Midterm Madness Mental Health Tips

By: Heidi

Editor’s note: in our office we see mental health as a critical component of your overall career path. While these tips are directed toward college students, they’d be helpful for people who are no longer in college. 

I think as students we can all agree we’re at the point in the semester where projects are piling up, the assignments are never-ending, and trying to finish your to-do list feels like being on a hamster wheel. I’m all about trying to see the best in a situation so I found some great mental health tips that therapists give their patients in times of stress.

Now more than ever as a student is it important to work hard towards school but also take the time for yourself and your mental health. Here are some tips to take on to get through these next few weeks.

Small orange flowers with sky in the background; Text: Tips for managing mental health

Try writing your thoughts down
Take 5 minutes or so a day to write down your thoughts, feelings, or ideas. This can help you process emotions you encounter throughout the day and destress from it all.

When you’re super stressed and overwhelmed, see if there’s any way to put a positive spin on it
With so many deadlines as a student, think about how the stress of it is actually helping push you to get it done.

Counter negative thoughts with positive ones
If you’re feeling like you can’t finish everything on your plate, recognize your hard work and all that you’ve accomplished that day. For times when you’re feeling you’ll never be able to make it happen, remind yourself with a positive thought that you always finish what you start.

Have a self-care arsenal
Everyone has certain things or coping mechanisms that give them a boost when they’re feeling crappy whether it’s taking a bath, watching a YouTube clip, or putting on your favorite pair of sweatpants. These may be small tips, but it will give yourself something to look forward to after a long day.

Ask yourself “and then what?” when you’re stuck on an anxious thought
Push your thought process forward by forcing yourself to think ahead. For example, if you keep worrying about receiving a bad grade on an exam, ask yourself what are you going to do to prevent it or what will you do to boost your grade after the exam.

Even though the end of the semester can be a stressful time for us all, keep in mind that all of your work will get done, focus on one thing at a time, and take a little bit of time each day for yourself.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Masaaki Komori

Meet Amanda

Amanda headshot

My name is Amanda and I am a sophomore this year with a Marketing major. This is my first semester working with Career and Internship Services as a Peer Educator.

I can’t possibly pick one favorite place in Duluth, so I guess I will share a few. On a warm summer day I love visiting the Portland Malt Shop and walking along the Lake Walk or going through the shops in the Fitgers building. I have the best memories in these areas from when my family vacationed here when I was a child. My hobbies include traveling and exploring new places, trying coffee shops and restaurants, and hiking. A few of my newfound favorites in Duluth include Va Bene and Amity Coffee.

The best career advice that I have received was from my dad when I began my search for an internship, he stated: “all that matters is that you surround yourself with good people, work hard, have fun, and be a good communicator with all.” This laundry list of items is something that I carry with me as I go through my day-to-day life. My piece of advice for other students would be to remember that every single person you meet or experience you have is an opportunity to grow career-wise, as well as personally. Don’t be afraid to meet new people. You never know where a new connection will take you.

Stay tuned for Amanda’s posts!

What to do with an Organizational Management Degree?

By: Rachel

What is Organizational Management?
Organizational Management is a major within the Labovitz School of Business & Economics (LSBE). It can cover such a wide variety of areas that it’s difficult to sum it all up in one line, but here is the description provided by LSBE: “The Organizational Management major provides students with an understanding of management principles to direct the skills and efforts of people within an organization and to make strategic decisions that meet organizational needs.”  

No matter what your area of study is, chances are you’ll be working in some form of an organization. Even if you’re a freelancer who works alone, you’ll probably be collaborating with other groups. Organizational Management is about a lot of things, but one of the biggest points I’ve picked up on is that it’s about leveraging people and forces at work to meet various goals.

plant leaves; What to do with a degree in organizational management.

What can I do with an Organizational Management degree?
Since it is so broad, there is almost no limit to the occupations where you could apply your Organizational Management degree. To start with an obvious job title, you could be a manager. It may sound basic, but think about how many different fields that title could apply to! You might be a manager of a restaurant, retail department, accounting firm, construction outfit, sports team, health care office, or engineering company.  

Some people jump into the workforce by applying for management positions, while others begin in an entry level position and spend years working their way up the ladder. It is also worth mentioning that many companies have management-in-training programs where you might be cycled through a variety of departments and even company locations to build the knowledge and skills necessary for a leadership role. Some companies might pair you with a mentor as well. If you know management is where you’d like to be, a program like this can expedite the process of getting there.

Going back to what I said earlier, we will all likely work in a business at some point. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a knowledge of general business areas, such as accounting, marketing, human resources, and economics? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to go into a job with some experience and knowledge of how to work in teams effectively? If you enjoy your job and would like to move into a leadership position, wouldn’t you feel better prepared for that role with some prior study of what goes into being a great leader? My education at UMD in the Organizational Management degree has already helped me grow in these areas.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo source: Unsplash | Syd Sujuaan


The Greenery’s Guide to Mindfulness & Self-Care

By: McKenzie

Being a plant-parent can teach you a lot, but it’s not always easy caring for a plant indoors. Whether you were an expert grower back home or beginning as a motivated novice, having plants indoors can be a challenge. It is, however, a challenge you should accept. Plants are great teachers, and they show us how to care for ourselves and the world. If you pay close attention you’ll see them guiding you in your practice of mindfulness and self-care.

Why Be Mindful & Self-Care?
To start off, you might be wondering: “Why should I practice being mindful and care for myself?” As humans, we put a lot on our plate. To flourish in our personal and professional lives it is important to be considerate of our time and our energy. Our work should be mindful. There should be care and consideration put into our projects so we obtain the best result. One way we can ensure we are being mindful, and not simply clocking-in at the bare minimum, is by taking time to care for ourselves. Allowing our mind and body rest gives us the opportunity to perform better and achieve more when we need to apply ourselves. If we never take time to replenish ourselves we’ll get stuck on empty and have to push. Learning to care for plants can help us develop the needed skills to avoid burning out.

Monstera Plant on black background; A plant's lessons on mindfulness and self-care.

A Plant’s Lessons on Mindfulness & Self-care

Make time
Set time aside to care for your plants. Life can be busy, but like any other living organism, they need attention. Indoor plants, in particular, require your assistance to fulfill their needs so they can live in your home. Now think of yourself. Are you scheduling time for you? Make sure you are in a space to thrive and grow just like your plants.

Stay patient
Take your time when caring for your plant. No need to rush. Prune their leaves slowly. Help your plant grow with time. Make sure you don’t over/under water. Now think: Have you been patient with yourself lately?

Be kind
Use good soils, re-pot if necessary, watch for invaders, and be gentle. Check sunlight. Water slowly and gently. Every organism deserves kindness. Treat the world with the same care as your plants.

Bring the attention and care you would give to a plant into your everyday life. Often times we neglect ourselves and that can impact how our life plays out before us. Practicing mindfulness and self-care can help you both personally and professionally–ensuring you are always ready to perform at your best.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Sylvie Tittel

Strong Interest Inventory Assessment: Does it Really Help?

By: Paying

Like many others, I’ve always had in mind what I wanted to be and once I hit college I became very confused on what would really be best for me. Yes, everyone is super willing to give advice and try to lead you in the ‘right’ direction. However, the advice can be so broad that it doesn’t change anything: “Do what you love,” and even, “Maybe you should go talk to someone in the field you’re interested in.” Don’t get me wrong, I definitely agree with this advice but it wasn’t until my personal experience in the Career & Internship Services Office that I truly started to think about my career path.

Weather vane; Do career assessments really help?

In my senior year of high school, I was set on the idea of being an English teacher abroad. However, I felt as if I was not social or outgoing enough which led me to go into college undeclared. After my first year here at UMD, I declared an English major because I loved to help my friends edit their papers and thought to myself, “If I love editing so much, why don’t I just make it a career?” So that’s what I picked. I’m glad I’ll be doing something I like but, I still wasn’t 100% confident.

Fast forward to now, my junior year of college when I decided to take the Strong Interest Inventory Assessment. It looked like every other assessment I’ve taken before and I honestly did not expect much out of it. I went into the appointment with a career counselor ready to hear what I usually hear, and I got so much more out that one-hour appointment than I did in most of my life.

During my appointment, the career counselor I was with asked me, “So tell me, why did you choose this editing path?” After I explained my story of how it felt nice to help edit my friend’s papers, she questioned, “Do you enjoy editing or do you enjoy helping your friends?” That simple question left me speechless and I did not know how to react. This whole time I thought I enjoyed editing. In reality, after I dug deeper into it, maybe it was the satisfying feeling of helping others instead.

This appointment has sparked something in me I can’t quite explain. I do enjoy editing and I’m not going to stop pursuing it. At the same time, I feel like there’s more I can do while being in an editing career. I plan on reaching out to different editors to see where they got their start and what an average day looks like. I’ll also look for other careers that an English major will be useful in such as Teaching English as a Second Language abroad. Strong Interest Inventory assessment showed me I enjoy helping others, and it also showed me I’ve changed since high school. Nothing is concrete or certain and it’s okay to change things up.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Jordan Ladikos

Finding Inspiration in Your Field of Study

By: Eva

As a female anthropology student, I always get a bit excited when I see other women’s names stamped onto studies and publications. Although anthropology has been traditionally a man’s vocation through the last couple centuries, there are many women who stand out as incredible role models for all anthropology students. I think having someone to look up to is important no matter your interests or profession. So, here I will talk about three of my favorite female anthropologists and the impacts they have made on my education and worldview.

White canvas with paint pots and brushes; "What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make." by Dame Jane Goodall

Dame Jane Goodall (1934 – Present)
Goodall is a primatologist (a scientist who studies primates – she focuses on chimpanzees). When she started her chimpanzee research in the 1960’s in Tanzania she did not have much formal training, which may have been what allowed her to think outside the box and make observations that had gone unnoticed by more experienced primatologists. For example, she would give the Chimpanzees names, such as Frodo, instead of numbers. Thanks to her we now know that chimpanzees make and use tools and have complex social orders, which gives us insight into our own human behaviors. She also has been a dedicated environmental and animal-human rights activist her entire life. She paved the way for many women primatologists and anthropologists and advocated for engaged and participatory anthropological methods. For me, the greatest impact Dame Jane Goodall has left on me is to stick by what you know is right and to always treat people, animals, and the earth with kindness.

Margaret Mead (1901 – 1978)
If any of you have taken an introductory anthropology or sociology course, you will probably have heard of Dr. Mead. She was a revolutionary cultural anthropologist. She faced discrimination from her peers and the general public as a bisexual woman in the 20th century, but the quality of her research and person rose beyond those biases. Many tenets of today’s intersectional feminist theories on gender, sexuality, and personality stem from her study of cultures in Samoa, New Zealand, and the US. Reading Mead’s work has taught me to truly listen to the stories that other people tell and try to put myself in their shoes.

Ursula Le Guin (1929 – 2018)
Technically, Ursula is a writer, not an anthropologist, but she has made a huge impact on my life and my education. Her parents were renowned sociologists and anthropologists so many of her writings contain a certain cultural depth. She is mostly known for her science fiction pieces. The first piece of literature I read by her was The Carrier Bag of Fiction. In it, she discusses her approach to science fiction writing, which is to say she tells “real life” instead of tall tales about the heroes. From her, I learned to celebrate everyday stories, because within them are the solutions to a lot of big problems.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Kelli Tungay

Tips & Tricks for a Successful Internship

By: Heidi

This past summer I had the opportunity to work as a marketing intern with Andersen Windows. This was my first time having an internship so overall it was an exciting experience to have my first taste of the ‘real world.’ When reflecting on my experience, I thought there would be valuable things to share for students who may be looking for an internship or are about to start one. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you with your internship!

Tips and tricks for a successful internship

Take advantage of downtime and network
In between projects, I found myself with some extra time on my hands. I thought how ridiculous I not make use of this time and meet people outside of my team while I was working at a great company. I began scheduling informational interviews with people working in a field I was interested in who could then connect me with people they thought would be beneficial. I also met with people who had careers I hadn’t necessarily considered because I believe you can learn something from everyone you meet. Don’t limit yourself to just meeting people in your bubble of interest. Lastly, meet with people young in their career and people experienced in the field. I found I could relate to those young in their field, but could learn a lot for example from meeting with the VP of my team who had made a lot of movements in his career.

Advice from the CEO
One of the coolest parts of my experience at my summer internship is that we got to sit down in the executive suite and talk to the CEO of the company. Of course, he had many insightful things to share as I’m sure anyone with that level of experience would. When talking about how he got onto the path of becoming CEO, he said in life you will be presented with two choices. One will be the smart choice, and one will be the right choice. You can follow either, smart may be choosing a safe job with good benefits, or the right choice such as following your dreams and taking a chance on a non-traditional path or career opportunity.

Connect with other interns
Each week all of the interns at the location I was working at would meet for lunch. This was a good way for us all to get to know each other and catch up on what each of us was working on. We were all doing something totally different which also gave us more insight on all of the functions of the company. Another way to meet interns was by going to networking events that were put on by Andersen’s Young Professionals Network. This was initially created by a group of interns who wanted to stay connected which gave us the opportunity to meet people across the Corporation who were young in their career.

Make good relationships with people on your team
One thing that was an adjustment for me is that everyone on my team was much older than I was. It was intimidating at first, but they were all welcoming and excited to have an intern join their team. A unique thing this team has been doing for years is a dice game where everyone rolls and the person with the lowest score buys coffee for everyone on Friday morning. Having something fun like this in the office made things playful and was a way to bond each week. Luckily I had good luck with the dice and never had to buy coffee as the stereotypical intern role throughout the whole summer.

Do what you think you can’t
At the beginning of the summer, my manager told me I was going to create a sales dashboard and a certain program I would be using to do so. I had no experience with the program and was even more confused with the amount of data that was going to be brought together. Long story short, yes I finished the report but with my limited knowledge on business intelligence I had to not only ask for help but locate the right people to help me. It was rewarding having it all come together but just know that people are often willing to help as long as you ask.

Although these tips are directed at an Internship experience, I believe reflection is important and can be done at any point in your life and career.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Jeff Sheldon