Actual Useful Advice From a 20-Something Year Old

I’m really sick of those cliché articles crafted for 20-something year olds that that one friend will send you that’s called:“It’s Okay to Be Lost at 24!” or “That Guy You’re Seeing Isn’t Really That Into You and That’s Okay!” and your friend will write to you “Omg read this, it’s so true!”

In absolute spite of those blogs, I wrote my own list of advice that I find way more valuable than any of the “Live, Laugh, Love” bullsh*t you’ll find on the world-wide web.

#01: Live. Laugh. Love.

Just kidding.

Come on now. As if we all haven’t seen this enough in sparkly letters hanging in female dorm rooms.


#02: Don’t Keep up With the Kardashians

Every time someone “keeps up” with the Kardashians, a book dies. I’m pretty certain that family is just a bunch of good-looking robots that all of our grade 6 English teachers created to subconsciously remind us to stay in school and not make sex tapes.


#03: Know Who Your Friends Are

Those girls that write on your Facebook wall: “Can we pleeeeeeeeease do something soon?! I haven’t seen you in forever!!” are probably not your friends.

#04: Don’t Shop at Brandy Melville

Why shop there when you can rob a homeless person for free!

Their clothes are garbage and you know it.


#05: Stop Saying “On Fleek”

Your eyebrows are not “on fleek,” they are on your face. That is all.

Screen Shot 2015-09-02 at 11.06.18 AM

#06: Live in the Now

But only because soon you’ll wake up and find yourself in a Canadian Tire wearing Crocs worrying about which stick man family to buy for your Dodge Caravan.


#07: If you wake up after a car accident with tragic amnesia and Channing Tatum is your husband, don’t question it.

(Yes, I recently watched “The Vow” on TV.)


#08: Always Be Yourself, UNLESS you’re a:

  • Pedophile
  • Terrorist
  • Murderer
  • Bob Saget
  • Someone who pronounces Monday as “Mondi”
  • All-round terrible person

#09: Never Trust Girls With Bangs

They’re always hiding something. (Their foreheads! Hehehehe)

#10: Never Text and Drive

You don’t want your last words on this Earth to be a text to your friend Kim that says “Lol kk”

#11: Respect Yourself

Nothing brings all the boys to the yard faster than some good old-fashioned self-respect.

And milkshakes.

Mostly milkshakes.

#12: Never Trust Anyone that Skis in Jeans

Probably not all that relevant to your life, but seriously, these people are the worst. They knew there’d be snow but here they are in jeans!


#13: Stay Weird

Seriously. Stop trying to be cool, and just be.

Disclaimer: in the process of remaining weird, still don’t ski in jeans.

Also, this still doesn’t mean you should disobey Advice #04 and buy this hat from Brandy Melville…


#14: Accept Your Mom’s Friend Request on Facebook

Ha! Just kidding. You must never ever do this.


#15: Don’t Let Lists You Find Online Tell You How To Live Your Life

Plot twist!


Seriously though, who am I to give you advice? I’m just some 20-something year old writing this in her underwear while eating Nutella.


Friend or Phone?

 Are all my Friends Secretly Just Cell Phones?

I recently made a startling discovery that I must share with whoever out there still reads written work longer than 140 characters. You people are heroes. Heroes that fall somewhere on The Hero Spectrum with Caitlyn Jenner and all firefighters… we shall let the educated keyboard warriors of the internet decide where exactly on said spectrum you land.

Recently my mom pointed out something that I had been wondering for a while. This startled me because I will never see eye to eye with my mom. Because, first of all, she’s taller than me, (hehehehe) and she also takes fanny packs seriously, like very seriously. Like, “Shannon, just wear one of my fanny packs to school, then you won’t have to worry about losing your keys!” level of serious, and yes, unfortunately she has more than one fanny pack.


fanny packs

This conversation with my mom happens just about every day. We’ll be in the kitchen and she’ll ask me about my day and if anything interesting happened, to which I’ll reply “nope” while simultaneously texting 8 of my closest friends various: OMG”s and LOL”s and That’s insane, how could he do such a thing?!?! with no expression at all across my face.

The most recent time my mother and I were in this situation, she said to me: I don’t get it, what do you even have to say to each other on that thing? [that thing being my phone] Do you ever wonder if you’re just friends with a bunch of cellphones? To this I probably just laughed and walked away to be alone in my room with my phone full of friends.

And that’s when it hit me. My mom was right. Something I thought I’d never say since the whole “fanny packs are cool” debacle started circa 1998.

How many of my friends are just…Androids and iPhones? Are we slowly morphing into our cell phones? And more importantly, does this mean that fanny packs really are cool after all???

Lately, after I hang out with someone and we both get back into our separate cars, I’ll look to see what they do when they get into their car. 9 times out of 10, they take out their phone and quickly type out a short 1000 word novel about our interaction and how nice my hair looked, I presume. This person is usually that friend that will have little to say to you during a car ride, drop you off and then linger in your driveway before backing away and will sit there with their car running, sending 40 paragraph-style texts to 5 different friends.

That friend is a phone.

So, naturally, I did a little more research to get to the bottom of this and here are 7 sins, ahem, I mean signs that will show you whether:

A) You prefer your phone to your friends, and/or

B) You are morphing into your cell phone.

Sign #01: Your Phone Looks Like You

Now, we’ve all seen those people that look just like their pets. Well, take a look at your phone and tell me that it’s not a spitting image of you. And no, I don’t mean when the front camera is turned on and facing you…


Sometimes me and my iPhone have matching mustard stains on us. Is this a coincidence? I think not. Maybe the reason my phone is messy and likes mustard just as much as I do, is because we are slowly morphing into the same being. 

Sign #02: Your Right Hand is a Phone

I haven’t seen the birth of a baby recently, or ever for that matter, so can anyone confirm if babies come equipped with a phone in their hand and an expensive 3-year phone contract these days when born?? I assume so. If you put down your phone consciously, and then all of a sudden find that you’re scrolling through your Instagram newsfeed, well, your phone might now be attached to your hand and you are probably morphing into your phone, and you should probably see a doctor. Which you won’t do, because your doctor’s office doesn’t have Wifi.

Sign #03: No One LOLs at Your Jokes In Real Life

Ever have that Earth shattering moment where you text your friend something funny from across the room and they send back a: “LMAO” but they don’t even crack the slightest bit of a smile? Yeah, me neither… But seriously, this might lead you to prefer phones than humans because texting a joke to a phone, rather than saying it to a human friend, will probably guarantee you an apparent Laugh Out Loud response.


Sign #04: When Your Phone Dies, A Part of You Dies

When your phone gets down to 5% battery life, and you turn off your data, do you ever find yourself with no hope left and suddenly your in robes from the Victorian era and you’re somehow churning butter?? This is a sure fit sign that you are morphing into a cell phone, since without it, you have no idea how to live in modern day society.

It also means that your family will always have a plethora of good hearty butter.


Sign #05: Your Snapchat Story is Longer than Kim Kardashian’s First Marriage

We’ve all seen these never ending Snapchat stories that we complain about, then proceed to click through till the end. Ironically, most of the time, these snaps are strategically planned, detail-oriented pictures you take of yourself when you’re bored (about 80 times over to get the perfect shot) with the sole goal of looking like you’re effortlessly cool and do exciting things. I’m someone who knows this first hand because I have a pool, which if you didn’t know, is code for: perfect summer Snapchat opportunities! 

No offence to my human and phone friends alike, but none of you have ever come over for a swim without Snapchatting the perfect picture of your legs tanning beside my pool…

snap legssnap 4

If you tanned by a pool and didn’t Snapchat it… did it even really happen at all?

If you are one of these people who can’t experience something without snapping it for other phone friends to see, then you probably enjoy spending time with your phone than those around you.

#06: If U Skipped the Rest of this & Only Read this 1 B/C it’s the Shortest, Ur Prob a Phone Because Only Phones Like 140 Characters or Less

Screen Shot 2015-08-27 at 2.49.07 PM


#7. Followers and Likes are Genuinely Important to You

We all know social media is a huge part of our lives today… so much so that writing that makes me yawn, and now that makes you yawn too. The way I see it, is that other generations overcame wars, famine, etc, while MY generation mastered the selfie and not to mention, also bravely discovered that in life, you only live ONE time (YOLO)… No idea how the world lived without knowing this. They probably walked around thinking they had many more lives to live than one. LOL @ them. But on a serious note, when did having a boat load of “followers” turn from “Call 9-11” to “OMG you’re famous!” It’s a weird world out there, one that supports that it’s totally okay to post an edited picture of your face with an irrelevant song lyric that we all know is only there to strategically distract viewers from realizing how absurdly ego centric that truly is!


Woah! How did that get there??!!

But anyway, if you catch yourself truly caring about the number of people that, probably half the time accidentally, double-click on a meaningless picture of you, you’re probably morphing into a phone AND you probably prefer phones to friends.funny cause it's true

Also, if you start yelling “LIKE” at innocent people in the street who are wearing cute outfits and white converse shoes, then you are probably addicted to social media and ergo are probably morphing into your cell phone. 

Mom, if you figured out how to use “The Google” and are reading this, fanny packs are still not cool. You were only right about the one thing, okay?

Okay, I rest my case. 

All in all, I hope we can stop ourselves from becoming our phones, but it may be too… sorry, hold that thought… I GTG. So many texts I didn’t respond to while writing this.

WHY SENECA’S CREATIVE ADVERTISING PROGRAM IS SECRETLY HOGWARTS and we are subconsciously being trained to be wizards and witches

creative ad

One of the first things I learned in Seneca’s Creative Advertising program is that advertising is a lot like magic. I also learned that if you gather enough beautiful weirdos into one building, brilliant things will happen, but that’s beside the point.

Cultural critic Raymond Williams (look Ma’! I just used my English major knowledge for something useful in the real world!) once wrote that advertising is “a highly organized and professional system of magical inducements and satisfactions, functionally very similar to magical systems in simpler societies.” (No I am Not Going to Cite This Properly, 2015). Yes, Mr. Williams could have simply said: “Advertising is magic,” but he was a fancy literary show-off… (may he rest in peace) who was certainly correct and I don’t think I have to convince you that what we are learning to do is magic.

This leads me to something very important I would like to share with all of you. I would like to open your eyes to something that I’ve suspected for a long time, and that is that:

CAB is Hogwarts and we are subconsciously being trained to be wizards and witches.

I will now proceed to bust down the door to this suspected chamber of secrets and list off the uncanny similarities between Hogwarts and CAB. So move aside Every-Single-Famous-Person-On-Cribs-Showing-Off-Their-Bedrooms, because CAB is where the magic happens, and I will prove it.

If by some odd chance in this universe you do not agree with me (you filthy mudblood), then by all means…

come at me bro harry

Reason #01: We’re Sorted Into Houses

In CAB we are undoubtedly sorted into different “houses” which divide the copywriters from the media planners, and the account executives from the art directors. The decision on which “house” to choose is ultimately arrived upon based on your personality, skills, desires, and a bunch of other deep rooted psychological things we cannot even begin to explain. Now, I know we never had a Sorting Hat (because that would give it all away) but I know you can’t honestly tell me you never wished a grungy gross old brown hat could just tell you whether to go business or creative.


(For the record, I am definitely not about to open the discussion as to which “house” is equivalent to Slytherin… but hey, media planning does often seem like the bad guy. Just saying… numbers are the enemy.)

Reason #02: The Headmaster

There is no doubt that our program coordinator Anthony Kalamut bestows a great deal of wisdom upon us every day, but it is very hard to ignore the fact that his office is full of impressive advertising artefacts that suspiciously seem like they could have only been gathered if he were in fact a powerful wizard who has lived over 100 years, just like that of a certain long bearded fictional Headmaster. Although he may not have said it in so many words, Anthony has made it quite clear that: “help will always be given at Seneca to those who ask for it.”

Finally, Anthony may not rock half-moon spectacles like Dumbledore, but have you ever noticed that his top-notch eyewear is often, as the kids say, “on point”?

Very suspicious. 

anthonys office dumbl office

Reason #03: Muggles Don’t Understand

Let’s face it. We’ve all had those moments where we get arguably a little too emotional when it comes to witnessing a good advertisement. Next time this happens in a social setting, remember to scribble down (inevitably with your quills) the expressions of the people nearest to you who witness this ad-excitement. It is those facial expressions that truly reveal who the Muggles are. We advertising wizards arrive early for the previews, yet sleep through the movie. We pee during the third down, and rush back for the ads during the Superbowl. Sometimes we even display the absurd activity of skipping an Ariana Grande song (okay maybe that’s not THAT absurd of us) and listening to the ads on another station. This is because we are wizards, and Muggles lack the power (pun intended) to understand our love of advertising. But don’t get me wrong, this line drawn between Muggle and Wizard is a good thing considering it helps in what I vaguely recall being instructed a couple of times: “knowing your target group.”

Furthermore, I dare you to tell me you’re not the “weird one” of your group of friends. If so, yup, your friends are Muggles. If not, well then I guess I’m alone on that one and excuse me while I go pull a Moaning Myrtle and cry in the “lavatory.”

Reason #04: We Were Blatantly Given Wands

Just when I thought I couldn’t make my argument any more clear I remembered the day our Headmaster Anthony gave us each a Leo Burnett pencil! It’s wooden, fits in your hand, and has the potential to create a GREAT deal of magic… ummmm hello?



Reason #05: Potions

snapeCorrect me if I’m wrong, but Desktop Publishing seems an awful lot like a potions class. David Barbuto is definitely NOT Snape, but he does teach us the recipes to create magic, just like the potions professor would do. Not to mention, he does have slightly longer hair like that of Snape… And I wasn’t gonna say anything, but he once told me to turn to page 394.

Also, while we’re on the topic, anyone ever notice that “Adobe” sounds awfully close to the name of a certain house elf we all know and love…


Just saying…

Reason #06: “Giants”

One of the first things we researched in CAB were the “Giants of Advertising.” They just full blown went ahead and called the Greats in advertising “giants” and didn’t think we’d catch on… Ha! Mama didn’t raise no fool! 

Move aside Hagrid, you’re not the only giant in this part of the land. 


Reason #07: Voldemort

So there may not be a super evil wizard that wants to destroy all happiness in the world and kill all the muggles, BUT I dare you to try to tell me that bad ideas aren’t equivalent to a powerful dark wizard! Just like “He Who Must Not Be Named,” bad ideas get inside your head and try to convince you that they’re good.

Bad ideas also don’t have noses.

We cannot ignore this compelling evidence, folks.


Reason #08: The Room of Requirement

For those of you who somehow made it through life without being blessed with the tales of a young orphan wizard, The Room of Requirement is a “room that a person can only enter when they have real need of it. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not, but when it appears, it is always equipped for the seeker’s needs.

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Don’t even try to sit there and tell me that booking a study room at Seneca isn’t suspiciously like that of The Room of Requirement! Sometimes you may think you have one, then quite quickly you’ll find that it vanishes. Although the rooms come equipped with the smell of the previous student’s B.O and tears, it also is equipped with a white board and some chairs, and what more do we wizards need when it comes to making advertising magic?!

Reason #09: Nate Has Red Hair

nateron weasley

Need I say more? 

Finally, for those of you who somehow aren’t yet convinced that CAB is Hogwarts… think back to when you received your acceptance letter from Seneca… did you receive it on a Sunday?



Reason #10: 

no post on sundays

Oh, and by the way, I have a scar below my right eye…

I rest my case.

See you wizards and witches soon!

Written by Shannon McCarroll