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April 27, 2012 / Matthew Krauza

Freshman Advice

With the semester almost over, seniors are getting ready to move on to the next stage of their lives. This is true for high school seniors as well, so for my post this week, I went around and asked seniors if they had any advice for the incoming freshman. I got a ton of answers and then asked some freshmen which ones they thought would have been the most helpful to know at the start of the year. After all of the voting here is the top five pieces of advice:

  1. Don’t wear a Lanyard. You look like a freshman.
  2. Buy Books on Amazon.
  3. Bring your ID everywhere.
  4. Make sure you prepare for the PRT to be broke down.
  5. Take advantage of drink specials or you will go broke.

 

April 27, 2012 / Mary Power

The End of the World (But Not Really)

This is my news feed from the last two days. As someone who finished all undergraduate classes yesterday at 5:30, I feel their joy/fear.

“I’m sitting in my last college class ever! WAH!”

“finally done :D”

“LAST UNDERGRAD DEAD WEEK IS OVER!”

“Just finished my last undergraduate class ever.”

“I just finished my last day of undergraduate classes!!!”

We are the college generation. And we are confused.

From a young age I was encouraged by my parents to pursue a higher education.  It wasn’t until I moved to Morgantown, WV that I was introduced to what higher education could mean- huge lectures, a totally different economic structure, and thousands of people in the age bracket that children want to be and adults often wish they still were.

I, like many of my peers, never questioned if I would attend a university.  I wanted to be a journalist since I was five and looking through my father’s National Geographic collection.

I was in luck, and escaped relatively debtless compared to many of my peers thanks to the PROMISE scholarship.

I have one friend who estimates she will be over $75,000 dollars in debt. And that doesn’t factor in other loans her parents have taken out.

The college debt crisis is a hot button issue right now.

But it isn’t the only issue facing those of us graduating in the coming weeks (or even months).  The economy is poor and the job market is its starving child.

We are moving back in with our parents. And it’s frightening but financially necessary.

When I complained about the 9 dollars in my checking account and my lack of shampoo (don’t worry, I’m going to walmart tonight, promise) my cousin’s response was

“That’s why all my friends who have graduated

are living with their parents,

if we didn’t we would not be eating or bathing.”

I’m moving back in with my parents. And I’m hardly alone.

How do you go from being in an independent environment where you controlled your eating habits, sleeping habits, social habits, and reverse to an environment that is unknown best and dangerously traversed at worst?

There are lots of tips out there- help with the housework. Pay any rent you can. Contribute in the kitchen. Constantly show appreciation.

But dude. My little sister has my old room. Displacement is a rough feeling to embrace along with failure. And I’m not a failure; I’ve been accepted to graduate school and I am still working freelance jobs.

But it feels like failure.  We’ve followed the path laid out for us for success.  Get good grades in high school. Go to college. Work. Get internships. Graduate.

The next step is supposed to be “Get a Job.”  But studies show that college graduates are just as likely as high school dropouts to suffer from to long term unemployment.

We are the generation of adult children. But don’t worry, it will all work out.

April 26, 2012 / Ali Young

A Glance At Your Career Path

One of the scariest aspects of graduating college is wondering if you picked the right career path. I’m sure all of us are guilty of second guessing our choices at one time or another. In fact, I’m not completely sure I’ll end up working in the journalism field due to the fact that there are a number of other things that spark my interest. When the Oregonian’s social media coordinator, Ali Manzano came to speak to our class, I asked why she didn’t pursue the path of broadcast news. She told me that you have to be very passionate about pursuing broadcast journalism because it’s a job that requires you to start out small. After doing a great deal of research, I found out what she meant by that. For the most part, all entry level jobs are located across the country and you barely make any money starting out.

Through my own efforts and a little advice, I have found that choosing your career shouldn’t be based solely on the degree you have, but rather on your interests, values, skills, and personality traits. Not too long ago, I had a much needed phone conversation with one of my good friends, Jessica McClure who is now a pharmaceutical sales representative in Vero Beach, Florida. She graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2003 with a degree in music, but decided to take a different career path. “I knew I loved to sing and play music, but I didn’t realize until I was almost out of school that I couldn’t make a solid career out of it.” Since then, she has taken on many responsibilities including owning a flower shop and being a full time mom. “There are so many opportunities that await you with a four year degree. Don’t settle on a career because it’s what you studied in college. Do what you love because that’s what’s most important and you’ll know when you discover it.”

I found her advice very important because the spot for a place in this world has been a huge weight on my shoulders lately. It’s hard to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. I’ve been applying to some local radio stations because I enjoy it and it’s in the realm of my field, but I haven’t forgotten about my interest in possibly going into real estate. If you’re having the same thoughts and just want a little guidance, take a self assessment test. It helped me generate a list of professions I might want to consider. However, this isn’t the only option you have. Speak to a career counselor at the career services department. They can assist you with career counseling, career fair tips, letter writing, the interview process, and what alternatives you can take on with your degree.

If you’re graduating within the next couple of weeks, here is a look at what a journalism degree might have in store for you.

April 23, 2012 / wildwestvirginia

First Impressions Count

Have you ever met someone for the first time and right off the bat you just did not like that person? The reason could be instinct, but it’s also very possible they just didn’t make a very good first impression. The first impression is a lasting impression, especially if it’s a bad one. People remember bad memories way longer than good ones. This is true for bad first impressions as well. When meeting a potential employer, it’s important to make the best first impression you can.

So what can you do to help make a good impression? First you should do a little research on the company. Knowing a little about the company will help you to answer any questions the interviewer has for you, and allows you to ask questions that you can’t find the answer to on their website.

After doing research, take a good look at your wardrobe. You need to dress and present yourself appropriately. Business and business casual means no blue jeans or mini-skirts. A nice, button up shirt or at least a shirt with a collar is a good choice as well. Don’t wear overpowering perfume or cologne. Depending on the job you’re interviewing for, you might need to cover any tattoos you have and take out any piercings that aren’t in your ears.

The next key to making a good first impression is having a good handshake. This is possibly one of the most important things you could learn. There’s nothing worse than shaking hands with someone with a limp hand (often called shaking hands with a dead fish). You want to make sure your handshake says that you want the job and are eager to work. A nice, firm handshake will help you to make a great first impression.

Finally have confidence in yourself. If you’ve made it to an interview, that means that the employer saw something about your application that they liked. Since they’re already interested in you, you don’t have too much to worry about. If you’ve done your research on the company, ate a good breakfast and had a good night sleep you’ll do just fine.

Good luck!

April 19, 2012 / Ali Young

A Professional Atmosphere

We all strive to stand out in some way to professional employers, but how can you do that with someone you’ve never met?

I’ll give you a good example. Both of my parent’s suggested I start building a relationship with their neighbor, Jennifer Waugh who is the evening anchor for the Jacksonville News Station. Before I was ever introduced to Jen, I had to build up the courage to call her and schedule a time to meet with her in person. This wasn’t easy, but I gained a lot of insight by taking time out of my day to meet with her. I realized how important it is to build a relationship rather than just build a contact. Having a diverse family of colleagues gives you confidence and lets other people know their career advice is meaningful to you. If someone is willing to share, be willing to listen. I truly benefited from the experience because she took the time to stay in touch after we met. She gave me suggestions on ways to beef up my resume tape and what markets I may want to apply to after graduation. Receiving guidance from someone who has been in the business over twenty years was an opportunity that I’m grateful for.

So now you ask.. How do you maintain professional conversations with someone who may not live within driving distance? (I was on Christmas break when this happened).

Whether you write someone a letter or an email, it’s important to keep in touch. Don’t just pop up when you need something but look for ways to assist people. This gives you a chance to show them your character rather than just your skills. Reciprocity is the key to any sustainable network.

Join LinkedIn so you can keep tabs on your inner circle of contacts. This will allow you to receive automatic updates on a company or individual. It’s also a way for potential employers to contact you and view your resume without having to ask for it.

There’s nothing wrong with establishing a connection with someone over Facebook or Twitter. In fact, it led me to an interview. My only advice is to be relaxed about it. Try to remember that these people were once in your shoes.

Arrange a meeting to convene with virtual colleagues so they can put a name to a face. Yes, you may have your picture where they can see, but nothing is as telling or effective as seeing the other person and being able to hear their voice. (My brother recently had an interview over skype!)

One last thing to remember! Be polite. I’m not just talking about saying thank you. When you’re exchanging words over the internet, ask people about themselves rather than telling them about you. If you show a general interest in people, it will make you appear more professional because you appreciate what others have to say. If you find something you have in common, that’s potential leverage you have over someone else.

April 17, 2012 / Mary Power

Graduation Blues

Some of us have been a little stressed lately about Job Hunting and our Futures (read:I’ve been stressed).

Stress is ridiculous in college.  Not that it isn’t for everyone else.  But studies show that college students tend to get less sleep than is recommended and to have high rates of suicide and depression.

There are places at most universities, including our own, that aim to help students cope with the stress of college through counseling.

But there are some things you can do on your own.  After asking a few of my fellow graduating seniors their best coping mechanisms we came up with this list.

  • We eat. Now, I’m not suggesting you constantly stress eat like I do (hellllooo bikini season, my old nemesis).  But indulging in that Hersey Sundae Pie on the way to class isn’t going to kill you. That Home-style Mac and Cheese isn’t going to destroy your figure. Yet.  Food makes us feel better.  Just listen to Roseanne.
  • Laugh a little. Watch a funny video on youtube.  Watch your favorite comedian.  Watch a romantic comedy. Something that takes your mind off the stress for a second and makes you giggle is never a bad choice.
  • Take an hour and enjoy a hobby. If you are a stress baker, bake.  If you are a outdoors person, go for a hike.  If you are a book worm, read something outside of required reading.  If you are a lazy bum like me, nap in the sun.  That hour can give you perspective and clear your head for the rest of the day’s stress.
  • Go for a Run. Though I’m amazingly out of shape, even I will agree that at times physical activity is the best way to overcome stress. There is scientific proof that exercise makes you feel better.  And lets be honest, no one ever said “I really regret that run I just took.”
  • Call Someone. Call your mom to chat about home. Call your best friend to vent about your stress. Call someone who will talk about completely unrelated things. Social interaction can help you work through your stress and reevaluate.

What are your best stress relievers? What have you used to cope throughout college and in recent weeks as we inch towards graduation?

April 16, 2012 / wildwestvirginia

First Steps to Managing Money Better

Being financially savvy is really important in the “real world.” There are a lot of things that you have to take into account that you may not have thought of yet. After graduation you’ll probably have student loans to pay back as well as other costs, such as an electric bill, gas bill, etc. On top of all that you’ll need to manage your budget for food expenses too. If you don’t have a managed budget, you could find yourself in a troubling financial crisis.

One of the best things you can do is to keep track of all of your spending in a notebook or ledger (or wherever you prefer to keep information like that). It’s important to keep track of the money in all of your accounts. If you keep your records well, this will also help when it comes time to file your taxes. Always get a receipt and make sure to keep a hold of them.

Along with keeping track of how much money you have, you should also try to be thrifty with your money. Sometimes the cheaper, generic brand of food tastes just the same. It’s also a lot cheaper to pack your own lunches than buying lunch every day. Look for deals and use coupons. A lot of grocery stores will offer free memberships and card holders can usually get some sort of discount.

Possibly the hardest part of managing your own money is too be careful of what you buy. This means not always getting a video game as soon as it comes out or waiting to see a movie in the theaters. It’s hard not being able to spend money when you want to, but you’ll be better off for it in the long run.

Here’s a little guide that might be a little more useful.