Logan’s Final Thoughts

By: Logan

Editor’s note: This is Logan’s final (tears!) post as a consistent author on the blog. He wrote this up about a month ago as school was ending for the semester. Enjoy!

I have finally made it. I am sitting here on the Thursday of Finals Week, done with college forever. It really is a bittersweet feeling. I have had so many great memories and so much fun, but I am also extremely excited to move on to the next phase of my life. This past week I have been thinking about the last four years and just how much I have learned, as well as how much I have changed. When I first started college I had no idea where I would be in four years, and I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Flashback to me as a freshman, wide-eyed and eager to learn. I began as an Exercise Science major and wasn’t sure what I really wanted to do. It is interesting to see I ended up going a completely different way with my career. My major changed to psychology and I declared a minor in sociology. As far as my field of work I will be working for a transportation company in their operations department. Four years ago I probably could not have even imagined myself doing something like this, but we change a lot in four years.

Personality wise, I believe I have changed a lot as well. As a freshman, I was far more concerned with my activities and organizations than I was with my academic and work life. It seemed like meeting new people and enjoying myself was the main concern. This isn’t all bad, I met a lot of people and made a lot of connections, which is important. As time went along, my focus shifted to my schoolwork and work performance. My GPA rose, and I put more time and effort into my work. I learned many skills on how to present myself professionally and about business etiquette, and I have the counselors at Career and Internship Services to thank for that. I believe when I first came into college I was much more carefree. I am still a relaxed person overall, but I understand I need to get things done in a timely manner before engaging in social activities.

Over these last few years, I feel like I have grown a strong social network, which I am quite proud of. I gained a lot of connections while I was in a fraternity for 3 semesters, I met a lot of students and staff through my work at Career and Internship Services, and I met a lot of great friends just by trying out new friend groups and not limiting myself. I am glad I interacted with so many people because once I leave this place I want people to remember me.

I think this is the most important thing I have learned in college. Sometimes when we start school we believe we must have everything planned out. We think we need to have a set major and career path declared as soon as possible. I have learned this is not how it works. College is a learning experience and you will not know what you like until you try it. I think some of my best decisions have been when I have went out of my comfort zone and tried new things and I have many examples of this. A large contributor to declaring psych as my major was trying out random psychology electives. I knew nothing about psych, but I tried something new and loved it. Do not limit yourself, try things you never expected yourself to try!

I think we all change a bit in college. We get to find out who we really are and what we like. This is one thing I have learned about myself. In high school, I felt like I had to act like who everyone wanted me to be. In college, I have realized you can honestly be yourself and you do not have to care about what other people think. College is far less judgmental and there is really a place for everyone. So go out of your comfort zone, be yourself, and enjoy your college years because, sadly, it doesn’t last forever.

Read Logan’s other posts

From Welcome Week to Commencement: Reflecting on My College Years

By: Katie

During my first week as a UMD student, I walked through a tunnel with my fellow incoming students, lined by upperclassmen orientation leaders, staff, and faculty cheering as we were welcomed to the UMD community. Just a couple months ago, I walked through a similar tunnel. Except this time, it was lined by faculty members dressed in commencement regalia while I was outfitted with my black robe and gold tassel. This time, I walked through that tunnel on my last day as a UMD student.

That wasn’t my last act as a member of the UMD community; I have still been working in the office over the summer. It also wasn’t my last day as a student, as I will be starting a graduate program this fall. But it was the last day of my four years as a UMD student, years which were filled with experiencing more change in myself than I could have possibly wrapped my mind around as a lost and intimidated freshman.

Katie tabling for C&IS at a Bulldog Friday Visit.
Katie tabling for C&IS at a Bulldog Friday Visit.

While at UMD, I spoke to a lecture hall’s worth of people, voluntarily, on several occasions. In high school, I couldn’t speak in front of a small class without my voice trembling. At UMD, I danced and yelled and acted a fool while wearing a bright t-shirt and flower headband, for a week, surrounded by hundreds of people. In high school, I did everything I could to disappear into my surroundings, and avoided attention at all costs. At UMD, I completed my psychology degree and got accepted into a counseling grad program. In high school, I had never taken a psychology class nor considered a profession in which I would be so closely involved with others.

I have a distinct and difficult memory of the day when I made the jump from my high school life to my college one. My parents and brothers had helped me move my things into my dorm and shop for dorm-friendly snacks and decor, and now all that was left was to say goodbye. Leading up to that day, I had been excited about being on my own. But when the moment came to stand on a new campus in a new city full of strangers while my family drove away, I hesitated. I tried feebly to say something that would keep them around a little longer, because I suddenly felt lost and alone, terrified of what my shy self would do when my support system left me.

I like to think of that moment when I look toward the day in the near future when I will be moving across the country to begin a new program at a new school in a state where I don’t know a soul. It’s a similar situation, yet this time, I’ll have four years of growth and strength to draw on. I started at UMD shy, timid, alone, and confused, but I’m leaving it open, confident, and capable.

Reflecting on all this, I can think of so many things I wish I could have told my college self throughout the past 4 years. In the absence of this opportunity, I’ll write my advice here, in the hopes that some other college student might benefit.

So, here’s what I can tell you. Know that you won’t be the same person as you move your tassel across your cap on commencement day as you were when you first walked on campus as an 18-year-old. Know that the changes that occur during that time in between are up to you, mostly. Know that your openness to new experiences, new people, and new ideas will become the foundation and the finishing touch on your college experience. Know that there will be things that happen to you, both good and bad, which will influence that experience just as much as the things you choose to do. Know that you don’t need to be in such a rush to figure it all out. It’ll happen somehow, perhaps without you even knowing it.

Most importantly, know that college is going to end one day, and after that, you are pushed out of the educational bubble you’ve lived in most of your life and will truly be responsible for the state of your existence. So before that day, take advantage of these years to focus on yourself.

Flip all the furniture around in the lounge of the dorm floor below yours (ahem..just kidding..I definitely never did that…). Stay up way too late hanging out with your friends even though you have a test at 8am the following day. I promise you, you’ll remember those late nights more than you’ll remember whatever grade you’ll get on that test. Take a ceramics class even though your parents are pushing you to be a doctor like the rest of the family. Embrace every crazy, fun, overwhelming, emotional, unforgettable moment.

If done right, your college years will be ones you’ll miss. I know I will.

Read Katie’s other posts

Not the End of the Tunnel

By: Glen

July 1, 2015. It’s been about six weeks since I walked across the stage to signify the end of my undergraduate education at UMD. I am now a proud Bulldog alumnus. In the last six weeks, almost everything about my life has changed.

New house.
New roommates.
New job.
No UMD…

For the past four years, I was on the campus of UMD almost every weekday (minus the three month span in between my first and second years as a student). It wasn’t just for education; I dedicated my life to the school as a student employee, even through the summers. UMD was not just a place for me to work, it was my life.

Tunnel photo

Now I sit here; six weeks removed from the entity I dedicated the last four years of my life to. Suddenly, you realize all these moments from the past are a blur. Everything in life is new again.

My last couple blog posts were about the anxiety facing the unknown abyss that is life after graduation. Now that I am fully submerged, I can confidently inform you that it is not an abyss such as the deepest parts of this earth, but the relatively shallow ocean waters around a great reef. It is not as dark as you would fear, and is not as deep as you would expect. Yet, things are not perfect. The underwater world is still unpredictable enough for anything to happen. If you panic, you could still be in great danger. If you rush, things will go wrong. Actions need to be measured and calculated. When you know the next move, acting with confidence will push you forward.

I am happy to report that I enjoy this new life. There are numerous reasons: I am learning a bunch in my new job. My new roommates keep me incredibly active and are always supportive. I know there are going to be future options to propel me toward my career and life goals. Clocking out legitimately leaves work behind for the rest of the day. There is plenty to like about the graduate life… Right now, anyway.

There is an incredible difference between the life I led as a student, and the one I am already leading as a graduate. I suppose that is the whole point of this tangled web of metaphoric blog post I weft. Yes, there are plenty of unknowns to be afraid of for when you yourself graduate; however, you will find a way to make it to where you want to be if you are patient enough to calculate your post-grad moves in life. Trust your friends. Trust your mentors. Trust yourself.

Read Glen’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash|Modestas Urbonas

Cameron’s Final Thoughts

By: Cameron

The day has finally come to graduate. At times I’ve dreamt of this moment and at other times I’ve dreaded it. On one hand I made it to the finish line and I’m ready to begin my life as an adult. On the other hand college is over and there will never be another experience quite like it. Today I want to talk about a few things I learned over the years at college.

Talk to your advisor regularly

My second semester in college I tried to make my own schedule and I failed miserably. Long story short, I ended up getting a C in a five-credit class that I didn’t even need to take. After that I was in my advisor’s office multiple times every semester. Not only were we able to find a schedule that worked for me, I was also able to make up for lost time and graduate in four years. It definitely helped that my advisor was awesome, which I know isn’t the case for everyone. I had to switch once myself, so don’t be afraid to switch your advisor as well.

Cameron's Final Advice

Keep your textbooks

When you have piles of student loans and money is tight it is tempting to make a few easy bucks by selling your textbooks, but I’m here to tell you it might be worth keeping them. You’ve invested a lot of money into these books, so selling them back to the school for a tenth of what you bought them seems crazy. Sometimes you can get a decent deal selling them online, but what if you need the textbooks again someday? Granted there are plenty of resources on the internet, but you’ll never know another book as well as you know your undergraduate textbooks.

Get involved

My biggest regret is not getting involved in more extracurricular activities. Getting involved with clubs, especially clubs related to your chosen career path, will help you make connections, build practical skills, and impress employers. Working on a team and communicating with people are two of the most important skills a person can have in the work force. Some people don’t get involved because they think they don’t have enough time and they’re worried that their grades with drop. This is definitely a reasonable concern, but if you ask any employer many of them will say that they put a lot more value on practical and communication skills than grades.

Take risks

When you are presented with an opportunity that seems unusual or out of your comfort zone, seize it. Some of my best experiences have happened because I was willing to take a risk every now and then. It should go without saying that you should never do something that may put your life at risk, but don’t be afraid to try out a new sport, or study abroad, or even just talk to a classmate who you haven’t met yet. You never know what might happen.

Make connections

My final piece of advice is to meet people! College is tough, but you don’t need to do it alone. Whether you are working on homework together or just letting off some steam it is important to have a solid network of friends. Not to mention that the connections you make in college may be your co-workers down the road or life long friends.

So in summation, enjoy your time in college while it lasts. Personally I don’t believe that college will be the best time of you’re life, but there is no denying that college is an incredible experience. If you want to live without regrets then make sure to stop and smell the roses once and awhile. For those still in school, good luck and have fun! For those currently graduating, congratulations and good luck in your future endeavors!

Read Cameron’s other posts

Photo: Unsplash/Joshua Sortino

Whitney’s Farewell Advice

By: Whitney

Hello everyone! This is my final blog post for this amazing office! Unlike many others who are writing farewell posts, I am not quite to graduation yet. I still have one more eventful year of student teaching in front of me, and I am sure that 1st grade will keep me busy! Duluth has treated me well over the past four years and while I am very excited to continue my journey in other places, I am also a little sad. I am especially sad when I begin to think of leaving my family here at Career & Internship Services.

I came to this office as a nervous freshman interviewing for a job that I never thought I would get, and I am leaving a confident, well-rounded individual. Without this office, I am not totally positive I would have made it through college. I felt really lost when I went to change my major and was on the verge of giving up. Although I still don’t know that I have my future path totally together, I know that it’s going to be okay and that things will turn out just fine. Thanks to the support I found in this office, I got into a study strategies class that I eventually became a teaching assistant for, switched my major, discovered my strengths, and explored new career opportunities.

As far as advice goes, there is so much advice I want to give but so much you need to just experience on your own. Here are a few tips that have helped me get through.

Find a support system. College is hard. There are going to be times where you want to throw in the towel and you wonder if all of this is ever going to be worth it. Finding a support system whether it is a solid group of friends, a significant other, family, or co-workers can make the ride a lot easier, not to mention way more enjoyable! Having someone to share the hard times with makes the workload bearable, but having someone to share the happy times with makes even small accomplishments feel like you can do anything!

Take time for yourself. I know it can be hard to find time for yourself when you have classes, papers, exams, and work, but finding that time is essential. The money will work itself out and somehow everything eventually gets done (even if you aren’t really sure how). Taking time for yourself can help you feel rejuvenated, more productive, and happier. When you are happy you will produce better work. I do not regret not getting a better grade in chemistry or not doing as well on a paper as planned, but I do regret not taking more time to have fun and taking time for myself.

My final piece of advice is start building your resume as soon as possible. It is NEVER too early! Having experience in the end is what will help you get noticed by employers. Even simply joining a club in your field and being involved in that club can help connect you with people in the field and gain experience. Even if you don’t get experience in your field, having experiences that build on transferrable skills can be huge when it comes to finding a job.

As I end this post I can only think to share this quote from Mandy Hale: “You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens.”

Good luck in all of your future endeavors and farewell!

Read Whitney’s other posts

Ashley’s Final Thoughts

By: Ashley

Wowza! I cannot believe there is less than a month left of my undergrad here at UMD. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was a freshman moving into Griggs R and trying to find my way around campus. It is so amazing how fast time flies. I’ll be totally honest I wasn’t sure how college was going to go. I didn’t really like high school and feared college would be similar, so when mom left and I was all moved in I was pretty nervous. Sure enough though, I soon made some pretty great friends, knew how to ride the DTA, and landed a sweet job at Career & Internship Services. Do you all remember your tour at UMD before you were an official bulldog? I do and I remember the tour guide telling me the usual, “this is Solon Campus Center otherwise known as the Wedge, and there are some important offices…this one Career Services (before the name change) can help you build a resume and figure out what to do with your major…” at the time I didn’t give it another thought. But really, I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t had access to some of the resources they have available. In this post I am going to lay out what resources I used each year here as a student and map out my personal journey to figuring out what the heck I wanted to do with my life.

Freshman Year
I still remember my first appointment at C&IS, it was a week into the semester and I wanted to know what the heck I could do with a biology major. Not long after my first appointment I actually got a job working in the office at the front desk. As a requirement as a student employee, but also at the suggestion of the counselors, I took all three career assessments offered in the office, the Strong Interest Inventory, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, and StrengthsQuest. Once I took the assessments and had the interpretations it was apparent that there was a pattern in my interests, strengths, and personality. At the top of the lists that include careers that match with your interests and personality was the career medical technologist. I had long thought about a career in the medical field but I really didn’t want to go to medical school. I am pretty introverted, meaning working with tons of different people and working weird long hours wasn’t all that appealing, but I did want to help people. Not too long after I had an advising appointment with my freshman advisor and mentioned that I heard about this medical technologist career and was interested and asked her if she knew much about it. She showed me a program at Mayo in Rochester that seemed really appealing. After a little research of my own on the career I looked at the pre-requisites and recommended courses for the program and decided that this was what I wanted.

Sophomore Year
As my first year of college ended and the second was starting I continued to plan my classes around those needed and preferred for the Mayo Medical Laboratory Science Program. That year specifically I got interested in the idea of having an internship over the summer. I looked into a few on GoldPASS and perused the internet and ended up getting an internship as a graphic designer for Cross Media, LLC in Roseville, MN. The company is an innovative provider of mortgage-lending marketing tools and technology services that help mortgage banks, community banks, mortgage brokers, and credit unions connect to their customers, communicate more efficiently, and more effectively manage their relationships in a highly regulated environment. It wasn’t relevant to my biology major but I learned some very valuable and unique skills that some of my peers may not have. I learned how to use different adobe design programs and gained a lot of customer service experience.

Junior Year
As I entered fifteenth grade, I mean my third year of college I was getting ready to actually apply for my program. I continued to take required courses, kept my GPA up, and fine-tuned my resume adding laboratory skills and relevant course work. I re-took the assessments to see how much had changed, a little anxious to see if medical technologist was still near the top, it was. That summer I took my first ever summer classes and used my networking skills to get myself a position job shadowing each of the departments in the St. Mary’s Pathology Lab (thanks to Joy at the volunteer services department at the hospital) and got to meet people doing what I hoped to be doing in the near future. I was nervous. What if I didn’t like it? What if the environment wasn’t for me? BUT, I felt right at home. I loved it there and was sad to leave at the end of the summer. The director wrote me a glowing recommendation for the application to the Mayo program, which was very much appreciated. Throughout the rest of the summer I worked on my personal essay for the application, making several appointments with the counselors who looked over the essay, checked for grammar, and helped me answer all the questions asked in 500 words or less. The time came in August when I actually had to apply for the program, it was amazing to think about those 3 years in the making and now it was time. After applying I made sure to write thank you cards to all my recommenders and kept my fingers crossed.

Senior Year
So I applied, and I waited, and then I waited some more. Finally in December, 5 months after I applied I found out I got an interview. Immediately I set up several mock interviews to get prepared, I even set up a mock interview with multiple counselors to emulate the panel interview I was going to have to go through. The interview was during finals week so it was extra stressful but everything I learned from C&IS made me ready. Of course I was super nervous, it was my future we we’re talking about. And yes, I am not ashamed to admit that during the entire ride to the Mayo I was hyperventilating while my mom was driving. I sincerely thought I might vomit a little before the interview, but I didn’t, I held it together. The panel interview was a series of behavioral questions that I was allowed to see 15 minutes prior to the interview. The questions were all “describe a time when…”, so I needed to come up with 20 examples of why I am better than another candidate, which isn’t easy when you find it hard to talk about yourself. Luckily I knew my top 5 strengths, I knew my personality type, and knew my resume like the back of my hand. Through using all that knowledge, I weaved what I thought were unique and relevant examples to represent who I am and what I have accomplished. After the 3 hour interview and laboratory tours I was headed back to the Twin Cities and then back to Duluth so I could take my finals. Overall, I thought the interview went really well, and all that was left to do was to wait. In the mean time I sent personalized thank you cards to all the interviewers and started to work on plan B with the counselors, in the event I didn’t get into the program. They helped me find an alternative program, through UMTC, and reminded me that I can always re-apply for my program and work for a year. I looked up jobs in GoldPASS and found a few possibilities. Near the end of February I found out that I didn’t get into the program and that I was at the top of the waitlist. So there was still hope, but I was still devastated. Convinced my dream was slipping through my fingers I readied myself to start applying for jobs post-graduation. About a week or so before Spring Break, I found out that a spot became available and I was indeed in the program!

Alumni
The people at C&IS haven’t seen or heard the last of me. As soon as my program ends, I know I will be calling them up to help fine-tune my resume and brush up on my interviewing skills. I know I will have questions on salary negotiation and I’ll probably use GoldPASS to search for any job posting available for a medical technologist.

In the end it all seems to be coming together, my career started out as just letters on paper, a mere idea, and now it is becoming a reality. I am Rochester bound and though I am sad to leave Duluth and Lake Superior, I am excited to start the next chapter of my life! This being my last blog post as an undergraduate I would like to leave you all with one of my favorite inspirational quotes. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Gandalf put it quite eloquently and though the journey is your own, I want you all to know that you aren’t alone. College is hard, but don’t make harder than it has to be. My final pieces of advice for everyone are don’t be afraid to ask for help, figure out what you want to do and go for it, and lastly have fun.

Read Ashley’s Other Posts

Advice and Adieu

By: Zach

Wow… what a ride! A couple weekends ago was graduation at UMD, and I got to walk the stage, grab my diploma, and shake Chancellor Black’s hand. With commencement come and gone, it is time for me to turn to the next chapter in my life, and I am very excited. Over the last four years, I have been proud to call Duluth my home, and the appreciation I have for our community here at UMD seems impossible for me to put into words. Overall, it has proven to be some of the best years of my life, and I am forever grateful for that.

Before I officially tip my hat, I think it is best to pass along some of my own wisdom and advice for fellow Bulldogs! So, here it goes.

Be Engaged

This time in your life is all about being involved! Find an on campus job, volunteer in the community, join academic clubs, participate in intramurals, and start planning that trip to study abroad. All of these things have been a part of my story as a student here at UMD, and they have truly been what have made it something special. By involving yourself outside of the classroom, you are able to meet new people, try new things, and most often learn more than you would from any textbook. Remember to look for these activities and seize the opportunities.

Zach with telephone

Seek Adventure

Sounds ambiguous, but it is very simple. You should always be looking for new things to do. How else do we keep life entertaining? Whatever your commitments are, classes or work, remember to schedule time to go to that hiking trail you have never been to, that comedy show you have always wanted to see, or even start laying the foundation for that trip to Europe you have always wanted to do. If you don’t now, will you regret not taking those opportunities years from now? No matter the case, make time to be adventurous and outgoing, and explore places you have never been before.

Find Challenge & Change

Growth happens when you push yourself. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone, and I promise good things are bound to happen. Stress will always be a part of life, so don’t let smaller things get in your way. Not only that, but there are excuses for everything, so don’t let those minimal arguments deter you from doing something you have always wanted. Excuses are usually to avoid failure, but failure is what helps get you to success, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Challenge and change should always be a part of your life. It’s what gives you independence and confidence for the future.

Reflect and Plan

With all this chaos, always remember to stop and take a deep breath. Life is busy, life can be overwhelming, but life is great! Find your favorite spot on this planet, outside or in, and take a break. Leave your phone and laptop at home, and just do some good ol’ fashion thinking. Where have you been? Where do you want to go? How do you get there? They are definitely things we think about everyday, but do you ever take the time to build yourself a personal road map? Goals are better achieved when there is a strong plan and path to get to them.

Above all, I want to say thank you. Thank you to those that have helped shape me into the confident young lad I am today. I will miss UMD greatly, but with the skills and tools the university has given me, I am confident I will make a positive impact on this world!

Cheers, Zach