Always Be Networking

By: Willow

A common joke in my family is a quote from my one of my sister’s professors: “Network, network, network. Always be networking, unless you’re drunk, or you smell bad.” As ridiculous as this quote is, it’s 100% true. Constant networking is one of the best ways to find jobs or other opportunities that may lead to jobs. Networking is defined by: [to] interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.

So what does that really mean? And how does one become a master networker? For me, I got lucky. I love talking to people and hearing what they do. Making connections is my thing. For others, I know it doesn’t come so easy, and that is why I created this simple guide to constant networking. Enjoy!


Networking Meme

The first step to networking is simply being friendly. I used to work with a young man who thought being rude was a good way to get people to remember him, then after they knew who he was he would rebuild his image into being a smart hard working person you would want to hire. WRONG! Honestly, that might be the dumbest thing I have ever heard. You never want to make a first impression of being rude, mean, or conceited, it might make someone remember you but you you do not want to be remembered as a jerk.

Step two is more important than you might think, learn names. It’s so easy to see someone you knew from class, a former professor, or random acquaintance and give them a nod and a little smile. Saying “Hi Leah, how are you?” helps build a relationship a whole lot better than a simple “Hey.” You will be amazed how much striking up what starts as a small talk conversation might amount to.

Step three, say thank you. In some situations this could be as simple as making sure you thank people for small acts of kindness. It can also be writing thank you notes after job interviews, career fairs, and internships or jobs. Think outside the box when you’re finding people to write thank you’s to. Write them to other interns, people you only met a few times, or just people who influenced you. It is never a bad idea to make someone’s day, so spend a little time saying thank you to anyone and everyone who helped you along the way.

Step four, use social media to network. This one is important. We all are children of the internet and that is a part of our world we can’t get away from, so be careful about what you post. If you are under 21 do not post photos of you drinking, come on, that’s common sense. If you are 21 it is obviously legal for you to drink, but remember to be classy. A photo of your Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of wine, classy. A photo of you doing a keg stand at a frat party, not so classy. Social media can be an amazing way to connect with people and network yourself, but it can also be a way to ruin opportunities with easily avoidable mistakes. Social media is an amazing way to post positive things about your life, awards, work you do, scholarships, those are all positive things to post on social media that can help you have a positive reputation.

Step five is the most important, when thinking about business relationships focus on the relationship, not the business. People can tell if you’re being fake, so be real, be kind, and make relationships that count. Talk to people, and honestly care about what they say, know that everyone you have ever met knows something you don’t, so learn from them.

I know this is not a complete and perfect guide to be the best networker in the world, but it’s a good start. I realize that this is a somewhat abstract guide and not a concrete plan, so the most concrete thing I can say is get out and talk to people. That can be face to face, through email, facebook, or thank you notes, it all works as long as there is positive communication. Keep these things in mind in your college years and beyond, and have a great network.

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Choose Your Own Adventure

By: Willow

If you follow my blog posts, (Hi Mom!) you have probably noticed that I talk a lot about being unsure of what you want to do, and changing your major, and changing your mind, and things of that nature. I have recently found out that there is a program here at UMD for students who like too  many things to pick just one.  To wrap up this year of blogging I’m going to share my experience with the Interdisciplinary Studies major, or as I like to call it, the choose your own adventure major.

I had a meeting last week to change my major to IS and it was very interesting and helpful. Interdisciplinary Studies is a major though the College of Liberal Arts and I’ll earn a B.A. degree. You can find the details for the major here.

Inter Dis Major

The IS major is a combination of at least three different fields of study, they can all be from the same college, or from different ones, it’s up to you. You have to have at least 48 credits that come from your major classes but other than that it’s pretty open. You are however, not allowed to start the major after you have completed 70 credits, this is to be sure you will still be able to graduate in time.

To begin the IS major you have to submit a proposal of all the classes you want to take to the head of the department, they then approve the classes or give you pointers on what to add or take off. After you’re all approved you have created your own major, follow the plan, pass your classes, and graduate.

As in all majors, you must complete Advanced Writing. With IS you also have to take one methods course, and a senior project. The senior project is anywhere from 1 to 10 credits and is very open as far as medium. Many people do a paper, but there are some who portfolios, presentations, or multimedia productions. The project is to show what you have learned and how your studies go together.

I wish I knew more about the IS degree when I started college, I think it’s an amazing program that more students should take advantage of.

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Photo source: Unsplash/Ali Inay

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

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Dare to be You

By: Willow

I think as college kids, and as humans in general, but especially college kids, we worry way too much about what others think we should be. Not only that, but there are a lot of negative attitudes around groups of people who act certain ways or wear certain things. Frat bros, farm girls, jocks, stoners, or God forbid, theater majors. So anyway, here’s my question, since when is what makes you happy a bad thing?

We’re all in college, doing our thing, learning our skills, trying to figure out who we are. Its hard enough, without us devaluing what others are doing. I’m sure we’ve all been there, someone makes a comment like “Environmental Science? That’s a pointless major.” And there you are feeling two inches tall because that’s your major.

So let’s do this instead, let’s support our friends, and enemies, and strangers whether they be basic, complicated, or somewhere in between. And let’s remember that we don’t have to explain ourselves to others. If you are doing what makes you happy, others should be happy for you, and if they’re not, well you should still support them because it’s the right thing to do. Let’s all try to be better together. Life is hard, don’t make it harder. In the words of Kid President, “If life is just a game, aren’t we all on the same team?”

Smile Folks, we’re all in this together.

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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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10 Reasons Why Being a Camp Counselor is the Best Summer Job in the World

By: Willow

I have had the extreme pleasure of spending my last two summers at Girl Scout Camp Tanglefoot. Here is a list of why everyone should spend a summer at camp.

Willow 1

The camp I work at is in Clear Lake, Iowa. It is lovely. Being on the lake makes TONS of activities possible; canoeing, pontooning, swimming, kayaking, sailing, and paddleboarding. Sometimes, we even let the kids drive the boat!

Willow 2

Face Painting! How many jobs are out there where this is an acceptable way to look? The best is when you tell one kid what your favorite animal is, and you end up with countless giraffes on your body.

Willow 3

At camp we have a motto “Camp is for the campers” so that means you have to make some sacrifices. In this photo you are seeing the aftermath of group of girls who were very shy and quiet at dinner. What is the best way to get shy kids to have fun? Pizza sauce facial hair!
Beware, it kind of burns…

Willow 4

Two words: MUD PIT

Willow 5

Another amazing thing about Girl Scout Camp Tanglefoot is the singing! Campfire songs, fun songs, and action songs all are a huge part of camp!

Willow 6

Being a counselor means you constantly get to wear Chacos. Like, always.

Willow 7

We have a ropes course! Challenge courses are a staple of a lot of camps. I am a ropes course facilitator and I love it! It is so amazing to see girls who really think they can’t reach the top of the “leap of faith” overcome their fears and do what they thought they couldn’t.

Willow 8

Sometimes at camp we have party nights. And sometimes, we have PROM party night! Who doesn’t want to spend a summer evening dancing in a meadow?

Willow 9

At camp we have final camp fire at the end of every week. We dress up, sing songs, and all share a wonderful campfire. Camp is full of amazing traditions and final campfire is one of my personal favorites.

Willow 10

The last, and best, thing about being a camp counselor is the relationships you make with your fellow staff. Some of my best friends are former co-workers, as well as my greatest role models. If you want a 100% unforgettable summer, find a camp.

Photo source: Willow

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