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Joy

10 things that made us smile this week

Turkey cuddle farms, frog hotels and quetzalcoatlus costumes—all gathered to make you smile.

happy joy smile

Feel a little joy today.

Each week, Upworthy rounds up 10 delightful things that made us smile so that you can enter the weekend with a dash of hope and joy. It's our way of providing a respite from the often heavy and dreary content readily available on the internet.

This week, there might even be some bonus emotions—perhaps a jaw dropped in wonder or the shedding of a happy tear. But still, we are sharing stories that celebrate humanity and the human experience.


And it's the embrace of these rich, complex feelings that lead to more happiness, humility and overall balance. So, doomscroll no more, and instead add a little bit of cheerscrolling to your online regimen today. Starting with...

1. A young boy's unbridled joy after finding out he gets to be a quetzalcoatlus (his favorite dinosaur) for Halloween

A) Kudos to this little boy for being able to properly pronounce quetzalcoatlus; B) His high-pitched squeals of excitement go straight to the heart.

2. Woman shares emotional reunion with her favorite teacher 30 years later

On National Teacher Day, no less. Lora is a customer service agent who spotted a childhood teacher getting on a WestJet flight in Toronto. She shared her memories about this special teacher on the microphone and shouted out Ms. O’Connell, thanking her for instilling a love of Shakespeare and piano playing.

Yep, this is one of those happy tear stories.

3. Artist's unusual painting techniques have people mesmerized and inspired all at the same time

assets.rebelmouse.io

Jay Lee is a painter on YouTube who uses unconventional painting techniques that are not only extremely soothing to watch, but actually make the art feel a bit more attainable to anyone who'd like to try their hand but feel overwhelmed.

In other words, have we just found the next Bob Ross?

You can read about him here.

4. Librarian finds the sweetest way to help others find comfort with death

Usually, death isn't exactly something to smile about. But the way that Rosie Grant has delighted her followers on TikTok with recipes for delicious cookies, pies and other treats found on gravestones (cause yeah, apparently it's a thing) has people finding connection with those who've passed in a creative and heartfelt way.

You can read more about Rosie here.

5. Rediscovered clip of an 8-year-old martial arts badass is just so freakin' cool

@brannmanndan Flashback to 2014. JJ McParland winning thebCadet World Championships. #weapons #martialarts #kickboxing #sword #samurai ♬ original sound - Brannmanndan

Jesse-Jane McParland is one of the best martial arts performers in the world. Now, at 16, she holds more than 300 martial arts titles, rightfully earning her the name of JJ Golden Dragon. This clip is from when McParland was but a wee dragon at only 8 years old, and really is the stuff of legend.

6. A farm that's hosting a turkey cuddle fest for Thanksgiving, because yay

A farm in California is already hatching plans to celebrate Thanksgiving by letting folks enjoy some family-friendly hugs with a feathered friend, followed by a slice of vegan pie.

7. Guy creates an authentic Terminator costume by creating a light-up prosthetic eye

@bsmachinist #terminator#terminatoreye #cyborg#cyborgeye#cyberpunk#cyberpunkfashion#ocularprosthetics#ocularprosthesis#retinoblastomasurvivor#fuckcancer #prostheticeye #prosthetics ♬ Terminator 2: Judgment Day Theme - Everrune

Brian (@bsmachinist on TikTok) lost his eye to cancer, but creates his own prosthetic eyes that light up and come in cool shapes. People love his red glowing Terminator eye in particular.

8. Just a dog reminding us how to live a happy life

Forgotten how to frolic in the rain? Just take a look at how this doggo does it, and be reminded of the importance of play.

9. A beautiful display of green frogs chilling in vivid pink flowers looks like something straight out of a fairy tale

Frogs, welcome to the Dahlia Hotel.

10. An adorable puppy ready to lend a "halping" paw

Bringing a whole new meaning to the term "joy ride."

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Gen Z is navigating a career landscape unlike any other.

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Every adult generation has its version of a “kids these days” lament, labeling the up-and-coming generation as less resilient or hardworking compared to their own youth. But Gen Z—currently middle school age through young adulthood—is challenging that notion with their career readiness.

Take Abigail Sanders, an 18-year-old college graduate. Thanks to a dual enrollment program with her online school, she actually earned her bachelor’s degree before her high school diploma. Now she’s in medical school at Bastyr University in Washington state, on track to become a doctor by age 22.

a family of 6 at a graduation with two graduatesAll four of the Sanders kids have utilized Connections Academy to prepare for their futures.

Abigail’s twin sister, Chloe, also did dual enrollment in high school to earn her associate’s in business and is on an early college graduation path to become a vet tech.

Maeson Frymire dreams of becoming a paramedic. He got his EMT certification in high school and fought fires in New Mexico after graduation. Now he’s working towards becoming an advanced certified EMT and has carved his career path towards flight paramedicine.

Sidny Szybnski spends her summers helping run her family’s log cabin resort on Priest Lake in Idaho. She's taken business and finance courses in high school and hopes to be the third generation to run the resort after attending college.

log cabin resort on edge of forestAfter college, Sidny Szybnski hopes to run her family's resort in Priest Lake, Idaho.

Each of these learners has attended Connections Academy, tuition-free online public schools available in 29 states across the U.S., to not only get ready for college but to dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well. These students are prime examples of how Gen Zers are navigating the career prep landscape, finding their passions, figuring out their paths and making sure they’re prepared for an ever-changing job market.

Lorna Bryant, the Head of Career Education for Connections Academy’s online school program, says that Gen Z has access to a vast array of career-prep tools that previous generations didn’t have, largely thanks to the internet.

“Twenty to 30 years ago, young people largely relied on what adults told them about careers and how to get there,” Bryant tells Upworthy. “Today, teens have a lot more agency. With technology and social media, they have access to so much information about jobs, employers and training. With a tap on their phones, they can hear directly from people who are in the jobs they may be interested in. Corporate websites and social media accounts outline an organization’s mission, vision and values—which are especially important for Gen Z.”

Research shows over 75% of high schoolers want to focus on skills that will prepare them for in-demand jobs. However, not all teens know what the options are or where to find them. Having your future wide open can be overwhelming, and young people might be afraid of making a wrong choice that will impact their whole lives.

Bryant emphasizes that optimism and enthusiasm from parents can help a lot, in addition to communicating that nothing's carved in stone—kids can change paths if they find themselves on one that isn’t a good fit.

Dr. Bryant and student video meeting Dr. Bryant meeting with a student

“I think the most important thing to communicate to teens is that they have more options than ever to pursue a career,” she says. “A two- or four-year college continues to be an incredibly valuable and popular route, but the pathways to a rewarding career have changed so much in the past decade. Today, career planning conversations include options like taking college credit while still in high school or earning a career credential or certificate before high school graduation. There are other options like the ‘ships’—internships, mentorships, apprenticeships—that can connect teens to college, careers, and employers who may offer on-the-job training or even pay for employees to go to college.”

Parents can also help kids develop “durable skills”—sometimes called “soft” or “human” skills—such as communication, leadership, collaboration, empathy and grit. Bryant says durable skills are incredibly valuable because they are attractive to employers and colleges and transfer across industries and jobs. A worldwide Pearson survey found that those skills are some of the most sought after by employers.

“The good news is that teens are likely to be already developing these skills,” says Bryant. Volunteering, having a part-time job, joining or captaining a team sport can build durable skills in a way that can also be highlighted on college and job applications.

Young people are navigating a fast-changing world, and the qualities, skills and tools they need to succeed may not always be familiar to their parents and grandparents. But Gen Z is showing that when they have a good grasp of the options and opportunities, they’re ready to embark on their career paths, wherever they may lead.

Learn more about Connections Academy here and Connections’ new college and career prep initiative here.

Joy

Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

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Take this well-meaning dad for example.

In a story posted to Reddit’s “Am I The A**hole?” forum, the father—and police officer—shared that he got the “cold shoulder” from his family after telling his 12-year-old daughter she couldn’t wear a push-up bra.
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A new trend shows that people aren’t only appreciating their toilet paper but finding new ways to use it that go beyond its traditional use: keeping toilet paper in their refrigerators. The most common reason is that it is an effective and affordable way to keep them smelling fresh and clean. It seems that TP’s absorbent qualities go far beyond the bathroom.

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However, one of the show’s longest running gags has seemingly come to an end.

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