Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

‘You are a Badass’ by Jen Sincero is an insightfully hilarious bestseller

(Official Jen Sincero Facebook Page)

I was meandering aimlessly around a shop in Grand Central Station over winter break looking for something to read on the train—that about summed up my criteria for the purchase. I was open to anything, really. I just wanted to get back into a habit I had sourly fallen out of: reading for pleasure.

With a bright yellow cover and bold black bubble letters, Jen Sincero’s self-help novel “You are a Badass” drew me in. Equal parts apprehensive and excitedly curious, I approached the counter, hoping that no one would see me buying a self-help book in the middle of a bustling train station. It felt like an intimate moment, I guess.

Once cozied into my red pleather metro seat, alongside my treasured Shake Shack, I read the book’s introduction.

I noticed that “You are a Badass” was separated into five parts: “How you got this way,” “How to embrace your inner badass,” “How to tap into the mother lode,” “How to get over your B.S. already,” and finally, “How to kick some ass.”

It could have been my less than ideal reading environment on the bumpy train or the impatience I felt to hurry up and get off, but I wasn’t immediately enthralled with the book. I was resistant to Sincero’s advice and confidence that everyone was destined for an “awesome life.” So I put the book down, returning to my ever-exciting role as student reading academic journals and content of the sorts.

Over spring break, pinched inside a middle seat on my plane ride home from Washington D.C., I gave the book another try. While my surroundings were challenging once again, this time I was hooked. Suddenly, I was having these “wow” moments where everything Sincero said just made so much sense. Her words began echoing like a mantra in my head.

In the midst of an age where I’ve decided that everyone I allow into my life should serve some kind of mutually beneficial purpose, I was extremely comforted by Sincero’s understanding of self-perception and its power, of the importance of surrounding yourself with people who you admire and of ditching the self-deprecating humor and, most importantly and cornily, loving yourself.

Sincero adds to the discussion about ditching self-deprecating humor by saying, “I get it… there’s nobody I’d more enjoy backing over with my car than the guy who can’t laugh at himself, but I’m talking about the nonstop, self-flagellating I Suckfest.” Moments like this during the book help to illustrate Sincero’s humor in handling life’s curve balls and practiced ability in staying cool even when conflicts in your life are heating up.

The mix of unembarrassed honesty and personal anecdotes really added to the overall novel in the sense that listening to someone else’s struggles, which were similar to my own, made it much easier for me to take the advice.

Once you realize the person trying to advise you has been in your shoes before, it’s simpler to realize you can be where they are now.

This approach also did something to dissipate the preachy, stereotypical self-help book attitude that many books employ in claiming to have a magic ability to fix people. Rather, Sincero presents herself as a smart and spunky educated woman who, through her own personal growth, realizes she has acquired some knowledge that could help you through the muck, but only if you’re willing to be a better you. Stop making excuses for the things you feel are unattainable. This is an idea that Sincero stresses is merely about perception.

In the book Sincero proposes “what you chose to focus on becomes your reality.” I found this simple yet innovative statement to be incredibly profound. Sincero means what you chose to pay attention to becomes your daily surroundings, conversations and people in your life.

An example that helped me contextualize this concept was thinking about my morning commute to school. Sometimes I take the bus, other times I get a ride. But I’m nearly always focused on how tired I am. All I want to do is sleep. I’m not noticing the flowers blooming along the back roads, the warm sun slowly melting the snow or even the other cars around me. Despite the fact that these are small, seemingly insignificant details, the absence of my focus nearly deletes them from my reality. Thus, I miss out on the first signs of spring.

In her novel, Sincero often displays the belief throughout the novel that you are nobody else’s responsibility. You’re at your own mercy, and here at this pivotal place in a world of opportunities you have the tools to be anything you want. You simply need to actively engage, know what you want and work toward it with an unwavering ferocity.

As it turns out, I quite like reading self-help books, or rather I quite like reading self-help books by Jen Sincero.

Gina Lopez can be reached at gmlopez@umass.edu.

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