Hi! I’m Emily Laine Miller—a 16-year-old Junior from Columbus, Ohio. I’m a crazy busy junior in high school who loves art, music, theater and recently, my mind has been focused on college planning. In addition to all of this, I’m co-founder of Laine Avenue Backpacks. My mom and I created Laine Avenue as an alternative to the part-time job. Our unique backpacks are sold online by students, like you, for a 25 percent commission. The business model is a great way for all teens to earn and save money for college without having to punch a time clock. It’s a new way to think about getting a job in high school.

Speaking of new, if there is one thing I love, it’s the beginning of something new. A new school year, sketchbook or even a new pair of Converse just waiting to get broken in. When the new year rolls around, I don’t feel the heavy weight of resolutions broken or the guilt of not having aresolution at all. I take the new year as an opportunity to step back and look at life: what’s working – and let’s be honest – what’s not.

Here are a few non-resolutions you might find helpful as the new year approaches…


Write a list of everything you are proud to have accomplished last year. Did you make the soccer team? Get a role in the play? Maybe you raised a grade or remembered your mom’s birthday. Feeling good about your accomplishments last year is a great way to start the new year.


Go into the new year with a sense of gratitude. Write a thank you note to a friend who helped you through a hard time. Sit down with a teacher or mentor and let them know how much their time helping you and others has meant. We all have something to be grateful for, so ask yourself what that is and give thanks.


Ok, I know I sound like a parent, but trust me: there is no better feeling than a good purge. Get rid of the notebooks from last year cluttering your bookshelf. Go through your drawers; sort through the clothes you do not wear and get rid of them. (And don’t forget to donate them.) Your backpack? Clean that, too. We all know how papers get squished and crumpled to the bottom and then get covered in pencil dust. Clean it all up and start fresh.

And there you have it: three non-resolutions resolutions for a great new year!

Are you interested in more life skills from a teen’s perspective? Hop on over to my website, laineavenue.com to learn about the Life Academy. I share weekly videos and worksheets to help us learn the life skills they don’t teach in school. Let’s make it a great year, together!

ABOUT LAINE AVENUE: Founded by Emily Laine Miller and her mom, Laine Avenue is changing the way young adults earn and save money by becoming independent entrepreneurs selling unique Laine Avenue backpacks. Through becoming an independent Laine Avenue Backer, teens (in partnership with a parent/guardian) can become entrepreneurs, earn money and build valuable life skills through the online Laine Avenue Life Academy.

For our interview with Emily, check out the Dec/January issue of Justine!