How to Sound as Smart as You Are

By: Willow

Dear Blog Post Reader,

You are an incredibly smart and capable human being. You rock. You can do anything you set your mind to.

Keep calm and remember you are doing a great job.

Even though I know you’re super duper, sometimes it can be hard to make sure other people see that too, especially when they see you though a resume or application, so here are a few tips to help show everyone how wonderful you are.

Never say the word stuff.
Stuff doesn’t sound intelligent. There are so many other far better words that sound better; things, items, inventory, material, etc.

Don’t overuse the word like.
Leave the overuse of like in the, like, 90’s where it, like, belongs, like. Got it?

Use your resources.
There are a lot of good places you can go on campus to help you. Come to Career & Internship Services to make sure your resume highlights how smart you are, and to have a practice interview so you can articulate to employers how qualified you are. Go to the Writer’s Workshop at the Academic Writing & Learning Center and get help with your writing. Strong writing skills are essential to sounding your best. Have your friends or family read though things you write or look at projects you do, it always helps to get a second or third set of eyes on something to help catch mistakes you may have missed. You’re smart but you’re not perfect, you will make mistakes sometimes. Grammarly is a great resource to have installed on your computer and in your internet browser. It helps catch mistakes in email and other places you write.

If you’re going to use cliches or sayings, use them correctly.
People have differing opinions on cliches but personally, I love them if you use them correctly. I was recently having a conversation with a few people, during the approximately three minutes of conversation, one of the people used about five cliches, all incorrectly. It drove me crazy. She could have been telling me about the groundbreaking research she has been doing for years on cancer cells and all I would be able to think about is how she used old cliches incorrectly.

Sometimes it’s ok to not talk.
I struggle with this, I like to talk. But, sometimes it is better to listen, you might learn more and become even smarter.

You don’t have to use big words to sound intelligent.
Although it’s always fun to sprinkle in the occasional ubiquitously stupendous verb into the lexicon, there is no need to overdo it. Keep it simple. If you’re really set on using a big word, I recommend pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, the longest word in the English language, go big or go home my friends. (Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is “a pneumoconiosis caused by inhalation of very fine silicate or quartz dust, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, so if you are going to use it, use it correctly!) But really, only using massive words doesn’t automatically make you sound awesome, and often can make you sound pretentious.

Remember these tips, and be your best self! Good luck out there folks!

Read Willow’s other posts

Navigating Through College as a First-Generation Student, Part II

By: David

From the previous post I had written, I took up on the concept of the experiences of first-generation students (FGS) and decided that I would elaborate on my own experiences as a first-generation student. From the previous post, I mentioned the two ways that helped me through college were: (1) capitalizing on campus resources & opportunities and (2) connecting with staff and faculty. Today, I’ll be exploring on two more ways that really helped me in navigating through college. With that being said, let’s dive in!

Navigating as First Gen 2

Finding a Social Network
For any student entering college, it is crucial to connect with a community or group of individuals who they can socialize and find support within. As an FGS, it becomes especially difficult since there is no prior knowledge of the college environment and thus creates a barrier in finding a social network to connect with. Fortunately, most college campuses give students the opportunity to find social networks to get involved in, whether it’s Greek Life, student organizations, academic opportunities, employment, etc.

For me personally, the most difficult part about finding social networks was actually connecting with other students. Granted, I came to college and roomed with 3 of my friends from high school, but I still had the desire to branch out and network with other students. Finding a social network was not easy and required a lot of trial and error. After my first Student Activities Fair, I was so excited to join the various organizations I had interacted with, but was quite disappointed when attending many of their meetings and events because I simply didn’t feel like I belong. My turning point came when I made the effort to get involved with the Multicultural Center. As a student of color myself, there were a lot of similarities I could identify with and reasons to get involved. It truly helped me find a social network with Asian Pacific American Association (which I have mentioned about numerous times in previous blog posts!). To segway into my next point, what worked best for me in terms of expanding my social networks was to get involved on campus!

Getting Involved!
If you’ve read my previous posts, you know by now that I am a HUGE advocate for getting involved on campus. Ultimately, my college experience has tremendously shaped my ability to navigate through college. Join a student organization, find on-campus employment, participate in events and activities hosted by the university, and conduct or assist with research in your academic department. These are SOME (many more out there) examples of getting involved on campus. So why get involved you ask? From the previous 3 points (capitalizing on opportunities, connecting with staff & faculty, finding social networks) I made in this blog series, getting involved is the best way to tie all of these together. I say this because through getting involved you pretty much cover all three areas and it is something tangible, or an action that anyone can make in terms of navigating through college.

My first year coming into college, I recall seeing a poster (you know, those inspirational quotes with the pretty pictures?) in a staff member’s office that greatly shaped my college philosophy. The poster quoted, “build bridges, not walls” and it had the most mesmerizing picture of a bridge I’ve ever seen. My point is, after reading that quote along with the captivating bridge, my philosophy was (and still is) to connect with as many students, staff, and faculty as I could before graduating. In doing so, I took up as many positions and opportunities as I could to branch out and expand my horizon of knowledge. In truth, this required me having to step outside my comfort zones and it was difficult at first I’ll admit; but as I reflect on my experiences, those moments of insecurity and vulnerability only allowed me to grow at a rapid rate professionally and personally. Being first-generation, it didn’t help that I didn’t have the knowledge or capabilities to interact and connect with others as I had wished, and often times I didn’t know what I needed or wanted to know. Life was rough, I tell ya. Fortunately, direct experience in leadership positions and active involvement really gave me a deep sense of knowledge and skills.

Conclusion
To wrap things up, I want to say that I am aware and sensitive to the fact that these four ways of navigating through college as an FGS might not be for everyone and that there are a lot of other ways to do so. By keeping things broad, I hope it helps push you to find your own way in succeeding throughout college. On a side note, I have come to observe the relationship between first-gen students and the university (campus life programs, academic programs, etc.). My conclusion is that the two have to meet in the middle. Students need to take an active role in securing (or at least attempt) these opportunities and services offered and be willing to step outside their comfort zones. On the flipside, the university needs to actively promote their services so students know what’s available to them and in addition, explicitly state their sensitivity and awareness of first-generation students.

My final tip for other first-generation students in navigating through college is this: be humble and open-minded. As an FGS, I understand that there is, to some degree, a sense of pride in NOT seeking help or assistance when struggling. The source of pride may vary from student to student, but it definitely exists. Furthermore, it is important to be vulnerable and allow room for constructive criticism and learning moments for your growth. This is more of a life tip, but keep your thoughts open to different perspectives to further expand your own and reserve judgement until proven. Stay warm Bulldogs!

Read David’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Richard Tilney-Bassett

Social Media Squad at the UMN Job Fair

By: Tori

UMN Job Fair Logo_2017

We’re back from running social media at the U of M Job Fair! And what a successful event it was!

My co-peer educator, David, and I headed down to the Minneapolis Convention Center on Friday, February 24th to assist with showing students what the largest job fair in all of Minnesota was truly like. Check out the videos we posted on Facebook.

David & Tori UMJF

Lounge Tweet

Even though job fair season may be over, we have some great tidbits of advice from students and employers at the UMN Job Fair to share with students back on our home campus of UMD (Go Bulldogs!)

In Preparation: 

Tori & UMD Student UMJF

A UMD Mechanical Engineering student (above) shared advice on how to professionally prepare for the fair by: “Reviewing your resume and purchasing a portfolio. You’ll always win points with those two things!”

“Research the employers going to the fair by using the job fair app. That way you will know who employers are AND where they are located at the fair. You won’t have to look around and be distracted trying to find employers.”- Kimberly, Peer Educator at UMD Career and Internship Services (2nd from left in photo below).

Kimberly & Friends UMJF

At the Fair: 

“Take a look at how long the lines are, talk to other employers first to practice, then go to your top choices and dream jobs.”- PJay, Front Desk Student Assistant at the UMD Career and Internship Services.

Sadie Instagram

Sadie (above), a Front Desk Student Assistant in our office gave us her favorite tip while at the fair: “Collect business cards from every employer you talk to & follow-up.”

“Do a lap, know where things are. Be yourself! Dive in! Just go for it!”- UMN Student

Employers also offered advice to students at the Job Fair:

UMJF Employer Collage

“Research companies and apply for open positions before the fair, and then come say hello!”

Employer Resume Advice: “Keep it looking clean and easy to read by utilizing bullet points, bolded letters, customized headers, and formatting that flows.”

When approaching employers, “Confidence is key to standing out.”

“Don’t be shy, ask critical questions, be curious!” and remember, “It’s your time to interview us (employers) too!”

I hope this advice is helpful to you as you begin preparing for your next job fair, interview, or interaction with an employer! It’s okay to be nervous and not know what to expect, but use the resource you have to take the next steps.

Check out these social media sites for more information and tips from the UMN Job Fair:

Read Tori’s other posts

Navigating through College as a First-Generation Student

By: David

As a first-generation student, the struggles and barriers of navigating through college can often be difficult and strenuous. Scholarships, finances, campus resources, college courses, communication with faculty & staff, you name it. So what defines a first-generation college student? Well, according to a research article published by Maietta back in November, she states, “The two most widely used definitions of FG college students are 1) those students whose parents matriculated, but never graduated with a bachelor’s degree and 2) those students whose parents never persisted past a high school diploma.” (Maietta, 2016). My parents came to the U.S. as immigrants after the Vietnam War never achieved a college degree, therefore I, myself, am a first-generation college student. In today’s post, I’ll be highlighting my experience as a first-generation student (FGS) and how I have navigated through college. With that being said, let’s get started!

david-first-gen

Capitalizing on Campus Resources & Opportunities  

The most significant method for me in navigating through college as an FGS was to capitalize on opportunities and resources provided by departments, student organizations, and offices around campus. More than often, I find that students take these opportunities and resources for granted and make zero effort in leveraging these amazing resources to benefit their college career. From my experience in working in various departments and offices around campus, I have come to realize one thing and that is that the folks who work and operate in a campus setting are all dedicated to helping students. In other words, USE YOUR CAMPUS RESOURCES! Check out the amazing opportunities and resources through academic and campus life departments.

Though this is a case where it is easier said than done to actually capitalize on these opportunities and resources, I would like to chime in on my thoughts and feelings as an FGS. Coming into college, I was very hesitant in using and seeking out campus resources and opportunities. One reason was that I simply felt bad for just using the resources available. Personally, I hate the feeling and concept of using someone to benefit myself and that’s exactly how it felt like at first when using these campus resources. To me, it didn’t feel right setting up meetings and appointments to talk over the things that benefitted me only. My turning point with this mentality was when I first got involved with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) in my second semester of my first year. Through a series of activities and meetings with the ODI staff and student organizations, I was able to gain this trust and understanding that staff and faculty alike are here to serve students because they love doing that exactly. Once I understood that, my experiences as an FGS totally flipped 180 degrees for the better.

Connecting with Staff & Faculty

In addition to leveraging campus resources and opportunities, another asset that truly helped me was connecting with the staff and faculty on campus. Setting up to meet with career counselors, attending office hours, asking career related questions, self-disclosing about troubles as an under-representative minority, the list goes on. I cannot recall how many times where I’ve sought out support and guidance from staff and faculty in situations of dilemma. As the first one to attend college, I don’t have many personal connections to rely on in terms of understanding the college life. Thankfully, I’m extremely fortunate to have found a support system that was able to help me navigate through college when I felt stuck and alone in regards to college life. An important thing to keep in mind as an FGS though is that my positive results required me to take action and make the first step in asking staff and faculty members for support. I realize that it was often hard for my faculty members or staff to realize that I was struggling, and therefore required me to put my pride down and ask for help. I think this is common as well in FGS as this sense of pride is something that is often hard to overcome in a college setting. In closing, staff and faculty members are the pillars of support & generators of knowledge and serve as role models & mentors for ALL students and are folks who students seek for motivation and inspiration. From personal to professional development, the staff and faculty members of campus are the keepers of wisdom that guide students to success through moral and academic support.

Conclusion

With that being said, my experiences as an FGS are not limited and exclusive to just campus resources/opportunities and connecting to staff and faculty. Stick around for next time as I’ll continue forth in sharing more personal experiences as a first-generation student. In the next post, one key concept will focus on the importance of social groups and how important it is to have them. Until next time, I urge you to start thinking about your social groups, how you came to establish them, and what role you and your peers serve within the group. As always, stay gold friends!

Of Possible Interest:
Maietta, H. (2016). Unfamiliar Territory: Meeting the Career Development Needs of
First-Generation College Students. National Association of Colleges and Employers Journal.

Read David’s other posts

So It’s Finals Week Again

By: Cassie

That’s right folks, you know that feeling of impending doom, yeah that means finals week is here again. This point of the semester is all about getting things done. It’s about reaching that goal of finishing your research project, boosting your GPA, trying to get that important internship or job, or maybe just making it through the rest of the semester with your sanity. Meeting these goals may seem like the toughest thing in the world right now, but I’m here to tell you that we are all in the same boat and there are so many people around you who are experiencing the same thing as you.

bulldog-staying-warm

I’ll start with me as an example, I started this blog post five times before I found something I wanted to talk about. That’s right, FIVE times. I was also trying to write this blog post on top of the four group projects I’m working on. I also am thinking about the four final exams that are coming up and how I need to start studying for those. My mind was just in a million places at once and I just couldn’t seem to collect my thoughts. I know that many of you may be having a similar experience right now and that’s why I’m just here to remind you we all are struggling. It is okay to not have it together during these last hectic weeks of the semester. We all have papers piling up. We all have that member of our group project who doesn’t seem to be helping. We all are thinking about all the due dates that are approaching at a rapid pace. It’s okay to be stressed, it’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to be overwhelmed. I’m just here to remind you that you have so many resources (like us!) and people around you who are here to support you and tell you that YOU CAN MAKE IT! You are awesome and you can do this!

Also included in today’s post…a cute bulldog. Because who doesn’t love a little virtual pet therapy? (Source)

Read Cassie’s other posts

Keeping Up Your Motivation

By: Willow

It’s that time of year again, Halloween. Personally I love Halloween, but a big downside to this time of year is the crazy-ness of school. As much as I all like to think I’m a perfect student that never needs help this time of year, I always find myself getting overwhelmed and spreading myself too thin. So, I wrote this to help you remember how to keep your head up this time of year.

Now I know you already know these things, but it’s always nice to have a reminder before you become buried in tears and stress.

Ask for help. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Usually, professors are good people who want to you do well, if you tell them you’re overwhelmed – and not just looking for an easy way out, they almost always will work with you to find a solution.

Do your reading. I know it is so easy to skip it, usually no one will notice and you’ll survive, but when you don’t read for class you end up spending 4 days before your exam trying to figure out what you missed. And it’s horrible, so try to stay on top of it before you crumble under it.

Don’t work more than you can handle. It’s ok to ask for less work during a super crazy week at school. If you know you’re going to have 2 papers due and 3 exams in the same week, there is no shame in asking your boss for less hours. I know it can be hard when you have to pay rent and eat, but try to remember your main goal right now is to get an education.

It’s ok to say no. Did someone ask you to cover their shift at work? Or watch a scary movie on a weeknight? I know you want to say yes, but sometimes it’s far better in the long run to say no.

Go see a doctor if you need one. If you go to UMD, you have health care professionals available to you right on campus, it’s awesome. And you’re paying for them in your tuition so you might as well use them. Don’t forget about counseling, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

Life is hard. Don’t make it worse than it has to be. Happy Halloween Bulldogs.

Read Willow’s other posts

Looking Towards Senior Year

By: Logan

For my final blog post of the semester I decided to reflect on my junior year here at UMD and what I have learned. This past year has been a great learning experience and I am very excited for my senior year. Although I’m excited, it is also bittersweet. I’m excited to get into my most applied classes, but having to face the reality of the real world can be intimidating. I know no matter what I do, I will try to make the most out of my years here at UMD and I will try to make as many memories as possible.

My Junior year has been an interesting year so far. I have involved myself in new organizations, made new connections, and took the most credits I have taken in my collegiate career. One thing I have learned this year is that it is important to involve yourself in as much as possible early on, this way you will have plenty of connections once you reach junior and senior year. If you wait until late in your college career it will be more difficult to find these experiences and make these connections. I can assure you once you are an upperclassman you will thank yourself for being involved early on. If you involve yourself early you will make yourself more available to leadership positions, as well as potentially make new friends and connections. Another great piece of advice would be to try and become close with your professors. By doing this early on you can expose yourself to new experiences, such as research opportunities. Also, you may need a professor to write you a letter of recommendation for a job or graduate school. And I mean, it never hurts to be close with your professors. This will make it easier for you to approach them with questions or concerns you may have about your academics.

Logan Sr Yr

Junior year is a very important time in your collegiate career. It is the time where you are not yet applying for full-time jobs and you can really figure out what you want to do after you graduate. Many people use this time for an internship, which is smart. If you get an internship in your junior year and realize you do not want to pursue that exact career you still have time to get another internship or change your career path. I am using this time to develop my skills and review all of my potential options for when I graduate. I am applying for different summer internships to gain new experience and see if I would enjoy certain types of work. The most important thing is to remember to be proactive. You do not want to come into your senior year with no experience, no skills, and nothing to put on your resume. This doesn’t mean you necessarily need to get a related job or internship. You can join clubs or organizations that can give some related experience or leadership positions. I think junior year is a great time for self-reflection. You should identify where you are at in your career, and where you want to be within the next few years.

My senior year will be a very important time. I am going to take an internship preparation course my first semester, and then an internship my spring semester. I am very excited for this because even if I do not get an internship this summer I will be able to complete an internship during the school year. I am also excited to take my most upper division and most applied coursework. I have thoroughly enjoy my courses so far and I am excited to learn more and complete my education. But even in my senior year I will need to remember to stay proactive and take any opportunities presented to me. I am considering becoming a Teacher’s Assistant for one semester as well. Like I said earlier, involving yourself in things will never hurt you, but not involving yourself may come back to haunt you. My most important piece of advice would be to make the most out of your college career. You are a student in an amazing University, take advantage of the opportunities presented to you!

Read Logan’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Patrick Tomasso