Finals Week Prep

By: Willow

It’s that time again. Finals are coming, we all see them around the corner. Creeping up on us, ready to make us miserable. So, here is a little meme encouragement, from Bob’s Burgers to you.

You know how it is, the initial realization of how much work you have to do.

Burger 1

You decide you have to lock yourself in your room, only coming out for class and the occasional bathroom break. You’ve failed at this before… But this time it will work!

Burger 2

You start thinking about giving up, getting a labor intensive job and leaving this whole school thing behind. But you can do it!

Burger 3

But then you look over at your friend who has two more exams than you do and they’re both at 8 am!!!!!

Burger 4

All of that aside, it’s time to get down to business. You can do this. I know you can.

Burger 5

Make a list and prioritize what you’re going to do first, listen to some pump-up music and make up your mind to get stuff done.

Burger 6

Work hard, and don’t let anyone interrupt you.

Burger 7

Alright, it’s time. You are walking into your first exam. Take a deep breath, you can do this.

Burger 8

Hopefully that first one went great, but if it didn’t keep your head up. You still got this!

Burger 9

If you’re still feeling low, remember who you are, and that who you are is amazing.

Burger 10

You’re almost done!

Burger 11

Finally you’re done! It’s summer! You did it! I knew you could!

Now go relax.

Burger 12

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The Katy Perry Guide to Picking Your Major

By: Willow

If you are anything like me (and for your sake I hope you are because I’m awesome) you have had a lot of trouble picking a major. It’s hard. How do you know what you want to be forever, when you’re 18? I sure don’t and you know who else doesn’t? A lovely little lady by the name of Katy Perry. The following is a guide to picking a major, according to the one and only Katy P.

Katy Perry Choosing Major

First thing to do when you’re thinking about a college major is to consider what you love. Don’t focus on a career, focus on what you love.

Use Your Love

After you figure out what you love, figure out who you love. Maybe you love teaching, but hate people under the age of 12, then you’ll probably want to go into secondary education rather than elementary ed. I think too often we think only about what we want to do and not who we want to do it with. Both are important.

Who Am I Living For?

Try everything you’re interested in. Maybe you think you want to be a geologist but that one class in Native American Studies made you decide otherwise. You’ll never know if something is right for you until you try. It’s far better to take an extra class than spend your whole life wondering if you would have been better off as a professional actress.

The One That Got Away

Remember no one has the right to judge you on what you like. If you want to create your own super specific major that no one else understands, do it. Don’t let anyone make you feel like a plastic bag, if you only knew what your future holds, after a hurricane comes a rainbow. You’ll figure it all out, I promise, don’t listen to the people who tell you not to do what you love.


I think it’s very true when people say if you find something you truly love you never work a day in your life. Find that. Find what you love unconditionally, and never let it go.


It’s really ok to change your mind, there is no harm in it at all. This may be during your undergrad years, or later in your career. My mom has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education and now works in Human Resources. My dad has a PhD in Palynology (the study of pollen) and now owns a poultry farm.

Hot N Cold

Of Possible Interest:

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Career Lessons from Lord of the Rings

By: Ashley

About a year ago I wrote a blog post on the lessons learned from Disney movies, this time around I thought I would write about lessons learned from something more near and dear to my heart, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. A few of the lessons that correlate with Tolkien’s novels that I have learned over the course of my time here at UMD as an undergrad are:

LOTR Lessons

Say yes to adventure

I think the most obviously benefit for Bilbo Baggins on saying yes to his adventure was that he ended up making off with a large sum of treasure but he also found friendship with many dwarves and elves of Rivendell. I think college is a once in a lifetime experience, these 4 or 5 years are years where we discover who we are and who we want to be and I think we often get caught up in the stress of it all and forget that now is the time to take chances and go on adventures. If you have the chance to study abroad do it, I didn’t and I think it could have been a blast even if it might have ended up adding on an extra semester, who knows maybe it wouldn’t have but what could hurt from going to the International Education Office (IEO) and inquiring about opportunities overseas? Go out and find an internship or volunteer, even if it doesn’t relate to your major, maybe you will find a new passion you didn’t even know you had.

It pays to have friends

Throughout The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy Frodo and Bilbo were helped out of troubling situations by their friends. Many times Gandalf saved the day, and without Samwise, Frodo would have never gotten the One Ring to Mount Doom. If I had not met my wonderful friends I would have probably ended up never exploring the city of Duluth the way I have and would have never made the memories I have over the years without them. Stay true to your friends and keep them close because you never know when you will need them or they will need you.

Never lose hope and never give up

Even though you might not get the first job, internship, or grad program you apply for that doesn’t mean you should cut your losses and give up. In The Return of the King at The Battle of the Black Gate Sauron’s army was defeated and the battle was won, but victory seemed hopeless and by the means of the destruction of the One Ring by Frodo, Middle-Earth was saved. The Fellowship never gave up and in the end they succeeded, but not without shedding a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. Figuring out what you want to do with your life and finding the right workplace for you isn’t meant to be a walk in the park, it takes perseverance, hard-work, and it means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Learn how to defend yourself

Just like Legolas had his bow and arrow, Gimli had his axe, and Bilbo and Frodo both had Sting, you too need to learn how to defend yourself. I don’t mean to say you need to learn karate or go buy a sword; what I mean to say is that as an undergrad entering the work force the best weapon you have at your disposal is your resume. Being able to present your skills and experiences helps demonstrate to future employers what you have to offer. Making sure your resume is up to date before applying for jobs is just as import as checking your chainmail before you head off to battle.

To experience great things, you have to leave your comfort zone

Just like Bilbo and Frodo both left their comfortable lifestyles at Bag End, we made a choice to leave our hometowns to come to Duluth and have the college experience. By choosing to go on their adventures both Bilbo and Frodo got to meet amazing people and do amazing things and in the end they got to sail to the beautiful Undying Lands with the elves. Even though we may not be meeting dwarves or saving Middle-Earth, we get to discover who we want to be, what we want to do with our lives, and get to make wonderful and lifelong friends. In order to make these friends, to gain insight into potential jobs by volunteering or interning, and to get to know the wonderful city that has, for me, become a second home, you have to step away from the familiar and safe and take risks. Like Bilbo says in The Fellowship of the Ring “it’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

These are just a few of the lessons I learned from J.R.R. Tolkien’s novels that apply to my life as a college undergrad and soon to be college graduate. I hope this post was as inspiring as it was entertaining, I hope everyone is making new friends, defending themselves, and setting out on new adventures because that is what college is all about!

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A Guide to Being a Woman in the Workplace, by Leslie Knope

By: Willow

With the series finale of Parks and Recreation, I began to look back at my favorite show and all I’ve gotten out of it. The character of Leslie Knope is amazing. She’s a feminist, a friend, a mother, and a dedicated public servant. Honestly, she’s my hero. Here is a list of a few lessons she taught me.

Keep your values strong. Everyone has different values, and that’s ok. Be respectful, but don’t back down.

Leslie 1

Be prepared. Always. You never know what might come up.

Leslie 2

It’s important to have role models. Just because you’re moving up doesn’t mean you can’t look up.

Leslie 3

Keep open lines of communication. I find that most problems in the workplace are caused by some sort of miscommunication. Stop those problems before they start by practicing good communication.

Leslie 4

Goals are a total must.

Leslie 5

Encourage your co-workers. Everyone deserves a pat on the back when they do well. Why not have it come from you?

Leslie 6

Keep your priorities in line. Leslie Knope has her priorities, and you should have your own. It might be friends, waffles, and work, or family, cooking, and photography, or work, farm animals, and fast casual dining. Whatever your priorities are, stick with them.

Leslie 7

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Everything I Need to Know About Finding a Job I Learned from Weird Al Songs

By: Willow

I would say Weird Al music is my secret shame but it’s no secret, and I have no shame. I own many CD’s, have seen him twice in concert, and don’t you dare test me on his lyrics because I will get very competitive and win. Weird Al however is so much more than clever lyrics and amazing videos. His music is so insightful that I created an entire list of lessons I learned from his music that will make you a pro at the entire job finding process, from searching to retirement.

When looking for a job remember this: it’s ok to not know things. Ask questions of people who know more than you. Talk to your parents, older friends, and the staff of Career and Internship Services to help you out.

Dare to Be Stupid:

Although you may not be sure exactly what you want in a job, think about what you want in your life. Create a vision for yourself and start exploring ways to fulfill that vision. Maybe you find you want to work at a big company, maybe a non profit, maybe a small business. Do some soul searching and find yourself a personal mission statement.

Mission Statement:

While applying for jobs make sure to show your future employers that you have a four year degree. Don’t just tell them, show them. Do this by making sure your cover letter and resume are free of spelling and grammar errors.

Word Crimes:

And with cover letters don’t go crazy, it’s important to show you are qualified for the position but less is more. Remember the Human Resources department has to go through tons and tons of these things. Make it easy on them.

This Song is just Six Words Long:

Now, with your stellar resume and to the point cover letter you landed a job interview, here’s what to remember.

When going to the interview be sure to dress to impress. Be yourself, but don’t be tacky.


Make sure you give your best representation of yourself in your interview, you want to be honest and genuine. Show your interviewers why the real you is best for their team. Be honest about your experience and how they have made you the awesome person you are.

Perform This Way:

Watch what you eat before you go into the interview, you don’t want the meat sweats.

My Bologna:

If you use these tips (and all the awesome services at Career and Internship Services) you will for sure find your own work paradise.

Amish Paradise:

When you do get that beautiful opportunity that is your own career paradise, be a good co-worker, and team player.

Stop Forwarding that Crap to Me:

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Disney Career Lessons

By: Ashlee

Admit it. You still watch Disney movies. In fact, you may have just been belting “Colors of the Wind” or “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” a mere five minutes ago (yes, humming counts!)

It doesn’t matter how old you are. Disney movies will always be cool. Who doesn’t remember the thrill of flying on a magic carpet or the terror of Uncle Scar’s plan to take over Pride Rock? I’m talking the classics — the ones with Disney Princesses whose hair never seems out of place or the tiniest bit messed up (even underwater it’s perfect). I’m talking about the movies of our childhood whose songs we know every line to and still belt at the top of our lungs, even if we’re incredibly off-pitch.

Some of you will very soon be college graduates. The rest of you have anywhere from 1-3 years left. You’re learning about desired industry career paths and figuring out what professionals in these chosen fields actually do (and don’t do). But thanks to Disney, you’ve been preparing for these careers all along.

Don’t believe me? Here are a few key points:

– “Aladdin’ – A new look can make all the difference.

Think about your ideal dream job. Now think about your online image. Are there any incriminating Facebook photos that could set your impressive resume on fire with the click of a mouse? An updated look can make all the difference. Aladdin, with the help of a genie, created a new image for himself. He didn’t get an entirely new face (creating a whole new Facebook profile), he just changed his appearance and motives to appeal to his target audience (Princess Jasmine!). He went from shirtless street rat to well-dressed “prince” seeking the princesses’ hand. It was his natural character that ultimately won people over, but he was given a second chance by his cleaned-up, new-and-improved look.

Disney Career Lesson: Clean up your appearance on Facebook and LinkedIn if it’s not going to dazzle your target audience.

– ‘Emperor’s New Groove’ – Your attitude can affect your work.

Power can go to people’s heads, and can lead to superiority complexes. Belittling and big-headedness don’t work well in life, with coworkers and certainly not with potential employers. Even if you’re resume boasts amazing experience after amazing experience, if you’re difficult to work with, people tend to resist. No one wants to work with an Emperor Kuzco — the young leader who thought he knew it all.

Disney Career Lesson: Upon his change into a llama, he learned some life lessons, and the audience learned a thing or two about the job search. An inflated attitude can lose you potential employment and friends. A poor, self-pitying “why not me” job search attitude can reap the same effect. Beware because both ultimately could change you into a llama.

Disney career lessons

‘Pocahontas’ – Passion drives results.

Most career professionals do their best work when they are passionate about their subject. If you have a real passion for non-profits, communications, stock market analysis or playing the violin, you probably devote most of your time to it and put in 100%.

Pocahontas, a passionate young girl, prevented a war between her people and the Englishmen. Because of her passion, she was able to communicate her beliefs and get the results she wanted, no matter what it took.

Disney Career Lesson: Getting involved with a project that you are enthusiastic about can give you the fire to do your best work possible. Plus, employers can hear the passion in your voice when you talk about a project you really sunk your teeth into. If you’re passionate about it, dive right in and learn everything you can along the way.

– ‘Tarzan’ – Be adaptable.

As a job seeker, intern, or recent graduate, you’re going to be thrust into situations that can be uncomfortable. Wherever you work, you have to be able to jump from project to project, task to task, with expertise. Being able to adapt to an environmental change, as Tarzan did, can make you a valuable asset to any organization.

Disney Career Lesson: Tarzan was a human who adapted to living in the jungle with apes. He used his head and taught himself things to make his life easier, such as tree surfing and spear-making. Whether it’s adapting to an employer’s needs, a situation, or a whole new job, you need to find your inner ape.

– ‘The Little Mermaid’ – Take risks.

As new employees or interns, we’re driven to follow the rules and stick to the guidelines. However, as you advance your skills, taking charge and changing the game lead to great rewards.

Disney Career Lesson: Ariel took a risk to follow her dream of walking among the humans. The redheaded mermaid has taught us that calculated risks can pay off in unexpected ways. Sometimes you have to cross your fingers, close your eyes and just “kiss the girl.”

‘Princess and the Frog’ – Don’t be ashamed of asking for a little help.

You’ll discover at most jobs you’ll be assigned to a team that works with a client or project. This is because, in most cases, a team can provide better results than one individual. Teams bounce ideas off each other, can proofread each other’s writing, and lighten the load when people are too busy to complete a task.

Disney Career Lesson: Tiana, the “princess,” wanted to open a restaurant all by herself. She thought she didn’t need any help. At the end of the movie, she realizes that there is no shame in asking for help every now and again. Just as one of her gumbo recipes, every ingredient is important — like every member of a team. (This applies to job searching, too. Ask all your connections for help!)

– ‘Hercules’ – There are always two paths to the finish.

When you start a project, campaign or even a blog post, the way you start and the way you want it to end may not always be the same. We usually start something one way, but along the way we have to roll with the punches and find another route to the goal.

Disney Career Lesson: Hercules thought the only way to become a god was to be a hero. He later learned there was another path for him. Same goes for your job search. Not everyone is going to land their dream job the same way. Yes, you may have a plan laid out in your mind, but how you end up getting their might end up being a 180 from that original plan. Trust your gut and step back from the job search if something isn’t working. Always be open to new ways to achieve your goal — and that is the “Gospel of Truth.”

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Career Advice from The Wolf of Wall Street

By: Ashlee

I’m an Oscar-season diehard. The moment I hear the nominations for Best Picture, I’m pulling out my calendar along with the local movie theater’s calendar to find out what’s playing when. The Academy Awards are my Superbowl, and I go all out to find out everything about all the nominated movies and their players.

As you can probably guess, I pull a lot from each of these movies and career advice is only the tip of the iceberg. One of the big Oscar nominees this year is ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill (directed by Martin Scorsese). Here’s the short synopsis: Based on the true story Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort, the man was highly successful in the 1990s. From drugs, to cars, to women, to in-office antics, everything Belfort did was lavish and over-the-top, just the way he envisioned it, until his success came tumbling down.

Whether or not you’ve enrolled in a business course while at college, there are certain lessons that can be drawn from how Jordan Belfort did business, and you can apply them to your job search in no time.

1.)    Money talks whether you like it or not.

If you have money, people in your inner circle will like you for that benefit. But money doesn’t always mean the green, papery stuff.  Pay attention to those who stay with you when you’re down, and make sure to share in the good times along with them, too.

This goes for job hunting, too. If someone gave you a reference which helped snag that coveted interview with the company of your dreams, pay it forward to the next guy who made need help from you.

2.)    Don’t just talk about it. Be about it.

Nobody wants to hear about what you’re doing next year. They want to know what you’re doing right now, and how it’s going to get you there. Success isn’t measured in dollars or cents; it’s a mentality. One should start striving for it immediately in whatever is being done, big or small. Set achievable goals. Keep your hands and legs busy, so you’re actually doing it instead of only talking about it.

3.)    As long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter how.

Did you know musical legend Jimi Hendrix was a lefty? He played a right-handed guitar strung backwards and upside down. While getting the job done within the rules of the game might be preferred, getting the job done, period, is necessary.

Never be afraid to try things your own way. Originality is what separates you from the rest of the competition. It helps to change your mind set just a notch to the left: achieving your goals is only the finish line. It’s how you choose to run the race that’s open to interpretation.

4.)    Perception is everything.

Always dress the part. If you’re not qualified for the position, as least look qualified for it. It’s all about presentation. Your appearance reflects your reputation and work ethic. When meeting with a potential next boss, a sloppy suit might imply a sloppy job. (There’s a reason why James Bond is always draped in a Tom Ford or Gucci for Men suit.) We have style boards on Pinterest for both women and men.

5.)    Failure can push your motivation.

Failure can be a very powerful tool in your toolbox for success. After being dealt a fair share of defeat (and if you’re searching for a job, it’s going to happen), you’ll start to crave success. Jordan Belfort’s first business was selling meat and seafood, and he failed miserably at it. What can you and all job seekers take away from this? Don’t let failure stand in your way as a stop sign. Rather, it’s a detour. Rethink and revise your plan as needed.

6.)    Don’t hang up.

Persistence. Persistence. Persistence. For Belfort, “no” wasn’t an option. The pitch is everything, and when you’re in an interview, you’re pitching you! You have to buy into yourself first, before you can try and “sell” yourself to employers. Confidence is everything. If potential employers aren’t sold on you, they’ll never buy into your skillset.

7.)    Be a wolf.

Unfortunately, opportunities aren’t always reserved for the most worthy of candidates. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and job seekers need to be the wolf in a world of dogs. Wolf, defined as a verb (and according to Belfort) means to devour greedily.

The term ‘greedily’ doesn’t have to be taken negatively here. When Belfort said, “be greedy,” he meant to take what’s yours. When you’re sitting in the interview with your dream company, that time with the interviewer is yours. Take it!

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