Simple Ways to Network Yourself

Author: Samantha Duffy

Networking1

“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” We have all heard that statement a thousand times at this point in our college careers, and that is because it’s true. Creating a web of connections is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself, and for your future. The people you meet now could be the key to your success after school; your favorite professor could be your introduction to the HR manager at your first job.

Some of you may be wondering what networking yourself means, and how do it. Chances are you already have started establishing important relationships and did not even realize it. The individuals you are coming in contact with now are going to be the ones that connect you to the business world, whether it is getting a job, reaching out for support for companies, seeking information, or getting invites to important events. If you are looking for ways to network yourself and not sure what you can do, then take a look at a few of these simple tips.

Get to know your classmates. I know we all claim to hate them, but group projects can be a great way to meet people. Utilize these assignments to get to know your classmates. These are the individuals who will know your skills and see what kind of worker you are. They can be great references, plus who knows where they might end up!

Social Networking Sites. You had to see this one coming, because that is there whole purpose. Using things like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is an easy way to reach out to other people and organizations. You can also learn a lot about a person based on their interests on their profiles, and you could use that information to make conversation in the future. Don’t forget the flip side of this though- others gather impressions about you based on what is on your webpages, so make sure you aren’t posting anything that you wouldn’t want an employer or coworker to see.

LinkedIn. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, make one. It is a great tool that businesses use to find future employees, as well as a way for colleagues to see your achievements. You can find professionals in your desired field, and get ideas on how to make your profile stand out.

Clubs. Joining a club, in or out of school, is a sure way to meet people who share similar interests with you. Often times clubs do community out reach projects and are involved with other organizations, so it expands your circle even further. You can get involved with groups at the gym, your church, your current job, or volunteer organizations. They all provide opportunities to meet new people.

Have you met my friend? This last one is probably the easiest of all- have your friend introduce you! It is like Barney’s game “have you met Ted?” on How I Met Your Mother. When you are out to eat or at the bar don’t be afraid to have your friend introduce you to their other friends. Not only will you have fun and make new friends, but you can also get some inside information about upcoming events or maybe a job opening at their company.

Image Courtesy of mosaicogeek.blogspot.com

Image Courtesy of mosaicogeek.blogspot.com

In the end, the best thing you can do to expand your outreach is to really put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone! For all you know it could be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company sitting next to you on the train, and your conversational skills could impress the pants off him. Organizations want people with strong communication skills, so start communicating!

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Things Every Employee Should Do Their First Day at a New Job

Author: Samantha Duffy

Your first day at a new job is sort of like your first day back to school. You’re excited, but nervous. You try on multiple different outfits, go over possible conversations you may encounter, pack your bag with the essentials, then fix your hair a million and one times before finally leaving the house. You look at yourself in the rear view mirror of the car and give yourself a pep talk. You have all the right intentions heading into this opportunity; but, how do you turn those intentions into a good first impression?

Believe it or not, kicking butt your first day on the job is not as difficult as you may think. Just follow these guidelines, and you will impress more than just your coworkers-you’ll impress yourself!

1.) Ask questions and be enthusiastic. The key to this is understanding the difference between the words enthusiastic and annoying. Don’t bother your supervisor or coworkers with questions that you already know the answer to; if you got the job chances are you’re not an idiot, so don’t make them hold your hand (that’s annoying). On the other hand, don’t hold back asking a question when you really need help. It is better to ask first, rather than waste your time doing something the wrong way. Be enthusiastic with your inquiries, and pay attention to the answers. No one wants to explain something to someone who could care less.

Photo Courtesy of: imgarcade.com

Photo Courtesy of: imgarcade.com

2.) Map out your route to work. When it comes to first impressions, one of the worst things you can do is be late. Tardiness is an attribute no employer wants in an employee, and unlike your college professor, they’re not going to care about your excuses. In order to avoid being late, you should plan out your travel route before hand. Know how long each mode of transportation is going to take, and plan for bumps in the road. You want to walk into the office ten minutes early looking well put together, not like you just ran the Boston Marathon.

Photo Courtesy of: lolsheaven.com

Photo Courtesy of: lolsheaven.com

3.) Maintain a positive attitude. Work is going to be stressful. That is why it’s called work and not fun. The first day is a lot of pressure and everyone knows that, but no one wants to hear about it. The office veterans have been there, done that, and quite frankly they are going to wish their problems were as minuscule as yours. Don’t complain about the work, just get it done. If you are already whining on your first day your coworkers are only going imagine how annoying you will be a few months from now. If someone asks how your first day is going, smile and say that you are learning a lot. Save your tears and temper tantrums for your pillow when you get home.

Photo Courtesy of: bumpbirthandbeyond.wordpress.com

Photo Courtesy of: bumpbirthandbeyond.wordpress.com

4.) Do work! It’s a pretty simple concept. That is the reason you are there in the first place, so get your work done. You can bring your teacher an apple everyday, but if you don’t do the work you are never going to get an A. The best and easiest way to impress an employer is to do your work, and do it well. People want results, so be the person that gets things done. It is normal to want to fit in with all your office mates, but your focus should always be on your task at hand, not what Susie Snowflake drank at the club last night. This also means putting away your cell phone and avoiding social media temptations.

Photo Courtesy of: www.quickmeme.com

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

5.) Dress to impress. You want to look professional and well kept. I like to follow the three C’s: Clean, Crisp, and Casual. Your hair and face should be washed, and smelling nice is important, but your coworkers shouldn’t need a gas mask to handle your perfume. Your outfit should be properly fitted, wrinkle and stain free, and cover all the necessary body parts. Last but not least, remember this is a job and not your high school prom. Keep your hair and make up casual; no fancy up-dos or fake eyelashes. Save your energy, you’ll need it later.

Photo Courtesy of: www.pinterest.com

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

6.) Listen. Something that people need to do more of in general is listen, so make sure you do it on your first day. You can’t put your foot in your mouth if it’s not open, so shut up and listen. Get to know your coworkers, and be considerate of their advice. This does not mean you shouldn’t be the one to initiate an introduction though. Tell your coworkers who you are and what position you were hired for, then let them take the lead. You don’t want to bore them with your whole back story if they don’t care, but you also want them to see you are interested in being part of the team. If they have questions they will ask, if not, save your stories for a rainy day.

Photo Courtesy of: 7boom.mx

Photo Courtesy of: 7boom.mx

After reading these tips on what to do, you should feel a little more secure about your first day on the new job. Being prepared is the key to a successful outcome, so be ready to tackle new projects and personalities. Keep an open mind, be self confident, and chase every opportunity. Be the employee that your boss appreciates and your coworkers admire. Check back with us next week for more “First Day Tips”, like questions all new employees should ask on their first day.

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Become an Interviewing Expert

Author: Samantha Duffy

Job interview. Two words that can make even the most confident candidate’s palms sweat. You had an impressive resume that landed you the interview, but looking good on paper is only half the battle. Now you must prove to an employer that you really are the best person for the job, not just a compiled list of glorified words on a document. So how do you guarantee yourself a successful interview? The answer: be prepared. Here is what you should know before you begin the interviewing process.

Criteria employers use when selecting a candidate

In 2004, Brenda Green’s book, “You’ve Got the Interview, Now What?” reported the results derived from surveying 25 Fortune 500 Companies. The results showed that 28% of these organizations base their hiring decision on qualification, 12% on experience, 16% on skill fit, and 32% said all these categories were factors in selecting a candidate. 

So if employers are interested in qualified, experienced and skilled employees, which characteristics do they value most in their candidates? A survey conducted by NACE in 2014 analyzed what attributes employers want most in contenders:

76.6% – Written communication skills

76.0% -Leadership

73.1% – Analytical/ quantitative skills

72.0% – Strong work ethic

71.4% – Ability to work in a team

70.3% – Problem solving skills

68.6% – Verbal communication skills

Knowing what employers are looking for will help you prepare your answers. If you possess skills like these then play them up; show employers that you have the qualities they desire.

The 2014 NACE survey also reported that 74.1% of employers prefer candidates with relevant work experience. For first time job hunters, this often means internships, school projects, and volunteer work.

Types of Interviews

Photo Courtesy of: careerrocketeer.com

Photo Courtesy of: careerrocketeer.com

There are a few different interview formats that you will come across during your job search process.

Screenings- These are usually done by phone to weed out the candidate poll. You should have your resume at hand to refer to, pen and paper to take notes, a quiet room, and water to keep refreshed (no gum, smoking, or eating).

Behavioral- These are designed to determine if an applicant has the necessary traits for the job. You will hear a lot of “Tell me about a time when…” in this type of interview.

Panel- This where the candidate it interviewed by more than one person in the room at the same time, or one interviewer may be in the room at a time with a different set of questions.

Group- A panel of interviewers and multiple candidates in the room at the same time.

Video- Usually done via Skype, and often used for jobs that are far away. You need to make sure your microphone and camera are functioning properly, that your speech is clear and concise, and the room should be quiet with neutral decor.

Pressure- One of the most intense forms of interviews, where candidates are placed in stressful situations so that interviewers can gauge their reaction. You may be asked inappropriate questions or treated rudely, and their may be multiple interviewers present at once or sequential. The goal of these interviews is to see how a candidate will perform under pressure.

Final- This is your last opportunity to wow an interviewer and create a strong, lasting impression.

Questions to expect

Employers utilize all types of questions in order to figure out the type of person you are and what kind of worker you will be. Some organizations have a predetermined list of questions they ask in interviews, but others can create their own interview process and ask whatever they feel. Be aware that you may be asked a question you were not prepared for, but if you are able to answer a majority of these questions, you should be able to find the words to respond to the unexpected.

Why do you want to work for us?

What do you know about our organization?

If you were a candy bar, what type would you consider yourself and why?

Tell me about a time you made a mistake and learned from it.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

What are your salary requirements?

What are your strengths/weaknesses?

Know your stuff

You already know that your interviewer has researched you; they read your resume and cover letter, called your references, checked your background, and scanned your social media sites. So now it is your turn to become the cyber stalker. These are the things you need to know about a company before entering the dog house.

Company Name

Website

Job opportunities

Contact information of the hiring manager

Process of applying

Trade information

Recent news headlines & two questions to ask based off these results

The name of the CEO

Location of the headquarters

At least two products or services of the company

Top three competitors

Bonus: When you receive the call for an interview, make sure to ask who you will be interviewing with, that way you can take that information and search them on LinkedIN to get an idea of their background and who they are.

Make a good first impression

Photo Courtesy of : blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu

Photo Courtesy of : blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu

In the words of Marshall Matters, “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime”. It may sound intense, but first impressions are everything when it comes to getting a job. There are too many candidates applying for employers to waste their time with second chances, so get it right the first time around by knowing what to do and what not to do.

Be prompt. To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late.

Eye contact. Look your interviewer in the eye, show that you are engaged in the conversation and that you are confident in your responses.

Communication. This is both verbal and nonverbal. Have good posture, speak clearly, put thought into your answers, be aware of facial expressions, and be mindful of your limbs (don’t cross your arms or spread your legs while seated)

Manners. Pretty obvious. Watch your language and express gratitude for their time and the opportunity.

Be direct. Answer the questions directly, do not beat around the bush, and try not to go off on a tangent. Avoid long, drawn out answers to questions; interviewers do not need every minute detail or your entire life story, give them the basics and the need-to-know information.

Have an objective. This is your answer to the question “Why do you want to work for this company?”. You should be able to tell your interviewer what you want to help the company accomplish, as well as personal goals you hope to achieve.

Attire. Dress appropriately for the interview. Jeans are casual, not professional. Your clothes should fit properly on your body, not like you went shopping at the Baby Gap or the Big & Tall store. Look clean and polished, and watch the overuse of perfumes or cologne. Last, cover any inappropriate tattoos and piercings (despite what you think, not everyone approves of body modifications).

Talking Money

A big factor of job interviews that interviewees need to be prepared for is discussing a salary. There are few rules of thumb to follow here:

1.) Never make the first move. Let them bring up the subject, and when they do, make sure to omit any personal stories or reasons as to why you are requesting a larger salary than they might be offering.

2.) Be Flexible. Know the market data (visit O*Net to find this information). If the salary doesn’t fit you needs be open to other alternatives such as; profit sharing, strong benefits, and other perks.

3.) Don’t overestimate your worth. Your degree is just the beginning, and fresh graduates should be looking at entry level positions. Use websites like Glassdoor and WetFeet to help you find market information about salaries and expectations for jobs you are applying for. Use this info to gauge their offer, but still know your worth and what it will take to make happy. You shouldn’t settle for less than your worth,  but you should also know where that lies.

4.) Give it time. Some companies have to go through a process before accepting or presenting an offer. Be sure to give them space to figure everything out, and they will give you the time you need as well.

5.) Don’t express disappointment. If you get shot down for your request, don’t let it get you down too. Take this in stride and ask if their is a chance for you to increase your salary in the future.

Wrapping it up.

When the interview is coming to a close, interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. NEVER SAY NO. This is where your research can come into play, or they can be legitimate questions that you have thought about. If you struggle to find the right things to ask, here are a few suggestions.

Why is the position now vacant?

What do you like most about working for this company?

What keeps you here?

What problems can I expect to encounter?

What new products/services does the company expect to add in the next year?

What is a typical day like at the office? Will I work mainly alone or with a team?

The aftermath.

During your interview get the interviewer’s business card so that you have their contact information. You can hand write them a thank you card, or send them an email. You could also try a follow up phone call about a week after the interview, or you can ask at the interview when they expect to fill the position. Remember though that they are busy individuals with other interviews, so do not annoy them, they will contact you when necessary.

While you are waiting for a response, you can continue to go on other interviews and apply for jobs. Do not miss out on an opportunity elsewhere because you are waiting around for something you are not sure of. If you get the job and choose to take it, then you should no longer be pursuing other careers.

Now you have the tips you need to knock your interview out of the park, so start preparing. Not only can you use the information you learned here, but you can also try practicing and getting feedback from others too. The Career Center is hosting Mock Interview Day on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. You can sign up for a time slot and practice interviewing with real employers from the area. They give you feedback and advice on how to improve your interviewing skills. You can sign up for the event online by clicking here. Registration deadline is March 31st, so don’t wait!

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Tips on Applying for Your Future Career

Author: Samantha Duffy

So you have filled out the graduation application and the thought alone of being done with school probably has you more excited than a female who just found out “50 Shades of Grey” was becoming a movie. What’s important to remember though is that just because school is done doesn’t mean the work is. It is time to put all the countless hours of studying and paper writing to use and find a job; but, where do you start?

Well first let’s get one thing straight, just because you have a degree does not guarantee you a job. That may not be the easiest pill to swallow considering the price of tuition today, but the truth is that a lot of people have degrees now, and a lot of those people want a job just like you. This does not mean your chances of landing a career is out of your reach, it just means you have to know how to apply. Here are a few tips that can help you in your quest to achieving success after college.

Be proactive.

Now is not the time to rest on you laurels, you need to really be going after these jobs. It is not possible to apply for too many jobs; in the words of Forrest Gump, job hunting is “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. You may not hear back from a lot of the places you apply to, but don’t let that get you down, chances are someone is going to pick your application.

Don’t completely rely on the Internet.

The internet is a great way to apply for jobs because there are tons of postings, and it is relatively quick and easy. Keep in mind that it means thousands of graduates are applying this way too, so that makes your application a minnow in an ocean. Make your application stand out by making connections within the company and networking your way in.

Create a wide network.

Do not limit yourself to friends and family when it comes to building your network. Reach out to anyone that you think might be helpful in your search for a job- it can be your childhood camp counselor, a troop leader, even an old teacher you really loved. You never know where there could be a connection to a future career. In addition to reaching out to these people, maintain a decent relationship with them too. Having a diverse list of references when applying for a job is a good thing; it helps employers get a better understanding of who you are in all types of environments.

Appear professional.

This one is a biggie for graduates today. Giving off a professional vibe is more than putting on a suit and covering up your tattoos, it means social media. If you think your employer is not looking at your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram you are sadly mistaken. Now is the time to clear out your social media websites; use the three B’s system- no beers, bongs or bikinis.

Don’t set your expectations too high.

This is like the first-time home buyer; chances are you won’t get everything you ever dreamed of. Your first job is just the beginning, you have to work your way up to the job of your dreams, just like everyone else has to. Michael Jordan didn’t just pick up a basketball one day and become a legend, he had to work for his success, and so do you.

Follow through.

You don’t ask someone out on a date and then never call them with a follow up plan. Same goes for job hunting. Submit your application and then follow up, it shows initiative and puts your name in their minds.

Take it seriously. 

Too many people do not understand the seriousness of finding a job. Make sure your resume is creative and reflects YOUR skills, not the templates you got offline. Know your strengths and weaknesses, and do your best to improve those areas that aren’t as strong. Being serious also means being prepared for an interview. This isn’t a job at your local Taco Bell; the questions are going to be a lot more in depth and require more personal information, so do your research and really get to know who you are and what you have to offer the world.

Use your college’s career center. 

This one is not on here just because we are the Career Center. The office helps students find the right network contacts, teaches useful job search tactics, and gives information on how to improve your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Make note: The Career Center does NOT find a job for you, nor do we write the resume for you. Our job is to help prepare you for a job, not do everything for you. Use the tools and information you get here to start conducting your search on your own.

Take this advice into consideration and don’t hesitate to start working on your job search right away. You do not have to be a graduate to find your future job, you just have to know what you want and then go after it.

Related Articles: 10 Job Search Mistakes of New College Grads

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Making the Most of Your Spring Break

By Samantha Duffy

It is hard to believe that it is already time for Spring Break, especially when there is still a blanket of snow on the ground and the high is 40 degrees. Never the less, it is March and that means we have all been working hard for the past two months and earned a break from classes. To those of you who are lucky enough to travel somewhere warm; stay safe, sleep in, relax and enjoy yourself. For the rest of you sticking around the area, know that you have options to make the most of your spring break.

If you are beyond stressed out with your work load, then use this break to simply relax. Never underestimate the power of a bubble bath and aroma therapy. Take the time you would have spent in class to do the things you have been missing out on. Catch up on your favorite TV shows, go on a Netflix bender, take naps, bake your favorite recipes, hang out with friends, go somewhere you haven’t been- do whatever it is that makes you happy and do it knowing that you deserve to. Keep in mind though that you have a whole week off and that you have time for more things than just relaxing. Say it with me, Spring Break Alternative.

This semester PNC PaWS (Panthers at Work Serving) program is offering an Alternative Spring Break for students who want to volunteer and make a difference in the community. The opportunity to help others is a truly rewarding experience, but volunteer work is also a great asset to add to your resume, as well as a chance to network with others. The schedule this year is as follows:

Monday, March 9- Housing Opportunities

Project: Painting an Apartment
Location: 2001 Calumet Avenue, Valparaiso, IN 46383
Time: 9:00-1:00
 

Tuesday, March 10- Food Bank of Northwest Indiana

Project: Packing Backpacks
Location: 2248 W. 35th Avenue, Gary, IN 46408
Time: 8:30-12:00 
 

Wednesday, March 11- LaPorte Salvation Army

Project: General Cleaning
Location: 3240 Monroe Street, LaPorte, IN 46350
Time: 9:30-3:00
 

Thursday, March 12- La Porte County YMCA

Project: Converting Elston Middle School into a YMCA Location
Location: 317 Detroit Street, Michigan City, IN 46360
Time: 9:00-1:00
 

Friday, March 13- Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City

Project: Painting and Reorganizing a Storage Room
Location: 301 East 8th Street #126, Michigan City, IN 46360
Time: 9:00- 3:00

Interested? You can register for the Alternative Spring Break here. The deadline for Registration is Thursday, March 5th, at 4:30 pm.

If participating in the program isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want to feel like you got some work accomplished, then use this time to do things that you can use in your future. Start working on your resume and cover letter, create a LinkedIn profile, search for jobs and internships that interest you. This is a time where you do not have to worry about homework or exams, so stop making excuses. Even dedicating 20 minutes a day to working on these things is a start- make it happen!

At the end of it all, regardless of where you will be spending your break, remember to make the most of it. After this week it is back to the books until May, so don’t just let the days fly by. If you are a senior preparing to graduate, like myself, don’t forget that this is your last spring, so make it one worth remembering! Do things you wouldn’t normally have the time to do, and enjoy every second of it.

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12 Things You Won’t Miss After Graduating College

Author: Samantha Duffy

College. The best four years of your life; or at least that is what everyone tells you. I can honestly say that there is a lot of truth behind that statement. My experiences during my college career have provided me with some of the best memories that I will definitely never forget. Lets face it, going to college really is living the dream. School gives you the chance to find your passion, chase your dreams, meet new people, make mistakes, have fun, learn new things, and become the best version of yourself. There is a lot about college to love, and that can make leaving school hard to do. This has been your life for the past four years. You know who you are here, and so do the people. This is your comfort zone, your niche, and leaving it will be harder than you think. But, that does not mean you are going to miss everything in college. In fact, there are a ton of things that you will NEVER miss about living the college life.

1.)  Taking classes that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with your major. 

Don’t get me wrong, we understand the point of them, you want us to be well rounded individuals, but that does not make them any less annoying. And I don’t care what you say, I will never use half the things I learned in Algebra.

2.) Any class that starts before 10 AM or after 5 PM.

Image Courtesy of  wimberlymichele.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of wimberlymichele.tumblr.com

My brain is not ready to operate that early yet, and it stops working after five. Besides, 5 o’clock is supposed to be happy hour; the only question I want to answer is “what would you like to drink?”.

3.) Registering for classes.

What do you mean the class is full? I’m a senior. You already have all my money, bump the freshman!

4.) Parking on campus.

Image Courtesy of memecenter.com

Image Courtesy of memecenter.com

Survival of the fittest is in full swing here. You would trade your first born for that front row spot if it means avoiding parking in the farthest lot and walking ten minutes through the arctic tundra.

5.) Group projects.

This one doesn’t even need an explanation. You’re warned though, group projects don’t really go away after college. Just wait until your first group project at your job.

6.) Trying to find an open outlet in the library. 

Image Courtesy of media.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of media.tumblr.com

What is it going to cost me to get you to unplug your device? Don’t want to negotiate? Fine. Let me find some scissors.

7.) Textbooks.

Buy this $200 book for class so that you can use it once, then sell it back for a whole $20. You win again bookstore.

8.) Exams. 

crying

I would love for someone to explain the logic behind finals week. Whose bright idea was it to cram five tests for multiple subjects all in one week? You should just have me drive my car off a cliff and into a body of water, that would be less stressful.

9.) That person in class that can never just shut up.

This person can come in all forms. There’s the “speaking as a parent”, the “I like to argue with everything the teacher says”, the “I never come to class so can you tell me what everyone else already knows”, and then let’s not forget everyone’s favorite “class is dismissed, I have a question”. In case you didn’t know, we are all imagining what it would be like to round-house you in the face right now.

10.) Getting called on in class when you didn’t read.

Image Courtesy of itsbournemouthbetch.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of itsbournemouthbetch.tumblr.com

It is like there is no way to avoid this. I swear teachers have a sixth sense that lets them know when someone didn’t do the work. Nothing personal teach’ but there was a Breaking Bad marathon on last night; which did you really think was going to win?

11.) Your totally abnormal sleep schedule.

Image Courtesy of media.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy of media.tumblr.com

Between cramming for tests, all-nighters for papers, staying out all night, working late, and caffeine overloads, sleep becomes something you do whenever that precious moment comes around. You may cherish the dysfunctional relationship you have with your bed now, but one day it will change and be normal again.

12.) Blackboard. 

By the time your professors finally get the hang of it you are graduating. Not that it matters, because then they change it and the professors have to learn it all over again.

So for those of you who are preparing to graduate, know that life after college has its benefits. Some of you may think you won’t miss college at all, but trust me you will. Going to a class for an hour and 15 minutes might seem like torture now, but just wait until you have to go to a job for eight or nine hours a day, five days a week. There is plenty you will miss about college, and you should always hold onto those memories; but, when you throw that cap in the air, think of all those things about college that drove you crazy and rejoice in the fact that they are now a thing of the past. (At least until you decide to go to grad school.)

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“Parents Just Don’t Understand”

By Samantha Duffy

I think everyone can agree that, despite our different personal experiences throughout college, there are certain things most of us can relate to during our time here. Some of you may be adults that have families of your own, but many of us are still looking to mom and pop for help during college. Whether you are living with them or trying to make it on your own, your parents still have a say in the way you live your life; after all, you know they are the one’s you call when you need help.

While no one should take for granted the support of their parents, it can be frustrating trying to reason with them at times. A lot our current students are first generation (first in family) college students, and it seems like mom and dad do not get what it’s like to be in school. Some of you may laugh at this idea that balancing life in college is difficult, and know that I am envious. But to some of us, being in college has its ups and downs, and can be a struggle to get through once in a while. Trying to explain to your parents all the emotions, trends, and hardships of college is almost as frustrating as minimum page length requirements.

So the next time you are having a moment when you just wish your parents could see the world through your eyes, remember that you’re not riding that struggle bus alone. Here are six things college students wish parents would understand.

1.) That asking us, “what are you going to do when you graduate?”, is the most frustrating question ever.

Photo Courtesy of priyankakarira.blogspot.com

Photo Courtesy of priyankakarira.blogspot.com

We are already asking ourselves that every day of our lives, and you adding to it makes the anxiety worse. Let me catch my breath!

2.) We reserve the right to be irresponsible sometimes. 

Image Courtesy of funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Image Courtesy of funny-pictures.picphotos.net

We’re in college; this is part of the experience, it is part of how you learn, so we get to let loose sometimes. This one is a little different for those of us who commute to school, because it is a different experience than on-campus students. We have to drive everywhere, going out is more expensive, “ragers” get shut down, and we don’t get to walk home during our breaks. So don’t nag us for staying out too late on a weekend or for multiple trips to Buffalo Wild Wings between classes; if we’re being safe then don’t grill us.

3.) We have way more on our to do list than just classes. 

Photo Courtesy of www.cwrl.utexas.edu

Photo Courtesy of http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu

Try adding work, homework, internships, clubs, building a resume, networking, paying bills, maintain a high GPA, and try to figure out what you’re going to do after you graduate.

4.) The cost of textbooks angers us just as much as it angers you.

textbook-meme-meme-generator-i-ll-have-you-know-i-spent-over-600-00-on-textbooks-for-college-and-i-only-cried-for-20-minutes-7ad

Photo Courtesy of diylol.com

Do you really think I want to purchase a book for $125? No! But I  don’t make the rules, and neither do you. So don’t make me feel like a homely peasant when I need money to buy them; we do our best to find the lowest price.

5.) We are counting down the days till graduation too. 

Photo Courtesy of Photo Courtesy of www.pinterest.com

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

Your parents are excited for you to really fly free from the nest; you have studied hard, are entering the professional world, doing things on your own, and making them proud (and their wallets fuller). But trust us, were excited too. We can’t wait to get that diploma and not worry about 8 AM classes and ten-page papers. We are ready to find the right job and start making that money.

6.) But we’re also dreading graduation day.

Photo Courtesy of livingthecollegelife.com

Photo Courtesy of livingthecollegelife.com

Sure, graduating is going to feel great, but it is also the realization that we’re headed into the real world at our own risk, and that is a little intimidating. College has been a comfort zone for these past four years; it feels safe. So even though we know we are ready, we are still allowed to be a little scared.

There are a million other things that we all wish parents could understand. That putting off work is a lot easier when you’re part of the social media generation. That going to classes all day means you earned bonus hours on Netflix. That sometimes it is easier to find my clothes if they’re scattered across the floor rather than put away. And while yes, college is about education, it is also about learning from experiences, and enjoying your time here.

So the next time your parents make a comment about what you are doing, and you know they don’t understand, just tell them in the words of Tom Petty, “The work never ends, but college does”.

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