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Why I’m Not Letting Student Loans Hold Me Back Anymore

On a bright sunny day in September of 2016, I handed in my last final exam of my undergrad. I was unofficially done school!

I told myself so many times that I’ll move to New Zealand once I’m done my schooling but the more I thought about it, the more I was hesitant. I was scared to move halfway around the world with student loans. I was scared that I didn’t have a “safety net” to fall back into if I couldn’t make a monthly payment. I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to pay rent, expenses, and my monthly loan repayment.

So, I told myself that I’ll pay at least half of my debt before I move. I won’t travel for the entire year of 2017 to prioritize my loans. I’ll just work and get some experience on my resume before moving overseas. I don’t know if I was just making excuses up for myself or genuinely considering this as my plan.

Why I'm not letting student loans hold me back anymore

Vancouver is a social hub for young travellers on the working holiday visa. I’ve met many thus far with different backgrounds. Some have no money whatsoever; some have student loans that they’ve barely made a dent on; some saved their money.

The more I got to realize, and the more I took my responsibilities seriously, something clicked in my head. If I can manage my finances perfectly fine, and experience first hand from other people that moved across the world with student debts… well, why can’t I?

If everyone kept to themselves because of their debt, how far would we progress, culturally? Where would I have met all my foreign friends from Ireland? Spain? Australia? The UK? I started to realize that my scenario wasn’t uncommon. There are billions of other people with debts, some bigger than mine, that is still moving on with their lives, seizing opportunities and moving to foreign places and lands.

What’s so different that I can’t do that despite having an education, experiences and most likely a smaller debt?

Nothing is different. It’s just the matter of breaking out of your comfort zone and accepting the fact that a student loan isn’t a debt sentence. The other day, my colleague described student debt as something that’s “just part of life nowadays”. As I reflect on this newfound feeling and realization, I honestly believe I was just making excuses to delay my move to another country… because I was scared. Excuses to not see at least one new city a year because my student loans would cripple me if I dare go out and enjoyed myself.

I’m not saying that I’m going to forgo paying back my loans and take my precious time and rack interests up. All I’m saying is that, I’m still going to move on with my life, take fantastic opportunities and risks and just go with the flow with my loans. There will be months when I pay back only a few hundreds dollars, and there’ll be months that I’ll drop hundreds down on my loan. All I know is that I’m still going to travel and see new places, and have fun, and pay off my loans within 2-3 years (the average Canadian takes approximately 9 years to pay off their student debt)! I don’t want to view my loan as a debt sentence anymore; I’m starting to view my loans as just another part of my life that I’ll need to get over and I will. Not ten years from now, but a in a few years.

Student loans seems so scary when you’re fresh out of school, but is so many people can do what you want to do with (bigger) debt on their back, why can’t you?

I’m excited to not view my student loans as set back and using it as an excuse for things I want in my life. I think with proper management and handling, loans are just another mountain to slowly hike and climb over. It’s right in front of you, and it can look big, but you’ll get over it one day. Just keep moving!

With that being said, I promise that I won’t use my student loans as another petty excuse to not achieving one of my goals and seizing the opportunity to move abroad to Australia.

What Deleting my Facebook Taught Me

A few months ago, I did what most people wouldn’t dream of doing…

And that was to delete my Facebook.

Yup, you’ve heard right. I deleted my Facebook.

Okay, maybe there’s a bit of an exaggeration… I didn’t delete it… I deactivated it.

I chose to delete my Facebook because I was getting tired of comparing my life with my peers. I was seeing hundreds of vacation photos, sappy love-dovey photos, wedding photos, baby photos, and almost everything else. It’s not that I despise my life but I couldn’t help but compare some aspects of my life with my peers. For example, I’m working full time while I see others travelling the across Asia; I’m still in a happy relationship with Dan but my classmate from math class just had her second child already. I see friends celebrating their new promotion and I’m still at an entry-level position.

I realized, it started to make a bit upset and resent where I am in life and those around me. I got envious and jealous at how some of my colleagues are so successful already, and how I feel like I’m not supposed to be where I am in my life.

What deleting my Facebook taught me

It’s funny because I’ve taken a course called ‘Being Online’ as one of my electives and we focused on the negative impact social media has on its users…. and I was a victim. For a moment, I forgot that people fabricate their lives on the internet and post only the best of the best for the world to see. Not every couple is happy and not even vacation was purchased on disposable income.

And, when it wasn’t my mental health being preyed upon by social media, I also wasted a lot of time on it. Every morning, I would waste about ten minutes just scrolling through feeds. Or every time I’m bored at work, I’ll launch up Facebook and see what’s happening – let’s not even talk about how fast my phone battery used to die.

The messenger was also another thing. I hated being “available” 24/7 for people acquaintances to message me about a favour or pitch me their pyramid scheme. I wanted to connect with my friends and only those who I shared my phone number with.

So, ultimately, I decided to take a break from it. I deactivated and within two weeks, I felt much more better. I was happier, more productive and didn’t waste much more time than I needed to.

Eventually, I enjoyed the break so much, I’ve decided to keep it deactivated until further notice.

What did I learn from deleting my Facebook?

  • There’s no point in comparing your life with your peers. You’ve heard it a billion times but it’s right – we’re all on different paths.
  • Those who really matter would take the time to exchange alternative methods of communication. When I first deleted my Facebook, I didn’t announce it to the world. I just did it. Kendel was the first person to noticed and reached out to me on Twitter and then exchanged numbers again to talk on WhatsApp.
  • Social media is a lie. People will always post the best of the best.
  • It’s refreshing to let your brain not be cluttered with pointless life updates from people you haven’t spoken to in 5+ years and don’t care about. Do I really need to know what Susan did on Thursday night?
  • The ten minutes I spend every morning laying in bed scrolling through my Facebook feed can now be spent snoozing for another ten minutes or getting a ten minutes head start to my day.
  • My eyes can rest from rolling at yet another useless rant.
  • I no longer feel the need to update my 600 friends about my life aka read this sentence as I no longer feel the need to “impress” people about my vacations and wonderful boyfriend. Yes, I’m not going to lie – I share only the best of the best highlights of my life.
  • My insecurity and jealousy no longer comes up because I don’t and can’t stalk girls anymore (lol)
  • People genuinely applaud me for deleting Facebook but yet they can’t bring themselves to delete it because “it’s the only way to keep in touch with everyone”
  • Nearly everyone agrees that they felt the negativity of comparing their lives with their peers as well
  • My phone battery actually lasts until I get home from work
  • Speaking of phone, my phone is much more quieter
  • I no longer have to write cheerful Happy Birthday messages on your wall that I clearly don’t mean

 

But, life without Facebook has its cons as well:

  • My blog engagement decreased since I no longer share my posts on various blogging groups
  • I sometimes can’t obtain bonus packages in my mobile games because I have no Facebook account to connect it to
  • I always have to explain why I chose to delete my Facebook, which always follows with “Oh my gosh, I feel the same way! The exact same way! But I can’t delete my Facebook because I need to connect with everyone.”
  • I sometimes do miss seeing what my ex-classmates and acquaintances are up to and being able to know what their latest news without meeting up for coffee and small talk
  • I get no more Facebook invites which means if I get invited to something, I don’t know who’s going, don’t know any immediate updates or changes, or sometimes people just forget me
  • I also miss reading viral news and seeing random/funny videos
  • I also miss getting notifications for events around my city… I mean, 95% of the time I’m not going but it’s nice to know what’s happening around town

 

I still have Twitter and Instagram which oddly enough, I don’t feel like I’m comparing my life on those platforms. For Twitter, it’s filled with just bloggers and blog posts and none of my friends are even on it. On Instagram, I follow celebrities, memes, and photography accounts that whenever I do load up Instagram for a bit, I see funny and inspirational pictures more than I see my own friends.

I’m not saying that I had an unhealthy obsession with Facebook but I ultimately decided that it’s better for me to delete my Facebook until further notice. I don’t know when or if I’ll reactive it but for now, it’s extremely refreshing and I’m genuinely happy and relaxed from Facebook. It’s amazing how one site can do this to people!

What are your thoughts on Facebook? Would you be deleting it anytime soon?

How and Why Decluttering Worked For Me

Why decluttering worked for me

I hate to say it, but… sometimes I jump on fads. I mean, you don’t know it’s your thing until you give it a try, right? I remember when I felt that minimalism was still somewhat new and not many people were discussing about it and then during my period of giving it a shot, the entire blogosphere blew up about minimalism and decluttering and in over a night, every lifestyle blogger was a subject matter expert.

This isn’t a beginner’s guide in how to declutter your cramped apartment (although, maybe it’s not a bad idea to write one…). This is just my experience with decluttering and my relationship with minialism. Long story short, decluttering and minimalism helped curbed my exessive spending.

It didn’t happen over night, God no. It didn’t happen in two days. It took months to declutter and slowly transition into a minimalistic lifestyle. But, by no means, am I an expert or follow strict minimalism “rules”.

How I got started

The blogosphere is such a beautiful place. It really is. I didn’t spend a lot of time on some of the well known, hardcore minimalistic websites out there. Instead, I read a few blog posts and there from Twitter and Bloglovin to get started.

In fact, when I started decluttering, my mindset wasn’t even set on saving or trying to stop my spending habits. I wanted to declutter because I felt that my room was getting too “crowded” and cluttered. I started to get stressed out when I looked around my surroundings. I held on to little things such as plastic figurines from McDonald’s because I got them when I was hanging out with some friends; the one Harry Potter trading card I kept since 2009 because “I love Harry Potter”; bracelets that I’ve only worn twice but kept “just in case”.

My first decluttering project was my closet. If you knew me in real life, you’ll probably chuckle when I tell you that I have had a big closet because what I wear is really repetitive and simple. I’m not a fashion blogger or fashionista but I owned a lot of clothes from the “just in case” mentality. I bought things I normally wouldn’t wear just because it was dirt cheap and I thought it could come in handy one day. Or, I bought it because it looked very good on the mannequin.

It took months to fully clear out my closet to the point where I am satisfy with it and can wear each item at least once in a year. Yes, months. I had heaps of industral-sized black garbage bags for my dad to pick up and drive over to the local charity.

When I finished my closet, I moved onto my surroundings. I reassessed my make up collection and loved items. This time around, it was easier to detach myself from items that hold somewhat a memory. Nothing was significant enough for me to hold on to. I mean, seriously… a Harry Potter trading card?

Decluttering

How it worked for me

Decluttering worked for me because I was slowly started to see the things I hoarded for no good reason. It helped put my reckless spending in perspective because the garbage bags represented how much money I wasted. Money that I worked for. Money that was given to me to be used for the greater good and not for a $17 shirt so I qualified for free shipping.

Every item that left my closet and left my room, I felt lighter and happier. I didn’t realize how much of my materialistic goods was weighting me down mentally.

In turn, it also started to make me a bit minimalistic. I don’t live in an 5-piece furniture home or own only 10 clothing items, but I feel that not having things clutter my home and mind made me more aware of what I buy and spend my money on. Decluttering worked for me because it made me realize that I only need two pair of sweatpants, not four. So, whenever I’m in a store and I see a pair of sweats, the old me would jump at buying it but now, I know if I purchased this pair, I either need to get rid of one pair or own three pair of sweats and have on sit in the closet collecting dust.

Being aware of my space and what I own, made me more reserved with my money, which in turn, curbed my bad spending habits!

Why decluttering worked for me

Essentially, it worked for me because I was forced to face my clutter and spending habits. It put my reckless spending in perspective. I think subconsciously, I was pushing reality away, telling myself that everything is okay and I’ll wear all these clothes soon, and I’ll open my box of memories and reminisce about the day my best friends and I went to catch the Harry Potter movie. But none of that happened.

Instead, I was constantly broke and wasting 10 to 15 minutes of my morning sifting through my clothes to pick what to wear.


I hope decluttering turns out to be more than just a spring cleaning objective. I hope decluttering opens your eyes and changes your life the way it did to me. It’s not to say that you’ll be a minimalist, event I don’t label myself that. But, I do believe there is some sort of minimalism in my lifestyle now. I appreciate open space and really value the age-old saying, “less is more.”

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5 Ways to get over Jealousy

Jealousy, envy, whatever you want to call the green-eyed monster, it’s all part of life. We all experience this negative emotion at some point in our lives and for some, they might experience it more than others do.

Lately, I’ve been hit with envy in the cruelest way possible… via images on Facebook.

Oh, what fun social media can bring to your life. Without going into details, I just “stumbled” across some photos of a guy I had feelings for getting cozy with a girl.

In the past, I’ve always pride myself of not being the jealous-type and I still do. When I’m in a relationship, I seldom get jealous because I have trust in my partner. However, when something isn’t mine, I get jealous/envious.

And, the feeling suck. I hate having a negative emotion linger in me for a long period of time.

So, here’s 5 ways I beat jealousy/envy:

1. Remove yourself from the situation

Simple as that. In my case, I ended up blocking the guy I had feelings for on Facebook and refrained from visiting the girl’s page. Think about it: if you’re feeling bad about a photo, why torture yourself and constantly visit that page? Do whatever it takes to remove yourself from the situation weather it be deleting/unfollowing someone, blocking them, or walking away and “avoiding” them for a while until your feelings are gone.

2. Don’t compare yourself

Never compare yourself to another. Why?

Because there’s nothing to compare with. Each person is different – we have different ways to talking, walking, hobbies, interests, etc. You can’t compare yourself to someone that’s entirely different and think you’re no better than her because of how different you two are. Sure, she may have something you want or like but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the same, you know what I mean? She has your crush? Get over your crush and move on to someone that would take interest in you.

3. Talk about it

Sometimes, we jump to conclusions on things we don’t fully understand. Why not talk about it and get the real picture? Get the story from his side. Sometimes, things aren’t always what they seem. Some friends are closer than others. Some girls are generally just chirpy and not flirty. Talk it out with that person to clear the air and get straight to the point.

4. Treat yourself (and trash talk)

Battle your negative emotions with positive ones. I like to treat myself to a Frappucino or sushi whenever I feel negativity. And, if you’re in the mood to hang out with your girlfriends, trash talk the girl, LOL. I showed the cozy pictures to Sara and she instantly started criticizing the girl. I know it sounds harsh and it’s almost comparing yourself to her, but having your friends support you is a good healing process. You’re a bigger person when you know what your friend said is untrue but it still feels nice to hear positive things about yourself rather than the person you’re envious of.

5. Motivate yourself

Jealousy in an insanely powerful emotion. Use that to motivate you to succeed in life and reach towards a goal. So, your person drives a BMW? Work your way to a BMW. The girl has a nice body? Hit the gym 10x harder than she does. Curbing jealousy by transforming it into energy and motivation is the best thing you can do to get over your jealousy. I’m using that jealousy of seeing those photos to motivate me to get my ass over to New Zealand. You’re wondering… how do those two even match? They don’t. But, the boy left me some somewhat bitter memories of some parts of town and I’d rather get over him and not see him by moving away from my city.

Jealousy is life but it shouldn’t affect you so much. It’s often easier said than done to get rid of some emotions. If you learn to control your emotions, it gets easier. The best way is to not focus on negativity.

Your Guide to Online Schooling & Education (Pros/Cons, Tips, etc.)

As we’re entering 2015, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that nearly everything is digital – the way we communicate, the way we share, and even the way to learn and attend school.

During my prime years of high school, we were offered online courses for people who weren’t attending a school or for those taking additional courses. I signed up for online courses because my school didn’t offered them. That was the first time I’ve been exposed to online learning. From that moment on, I was in favour of online education, to the point where I’m currently completing my undergraduate degree online.

A lot of people are skeptical about online learning, but if you take a look at all your big name universities in your country, you’ll realize that nearly all of them offers digital courses and even an entire degree online.

The idea of online learning, or distance learning, is to cater for those who can’t reach an education whether it be working full time, living in rural areas, or even financially too. Also, for those attending schools at a later age, online might be a better option in fear of embarrassment of being the oldest one in class.

Distance Learning has its pros and cons, and sometimes, it might not even be suited for some of us. For me, growing up with computers and gadgets, everything I do is literally online. So, why not take my studies online?

Pros:

  • Cheaper. Distance Learning is cheaper because you don’t need to pay for additional school service fees. And, because everything is taught online, the cost of a course and its materials are cheaper than an on-site professor teaching students. Also, let’s factor in other cost such as meal plans or just snacks when you’re on campus, or dorm fees.
  • Study at your own pace. Online education allows the students to study on their own pace and around their own schedule. If you’re a keener, you can finish a course within a month, or so. If you prefer to take a big longer, you can apply for course extensions. Essentially, you can finish a four year degree earlier!
  • Convenient. You can study around your schedule and around your daily life. You can study at home, at the office, even on a vacation! Because everything is based on your schedule and online, you’re no longer tied to a strict course schedule provided by the school. You can go on vacations, work full time, spend time with family/friends.
  • Self improvement. Because everything is online and you’re not really forced to leave the comfort of your home, online learning can be a way of self improvement. It’ll teach you to stay committed to something that may be mundane, it’ll teach you time management, confidence in your work, self motivation, will power, etc. etc. Honestly, for me, these things are taught via online studies than in class. I can now confidently claim that I’m a self disciplined person and have my degree to prove it.
  • Worldwide. Believe it or not, I can easily attend a school out in New Zealand without traveling there! Granted, I would still pay international fees but it’d still be much cheaper than flying out there and attending school!

Cons:

  • Distractions. Obviously, being at the comfort of your own home can be distracting. For example, you’re surrounded by things you’re familiar with – TV, the kitchen, and when it comes down to studying, we all know everything else seems more interesting. Also, the fact that it’s online just tempts us to open social media tabs while reading the chapter!
  • Lack of physical help. Distant learning means you won’t have the luxury of bothering a professor after class is over. Depending on your learning habits, some of you guys might find the lack of talking to your professors is uncomfortable. If you have any questions about your work, you’ll need to e-mail your professor(s) and/or your peer tutor which might or might not take a few days… even weeks with some people.
  • Lack of relationships. You’ll miss out on the experience of meeting new people and making new friends during your post-secondary years. You might even miss out on finding “the one” during university life!
  • Lack of a “real” university experience. No frats, no parties, no late nights spent in the campus library.
  • Constant need of the internet/computer. You’d be glued on to your computer (if you’re not already). That being said, for those who live in rural areas or without a good constant internet will find online learning to be annoying and difficult. You’ll lose hours, even days, of studying if there’s any problems with your internet/power.

Myths:

  • It’s easier to cheat. This is a false assumption. Many universities will code their online quizzes/tests to open in a full-screen window without the functions to minimize or exit until you’re done the test. They also time you, or have a time limit. Course finals are written in person at your local registered testing offices under supervision.
  • It’s easier than on-campus courses. Again, not true. The course material you learn online is the same as in class materials. The books are the same, the syllabus is the same, etc.
  • Degrees aren’t recognized. The only time a degree won’t be recognized, is if it comes from a brand new school. Regardless of how you get your degree (employers wouldn’t care), as long as you have a Bachelor’s or Master’s/PHd, that’s all the employer cares about. They will recognize the degree without questioning how you got it. You’d be amazed by how many successful people out there finished their education online and how many people are pursuing Masters and PhDs online.
  • You’ll never meet anyone new. This is true to an extent. Yes, you won’t be able to meet people in a traditional lecture room setting, and that’s the easiest way to meet someone. However, you can take breaks from you studying and attend social networking events, or join a meet up group on MeetUp.com to meet new people. Making new friends doesn’t always have to be in class.

The reason why I chose to pursue my studies online is not because I can’t get into my local universities or that I’m in a financial situation. I began my undergraduate degree online because I realized, I can save money compared to going on campus, and more importantly, I can finish my degree faster than my peers will ever be able to do. That’s what intrigued me about online studying. The fact that you can knock off a year or so if you buckled down and plow through your courses.

I do miss the daily interaction of meeting other students and professors. However, I take my studies outdoors to a local library where I sometimes strike up conversations with people. I study with my friends where I’m introduced to other people too. Despite the fact that I probably would never meet anyone that attends my university until I attend my convocation is a bit upsetting, but at the same time, I get to talk to my peers via a Facebook group dedicated to my university. It’s amazing how we’re all attending the same university from around the world.

So, what do you need to know about pursuing a degree online? Consider a few of these factors:

  • Why are you choosing online instead of a traditional in class setting?
  • Compare the pros/cons based on your life to whether you should study online or not.
  • Factor any possible dislikes or discomfort you can think of when studying online. Online learning isn’t made for everyone.
  • Consider graduation. Can you make it to the university for your convocation? Would you be interested in a campus tour? Airline tickets to visit a university can add up if you’re planning to visit it a few times or if you have a big family.
  • Your school. Choose an already established school that offers online programs. Nothing is wonderful about choosing an university that isn’t recognized because it’s too new or, even worse, choosing an online university that ends up to be a fraud business.

If you’re planning to do a degree online, here are a few tips to help you on your adventures:

  • Treat it as if you’re attending a “real” school. Make a set schedule of your courses. Have a class that “starts at 10am”, a lunch break, and then the final two courses of the day. Stick to your schedule in order be successful in your courses.
  • Never underestimate online education. Study, study, study! Sure, it’s a work on your own pace sort of thing, but never underestimate time. Without proper scheduling, you’ll easily fall behind on your work and studies. Just because your quiz is online doesn’t mean you can easily cheat on it and not study.
  • Download browser plug ins that allows you to block certain sites and boost your productivity. A popular Firefox plugin is LeechBlock which blocks whatever sites you add for set times throughout the day (eg. 8AM to 5PM, every Mon, Wed, and Fri) or block for all day.
  • Or, create a whole new user on your computer and dedicate it to school. With an empty user account, you won’t be tempted to launch any programs or be distracted by your vacation photos.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It’s easier than ever to ask for help, since you’re not seeing your professor or peer tutor. Fire them an e-mail!
  • Take breaks. There’s nothing worse than feeling overwhelmed by school work. Take a break, head out for some coffee, and then come back.
  • Find online communities for your school. I’m lucky enough to have a friendly and active Facebook group dedicated to my university where I can ask any questions related to the university and which courses to take.
  • Silent your phone, put it away or turn it on airplane mode for the hours of studying. Even though you blocked off all your favourite websites, a smartphone proves just as distracting!

Distance learning is such an interesting experience and outlook on traditional schooling methods. If you’re unsure about online education, check out the programs or courses the school offers and take a “sample trial” to see if you like online learning or not. Take a certificate program if you don’t want to commit to an entire undergraduate or graduate degree.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions regarding online education! I’d be happy to help you! Or, let me know if you ever took this new method of learning instead of opting for classrooms!

Tips to Getting Into Reading

There shouldn’t be a surprised when I tell you that reading is one of my favourite hobbies and interest. I mean, take a look at my (impressive) Goodreads page!

I fancy people that read, even those that I don’t share the same genre of interest with. I find it a bit of a turn off when I ask guys if they read or not – I don’t care if he reads sports magazine or the daily Metro newspaper, as long as you’re reading something, I’m happy, but if you flat out say “I hate reading. I haven’t read a book since high school”… well, sir, we’re not going to be good friends!

Whenever I express my love for reading, the most common response is, “I wish I can get into reading…”

Today, my good friends, today I’m here to share with you some tips in getting into reading. Or, back into reading (which was my case a few years back).

Find your genre
It’s a no brainer that you’re not going to enjoy reading if you’re not enjoying what you read. I love everything from biographies to cultural studies to post-apocalyptic novels. However, you probably won’t catch me reading about the Cold War, or a romantic novel set in the 1800s.

Reflect on your previous reading habits and make a list of the type of genres you enjoy reading! Goodreads makes a list of recommendation based on the books you’ve read and want to read in the future – it’s an awesome feature!

Start off lightly
To get into reading doesn’t mean you need to borrow 5 novels from your local library. Start with a small novel from one of your favourite genres. A “quick read” as some bookworms may call it. A novel with 300 pages, not 500, 700, or 900 pages.

Create a reading session
Schedule a reading period for however long you like. This can depend on your schedule – perhaps, instead of listening to your iPod during your morning commute, try reading a few pages. Whip out your book during your lunch break. Or instead of a TV-binge, replace 30 minutes of your day with a book instead. I like to read a chapter before going to bed.

Find somewhere comfortable
This can also mean brewing a cup of tea and snuggling with your blanket if you prefer. Find yourself a nice spot in your house like the corner of the couch, in your study room, etc. etc. A bed works fine too but be wary of drifting off to sleep much, much easier than usual.

Consider an e-reader
This option may not be popular with some of you guys, but for me, I started picking up my reading habit again after purchasing a Kobo e-reader. I switch from paperback/hardcover to my e-reader from time to time but since switching things to electronically has increased my reading habits tremendously. For a guide in e-reading, check this out.

Find a community
If you fancy a book club, go right ahead but that’s not my cup of tea. To “be” in a community is great because you get to see what other people are reading and what they need to say about the latest read. Goodreads is the best online community and I’ve found a bunch of great books that were recommended me through the site and through my friends and communities. A lot of bloggers are on Goodreads and on my friends list.