6 Apps Every College Student Should Know About

Author: Samantha Duffy, Alum

Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, Twitter- if you are in college, chances are these are currently the most used apps on your phone. You use them to procrastinate doing homework, or to avoid listening to your professor during class. Having these apps are fun, but as a college student you should really have more tools at your disposal. Between note taking, website logins, exams, and ten-page papers, staying organized and on top of things can be a difficult task. If this sounds like you, don’t fret- there’s an app for that. Check out these six apps to see what you have been missing!

1Password  If the name did not already give it away, this is an app that allows you to store all your passwords in one encrypted and secure location. That way you really only have to remember one password, for 1Password- get it?

Image Courtesy of ipod-touch-max.ru-

Image Courtesy of ipod-touch-max.ru-

Pocket  This is a simple app that saves any articles or online content that you like. Read a headline that interests you but don’t have time? No problem, put it in your Pocket! The app syncs to all your devices, so you can add articles from your phone or desktop. It also removes the clutter from articles and allows the user to adjust text settings for easier offline reading.

Image Courtesy of pixgood.com

Image Courtesy of pixgood.com

Wunderlist  This app is crazy awesome for people who need help getting organized. Wunderlist allows users to make to do lists (that are clean, fun and easy to follow), set reminders for due dates, and can be used to divide tasks on things like group projects! The app also helps with planning events, creating grocery lists, and managing multiple work projects. No matter what you need, Wunderlist is here to help you get all your ducks in a row!

Image Courtesy of www.pixgood.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.pixgood.com

CamScanner  Slow note taker? No worries. The CamScanner app lets you take a picture of the board or your neighbors notes and then enhances the photo to make it easier for you to read later. CamScanner is also document sharing app for those who want to scan, sync, share and manage various contents on all devices

Image Courtesy of globalapk.com

Image Courtesy of globalapk.com

Evernote  Another app that makes note taking easy. Every note you take syncs across all your devices and is stored in the cloud so you can access them from any internet connection. It also saves images from webpages for you to use later, and is great for older references like PDF files where text normally cannot be highlighted. Simply snap a picture and the app makes it so that you can have physical and digital details of your projects with you at all times.

Image Courtesy of vc.uscannenberg.org

Image Courtesy of vc.uscannenberg.org

LinkedIn  If you read our blog posts, or any career driven blog post for that matter, then you already know how great of a networking tool LinkedIn is. The site helps you create network connections with organizations and business professionals, so naturally it is a way to reach out to all the people you should know. What you may not know is that it is also available as an app! Having LinkedIn on your mobile device allows you to stay in touch with the people you know, explore industry insights, and share your expertise. It is professional networking in your back pocket.

Image Courtesy of www.pixgood.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.pixgood.com

Like all other technologies, these apps are created to make your life easier, so use them! Managing your time in college is difficult enough as it is, so do what you can to make school smooth sailing rather than stormy seas. Your phone is the one device that you always have with you, so learn to use it for your advantage!

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25 Ways to Stay Entertained Over the Summer

-Samantha Duffy, Alum

Image Courtesy of www.mingles.es

Image Courtesy of http://www.mingles.es

We are just getting ready to enter into summer, and for those of you not graduating, this tends to be a time to unwind. The pressure of final exams and hours of classes have melted away and now you are ready to enjoy the warm sunshine. While I am sure many of you may have plans for your summer already, others might have had intentions of bumming it for the next few months. I may not know everything about school, but in my four years here one thing I was able to take away is to enjoy your summer vacation while you can. Once you are graduated, you no longer are entering summer break- you are entering the real world. So here is some advice, direct from me to you, about ways you can really take advantage of your break!

1.) Turn off your phone and read a book. Every couple of weeks take a moment to escape from the chaos and just relax on the beach with a good book. I know reading is not everyone’s favorite past time, but it is better than laying around watching Netflix all summer.

2.) Volunteer. You don’t have to dedicate your whole summer to volunteering, but a few days over the summer time won’t kill you. As I always say, it looks good on a resume, you feel great when you are finished, and you will actually have the time for once.

3.) Eat more breakfast. During the semester I know that I don’t make time for breakfast often enough, so try new things this summer. On a rainy day you can invite your friends over for breakfast and a movie marathon, instead of a late night out.

Image Courtesy of articles.bplans.com

Image Courtesy of articles.bplans.com

4.) Try a new type of exercise or class at the gym. Pilates, yoga, kickboxing; whatever it is that you have been curious about, now is the time to try! You never know who you’ll meet in a class, and you’re working on that summer bod!

5.) Find a cheap flight and go somewhere. In the summer time you can often find last minute flights for super cheap, especially to places down South. Keep your eyes pealed for good deals, and invite a friend or two to do the same.

Who wouldn't want to be here? Image Courtesy of travelvacation.org

Who wouldn’t want to be here?
Image Courtesy of travelvacation.org

6.) Get a plan together for the next semester. Clearly not the most fun thing on this list, but most of you probably need to do it. If you struggle to get organized take the time while you have it now and get it together. By a planner, work on budgeting, and research ideas on how to get and stay organized.

7.) Challenge yourself. We all have fears, some bigger than others, so challenge yourself to face some of them this summer. Whether it’s snorkeling with a shark, jumping out of a plane, or swinging from a rope into the lake- when was the last time you did something for the first time?

8.) Learn a new skill. This does not have not be a masterful skill, it could be for fun or more serious. Take a cooking class, learn how to sew, become a pro with a new computer program. Learning new things is exciting, and people will find you more interesting for it too!

9.) Go camping. I think this is an absolute must, but that is because I am biased and totally love camping. Summer time is great because you don’t have to worry much about weather, and it tends to be easier to get your friends together since everyone will be home. Double bonus: camping is cheap, and you always meet some interesting characters.

Image Courtesy of onmilwaukee.com

Image Courtesy of onmilwaukee.com

10.) Get a massage. If you are someone who is looking to relax this summer then what better way than getting a massage. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend, then go to a trade school where students are learning massage therapy and get one. They are less expensive and you are helping someone achieve their goal!

11.) Cleanse yourself. I am not talking about one of those crazy diets (although if you want to, go for it!) Instead I am talking about clearing out some of the crap you own and donating it to Goodwill or Salvation Army. You will feel so much more organized, and now you have room in your closet for when you go back to school shopping.

12.) Go to a professional sports game. Another must do, because who doesn’t love baseball games?! Head downtown with your group of friends and have a blast cheering on your team! There is not much better than sipping on a cold beer, while watching America’s favorite past time, on a hot summer day.

Image Courtesy of www.livehappy.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.livehappy.com

13.) Hit up some museums. We are only a train ride away from one of the greatest cities, which is filled with cool museums to check out. Whether it is history, art, the zoo or the aquarium, you have plenty of options and time!

14.) Have a cookout. Actually, have tons of cook outs! Inviting friends over to grill  some burgers and weenies is a great way to have some fun. Bring out the bean bags, fill up the cooler, and start a fire. Don’t forget s’mores are a must!

Image Courtesy of www.seiu1199.org

Image Courtesy of http://www.seiu1199.org

15.) Go to a concert. Most of you probably do this already, but maybe try going to something different. I am a big fan of Jimmy Buffet Concerts- there may be a lot of old people, but they know how to party! Try attending a musical festival- tons of bands and awesome people just looking to enjoy some tunes.

Photo Courtesy of www.dolliecrave.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.dolliecrave.com

16.) Go to an amusement park. In case you weren’t aware, Cedar Point is the best roller coaster theme park in the country (that is a fact), and it’s only like two and half hours away. Six Flags is also a couple hours away, and don’t forget there are plenty of inexpensive water parks in the area if roller coasters aren’t your thing.

17.) Go on a bike ride. Exercise and fun, the perfect combination. The scenery is awesome and there are plenty of places around here to go! Check out the bike path that runs through all the local towns, or head towards the beach- Lakeshore Drive in Michigan City has some cool houses to look at.

Image Courtesy of www.myessentia.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.myessentia.com

18.) Take a bartending class. Learn how to make yummy drinks and meet new people, double win. Plus you never know when it might come in handy!

19.) Play a sport. Summer is the ultimate time for pick-up games, so get involved. I for one always keep a basketball in my car, but you play whatever you like. Beach volleyball, golfing, football, even kickball! The possibilities are endless.

Image Courtesy of blog.spectafy.com

Image Courtesy of blog.spectafy.com

20.) Revisit your childhood. By this I mean do some of the things you used to do in the summer when you were young. Slip-n-slides, water balloon fights, sidewalk chalk, SPUD, or ghost in the graveyard- chances are if you remember loving it, so do all your friends. Get outside and have some fun, this weather doesn’t last long enough around here.

21.) Make lemonade from scratch. We all love the shake-em-ups from the fair, so why not make your own? Cheap, easy, and refreshing.

Image Courtesy of lemona.de

Image Courtesy of lemona.de

22.) Clean up your social media and email. Do this on a day when it is crappy outside. It is far from fun in my opinion, but it feels great when you are done, and it is good for your future!

23.) Go dancing. I am not referring to the “grinding” that you do at your high school homecoming- I am talking about real dancing. Take a night out and go twist around with your friends. If you think you can’t dance then find a class; who wouldn’t want to know how to salsa?!

Image Courtesy of pixshark.com

Image Courtesy of pixshark.com

24.) Get a job. If you want to do like half of the things on this list you are probably going to need a job. An internship in the summertime is another option, but start searching fast because time is running out! Also, budget your money from this job. Don’t forget that your savings account needs some lovin’ too.

25.) Last but not least, HAVE FUN! If something is going to make you smile, then do it! College is too short to not enjoy your summers, so make them count while you can. Let your hair down, dive-in, and explore!

Image Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

Image Courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

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This is Why I’m Hot: Talking About Your Experiences

-Kristy Virgo

Is there such a thing as talking about yourself too much? Why, yes. We all have pointed out those people in our lives who annoy us with their narcissism, which is likely to make us even more shy and sometimes unable to talk about ourselves to employers when it’s most important.

All too often I work with a student who tells me “I hate talking about myself. I don’t want to come off as egotistical.” Usually along with that comes meekness and the lack of awareness that they’ve gained something from their classes, whether it be through the course objectives or projects that have been completed.

Someone asked me once, “How am I supposed to show that I am qualified for an entry-level job that requires experience when I have none?” The answer, my friends, is simple: labs, projects, and course work.

Maybe you didn’t get that internship, or maybe you were working someplace that wasn’t related to your degree while going to school. You learned some things from those experiences, too, such as transferable skills, which are skills you learn that can be taken from one job to another.

Here’s the thing: you have to become comfortable talking about yourself, and talking about your experiences, whether they’re from projects you’ve done in class or direct experiences through work. Experience is experience, and if you have the confidence to talk about those things, the employer won’t care that you didn’t do an internship. It’s about what you have to offer, and how you present that offer, not just one or the other.

Something else to keep in mind: you’re not entitled to this job, or any job, at that. Yes, you’ve worked your behind off, but the degree does not mean you should get the job. First off, there can be numerous reasons as to why you don’t get it, such as not the right fit, qualifications, or just a bad interview. Secondly, you’re probably one person out of many to be in the running, so that’s where you have to consider your approach. Below are some tips on how to approach talking about yourself:

Navigating little to no experience: The Interview Guys encourage new graduates to reference their academic achievements, athletic endeavors, charity, and volunteer work, in addition to group / activity work, and / or projects.

Sounding like an ego-centric jerk: Humble bragging > being cocky. The Under30CEO article on ways to show confidence without being cocky explains how to humbly brag and talk about your accomplishments without coming off too strongly.

Not coming off too desperate: The Undercover Recruiter explains common approaches to job hunting that does not work any longer, as well as how to avoid looking desperate.

Aside from these tips, you could always, of course, schedule some time to do a mock interview in the Career Center.

With that being said, have a wonderful week, and we will see you next week! Those going through finals, good luck!

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Thank-You Letters: Just How Important Are They?

-Stacey Staack

Have you ever had a job interview go amazingly well but did not end up getting the job? Let me ask you something else: did you follow up with a thank-you letter or email after your interview? If you did, you may want to start doing so. Writing a thank-you letter after your interview is important for so many reasons.

Writing a thank-you letter to the interviewers gives you a chance to remind them as to why you are the ideal candidate. The interviewers may have several candidates that they are interviewing. By them receiving a follow-up email, including your top skills and qualities that make you best suited for this position, will let them know that you are still very interested and have the skill set that they are looking for.

In addition, it shows that you are great with follow-up and communicating with others. Just remember to double-check for any grammatical errors. This is also your time to show that you have a strong writing ability, especially if that is one of the skills they are looking for. You want to make sure that your writing is accurate and stands out in a good way.

Remember that a thank-you letter does not have to be long. In my opinion, five or so sentences is sufficient. Now, you may be asking yourself, what should I include in my cover letter? Below are my top six tips for a great thank-you letter/email:

  1. Send out an individual letter/email to each interviewer right after your interview, on the same day.
  2. Thank them for their time.
  3. Reiterate the job position in which you had your interview for. (They may be interviewing for other positions as well, so reminding them which position you are writing about is a great idea.)
  4. Share a couple of the essential skills and characteristics that they are looking for in a candidate that you excel at.
  5. Share why you feel that you in this position will make for a great fit for both parties.
  6. Proofread, proofread, proofread!

It is important to show that you are enthusiastic in your letter. This shows that you are happy with how the interview went and shows your excitement to land this new role. Remember, The Career Center is here to help you. Therefore, if you have any questions regarding preparing a thank-you letter/email stop in and see us. We are happy to offer guidance!

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Lifelong Learning is the Key to Transforming Yourself

-Jeffrey Allen

One of the most common reasons I encounter for student appointments is two-fold: new graduate or alumni, or an alumni switching careers, applying for a promotion, or simply searching for a job. First of all, I have been all of those people-young, older, student, alumni, then student again, employed, unemployed, and have enjoyed three different career paths by simply reinventing myself as a contemporary professional. How? By consistently embracing change, asking for help, using the resources available to me, and learning from others. The best way to learn is to model the behaviors of professionals you admire.

But where do you start? The best way to inventory yourself is by looking at your professional materials (resume, professional memberships, briefcase, etc.). Does your resume say “references available upon request”? The phrase tells an employer one of two things: you are an older job seeker or you used an outdated resume template. Think about it-would you say no to an employer requesting your references? Of course not! How old do you look on paper?

If you use social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, do you look like a professional? If you aren’t on social media, get there so you have a clean, professional digital profile when employers check you out (and they will). If you have any concerns about your “on paper” image, have you visited the Career Center yet?

Some of the many platforms of social media

FYI, our services are free, available on both campuses, and alumni enjoy lifetime access! The access is actually how I ended up working for Purdue! Everything is an opportunity if you promote yourself, learn and adapt. Some of our services include (but not limited to):

  • Resume review and cover letter prep
  • Mock interviewing
  • Job search assistance
  • Grad school prep
  • Linkedin development
  • Career counseling

Once your materials are updated and you’ve practiced interviewing and job searches, take a look in the mirror- do you look like the professionals on employer websites? It may be time to update your wardrobe, get a more contemporary haircut, and begin investing in your future. Many clothing companies have points programs, decent clearance sales and coupons but you might also find a nice consignment shop in the area. A short train ride to the city can yield benefits by purchasing really nice suits at consignment prices! If you are still wearing the same hair style you had in high school or your hair is three or more colors, time to fix it. One of my friends calls the multi-color hair CNTIN or “colors not found in nature”! Only tropical fish can get away with the multiple colors in a business office. Next, turn to your social circle and let them know you are looking for a new job and ask for advice or leads. No social circle? Attend professional or networking events and simply practicing talking to others (no phone or text thumbs required!) but the chat doesn’t always have to be about business (but keep that talk nearby). Did you get contact information or a card? Put it in your phone and send them a “thank you” email before you leave the event!

A few last things to consider: your grades and caliber of your university are far less important than your ability to showcase yourself as an adaptable problem solver. If you are a new grad, research companies on Linkedin, engage the principals on Twitter, and try to engage in person. If your research yields a new project the company is engaged in, think of a solution and share over coffee with the employer. Speaking of speaking, avoid email when you are truly trying to connect-make a phone call instead! My best successes have been over the phone. The same applies to Linkedin, use it or it’s not effective. This means engaging in discussions, adding connections and sharing content.

In order to be your best self and a champion of you, practice some self-care during this stressful time. A few self-care measures include:  getting adequate sleep, exercise, eating better food (no ramen or microwave popcorn), ask for help (someone to pick up your children, cook dinner, pick up the dry cleaning, or provide a sounding board), and learn when to say no. The one thing you can take to the bank?-the staff of the Purdue University Northwest Career Center offices are always concerned about your success and well-being. As a matter of fact, we measure our success by helping you become successful so you would actually be helping us too! See you soon!

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Benefits of Working on Campus

-Luke Faith

Greetings and welcome back once again Purdue people! I hope we all have been fortunate to enjoy ourselves and relax during Spring break. I myself cannot deny that I wish it had not have gone by so fast. Yet, school and the blogs must go on. This week, I’m faced with the challenge of answering a loaded question: what are the benefits or advantages of working on campus?

Students have plenty of opportunities to work on campus. There are plenty of on campus opportunities intended to suit all majors. Some departments, such as Nursing, Engineering, The Dean of Students, and The Career Center look for department assistants, some of which require a specific academic major, and some of which don’t. In any position, students are offered the chance to gain professional experience in their field. Some of the top universities in the nation such as Cornell and Syracuse are praised for their excellent Federal Work Study programs. I’m certain that they work hard to be honored with such praise. They, like us at Purdue University Northwest, are certainly aware of the fact that their students benefit more in the long run while being offered the chance to gain skills while working and attending class on campus.

Keep in mind, though, that the two regional Purdue campuses do not have abundant opportunities. Therefore, if you (students) intend on applying for a position be sure to check for openings online via CareerTrax by searching for on-campus student employment. The best time of the year to do so is before the start of a semester. If you are really curious you may consider asking around the departments to inquire what sort of positions are available or may soon be vacant.

I cannot speak for everyone but I’ve had the experience of meeting some students who work on campus whom I’ve acquainted myself with. I always perceive students that work on campus to be destined for success or at least in search of good prospects. I’m always glad to hear of students finding fantastic jobs straight out of college. Quite a few of those students that I know who have on-campus jobs did find good jobs shortly after or even before graduation. I have a feeling that their dedication toward their career objective during college had something to do with these positive outcomes. I would guess that there is some sort of upper hand if a job applicant can prove that they have acquired some professional and soft skills.

Personally, I have the honor to say that half my experience in college has been attributed to working on campus. Almost two years have gone by and it seems unfathomable to imagine what type of student I would be had I never taken advantage of the opportunity with The Career Center. I can say with confidence that employing myself on campus has been hands down the most positive and beneficial working experience I have taken in my life thus far. This info graphic outlines the basic skills obtained while working on campus and being involved in tasks that are compatible in their respected fields.

InfoGraphic of Skills Earned by Students who Worked on Campus

Courtesy of: University of Maine

I must give credit where it is due and say that the staff has made working on campus hands down irreplaceable. I myself have been very humble and feel graced to have been employed at The Career Center for a considerable portion of my time in college. This alone has been quite an advantage for me as I have certainly learned something from each individual and every task. Most of all, I have had the pleasure to learn and work in a diverse and professional environment in comparison to a public or private occupation. Working at The Career Center has exceeded my expectations. I’ve had many opportunities arise where I was called on to take part in a project that requires self-improvement. With that my confidence, abilities, and wisdom have grown which gives me quite a boost in my career path.

Remember that the personal benefits of working on campus are bountiful and consider looking into a position if you have not already. I myself have high hopes for myself and for my fellow students in the future. Yet, our success is solely dependent on what we learn when in college and what we decide to do with it as we soon enter the job market. The fact is that an on-campus student employment position will be something that you generally will show off to any employers while interviewing in the future. If you can say to them, “As you see, I’ve gained plenty of experience working for so and so while earning my degree,” That shows them that you are a person with dedication, perseverance, and expectations which will certainly suggest to them that you could be a good prospect for the company. The most important aspect of a work study position is to gain skills that can be transferred to a job. So make sure that you retain anything learned while in any position as when you interview in the future you may be honest and feel confident when starting a position that you have the know-how.

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Career Assessments: What do they Mean?

-Kristy Virgo

It’s funny how many people assume that career-related assessments are the end-all, be-all of their future. Even when I was a restaurant manager we had an assessment that measured the risk of a potential candidate based on counter-productivity, reliability, and honesty, and I’ll never forget how many of those candidates walked away thinking it was a personality test. In my head I kept thinking, no, this doesn’t tell you that you have a crappy personality- it tells us way more than that. Heck, it doesn’t even touch upon personality.

Now, as a Career Consultant, and a Career Counselor-in-training, I see it even more: students think that these assessments that we offer for them are personality tests, or those that connect careers absolutely have the answers.

Guess what? None of this is true. It’s like the Matrix, but of career assessment myths. We as human beings tend to take the objective definition to terms associated with assessments, and base those definitions on what we’ve learned of them. For example, if you take the Myers- Briggs Type Indicator, or Do What You Are, you’ll find that your first characteristic is either Introverted or Extroverted. What do you think this means? The typical response is, “I’m not antisocial, so why am I introverted?”, or, “I’m not that social.” But when you look at what the definition of these terms mean in relation to the Myers-Briggs inventory, you’ll discover that these two terms refer to where our energy is centralized. For example, a heavy introvert has a tendency to do well in social situations, but need time alone to re-energize, whereas an extrovert may become re-energized by being in social situations (being the center of a party, speaking to large groups, etc.).

What’s your central source of energy?

Again, definitions to these assessments go deeper than our initial perceptions. So, please allow me to centralize this week’s blog around the types of assessments The Career Center offers.

  1. Do What You Are: A Myers-Briggs Type assessment that provides a statistically accurate representation of a student’s personality type. Personality type is the best way of determining and individual’s natural gifts, and to pinpoint the occupations where they find the greatest opportunity for expression. Again, this assessment does not tell you whether or not you have a good or bad personality, but how you react to certain situations and where your central force of energy comes from. It’s responses are also focused on how you act in social and school-related situations (i.e., studying, group work, etc.).
  2. Myers Briggs Type Indicator: Similar to Do What You Are, but it’s the original assessment (OG, if you will) created by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs. It’s based off of Carl Jung’s theory of psychological types. It’s based off of preference- how you prefer to process and do things, and focuses on life in general, not just school. If you sit down with someone in The Career Center to do this assessment, or Do What You Are, you’ll see the connections made. It’s really cool, I promise!
  3. Peps Learning Style Inventory: Administered from the same company that licenses the Do What You Are, Peps helps students identify the kind of environment in which they prefer to work or learn. Like a fingerprint, everyone has a unique style, and it is important for each of us to know what our style is. This information can help students understand themselves and others better.
  4. MY Advantage: This assessment identifies an individual’s top ‘intelligences’ to help them recognize strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Strong Interest Inventory: Based off of John Holland’s six themes of career interest (explained later in this blog), this assessment identifies how interests relate to careers and focuses on your strengths and blind spots.
  6. Indiana Career Explorer Kuder Journey Assessment: Get your giggles out now, okay? This is another interest-based assessment that connects with interests.
  7. O*Net Interest Profiler: Similar to the Journey Assessment and the Strong Interest Inventory, this is another interest based assessment that aligns with O*Net (The Occupational Information Network), which is an online database that contains hundreds of occupational definitions to help students, job seekers, businesses and workforce development professionals to understand today’s world of work.

I think 7 is enough to talk about, right? Allow me to let you in on a little secret: The Career Center now offers career counseling for students. Now, this doesn’t mean that every person will need an assessment and will have to follow it. What kind of people would we be to say “you must do this”? We listen to you. Unsure about your major? Come talk to us. Unsure what to do regarding your career path? Come talk to us. We are here to help you. We can also guide you more in depth with what these assessments mean and how they fit you as a person. You. See the central focus?

Until next time,

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