Ending or New Beginning?

29 Apr

With the last two weeks of my college career starting today, I found it appropriate that a post should be written about my thoughts and feelings as an almost-college-grad. Though graduation is the final accomplishment in a college career and is ultimately the end goal, it is a day that I never thought would approach during the last 5 years and now that it’s here, I have mixed feelings about it as I’m sure many soon-to-be college grads do.

I have never been more excited for a stage in my life. These next few months will be exciting, yet challenging as I’m sure I will be rejected for countless jobs before I land one. Through researching and picking up tips in my upper level classes, I have found these tips, which I’m sure will help me and other future grads:

  1. NETWORK: Be brave and reach out. I think as young adults, we find we are being a burden or it is not our place to reach out to a perspective employer or contact, but it’s necessary and beneficial to reach out to any contacts you may have. You never know who knows who and how it may benefit you.
  2. STAY CONNECTED: Sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter give you opportunities to more easily make and form connections with people who may be able to help you find a job or give a perspective employer a recommendation for you.
  3. BUILD YOUR BRAND: In your social media sites as well as in the way you present yourself, it is important to build a brand. Keep your social media sites professional and post/tweet about things relevant to your interests and career path. I believe that it is just as important to let some of your personality shine through in your social media sites, resumes and cover letters, because perspective employers are going to have to work with you and you will be representing their company and brand. It is important that he or she can get a sense of your personality as well as your skill set.

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HR Pro Tim Sackett provides excellent insights through his blog.

 

blogs and social media help! ^

Though I have been trained and taught what to do and what not to do, I am still walking into this blindly as most grads are. To alumni: What has been the hardest part of trying to land an entry-level position? Are there any other tips you would give to me or soon-to-be grads?

Staying Healthy in College

7 Apr

College is fast-paced and not always the healthiest place to be. Between the late night snacking in the library and the “I’m too broke/lazy to buy groceries” pizzas, those calories stack up. Along the way, I gained and then lost about 30 pounds during my college career. They say the freshman 15 (or in my case, 30) is unavoidable for most, but I think that if you learn how to manage your diet and exercise, along with your busy life, it can and will be avoided.

The number one, most important thing is working out. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I tell you that working out is key to staying in shape. You can eat those convenient, unhealthy pop-tarts and pizzas if you are working it off later. As time goes on and you get further into your college career and have maybe picked up a job, it is a lot harder to make it to they gym every day so I’ve learned to fit it in when I can. Little things can help every day. Don’t take the elevator up to that 4th floor classroom, walk! Between classes, instead of parking your butt in a comfortable leather chair in a lounge, walk around campus. People watching is fun anyways. Before even getting in the shower, do 10 simple sit-ups, jumping jacks and push-ups. It may feel like this isn’t much, but doing these tiny things each day, will matter in the end.

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^ This would literally take you 5 or 10 minutes a day! It’s not possible to use the excuse that you “don’t have time” with this routine!

Almost every day, I feel like I’m running out the door to get to my morning classes, many times throwing something unhealthy in my backpack or grabbing a few singles for the vending machine. Unfortunately, most food items that are convenient, are also unhealthy. If I bring an orange and a bag or chips to school with me, the chips are going to get eaten while the orange stays in my backpack because I’m not about to peel that orange. So pack some healthy food the night before. Often, I will cut up and apple or peel an orange the night before and put it in the refrigerator so I’m ready to go in the morning. Here is a really cool list of easy and fun healthy snacks!

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Avoid the fast food! Sometimes I get home from class and am so hungry, I think it will be faster to just run and grab something, but in reality, I’ve learned it usually doesn’t take as long to make myself something that is healthy than it would to go pick something up. It is also less expensive to buy groceries, cook, and have leftovers than it is to pick up fast food or takeout.Additional great information about eating healthy for college students:  Healthy Eating Tips For College Kids: Part 1

Check out Pinterest for cool ideas on how to make healthy, affordable and convenient meals and for cool exercise tips! It’s where I find many of mine!

I am always looking for new, healthy ways to eat on the go. What are some cool ideas you have come up with?!

STRESS

7 Apr

We all know that stress is bad for us, yet unavoidable in every day life, so what can we do about it? As a college student, we have a lot of stressors: grades, projects, friends, family, work, future plans after college and the list goes on. If we can’t get rid of this stress, we better try to ease it.

Everyone has different activities to get rid of stress, some healthy (exercising) and some not so healthy (drinking). I think it’s important for college students to find a healthy mix of these stress-relieving activities. Is it wrong to unwind with a few beers on the weekend? I think not. But should this become your number one way to relax after a long week? Absolutely not. The key is finding what works for you.

My favorite stress-relieving activities:

exercising. The Student Rec and Wellness Center at UWO is absolutely amazing. There is literally something there for everyone, even those who wouldn’t consider themselves gym rats. From weights to cardio machines to basketball and volleyball courts to an indoor track to canoe-ing and kayaking on the river, there is something for any student to do in order to get his/her mind off of the daily grind of life
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Reading: sounds ridiculous, I know. Who wants to read outside of the mass amount of textbooks we are required to read in college? But finding a good book that doesn’t overly challenge the brain can be one of my favorite stress relievers when I am sick of school and studying. It takes your mind to a place that is not your everyday life. Try books that don’t relate to everyday life at all, like the Harry Potter books or something along those lines.
Spending time with your friends: It is so important for students to spend time with his/her friends during the week. I think that it helps to talk to other students who are as stressed out as you are because it helps you to understand that you aren’t the only one feeling overwhelmed and that you will get through it, just like everyone else will. Go get a cheap lunch at a local bar down town. Terry’s Bar has great, cheap food!

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Just take a break! If you have 20 minutes between classes, go outside and relax. Try not to think about what you have to do next and just breathe.
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Check out this link for simple stress relievers that often take seconds out of your day.

What are your best or most unique stress relieving tips and tricks?

A day in the life…

7 Apr

Freedom. It’s what most people think of when they think of college. Though college brings a whole new series of freedoms to a person’s life, it also brings a whole new set of skills a person is going to have to learn, like time management and avoiding procrastination.

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Here is my last week Wednesday (4/3/13)

School, homework, work.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Let’s break it down

8-9am: wake up, shower, eat breakfast, run to class.

9:10-2:10: class, class, class.

2:30-3:30: one short hour to get homework and studying accomplished and also, I ate lunch.

4-10: work at Starbucks

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Most days I feel like my day was over before it even started. In high school, I had plenty of time to get my homework done and most of the time, went home from school at 2:45 and had no homework that even needed to be done, because I got most of it done during class-time/study hall. In college, you have to learn to use those half hour slots throughout your day where you could turn on the newest MTV show you missed last night and instead get 1/4 of that paper done that’s due next week.

 

 

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How can you or I better manage your/my time as a college student? Do you think it’s important for college students to have a job while being enrolled as a full-time student or is it destructive to his/her learning and success in school? Many full time students need a job while in school, but is there any easy solution to making both work?

 

Top 5 “Do’s and Don’ts”

25 Mar

College is definitely a learning experience for everyone. Each student will end up finding a system of doing things that works best for him or her through trial and error, but following these 5 “do’s” and don’ts” is a great way to get you started at The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh or at any college or form of further education. Stick to these simple, yet effective guidelines and you are likely to start out on the right track to being a successful student.

Do...

1. stay organized. Have separate notebooks and folders for each class so you always know just where everything is.

2. form a relationship with classmates and professors. These people can often be your best resources. Professors set up office hours just for this purpose.

3. accomplish assignments and homework early. Set aside a certain amount of time, each day, to sit down to do homework and study.

4. take advantage of Supplemental Instruction (SI) and other tutoring resources available to you. The Center for Academic Resources at UWO can help match you up with a tutor or help you to find solutions to any academic problem you may be having.

5. write everything down in a planner to help yourself prioritize exams, homework and work. Too often I find myself or other students not having an assignment accomplished simply because he or she forgot about it.

 

Don’t…

1. skip class and assume you will be able to figure it out later. It is ALWAYS easier to go to class than to try to catch up on your own.

2. be afraid to ask a question when you don’t understand something. 

3. procrastinate. Even if you don’t have an assignment due the next day, sit down and study for a little bit each day. You will have less work to do as exams approach and you will feel more confident.

4. be afraid to raise your hand. You may have just clarified something for another student in your class by doing so.

5. assume you can pull out good grades without hard work.

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What do you think will be the hardest part of adjusting to college life and being successful in the classroom?

Real Advice from a Real Student

4 Mar

As an incoming freshman at UWO just 5 short years ago, I saw this new stage in my life as a giant party -(You mean to tell me that I can go where I want, do what I want, participate in what I want- all without my parents breathing down my neck? Well okay!) Looking back, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy myself but there are some things I wish I would have done differently that would have helped me now that I am about to graduate…

1. Get in to a routine- Get a part-time job or join a club. I’ve learned that the more commitments and things that I have on my plate, the more motivated I am to finish homework or study for that midterm. During my freshman and sophomore years of college, I didn’t have a job. I always thought I could get my homework done “later.” This is where procrastination is born. With a job or other commitments, you will learn that you have to get your homework done in order to attend that meeting or make it to work. Click HERE for a list or organizations available at UWO. There is literally something for everyone.

2. Meet friends at places other than house parties/bars- Image

I have met my fair share of friends through social, non-school related activities but have found that the friends I’ve met in classes, at events or at the SRWC are the friends that will keep me on track and motivate me.

3. Try to pin down your major early- Coming in, I was undecided. Advisors and professors will tell you this is okay until they are blue in the face- and it is. BUT, this doesn’t mean don’t worry about it and a major will come to you. Do some research and try to figure out what interests you. Choosing your major sooner, rather than later, will put you ahead of the pack. There are multiple resources here at UWO that can help you with this including the Undergrad Advising Resource Center (UARC) Here you can explore a list of majors or you can go there to chat with a PAL or peer advising liaison who can help answer questions. Image

4. If it’s a weekday, stay in and work ahead– the weekend is always right around the corner. You’ll be glad you worked ahead during the week, allowing the entire weekend for fun and relaxation. Just remember…Molly McGuire’s will always be there tomorrow!

Welcome!

11 Feb

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As a 5th year (super-senior) graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in May, I, Olivia Blanke, feel as though I have gained a wealth of knowledge about what to do- and what not to do- to succeed here at UWO. I’m creating this blog for future students, transfers or current students looking for advice relating to how to stay on top of your school work, learning to adjust to campus life and making new friends. 

I remember my first few weeks as a freshman here at UWO and how it can be scary and hard to adapt to new surrounds and to new expectations at school. I learned how to manage college life through trial and error…a lot of error. Hopefully my errors can give you insight in to how to succeed here.

Coming from the small town of Plymouth, WI, I was definitely a small fish in a big pond here at UWO but have come to make so many life-long friends and can’t imagine myself anywhere else. I will try to focus each post on a different topic including top 10 do’s and dont’s, how to get involved and succeed in school as well as a day in the life as a typical college student at UWO trying to balance school, work and a social life-yes, it’s possible!

…but the most important thing to remember is that this isn’t high school anymore: 

1. Start up a conversation with the person sitting next to you in class, they’ll probably be glad you did. No one is gonna think you’re weird for being friendly.

2. Get involved. It’s actually cool to get involved in college. No matter what you’re interested in, UWO probably has a club or organization for you.

3. Don’t procrastinate. It’s usually easy to wait until the last minute in high school, but I promise you it won’t work for most assignments in college. Trust me- I’d know. 

I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you!