Tag Archives: college life

From Relaxed Ahhh to Stressed Ahhh

Spring break is wonderful.  You get to leave campus and do something different. Some students travel. Some students see their family. Some students procrastinate on homework as much as possible. It’s a chance to take a deep breath, relax, and go “ahhhh.” But spring break inevitably ends too quickly, and the relaxed vibe turns to one of stress. It’s a tough transition! Kaitlyn Russell from The Muse has your back, though, with great tips to help transition back to the college grind.

Russell recommends coming back with a to-do list.  What are assignments and other obligations that MUST get done on your first day back to campus? Whether you use an app, or a planner, or an old-fashioned  Post-it note, have some key points down to keep you focused.

Then, turn on the music. This will help you tune out distractions, and playing upbeat music will help you stay positive as you cross things off your list.

Also, don’t forget to plan something fun for later in the day or week.  Maybe you’ll go out to dinner with your friends, or see a movie this weekend. This will give you something to look forward to as you charge through your classes, meetings, and homework.

Russell has three other great tips that will help you not only here in school, but also in the workplace. Read her entire article here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-ways-to-survive-your-first-day-back-at-the-office-after-an-amazing-vacation

Making the Most of a Mentor

Do you remember your favorite teacher? Or professor? How about your favorite cashier at a store? The best server you have ever had at a restaurant? Who inspired you to choose the major or career that you did? Our lives are filled with people who influence us, and our role models are great options to consider for mentors.

Dr. Becky Faber contributed her article on Finding a Mentor to the Career Corner of Education Week.  Although her perspective comes from teaching, her points are certainly valid across the job market. Mentors are an incredible resource, particularly when it comes to learning about the industry and preparing for the job search. First and foremost, a mentor can share their own insight and experience from their time in the field. They have a strong network, and not only could they alert you to potential job openings, they can help you delve into your research as you prepare for an interview.  A mentor can also share what potential interview questions may be that would be specific to your particular job. When you are drafting your resume, a mentor can be another set of eyes and make suggestions on changes and additions you can make. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you admire to be your mentor. You may just help them learn something new, too!

To read all of Dr. Faber’s article, click here: http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/careers/2016/10/find_a_mentor.html

Six Super Things You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner! I know I am dreaming of spending the week on a sunny beach somewhere, but unfortunately that won’t be the case- and I know for many students, that won’t be the case either.  Are you one of those students who will be stuck imagining a week of beach volleyball and sunny days? Well, here are six ways you can distract yourself, and step up your professional game in the process.

  1. Create or update your LinkedIn Profile. There are millions of people on LinkedIn, so chances are good there will be someone you know on there.  Who knows, maybe that someone can help you get a start in your field.
  2. Take part in an informational interview. Spend 20-30 minutes getting to know someone with a job that you find interesting. Learn more about how they got into that role, what they enjoy and dislike, and what other advice they can share with you.
  3. Better yet, shadow. Make a connection with someone in your field that you will be able to shadow for a half or full day. This will allow you to really get a better picture of what an “average day” is like in a job you are considering, plus you will be able to meet more people.
  4. Research graduate schools. Even if going for a Masters degree isn’t in the five year plan, it’s good to know what programs are out there. They can be a strong sign of what specialty areas employers are looking for.
  5. Spend some time helping a person or organization in need, even if it’s not related to your area of interest. It’s a solid resume builder and allows you to develop some great transferable skills. And speaking of resumes…
  6. Work on your resume! Or cover letter. Or interview skills. Take the time to put together your go-to interview outfit. Whatever it takes to come back to school ready to not only be amazing in class, but ready to take on the professional world!

What other suggestions do you have to make the most of your spring break? Let us know in the comments section!

From the Rio Olympics to Albright

As it gets colder and snowier, it’s easy to let your mind drift to warmer days full of sunshine. Some of us even daydream of the Rio Olympics- two weeks of sun, warm-weather sports, and temperatures that would definitely prevent snow. Abby Wolfe and Stacey Gawronski, both of The Muse, shared some insight on how we can incorporate lessons from the Rio Olympics into our everyday lives for success in the workplace or at school. Every student wants to do well in their classes, but it’s important to also take care of yourself in the process. Here are just a few of the suggestions that Wolfe and Gawronski provide:

  1. Get plenty of the right kind of sleep.  In other words, no all-nighters! Your body and mind won’t work effectively if they are deprived of the time they needs to restore themselves.
  2. Have confidence.  Clarify your goals for yourself, communicate them with others, and make your goals your focus.
  3. Take a break for fun.  There will be times when the to-do list seems daunting. Pencil some time into your schedule to get off campus, read a Buzzfeed article, or watch Carpool Karaoke. This will give your brain some time to relax and be ready to focus for your next round of studying.

There are many other ways we can emulate Olympic athletes to make sure we stay productive, such as finding ways to keep anxiety at bay, and eating healthy.  Learn tips from ten incredible athletes here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-olympic-athletes-daily-habits-you-should-steal-that-dont-involve-the-gym

Today is Your Day!

Welcome back, students! The campus was quiet without you. We are so excited to help you this semester as you choose your majors, write your resumes, apply to study abroad, and prepare for life beyond graduation.

It can be hard to get back into the swing of things as you come back from a long break.  Over the past few weeks, you were probably able to sleep in, or stay up late.  You didn’t have to prepare for exams or read chapters of a textbook. You weren’t juggling your time between class, club meetings, or athletic practices. It’s a tough transition! It may seem frustrating and overwhelming, but it IS worth it.  This semester is going to be the best semester yet- we can feel it!  Study hard, but also remember not to pull all-nighters. Be involved, but also remember to take time for yourself. Focus on being present, but also remember to think ahead to where you want your life to be in one year, five years, ten years. You can do it!

dr-seuss

Considering Your Major

When you’re a college student, the first thing you’re asked is always a variation of “so what major are you?”  This can be pretty uncomfortable if you haven’t selected a major, or have a major but aren’t sure if you like it.  If you’re in “major limbo,” it’s absolutely ok! Research has shown that, nationwide, over 75% of college students either come into college undecided or change their major at least once. To help you make your decision, the ELCDC has many resources available.  Here are some tips to get you started.

  1. Remember that even though you’re choosing your major, you aren’t choosing your career.  It’s important to take ALL of the skills you learn from your major and determine how you want to apply them to life after graduation.  You could be a History major that goes into technical writing.  You could be a Theatre student that goes into Human Resources.  You could be a Marketing major that goes into travel and tourism.  There are so many opportunities out there that will be a perfect match for you no matter what your major is.
  2. Consider your skills, values, personality, and interests.  It’s always important to know who you are and what you want to contribute to the working world. There are many assessments to help you determine these areas and help you self-reflect.
  3. Eliminate what you know won’t work.  Yes, it’s important to keep an open mind, but you also don’t want to spend 4 years studying in a major you know you won’t enjoy.  Don’t like math? You can eliminate accounting.  Don’t like biology? You can probably also take out anything medical related.  Life is too short to devote your college tenure to a major where you dread going to class!

Choosing a major can be a stressful process with a lot of hard decisions.  Keep in mind that you can always talk about your options with your friends, family, professors, and career counselors.

More Than A Vacation: Benefits of Study Abroad

This semester, many students have expressed an interest in participating in at least one study abroad opportunity. We’re setting up new exchanges and finding new scholarships to make this a reality for our students, and we’re excited about their excitement!  One thing we hope our students recognize is just how much they will get out of their time abroad.  Not only will they grow academically, but also personally and professionally. InternationalStudent shares 10 benefits of study abroad, and here are five of them:

  1. Take In A New Culture- You will have the opportunity to try new foods, hear new music, participate in new holidays and traditions, and get a feeling for a new history.
  2. Developing A New Language- Although the language barrier is often a fear for students, it can be a great opportunity to hone and new skill and break out of your comfort zone.  Even if you are going to an English-speaking country, there may be new dialects that you can learn.
  3. Personal Development- Study abroad provides an infinite number of possibilities to strengthen your professional skills. Through study abroad, you will gain an understanding of how culture impacts work life, the importance of communication, critical thinking skills, and remaining calm even when an experience is overwhelming.  These skills will be incredibly beneficial for you in the world of work.
  4. Education- Teaching styles and class structures vary from country to country, so you will have to learn to adapt and how to balance your time between doing well in classes and allowing time to explore your new host country.
  5. See New Worlds- Depending on the location of your study abroad experience, or even the program that coordinates the experience, you may have the opportunity to explore not just one country, but many!

To see the many other reasons why you should consider taking part in a study abroad experience, check out InternationalStudent at: http://www.internationalstudent.com/study-abroad/guide/ten-benefits-to-studying-abroad/ . What are other benefits of study abroad that you think should make the list?

Making the Most of Networking

One of our goals this semester is to offer more opportunities for our students to make connections.  With that, we’re switching from one large job and internship fair to smaller, more industry-specific fairs throughout the year.  This will allow students to network more and see what options are available to them, while still being in the comfort zone of their major. As we’ve discussed many times in this blog, networking, no matter how small and relaxed, can still cause anxiety for students.  Don Goodman from Careerealism has some wonderful tips to share for networkers.

  1. Set a realistic goal.  If it’s a large networking event, don’t be determined to meet with every single person.  Use the “quality over quantity” logic and have more meaningful conversations with fewer people.
  2. Be approachable. Networking is a two-way conversation. Be aware of your body language when meeting with recruiters, and don’t be afraid to make small talk while eating hors d’oeuvres. Of course, always remember to smile!
  3. Maintain rapport. Making small talk can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be work-related.  Maintaining rapport is simply keeping the conversation going and learning more about each other as professionals.
  4. Relax! Let the conversation evolve naturally. Giving off a relaxed vibe will feed into the second tip of being approachable. Keep in mind that a networking event or job fair isn’t a competition- it’s an opportunity for you to find quality connections.

To read all of Mr. Goodmans’ article and read his tips in depth, click here: http://www.careerealism.com/networking-events-making-quality-connections/

What to Avoid When Writing Your Cover Letter

Recently, we’ve had numerous students come in, stressing over their resumes and, in turn, their cover letters. They work hard to match their cover letters to each job posting, carefully pinpointing why they are the perfect candidate. When a student sees what goes into writing a cover letter, they find the process to be fairly easy and less intimidating. However, just as there are things that every cover letter SHOULD include, there are also things a cover letter SHOULD NOT include. Our friends at Careerealism have a great post on the six blunders you shouldn’t have in a cover letter. You can see the excellent examples- and explanations- in their article here: http://www.careerealism.com/cover-letter-blunders/. In essence, the six blunders are:

1. Writing a cover letter that is too self-serving
2. Coming off as overly desperate
3. Adding details that are irrelevant
4. Not proofreading and seeming careless
5. Writing a lacking, or too short cover letter
6. Alternatively, writing a lengthy cover letter

A cover letter is clearly about content and conveying how you would be an asset in a given role. However, just as there are things to avoid in a resume, there are also things to avoid in your cover letter. Remember your cover letter and resume are your first impression, and you don’t want either to put you in the “No” pile!

Make Small Talk, Expand Your Network!

One of our biggest events every fall is So You Think You Can Network.  This gives current students an opportunity to network with professionals and recent alumni. It is a chance for students to practice dressing professionally, use their elevator speech, and establish connections both in and out of their anticipated field. While the majority of our students walk away from the event feeling more confident about themselves, it is usually a huge source of stress before the event kicks off.  One of the most common questions we get beforehand is simply “how do I network?” Students don’t realize that they network all the time with their friends, family, community members, and faculty, simply by communicating with them on a professional level.

Our friends at the Culture and Manners Institute (http://www.cultureandmanners.com/) recently shared a wonderful anecdote about what networking means, and how important conversational skills are while job searching.

“The Etiquette Tip of the Week is a little late this week, as I am just returning from a trip to Japan.  On the way home, on an airplane between Baltimore and Chicago, I sat next to a gentleman in commercial real estate. I asked him what he looked for in job candidates right out of college.’ The main thing I want to know,’ he said, ‘is can they carry on a conversation?’  This is important he explained, because they have to be able to communicate with clients. He said he looks for eye contact, whether they researched the company, if they showed an interest in the company by asking him questions and if they can do all of this without checking or answering their cell phone. Practice your conversation skills.  Strike up a conversation with people around you while you are waiting in line, riding an elevator, waiting for a train or bus, or flying on an airplane. Dive into business networking events offered by your local chamber of commerce or your college alumni organization. Being a good conversationalist is simple: ask questions of the other person.  My conversation with the gentleman on the airplane began with some small talk about air travel.  He said he travels a great deal for work.  So I asked, ‘What do you do for a living?’ Some people will be very easy to talk to, while others will be like talking to a brick wall.  Don’t be discouraged, because it is good experience and part of your process.  The other benefit is you meet some interesting people and sometimes make a good business connection.”

We urge you to take advantage of any opportunity you can to improve your communication skills and feel more confident in your ability to network.  Force yourself to go for an afternoon without even checking your cell phone.  Take time to ask your professors questions during office hours or after class. When you visit a friend’s house, ask their parents about their work and what advice they have for upcoming graduates.  These small gestures will go a long way in helping you present yourself better while networking!