graduation

Link Love Thursday: Don’t Call Me “Bae”

Batman-Dick-GraysonHope everyone is having a fantastic week! Summer officially begins on Saturday, so I’m excited to log some more days by the pool on the rare occurrence that it’s not raining in Florida. How are you spending your summer? You can start with a peek at this week’s Link Love, and post your own favorite findings in the comments section below!

What are some of your favorite articles from the last few weeks?

The Post-Grad 15: Advice from Readers

graduationTime to turn your tassels, ladies and gentlemen. Graduation is in the air! :)

Normally in May, I collect 15 tips from college students and alumni specifically geared toward your undergraduate years (see Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3), but my focus shifted slightly after receiving my Bachelor of Arts last year. After a year in the workforce, I shared 15 of the lessons I learned since graduation, and decided that this year’s advice from readers should also focus on life after graduation.

Whether you just graduated or are just beginning your college career, you will learn a lot from this month’s blog. Several talented bloggers and professionals have come together to provide their insight into life beyond the classroom, and I am happy to share their words of wisdom with each of you! Be sure to check out their blogs and social media, and add your own tips and questions in the comments section below.

Oh, and to all of those recent/upcoming graduates, congratulations!

The Post-Grad 15: Advice from Readers

1. “Make a list of every possible career path you can take with your degree, along with things that you find yourself doing in your spare time. Don’t immediately reject any opportunity you may come across either, no matter how off the wall it seems and especially if it’s on your list. Finally, stay positive throughout it all. You’ll figure out your career with time, so just enjoy this chapter of your life and know that the best is yet to come.”
- Nicole Simmons, University of Central Florida, Advertising/Public Relations major (Website: Nicole M. Simmons)

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perfectionist-image2. “Not everyone is going to work as hard as you. I’d like to believe I have always been a hard-working and diligent perfectionist. If I promise something is going to be done, it will get done (even if it means I practically sleep at the office). I have learned however, that even seasoned professionals don’t always work as hard as they should. Not everyone cares as much as you do, and it’s an obstacle you need to mentally overcome. Don’t let it discourage you from working to your potential.”
- Christina Frost, University of Florida, Applied Physiology & Kinesthesiology major

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3. “It’s a tough world and finding a job here in the UK, even as a graduate, is hard. Just go to Uni/College, do something you love and enjoy every minute. Employers don’t mind too much what your degree was in; they want to see you stuck to something that a lot of people can’t, and they will see you were determined to better yourself.”
- Kenzie Harvey, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), Performance for Stage & Screen major (Blog: Lemonaid Lies, Twitter: @LemonaidLies)

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4. “It’s okay to feel completely lost straight out of school. You spent the past 18ish years educating yourself and the world is a big adjustment, but you’re not alone. No one in their 20s has life all figured out, and if they do, they’re probably missing something huge. And always take time to take care of yourself.”
- Jennifer Zhou, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Chemical Engineering major (Twitter: @sprawlingdivide)

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lifebeginssmall5. “Step out of your comfort zone. If you want something you’ve never had, then you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.  Don’t be afraid to take chances.  One decision may change your life, but it certainly won’t ruin it.    It wasn’t until I left my job and blindly backpacked through Europe, that I found true happiness and purpose in my life.  Take the leap.  Believe in yourself.  Opportunities are everywhere, and it’s up to you to make your dreams come true.”
- Max Pankow, University of Florida, Finance major (Blog: Motivate Your Plate)

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6. “Here’s two things you should definitely do before you graduate: Apply for a study-abroad program and get an internship. You will be hard pressed to find a more eye-opening experience than living abroad on your own, and a degree is virtually useless without hands-on experience in today’s market.
- Jorge Rincón, University of Central Florida, Economics major

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7. “My advice is for college students to meet as many people as possible. Go to networking events, meetings and socials; join social and mentorship organizations; sign up or run for leadership positions to boost your presence in the community and show people what you can do. Make an impression. In the future, you’ll be remembered for your involvement and contributions, and your network will become one of the things you’re most thankful for.”
- Kevina Lee, University of Florida, Journalism major (Website: Kevina-Lee.com, Twitter:
@kevina_lee)

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72e0ad8cc08481dced5879b8099ea09c8. “A big change when moving from college to post-college life is that a lot of your built-in daily support system is displaced: roommates, friends, professors, RAs and other fixtures of college life are no longer quite as accessible as they once were. Sometimes the newfound ‘alone time’ or ‘quiet time’ feels strange or isolating as you navigate early adulthood.

But oftentimes, the moments that feel the most lonely are sometimes the best reminders you are connected to everyone else. Because everybody on this planet has experienced sadness, felt heartbreak, been sensitive to rejection, laid in bed at night with tears coming down their face. The moments that feel the most isolating are usually when you are experiencing the most universal feelings.

With that in mind, my best advice for post-college is to not be afraid to reach out when things feel tough. Something as simple as a text message that says “I feel sad today” to a friend or a parent can get you a little support, and help you deal with some unhappy feelings until things get better. Which they always do. Everything in life, and especially in your 20’s, is always getting just a tiny bit better, even if some weeks the ‘tiny bit’ feels extra tiny.”
- Molly Ford, Northeastern University, Smart Pretty and Awkward*

9. “Always remember that being good at something doesn’t make it exciting. Find what it is you’re passionate about and chase it for as long as it takes. Five years from now, you’ll be happy you did.”
- Mercedes Reinhard, University of Central Florida, Advertising/Public Relations major (LinkedIn: Mercedes Reinhard, Twitter: @isitbutadream_)

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Maybe this isn't the best example of mentorship, but you get the idea!

Maybe this isn’t the best example of mentorship, but you get the idea!

10. “My piece of post-grad advice is to find mentors who are able to guide you in areas of your life beyond just your career (but you need the career ones too) and seek out their advice when you need it or just check in and bounce ideas off of them. And no matter where your life plans and path take you, stay in touch!
- Kaitlin Border, University of Central Florida, Accounting major

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11. “My first year as a post graduate and young professional was wrought with highs and lows. I’ve learned so much that college didn’t prepare me for, but I wish someone has advised me to make time for myself and the things I find most important. I love my job, but I made a mistake in devoting myself COMPLETELY to my career. My advice is to focus on your career, but be sure to also make time for yourself, your friends, your family, and your health.”
- Beth Ginsburg, University of Central Florida, Elementary Education major

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12. “Talk to strangers. Actually, talk to everyone. This goes against one of the cardinal rules your parents taught you growing up, but now that you’re a “grown up,” toss that piece of advice out the window with your twin XL sheets and your astronomy textbook. Everyone has a story, or an idea, or a friend, or a piece of advice that has the potential to simply, yet chaotically, flip your entire world upside down. It’s important that you silence the butterflies in your stomach and reach your hand out to say hello and to introduce yourself to every person around you. Maybe you’re at a networking event and you’re just hanging, idly, by the bar. Or you’re sitting on a park bench, in silence, next to a guy who is also sitting there, in silence. Perhaps you’re on the subway admiring someone’s nail polish color or you’re in the elevator and the person is getting off at the same floor as you. That one ‘first move’ hello is all it takes in this real world to teach you something new. And in this real world, you won’t find lectures or a syllabus or a textbook the size of your coffee table to teach you things. The most important things you’ll learn out here come from the people standing right next to you. It’s that simple.”
- Jen Glantz, University of Central Florida, English and Journalism major (Blog: The Things I Learned From, Book: All My Friends Are Engaged, Twitter: @tthingsilearned

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prof-farnsworth13. “University leaders will be your advocate. It is very easy to get wrapped up in academics, friends, and social life that you might forget about the other people on your college campus who have the potential to strengthen your network.  Some of the most influential and interesting people at college are the employees that work at your university.  The directors of the departments, the deans of admission and administration, the list goes on. These people can not only mentor you throughout your undergraduate career but can also help set groundwork for your career by inviting you to attend important dinners with university leaders or even make a call to a friend for your first job interview. In my personal experience, the leaders at my university laid the groundwork for some of the most important experiences on my resume.  I participated in small job opportunities in their organization and that small job turned into lifelong relationships that still positively influence my professional journey.”
- Lexi Butler, Stanford University, Communications and Spanish major (CEO of The Grown Up Truth, Twitter: @lbee27)

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14. “Don’t take things, or yourself, too seriously, and stop worrying about the little things outside of your control. You are still young, in your early- to mid-twenties, and contrary to what you may think, you do not know everything. You’ll face adversity in time, so be prepared to roll with the punches that life will throw you, and remind yourself that you are not entitled to anything (besides being treated decently by others, which you should do as well). Work hard and be persistent with what you want in life, but be sure to make the time to take care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.”
- Branden McCreary, University of Central Florida, Pre-Clinical Health Sciences

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15. “If a recent graduate has a specific job in mind during the application process, I would advise them to research former employees who had the same position. As important as it is to get to know who you’d be working with, it’s even more important to learn where a job might lead – did those individuals get the skills they needed in this position to land a killer job at the next level? If you feel it’s appropriate, you should even reach out to them to ask how their experience was.
- Kacie Boniberger, University of Central Florida, Advertising/Public Relations (Twitter: @kacieboniberger)

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A huge thank you to our wonderful contributors! :) Be sure to check out their blogs and social media.

Readers, what tips would you offer to upcoming/recent grads?

Link Love Wednesday: Tina Belcher Edition

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Happy Hump Day! The weekend may seem far away, but keep your chin up: it’s a long weekend. :) In the meantime, enjoy this batch of Link Love and hold on tight. Friday will be here before you know it!

Preparing for the Workforce: Why Learning to Write Well is Worth Your While

It’s official: we are in the midst of graduation season! In honor of the fabulous class of 2014, Webucator has launched its latest campaign to teach new grads the essential tools they need to succeed in the workforce. I was honored to be asked to take part in this campaign by sharing a post about what I consider to be a valuable skill for recent and upcoming grads who are applying for jobs.

There are many skills out there that will benefit young graduates, but today I’d like to discuss one skill that is near and dear to my heart: the ability to write well.

We tend to assume that writing skills are only important for journalists, novelists and marketing professionals, but writing plays a huge role in the first impression that you give employers, regardless of the career for which you’ve applied. Proper spelling and grammar, varied sentences and a decent vocabulary can go a long way!

YouHadMeEven if your job isn’t particularly heavy on writing, you will still find yourself composing emails, creating reports and communicating through the written word in some way on a daily basis. If your resumé and cover letter are written poorly or contain sloppy mistakes, employers may see this as a reflection of your future job performance, and may even pass over your application because of it.

Writers and non-writers alike, here are some ways to improve your writing in time for job applications! — Tweet this!

  • Good writing comes with practice.
    Even if you hate writing and consider yourself a terrible writer, there are ways to improve over time. The more you write, the better you will get. No writer is perfect, but practice makes progress!
  • Read your writing aloud.
    This is the best way to catch mistakes along the way. When you read your writing in your own head, you tend to cover up any typos or repeated words with whatever you originally intended to write. However, when you read out loud, you can really hear how your writing sounds to others! If you find yourself stumbling over a few words, change them — chances are, your readers will stumble, too.
  • Find an editor that you trust.
    For me, this person happens to be my mother. If you know someone who writes well or has a strong attention to detail, send your work to him or her for feedback before submitting a final copy. When you submit a resumé that’s littered with typos and errors, the employer assumes that you didn’t care enough to proofread. Having a second pair of eyes to look over your work will help you to avoid this, and may even teach you something new.
  • The fewer words, the better.
    Don’t use five words when one word would suffice. Simplify your writing! Your readers will thank you for it.
  • Remember basic grammar skills!
    This makes you sound educated and professional. For some of my old posts on proper grammar tips, visit here and here.
  • Read often.
    Immerse yourself in different types of writing by reading a variety of genres and styles. This will help you broaden your horizons, not just as a writer, but as an employee and world citizen!

In the meantime, check out Webucator’s latest course offerings in Microsoft Office if interested in developing your marketable skills further. They are even offering a FREE course in PowerPoint!

Readers, what would you consider valuable skills for the workforce? What writing tips would you have for recent grads?

Link Love Thursday: Graduation Is Here!

graduate-school-masters-bachelor-useless-graduation-ecards-someecardsIt’s crazy to believe how much can happen in one year! I recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of my college graduation, and am coming up on my one-year anniversary at work. College seniors are now going through their own graduations and beginning their post-grad lives. In honor of Graduation Season, I’d like to share a few great resources for college grads (and current students as well)!

What were some of your favorite links this week? Share in the comments section below!

The Post-Grad 15: What I’ve Learned Since My College Graduation

Me as a college graduate!

Me as a college graduate!

When I was a freshman in college, I launched The Freshman 15 series on my blog. Every month, I provided a list of 15 tips for college students geared toward a particular theme, such as getting involved on campus, navigating college relationships and overcoming homesickness. That first April in 2010, the series kicked off with a list of 15 lessons I had learned that year in college, and this quickly became a tradition – every April brought with it a list of what I had learned outside of the classroom that year (see Year 2, Year 3 and Year 4).

Although these posts were some of my blog’s most popular, The Freshman 15 series fell to the wayside about a year ago. However, this month, I am excited to announce that The Freshman 15 is officially back and (hopefully) better than ever!

As many of my readers may know, I graduated from college back in May 2013, so this month’s article comes with a twist – a list of 15 lessons I learned in the year since I graduated college! The past year was particularly eye-opening for me, as I moved to a new apartment, began working full-time and experienced other substantial changes in my life. In that time, I faced plenty of ups and downs, and am excited to share what I discovered in the process!

The Post-Grad 15: What I’ve Learned Since My College Graduation

 1. You can get through the seemingly impossible, but you have to take the first step. (Tweet this!)
In my first year out of school, I overcame a few challenges in my life that I thought would be impossible, simply by moving forward. Instead of sitting around, waiting for things to get better, I took action and made my life better. This year was proof that “Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” I achieved positive results in my life by doing things I’d never done before, and learned that our biggest opportunities for growth often come from the challenges we didn’t think we could face.

2. Don’t put glass bottles on the top shelf, especially above a carpeted surface…
… And if you do, make sure you have plenty of carpet cleaner on hand! I learned this lesson the hard way when I knocked a bottle of Kahlua off a shelf and had to make a late-night trip to the store for cleanup. Several rounds of vacuuming later, my apartment was as good as new, but my leg and foot were a different story! (The worst part is that neither my roommate nor I drink Kahlua or had any use for it on our shelf!)

01595c42c30d4e84d087359d60e68d083. Tragedy does not care about timing.
I have written about this before, but I cannot stress this lesson enough. Only a month after graduation, I experienced two profound yet completely different losses within four days of each other. At the time, I was in new-hire training at work, and in the middle of packing up for my upcoming move across town. Dealing with two negative situations at the same time was difficult and often felt unfair, but I quickly learned that – cliché as it is – life isn’t always fair. At the end of the day, you still have to find healthy ways to cope and still function as a human being. Life will continue to happen around you, whether or not you pick up the pieces, and the world will spin madly on.

4. You can find alliances in unexpected places.
Accept them. You will need them, as you adjust to The Real World, and from time to time, they will need you. Be the type of friend you would want to have, and open your eyes to the wonderful people out there who want to be yours.

5. Get a roommate.
You will save money this way, and you will be a lot less lonely!

I am fortunate to have this trail right outside of my neighborhood!

I am fortunate to have this trail right outside of my neighborhood!

6. Breathe in the fresh air.
I mean this literally. Make it a priority to go outside. Several months ago, my boyfriend and I discovered a nature trail near my apartment, and since then, I have enjoyed countless walks down that trail when I need to get away. (Recently, my roommate and I even encountered a bunny out there!) Find a peaceful place where you can go when the weather is nice and you need that change in scenery.

7. There will still be days that suck.
You know the ones I’m talking about… the long, cold, rainy ones when all you want to do is go home and sleep, but then you find yourself pulled into one fiasco after another, and when you finally think it’s all over, you drop your keys in the dark. Those days still exist, even now that you’re supposed to be a well-adjusted, sophisticated adult, and you will never escape them completely. But then there are the good days that make all the struggles and minor crises that much easier to take, because they remind us of the success we’re working toward.

8. You are never too old for a Disney movie night.
Sometimes it’s important to stop taking ourselves so seriously and to enjoy the simple things that remind us of our childhood. Whenever I’m sick, I curl up in bed and watch Beauty and the Beast, partly because Belle is my all-time favorite princess and partly because the film takes me back to a simpler time in my life. Find those comforts and take advantage of them when needed. (This same rule can be applied to the Spice Girls movie, which my roommate and I may or may not have watched at home a few months ago…)

9. Clothes make the man (or woman).
To be taken seriously in the workforce, you have to invest in a few key pieces. Make sure you have a nice suit and can put together a clean and polished outfit for an interview or for work. Some items can be found on sale or for much cheaper, but you will need to invest in quality clothes. (These are great graduation gifts to ask for!)

121212someecards110. Learn about finances before you graduate.
Know how to write a check, balance your checkbook and create a budget. You can find plenty of templates online to get started, but you will need to find ways to stay organized so that you can avoid paying late or spending more than your paycheck allows. Learn about how to build your credit score and develop positive habits now, so that your borrowing history doesn’t keep you from reaching your dreams later in life.

11. It is much more difficult to take time off to go see family.
Because of this, you have to value that time now more than ever. Don’t let those visits get lost amidst piles of work and obligations. Appreciate the family you have and make the time for them when you are able to do so.

12. When looking at jobs, think big picture.
Salary is important, but what about the job’s benefits? What about the company culture? Will you be happy there? I was lucky to accept a job where many employees have stayed on for years, one where I could see myself long-term, but some people will go against their gut and take the first job offer they can get their hands on. Keep an open mind, but don’t settle if the job isn’t for you.

Home sweet home!

Home sweet home!

13. Develop a sense of community, wherever you end up.
Find free events in your area, cheap museums to visit, local parks and other attractions that contribute to your community’s identity. This helps you to take pride in where you live, especially when you are in a new place, and in my case, it helps me feel less homesick! These types of events can also help you to save money while still having fun with friends.

14. Life doesn’t fit into a neatly shaped box.
Sometimes, things don’t go as you plan, no matter how hard you try. There may be times when your life feels less like a glamorous Audrey Hepburn movie and more like an extremely depressing episode of Girls. It’s okay to veer off path once in a while, so long as you develop that support system that can steer you back on course.

15. Be thankful for the good times.
I cannot stress this enough. While you experience highs and lows after graduation, you will want to remember the highs and never take them for granted. As one project I’m working on this year, I keep a jar of all the great things that have happened in 2014. Every time I experience something positive that I want to remember, I write it down on a small slip of paper and stick it in the jar. At the end of the year, I look forward to pouring everything out and reliving some of those happy memories. After all, amidst the lows, the year has also brought with it some pretty spectacular highs. :)

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Readers: Are you a college graduate who would like to share a lesson you’ve learned since graduation? Email me at vmoses90@gmail.com for details on how you can contribute to an upcoming article on So It Must Be True!

The Weekend Five: Things I Miss Most About College

nostalgiaAs you may have guessed from the subject matter of this blog, I loved almost every minute of my college experience. Even during the times when I was drowning in assignments, battling the flu and waiting for that one completely-wrong-for-me guy to text me back (sometimes simultaneously), I was madly in love with my university and ready to share that love with the world. In the six months since graduation, I have begun to hit my stride through a full-time job and beautiful new apartment, but I’d be lying if I said there aren’t times I long to be back on campus, signing up for next semester’s classes and toying with the idea of a Master’s program.

I’m fortunate to have a great job that allows me to work closely with my alma mater, but there are definitely things I miss about campus life. Here’s a list of the things you miss out on (or the things that students shouldn’t take for granted!) once you graduate.

The Weekend Five: Things I Miss About College

1.    The countless opportunities to meet new people.
In college – especially if you attend a large university – it can be incredibly easy to make friends. No matter what your interests are or how much of a social outcast you considered yourself in high school, there’s a huge chance that you will meet a few kindred spirits in school. When you want to meet new people, you can join a club, attend a social in your dorm or even turn to the person next to you in class. As a “grown-up,” I find it a lot harder to meet new people in the Real World, because those social opportunities (minus the bar scene) are fewer and farther between. Take advantage of it while it’s abundant!

images2.    Taking classes.
Yes, I know, nerd alert. When you’re in school, you are primarily there to take classes and earn your degree (although campus activities and internships are important, too). However, unlike in high school, your classes focus on the subjects that interest you and that will benefit you in your career, so once you get into your major’s curriculum, the classes often become more enjoyable. And when there is room for electives outside of your major, you have the chance to study a subject that interests you just because. I now work in marketing for a financial institution, but in my final semester of college, I took an anthropology class and wrote a paper on the gender roles in a fairy tale versus its modern-day Disney counterpart. College classes allow you to think about things in a new way and step out of your element to learn something completely different.

3.    Ability to make appointments during the week without taking time off from work.
I dread scheduling doctor’s appointments, because most of my doctors work during the same time that I do! When I was moving into my apartment over the summer, some of the deliveries I needed were limited to weekdays, and I had a difficult time scheduling those deliveries because of events at work. In the end, I asked a friend (a student with more flexible hours) to sit in the apartment for me. I love my full-time job and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I miss scheduling my classes so I was done by 2 p.m. or so that I had Wednesdays or Fridays completely open for any errands I had to do. This is much harder to arrange once you start working.

ongoing-list-freebies4.    Access to free stuff.
Because I do a lot of marketing and events on a college campus, I say this a lot – students love free food and T-shirts. In fact, they will flock to any vendor who supplies those things! Because of this, they are constantly inundated with pizza, promo items and great discounts. This probably says a lot about the importance we place on the millennial generation as consumers and our expectations of them as the lowest common denominator in our society (or something thoughtful like that), but the point I’m trying to make is much simpler: As a student, you have unlimited access to free stuff.

5.    Being “in the know” about campus events.
My school began implementing new marketing strategies for the athletic teams, including a slogan that has caught on this semester. Although I was aware of this new campus tradition, it was weird not being a part of it as a student. I love attending events as an alumna, but a part of me feels like Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire or Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, reliving my glory days in a place where I don’t quite belong in the way I did six months ago. (Yes, I actually feel this way, even at 23.) As a college graduate, you can always remain connected with the campus, but things do change when you are no longer enrolled.

Graduates, what do you miss about your college experience? For those in school, what perks of college do you love the most?

The Weekend Five: Things I Learned in the Six Months Since Graduation

Me as a college graduate!

Me as a college graduate!

It’s crazy to believe that it has been a little more than half a year since I graduated from college! It feels like just yesterday I was ordering a cap and gown and finishing up my last few senior projects for the year. About a week before walking across the stage, I accepted a position in my dream job, and looked forward to beginning anew.

Six months later, I am finally adjusting to working full-time and living on a different end of town. As I settle into “adulthood,” I am still in love with my work and apartment, but I have also learned a lot since the day I turned my tassel and accepted my diploma.

This week, I will reflect on some of the lessons I have learned in the past six months. Feel free to add your own post-grad lessons in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Things I Learned in the Six Months Since Graduation

1. Not everyone will like you.
It’s harsh, but it’s true. No matter how sparkling your personality is, how hardworking you are or how well you match your accessories to your outfits, you won’t win the heart of every single person you encounter. As someone who cares admittedly too much about what others think, this was an especially difficult truth for me to accept. Sometimes this has to do with the other person — maybe he or she is jealous of you, or just bitter about something you can’t control. And sometimes this has to do with you — maybe you’re an acquired taste. Instead of trying to change those people, focus your energy on the things you can control.

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ElleWoods2. Take advantage of everything you can get your hands on.
“That’s not in my job description” isn’t necessarily a good reason to turn something down. Whether you have the opportunity to learn a new software program or head up a project in a different area than you’re used to, you can make yourself a much more valuable asset by saying “yes” and trying something new.

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3. Tragedy doesn’t care about timing.
In other words, life isn’t always fair. I learned this lesson the hard way when I experienced two great losses in my life within four days of one another. Although I knew that both were coming, they still hurt, and it was difficult to cope with one while coping with the other. Sometimes, you’ll experience several hardships in a short time, but you still have to pick up the pieces, show up at work the next day and function as a normal human being. Remind yourself that things will eventually turn up, and find healthy ways to cope with your feelings.

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graduation4. Timing is, however, important.
Never underestimate the significance of being in the right place at the right time with the right people. I would have begun networking earlier in college if I had known how helpful it would be in the time that followed. From job prospects to relationships, timing can make all the difference in how successful you are. Work hard, but be patient.

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5. Learn to laugh about the bad experiences and mistakes you have made. After all, you can write about them in your memoir someday!
Remind yourself that this too shall pass. Whether you just endured a difficult breakup or struggled through an important interview, the way you handle your hardships will define you. You won’t be able to find humor in everything, but try to learn from your mistakes and not dwell on them forever. When I look back on some of the things I worried about in college, I can’t help but laugh and ask myself, “What was I thinking?” Nowadays, I think a little reflection and a few laughs are just signs that you’re growing up.

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What are some of the things you learned when you first graduated?

The Weekend Five: Advice for Communication Students

130201587920As some of you may know, I just graduated with my bachelor’s degree in advertising and public relations. I started my real-life grown-up job just a few weeks later, and as much as I loved my college experience, I’ve since noticed some of the ways my degree program could have better prepared me for the job market. On a more positive note, I have also noticed the things that my major did right, and how important those aspects of college were.

For communication students, finding a job after graduation can be especially difficult. Unless you were snapped up by the company you interned for, it can be challenging to muscle through the job search, while your friends who studied engineering are choosing between multiple competitive offers. However, as students in public relations, advertising and other areas of communication, you can also find ways to stand out to employers and succeed in the workforce.

The Weekend Five: Advice for Communication Students

1. Take more business classes.
Sure, you may have aspirations of becoming an art director or copywriter for a big agency, but a background in business will round out your education and help you not only in your professional life, but in your personal life as well. I used to dread attending my economics and personal finance classes, but looking back, I wish I had put more time into those classes and even taken a few more. Because my major was not in the college of business, we only had to take a minimal number of business classes, and most of our coursework focused on the sometimes nebulous concept of branding. Now working in marketing at a financial institution, I wish I had learned more about the business side of my major. You never know where you’ll end up working, but having a better background in business will ultimately help you to create results in a more tangible way.

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1305521022158_78486322. Internships are your best friends.
Some degree programs require at least one internship – I was lucky to be part of one of those programs. However, at some universities, internships are recommended but not mandatory for graduation. Internships will give you real-life experience and teach you more than you can learn in a classroom, but they also give you portfolio materials to show at job interviews, introduce you to others in your industry and can even lead to full-time work. I interned at four separate companies during my college career, and at three of those internships, my supervisor had graduated from my school and interned at that company several years prior. Even if the company isn’t hiring, putting in the time for an internship is an important investment to make. (Tweet this!)

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3. Save your work.
Keep your press releases, published articles, media advisories and design work – you never know when it will be needed! I saved everything I put together for classes and internships so that when interviewers asked me to supply three writing samples, I was able to do so. Employers will want to see what you can do, rather than what you say you can do. If you save all your work in one place, it makes it a lot easier to dig out on demand.

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Nutty-Professor4. Get to know faculty.
The faculty members in your program should have an extensive knowledge of the industry, and some may still be working in it. You’ll want to make sure you connect with them through extracurriculars and office hours so they can help guide you when needed. Trust me – where employers are concerned, a recommendation from a trusted faculty member goes a lot farther than a simple response on an online job posting, and it will help ensure that your resumé is actually seen.

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5. Social media matters even more.
In 2013, social media definitely matters when it comes to the job/internship hunt, but it matters even more when you’re a communication student. Because the jobs you’re searching for may require social media management, employers will want to see that you can not only adequately use those platforms, but that you know how to positively represent yourself online. My advice: make your page as private as possible, but don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see.

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Communication students, what are your concerns? Graduates, what are your tips?

The Weekend Five: Facebook Posts from a Graduating Senior

deepest-condolences-graduation-ecard-someecardsAs I’ve mentioned in my four most recent blog posts, I am officially a college graduate! Of course, this means that hundreds of my nearest and dearest acquaintances are also now college graduates, proudly announcing this accomplishment through the platform we love best – social media. Throughout the month of May, my Facebook news feed has been teeming with posts revolving around graduation, new jobs and above all, the “memories.”

For every graduating senior, there are five Facebook posts to look out for on your own news feed. (Tweet this!) If you haven’t posted at least one of these yourself, then you are probably doing something wrong! :)

The Weekend Five: Facebook Posts from a Graduating Senior

1. “I need an extra ticket to Saturday’s graduation ceremony. Help!”
These statuses are everywhere and they are by far my least favorite! Because some universities limit the number of guest tickets that students can receive for commencement, students from big families or with a lot of supporters tend to posts these statuses within the month leading up to graduation. After a while, I stopped reading notifications from certain groups I belonged to on Facebook because I knew they would consist solely of ticket requests. (Besides, if I actually had extra tickets, don’t you think I would have used them to take additional family members, friends or my boyfriend to graduation?)

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2. “I picked up my cap and gown! It feels so surreal.”
Sure, we wore them at our high school graduations, but picking up our graduation gear in college seems so much more important. Once you have that enormous gown and the mortar board cap, you’re pretty much ready for that diploma. Naturally, of course, at least 20 of your friends will feel the need to post something about it, so get ready!

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images3. Nostalgic status about the past four years.
Whether this person decided to repost photos from freshman year or recap the past four years through an incredibly long Facebook status, you’re bound to find plenty of nostalgia on social media in May. Facebook becomes an incredibly bittersweet place where we can gush about the best four years of our lives and the amazing friends we made and all the opportunities that brought us to this very moment. (Believe it or not, in spite of the profound effect that college had on me, I still haven’t quite posted my obligatory nostalgic status about the good old days. I’ll have to work on it!)

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4. Congratulatory posts from friends and family of graduates.
Let’s not forget about your friends who aren’t graduating! Those friends will mainly be posting congratulatory statuses and perhaps photos with someone they know who graduated, but they are just as wrapped up in the Facebook madness as those who have graduated. Usually with great achievements come great support, so look out for those tagged posts on your news feed as well.

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5. Photos of everyone in front of the same buildings and university landmarks.
As much as I enjoyed taking my graduation photos, I’ll admit that plenty of them had cliché written all over them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! At every university, there are certain iconic buildings and landmarks that everyone will want to take a photo next to, so prepare yourself for multiple pictures with the same exact backgrounds. At my university, we are only allowed to set foot in the pond outside the library during Homecoming, so naturally I (and everyone else I knew) had to take pictures standing in the pond in my cap after I was finished with graduation!

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What sort of posts have you come to expect from graduating seniors?