The Three C’s to Success

By: David

The love doctor once told me that if I wanted to attract potential mates in the world of dating I’d have to acquire the “three C’s”. Now I’m not here today to give dating advice because that would indeed be chaotic, but in today’s blog post I’ll be talking about how the three C’s can benefit you in the workplace, and pretty much any other area, as well. Stick around and read on as I’ll be highlighting what these wonderful “C’s” are!

Confidence

I’m sure you’ve heard numerous people (including me) stress how important confidence may be in the workplace, academics, and life in general. Confidence is one of the big three because you can benefit from it in the workplace whether it be through giving presentations, communicating with coworkers daily, or even just working within the workplace. It is highly beneficial because with confidence you can prove that you’re capable of completing tasks with efficiency and with this your boss/supervisor will feel a lot more comfortable with making the decision of having hired you. Confidence is the most important out of the three because it is key to achieving the remaining two. Be careful though, because too much confidence may prove to be disastrous as well.

Charisma

Now if you’re familiar with the video game, “The Sims”, there are multiple ways to increase your charisma skill within the game, but the most basic and common way to level up your charisma skill is by talking to yourself in the mirror. Now I’m not saying that you should do exactly that, but working on your charisma skill might prove to be extremely beneficial in the long run. Saying the right things during the right time can really benefit your path to success. A good example of this is interviewing. During the interview process, you can really land a job with your charisma by selling yourself to employers. Charisma indeed goes a long way and will get you far, but keep in mind that you can’t please everybody, every time.

Comedy

I was going to start off by telling a joke about “infinity”, but I realize that it would never end. *Ba Dum Tsss. That was a terrible joke, I know, but stay with me. You see, comedy and humor go a long way and is the last piece to the puzzle. When people are able to add a little bit of comedy and humor to their work it gets people laughing, and when people are laughing it eases the environment and brightens everyone’s mood. Humor can positively turn a work atmosphere around because it really does add that additional spark to the workplace. One observation I’ve seen from stand-up comedians is that they are all confident with their jokes and in the end, if no one is laughing at least they themselves are laughing. Being humorous isn’t and shouldn’t be the number one thing to do and learn, but why not take some time to invest in some puns and jokes?

In finale, all of these characteristics are eventually acquired through time and effort. Just like any other skill out there, daily application and a little bit of research help with the developing process. Though there are a zillion other traits that are highly beneficial and can lead you to success. These three are just common characteristics you can always keep in mind. If trouble ever comes knocking at the door just always remember the three C’s of confidence, charisma, and comedy. They’ll get you out of almost any situation, when applied properly. This marks the end of today’s post, hope you all enjoy your break and stay warm folks!

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What to Think About: Masters of Social Work (MSW)

By: Meg

Necessary?

Why would you want to get a MSW? If you’re interested in Social Work, it’s definitely something to think about. In order to be a social worker, you have to actually have a degree in Social Work. You can do that with a Bachelor’s, but if that’s not an option, you can get an MSW.

If you do have a BSW, you can think about advancement potential. In order to do independent counseling or get into administration, you’ll need a Master’s. Chances are you’ll only need 1 year of full-time course work to get there, though!

Accreditation

First thing to check when you are looking at MSW programs is whether they’re accredited or not. If they aren’t, you won’t be able to get a job as a social worker. It’s not worth your time. Check http://www.cswe.org/ to make sure the schools you’re looking at are accredited.

Field Placement

Social Work programs will all have some kind of field placement/internship. These are required to get your license, so it’s important not to skip over. There are usually two placement experiences, one the first year and one the second year. If you have a BSW, you’ve already done something similar. The one thing not all programs have in common is how you get to your placements. Some programs assign you to them, while others have you find them by yourself. There’s a lot of variation to be had. I’ve heard of several programs who assign your first year internship, then you find your second year experience. When you’re assigned an internship you don’t have a lot of choice, but you will definitely have one set up with an organization your school trusts. On the other hand, if they leave you on your own to set it up, you might end up scrambling trying to get everything approved.

Focus (or not)

Some schools have a very general approach, and your focus would come in mostly during field placement. UMD’s MSW program is very generalized. There are a few classes that pertain to working with Native American culture, but they make sure that you’re prepared for whatever focus you end up in, even if it changes. Other programs may have a focus in child and family, adolescents, mental health, substance use, etc. If you know your focus, you might think of going to a school within that, so long as it also has a generalized base. You want to make sure that you have the skills if your goals ever change.

There’s a lot to consider when thinking about Graduate School. If you want help figuring it out, stop by Career and Internship Services and set up an appointment with a counselor. You could also stop in to the Social Work office to ask about it.

Of Possible Interest:

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Finding a Networking Style by Expanding Possibilities

By: Sherrill (Career Counselor/Guest Poster)

Often when people think of networking they picture an evening event with 200 or so students and professionals mingling in business attire while balancing plates of intriguing looking hors d’oeuvres. This is one approach, and there are a variety of options for students to expand their network, learn about interests, and seek out new experiences. We are here to help you prepare for large scale and smaller scale networking opportunities!

Networking Possibilities

Here are just some networking suggestions, and you are encouraged to find ways to network that make you feel comfortable and boost your confidence.

Attend a speaker presentation or information session on campus. Introduce yourself to the people seated around you. Introduce yourself to the speaker afterwards and ask a relevant question.

Get to know your classmates. Fellow students may hear of opportunities that are not a fit for them, and they are more than happy to share the information. Do the same for others when you hear of opportunities.  

Take advantage of professors’ office hours. This is a time to get to know professors outside of the classroom. Professors may be more inclined to write letters of recommendation for you down the road if they know you outside of the classroom.

Build an effective LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn Drop-In hours (every Thursday, 2-4pm, in SCC 22) are available for assistance in developing a LinkedIn presence. Create a positive, consistent social media presence across several platforms.

Complete informational interviews. Students repeatedly report that these are helpful. Informational interviews allow a student to sit down with a professional in a field of interest and learn more about the career path prior to seeking out internships or jobs.

Attend job & internship fairs early. Attending job & internship fairs as a freshman or sophomore has advantages. Employers remember students who express interest in a company multiple times.

Invite a connection or potential connection out for coffee. Learn about their career path and share your career interests. This can be a casual yet still professional way to develop connections.  

Networking is more genuine and productive if it takes place before the individual actually needs something. Words of advice: start early!

Of Possible Interest:

Careers in Social Work

By: Sadie

As you may have read in my previous post about social work, I discussed what exactly social work is, what social workers handle in their profession, and what the social work program is like here at UMD. Today, I’m going to talk about some of fields you can go into after you graduate with a social work degree, education requirements for social work, and certain disciplines that intersect with social work.

Careers in Social Work

So, if I graduate with a social work degree do I have to be a social worker?

The answer is no. This is something that I questioned before I decided to pursue a social work major. I didn’t want to be limited to only being able to be a social worker.

Here are some of the places that social workers practice:

  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Criminal Justice Systems
  • Government Agencies (i.e. services to children and families, services to adults, financial assistance)
  • Mental Health Clinics
  • Private Practice
  • Policy (i.e. Local City Council, State Legislature, Congress)
  • Residential Treatment Centers/Group Homes/Shelters, etc.
  • Community Agencies that address domestic violence, homelessness, community development, disabilities, etc.

Is having my bachelors degree enough to get a career in any of these professions?

For some, but not all. Depending on the type of field you want to go into you may need to go through more schooling. If you decide to further your education you can get a Masters of Social Work (MSW), your Ph.D. or Doctrine of Social Work (DSW), or you can get certain licensures.

What could I minor in, or double major in with a social work degree?

Many disciplines intersect with social work. Psychology, Sociology, History, Biology, Psychiatry, Economics, and Political Science are all majors or minors that compliment a social work degree.

Here are some other helpful sources that go more in-depth with what you can do as a career with a Bachelor of Social Work:

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Change is Hard

By: Willow

When thinking about what to write for this blog post, I drew a blank. I have a list of ideas I want to write about that I usually pull from, but for some reason none of those seem to fit this week. So I decided to write about what my last two weeks have been filled with, change.

We lost the election, it was really hard. Me and countless others put months of our lives into this campaign and it ended with one sentence from a newscasters lips. “We’re calling it, all your hopes and dreams from the last four months are dead.” No, of course they didn’t say that on air, but that’s what we all heard. And it hurt.

So, all the Iowa Democrats did the only thing they could do, they packed up and went home. I went back to my parents house in small town Iowa and then came up to Duluth. In just two weeks time I have moved states, started online classes, ended one job, and restarted two others here in Duluth. It’s been a lot of change.

Change is not easy for anyone. It’s scary, it’s exhausting, it’s draining, and it’s really stinking hard. But it’s worth it. It’s worth it to question what you have for something better. It’s worth it to understand something new.

Dr Seuss quote

I am trying to keep into perspective how much I’ve gained from taking time off. But it’s still hard, and it can be really upsetting. Too often we think if we’re upset, there is something wrong with us. That’s just not true. Life is really hard sometimes, and as long as we keep growing, we will come out on top.

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College Connect: Interviewing and More

By: Glen

After meeting my mentor at the kick-off event, despite my knowledge that they have had numerous experiences in fields that I am interested in, I was still inexplicably skeptical that I would be able to work the relationship in a way that would be educational and positive for the two of us. I knew I needed to keep an open heart to make this work. With this in mind, I jumped into my next two meetings with my mentor to figure out some goals.

Lunch is Good

At the kick-off event, my mentor and I had scheduled a time to meet up for lunch before the next College Connect event. As it turned out, this was a spectacular idea. My mentor showed up with numerous ideas to involve me in their work process, so I can learn the different aspects of the positon. What better way to learn about a specific job in a specific environment than to get in and observe? Besides discussing ways to make this a real mentor/mentee relationship, we were able to talk about common interests. I found out that my mentor has spent time in the past participating in theatre, as I do currently. Overall, I was glad I gave our relationship a second chance, as my mentor and I were beginning to relate to one another much more easily.

Passionate Interviewing

Upon arrival to the second College Connect event (hosted at UMD this time) many of the mentors and mentees were confused as to what was going on that night. Originally, we were supposed to have a dining etiquette night, but our event registration was titled “Speed Networking,” which was what we did at our first event. With a skeptical crowd piled into a lecture hall, the organizers of the College Connect program surprised us with a good lesson.

To open the event, we watched an advertisement that showed a company doing a “normal” interview with people, before switching it up and creating an interview that went through things such as the interviewer collapsing, a fire drill, and a person jumping from a building into a firefighter trampoline. The oddities and invalidity aside, the advertisement has a point. Good interviews should leave the employer with knowledge about the person they interviewed. Will the person fit in with the goals and vision of the company?

With those ideas in mind, we spent the rest of the event talking with our mentors and other mentors about our “brand.” What are you passionate about? Can you effectively communicate that passion to a stranger? After discussing passions, we took turns practicing listening skills. We were only allowed to ask questions, and not allowed to insert any comments. These communication practice sessions were useful tools to discover the different aspects that go into an interview. The person being interviewed can control the conversation to play into their strengths by answering questions in a way that directs questions toward your passions.

So far, I feel the College Connect program has been a successful endeavor. I have learned a number of lessons about myself, including the willingness to open up to someone outside of my age range, communicating effectively, starting random conversation, and discussing strengths.

Of Possible Interest:

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What Tests are Needed to Become a Teacher in Minnesota

By: Whitney

When I decided to switch my major to teaching, I figured that there would be a couple of tests I would be required to take before I was able to become a certified teacher. What I didn’t realize was just how many tests I would need to take. Even after being in the program for a couple of years it has never been made super clear what tests and how many I will need to complete to receive licensure to teach in elementary (K-6) and special education (K-12) in the state of Minnesota. What is almost as important to realize, is how much it really costs to become a teacher. The following paragraphs will talk about the tests, costs, and time length of each test needed to become an elementary or special education teacher.

The first set of tests that is needed for all initial license no matter which license you are wishing to obtain is the Minnesota Teacher Licensure Examination (MTLE): Basic Skills Tests. The basic skills test, tests teacher candidates in the areas of reading (60 minutes), writing (105 minutes), and mathematics (75 minutes). The reading and mathematics tests are in a multiple-choice format and the writing is a mixture of multiple choice and constructed response questions. Each sub test costs $25 and must be passed with a minimum score of 240. This price does not include the annual $50 fee that must be paid in order to take the exam. The total cost to take the MTLE Basic Skills portion of the test is $125 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).

The next set of tests that is required for all teacher candidates is the MTLE Pedagogy Tests. There are two 60 minute subtests for each pedagogy test in the areas of early childhood, elementary, and secondary. Each subtest is multiple choice and costs $35 each. The total cost for this test if you have to pay the $50 annual fee is $120. If you don’t need to pay the annual fee then the cost would be $70. These tests must also be passed with a score of 240 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).

After the pedagogy tests, things start to get a little trickier because there are different licensure exams for various fields that are available. For right now I will just be focusing on the exams necessary for licensure in the field of elementary and special education.

To be certified to teach elementary education there are three different subtests that must be taken. All are called elementary education. Each test is an hour in length and costs $35. Each test is in a multiple-choice format and must be passed with a minimum score of 240. The total cost of these tests if you pay the annual fee is $155 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).

Finally to be certified as a special education teacher from ages birth to 12th grade you must take the “Special Education Core Skills” subtest. Each of these tests is 60 minutes in length and cost $35. Again if you have to pay the annual fee it is $120. This is also a multiple-choice test that needs to be passed with a minimum score of 240 (Minnesota Department of Education, 2014).

One of the very nice things about each of these tests is that each subtest can be taken separately. For instance, if you think that you will do better on the Basic Skills tests if you take the reading, writing, and math all on separate days then you can certainly do that! What is also great is that if you pass the reading and writing, but don’t pass the mathematics portion of the test, you only have to retake the mathematics portion not all three!

The edTPA or Teacher Performance Assessment is also a requirement. Since this is a much bigger topic I will discuss it in later posts. For more information on licensure exams for elementary and special education or on other teacher candidate licensure requirements visit http://education.state.mn.us/MDE/EdExc/Licen/index.html.

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