How to Make Your Life Legen-wait-for-it-DARY!

By: Katie

Oh, How I Met Your Mother. A show for when you’re bored, when you want to veg out for half an hour, or when you need a little pick-me-up at the end of the day. To celebrate HIMYM and all the lovely times it has given us, here are a few lessons I learned from the show on how to make your life legen-wait for it-DARY!

HIMYM 1

Don’t be the blitz.
Say yes to new opportunities. You never know what class you’ll actually love, what activity will give you some direction, or what experience might be life-changing. If you don’t say yes and try new things, you might miss out on gaining a valuable experience or being part of an awesome story.

HIMYM 2

Think about the front porch.
Front porch-worthy friends are the best friends. If you can see someone being in your life years in the future, work hard to keep that person around. On the flip side, if you don’t want someone in your future, just cut them loose. It’s okay to be picky with your inner circle. Some relationships are toxic, and you don’t need that in your life.

HIMYM 3

Just go to bed!
Nothing good happens after 2am – a classic HIMYM lesson. You think you need to pull an all-nighter to study for that “super-important” test tomorrow? You probably don’t. You think it’s a good idea to sleep a grand total of 20 hours throughout the week? It’s not. Getting straight A’s or playing 10 straight hours of League of Legends (I’m looking at you, roommates) isn’t that important. Just go to bed.

HIMYM 4

Don’t cling to the past.
The years of starting college, graduating, and moving on to whatever is next are exciting, but also a little frightening (take it from the graduating senior). The unknown is scary, but holding back or pausing your plans to live in the situation you find comfortable or familiar isn’t the answer.

HIMYM 5

Wait for it…
Sometimes, you’re just going to have to wait for it. The things you want most often won’t come easily, and if they do, you might need to set higher goals. Keep on working for what you want, and eventually, your waiting will be rewarded.

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Checklist for Relocating

By: Ellen (Career Counselor, Guest Blogger)

In December, I was talking with a student (now UMD graduate) about their impending relocation to the southern part of the U.S. for their job. They were looking for tips on how to make the transition happen smoothly. I thought it would be helpful to share these tips with all of you. Most of these tips I have learned first hand because I’ve relocated twice (once for grad school and again for my current job).

Checklist for relocating

Find somewhere to live. Your new company may have information on where to start looking for housing in your new city. Your new city’s Chamber of Commerce website will probably also have relocation information.

Save up your money. Relocating is expensive, so take the time to save up some money before your move.

Find Healthcare. Where is the nearest hospital or clinic in town? I’m a child of a mother who works in healthcare…so it’s always on my radar.

Grocery Store. You need to eat. When I moved to Duluth, I found a grocery store a few blocks away from where I live. As time has moved on, I’ve explored more grocery stores and found my favorite ones.

Update your driver’s license. This could be as simple as an address change. I learned in my last move I had to take my written driver’s exam again because I was filing for a license in a new state. New plates for your vehicle if you’re moving to a new state. You usually have to do this relatively soon after permanently relocating. In Minnesota, you have 60 days.

Find your public transit. Figure out if this is an option for you to get around your new city.

Change your address in all the places. Start with the US Postal Service so all your mail will be rerouted until you get all the updates in place.

Figure out what you use and do on a regular basis and find the equivalent in your new city. This could include: coffee shop, farmer’s market, library, place of worship, gym, bank, parks, trails, and more.

Meet people. This could happen through your work, and/or you may have to step out on your own to meet people. MeetUp is a site that helps you connect with all different kinds of groups in your area. You could also look for things like cooking classes at a local kitchen store (or something similar in your areas of interest).

Explore your neighborhood and new city. Your new city should have a Visitor’s Bureau to help you get started. Sometimes, just walking around can help you learn your new city. You can also ask your new co-workers for recommendations of things to see, do, eat, etc.

Ultimately, relocating is both overwhelming and an exciting adventure. I hope these tips help to make the transition smoother.

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Photo source: Unsplash|Hide Obara

A College Student’s Guide to Interviews: Part 2

By: Willow

In my last blog post I talked about two starter steps to get ready for interviews. In this blog post I want to give a few tips on what to do in the actual interview, ways to really shine, and get the job you’re perfect for.

In an interview, employers are looking for a lot of things. Some focus just on skills you have, some focus on personality and if you will fit with their team, and some focus on a number of other little things that add up to an employee. It is important to know what your strengths are, a good place to start is by taking the StrengthsQuest assessment at Career & Internship Services. StrengthsQuest gives you your top five strengths and breaks them down into different categories, after you get your results you can have a meeting with a career counselor in the office to help you figure out how you can apply those strengths in your life. The cool thing about StrengthsQuest is that a lot of businesses are using these for team building and employee development so if you already know your strengths you’re a step ahead.

You have far more than five strengths though, and StrengthsQuest isn’t going to be able to tell you that you can come up with really creative campaign slogans, and that certainly is a skill to be proud of. Make a list of everything you bring to the table, big and small. Read over the list and think of specific times you used those skills you could talk about in your interview. Remember that interviews are a time for you to talk about yourself. I know it’s not easy, a lot of people have troubling talking about their strengths, but there is a difference between being cocky and being confident. It can be a difficult line to walk but practicing can really help, just like in my last blog post, I HIGHLY recommend doing a practice interview with the career office.

Remember, you have skills, you are awesome, and everyone wants to hire you, just don’t be a jerk about it. If you apply for jobs you are passionate about, you want to be good at, and you want to work hard at, you’re already halfway there. Do what you love folks, and the rest will fall in line.

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Trust Me, There’s a Club for That

By: Cassie

What is the one thing that you remember most about touring colleges? Was it the size of the dorms? Was it the food served in the dining hall? Was it that the school had the program that you really wanted to be accepted to? Well for me it was all summed up into just two simple words, GET INVOLVED. Every college I went to and every tour guide I talked to talked about the advantages of involving yourself in clubs and activities on campus. By the end of my college hunt I felt like I knew every club at every school and I felt like I was the fountain of “get involved” knowledge, so to speak. Well, when I finally got here I didn’t use my so-called “knowledge” like I should have.

There's a club

During my freshman year I told myself that I would put myself out there and get involved in everything I could. I went to the activities fairs and thought I knew what all my options were based on the information from the tours. Then when the time came to sign up for all these clubs, I just simply didn’t join. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint the reason that I wouldn’t push myself to get involved, but I think it was mostly that I made a lot of excuses for myself. Some of these included wanting to do well on my homework, being scared to meet new people, and overall just feeling dorky for joining something I had no previous friends in. The funny thing is, most of the time I just sat and did routine Netflix marathons and didn’t acknowledge my homework during that time. I also didn’t branch out and make new friends, I stuck with my high school friends and really I was kind of miserable. I wasn’t getting all the things that I thought I would be getting out of my freshman year. I saw everyone else with new friends and having the time of their lives, so this year I decided to make a change.

I am currently in my sophomore year, and this year I have involved myself in more ways that I can count. I have really immersed myself in the business school and the clubs that it offers because I think it is so important to get involved in clubs that relate to your major. I am currently in Women in Business, DECA, and the Student Healthcare Management Association. They have all taught me the value of putting yourself out there and getting yourself involved with people in the business field. This doesn’t just apply to business majors either; I cannot emphasize enough how important networking is for EVERY MAJOR. It is also great to get involved with clubs in your major or collegiate unit because you can get together and talk about your fears, struggles, and your future because they are all in the same boat as you and talking is one of the most beneficial things you can do! I also was recently accepted to a study abroad program through the business school and I am so excited to see all of the new opportunities it brings me.

I know I am just highlighting the clubs in the business school, but I promise you that your collegiate unit has a club too. In fact, they most likely have one for your major! If you don’t want to get involved with clubs in your major, there are SO many other clubs and activities that are out there for you to get involved in, you just have to be willing to find what you like! Don’t be like freshman year me and take your opportunities for granted! Though I never thought I would emphasize it this much, there is so much to be gained from GETTING INVOLVED.

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Photo source: Unsplash|Jeff Sheldon

Positivity & Harmony: A Deadly Combination

By: Logan

In the Career and Internship Services office, we focus a lot on our strengths. This year I have looked into these strengths more than I have ever before. I think by looking at your own strengths it can not only help you by helping yourself see these strengths and apply them, but it can also help you by identifying your weaknesses. I also have found it helpful to look at the effects of two different strengths on every day situations. All of this information can be helpful in your knowledge of personal development.

Sometimes having certain strengths can make a situation more difficult. In my own experience I have had discrepancies because of where my strengths lie. Two of my highest strengths are harmony and positivity, and I am not complaining about this, but sometimes they can be troublesome. Since positivity is one of my top strengths, I strive for a positive environment. Being in a negative workplace or environment would be physically and emotionally draining for me. This is why I enjoy working here at Career & Internship Services and my job at a Golf Course, because they are overall positive work environments. For a brief period I was considering going into alcohol and drug counseling, because I find the subject of chemical dependency to be very fascinating. But with my knowledge of strengths I knew going into a job where the subject matter is mostly negative would probably not be ideal for me.

As I said earlier, harmony is also one of my top strengths. Now there is nothing wrong with harmony, but sometimes it can get in the way of things. Since I score high in harmony I prefer an environment where people get along and work together well. In the past I have worked in jobs where employees would bicker or talk behind each others backs, and I did not enjoy those situations. I am the type of person who tries to be nice to everyone, so when I was brought into these fights between coworkers I felt very uncomfortable and it made my experience there much more stressful. But having harmony can also be tough in other situations, such as confrontation. Since I like for everyone to be on good terms, I find it hard to confront people about big issues. I am not saying I completely abstain from confronting anyone, I just find it uncomfortable and try to avoid it if possible. This is why I would prefer to work in a workplace where there is positivity and harmony.

I think it is essential to know your owns strengths and weaknesses to see what kind of work environment you would prefer to work in. After I assessed my strengths I could see I would prefer to work in an environment that is positive and harmonious. If I had not looked into these strengths I may have made the mistake of going into a less positive job. Yes, the combination of positivity and harmony can be deadly, but it also allows me to create a positive and healthy environment for the other people I work with.

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My Potential Plans After Graduation: AmeriCorps

By: David

As some or none of you may know, I will be graduating from college in about three semesters. As a current senior, I have yet to make future plans as to what opportunities and steps to take for life after graduation. Some days it scares me, other days it excites me, and some other days where I’m very, “Graduation? Meh.” Lately, I have been having instances of  zoning out about my plans for the future. Coming into the semester, I had a clear cut plan for post-graduation, but throughout the semester my life experiences has open my perspective to other possibilities and doors. To keep it brief, one opportunity that I have always considered is volunteering as an AmeriCorps member. After doing some research, I was able to uncover some interesting facts about AmeriCorps.

Branches of AmeriCorps

Within the AmeriCorps program, there are various branches that AmeriCorps breaks up into, but for the purpose of this blog post I will be mentioning three main branches: AmeriCorps NCCC, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps State & National.

AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC)
To start off, the AmeriCorps NCCC branch focuses more so on strengthening communities through community service. Certain projects could range to helping local and national parks with conservation of wildlife to infrastructure improvement. Within this branch, there are two possible paths for members, the Traditional and FEMA Corps. The Traditional Corps would focus more so on hands-on projects in certain field settings to accomplish the NCCC’s mission which is to help better communities. On the other hand, the FEMA Corps focuses more so on responding to disasters. To better understand this, the acronyms FEMA stands for, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Members in this branch would travel to strengthen communities across the nation.

AmeriCorps Volunteers In Service To America  (VISTA)
To shift gears, the AmeriCorps VISTA’s goal is to “fight poverty in America” according to the website. Members of this branch typically live and serve in low-income areas of the nation, and many of the projects are designed to bring individuals and communities out of poverty. Some of examples may range from organizing shelter and job opportunities to assisting victims of disaster to recruiting mentors for children with an absence of support.  

AmeriCorps State & National (SN)
Lastly, the AmeriCorps State & National is by far the broadest branch because it offers a wide-range of opportunities to engage in critical community needs such as education, public safety, health, and environmental. Projects within this range may vastly range from community outreach and financial education to collaborating with Girl/Boy Scouts.

Areas

In the program, there are multiple areas and fields that members can dive into. Depending on what your interests are, they can filter out specific programs for you for the AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps SN. Due to the breadth of content, feel free to explore the website some more to better grasp an understanding of the various areas that they offer, “AmeriCorps Focus Areas.”  

AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorps VISTA

AmeriCorps SN

AmeriCorps SN

Benefits

Though the wage may not be the most captivating, there are definitely benefits to being an AmeriCorps member. For college graduates, the most appealing benefit would be the Segal Education Award. In a nutshell, the education award allows you to pay off any previous student loans, current or future educational expenses in higher education or training programs, or can be transferred to any child or grandchild under certain circumstances. Here is a chart indicating the various sum amount of the award:

Segal Education Award

In addition to the education award, other benefits as an AmeriCorps member may include training, limited health care, relocation expenses, student-loan forbearance or deferment, and non-competitive eligibility for a federal government position.

To conclude, I want to personally emphasize on a key component. Though the wage may be discouraging but the benefits appealing, it seems that the main purpose of the AmeriCorps program is to assist and help other individuals and communities to flourish to success. I understand that it is very cliche to say that the best benefit to the experience is making the world a better place, but in reality it actually is. Throughout the years, I have seen myself and others stray away from the concept of collectivism and towards individualism. Not to say that one is better than the other, but sometimes in order for us, as individuals to become better than yesterday we have to help ourselves and also those around us to efficiently flourish as one.  For some like myself, the end goal is not money, but happiness within yourself and others. I’d like to leave off with a quote I came across earlier this week that has inspired me to continue helping others, “Money is nothing but numbers, and numbers never end. If money is what it takes for someone to be happy, then the search for happiness will never end.” Enjoy the holidays, stay safe, warm, and as always, stay gold!

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I Just Have A Lot of Feelings (Life with Empathy)

By: Katie

In a previous post, I wrote about how I use the Deliberative strength from the StrengthsQuest assessment. For this post, I’ll focus on another strength in my top five: Empathy, my number one strength.

Those with the Empathy strength are able to sense how those around them are feeling and can take on those feelings as their own. They instinctively understand others, and can see things from their perspective. To clarify, empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy is feeling sorry for others – it is a more surface-level action. Empathy is a deeper sense of understanding the situation of another and feeling with them rather than for them.

Empathy can be very beneficial, but it also needs to be “controlled.” It is easy for empaths to become overwhelmed by the feelings of others, and if they don’t find a way to protect themselves, they can become incredibly drained. Here a few things I’ve learned about how to use your empathy rather than be controlled by it.

Learn to detach your life from the lives of others.
I’ll be the first to tell you this is ridiculously difficult. If someone I care about is struggling, that struggle will occupy my mind, too. But, you need to try to not feel guilty for allowing yourself to have your own feelings separate from another’s. It’s perfectly okay to compartmentalize and experience your own feelings and happiness even when those around you aren’t experiencing those same feelings. Think about it – if we all felt sadness at the sadness of others, our entire population would be down all the time. It’s not easy to release yourself from your empathic feelings, but it’s an important skill to learn.

Life with Empathy

Understand that not everyone has the same level of empathy as you.
Not everyone is empathic, and that’s okay. Feeling empathy is one of many ways a person can interact with those around them. As an empath, though, it can be difficult when you interact with others who don’t have the same empathic tendencies as you. Not everyone will be able to quickly and easily feel what you’re feeling and understand what you’re going through. For this reason, you need to be patient when you feel like others are being rude, inconsiderate, or insensitive toward you or someone else. That’s not necessarily the case – they probably just have a different set of strengths than you.

Find activities or a job that allow you to work with others.
While it’s important to learn how to flip your empathy switch off, it is also important to find opportunities where you can have it on and let it shine. Being an empath allows you to relate to others and work with them on a deeper or more meaningful level. Being able to pick up on a person’s feelings helps you adjust how you work with them to make the interaction more effective. Find a job or another space where you are allowed to do this, because the result can be incredibly rewarding.

Work in a place that has the energy you need.
Empaths can easily feed off of the energy of others, so it’s important to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the energy you need. For me, that means a positive, optimistic environment. I’ve worked in both positive and negative environments, and in both situations I have adopted the positivity or negativity that surrounds me. Living with constant negativity wears me down, while living with positivity helps me do my job to the best of my ability. Find a workplace where the energy matches your own and allows you to do your best work and enjoy it along the way. Happy surroundings make for a happy empath!

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Photo source: Unsplash|Rodin Kutsaev