college essay advisors and today I am going to be busting some myths about taboo subjects and elements in your college admissions essays now a lot of people like to define rules about what you can and cannot do in admissions essays you absolutely cannot do this or you always should do that we here at CEA don’t believe in rules at least not in that way you know we believe that there is a lot of personal context involved in decision making a lot of the things that people say you can’t include in an essay or can or should involve personal judgment calls so we believe more in some guidelines that you should probably follow okay so in the spirit of debunking some of these college essay myths we’re gonna attack a couple of taboos one at a time and talk about why you should or shouldn’t include certain things in her essay a taboo number one using curse words so generally speaking we usually advise students to use a pretty conversational tone in their admissions essay but also one that’s polished I think you want to imagine that you’re talking to a teacher with whom you’re really familiar or maybe an extended family member that’s the kind of tone you want to strike so keeping this in mind if it’s not something you want to say to madam French teacher it’s probably not something that you want to put in your admissions essay if it’s not something you would say to Grandma it’s probably not something you want to put in your admissions essay that said there are always exceptions sometimes if you are trying to develop a character if crazy relative or you know if a feisty grandma dropped something on the floor and oh maybe that’s something that would actually be kind of fun and helpful for a reader to understand maybe the use of one curse word will actually replace the paragraphs worth of description in order to sort of give a reader a sense for who someone you’re trying to describe really as and the kinds of things they would say maybe you know for the challenging a belief or idea prompt for the common app if you’re if you’re standing up for for someone who you think maybe was mistreated and and involved you know the use of curse words in some way maybe that actually is something that’s going to be super relevant and important for context and in that case maybe it is worth it to you know to include a curse word most of the time the curse word probably shouldn’t be in the context of the essay coming out of your own mouth but again all of these exceptions to the rule maybe your essay has something to do with the first time you ever let a curse word slip in front of your parents you know it’s on a case-by-case basis and we’re gonna continue to say this over and over in this video you’re gonna evaluate the scenario decide whether or not you think it’s worth you know taking a risk like using a curse word if you’re unsure ask for a second opinion but these are some of the scenarios the ones we’ve just discussed in which you might actually be able to use this as a device when most people say you can’t have ooh number two talking about drugs alcohol violence and sex or decks as we just decided to call it five minutes ago generally speaking discussing your personal experience with any of these four things is probably not a good idea but again there are exceptions and a lot of them just like with curse words are going to be contextual you know it does alcohol come up in the sense of in the context of your family background you know is a family member who’s an alcoholic play a role in your story for example same thing with violence if that’s you know part of where you came from and you find it necessary to include it for for storytelling purposes you know that’s something that that might potentially be appropriate to address mind you none of these things are things that you actually have to include in your essays a lot of the things that we’re discussing right now are a really private and you don’t have to put those things on display but if you do find yourself gravitating towards a story that involves any of these sensitive subjects they are things you can consider as long as you use them sensitively just like with curse words as we talked about earlier um as far as as sex the subject of sex goes most of the time OMG TMI like your admissions officer does not want to know I can’t believe I have to say this but it’s been done before about your the loss of your virginity that is something you do not need to tell them even if it was a purgative experience if you wouldn’t share with your grandmother you shouldn’t share it with your admissions officer but again sex does have its exceptions in terms of where you might actually want to include it and in admissions I say like if some crazy story went down in the sex ed class or if you want to try and approach common app number three again about challenging a believer idea there are something about societal norms as they relate to gender or sexuality that you might want to discuss you know that might be another place where it would actually be appropriate to bring sex into your admissions essay so the third and final taboo we’re gonna address today is whether or not you should address any mental health issues in your US and I just want to start by saying that mental health issues are real they are they’re serious they affect your life and you know they can be very challenging and and defining elements of your existence so just in terms of how you define yourself in general it makes sense that you would gravitate towards wanting to talk about this I think the thing that you really want to consider the most is is this the thing that you want admissions to define you by and maybe it is maybe maybe you have been struggling with an eating disorder or have struggled with an eating disorder in the past and it’s inspired your path to become a nutritionist maybe overcoming this challenge has really helped you grow in a way that will be easy to illustrate for admissions and and show them your strengths and your triumphs generally speaking if you’re going to try and tackle mental illness in your essay you just really want to try and focus on your triumphs not just your struggles and and I think you have to really consider carefully again is this the element of my personality that I want to stand out the most for admissions your you’re a human with diverse interests and a ton to offer to the world and probably a lot of things that are interesting about you is there something else that you might want admissions to see first so in conclusion there are no rules there are just guidelines and a lot of things that have been labeled as taboo may actually be usable and and helpful in the context of your admissions essay a lot of the decisions you’re going to make in terms of whether or not you include things like curse words and stories about mental are gonna have to do with careful consideration of the subject matter at hand is including these things really going to drive your story further can your story exist without them you know again is there how much does including these elements and taking these risks add to the overall product and if you’re unsure asks for a second opinion almost every one of the examples that I gave you today was you know just based in an example from students we dealt with who we’ve advised on a case-by-case basis and every scenario that comes to us from here on in we’re gonna do the same thing just sort of consider all of the elements and whether or not these are risks worth taking so you should take the same approach so your life story is your life story and in the end you’re gonna want to be able to honestly communicate what your experience has been like and sometimes using some of these elements that have been categorized as taboo is going to help you do that so what you’re gonna want to do is just use your best judgment ask for a second opinion when you feel like it’s necessary and it’s usually a good idea to ask for a second opinion about these things and and you’re really just going to be trying to find a balance between being honest and also writing something that feels appropriate for the occasion and ultimately you can and will find the balance that’s right for you thank you so much for sticking with us through all of these tips and Mythbusters about taboos and we are going to come at you with more tips and more myth-busting and more a lot of things probably all related to the college admissions essay which you are interested in because you have to write one of those soon now come back to us subscribe to our channel leave us comments below if you have any questions anything specific about something that you’re trying to write then might be taboo and we’re excited to give you more information and thanks for watching again you

Standard Essay Structure: Why Are Essays Written This Way?

the standard essay format that you’re introduced to in middle school in high school has a three-part structure there’s an introductory section a main body and a conclusion there are conventional rules for what to include and not include in each of these sections and if you want to improve your academic essay writing there’s no doubt that you need to understand these rules but I think anyone who teaches essay writing and anyone who wants to improve their essay writing should acknowledge that not all essays are written this way and that the conventional rules for academic essays can be quite restrictive there’s for lack of a better term an expressive cost to following the rules in this video I want to talk about the rationale for the conventional rules and more specifically how and when the benefits of following them outweigh the costs the most striking feature of the conventional academic essay format is how introductions and conclusions are written the introductory section of an academic essay is supposed to do three things first we use it to introduce the subject of the essay and more specifically the issue with respect to the subject the subject might be say the ethics of sport hunting the issue might be whether hunting with bow and arrow is more or less humane than rifle hunting if the issue is somewhat complex or unfamiliar you may need to spend a bit of time in this introductory section providing enough background and context for the reader to understand in rough outline what the issue is second we state the thesis of the essay the thesis is the position or stance that the essay is going to take on the issue in question and third it’s often recommended that the author say something about how the rest of the essay is going to be organized so the reader has some idea of what to expect and how the argument is going to unfold this becomes increasingly important as essays become longer and more complicated moving on to the main body of the essay the structure of the main body will differ depending on the kind of essay you’re writing here I’ll just review the features of a standard argumentative essay the primary goal of the main body is to present the central argument of the essay there are many ways of doing this but an essential part of any argumentative essay is to consider natural objections to the main argument and then present replies that defend the argument against those objections now in the concluding section of the standard academic essay you’re expected to restate the main thesis review and summarize the key argumentative moves you made in the essay and if you want you can offer some final commentary on the topic these elements of the concluding section become more important and more prominent as essays become longer and more professional if you look at articles written for academic journals you’ll find that these elements are standard so these are the conventional rules for organizing an academic essay they have a predictable effect on anyone who isn’t already interested in the subject matter well I don’t want to generalize but I think we have to admit that the style of essay writing I just described isn’t one we normally associate with engaging literary style it can be dry it can be stiff and it can be predictable I’ve had students ask me in all seriousness whether they have to write like this like there’s something obviously unappealing about these writing conventions I think these questions have a point I think they deserve to be answered so let’s push the question further most non academic essay writing styles will try to invite or entice the reader to continue reading but they won’t disclose the main point of the essay up front they’ll save the punchline as it were until the end for obvious reasons telegraphing your punchline in the setup of your joke would ruin the joke telegraphing the main point of your essay in the introduction makes it difficult to build a narrative with the potential to surprise the reader if every essayist felt pressured to show all their cards in the opening paragraphs of their essay they would rightly find this a burdensome restriction all of this is to say that there’s nothing in the nature of essay writing per se that requires this kind of style but then if it’s standard it in academic writing then there must be some reason for it some benefit that outweighs the costs so let’s talk about what these benefits are the standard conventions of academic writing only makes sense under the assumption that you’re writing for a certain kind of audience whose interests are served by this format all of this makes more sense if you realize that at the highest levels academia is a profession and the primary currency that this profession trades in is peer recognition and approval whether I’m a physicist or a fly suffer or an English literature expert to participate in the profession you need to produce research and in most cases this takes the form of written research articles that are published in professional academic journals or takes the form of longer book length monographs in either case your work is subject to a process of peer review before it can get into the hands of the broader research community or the general public at the first level of the peer-review process your immediate audience is an editor of some kind the job of a journal editor is to facilitate the process of academic gatekeeping and quality control the journal editor receives many submissions more than they can publish they have to quickly assess the relevance of the submission for their audience which is other professional academics in their field if it passes this first stage of assessment then the editor has to identify qualified reviewers within the field who will conduct a more thorough review of the submission their reports are sent back to the editor who then makes a decision about whether the submission should be published accepted for publication conditional on making certain minor changes sent back to the author with a recommendation to revise and resubmit or reject the submission outright that’s your level one audience ultimately what you want is that your academic peers get access to your work through publication in the standard peer reviewed venues your professional peers are your level two audience but they face the same predicament as journal editors in the sense that even if your submission finds its way into a journal that they regularly read no one has the time or energy to read everything so everyone needs a strategy for deciding whether a given article is relevant to your interest and worth the time and energy to read all the way through and if you were in that situation it would be very much in your interest that articles are written in a standard form and in such a way that in the first few paragraphs you can quickly judge whether the article is relevant to your own research and this gets us closer to understanding why the standard academic essay format is what it is it’s a form of writing that makes it easy for a person who has limited time and energy and who has a specific interest in certain topics to identify whether the essay is relevant to those topics everyone in academia from working professionals to editors to graduate students benefits from the standardization that is built into the conventional three part essay format so are there good reasons why the conventions are what they are the answer is yes there are good reasons there are costs in terms of predictability and a certain utilitarian dryness but from the perspective of working academics the benefits clearly outweigh these costs now there’s an obvious question that this analysis raises if the justification for these academic essay writing conventions is that they’re important for professional academic writing why are they so often taught as though they were basic to essay writing in general in writing instruction guides aimed at high school students you often see some version of this three-part structure presented without any context like it was part of a definition of what a proper essay should look like this is nonsense there is no such definition there are plenty of different models for successful essay writing so why is it so often taught as though it was the only model well if you ask high school teachers they’ll probably tell you that it’s a good model to teach students because it’s a model that students are expected to be familiar with when they enter college it’s a model that can get you a good score on the essay writing portion of college admission tests and it’s a model that signals competency in essay writing in other words the ability to write like this is used as a standard for judging competency in writing skills and in their more cynical modes high school teachers will tell you that it’s challenging enough to teach just one model for us a writing when so few students are good at even this one model I think we have to agree that there’s a lot of truth to these observations but let’s at least acknowledge that these reasons have more to do with the practical realities of Education than with good writing per se good writers need to understand the rules of a conventional style and the reasons behind the rules so that they can use them when doing so serves their communicative goals and break them when they don’t in the next video we’ll take a closer look at the concept of writing style and how writing structure emerges out of a deliberate choice of style


hey guys it’s Jani and I told myself that at this point in my life I would be a college youtuber but being a college youtuber requires me to make videos so here I am making a video and hopefully editing it and putting it online so I can be College youtuber so seeing that it’s back-to-school season and bunch of people are like watching all these college last school videos I can’t do a video like for incoming freshmen because I’m an incoming freshman but I can do a video that helps you incoming seniors who are about to write your college applications for the next few months and deal with all this stuff so in case you haven’t watch any of my other college youtube videos I am a rising freshman at Princeton in the fall so that means I’m class of 2023 today I’m gonna be reading my common MSA if you are looking for my specific Princeton essays I did a video a while back reading my princess supplement and like the shorter essays as well as like explaining my stats and stuff so I guess like I ever put that in the card or put it in the description box if you want to watch those as well but today I’m reading my comment up essay which is like my personal statement which I submitted to like all the schools that I applied to the prom that I chose was some students have a background identity interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it if this sounds like you and please share your story so I can explain with my whole like college application process and like the story of how this truly took me so long to get to like I had written so many essays over the summer and even then like none of those essays ended up being this final one and I didn’t have it until like late September I want to say so yeah but basically like a summary of my coming up essay is that I’m like 7 years old and I’m writing about going to the library with my mom and reading books so that’s why my team is about and so I’m gonna read it quick disclaimer I’m obviously not putting this on the internet so you can plagiarize it so don’t do that this is just for inspiration or if you want to see like my writing style and what the eventual process was like this took a month to write so this is by no means you know the first draft and you it won’t be like like your essay won’t be this good the first time you write it obviously oh just me saying my essay is good I’m sorry but if you want to see like the type of essay that the schools that I got into looked for when they looked at me I guess that makes sense I watched a lot of these videos when I was applying to college I don’t really know why because none of my essays were like the same as anyone elses that I watch the videos of it’s just interesting to see the type of people that schools accept at least the ones that put their lives on YouTube so my feet slam against the wide limestone steps as I skip up to reach the glass doors the tower over my miniature frame prying the entrance open I heave placing my entire body in front of the door as my mother logs an orange plastic bag of the stairs our weekly routine I sneak a glance inside meeting a myriad of gazes from the spines of books that line the boundless first floor my breath begins to recover the symphony of keyboard taps delicate tiptoes and the occasional shush echoes in my mind escaping from the dog barks and my brother’s Guitar Hero marathons I find comfort in the buildings buzzing silence my heartbeat settles as I peer further in he’s in branch lobby I’m suddenly interrupted by the creak of the door against my back mother squeezed in quickly making her way towards the right wing return drop-off shifting to the left I greet the steep spiral staircase into the basement the children’s room I make a beeline towards the brightly colored book slides my fingertips only grazing them for a second before the librarian places her hand on my shoulder how about these two gestures in the direction of the children’s bins next to her desk but I continue my mission boggling at the young adult books and avoiding the picture books riddled with zoo animals and various ways to teach the alphabet I longed to attend Wizarding school and solve perplexing mysteries to experience heartbreak and loose friendships to fly into a few decades and jump back a century as I peruse the shelves the books that I deem worthy sit in my hands in hopes of satisfying these desires playing with the task of containing the toppling pile my arms begin to ache and halt my progress I halt my choices to the kidney bean-shaped table and hoist myself up onto the chair next to it swinging my small legs back and forth I stare at the strips of color on every shelf just to meet my mother’s eyes as she walks in let’s check these out her voice rings as she cuts my pile in half shutting behind her I sneak in up to her nose towards the children’s band before exiting catching up I pull my golden Queens library card out of my pocket placing its barcode under the thin red scanner while confirming my choices leaving my mother to shovel the pile into a fresh orange plastic bag I swiped the top book for myself and jump onto an empty chair opening the book atop the table today’s journey transports maid to an opulent estate on this side of the road engulfed in flames as I watch alongside dozens of other onlookers the wooden bookshelves around me take their original forms lining the woods surrounding the scene my chair now sits inside a stalled car which houses myself and two other characters across from me my mother quietly does her work soon morphing into a shadowy figure fleeing from the blazing building I take cautious steps towards its path discovering a diary despite the present dangers my seven-year-old heart pounds at the thought of being seen or getting caught in the fire as a detective however I fearlessly swept the diary and scurry back to my vehicle flipping through its pages I unsuccessfully attempt to decipher Swedish what do these doodles mean is the owner caught in the fire who — — the diary clatters onto my car floor accompanied by God’s bellowing voice from the clouds the crackling fire ceases replaced by footsteps and the granny library loudspeaker five minutes to closing I glanced on my mother who was already standing up my eyes pleading for more time met with an apologetic glance I sing into her arms and close the novel yearning for my next transcendence from the bounds of blank blank like blank blank is like where I’m from so I censored it so you would like don’t know where I live but it’s like a neighborhood in New York so I didn’t want to have you stalked me yeah so that was my calming up essay I’m pretty sure I went through literally everything else in my other videos but if you have any questions about my essay or anything else you can watch my videos or comment down anything I’m free to help because I want to be called youtuber so that’s what I’m doing yeah so this style and this like narrative is what worked for me which might not necessarily work for you you know like take this video with a grain of salt if that makes sense like for me reading and like my love for books is just a very big part of my life and I think like me growing up in the library and me reading was just like very formative of like Who I am and all that and I guess my extracurriculars and my other stuff in my application didn’t really reflect like my love for books because that’s kind of you know like you don’t put in your common tab like I read so I wanted to write about that in my comment ups I felt like nothing else in the application could have spoken about that whereas like my other parts of my life like my theatre and like law and stuff I could have written in a different supplement or just like mentioned my extracurriculars where’s like this was something that was like less tangible so that’s why I made my personal essay about that so I hope you liked this video if you didn’t watch my prints and essay I mentioned how I also submitted an arts supplement to Princeton and I think to Harvard as I don’t remember if I submitted it to anywhere else but I sang like to musical theater songs and it had to write another essay about like the arts and theater so if you would like me to read that essay and also post that video just let me know or feel any other questions let me know and what other videos you would like to see we’re in college and college applications and if you would like to see me making videos about you know college move-in and all that stuff I move in in 90 days which is crazy and I’m still packed and I’m just rambling at this point so if that’s type of content you’d like to see let me know press the subscribe button oh yeah I’m really got interest but hope you like see you bye

How to Proofread Tutorial: 10 Proofreading Techniques They Didn’t Teach You in School

so what’s the big deal about proofreading good riding is about a lot more than good grammar just like basketball is about more than good dribbling so why this obsession over typos misspellings and grammar slips two reasons first judgment someone who doesn’t know a dangling participle from a dangling dinner guests can spot a typo that typo can then be used to negatively judge you your writing even your intelligence don’t believe me here’s an article from the Harvard Business Review entitled I won’t hire people who use poor grammar author Kyle wings as CEO of iFixit this CEO writes people who mix up their it’s and its deserve to be passed over for a job even if they are otherwise qualified for the position I have a zero tolerance approach to grammar mistakes and make people look stupid although there’s no known relationship between intelligence and apostrophes that fact obviously does not prevent others or their employers or teachers from judging you based on easy to spot surface errors now the second reason might surprise you it’s impossible to us to need to correct that typo impossible to accurately proofread your own writing this fact makes it likely you’ll leave some type of error unless you take active measures why can’t you proofread your own work accurately you see when writing your mind creates a mental image of meaning that you then attempt to transfer to the page the catch is while your mental image may be perfect what ends up on the page may not be when someone else reads your writing the process happens in Reverse the reader looks first at the words on the page and then tries to construct a mental image of meaning what a difference you the writer have lying on top of the page like a piece of waxed paper your perfect mental image which can prevent you from seeing clearly what’s there the reader on the other hand sees the cold reality of the page black squiggles on a white background without any filter that’s why the first proofreading tip is to ice it put the riding away until your mental image has faded and no longer obscures the reality what’s on the page but the problem with Ison is time it can take days or even weeks for that mental image to fade enough few people least of all students have that time so we need tools we can apply immediately one of the best is text-to-speech these software programs let you hear what you wrote in someone else’s voice in other words you get to process your writing as a listener not its creator there are literally hundreds of free text-to-speech programs out there that do the job our favorite is natural reader calm it’s free web-based that makes Nothing download and offers drag-and-drop simplicity for your documents natural reader can read ten types of documents has 18 English voices and speed control and it’s free version many other text-to-speech programs can be found at review sites like and elearning com but the bottom line is listening to someone else read your document helps you know what is and isn’t on the page another exciting technology for writers is the new AI base spelling style and grammar checkers wait a minute you say Microsoft Word has offered its built-in Auto checker since 1995 and you’re right words checker uses simple algorithms based on matching today’s advanced spelling and style checkers use artificial intelligence to understand the context of what is written to make predictions and give insights about your writing there’s no comparison between the simple spell checkers of old and today’s advanced systems now currently there are two of these products grammarly and ginger let’s look at grammarly the most widely used in the most heavily marketed grammarly is integrated into more platforms than any other product by default it’s all on always checking without you having to do anything gram relief stated goal is to quote check everything you write on a computer and it pretty much does grammarly not only checks word processed documents it’s also at work in every email client you have whether Gmail or outlook and also checks your blackboard discussion board post and automatically checks Facebook post Instagram snapchat Google Docs Twitter YouTube and many other social media platforms now and in the future because of its integration with github the leading software development platform speaking of software development grammerly even checks code grammarly has free browser extensions for Chrome Firefox Safari and edge but grammerly also teaches for example rather than merely accepting a correction the user can choose to open grammar Lee’s card about the error these cards contain a full explanation of the era with incorrect examples being corrected in other words grammar Lee can function as your individualized grammar and style handbook and that is a great feature for students the drawback is price the premium versions of both our monthly 30 bucks quarterly 20 bucks annually 1166 per month which might be worth it while you’re in school what about the other spelling and grammar checkers out there paper rater Reverso noun + after the deadline Scribbins grammar check virtual writing tutor bib me spell check plus and probably others all required that you first go to their website and then transfer your document to the space provided all of the results appear at the same time and can be confusing to navigate in a long document but most importantly each change must be made manually in the original document unlike grammar length which is a simple click away to correct your error now this next tip is as down-to-earth as a pair of eyeballs those fancy algorithms and grammar Lee and ginger they’re simply attempt to replace the human mind so this tip is partner up get a second pair of eyeballs let’s talk about your partner pacifically how to choose one and use one now of course it’d be great if this person had some training and really that’s not required simply have your partner read your work out loud preferably using a hard copy the partner should simply note anything typo suspected misspelling unclear confusing wording anything that gets in the way of their reading and understanding of what you wrote it’s that simple of course you’ll want to return the favor by proving your partner’s work doing so is not only good manners it’ll train you to be a better writer as you learn to look at writing more objectively now this next set of tips all have to do with making physical changes to the text in order to distort and disrupt that mental image that prevents you from seeing the reality of what you wrote first within the proofreading stage print out your work as hardcopy why hundreds of studies since the 1990s have compared reading from a screen versus reading hardcopy print the conclusions are on average reading from the screen is harder about 27% harder and uses more mental resources making you tire more quickly second reading from a screen is less efficient we see in comprehend less and finally reading from the screen is less enjoyable which can lead to avoidance simply put the evidence is proof reading a hard copy of a text is easier and more accurate than on the screen so once you have that hard copy printed out here are two more tips on what to do with them first highlight one line at a time with a reading ruler or a folded piece of paper or a real ruler this technique forces you to see what’s on the page rather than what’s in your mind the second thing you can do on the hardcopy is to circle all the punctuation and read these circles not only force to check correct punctuation circling the punctuation is another way of breaking up the text defeating your mental image and giving you a better chance of seeing what’s actually there but what if printing out the document isn’t an option if proofing on the screen is your only option there are three techniques you can use to give yourself an edge without having to use one first you can increase the size of the text on the screen if your document is using 12 point type enlarge it to 24 the enlarged letters will cause your mind to make a new mental map of the document the same goes for changing the font when you change the font you’ll produce new glyphs each letter is called a glyph and is treated by your mind as an image so having to interpret new and large glyphs further erodes the original mental image giving you a better chance of spotting typos misspellings and other unintentional mistakes third you can change the column layout of the document in Word click on layout then columns choose to divide up your document into two or three columns make sure your text is left-aligned only don’t use full left/right justification the last tips are when proofing it’s important to read your work slowly and out loud because doing so helps defeat mental prediction and mental mapping as you focus on each individual word as a matter of fact train proof readers do even more train proof readers read and syllables not words so instead of saying the word proofing a train proof reader would say proof aim instead of syllable a train proof reader would say outloud sill la bull to make sure all the ELLs are there because proofreading comes last in the writing process at the deadline when it’s time to turn it in we tend to give our documents a final quick read maybe a spell check as you’ve seen in this presentation accurate proofreading requires patience and a clear process you’re writing deserves both your riding is always a direct reflection of you don’t be afraid to make it the best you can be you