Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Final Exams: Keeping it All in Perspective

By Kelly Martin, Toppel Peer Advisor

Finals... probably the bane of every student’s existence. The one thing that stands between you and winter or summer break and sweet freedom. Getting through finals involves a lot of stress: about the material you’re learning, how you’ve done in the class so far, how you hope to do on the exam in order to get that final grade you’re aiming for. Often it seems we spend more time calculating the exam grade we need than we do actually studying. And sometimes the amount of stress and pressure we put on ourselves actually prevents us from doing well; can’t focus while you study, freak yourself out while taking the exam, even sleeping through an exam after staying up too late studying. And not to mention all the health problems associated with pulling all nighters or getting minimal amounts of sleep.

So considering all this, I think college students need to step back and put some perspective on these exams we’re all about to take. While studying abroad last semester I adopted the mentality of being there for the experience of living in a new country, not necessarily there for the grades I would bring back to UM. While this may seem a bit too relaxed for some, it’s now a mentality I have brought back home to some extent. I’m not saying I don’t care about academics anymore- I still aim to do well in my classes and work hard. But rather than stressing over one mediocre test grade or killing myself studying for a final exam, I try to put it in perspective. These grades I get now have almost no impact on the rest of my life. Sure, if you fail every class, that will definitely have an impact. But if you’re an otherwise good student, a couple B-/B/B+ grades on your transcript will not kill you.
When you’re writing a resume, your GPA gets one line, if you even include it at all! But what takes up the most space? Your experience section. Rather than spending all your time in the library studying to get those perfect grades, consider the fact that you could be putting some of that time into doing things you really love, and that will come through on your resume. Join a club on campus and get involved with their events; get an internship in your field that you’re really excited about; volunteer with a local organization to get more experience. All of these things will have so much more meaning to a potential employer than your GPA will. And after your first job, or even six months after graduation, you take the GPA off your resume!

As you go into finals this year, remember that the grades you get on these exams and in these classes aren’t going to determine the rest of your life. Take a step back, take a deep breath, and relax. And if anything, take some time to start considering what you can do outside the classroom to supplement the education you’re getting and make it even more meaningful.

So from all myself and the rest of the Toppel team, good luck on finals! But remember, it’s not the end of the world- do your best, and make sure to focus on what’s most important!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Toppel Internship Program

By Maura Gergerich, Peer Advisor 

Found an internship for the summer? Congratulations! Good for you for taking that next step in advancing your career! Now, what should you do to prepare?  Try out the Toppel Internship Program (TIP).

What is TIP?
TIP is a program that provides students with a 1-credit transcript notation on your University of Miami transcripts.

Why Participate?
It’s nice to get recognition for the things you do. With TIP you get official recognition from the university. Yes, you can highlight your experience on your resume, but having it shown on your transcript gives it more emphasis when employers see it.  It may also be required by certain employers that you do receive credit for your internship. This happens mostly with unpaid internships, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be required if you are getting paid. TIP also helps to make sure that you and your employer are on the same page when it comes to your goals. You don’t want to waste a summer sitting at a desk making copies if you were expecting to get hands on experience. TIP can make sure you get what you are expecting from your internship.

How to qualify
For the fall or spring semesters you have to be enrolled as a full time student. If you have a summer internship you do not need to be taking summer courses. Also in order to be a part of TIP you need to secure your internship and contact the Toppel Career Center to ensure that internship experience meets Toppel requirements (company, content of internship, hours, etc) via email at  Once you have an internship, the first step of TIP is to attend a mandatory orientation. This will explain in detail what exactly you do for TIP and can help answer and questions you might have.


Throughout your internship you will fill out a midway evaluation and at the very end you attend a reflection session. This is basically to keep you on track with the goals you have set out for yourself. It helps to make sure that you are getting the skills or knowledge or experience that you hoped to gain.

You can visit for more information and to see what dates are still available to attend the orientation. Best of luck interning!