No matter how big or soft or warm your bed is, you still have to get out of it. – Grace Slick
No matter how big or soft or warm your bed is, you still have to get out of it. – Grace Slick
Don’t delay being happy until the future. What can you do to be happy today? Right now?
Advice from a college grad on how to spend your university years:
Post by Kieran Slobodin, Vice-President (University Affairs) at Queen’s University, Kingston.
April has always been a month of renewal. The bright rays of the April sun are the first glimmer of hope after the doldrums of a dreary winter and turn our minds to rejuvenation. April is when our parks fill up and our porches become occupied full time. Yes, April is like a Star Wars sequel: A New Hope.
Unless you’re in fourth year, in which case it blows.
On the last day of classes my house threw a party. Thursday, April 5, last day of classes. Last day of undergrad. Perhaps the last day of classes for all time (screw you, Grad School!). All that week facebook statuses were popping up with ‘last class!’ or ‘last seminar’ or ‘last Alfie’s night of my undergrad!’ Everyone was ecstatic and some people invested more time creating Facebook groups than they actually spent in class those final four days. Like freed prisoners we celebrated that night.
Like four exams. And two final papers. And a film project. Literally no one was done anything and the extended weekend of Easter only helped perpetuate that lie. Like a dark hangover cloud fourth year students are starting to realize that they still have to buckle down one last time and study hard. Unless you were blessed with a shortened semester you are still resigned to one last study blitz. Perhaps you only wish to pass the course and only need 8% on that 40% weight final to get your pass. But most likely you’re going to be faced with the same dilemma you were your other seven exam periods: you didn’t go to class and you have no idea what the course is about.
When the hell did I sign for Ayn Rand and Postmodern Epistomology: A Comparative Review?! Photo credit: QuickMeme.
Bucket lists as a concept were first perpetuated by Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson as a way to cheat death. Or make the most out of life. One of those. A bucket list as portrayed in the movie is essentially just a macabre wish list. However, ever since the Bucket List, arguably Morgan Freeman’s worst movie after Evan Almighty, there has not been a more tired cliché for graduating students.
Groosfrabas. Photo credit: Blogspot.
Bucket lists symbolize a last push by panicking students to capture every memory they can of university. The thought is that with a year of dedicated effort you can achieve in your final year what you failed to do in your first three.
There’s a reason you never did any of your bucket list in the first 75% of your undergraduate career. Whether it’s because your list is too challenging or too much work, you quickly realize that trying to capture stave off your inevitable nostalgia is sadder than Madonna trying to stay relevant.
The problem is when you try and cram in three years of missed opportunity you forget what makes the stuff you DID do fun. The point of the university experiences that typically wind up on bucket lists is the story behind the accomplishment. When you reduce those stories down to a checklist they tend to lose all meaning.
As some of you may have noticed if you saw last week’s post, I took a litttle trip to Manchester last weekend. The following Monday I wrote a post about it which covered the gender-related conclusions, this week I want to talk more about why it’s important to go to these things whenever you can.
When I went to this conference, I didn’t really know what to expect or even how formal or informal it’s going to be. I went there with the expectation to learn something about the state of the music and media industries from the women that are actually in the thick of it, and at the same time see what they’re like and if I ever enter any of these arenas, what are the people I would likely be working for like. And I went to see if I could gather any information that would be useful for my dissertation on live music and heavy metal.
Turns out the conference was so relaxed you could easily approach the speakers after each panel, a golden opportunity for anyone who, like me, was looking to build contacts. It took some courage and the best opening lines I could muster to do it, but I went up to them. I introduced myself, I commented on the points made in the panel, I took and interest in their work. And I walked away with not one, but two interview arrangements for my dissertation research. We are now also connected through various social media, therefore I am on their radar for future opportunities and have a huge edge against most of the competition if I do apply for a job with any of them, simply because they’ve met me before.
Competitions are good, you get prizes and pretty CV material. But conferences give you the chance to make your presence known among the industry community, which WILL give you an edge and might even bring the job to you.
It’s time to put that natural charm to good use!
P.S.: Next weekend I’ll be attending another conference in London which lasts until Tuesday so the post should be out later the following week, but the delay should be well worth it.
Position: Head Ambassador in India
Study Field: Bachelor in Engineering
Uni: Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), India
Recently, it dawned upon me that I have just passed the halfway mark of my Bachelors course. This thought further instigated a session of self-reflection – a look back at all the memories, learning and occurrences that have shaped the most memorable two-and-a-half years of my life so far.
One thing that I noticed was that all these experiences had a common link that was instrumental in their realization – student events. Be it the competitions that have acted as an avenue to bridge the gap between the theoretical notions of my curriculum with relevant practicality or the conferences at which I have so often been left awe-inspired, it is without a shadow of doubt that I can affirm the positive contribution of student events in my undergraduate odyssey thus far.
“All these experiences had a common link… student events.”
Also, I have realized that some of the most inspiring moments in your life come through some of the most unexpected avenues. For example, it was at a conference on ‘sustainable lifestyles’ that I met an academic who enlightened me about this really cool concept called ‘design thinking’; a topic that I am now considering for my thesis. So next time you get the opportunity to get involved in a conference, competition or seminar, make sure that you go for it!
Here’s a question:
How many times have you looked at listings for jobs or internships or competitions or whatever else from the “I’m doing something with my life” basket that has stated being “creative” as a requirement, and actually understood what that meant?
If you actually tried to answer the question I’m betting about 99% of you choked on your own mental monologue at least once in the first few minutes. Many of you will go somewhere along the route of “it depends on the situation”.
And you’re right: it does depend on the situation/field/employer. But even more importantly:
Most of the time, employers don’t even know themselves.
Creativity has become one of business’ favourite buzz words. It takes the mind away from a dry, old-fashioned perception of something into a hip, fun, “anything is possible” world of both unprecedented achievement and caring. It implies personal development and an almost romantic view of what lies ahead. And it is directly linked to feelings of bitter disillusionment.
It is without much doubt one of the most devalued words in our dictionaries but nevertheless, it still represents something crucial to all of us – it represents pushing yourself to think and act beyond your own limits. Creativity, originality, and ingenuity. It reminds us to not become complacent in our routine, but to “think outside the box”.
And that’s really what employers in any situation are looking for when they say they are looking for someone “creative”. They are looking for the individuals who are open-minded and motivated enough not to become complacent in their work routine, and see and take advantage of the opportunities that can lead to great things.
And I think that’s a little something we all can write on a post-it and stick on our desks.
Have a great week!
P.S. Follow me on Twitter @Martholio for more musings, event info and general silliness!
Networking is finding the right people with the right resources and having them help you get the word out.
Right people + Right resources = Success
By yourself, you are nowhere near as effective as when you have a network of contacts and friends working together to help promote you or your new venture. Networking is as easy as making new friends. If you can make new friends, then you can network. But making new friends does take work. It’s not magic.
How do we do this? Let’s break it down into 3 important sections:
Make it a point to provide helpful information / advice / support to at least one person each day. This is a major stumbling block for people because of the personal investment it requires, but once you realize the multiplier effect that’s attached to each of your efforts, you will be surprised at why more people aren’t doing this.
Just help others. Quite often you’ll hear people voicing their concerns in public forums or even on twitter. If it takes a few minutes of your time to point them in the right direction, do it right there and then.
Summary: You have to prove your value to people who are vastly more influential than you – this translates into building your own worth by playing with the smaller fish first. It’s a step-by-step process. Continue reading
Who would want a routine as redundant as a typically spent week?
Waking up on a Monday morning, going to work or school, coming back, eat, sleep, wake up again and persisting with this the entire week. It is not only boring but also annoying when you have nothing new to do in your life.
To me, it’s like you drift around like a ship without a rudder.
Participating in competitions is a good way to keep students involved in activities that are helpful for the all-round enhancement of the personality as well as for increasing their knowledge beyond the curriculum.
Whenever three people gather to complete a task, they learn new ways to look for solutions and to complete that task in any possible way. All our lives we are told to learn new things; our parents, teachers, elders keep on teaching us to broaden our horizons and what better a way to do so than competitions. Competitions are very interactive and social ways to learn. Continue reading
You’re in college, enjoying the best years of your life – it’s all about hanging out with your friends, doing some studying and mostly having a lot of fun. Find out how participating in a student competition, conference, or seminar NOW will help your essays write themselves… Continue reading
Communication is one of the most important skills to learn for human beings, no matter how it is conducted. Today’s students are the masters of communication both formally and informally. One of the most important venues for formal communication is at a conference, especially international conferences for undergraduate students. There are many benefits, both globally and individually, of attending a conference. Not only do you further your education, but you also learn how to talk to people from diverse backgrounds.
I was recently at a career information session held by a top electronics company. As a psychology major, I felt more than a little out of place: the information session was for commerce, engineering, and computer science students only.
Everybody was wearing a suit, had 20 copies of their resume filed neatly in a portfolio, and here I was, wearing my favorite bright blue heels, no makeup, no resume, and completely intimidated!! I had actually only stopped by to see a friend of mine who graduated two years ago and was now part of the company’s campus recruitment team…
But then they brought in the free pizza… Continue reading