How to Make the Most of Christmas Break

Well it’s that time of year again! You’ve made it through the first semester of the school year, and boy does break sound good! After finals have drained all of your energy, there is really nothing like getting to spend some quality time away from school work, relaxing, and being with people you love. Over this holiday season take time for some self-care and mental health with these five tips to make the most out of Christmas Break.

  1. Rest

Finals are like slow painful death for many college students, and whether or not they were that for you, you could probably stand a little extra sleep. For the first few nights you are home, try to prioritize going to bed and sleeping in. The holiday season can get a little crazy, so before it hits try to catch up on all of that sleep you missed over the semester.

2. Catch up with friends

College is a wonderful time to make new friends, but if you’re anything like me, you probably have some good pals back home as well. Take some time this break to catch up with the people you haven’t seen all school year while you’re all in the same place. Grab coffee, a meal, go see a movie, whatever it is you like to do!

3. Make goals for the new year

Break can’t be all play right? As the New Year approaches take time to make some goals for how you want to go about life next semester. Not everyone likes to set resolutions, but I find that making a list of things you want to accomplish in the New Year helps to set the tone for the future. Bonus, making this list will also help you feel more productive than if you just watched Netflix all day.

4. Read

Reading probably isn’t at the top of your list given you have just completed another gruelling semester of college. But listen, you can read for fun! For you this may look like a magazine, a fictional novel, or even a nonfiction work if you’re really feeling it. Which ever way you go, books are a great way to let your mind relax.

5. Enjoy the good ‘ole outdoors

It’s a little chilly outside, but fresh air will do you good! It’s easy to spend the entire week cooped up in your house or dorm while at school, so taking time to walk outside, play in the snow, or go skiing. Being outside is a great way to relax and breath in some fresh air and have some fun while you’re at it!

 

Whatever way you like to relax, take time to prioritize your health this break. Enjoy your time away from school and mentally prepare to come back refreshed in the New Year! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!

How to Get and Stay Organized

Do you feel overwhelmed with everything you have to do and not enough time to do it? Do you tend to lose items easily, forget appointments, or miss the due dates? If this sounds like you then, it might be time to get organized! Here are 5 tips to help you get started!

  1.     Tackle one area at a time

Getting organized isn’t something that happens overnight for most people. It’s honestly a lifestyle adjustment and you have to find the methods that work for you. Start with one area like your closet, your computer drive, or your bookshelf and clean. Once you have one area organized it’ll be much easier to work on other parts of your life as well.

  1.     Get a PLANNER

Whether this is on your phone, computer, or a hand-written version. Find yourself a planner and use it. Write down class assignments, plans for the weekend, and upcoming events. I like to map out dates that I know at the start of the month and then update my planner each day when new items pop up.

  1.     Set a Schedule

Utilize the calendar on your phone or your planner and organize your schedule. Schedule when you are working, when you are in class, and when you have extra activities. Look at what time slots you have available and utilize them! Give yourself a time to work out, a time to study, and a time to attend social events. Once you figure out a schedule, stick to it! This allows you to maximize your time every day.

  1.     Label everything…

Label your folders, note books, files, or drives on your computer so that it is easy to locate everything and you are not wasting time searching for an item. Labeling is a quick and easy tool that can be done by purchasing a label maker, handwriting with an easy to read writing utensil or naming the files and documents on your computer.

  1.     Folders people (IRL and on your computer)

Make a folder for each class on your computer, have a separate binder or notebook for each class or club you attend and then use it. Be sure to neatly save or file away any class notes, to do lists, or projects and be sure to place the date on the items to help with your organization.

Getting and staying organized can be a daunting feat at first, but after you start, you’ll never go back. Take one tip at a time and work your way through all 5. Give these tips a try, and enjoy the results of the new and organized you!

 

Written in conjunction with Christina Armbrester

How to Balance Work, School, & Life

Everyday we are faced with choices about what is going to fill our time. Sometimes we have the ultimate decision and sometimes our to-do list is made for us. Whatever the case, it is important to set boundaries for yourself around how much time you are going to dedicate each thing. College is all about getting a degree, BUT it is also about so much more. College is a time to learn about yourself, experience new things, and learn how to live with others. So as you move through the rest of this semester and into 2018, here are some tips for learning to cultivate work-life balance:

  1.     Make a calendar

Write down what’s important. You have to make decisions about what needs to get done and what can wait for another day. Try to map out a plan for each day, so you know what you should work on and what your time frame looks like.

  1.     Set alarms on your phone

Alarms seriously can be your best friend. It can be easy to lose yourself in whatever you are doing whether its scanning social media or writing a paper. If you set an alarm on your phone and give yourself time segments to work on different things, you may find that you have more flexibility in your schedule and that you get more things done. The hardest part of this method is making sure you stick to it.

  1.     Prioritize activities

Related to the first point, some people (and professors) may disagree with this statement, but NOT EVERYTHING IS WORTH YOUR TIME. Let me stress that one more time — not everything you have the opportunity to do is worth doing. This isn’t me telling you not to do your homework, but sometimes certain activities should take precedence over others. For example, studying for an exam is a little more important than attending a club meeting, and sometimes talking with a friend is more important than anything else you have going on. Be smart, but think through each thing on your to-do list and do the most important things first.

  1.     Schedule time for play

Trust me you can’t work 100% of the time all the time. You will get burnt out and you’ll end up not doing your best work. Each day take at least 20 minutes to do something for yourself. Whether this is reading a book, scanning the internet, getting on social media, going to work out, whatever you need to do to get your mind off your to-do list do it! AND don’t feel guilty about it.

  1.     Breathe and take breaks

Sometimes life gets a little hectic. It’s crunch time in most classes and the work (and group-work) is piling up. Don’t let this control you, similar to scheduling time for play, take a moment after between switching projects or completing work to breathe. Know yourself and take 5 minutes here and there to reset your mind, grab water, or stretch before moving on to the next thing.

Remember there are only 24 hours in a day, and you can’t be everything at once. Working on balancing life with work and school is an important thing to start practicing in college. I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have graduated from college and work full-time and they tell me it only gets harder to put boundaries on work and personal life. Learning what is best for yourself now, will help make future work-life balance easier!

How to Make the Most out of Family Gatherings

So it’s almost the holiday times once again, Uncle Joe and Aunt Marge will be in town yet again. You see the same people every year, but do you know what they do? Family (and friend) gatherings can be long and repetitive year to year, BUT use this time to your advantage. People love to talk about themselves and if you have no idea what you want to do, start by talking with people you’re comfortable with. Ask your aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents, and family friends what they do for a living. See if you can shadow them. On the other hand, if you know what you want to do already, you can still make good use of this time. Ask the people at your family gathering if they are in the industry your pursuing. Ask for contacts you can connect with; consider even asking if the company they work for is hiring or looking for interns. Remember to do everything genuinely and with respect, but don’t waste away the whole holiday season eating sweets…

Here a couple tips on how to start the conversation with friends and family around the table:

  1.  Ask your parents to introduce you

Chances are that your parents, aunt and uncle, or trusted family friend will know most everyone at your holiday get together. If you express your interest to them about a career interest you have, they will probably know someone in the room who is in that field. Having a parent or friend that knows the person you want to get to know will make the conversation less awkward to begin with and will make it easier for you to know where to start networking at your family event.

  1.  Grab a seat at the adult table

I don’t know if your family is like mine, but growing up we always had the kid table and the adult table. I don’t know if this was because they thought some of us kids were too messy or if they just wanted to have more grown-up conversations, but either way, I’m sure you have come a long way since 3rd grade. If you have the choice, grab a seat for yourself at the adult table. The easiest way to network with people is to be in close proximity to them and talking over food is way more casual and inviting.

  1.  Sit by someone new

Sometimes seating arrangements are preplanned (if you have any say in this order, then try to get a seat next to someone you’d like to talk to), but if it’s a free-for-all then definitely be strategic about where you sit. Ask your parents or relative if they know someone at the party who works in the field you are considering. Try to sit near this person and use the meal time to pick their brain and learn about what they do for a living.

  1.  Get the contact info

If you make a strong connection, or even if you miss the opportunity to talk with someone at your holiday event, double check with your parents, relatives, or family friends to make sure you get contact information for anyone you want to chat with moving forward.

  1.  Ask about winter break shadow opportunities

Finally, this tip is a little gutsy if you just met the person, but don’t be afraid to ask someone at a holiday get together if they wouldn’t mind letting you shadow them. Be careful not to assume anything or put any pressure on the person, as the end of the year can be a busy time, but don’t be afraid to ask. Chances are they will say yes, or at least let you call them to ask more questions.

The holiday times are a great opportunity to make connections with people who are either family or family friends. These people are more than likely already invested in your life in one way or another and would be more than happy to help you or talk to you about what they do. Remember these are the types of people that will be most valuable to you as you seek to begin your career.

Urban v. Country: How to Think about Places to Live

Growing up in the country,  I have always wondered what it would be like to live in New York City. It’s still my dream to one day end up there, but deciding where I want to live and work is a big deal and not something I take lightly.

If you’re like me and you aren’t sure where you want to end up, here are some ideas that may help you pick the perfect location to begin your next journey:

  1.     List out qualities that are important to you

Do you want to be close to family and friends? Maybe you want to be far away? Do you want to know all of your neighbors and be walking distance to any store? Whatever you think is most important, consider making a literal list and looking for areas that match what you want.

  1.     Set a limit on the distance from home you are willing to relocate

This relates to whether you want to be close or far from home. Family is really important to a lot of people, but sometimes as much as you love your family you want to move a go to a new place. Both decisions to stay near to or to move away from home are good decisions, but it depends on what works best for you. If you haven’t lived more than 2 hours away from home for an extended period of time, you might want to consider giving it try before moving away.

  1.     Research cities that have the best opportunities for the types of jobs you are seeking

Sometimes our ideal locations don’t always have the jobs we are seeking. It is important to remember that you have to make a living wherever you end up moving to, so make sure you are looking for jobs that fit the career path you are seeking as you begin to look at places where you want to live.

  1.      Look up the cost of living in your top 3 locations

Cost of living is a small detail that many people forget to think about as they are starting to look for places to work after college. Chicago, New York, and San Francisco sound like great places to live, but they also cost an arm and a leg to live there. Housing, food, and transportation will eat up your paycheck no matter where you live, but some places are a lot more affordable than others.

  1.      Weigh your options, pray, and talk with family and friends

Once you have a list of places that meet all of your needs and satisfy some of your wants, you should talk to people that you know and trust about your thoughts. For me, this would look like a lot of prayers mixed with talks with my parents and mentors.

Choosing where you want to start your life after college isn’t an easy choice, but where you start out doesn’t mean you have to end up there. People move all the time. Just remember that where you live doesn’t define you and no matter what you will always have a home with the people who love and care about you.

How to Use Social Media to Open Doors

It’s that day and age when everyone and their brother is on social media. From celebrity tweets to your grandma’s birthday pictures, social media connects the world in a way we have never seen before.

So how do you use this powerful tool to your advantage? Here are some tips for how to use social media like a pro:

  1.     Create a personal website

Okay, so it’s not quite social media, but you can definitely link it to your pages. This site is a place you can share your contact information, house your portfolio, and give future employers a way to get to know you. It is also a way to show off your design skills and personality.

  1.     Reach out to those people that inspire you

Have you ever been perusing Instagram and wished you could be one of those bloggers or adventurers you like to follow? Or do you follow any inspirational self-made entrepreneurs? The best way to find out how someone got to where they are now is to simply ask questions. You never know what can happen when you DM someone…

  1.     Post about cool opportunities you have had and tag others

Anytime you have the opportunity to do something out of the ordinary such as attend a conference, meet a speaker, or travel to an unexpected place, post about it. Do feel like you’re bragging, but rather you’re virtually recording your experience. Think of this more as creative resume documentation. Also, if your goal is to go into any sort of marketing/design-work/event planning type field, this will help you stand out!

  1.     Follow companies you might want to work for

Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, or some other platform you’re on, make sure you like or follow companies you are really interested in. You may not think they take notice, but believe me, they will check when they think about interviewing you. Another plus of following a company is it is a great way to get to know them on a more personal level and start to understand their culture.

  1.     Keep your pages clean

Everyone wants to share everything that is happening to them. It may seem like a good idea at the time to post that 2am selfie, but remember that once something is on the internet it is there forever. Before you post, think about whether your grandmother would be happy to see it. This seems cliché I know, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The internet is an amazing tool. It can open up so many opportunities for you, but it can also be an unforeseen enemy. Remember that if you post it, people can and will see it. Just think, with no more effort than you already put into social media, it may just be your ticket to the dream job you never thought you wanted.

5 Reasons You Should Pursue an Internship

This past summer I had the opportunity to work for Whirlpool Corporation as a Finance Development Intern. I didn’t expect to get an internship as quickly as I did or with that big of a company, and let me tell you, I wasn’t sure what I was in for when I showed up in May! But, this Summer was one of the most important experiences I’ve had so far. Here’s why:

  1.     Internships let you test out a company

You can read all you want about a company, but until you are able to get in the building and really see how people work you won’t truly know what it is like. Internships let you get a feel for how different companies operate. This will let you figure out what you like and don’t like about a company.

  1.     Internships give you experience you cannot get in the classroom

Remember that marketing presentation you had to do? What about that research presentation? Classwork is good practice to simulate some activities you may do on the job. However, no amount of in class work will let you truly know what it is like to work on a project for a company.

  1.     Internships allow you to test fields you might want to go into

If you don’t know exactly what you want to do, internships can help you figure out what industries you like and don’t like. For example, I thought I wanted to go into Finance, but after spending a summer looking at Excel, I realized that isn’t something I’m super passionate about. Internships are a low-stakes way to figure out what you may or may not want to go into before you take a job opportunity.

  1.     Internships help show you what you like and don’t like

As I have mentioned before, internships help you see the traits you like or don’t like about a company, industry, or culture. Maybe you like working collaboratively in a small office space rather than solo in a large corporation. Maybe you want international work and cross-functional communications on the job. Or maybe you want to serve at a missions-focused non-profit organization. Whatever the case may be, the only way to really discern what you want in a full-time job is to work like an actual employee.

  1.     Internships let you ease into #adulting

This is probably the biggest plus of an internship. Working a full-time or part-time internship is a great way to experience what life will be like after college. Sure it’s not exactly the same: the stakes are a lot lower, and you may be living at home, but internships let you experience real life as a working professional in whatever field you may go into. The time you spend at your internship will help you grow and stretch as a person outside of college life.

Essentially what I’m getting at with this Tip Tuesday is go GET YOURSELF AN INTERNSHIP! It doesn’t matter if you want to go into law, education, health, or psychology. Take time to shadow people, do an externship, or find a way to fully immerse yourself in what you might be doing in the future.

Despite what you might think, the people and the overall aura of a company truly matter beyond your work. You’ll see that looking at spreadsheets, helping patients, or teaching involve similar skills across all organizations, but it’s the people that make what you do a drag or fun and engaging. Internships will give a chance to test the waters of the industry you think you want to go into before you actually dive in, and trust me, your future self will be so grateful that you did!