Study Abroad Takeaways

By: Cassie

Hi everyone! So if you’ve read my posts before you know that this past summer I decided to study abroad in Ireland. The trip I went on was focused on innovation and how businesses differ between the US and Ireland. Through this trip I got to see amazing things, meet amazing people (like the CEO of the largest hospital in Ireland), and I also learned a lot of things about myself along the way. Going on this trip was a really eye opening and great experience for me. Today I’m going to sum up some takeaways in a few points.

Cork University Hospital

It was challenging
The general consensus on studying abroad is that you will take easy classes and just be able to have fun. Well, you are definitely able to have lots of fun, BUT you cannot forget the importance of doing your work. My class was challenging and really pushed me to think outside of what I normally would do. This ultimately made it a more rewarding trip for me and I got a lot of education out of it. It was not only academically challenging- it was challenging just being in another country! Figuring out how to get around, the currency, and even deciding what to eat was all a new and different experience that made me push myself.

Cassie in Ireland

I made a lot of friends and connections
I met a lot of new people by going on this trip and made a lot of friends that I know will last a lifetime. We visited several companies and we met a lot of people who were doing influential and innovative things. We met heads of companies and we got to see how Irish business works. I also made good connections with people like Tony McNamara, who is the CEO of Cork University Hospital. This hospital is coincidentally the largest hospital and most innovative hospital in Ireland. The meeting was probably one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve ever had to do, and it was also one of the most rewarding. By making these connections I now have a larger network and I have been introduced to so many more opportunities, which has been really great.

I saw amazing things
Every day of my trip was jam packed with a ton of things to see. We went all over the country and saw historical landmarks, scenery, and even contemporary cities. It was incredible to take in all the new sights, scenes, and surroundings that Ireland had to offer.

Busy street in Ireland

I learned so much
By going on this trip, I didn’t just learn about Ireland. I learned about the people around me, whether they were business professionals or my peers. I learned that I could be a part of the business place. I learned that I am capable of so many things and all I have to do is try them. Overall, studying abroad was a great experience and I would recommend it to anyone because of all the great things you can get out of it!

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Photos by: Cassie

Role With It

By: Cassie

Whether we like it or not, almost all of us will have to work for the rest of our lives. You may be dreading this or you may be excited to see what your future has in store, but it’s all about your point of view. If you go into a job and are willing to better yourself, you are going to have a lot better time than if you go into your job every day dreading it. Whether you are in an entry-level position or you are just starting your adult job, one of the best things you can do to enjoy your workplace is to GET INVOLVED.

Now you’re probably thinking that I’m crazy. Why would you want to take on more responsibility? Well, I’m here to tell you that at work, you get out what you put in. By this I mean the more you get involved, the more results and rewards you get out of it. I mean, who doesn’t like getting told that they’re doing a good job, right?!

It’s pretty easy to take on new roles at your workplace. You can find out what else is going on in your office besides what you’re currently doing. Some examples of this would be getting involved in the social media, taking on leadership roles, adopting projects, and maybe even taking an extra position to get some extra hours. A lot of these things don’t require a lot of extra work and the added bonus is that by taking on additional roles you also are building onto your resume. By being multifaceted in your workplace you learn a lot about your place of work and you have a better sense of belonging.

If you still are skeptical about what I’m telling you, I will tell you my own personal story. I started out as an alumni caller at C&IS in February 2015. I then went on to pursue a front desk position in September 2015. I currently still hold both of these positions. I like to table for events to promote the many benefits our office offers and I also write for this blog. These have all been huge learning opportunities for me and there have been so many benefits! Some of the benefits I have experienced are getting closer to my coworkers, learning more about the office, and being able to be creative and come up with new ideas. Yes, it is a lot of work, but now I am really starting to get so much more out of coming to work. I am actually having fun!

So now that you know all the benefits of taking on additional roles, I want to tell you ways you can find out about these extra jobs. Ask your boss about what they need help with around the office, I’m sure they will be thrilled to take something off of their plate. Look into the social media and see if there is anything you can do to promote or enhance it. Look around your place of work to see if there are any new or creative ideas that you have that may help out the work place. The list is endless and these are just a few examples!

So get out there and start to help your work place and yourself!

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Why Should I Study Abroad?

By: Cassie

You know those things that you know you are always meant to do? The goal that you feel a huge drive towards and you are willing to do anything and everything to accomplish it. Well for me, that has always been traveling the world. I want to see everything, experience everything, and go everywhere. Well, I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well how do you plan to do that when you’re a poor college student and you know you have student loans to pay off after you graduate?” I have asked myself this exact same question. Then the realization dawned on me; study abroad is there for people who are experiencing the exact same feelings as me. You might be thinking, “I don’t know if study abroad is right for me”, and I am here to tell you all the reasons you should at least consider it as a part of your college experience.

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The first reason that you should consider study abroad is that it is SO flexible. There are so many different programs; you can pretty much go anywhere in the world. If UMD doesn’t have a program that you want to go on, don’t worry! They can find an affiliate program that will work with you so you can go wherever you want to go. You can also go any time of year. You can take May terms, J terms, semester long programs, or you can even go the whole year. The study abroad office is absolutely willing to work with you through every step of the way so you can make the best decision for you.

Another reason you should consider study abroad is, why not now? College is the time in your life when you are supposed to be able to take risks and experience new things. Once you get out into the real world you aren’t going to get very much time to vacation (especially right away as an entry level employee) so now is a great time. Another great reason is that when you study abroad, your whole trip, or a majority of it, is planned for you. It is much easier to travel with the help of experienced professionals than try and plan it on your own.

Finally not only is study abroad fun and exciting, but for practical reasons, it looks great on a resume! By putting study abroad on a resume you are telling employers that you are willing to put yourself out there and try new things. It also shows employers that you are willing to go international and are able to market yourself that way which is so valuable!

This May I am traveling with the Innovation in Ireland program. This is an entrepreneurship and innovation course that is offered through the business school. It is a three-week program where I will be traveling all around Ireland and I get to see all the sights while also enhancing my college experience and gaining knowledge. I chose this program because as Health Care Management major I don’t have a lot of flexibility in my schedule and this was a course that fit into my course requirements. It also is great because it is only three-weeks and I don’t know if I could go abroad for any longer than that. We are traveling in a big group as well, which was an added bonus for me because I don’t think I would be able to go abroad on my own. This has added a lot of work on my plate for this semester, and I know in the end it will all be completely worth it.

For all these reasons I think that if you haven’t at looked into study abroad, you really should. It is a lot of work and there are a lot of things to consider, but there are so many people who are here to help you through the steps. All you need to do is take the first step and look on the study abroad website to get some ideas. It never hurts to look, and you never know you could find something you like and change your life!

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Summer Job Searching, Had Me a Blast

By: Cassie

Okay, so I know it’s only March, but if you take a minute to think about it you realize that we only have April and then the first week of May and then BOOM summer is going to be here before you know it! When I think of summer I think of lying on a sandy beach and being able to relax. WELL, I am here to remind you (and myself) that you should probably start looking for a summer job. I know, it sounds like the last thing you actually want to do, BUT you have to realize that if you don’t start looking now, your options may be very limited! But not to worry, I am here to tell you all the great options for finding something to do this summer!

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Internships

If you’ve read any of my recent posts, you know about my recent struggle in the world of internships. If you would like an internship I would recommend looking now! The summer is a great time to do an internship! A great way to find internships is through networking and personal connections. If you can’t find an internship this way there are resources on the C&IS website like Glassdoor or GoldPASS and there is even a list of resources specifically for interning! Some of these include the best places to intern or summer research opportunities for graduates!

Volunteering

If you are looking for experience in your field, but aren’t quite ready or don’t fully want to commit to an internship, then volunteering is a great option for you! Volunteering allows you to gain experience and it also gives you the flexibility to figure out what you really want from an internship experience. It also can be really eye opening in terms of deciding whether your field is the right field for you. There are so many places you can volunteer. For example, I have volunteered at a hospital and you wouldn’t believe how many different areas you can volunteer in. If you look on our website there are links to multiple volunteer sites. Even if you aren’t interested at volunteering with any of those organizations, it might spark some ideas about where you can really start looking for a volunteering position. Another resource to help in your search for volunteering is VolunteerMatch. The great thing about volunteering is that you can volunteer as much or as little as you want with as many organizations as you want, even if you have another job or commitments.

Summer Jobs

If you aren’t ready to commit to an internship or if you don’t really think you want to volunteer, then a regular summer job is a great too! There are so many seasonal, part-time, and even full-time jobs you can get during the summer. You can find a job where you can work outside; examples of these are working at a golf course or being a nanny. You can also take the route of working in a nice air-conditioned place, like an office as a secretary or in a retail store at the mall. There are a lot of options out there, but I recommend you start looking now! Most places are willing to be flexible with interviews with college students if you want to live at home during the summer. Another option is staying in the campus area and finding a job around here for this summer. There are so many options out there and you just need to find out what the best fit is for you!

Good luck on finding something to do for this summer, and if you need help, or aren’t exactly sure what you want to do, you are always welcome in C&IS and we can help you find the best option for you! Also remember that it is never too early to start looking! So maybe before buying that swimsuit you desperately want off of your favorite store’s website, tune up your resume first so you can get that summer dream job!

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Ready! (Or Not?) Internships Here I Come!

By: Cassie

Did you read my last post? If you did great! If you didn’t, don’t worry. I get it, you’re busy and I’ll try to not be too hurt. If you still don’t want to go read it, I’ll give you a brief synopsis of what it said. I talked about the incredible pressure we as college students feel to get internships. I also talked about the steps you can take to get yourself on the right track towards what the best internship strategy is for you. Well today, I am back to tell you I started on my track and it was the most beneficial thing I could have done for myself, and I now I’ll tell you why.

Internship Ready or Not

I had no idea what I wanted to do. I also knew that I was running out of time to get an internship as summer is fast approaching and I knew everyone else has probably been out there looking for internships for at least a month or more by this point. I had my mom emailing me like 10 internship listings a day in fields I wasn’t even interested in. Some people may like finance (and kudos to them) but honestly the thought of doing a financial internship all summer made me cringe. Having a major in Health Care Management, my field is so broad that I didn’t even know what area I wanted to go into for my internship. I could do HR, PR, finance, accounting, medical records, shadowing, and honestly, so much more. Finally, I just took the time and made an appointment with a counselor in C&IS and it was the most helpful thing I could have done.

Now, I know you probably might be thinking “well she works for C&IS so she probably is just trying to promote them” and I want you to know that is not the case. Yes, I LOVE my office and I love the things they can do to help students, but this is not just a ploy to get you to stop by and visit. I sat down with a counselor and talked about all the things that I was worried about in an internship. Then she did something super important and asked me what my biggest concern was. After a minute I realized that it was that I was stressing myself out about things that I didn’t quite need to worry about yet. I am only a sophomore and I haven’t started my upper division classes yet, which most employers will look at when you apply for an internship. I also can build my work experience this summer by volunteering or finding a less stressful hospital position like working in a gift shop or shadowing for a day. You can never have too many things to put on a resume, and no one has ever thought that gaining experience in your field of interest is a bad thing. By not getting an internship this summer I have time to think about what I really want to gain from an internship for next year. All in all I learned there are so many other things I can do before I take the huge leap into the internship world.

I know this post is a lot about me, but overall I hope you took something from my experience. It is not always the time for an internship. It is OKAY to not be ready and it is OKAY to wait until you are. That doesn’t mean that you should give up on internships entirely. Look for other ways to gain experience or take the time to learn what YOU really want. So don’t listen to your parents, or your friends who have internships. You need to listen to yourself and know what is best for you right here and right now. If you don’t know what is best for you, that’s okay too! I didn’t know until I sat down and talked about it, so maybe that’s what you need to do too! There are so many people who are willing to help you and you just need to take that first step!

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Negative Space

Under Pressure: Internship Edition

By: Cassie

When you hear the word internship what is the first thing that you do? Do you think about all the positive things that can happen from getting one and gaining experience? Do you get excited about going through the application and hiring process? Well, for me, and I’m sure for a lot of you out there, that is not what you are thinking about at all. Personally, when I think about internships I start to break out in a cold sweat and the initial panic begins. The pressure to get an internship is something that is very prevalent and it’s something that does not get talked about enough. Searching for internships is time consuming, stressful, and confusing, and I’m here today to tell you that if you’re stressed out about your internship search, you are not alone.

Under Pressure Internship

One of the things that can be the most stressful about finding an internship is the constant feeling of someone breathing down your neck. Some majors have an internship built into their curriculum so you have to obtain one to graduate. So, that means at some point you are going to have to get one, no questions asked. Then your professors tell you how beneficial they are, they will stand in front of the class and tell you stories from their own internship experience. Let’s top that off with constant emails from people higher up about internship opportunities that are opening up and how you should compete with a large pool of fellow students when you apply. Then to make it extra special you have your mom and dad sending you email links to internship applications and telling you, you need to get it together. Now, some of that might not be true for you, but even if you are experiencing some of these you are sitting in the pressure cooker that is the search for internships. As college students we have a lot of things going on. We have our classes, clubs, jobs, social lives, and, when we have the time, we like to sleep. So, it is honestly hard to find the time to look through the “hidden job market” to find an internship we qualify for or that relates to our major or interests. Then, when you have people consistently telling you how important they are, you feel like you HAVE to start searching for them and add another thing on your already full plate. It’s exhausting.

Now, let’s talk about why the internship process is so time consuming. The first part is searching for the internship, which is not as easy as you would ever think it would be. You have to make professional and personal connections because by knowing more people there is a larger chance you will know somebody who can help you find a position somewhere. Don’t have any connections or don’t have any connections who can help? Go to the job fairs and find companies you are interested in. Still don’t have connections? Then you have to scour the Internet and hope that you find something that interests you. If you don’t know exactly what you want out of an internship it can be SO hard to know what you’re looking for. If you have a major that is not specific or is hard to find an internship for, then it is so hard to know what you want out of your internship experience. Say you do find an internship that really interests you, you then have to tune up your resume and cover letter. Thankfully, we have a lot of people at C&IS who can help you through this process, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not time consuming. Next you submit your application and you have to wait and stress about whether you are going to be given an interview or not. Then you have to prepare for said interview, which C&IS can also help you with. You have to do a lot on your own, but there are people to help you as well. And let me tell you, they LOVE to help you. It’s what they’re here for!

I am not trying to scare you about internships, they are very rewarding and insightful experiences that everyone really should have. I just wanted to take the time to tell you that if you are scared, or if you feel pressure, or you have a lot of questions, you aren’t alone! We, as college students, are all going through a similar experience and we should be able to openly talk about our fears and stressors. Internships are a huge deal and there are so many people who want to help you through this process, you just have to be proactive in your experience to get the most out of it. I hope now the next time you talk about internships you don’t break out in a cold sweat, or if you do, that’s okay. Just remember that there is help and that you can do this!

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Photo source: Unsplash|Skyler Smith

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 than 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 and the Student Healthcare Management Association. They have 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 into 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