Goals for Students

Set goals, set goals, set goals!! As a student you are likely to have heard this many times. The reasons can include…“People who set goals are more likely to achieve success”, “Goal setting leads you to opportunities”  or “A friend of mine set goals and now he is rich.” So let’s say for argument sake you agree that goal setting is a good idea…what now? It is the process of setting goals that often bogs people down. As students, here are some places to get you started…next stop Successville!!

1) Attendance

Most students struggle with attendance. Have a class at 8:30am and that struggle becomes epic. Unfortunately there is a strong correlation between people who go to class and their relative success in university (and beyond). This represents a great goal to start with. Start by trying to estimate what percentage of classes you missed last semester. Then set a goal for yourself that improves upon that amount. For example if last semester you made it to 78% of your scheduled classes, this semester set a goal to attend 86%.

Helpful Tip #1 – transfer the percentage into number of missed classes. For example 86% might mean you can miss 4 actual classes. This will allow you to track your goal more effectively.

Helpful Tip #2 – Do not be unrealistic. If you miss a lot of classes, setting a goal of 100% attendance might be setting yourself up for failure.

2) Involvement

One of the hardest things to do when first going to school is to break out of our comfort zone and meet new people. We tend to hang out with people we already know and do things they like to do. This is especially true if you do not live on residence (which tends to force people to break out of their shells). Goal setting is a great way to help make sure you get more involved. Goals could include “join two new societies”, “get involved with student government” or “introduce yourself to 2 new classmates”. Setting goals like these will allow you to step up and step out!!

Helpful Tip #3 – Remember that if you are very shy, these goals may seem very difficult. Try setting smaller goals that are easier for you to accomplish. Accomplishing small goals gives you the confidence to tackle bigger ones.

3) Academic

We all go to school with hopes of getting good grades that will ideally lead us to good jobs. For many getting good grades can be stressful. Goal setting will not only help reduce that stress, it will also help you engage in what is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you will do well…you will, if you believe you will do poorly, you will. Set goals around your GPA along with smaller goals for individual tests, exams and assignments.

Helpful Tip #4 – setting these goals will drive action. If you goal is to get over 90% on an assignment you are more likely to start working on the assignment earlier and doing multiple drafts versus doing it the night before and handing it in….the action is what will help you get a higher grade.

4) Employment

We all want to get a great job upon graduation (unless you are one of the lucky ones that can afford to travel for a couple of years). It is never too early to start setting employment goals. Set goals around summer employment. Where you want to work, the type of job you want, what skills you want to develop. Also set goals for where you want to work after you graduate.

Helpful Tip #5 – Make sure your goals around work experience while in school helps move you towards your career goals after school.

5) Network

In many ways, your college experience will be about the people you meet. A great way to make sure you are capitalizing on these people is to set goals around your network. These goals can be about adding to your network “I want to meet 5 new people this week”, utilizing your network “I am going to get a written reference from one of my professors”  or following up with your network “I am going to invite 2 business contacts out for coffee in the next 3 weeks.

Helpful Tip #6 – As important as writing down your goals is keeping a written record of your network contacts. You do not want to have to go digging for a professor’s contact information a year after graduating.

6) Fun

Sometimes the best goals are the ones that are just for our own amusement and enrichment. Jump on the bucket list bandwagon and set some goals that are FUN!! Some of my own goals include “riding a camel through a desert”, “learning a second language” and “trying a new exotic fruit each month”. Think of some exciting goals to set for yourself.

Helpful Tip #7 – It is even better if you can tie your fun goals into your professional goals!!!

Now you have some great areas to start setting your goals!! If you just set one goal for each, you will be that much closer to success!!

6 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE POSTING ON SOCIAL MEDIA


We all get those urges to post on social networks when we are cracking up with our friends or after experiencing the most awkward moment in the mall trying to buy a pretzel. But should we? Is sharing our every thought or action online always a good choice?
Don’t get me wrong. Posting on social media occupies my life about as much as every other college student, but what rules or guidelines should we follow? When should you post to social media in general I’m not sure if there is a clear answer, but I have 6 important questions to ask yourself before posting anything.

1. What time is it?
Have you ever heard the expression “nothing good happens after 12:00?” Well as far as posting goes, nothing good happens after 10:00. At this hour, things become much funnier or much more stressful.

This leads to posts which either make no sense or are completely irrelevant. Don’t be that guy to crowd everyone’s feed with selfies while studying or hilarious jokes that aren’t funny at all.

2. Have I been drinking?
Again, everything seems more extreme while under the influence of alcohol or extreme amounts of coffee. If you have consumed large amounts of either of these, just don’t post. You’ll thank yourself later for showing restraint now.

3. Am I going to regret this post later?
If the answer to this is yes or you are unsure about the answer, don’t post it. If you are particularly sad, angry, confused, or in any other emotionally unstable state, do not post on any account. You are much more likely to post something you will regret. For example putting your roommate on blast for not doing the dishes is not always a good idea. You live with them after all.

Give yourself time to calm down and then share your thoughts.

4. Am I uploading a picture?
Is this picture relevant to only you? If it is, just keep it to yourself. Does this picture contain incriminating content? (Note: incriminating content can be anything from a red solo cup to a little too much skin.) While statuses are easy to pin on someone else/delete/forget about, pictures are not. You can’t deny that is your face.

(If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, this tip especially applies to you.)

5. When was the last time you posted?
 If your answer is under one hour ago, stop. Put down your phone, log off your account, and walk away. I know you think your followers want to see five selfies of you in a row on Instagram, but they don’t. They also don’t want to read the play by play of your dinner, study session, or your break-up. Less is more when it comes to the number of times you post that you are normal, etc. You should know by this point to censor yourself, but in case you don’t, be careful. Controversial topics/pictures could create terrible, awkward, embarrassing conversations.

6. Will anyone important see this post?
Important people include (but are not limited to): parents, professors, current employers, future employers (for when your current boss fires you), grandparents, your pastor, that really cute guy that you are trying to convince

To summarize: use your brain. Our world is changing and our “private lives” are not so private. We post all of our information on the internet, but the catch is, we control what we post. So, if you don’t want those college pictures to come back and haunt you, first don’t take them, second don’t plaster them on the internet.

studypodslogoStudyPods allows you to create a Pod to connect with your classmates and other students worldwide, form study groups, upload and share files, complete assignments and help each other get better grades. Check them out at www.Studypods.com

Summer Internship: Work or Vacation?

So its summer break already. This time of year again? The countdown is finally over. For some students, you have an entire 2-3 months of pure bliss waiting ahead of you. But, this might be the time to get that internship you been wanting to do out of the way. I have a little story to tell, I have a family member entering her college senior year this fall. Her fabulous schedule consists of working 9-5 at her internship. It technically is her last full summer and working like crazy isn’t so great. The internship itself is fantastic but I understand the urge to be free. What is the best choice for you? Here are some quick and easy ways to start weighing out your options.

Summer Plans
Did your friend text you about the beach this Friday? While you can’t expect to know all your summer plans, it’s best to schedule in all potential vacations. Don’t surprise your employer by making them question if you will ever show up for work!

Work Schedule
Maybe 5 days a week is too much. Never hurts to figure out a way to make your life easier, right?! Doesn’t a Monday-Thursday schedule sound awesome? You must speak up about your availability.

Negotiate Flexibility
Okay, you decided to stick it out at stay put. Well, you ARE the intern aren’t you? If you were a full-time employee it would make sense you had to commit to 9-5 schedule 5 days a week. But, let say you have dinner plans or need to leave early. Don’t be afraid to talk to your employer about having some days.

Other Options
Not in the mood for a full time gig? You do have options. You could always volunteer at local organizations. Plan your own schedule around volunteer events. You can gain valuable information and career skills from being a project volunteer leader.

Have fun this summer and don’t forget to grow.

Best,
Melissa Matos

What The F?

An F!!!

There is nothing worse than that moment when you have realized you have just failed a class. Thoughts start racing through your head…Will mom and dad find out? Will this prevent me from ever getting a good job? Will I get kicked out of school?

I know from experience how bad failing a course can make you feel. For me it was a complete shock. I was always a straight A student in high school and had never failed at anything, yet there I was in my second year of university with a couple of F’s to show for all of my “hard” work.

What did I learn from that experience?….Don’t stress!! Failing happens to all of us at some point in our life. We are not defined by the mistakes we make, we are defined by what we do when we make them. Here are some things YOU can do to make sure that you put that failure in the rear view mirror just like I did!!

Take one last look at the F you just recieved and then file it away under E for experience. The next course you take has A written all over it!!

5 Myths Uncovered About College

You hear about college in movies, TV, rumors in the cafeteria, older friends, but you never really know what it’s like to be a student until you’re there. Here are a few truths I uncovered when I got to college:

You can survive on caffeine and ramen.

While it’s true that caffeine provides (sometimes necessary) energy and ramen is a quick meal, you can’t survive on them. You need to make sure you’re getting everything you need nutritionally. If you’re only eating ramen, you need to take a multivitamin. The milk in your latte is not enough calcium.

Graduating early is no problem.

Graduating early is a legendary task that few people are able to achieve. It’s not just your major. Depending on your college and degree, there are about 60 hours of core, your minor, and outside-major requirements. If you want to shoot for this, you should probably have taken dual credit, be in summer classes most summers, and stay in constant contact with your academic adviser.

Everyone is partying/studying all the time.

If you look at a student’s social media feed, it will probably mostly be posts about studying or partying, but let’s be honest, you’re not going to spend all your time studying. And if you don’t have a job, you’re not going to spend a lot of time partying because alcohol is expensive.

You can skip class all the time/You have to go to every class.

Attending class is a balance. If you want to skip sometimes, it’s probably not going to be the end of the world. That being said, if you skip all the time, you probably won’t do well. Every student is different. Every class is different.

The freshman 15 is a rumor.

This will be most people’s first experience away from their parents. There’s no one to tell you not to eat those Chili Cheese Fritos at 3 a.m. No one to say drink plenty of water. And no high school state mandated exercise. The freshman 15 is real.

StudyPods allows you to create a Pod to connect with your classmates and other students worldwide, form study groups, upload and share files, complete assignments and help each other get better grades. Check them out at www.Studypods.com

How To Navigate A Networking Event

Nothing thrills me more than an excellent networking event. I had the pleasure of attending an event hosted by Creative interns and WeWork Labs. Feels like yesterday I was graduating college looking for a job.

Remember your first networking event? Lets get nostalgic here, think back! Remember the suit you wore to your first professional event? You were probably super excited to pick it out. Recalling the business cards you had to make? Probably by Moo or Vista Print. My first networking event well…was interesting. I had just graduated college a month earlier and ended finding a professional networking event in my neighborhood. Not gonna lie, the event…it wasn’t very “professional”. It was more like a big pick up scene at some local bar. That is why you have to pick and choose your events carefully.

I was very excited to be invited to WeWork labs and Creative interns event. WeWork labs, for those who don’t know, is the place for start-up to grow. Also, we had the pleasure of working with Creative interns (Click here to read Marc Scoleri’s Recent Blog Post).Creative interns is the place for those looking for great tools for those in the creative industry.

So this networking format was different from what I am used too. It was a handful of great of employers and prospective students mixing and mingling. The employers had to give 30 second pitches about their company and then students could pick and choose who they wanted to talk to. Cozier setting than most career fairs or networking events isn’t it?!
Got to talk to some fantastic students and many opportunities. It got me thinking about the art of networking. Equals6 offer great opportunities online and resources for mastering the skill. Attending at least one networking event monthly is a good practice for building your contacts list. Makes your life and your job search a whole lot easier when you know a whole lot of people.

Best,

Melissa

More About the Money

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Over the last few weeks our blogs have been focused on money. We have covered cheap and free things for students and identified ways for you to grow your rainy day fund. While learning to be frugal and save money is an essential skill, the next step is figuring out what to do with all of that money you have saved. Should you keep it all rolled up in a tiny wad in your sock drawer, let it sit in a bank account, invest in assets such as a new car or take it all and put it into stock market? The opportunities to manage your money are endless. Here are some things that you should think about.

What is Your Goal?

Do not save money just for the sake of saving. If you identify short and long term savings goals you are much more likely to take financial action Part of setting those goals is writing them down!! Make a list of what you would like… a new car, a house, money for a trip. Once you have them written down start figuring out how you are going to get there!!

Savings Account (not just a clever name)

Instead of keeping all of your money in one account, open a second savings account. A savings account is a great tool to help track your short term savings goals!! Let’s say you want to take a trip for March break next year and figure out that it will cost you $2500. You simply start putting money into your savings account, trying to reach that goal. When you get to a milestone (enough money for the flight for example) you take the money out and use it immediately. Not only will having a savings account help you reach your goals, by pre-planning the trip you avoid putting it on credit.

Future Retirement

Nobody likes to think about retirement when they are 21. That is however the best times to start thinking about it. Understanding compound interest will help you understand why. This might be a good point to take a deep breath, especially if math is not your thing.

Imagine if you invested 2,000 a year every year and your rate of return was 10% compunded annually.

  • In year one you would  put in $2000. At the end of the year you would earn $200 in interest ($2000 x 10%) leaving you with $2200.
  • In year two you put in another $2000, bringing your total to $4,200. At the end of the year you would earn $420 in interest. ($4000 x 10%)

What is important to see is that in year 2, $20 in interest is earned off of the interest you earned the year before. ($200 x 10%)

This is the concept of compund interest. Essentially you earn interest on interest.

So why does this concept show how important it is to invest at an early age? See the table below outling two different saving scenarios. Continue to assume $2000 per year at 10% rate of return.

  Age (Start Investing) Age (Finish Investing) Total Years Investing Total Personal Investment Final Value of Investments at Age 65
Scenario 1 21 27 7 $14,000 $664,000
Scenario 2 28 65 37 $74,000 $660,000

 

  • In Scenario 1, you start investing at age 21 and stop completely at age 27. Although you have only put in $14,000, by the time you retire compound interest will have grown your investment to $664,000.
  • In Scenario 2, you wait until you are 28 to start investing and you invest every year until you retire at 65. In this scenario you will have contributed $74,000 and when you retire you will have only grown your investment to $660,000

This shows how important it is for students to start investing in their future today. By starting at 21 years old you can save less but earn more!!

Practical Resume Tips: Don’t Lose Your First Dream Job

Preparing a resume and cover letter during your last semester can be an incredibly tense and stressful time. Everything is on the line. You’ve spent the last four years (at least) getting an education, and now you have to prove it.

We’ve compiled some tips to make sure your transition into the working world is smooth:

One Page Only

If your resume looks great but it reads like one of your college philosophy books, there is no way an employer is going to take time to decode your hidden messages. Be direct and concise. They don’t want to read your life story.

Also, if you’re just finishing college, they assume you don’t have much experience, and they do not want to read three detailed pages about your high school awards. Chances are if you’re being considered for an entry-level position, your potential employer knows exactly what they’re looking for. Don’t complicate it for them.

Format Consistency & Alignment

This seemingly insignificant portion of your resume is your future employer’s first look at how organized and systematic you are. If your alignment varies from section to section or if you tabbed over an area where you shouldn’t, employers will notice. Attention to detail can be the difference between a new job with a great salary and ramen-ridden unemployment.

Punctuation & spelling

You should always spellcheck. There is a wonderful invention standard on most document editing software that helps prevent misspellings. There is no excuse. Your potential employers will agree. It also helps to read a hard copy. You will catch things in print you didn’t catch digitally.

Sporadic punctuation may help you gain attention on your resume, but trust me. It is not the kind of attention you want. If you end one sentence in a list with a period, end all lines with a period. If you are not constructing full sentences, but put a period in any way… throw your resume away and start over. Commas are important, so use them correctly. Semi-colons usually aren’t necessary; use them sparingly.

Tense Consistency

Make sure if you “Have experience in” one thing, you continue to use the active present tense throughout your document (don’t revert back to “experienced in”). This small change in verbiage (And trust me. It is small.) could land you the job or leave you out in the unemployed pool of hopefuls.

Relevant Experience

If you’re the typical college student, you have probably jumped from job to job gathering as many hours as you can to pay bills. PLEASE NOTE: Not all of your work experience is important. No one cares that you folded shirts at Gap. If you play your cards right, you can create a resume that makes you seem perfect for one job and another resume that makes you seem perfect for a completely different job.

Your relevant experience is gold! Highlight skills each position requests, using the same wording when you can (without appearing to have copied it from their website). It’s all about versatility. Spend time phrasing your experience to demonstrate high problem solving skills instead of good decision-making.

Education

If you don’t have a 3.8 or higher, don’t put your GPA on your resume. We all know you may be proud of the 93 in Organic Chemistry, but it is better to leave out anything that may classify you as less than the best.

Including your education on your resume is debated among many professionals, so it is up to you if you want to include it or not, but we recommend you feature your strengths. If your education isn’t something you’re extremely proud of, don’t feature it. Brag on something you feel makes you more suited for the position.

StudyPods allows you to create a Pod to connect with your classmates and other students worldwide, form study groups, upload and share files, complete assignments and help each other get better grades. Check them out at www.Studypods.com 

Educational Skydive: Top 5 Ways Jump Right Into Any Project

I started telling people late last year I wanted to do something crazy, stupid, and adventurous.  I guess skydiving was the answer to my “problems”. Why do it? If you can find the courage to jump from 3000 ft, you can bet everything else will seem much easier. A few weeks before my grand skydive, I had to do a task that was pretty scary for me: A quick speech. Isn’t public speaking the worst? By nature I’m not a shy person but, like the rest of the world, speaking about a certain topic for more than 30 seconds in front of big crowds…ain’t my thing. Approaching my destination for the sky dive got me thinking about conquering fears. Fear is a natural part of life and an essential emotion. Nobody on this earth is fearless. From a potentially bad and daunting experience like jumping out of a plane I was able to learn some things that not only made it a wondrous experience, but could be applied to any fears we face.

//Planning Ahead//

I had to travel a little out of my way in order to get to this skydive center. I’m one who doesn’t leave the house without a google maps print out and I am always prepared with alternative directions. When you have an important project or presentation, it is great to plan ahead: Practice your speech, go over your presentation, and edit your documents. Do you home work before hand. Continue reading