Lessons Learned from Transferring to UMD

By: Eva

Hello, my name is Eva. I started college in 2013, and at this point in time, I have credits from four different colleges and universities. Right now I am working on a Bachelors in Anthropology, but I was enrolled at various points throughout college for Business, Nursing, Biology, English, and Medical Lab Technician. Although it’s meant graduating later than most people my age I am honestly very grateful for the experiences I have accumulated. Here are a few pieces of advice for transfer students…

Keep the paper syllabus!
We all know that the first class of the semester is usually a waste of time, but if anything, go just for the hard copy of the syllabus. Many instructors do have their syllabi online, but if the link is broken, the syllabus has changed since you took the class, or if the instructor or class is no longer at the institution, it will be WAY more difficult to find.

Be ready to defend your education.
I almost had an American History class not transfer to UMD. I talked with the professor at UMD, the History Department head, and the CLA office. I filled out two petitions and sent well over two dozen emails and rang about five different phones. I was super duper polite and considerate the entire time, which worked to my benefit later. I almost think I got so annoying they wanted to get rid of me and allowed the class to count towards my minor. Although it took a lot of time it was worth the time and money in the long run.

Lessons learned from transferring to UMD. Book stack.

Recognize if you’re chasing the wrong career.
Before I transferred to UMD for Anthropology I tried to transfer for a Biology BA. All the biology, chemistry, and anatomy classes I had taken as core classes at LSC only counted as elective credits at UMD. It would take another three years to graduate if I stuck with biology and I was already burned out from trying to make my brain work with numbers and formulas instead of words and ideas. My utter despair at the idea of spending six more semesters in laboratories and blinking through dry biology textbooks helped me realize that what I wanted was not what I was good at.

Double and triple check the classes you’re taking will transfer.
Although it all worked out, I was pretty peeved when my LSC biology courses weren’t considered equivalent to UMD’s. I had been told that they would transfer just fine and that they would be protected because they were part of the MNTC and my Associate’s degree. Just because an advisor says the credits transfer does not mean the system will allow them to transfer. Talk with the other institution to make sure you’re putting your time and money in the right place before you sign up for classes. Make sure to get your answers in writing with an official signature or email.

Ask for help.
I’ve cried in three different staff offices at UMD as I asked what are my options during the transfer process. I cry at the drop of a hat, but all of the staff were incredibly kind and offered me many tissues as I apologized for my overactive tear glands. When we’re in stressful situations we often tend to clam up and protect ourselves. It can be scary to reach out to people in unfamiliar settings but I learned pretty quick that the staff at UMD are there because they want to help students succeed. Even if I talked to the wrong person for my question, that person usually knew someone else with a better answer.

I had one main person who I would email and call on a regular basis. Because she was familiar with my situation she was able to connect me with the people and resources I needed, and I knew I could trust her to help me out.

All in all, even the process of transferring was part of my education. I learned a lot of life lessons by running into obstacles, replotting my educational career, and navigating large and small university systems. I hope that these tips are useful for transfer students, whether you are coming or leaving UMD.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Eva’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Sharon McCutcheon

Be the Awesome Intern

You have an internship? Fantastic! We’ve put together a handy list of tips so you can be an AWESOME intern.

How to be the awesome intern; wood desk top

  • Set goals with your supervisor about what will be accomplished throughout & by the end of the internship.
  • Keep track of what you do each day at your internship. This will help when meeting w/your supervisor & updating your resume at the end.
  • Find ways to go above and beyond what is expected of you. If you finish a task ahead of schedule, ask where else you can assist.
  • Be punctual. If you start at 8am, be at your desk/station ready to work at that time versus walking in the door.
  • If you don’t know (and you’ve tried multiple ways to the solve the issue yourself), ask. Asking questions is a good thing.
  • Do you commute to your internship? Maximize your time by reading the news, listening to podcasts, or keeping up with the trends in your field.

Tori with Bacon sign at Hormel

Peer Educator Tori at her internship with Hormel Foods

  • From one of our fave recruiters: “We look at it [the internship] as a long interview. Kill it, learn/grow and you might have a job before it ends.”
  • Meet with people from throughout the organization. Learn about what they do and advice they may have for you.
  • Attend events the company has designed for the interns. Be a joiner!
  • Ask for constructive criticism/feedback. It’ll help you be a better intern and professional.
  • Take your internship seriously and be eager to learn.
  • Learn your organization’s company culture (mission, values, org structure, clients, attire, etc).
  • If you have fellow interns, connect with them. You’re all going through the internship experience together.
  • Don’t like your internship? Figure out if it’s the work, the people, or the company rather than an overall negative experience.
  • Managing your time as an intern is different than when you’re a student. Find what works best for you.
  • How to be the best summer intern in your office. Via: The Prepary

Kirsi doing Astronaut user testing at NASA co-op

Peer Educator Kirsi at her co-op with NASA Johnson Space Center

  • Check in with yourself halfway through the internship and reflect on how it has been going so far. Tweak as needed.
  • Talk to people in a variety of departments and work functions to see the bigger picture of your organization.
  • How to handle a competitive work environment.
  • Check in with your supervisor on a regular basis to see how your internship is going. Ask questions. Get feedback.
  • Interested in having your Internship transition to Full-time? Explore company benefits: retirement, insurance, continuing education, etc.
  • Environment is huge. Take notes about your internship and what works (or doesn’t) for you: nature of the work, people, and work setting to help with your next search. 
  • What have you been learning about your industry during your internship? How will you bring that back to your classes?
  • Details matter. Proofread everything, because you don’t want to be remembered as the person with the typo problem.
  • Research how your company invests in its people. Training, help with furthering education, personal growth, benefits, and more.
  • Be thinking about who at your internship you want to ask to be references for you. Ask before your last day.

Of Possible Interest: 

  • Internships – all of our blog posts about the topic
  • Internships – our Pinterest board filled with articles and resources

Photo Sources: Unsplash; Tori; Kirsi

Career Advice for College Graduates

By: McKenzie

How exciting! You’ve made it through your college education and while you may be continuing into a graduate program you are still wondering, “what should I do now?” Here is some simple advice for navigating the waters of entering your career field.

Stay Positive
Entering the workforce can be a very intimidating experience and if you aren’t finding jobs right off the bat that’s okay! Many students struggle to enter a job within their chosen career path when they first start looking. It may not be easy entering this next stage in life so maintaining a positive outlook can help carry you through the mucky experience.

Know What You Want
Graduating college can be a very stressful experience for anyone who is unsure what they are looking for in a job. During interviews and at job fairs potential employers are looking for candidates with an idea of their direction in their field. Think to yourself, “where would I like to be in 5 years?” and start looking for work that will get you there.

Career Advice for College Graduates

Reach Out
Now is a great time to start contacting people within your networks and seeing what opportunities are available. If you do not know anyone within your field, then it’s time to do some research. There are a lot of professionals who are willing to talk about themselves, so try reaching out and asking if they would be interested in an informational interview. Your connections can take you far.

Get Involved & Stay Involved
Were you involved in college? Keep that going! If you were not, then now is a great time to start. Our passions can help show employers there is more to us than meets the eye. Being involved is a great resume and network booster! You never know who could be your next reference.

Research Before Interviews
Companies like candidates who are interested in them. Often times applicants lose themselves in the process of applying for a job and they are not prepared for their interviews. If you do not know anything about a company hiring you then how would you know they are the right fit? The company may not align with your values. You also might not be ready when they ask you a question you could have known the answer to with quick Google search.

Of Possible Interest:

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Joshua Sortino

 

Job Search Tips – Part 2

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & guest blogger)

Here’s part two of the job search tips we sent out during the summer on our Twitter account. I should explain this briefly. We frequently send out job search related content on our Twitter account. This was a concentrated effort (with a hashtag & everything) to share a #JobSearchTip every day that we were sending out content on Twitter. If you haven’t checked out part 1 yet, do so.

Job Search Tips

I thought it would be helpful to have all those tips in one (or two) places. Today, I’m sharing all of the job search tips that we tweeted out during July. Even if it’s not July, these tips can be helpful for whenever you’re conducting a job search.

Bullet Journal Job Search Habit Tracker

There you have it. So many job search tips in one place. Go forth and conquer the job search process!

Of Possible Interest: 

Job Search Tips – Part 1

By: Ellen (Career Counselor & guest blogger)

This summer we sent out job search tips during June and July on our Twitter account. I should explain this briefly. We frequently send out job search related content on our Twitter account. This was a concentrated effort (with a hashtag & everything) to share a #JobSearchTip every day that we were sending out content on Twitter.

Now that summer is winding down, I thought it would be helpful to have all those tips in one (or two) places. Today, I’m sharing all of the job search tips that we tweeted out during June. Even if it’s not June, these tips can be helpful for whenever you’re conducting a job search.

Job Search Tips
  • Set up job search alerts on the different job search sites you’re using.
  • Don’t job search from your couch. Go somewhere. Treat searching for a job, like a job.
  • Use GoldPASS as part of your search strategy – all you need is your UMD login info.
  • Do different job search related tasks throughout the day. Don’t spend all your time just surfing 1 job search site.
  • Research different career paths that go with your degree. This could introduce pathways you haven’t considered yet.
  • When applying for out-of-state jobs, make a point to include on your resume and/or cover letter your reasoning or plans to relocate.
  • Use social media to your advantage in your job search.
  • Attend local networking events and/or join young professionals groups. Meet the people instead of always being a number in the online system.
  • When you have an interview ALWAYS bring a printed copy of your resume for your interviewer.
  • Follow companies you’re interested in, on social media. See how they interact with customers.
  • Use the skills listed in the “qualifications” section of a job posting to help you figure out what to highlight on your resume.
  • Applying for jobs and getting no response? Your application materials potentially could use some work.
  • Google job search tips & tricks to guarantee better results. Via: YouTern
  • Have a disability you’re not quite sure if, how, or when you want to disclose it in the search process? Tips: on our blog.
  • Check out our Ace the Job Search Pinterest board for numerous articles/resources to help w/your search.
Ace the Job Search Pinterest board screenshot

Check out Job Search Tips – Part 2

How to be a Good Traveler

By: Willow

I had an awesome Spring Break this year. (Yes, I know I’m bragging a bit but I promise I have a point.) I was fortunate enough to be able to visit a family friend in Switzerland and do a little traveling around Europe. I learned a lot on my spring break, and I think this information could be useful if you happen to go on a sweet trip someday.

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I know what you’re thinking, “But Willow, the Peer Into Your Career blog is about helping me with my career, jetting across the world isn’t going to do that is it?” Well, yes and no. While the act of going on a fancy trip itself will probably not advance your career, it is possible that you will find yourself in situations where your actions traveling help or hurt your future. Here are a few tips that will help you make put your best foot forward no matter where you are.

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Learn a little bit of the language. I know this sounds like a given but it’s easy to get by without doing it. In Switzerland everyone speaks English, they teach German, French, and English in schools so literally everyone has a basic knowledge of English. Not only does everyone know at least some English, my hostess is getting her masters in English. I figured I would be fine as I would always be with someone fluent in English and German, so I would always have a translator. This was true, but it got really old. One night, we went to an event where a British author talked about her books. When the author introduced herself she thanked the crowd saying how much of a privilege it was to speak in her native language to this particular audience. The speech was in English and all of my host’s friends spoke English. I had no problem talking to the people around me the entire night. While I was standing with the circle of new friends, I realized they were all speaking English for my benefit. I was the only one who didn’t speak any German, and they were all adjusting for me. And that made me feel like crap. How did I go to a new country and not learn any of the language? How ignorant am I? Ugh! The mix of the speaker acknowledging her privilege and me realizing everyone was speaking a language for my benefit hit me hard. I felt bad, really really bad. If you ever do go somewhere where you don’t know the native language, learn a few key phrases, it will go a long way. People notice when you make an effort, and it will mean a lot to them. If possible find someone who knows the language and can help you practice a bit. Or find a friend and learn together. There are a lot of great resources you can use: YouTube videos, books, or language learning apps. Once again, knowing a little bit of the language goes a long way.

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Willow with British author Laura Penny.

Figure out what the driving laws are. Maybe you won’t be driving at all and you think you don’t need to do this. YOU DO. You interact with cars all the time, even if you’re not in one. so you need to figure out the basics such as: what side of the road to they drive on, what are the pedestrian laws, and how their stop lights work. These all could be different depending on where you are.

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Know the phone number and address of the place you are staying. Again, this one seems simple, but don’t forget. If you do you will get really confused and cry in front of the lost and found baggage lady in the Zurich airport. Uh… At least that’s what I’ve heard…

Always say thank you, preferably in the language spoken where you are. Whenever you go into a store, ask someone a question, talk to anyone at all for any reason, say thank you. It’s just a best practice.

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Finally, make as many connections and learn as much as you can. Traveling is an amazing thing to do and honestly a great way to change your life. You never know who you may meet. Keep these guidelines in mind and they might help you get a job, or make a new friend, or just have a great time.

One last reminder, in all your travels, be safe and have fun.

Read Willow’s other posts

Photo source: Willow

5 Tips for Answering Tough Interview Questions

By: Lexi

Do you have an interview coming up? Do you not have a lot of interview experience? Interviews are tough and nerve-racking to go into. Calm your nerves down by reading these simple tips to help you get through the interview. Especially the tough questions that you just cannot think of an answer to. These tips will help you figure out your answer while easing your mind and still making you look professional. If you follow these tips, there is no way that you will not ace your interview and get that job. Good luck!

Tough Interview Qs

Breathe & Calm Down
This is the most important thing. Take a deep breath and do not sweat it. If you are calm, the answer will come out easier. If you are freaking out, you will not be able to think clearly. It will make you and the interviewer more comfortable.

Don’t show the confusion in your face
Try your best to not let your confusion and/or fear come across in your facial expressions. This will make yourself less stressed and the whole thing less awkward. It will also make you seem not as confident to your interviewer. Try to keep a calm face on with a smile!

Ask them to repeat the question
Asking your interviewer to repeat the question will buy you time to come up with an answer. It might also help you think of what to say if you hear the question one more time. Try not to do this multiple times though, that will make you seem as if you are not listening to what they have to say.

Tell your interviewer what you do know
Sometimes you will simply just not know the answer to the question or maybe you have some knowledge of the question. Whatever it is, try explaining the steps and processes you would take to figure out the answer. Speaking it out loud might help you come up with a better answer and it will show the interviewer your thought process. Interviewers ask you tough questions on purpose to see how you react and if you can work through it. Show them what you got!

Prepare and practice before the interview
Make sure that you prepare answers to possible interview questions before hand. Whether it is to the mirror or with a friend, this will calm you down during the interview and allow you to answer questions quicker, which will also eliminate unnecessary “umms..” Here are some example questions to practice before the big, stressful day, practice these and it will be sure to ease your mind.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • How do you deal with conflict?
  • What are your steps to problem-solving?
  • Give me an example of a time when you succeeded.
  • What would our company gain from hiring you?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • What would your coworkers say about you?
  • Are you a team player? Give us an example.
  • How do you work under pressure or time restraints?

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Lexi’s other posts

Photo source: Unsplash | Markus Spiske