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The Biggest Career Mistakes of 20-Somethings


May 20, 2013

I read recently this article on the Huffington Post that I would like to share with you all: the eight biggest mistakes that we “20-somethings” make in careers. I chose four out of the eight that college students should really be mindful of because these tips could possibly prevent you from making the same mistakes! You Think You Can't Make Money While Pursuing Your Passion. You do not have to choose between being financially stable and doing what you love – it’s possible to have both! You Stay On a Path You Know is Not Right for Too Long. As SOON as you realize that the academic road you are taking is not for you, reverse and get out. I had to do this when I changed my major: When I realized that it wasn’t making me happy, I got right out. You Compare Yourself to Your Peers. As easy as this is to do while attending college, it will not be as simple after college so get out the habit now. Seeing someone else achieve more than you should just be used as motivation. Do not beat yourself up, as this habit can lead to depression later in life. You Aren't Mindful of Social Media Use. I recently did an article about proper social media etiquette. Think before you post, people! It is very important considering employees are losing their jobs over simple social media mistakes these days. [...]

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I recently wrote about the right way to register for college classes but for those of you still in high school, let’s talk about your course selection strategy. The classes you take in high school play a big role in the college admissions process so here are some tips to help you choose the right ones. Consult your counselor. When deciding what classes to take, get your counselor’s opinion. I talked to mine and she helped me pick the right ones to achieve my goals. Consider what your college choices require. Certain colleges may require that you take specific classes in order to be considered for admission. (For example, I had a friend who had to take physics to go to a certain college.) It may sound crazy but it’s good to determine what colleges want early on so you aren’t scrambling at the end. Challenge yourself with honors and AP classes. I suggest looking into what subjects you are good in and registering for related honors or AP courses. I did not take honors classes until my junior year and I wish I had taken them all my four years in high school – in fact, some of my favorite classes were the honors classes! In honors or AP classes, students care about doing their work and teachers think highly of them. Colleges will, too! Find your calling early. Students can discover what they like and what they want to pursue in college while still in high school. I took two marketing classes, did awesome in those courses and am now minoring in marketing at Campbell. Avoid easy As. Just because you receive all As doesn’t mean you are guaranteed admission to the institution of your choice: Colleges review your grades AND the strength of your curriculum when they review your application.

High school students, be smart when registering for classes – your choices here could determine your college fate! [...]

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Summer break is a time when college students intern, work and enjoy the warm weather. This summer, however, try building your resume with volunteer work! Many employers want applicants who have volunteer experience. Volunteering shows selflessness and dedication – two characteristics most employers look for in potential employees. [...]

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The Humane Education Network is pleased to announce its Annual “A Voice for Animals” high school contest with prizes totaling $6,000 across several categories including video, essay and blogs. This year “A Voice for Animals” contest concentrates on active involvement in projects which strive to mitigate that suffering of animals. [...]

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So prom is over and graduation is almost here. All that’s left to do in your high school career is to take your exams and walk across the stage to receive your diploma but there’s still one more obstacle you must clear before you can officially call yourself a college student: Orientation. Here’s a few things your experience will likely include: Tours, sessions and lectures: If you do not know your college that well, there will be sessions for you and your parents to attend to learn more about your new school. Many schools offer extensive campus tours during orientation and you may even be able to meet the department head for your selected program. Class registration: Some institutions allow students to register for fall classes during orientation so look up your school’s course catalog online before you leave. I’d recommend not taking all general ed classes – mix up your classes so you’re taking a little bit of everything! Possible roommate selection: If you find you get along really well with someone you meet during orientation, you can possibly request that person as your roommate. I suggest this strongly if you feel comfortable with that person and get along easily, as it will make your transition from high school to college even easier. Other students just like you: If you are nervous about your new surroundings, you’re probably not alone. I was a little uneasy when I arrived on Campbell's campus for orientation but I quickly realized I was surrounded by students who felt the same way. Before I knew it, we were all having a great time because we found we had something in common. [...]

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Trying to find a job after graduation may seem grim but there are ways to better your chances. Here are a few helpful tips that any student (even you grads!) can use to get a job. Realize the value of internships. Many college graduates may find it difficult to find a job so consider internships instead. Today, there are both paid and unpaid internships and both provide interns with serious learning experiences. Plus, interns can add internships to their résumés, which, according to USA Today, will increase their success rate at getting a job later. (Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel is convinced that he got a marketing job at data storage company EMC because he had interned at Reebok and the brand's name alone boosted his image.) Also, apply for internships that are most related to the job you want to attain in the future. For example, I want to be a journalist so I applied and landed this writing-intensive internship at Scholarships.com. Don’t sell you major short. Whether your major is French, history, theater or something else, you shouldn’t believe you have no chance of finding a job. An article in Social Media Today explains how every major gives its students strengths potential employers will find useful. For example, a graduate of the history department has learned the skills needed to be a competent writer, researcher and critical analyzer, which are valuable tools for employees of marketing firms and news organizations. Create a blog. Finding something you’re interested in and write a blog about the topic. According to Social Media Today, if an employer does a web search of your name and your website or blog appears, they will see you have initiative, talent and passion. (And since we are on the topic of social networking, make sure to keep all your profiles and online content clear of any questionable behavior.) [...]

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As summer approaches, we begin to see the bright light of freedom on the horizon. What are your plans for break? If you do not have any, no worries: It’s not too late to plan! Do not spend the next few months lounging on the sofa watching reruns – get out and make the best of your break! Here are some tips to make your summer a great one: Summer Jobs: While getting a part-time job at a local fast food place is always an option, try something new this summer. Find a job that will give you new experiences and allow you to meet new people. Ever thought about being a counselor at a sleep-away summer camp? Check out GreatCampJobs.com to find some of the best counselor jobs available. Some even offer college credit! Imagine getting paid AND earning school credit while working at a totally new place and helping kids have an amazing summer. Summer Classes: Summer classes are always a great option if you feel up to the challenge of focusing during the summer months. Don’t know if it’s for you? Check out my previous post to find out! Study Abroad:Take your educational pursuits to new levels or even new countries! Check your admissions office and see what study abroad programs they offer of the summer. You’ll continue to learn while experiencing a new culture, people and surroundings. Summer Internship: Many great places are looking for determined young minds to fill internship positions. Most degrees require students to participate in at least one internship in their major field of study. Even if it’s not a requirement for you, do it to build your resume: The more experience you have in your desired work field when you graduate, the better your chances are for being considered for employment. Some internships even lead to paid full-time jobs so work hard because you never know where an internship opportunity could lead! [...]

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The student librarian or the math tutor in the tutoring center at your university may be one of the thousands of students involved in the Federal Work Study program.

The U.S. Department of Education explains that the Federal Work Study program involves universities assigning college students part-time jobs in their institutions or through private employers. The income may be minimum wage or higher (it depends on the work the student is doing) and the income goes toward the students’ college expenses. For example, the recipient can have the funds go directly toward tuition or books. [...]

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Today I’d like to discuss something that I’m positive is constantly on the minds of underclassmen: “What should I major in?” There’s pressure from all ends to do something that makes money but your heart wants to do something you are passionate about. What's a college student to do? Aim for something that has potential to do both. For example, I love music, I love promoting bands, I love going to shows and I love being a part of the music scene in any way that I can. My majors, however, are computer science and Spanish. Those majors paired with my interests may not make sense at first but here’s how I came to this decision: I determined what skills are considered valuable across the board. Spanish is practical in this time period for many reasons. I had the opportunity to study abroad in Chile and got to use my Spanish skills to interview leading punk bands for a research project. In this case, I was able to combine what I was studying with what I was passionate about. I thought outside the box. I am learning computer science so that I may one day combine it with my passion for music. After all, technology, music sharing, music streaming services and apps are the way of the future....so why not use my skills and love for tech towards my passion? [...]

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Despite having other important things to check off my to-do list, I’ve spent countless hours on an assortment of social media outlets. (I’m sure you’ve found yourself in a similar predicament.) Recently, I began using one form of social media that isn’t a time waster: It’s called LinkedIn and it uses social media to connect its users to employers. [...]

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Summer classes are great for getting ahead or catching back up if you’ve fallen behind. They aren’t for everyone, though, so when deciding on extra courses for the summer, keep these factors in mind: Financial Aid: An important factor is whether or not you can financially afford to take summer classes. When I was a freshman, I was able to take two summer courses using a summer Pell grant but unfortunately, that option is no longer available. Summer financial aid is included in your fall/spring aid year so if you use your loan money in entirety during the fall and spring, then you may not have any left for summer classes. Check with your campus financial aid office to get the most current information and payment alternatives. Class Location: You do not have to live near your university or stay on campus to take a summer class. You could take a course at a nearby university while living at home – just go to your admissions office to fill out the necessary paperwork to complete this. Online classes are also always an option; there may be a price difference between online and traditional in-person courses so be sure to check that before signing up. Time Spent in Class: My university has a breakdown of three short semesters during the summer that last one month each. I took two “Maymester” classes and we were in class for almost three hours a day Monday through Thursday; I found this easy because the professors taught only the needed information without the extra projects that usually fill up a semester. Not all universities have this option so check with your advisers on the different summer class options. [...]

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Being away from home at college can make you feel liberated and independent. Nevertheless, summer break comes and moving back in with your parents is a reminder that you are not as close to independence as you thought: All of a sudden, you’re hit with rules, obligations and expectations that you lived without during the academic year! [...]

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Not every student goes the four-year route when it comes to getting a college education and instead explores non-traditional options that include for-profit institutions. And while proprietary institutions may not have the best track record, not all for-profit schools are alike. To help you differentiate between the good and the bad, experts at U.S. News & World Report have compiled a few tips on how to vet an online program. Check out their suggestions below: [...]

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With the frenzy and excitement surrounding finals and end-of-the-year activities, it’s easy to forget that you still need to register for next semester’s classes! You may have received confusing emails telling you how to select your fall courses but before you start stressing, check out these tips for a quick and easy registration process. Review a course catalog or program evaluation. This method could help you with finding out what classes to take for your major as well as general classes you must complete in order to graduate. At Campbell, there is a program evaluation where students can review their progress thus far and determine any courses they still need. Select a variety. Be sure to include classes you need to take and WANT to take. You do not want to put too much on your plate, though, so choose a course load you know you will be able to manage. Check with your adviser. Call, email or go to your adviser’s office to figure out your schedule. They know more than you do so utilize that knowledge to your advantage: I have an adviser who has bent over backward to make sure I get the classes I need. Have a back-up plan. So there is that one class you really need and it is full – what do you do now? Find out who the professor is and talk to them; they could allow you to overenroll or may offer another suggestion of a class to take instead. Coordinate with others. Talk with your friends or roommates about courses you all need and enroll together, if possible. This will make studying easy...and fun! [...]

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With the final weeks of the semester winding down, it’s easy to get caught up in the madness. Things slip your mind and time passes you by. Did you get your FASFA in? Did you register for your fall classes? When is that final paper due? These are all questions we ask ourselves but sometimes, we ask them too late. Don’t worry – it happens to the best of us so set up a system so that this won’t happen again! Here are a couple of tips for keep up with important school deadlines: Check your school’s app. Most universities have taken advantage of students’ obsessions with social media and technology and have created apps that contain the latest information from the website in an accessible organized app. If it contains an in-app calendar, more than likely you can sync it with your phone’s calendar. This way, all deadlines will be inserted on your phone automatically and you will see alerts with upcoming deadlines. Set phone alerts. If the sync option is not available for you, pull up your school’s academic calendar and pair it with your class syllabi. Look at all the important dates and insert them right onto your phone's calendar. Set up alerts for high priority deadlines. Use a wall calendar. You can find huge wall calendars at Walmart for about $5. I hung it on the back of the door of my room and wrote all my assignments on there as soon as I got them. Seeing the upcoming deadlines in all caps and bright red (my tactic) kept me on the right track and focused to meet my goals. [...]

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Summertime is chock full of activities from music festivals to road trips. Don’t let your current spending limit your options of things you want to do (think: traveling abroad) or things you need to get done (see: paying next month’s rent). Instead, check out these websites (thanks, USA Today!) that can help you manage your money now and even help you save for a future purchase. [...]

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Online and digital textbooks are a growing resource for college students. They can be cheap, interactive, fun and sometimes more useful than their traditional predecessors. And now there is a surge of technology for professors to use as well, including ways to digitally check if their students are reading the assigned material. [...]

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It’s finally April and summer is just around the corner but there is one thing holding us back from enjoying some time off...FINALS! They can seem so excruciating when all we can think about is going home, interning or studying abroad but here are some tips to help you get through this often dreaded time: Manage your time. Confirm your finals schedule with your professors so you can prepare appropriately, ensuring you have enough time to both study and sleep. Input alerts on your computer and phone and set a few alarms the night before tests so you don’t oversleep. Don’t stress. Don’t overwhelm yourself to the point that you feel miserable. Be calm, take some deep breaths and make sure you get plenty of rest. Try to end your day thinking about something other than your finals; if not, you may have a sleepless night and that will not help. Treat yourself. If you aren’t one to study or find yourself having difficulty focusing, set a goal to reach a certain section of your material and then treat yourself. It could be to 30 minutes of watching TV or going online – meeting your goals deserves some credit and will help you return to your work refreshed. Study groups. If you are able to study with others, form a study group. You may be able to learn more from your peers than you thought: I have studied with classmates before and it helped me A LOT when I took the final. I strongly suggest this method if you need help in a specific class because perhaps one of your study partners will explain the course information in a way that’s easier to understand and retain. [...]

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Balancing relationships on campus can be a task. For new college students, the freedom can be quite overwhelming: Students are no longer under the microscope of their parents and can come and go and do as they please. As amazing as it sounds, however, it is key to remember the pros and cons of this autonomy. [...]

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The academic year is winding down – before you know it, it will be finals week and time for semester grades! – and this is a critical time to decide if you want to drop a class or stick it out to the end. If you’re on the fence about what to do, you must consider some critical points. Deadlines: Check your school’s academic calendar to find out the different deadlines for withdrawing from classes. These dates will tell you the last day to withdraw and still receive a portion of tuition back, the last day to withdraw without academic penalty and the last day to withdraw passing. Financial Aid: Before you drop a class, consider how many credit hours you are taking. You must be a full-time student to receive financial aid and if at any time during the semester you drop below the required amount of hours, you may have to pay that money back. Grades: If you miss the right deadline to drop a class, you will receive an automatic F. If the reason you are dropping is because of your current grade, consider if there is anything you can do to bring it up. Failing a class can bring your GPA way down and if there is a way to avoid this, take it! [...]

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Hey everyone! Thought I’d talk about online classes this week. People typically opt for online classes to free up some space in their schedules during the academic year. You can take them during the summer or simultaneously with your regular classes to knock out some credits. You can also seek out courses not typically offered at your college or university. The benefits of online courses, in my opinion, greatly outweigh the negatives...but I’ll let you readers sort it out. [...]

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Being a senior in high school – where everyone looks up to you and you feel as though you are on top of the world – is a great feeling. As graduation day draws near, it’s easy to put yourself on autopilot but resist flipping that switch at all costs: If you don’t finish your high school career strong, everything you worked so hard for over the years could be taken away. [...]

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We all know that school is hard sometimes but life after graduation can be much harder if you do not do what’s necessary to stand apart from the crowd. When graduating high school and entering college, you will find many opportunities to enter academic and social organizations, most of which will require application processes that ask about your involvement and leadership skills. Realizing you don’t have much on your resume? No worries: You still have time. [...]

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Recently, I read an article about whether or not Facebook was ruining the college experience. A huge benefit to going to college is having the chance to interact and socialize with people from diverse backgrounds but are students letting Facebook keep them from these advantages? [...]

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