Monthly Archives: April 2016

Finding a Job Immediately After College

If you wait to complete college to start thinking about finding a job then you might realize that the best ones are already taken. Considering the current economic scenario this is something that you can hardly risk. After all, you need to start earning money at the earliest in order to stand on your own two feet and also pay back your student loan at the earliest. The following tips will help you find employment fairly easily.

– Get plenty of inputs from your college’s career counselor: The counselor will be able to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses with specific reference to the kind of job that you are suited for. You will also get plenty of advice on how to write a good resume. The counselor will also tell you about the different types of jobs that fresh graduates generally get.

– Don’t miss out on career fairs at your college: Most universities organize these events so that students can have access to employers who are interested in picking up fresh graduates. Even if you don’t get job offers right away, you’ll learn how to deal with interviewers and will also have a better idea of what potential employers are looking for.

– Send plenty of resumes out: You ought to increase the chances of getting called for interviews by sending out lots of resumes to potential employers. Make sure that you write the resumes carefully and customize them to each position that you are applying for so that finding a job becomes easier. Your resume should also be accurate and up to date.

– Apply to the right positions: You do need to be aware that many companies offer only entry level positions to people just out of college and that the pay will also be quite low. However, it’s not a good idea to refuse these positions since most of these companies also give plenty of opportunities to you to climb up the corporate ladder.

– Network for a job: Ask your family members and friends for ideas about possible job openings. If you are qualified and have the right attitude then there’s a good possibility that you’ll be offered a good job.

It is a fact that you cannot really afford to be unemployed for long these days. Finding a job straight after college will help you get a good start on dealing with the bad economy.

Five Questions to Ask When Choosing a College

There are plenty of good colleges. But just because a college is popular among your friends or highly ranked by a magazine doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

Hanging out with your high school friends can be part of college, but it shouldn’t be the focus. Attending a college just for the comfort of your friends and the parties that will ensue is a quick path to dropping out. Similarly, just because a college has a prestigious basket weaving major doesn’t mean you will feel comfortable on campus.

To find the college that fits you must weight many factors. Here are five questions to ask when looking at potential colleges:

Do they have what I need? There are a couple of basic questions you should ask yourself when choosing a college other than “How many of my friends will be there?” First, ask yourself “What is my passion?” What are your future goals? If you want to be a writer look for schools with strong English and communications programs. If you want to be an engineer then a small liberal arts school may not have what you need.

What’s my size? Do you want to go to a big school or a small school? There are advantages and disadvantages to both. A big school can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it may offer more programs, options and opportunities. Smaller schools may offer more personal attention in the classes you take, but they may not offer as many majors. If you learn better with direct attention from a teacher then perhaps a smaller school is best for you. If you don’t mind the anonymity and enjoy seemingly endless resources, look into the larger schools.

What are my strengths? Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you find a school where you are more likely to succeed. Do you need study groups to be successful? Do you prefer alone time? Do you work better in large lectures or small discussions? Do you like tests or long-term projects? Find what a school emphasizes before you say yes.

What’s my address? Something that is important, yet often overlooked, is a school’s location. A big city offers an endless amount of fun and nightlife, but the campus may be spread throughout. Some schools in smaller towns are community anchors. Recreation activities at these schools are more focused around the university. Also, keep in mind the environment. Does the weather suit you? Too much heat or cold could make your school year miserable. You may want to look at schools in areas that suit your outdoor recreation needs. Not every school is located near hiking trails in the mountains or surf-friendly waves.

What’s plan B? Many students change their major once enrolling in college. Some even go through three or four areas of study. So before you commit to a highly specialized school be sure of your passions. You don’t have to decide on a major now. Giving leeway from the start of your college search could save headaches later. Examine more than one academic department at your school, and see what other areas of study interest you.

How to Study Smartly to Get Great Grades in College

image1-e1442692829271-300x300Students don’t really need to study hard at high school in order to get good grades, but college is a lot harder than high school, you have to work harder and smarter so that you can do great academically in college. Below are a few tips, which you could implement to help you get great grades in college.

Tip #1: You have to take note in classes

Not matter how good you are, taking notes at classes ease your revision later. You can use the traditional method of writing important points taught in the class into your notebook. Most lectures give printed notes for students as reference during the class session, but they may explain in further detail, by examples or case study, which you may need to note down into your notebook. So, always bring along a notebook into the class and write down the important points explained by lecturer. You will find that it is easier and takes less time in revision if you have noted down the important notes during the class session.

Tip #2: Record the class session for review

You can use the advanced technology such as MP3/MP4 recorder to record audio/video for playback during your revision later. You may need to get permission from lecturer before placing the recorder near the lecturer’s table for quality recording. There are many file conversion software available, which you can use to convert the recorded files into various file formats, which you can hear/watch them with any playback system. Moreover, if you convert the file with faster speed, for example 2X of the original speed, then you can shorten your revision time into half. This is one of the methods used by smart students to speed up their learning process.

Tip #3: Form a study group

Getting other students to help you learn and remember the class content is another smart way to learn faster. This is how the study group works out. The discussion in the study group that involves opinion from the members will trigger your mind more efficiently.

Tip #4: Talk to the other students in each one of your classes

You classmates may have extra or inside information that they may share with. So, you should try to keep yourself connected with your classmates. Ask them what they think about the class session just taught by the lecturer and give your opinion on it to share your thought. Don’t wait for other to start the conversation, take the initiative to make friend with your peer and will you find that the learning gets easier.

Tip #5: See your college professors at office

You have to find some time to meet up your college professors and ask questions to get better understand on the subject. When meeting with the lecturer, try to act really that you are really interested in the subject she is offering. Many college professions have vast knowledge in a particular area, which they may not explain the details during the class session. You will get a lot more information that is not taught in the class. Meeting and having discussions with the professors not only help you in getting great grades, but you will also create a network with people in the field known by the professors, who may help you to start your career easier after graduation.

Summary

In order to get great grades in college, you not only need to study hard, but study smart so that you will learn fast and easy. The 5 tips above are among the study techniques implemented by smart students to get great grades in college.

Tips for College Students From a Recent College Grad

1. It will not be the best four years of your life

Well that cliché lasted long. In all seriousness, I hope that when I’m 90 years old and looking back on my life, somewhere in there I had four consecutive years better than college. Don’t get me wrong, they are a good four years, and it can be as fun or as dull as you’d like, but I hope that you’ll have a better four in your life.

If being so drunk that you black out and forget your entire evening, trumps the first four years of your marriage or first born child; well, then you have a rather unfulfilling life ahead of you.

2. Get involved

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get involved with something. A group, club, even a fraternity. Those interactions are where you’ll make your lifelong friends. No one meets their future wife or husband at a bar at one in the morning after God-knows-how-many drinks.

When I first arrived on campus I was very interested in politics. So I went to the first College Republicans meeting of the year. I knew no one there, I went in, sat down, and listened. In retrospect it was rather abnormal for me to go out on a limb like that. During the meeting, an announcement was made for a new conservative newspaper that one of the members was starting up.

Again, going against my personal grain, I signed up. I went to the first few meetings, became layout editor, and the rest is history. Literally it is history, the newspaper folded after two years. However, the friends spawned from that group are not. I met my girlfriend of two and a half years in that group and my roommate of two years. Branching out and getting involved is where you meet your lifelong buddies.

3. Some classes really are “blow off” classes

College is an interesting place. There are people who have no idea what they are going to do in life, and there are people who know exactly what they want to do. I was the latter. I knew I wanted to do radio or some form of media. That eventually evolved into digital media and social media, but I was always confident what I wanted to do with my life.

If you are like me, I recommend ignoring some of the required courses the university will shove down your throat. Sure, Biological Anthropology might be interesting, but if you have already decided to stay away from science, why bother paying attention?

I will admit, there is a satisfaction when four pointing a class you could not care less about, but truth be told, if you know what you want, focus on it. I knew I wanted to be involved in media, so instead of stressing and working hard at required courses that did not interest me, I spent my free time producing media, volunteering at the radio station, and calling play-by-play for basketball games.

However, if you have no idea what you want in life, pay attention in those courses. So long as you have not ruled out the broad subject matter, listen and engage, you might find a gem that will be your calling.

4. Engage

Sitting in a classroom and taking notes is not learning. Memorizing information and spitting it out on an exam, is not learning. Unfortunately, in many ways this is the sad state of our “higher education.” In my four years I’ve come across plenty of professors that are more concerned about their research than educating the people paying for their research.

The fact is, some professors are just as lazy and disengaged as you are. The best professors I’ve had cared about the subject matter and cared that we learned it. Two of my most memorable professors were in my freshman year. One taught a lecture on Biological Anthropology. It was a required course; he knew most people would not be interested. But his magic was he made us interested. Instead of standing at the front of the room and lecturing, he would take the first ten minutes of each class and walk around with a microphone and ask students about their weekend or about the course material.

It was a fantastic way to take a 200 person lecture, and make it feel small. Furthermore, it broke that “fourth wall” between the professor and the students. All too often professors teach like theater actors putting on a show and reading from a hazily memorized script. Instead this professor was human with us, and in turn we were more attentive and interested in the subject.

My second favorite professor taught a small writing class my freshman year. He never lectured, instead he listened. That was his magic. He would throw out a topic and listen to us talk to one another. He would prod, poke, and play devil’s advocate, but mostly he would listen and make sure the conversation stayed on course. This led to fantastic discussions which resulted in even better papers from the students.

In short, the best professors you’ll have will be ones that listen to you instead of themselves. You might be comfortable only taking notes in a 300 person lecture, but don’t expect it to pay dividends when it comes to actually learning something.

5. Your professor does not speak the word of God

In some respects, professors live in a bubble. They are surrounded by incredibly smart academics studying and teaching very specific topics, and sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees.

When everyone around you believes something, it is human nature to assume that the majority feel that way. When you are surrounded by incredibly bright people and they all say the same thing, it is human nature to assume it is true.

Oftentimes it is not.

I spent my four years as a minority on campus; I was a conservative. Even more frightening for the academic crowd, I was an educated conservative. The horror!

I came across plenty of professors that tried to teach their opinions as if they were verified and peer edited facts. And when they did, I called them out on it. But it does not have to be about politics and it does not have to be that vocal.

Professors are human, they will make mistakes, and sometimes they will either accidentally or purposefully try to teach you something that does not quite pass the sniff test. If you notice this, say something. Again, engagement is the best way to learn, and fact checking your professors is oftentimes the best form of engagement.

6. Do not let alcohol define your experience

Part of the allure of going to college is the independence you receive. And part of the independence is the ability to drink, smoke, or ingest basically anything you want. Many college bound kids abuse this independence in their first two years. Most realize there’s more to this whole college experience than drinking, and they begin to implement my seventh piece of advice. However, the dumb ones continue all four years.

I was talking to a friend from work about our upcoming payday and she mentioned that she had to pick up her check in person. “Why,” I asked. After all there’s this great little invention known as direct deposit. “Because if I get it direct deposited I’ll spend all my money at the bar this weekend,” she responded.

I was shocked. She literally got a physical check so she could wait until Monday to cash it, otherwise it’d be wasted on overpriced alcoholic concoctions over the weekend. There is so much more to life than a sticky and dirty bar. I’ll let you have the first two years to figure that out. But if by your senior year you are still spending the majority of your weekends waiting in line to pay a $10 cover charge to get into a dimly lit groping machine, you are probably a lost cause.

7. Do what you love and do lots of it

No, this section does not pertain to sex with someone you love, read that again, it says do “what you love” not who you love. That’s an entirely different topic, one which I will not breach in this column.

At one point during my college life, I was juggling six jobs at once. Yeah, six. Granted not all of them were 15 or even 10 hours a week, but I legally had six different employers. On top of that I had a full time class schedule and, ya know, a life.

During a recent job interview I was asked how I managed to handle so much during my college career. My answer was twofold. One, I found the best way to stay on task was to have so much to do, you have no other choice. If I mismanaged even one hour of my time, I could seriously get behind. And two, everything I did I loved doing.

I was lucky enough to find jobs that fit into my major and my interests. I wasn’t washing dishes at a dorm cafeteria, I was designing websites, working on social media, and prepping to call play-by-play for basketball games. I sought out jobs that I would want to work at and that would further my education. There’s no reason you can’t do the same.

If you need a college job, check with your school first. See if there are any paid internships or people on campus hiring. If you are attending a big school I guarantee there are opportunities in the field you are interested in. Procrastination sets in when you dread doing work. However, you can avoid the nagging urge to shirk responsibilities by surrounding yourself with work and tasks that you enjoy. Life is too short, and your college career is too short, to waste time on stuff you are not passionate about.

8. Be passionate about something

It is hard to surround yourself with tasks you are passionate about if you have no passion. College is an opportunity to find that passion. Whether it be animals, helping inner city children, or curling (yes the Olympic sport) I’m sure you can find other likeminded passionate people on campus to interact with.

And I know it is a cliché but, find your passion and make it a career. If you really love animals, why be a financial planner? College is your opportunity to do what you love. It is also an opportunity to explore and find what you love. You have a 22-year window to be a one dimensional passionless human, find your passion in college and ride it for the rest of your life.

9. Savor it

I only graduated from college a week ago, but my biggest regret so far was that I moved too fast. I can honestly say college was the quickest four years of my life. It was like the sole traffic light in a small country town, blink and it is gone. For all the pain, stress, and headaches you will endure, you will also experience joy, happiness, and amazing people. There’s no need to rush through that.

Walk slowly. Eat slowly. Enjoy slowly. Do not rush to get to class, leave five minutes early and enjoy the walk. Don’t waste a beautiful Saturday evening at the bar, go find a lake and stare at it. College is the last four years of your life that are bound to education. The last four years subsidized by your parents. The last four years that you can skip class and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. Don’t forget to savor that.