#CareerNow: Getting on Track

CareerNow

I know you may feel like you are just starting to get settled on campus, but this is also the time to get focused on your career. If you are the type of student who is motivated by success and making a difference, then it’s important to start your career strategy now.

Students can experience a lot of anxiety and pressure about transitioning from college to their dream careers. So, with your campus bookstore, we want to help set you up for the success you deserve and help you showcase the talents you bring to the table. Time flies by quickly in college so it is important to build experiences and skills that will help you stand out in the workplace and your community after you graduate.

If you are taking the time to read this then you are most likely the type of student who will:

  • Do what it takes to maximize your career resources
  • Get experiences that will help you stand out from a crowd
  • Invest in your future

And this will pay off for you as you build a competitive advantage in the job market!

Launching this term, I’ll be sharing tips and advice; connecting you to helpful resources online and on campus; hosting twitter events and live workshops from campus bookstores across the country all about career prep. We will tackle the topics that you’ve told us are on your mind:

  • Networking
  • Personal Branding
  • Finding Mentors and Sponsors
  • Getting Organized
  • Internships
  • Developing skills that get you hired
  • Leadership and Influence
  • Managing stress and prioritizing your health

Send us your feedback and questions to yourcareeradvice@gmail.com or tweet me @joansnyderkuhl so we can bring you the resources that matter most to you! Even if our workshop doesn’t make it to your campus, we will make sure you have access to the information and strategies to launch your dream career right here on The College Juice.

Let’s kick this off with a must do list for your first 2 weeks back at school:

  1. Find a Mentor – a faculty member, leader in your academic department, a Dean, Graduate student or an Alumni are great people to get to know (It’s never too early to understand the value of building relationships with Mentors and Sponsors)
  2. Book an appointment with your Career Center (even if you are in your 1st year on campus) Learn more about your school’s resources, career fair schedules for internships and full time positions, employer and alumni connections. Develop a relationship with a career advisor so they will keep you in mind as opportunities and events arise around your interests.
  3. Get involved – on your campus AND in your school’s community. Most schools host a student activity fair within the first couple of weeks back to school. Make an effort to meet and get to know different organizations. If you don’t see an organization that matches what you are looking for then start your own!
  4. Plan to drop by Professor office hours – Prioritize the two courses you feel will be most challenging for you this semester. Introduce yourself and ask for their advice and expectations around best mastering this subject and staying ahead of assignments.
  5. Send a note to introduce yourself and share your excitement for being a part of this school to one of its top leaders– could be a Dean, President or Chancellor…Trust me, they want to hear from you and could be great sponsors throughout your education experience.
  6. Stop by your bookstore – check out the Career Section and the area with titles related to your major. Maybe pick up a journal to record your student and career goals to remind you how important it is to plan ahead.

Stay tuned to The College Juice for more tips and information. And we want to hear from you! If you have any questions, reach out at yourcareeradvice@gmail.com or tweet Joan directly @joansnyderkuhl

Written by Guest Blogger, Joan Kuhl

Joan Kuhl - Headshot
 Joan is a millennial career expert with more than 16 years of mentoring and coaching experience.  She has worked with students and young professionals around the world helping them achieve their potential.  Her efforts are focused on helping students to maximize their college and early work experience to accelerate their success. Joan launched Why Millennials Matter to help employers and organizations adapt their culture and programs to be sources of innovation and inspiration for future talent.
Full posts →

Back to School Checklist

As a kid, “Back to School” was a cringe-worthy, shudder-inducing time of year. It meant less time to play outside, the end of trips to the swimming pool, and back to tests and homework. Once you reach college, however, “Back to School” becomes an exciting start to a new chapter! There are new professors to learn from, new floor mates to hang out with, and tons of new activities going on on campus.  Be prepared for everything that comes your way with our handy Back to School Checklist! From ordering your books to planning out your dorm set-up, there is a lot to get done before classes start. However, it doesn’t have to be stressful! Plan ahead and you’ll have nothing left to do except be excited. Let’s get started with Step 1…

1. Order Your Books – This goes without saying. However, how your order your books can be important. Browse your bookstore website to find out which textbook options fit your needs. Looking to shop on a budget? Save big by renting used textbooks (yes, you can write & highlight in them!). Thinking of going digital? Check for eTextbook options.

Have everything all set before you even set foot on campus. Choose to order online and pick up on campus – the bookstore staff will have everything put together for you when you arrive! Now that is convenient.

2. Map Out Your Schedule – Few things feel more awkward than showing up to class on your first day…late. Save the grand entrance for another time and map out your schedule beforehand. After all, you want a good seat don’t you?

3. Get Your Finances in Order – No, we’re not saying you have to start investing heavily in the stock market or start researching mortgage rates. Simply find a way to manage your own budget in a way that works for you.

We are big fans of the app GoBank (And also, just so you know, GoBank is a business partner of Barnes & Noble College!). You check your balance without logging in, pay your cable bill or rent, send and receive money to and from friends and family all from your cell phone. It makes managing your money easier than ever. Members are free to choose what they want to pay for their monthly membership fee, anywhere from $0-$9. They’ll receive the same features, no matter what.

So maybe planning out every inch of your new dorm is a bit excessive, but it helps to plan out the general set-up of your room before you get to campus. Check your school’s website for dimensions or room layouts. If your room looks small or oddly shaped, it might be worth it to leave some of your extra stuff at home.

Check your bookstore website for their dorm collection! There you’ll find tons of supplies, electronics, and accessories all perfect for sprucing up a barren dormitory.

Reach out to your roommate and coordinate who will bring what. One of you might already have something, so there is no need for the other to go out and buy it. Work together to make your shared space as enjoyable as possible.

Two years ago we posted an article about how important it is to protect all of the technology you’re toting around. Laptops, cell phones, tablets…these items cost a lot of money and it’s important to treat them properly. Sites like Society 6 offer tons of awesome cases and skins, so pro-tech-t your tech in style!

One of our favorite new tech accessories comes from Guerilla. Add a fun case to your calculator in a variety of exciting colors (pick one up at your campus bookstore!).

We’re all guilty of the same packing method. You know – throw everything into a suitcase and hope you can squish it until it fits. Packing this way, however, often leads to extra items you don’t need and the inevitable face-palm upon realizing all of things you do need…but forgot. Beyond that, the disorganization leads to a seemingly endless unpacking session with half of your time spent searching through the bottomless pile.

When it comes to your clothes, pack like-items together (ex – jeans, tees, socks) and put heavier items (like shoes or coats) toward the bottom of your suitcase. Try rolling your shirts tightly together in order to fit as many as possible.

You also might consider grouping everything you need into categories – bedding, desk & school supplies, decorations, etc. That way you can unpack swiftly and correctly…and spend more time catching up with friends.

Really! It’s not a bad idea to think about the big picture. Is there anything specific you want to accomplish this semester? It could be academic – getting an A in Organic Chemistry. Or maybe you were thinking on a more personal level – expanding your group of friends. Whatever your goals may be, make sure they reflect what you want to get out of the new semester. Figure out how you can work towards your goals each day.

Looking for even more tips? Check out our Back to School Survival Guide!

Full posts →

How To: Office Etiquette

Summer jobs can be great opportunities for learning and growth, while also being social. If you’re new to the office environment, it’s very important that you learn and practice proper office etiquette to help you succeed. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. I’ll break down the basics for you in a few simple guidelines that will have you being the model employee in no time!

Remember to Smile!

No one likes a grumpy cat, so be sure to put a smile on and start the day with a positive attitude. People around the office will be more open and welcoming if you’re smiling. You’ll radiate happiness and confidence! To quote the famous Annie, you’re never fully dressed without a smile.

Keep Business and Personal Separate

It’s okay to mingle and converse with co-workers, but make sure you’re not dragging personal issues into the office. Keep the topics relatively simple and try not to ask questions that are too personally inquisitive. You don’t want to create drama in the office.

Clean Up Social Media

If you’re on social networking sites, either keep them clean (i.e. no profanity, no using them while in the office, don’t talk about work, etc) or make your accounts private. You may think your boss won’t check, but they will. Remember, the internet is a public forum.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say Hi!

A simple “Hello!” or “Good Morning!” shows your co-workers that your open to being social and eager to meet new people. If you’re shy, you don’t have to go out of your way to talk to co-workers, but always make sure you respond when you’re spoken to. Not acknowledging someone in the office can get your reputation off to the wrong start.

Stay Off Your Phone

It may be tempting, but don’t use your phone while you’re at work. It’s okay to have your phone with you in case there’s an emergency or you receive an important phone call, but keep your phone on silent. Do not play games, check social networking, take personal phone calls/text, or take pictures. Some offices have strict security rules and taking a picture of your desk can have serious consequences.

Follow Instructions

If your boss asks you to complete something, make sure your work is neat, accurate, and completed in a timely manner. It’s important to always do your best work and follow all instructions. If you have a suggestion, wait until your task has been fully explained to you and always be very polite and cautious of your wording. You don’t want to come off rude or sound like a know-it-all. Which brings me to my last point.

Voice Your Opinion

If you think you have a good idea, say it! People like to see critical thinking and participation in a discussion concerning the company. It shows that you’re ambitious and you care about your work. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in the shuffle. The people who stand out are the ones who speak up.

What tips do you have for office etiquette?

Written by Guest Blogger, Chloe Leach

Full posts →

Surviving Summer Session

The dreaded words since high school… summer school! Believe it or not, many college students have to take summer classes. It could be because they need to retake a class because of a not so hot grade, but it might just be so they can stay on track with graduation…this is normal! I can honestly say that all of my friends have at least taken one summer class! Myself? I’m on number three…

Get organized with a calendar.

Think you don’t have time for a summer class? Think again! During my first summer class (which was a 45 minutes away, every day for six weeks), I was also managing a clothing store. This summer, I am working full time (1 ½ hour commute each way), with a part time job on the side while taking TWO classes. The classes are online, with only one day of commuting but online classes can be just as difficult as traditional courses. I’m not telling you this so you feel bad for me and my “busy bee” schedule. Instead, think of it as motivation for working out your own schedule!

To give you the last little boost you might need, here are some tips that ALWAYS work for me during summer session.

How to survive:

Prioritize!

Yes you want to go to the shore with your friends for the week but school is a little more important than getting a tan. My 21st birthday happened to fall during my first week of classes and work. I made time to see my friends, but still got up at 5:15 for work the next morning!

Time Management is key.

You MUST plan your weeks ahead, especially if you are juggling many things at once. You also must be prepared. Plan your homework, study, and leisure times. Also, be sure to read all of the information about due dates and expectations from your professor so you are not caught by surprise later. For example, I know I have two discussions and an exam due on Sunday night. However, I’m planning to visit my sisters to see my baby niece that day…and homework is the last thing I want to worry about. The solution? I handed in my work today! A great way to plan ahead is to use a calendar, agenda, or post-it notes so you can visually see your work load and be able to check things off a list, that’s my favorite thing to do! Set reminders in your phone if you have to, just stay on track.

Set Goals

This goes along with time management. Set goals with reading time, study time, etc. Based on your schedule for the week have a goal to read everything by Wednesday, finish your written assignment Thursday, and take your exam Friday.

Study!

Summer does not equal slacking. How will you pass exams if you don’t study? This is especially important if you are taking online classes. Sitting in a classroom helps you absorb a lot of the information (of course you will still need to study!). However, online classes force you to teach yourself and really focus. Besides learning the information at hand, give yourself plenty of time for study so you can really get the concepts down, but also seek help if needed. If you wait until the day it is due you probably won’t be able to receive much help. Also – because you are probably living at home, make sure to study in a quiet place away from everyone else. Studying in bed with the TV on and your little siblings running around probably is not the best idea.

Work with Work…

Your boss will understand that you are taking classes. If you need to only work four days instead of five a week talk to your boss! Even if you can’t have the day maybe they can offer you some advice or solutions to lower your stress levels.

Flash card envelopes.

I don’t know how you study, but I need music playing, I need to reread and rewrite the information, I need something to snack on and a drink, and I need every single thing I need to do written in front of me. Sometimes, I even go so far as to make a million flash cards and use two envelopes to test myself! If I know the answer it goes in the “IK!” envelope, if I don’t the flashcard goes in the “IDK” envelope.

Use your resources.

Professors are your friends! If you’re struggling, ask for help. Summer sessions are much shorter than full semesters. Because they are so compact, it’s important to ask for help as soon as you need it. If you wait until the end there is little time to recover and pull your grades back together.

R&R!

This is the most important. Summer is a time to rest and relax! Plan times to go to the beach with your friends, have a campfire, or just take a nap! If you plan ahead and use your time management and goal setting skills you can plan to have a free weekend, every weekend! That’s why I’m finishing all my work NOW so I can go to my sister’s house!

This is your summer; use it to your advantage!

What other helpful tips do you have about surviving summer classes? Post them in the comments below!

Written by Guest Blogger, Maria Cafferata

Full posts →

A Handy Chart: The Shelf Life of Food

I sometimes wonder whether things are truly OK to eat after they’ve been left out on the counter or in the back of my freezer for 6 months. Here’s the deal on how long you can leave stuff out, when leftovers need to go, and what “expiration date” or “best by” really translate to. Seriously important stuff! No one wants to get sick right before Spring Break (yuck!). See the full (downloadable) list here.

Full posts →

Full posts →

Phenomenal Summer Jobs and Where to Find Them

Not all summer jobs are created equal! Singing for tips at the local ice cream shop may be an easy way to put money in your pocket this summer, but if you want to delve into a new experience or just do something different, you may want to check out some of your more exotic options. It’s still early in the game, but many internship programs expect their applications to be completed by March. Get an early start by taking a study break to research some of these awesome opportunities:


Under the Sun or on the Beach
Love being the outdoors, up in the mountains, and playing in the sand? There are job boards out there, like Cool Works, which connect you with employers in amazing locations. The site offers jobs at U.S. National Parks, resorts, ranches and elsewhere.

Employers everywhere from Alaska to Maine are looking for seasonal staff. Many offer free or very inexpensive housing. In addition, many of these jobs offer perks:  free golf passes, fitness classes, and horseback riding lessons could be just another part of the package. Add in working with other students from all over the country, making new friends, and make some cash? Deal!

Poolside Positions
Many hotel and resort operations offer have programs where they hire teens and college students for their busy summer season and will pay for lodging, meals, and even travel expenses. These positions are not generally high-paying, but can be great customer service experience. Also you will have all the perks of a luxury resort in your free time!

Some of these resorts look to hire front desk representatives with some experience in customer service, so if you’ve held a retail or restaurant job part time you may be qualified. Some resorts have a preference for multilingual speakers, but many will hire English speakers who can pick up a few words in the host country’s language.  Season Workers is a good place to start your search or at least get some ideas. They’ve got great options to narrow down your search to find the perfect position!

College is the time to experiment, try new things, and get a feel for the world. It’s the time to realize what type of places you may want to work and live, what kind of real-world skills you possess, and what type of skills you… don’t. What are your plans for this summer and where will you end up?

Full posts →

Terrible Professor this Semester? Read This.

My worst professors were truly cringe-worthy. Need an example? Junior year, my advisor recommended I take “The Search for Life in the Universe,” to get a non-lab science class out of the way. The fact that I purposely skipped physics in High School in favor of taking nutrition did not faze me in the slightest. I did not stop to think about what kind of person it takes to get a PhD in the study of extraterritorial life. I did not do what I should have done and immediately log onto RateMyProfessor.com. Bad choice.

Know What You’re Getting Into

The most useful advice I have ever received for course enrollment is to always use RateMyProfessor.com, or talk to someone who has previously had this professor, before signing up for the class. You’re paying for your education, and having an interesting and organized professor is the first step toward getting your money’s worth. Information will allow you to choose a Professor whose class you will enjoy and do well in.

There are several things to take into consideration before signing up for a class: Does this Professor has a fair testing and grading system? Is the amount of work expected equal to the credits received from this course? Is this teacher’s curriculum style best suited for your learning needs? Each of these variables can affect your performance in the course.

Act Fast

Within the first week of “The Search for Life” I realized that the description for this class should have mentioned a Physics prerequisite. I did not need any knowledge of astrophysics, however, to figure out this Professor zero interest in people doing well in his class. I had neglected to do the research and now I had to make a quick decision whether to drop or change the course. If you notice one of these early signs of a bad professor, it may be time to get out while you still can.

Check your options immediately. You may be able to change classes. If there are other sections with a different professor you may be able to switch easily. If that’s not an option, you may be able to swap this course with another one that satisfies the same requirement before the Add/Drop period. If it turns out you’re just stuck taking this awful course it may be time to flip the switch into survival mode. Surviving doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. Chances are your peers are also having difficulties.

Talk to the people around you

Find out who takes really good notes, or perhaps has had prior experience with the material. Even better, find if anyone has had this professor. There may be tricks to predicting what will be on the tests. While taking an excruciatingly specific anthropology class for my International Studies minor, I realized some of the Anthropology majors in my class had taken several classes with this professor. They were able to not only help me study, but give me useful tips. They explained that although there were 3 required texts, this guy only pulled test questions from the book he had written himself - typical. The takeaway from this is professors and their teaching styles vary greatly. Whether you’re looking what courses to sign up for, or you’re enrolled in a miserable class, information can make all the difference.

 

If all else fails – just be glad your professor isn’t Severus Snape.

Who’s the worst professor you’ve ever had? Stay tuned for more college survival tips!

Full posts →

Managing Your Money

College is expensive so saving money becomes a top priority during those crucial academic years. It’s easy to fall prey to many of these common problems when you’re preoccupied with group projects and lab reports but, with our help, you’ll be on the road to financial responsibility.

Problem #1: You have a meal plan, but you order out almost every day.

Sometimes it’s good to treat yourself to food besides what’s available in the dining hall. However, if you’ve already paid for a meal plan, ordering out constantly is a big waste of money. Try switching things up in the dining hall or consider getting a smaller plan for next semester.

Problem #2: Parking on campus is a pain…and you’ve got about ten tickets to prove it.

When you’re running late, it can be very tempting to leave your car in a “No Parking Zone in order to make it somewhere on time. However, all of those tickets really add up. Consider leaving earlier, taking public transportation, or carpooling with friends instead.

Problem #3: Your dorm room has damages but you don’t feel like reporting them.

If you didn’t cause the problem, don’t get stuck paying for it! If you notice a paint chip or even a missing screw, report it to your RA or Building Services. Furthermore, take care of your room and don’t cause any damage yourself.

Problem #4: You forgot to pay your credit card bill on time…again.

In case you missed our College Credit Cards: Do’s and Don’ts post, building credit is important – IF you do it properly. Credit card companies make money off high interest rates and customers that don’t pay their bills on time. Set an event in your phone’s calendar and pay on time, every time.

Problem #5: Skipping college discounts.

Tons of companies offer discounts to students if they have their college ID. Don’t pass up a discount simply because you don’t want to ask if one is offered! College students can get discounted prices on practically anything – from computer software to restaurant food.

How do you save money when you’re away at school? Post a comment below!

Full posts →

The Roommate Diaries: Keeping the Peace

Even if you’re blessed with a great roommate, there is still a chance you two will hit some bumps in the road. When you’re living in a tight space with another person, it’s only natural to hit some rocky patches. The trick is to prevent slight disagreements from exploding into unnecessary battles. Preventing a blow up will save you both time and energy.

1. Take a step back. Before you get worked up over something, relax for a minute. Are you really that angry that your roommate left the window open or are you actually stressed about your upcoming Finance midterm? Make sure your anger isn’t misdirected before you bring it up to your roommate.

2. Pick your battles. Just because you like to have your closet perfectly organized, doesn’t mean your roommate operates the same way. Unless his or her clothes are overflowing onto your things, chalk it up to accepting your differences. It’s not your job to pick at everything he or she is doing. Focus on the bigger picture.

3. Communicate effectively. If something really is bothering you and the time has come to speak up, pick your words (and tone) carefully. If you launch into an issue in attack mode, your roommate is going to respond in the same manner. Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill – be honest, but calm. Rather than sit back and criticize, offer a solution to the problem.

For more roommate advice, check out our other posts below:

Roommate Survival Guide
The Roommate Diaries: Making a Good Impression

How do you keep the peace with a roommate? Post your advice below!

Full posts →

You’ll Never Skip Laundry Day Again

No one, especially no one in college, ever really looks forward to doing their laundry. Well, what would happen if laundry bags had reminders written right on them? Check out these bags that will definitely get you inspired!

 

You’ll never skip laundry day again! With these fun bags, washing your clothes will seem less like a chore. Which is your favorite?

Written by Guest Blogger, Myles Marcus

Full posts →