Monday, October 29, 2012

Finding Time to Relax & Unwind

by Oleg Ignatenko

College life tends to revolve around heavy study sessions, hard work, pulling all nighters, and consumption of lots and lots of coffee and energy drinks to keep yourself functioning.  This refers not only to those who constantly get kicked out of the library at 2 am (you know who you are) but also to those who feel like "free time" is an expression that has long ceased to exist.  The truth about free time is that it does exist and I am not talking about that time when you are going to sleep for 3 hours or the time when you are walking across campus to get to your class, or the time when you are driving home from work or school.  Free time is when you let your mind relax and let go of all worries for the time being.

Depending on what type of personality you have, there could be a number of options that you could consider doing.  The most popular one is going to the gym.  There is nothing that allows you to let go of worries better than running, lifting, and exercising.  You may also want to get involved with some clubs such as cycling, tennis, kiteboarding, volleyball, etc.  One popular choice for a relaxing exercise is yoga.  Personally, I have a fear that if I try any of those yoga positions, my body might either break or my limbs will get tangled and I will stay that way forever but who knows, maybe for you it will be a relaxing and calming experience.  Maybe, you want to get all Brazilian and join a Jiu-Jitsu club and really take it out on somebody or if you are still re-reading Harry Potter books and running around your kitchen on a broom, why not join the muggle quiditch club which is by the way one of the top ranked teams in the nation.  Here is a link to all the club sports that are available to the Canes. All in all whatever activity helps you relax and find that peace of mind is yours for the taking.

Other ways that help people relax are spending time with their family or friends.  The family part of course is kind of tough since most of our old folks live hundred of miles away but where there is a will, there is a way and if using Skype does not fulfill your needs of communicating with the people that are close to you, you could probably find a cheap flight on Spirit or JetBlue airlines so they can come bother you for a weekend and then be on their way.  Some great places to hang out with friends are the Rathskeller, Segafredo, Casolas (if you're in the mood for a ginormous slice of pizza or chicken wings that are the size of you hand) or even such a place as Starbucks could provide a nice and refreshing atmosphere for a night of relaxing with your friends.

While I do think that a lot of those other options are very interesting and stress relieving, I would like to add another option that in my opinion is very underrated and that does not require you to go anywhere or do much.  My option (which has worked for me in the past) is having the ability to come home, shut off all electronic devices, that means no background music or the turning on the TV (just because), no laptop, and most importantly shutting off your cell phone.  Once all of this is done, I would simply lay down either on the couch or my bed and just close my eyes without going to sleep but instead just having that time of about 20-30 minutes to lay there without any distractions or noise and think about the stress you have been having and slowly and methodically think about how you are going to overcome or solve those issues that have been causing your stress.  You may also consider just laying there and trying not think think at all and just allow your mind to wonder freely.  Doing this type of exercise a couple of times a week will greatly reduce your stress levels.  Main thing that you should avoid doing is allowing yourself to get distracted with thoughts that you are wasting time or that there are other, more important things to do.  Convince yourself that this is healthy and that it will be beneficial for you.  Try this out a few times and you will feel great afterwards and feel like you are still in control of your free time.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Dressing for Success on a Budget, Advice for Men

Written by Marissa Bell

It's a common misconception that it's easier for men to dress professionally because there are less options for them. While it is true that there are indeed less options in terms of items of clothing (skirts and dresses, for instance, although I don't think I'm the only one who thinks this is a good thing that society says men can't wear those), it doesn't make it any easier to dress professionally on a budget. As with women, one of the harder things to figure out when you're trying to build your professional wardrobe is what items are essential, which ones to splurge on, and what are the most important rules to follow. First things first, here is a list of what items are considered essential to have in a professional men's wardrobe:
  • 3 pairs of black dress pants
  • 2 pairs of nice khaki pants
  • 2 suits (neutral, conservative colors)
  • 10 dress shirts (you should have 2 for every pair of pants you have)
  • 3 ties
  • One black and one brown pair of dress shoes
  • Briefcase
  • Adult jacket (leave the ski-jacket at home)
Yes, this does seem like a lot of items, and a lot of money, but because there are less options for types of clothing, it does mean that you need to have a wider variety of the items you do have. From just those 8 categories, you will have enough clothes to have a large wardrobe so no one is noticing that you wear the same three shirts five times a week. To try to keep the prices down, check out these three rules:

Rule no. 1: Splurge on Tailoring
If you walk into an interview and look as if you borrowed your suit from your father's closet, that's the employer's first impression of you. And you do NOT want to forever be remembered as, "that guy wearing the suit 4 sizes too big". The easiest way to look unprofessional is to wear an ill-fitting suit. Even if you don't splurge on the suit itself, it is always worth it to get a suit tailored to look as if it was made for you. Not only does it give off the air of power, it also gives you confidence. Knowing you look good makes you feel good and gives you the confidence to perform well in a job or interview.

Rule no. 2: Notice the Details
Maybe it's just me, but, someone could be wearing a perfectly fitted suit and if I look down, and notice that peeking out under the hem of their pants are white sweat socks, the look is instantly ruined. It doesn't matter how perfect the suit is if little details are off. White sweat socks instead of trouser socks, a cartoon watch instead of a professional watch, scuffed shoes, dirt around the collar, miss-buttoned shirts, etc. Little things that when you're getting dressed you're thinking, "Oh they won't notice *insert small almost noticeable detail*", but if they do, that's all they can focus on. Take the time to think about every detail of your outfit, get it dry-cleaned before hand, buy new socks, just to make sure that your outfit isn't something you have to worry about at an interview or at work.

Rule no. 3: Shop the Discount Stores
 The same rule applies to men here as it does for women. To stay under a budget, you need to be looking in the right stores. If you walk into a Hugo Boss store looking to find a suit for less than 200 dollars, think again. The best places to look for good quality suits are those discount stores. They take designer wears that are over stocked at department stores and stock them. My favorite places to look for quality professional wear are:
  • Macy's
  • Target 
  • TJ Maxx
  • Marshalls
  • Ross: Dress for Less
If you limit your search to discounts stores, it will be much easier to build a professional, quality wardrobe on a budget so you're comfortable and confident in a business environment.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I am a Junior and I have not done an internship yet! What do I do?

By: Robert Vanisko

Once you become a Junior and realize that you are over half way done with college, it can be a startling realization that there is not much time left until you are out in the real world.  But for some of you, there is one problem; you have no internship experience yet.  Sure, you worked in that restaurant during high school or have an on campus job at UM, but internships are what is important… right?

Luckily for you, there is still plenty of time to get that experience before you have to apply for real world jobs.  The Toppel Career Center has tons of great resources to help you find what you are interested in, identify possible internships in that field, and get you started on applying for them. 

The first and most important step is identifying and defining what field you are interested in working in.  Many of you will pick something in-line with your major, but others of you are less sure.  For those of you who don’t know what field you would like to work in, Toppel offers three different career assessments that you can take to determine what you want to do, the Self Directed Search, the Type Focus, and the Strong Interest Inventory.

Once you determine what type of internship you want to do, the next step is to search for available internship opportunities that you want to apply to.  Using your HireACane account, you can search for internships on your account or create a UCAN account.  UCAN, which stands for the University Career Action Network, is a database of internships posted by the University of Miami and the 21 other universities involved.  Currently, there are more than 1,300 UCAN internships available and more than 900 jobs and internships available on HireACane.

Once you have picked out the internships that you want to apply for, you have to prepare yourself to apply.  Toppel has plenty of resources to help you create and edit your resume and cover letters, and prepare you for your interviews.  They offer Effective Resumeand Cover Letter Writing Seminars as well as written guides to help you create these documents.  Toppel also offers Interviewing Skills Seminars as well as Mock and Mini-Mock Interviews.  It is very important to practice your interviewing skills before you go in for a real interview, so be sure to make use of these programs.

While finding a summer internship may seem like a daunting task while trying to balance the academic life and social life of junior year, it is actually quite simple as long as you follow the steps listed above.  For more information on all of these programs, be sure to visit hireacane.com  

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

So Many Majors, Which is the Right One For Me?

Written by Thien Van Tran

Do you know what your plans are after graduation? It’s never too early to start thinking about where you want to end up. I know when you’re a freshman, it seems like there are endless possibilities and you have all the time in the world to figure out what’s right for you. You want to experiment, try one major for a while, and then ditch it and move on to the next one once you realize it ain’t for you. Well I’m here to tell you, DO IT. When I was a boy, my father told me, “Son, for you, the sky is the limit.” And just like that, my aspirations of being an astronaut were crushed. But I didn’t let that stop me. You don’t want to get stuck with a major you end up hating just because you were too stubborn to start over and try something you think you’ll like. That’s like finally finding the end of the rainbow, and then finding out the gold is at the other end.

It’s okay to not be good at something. It’s okay to make mistakes, to fail. I know most people will tell you to never make the same mistake twice and personally, I never make the same mistake twice. I usually do it at least five or six times, just to be sure. It’s definitely better to spend a few ambiguous weeks of soul-searching and find the right path than to spend four years stumbling around.

Speak Up

Did you know that your choice in majors can lead to higher or lower rates of unemployment in the future? You did? Well, did you know that median incomes could be influenced by your choices of studies? Oh yeah, you knew that too? Fine, well Tweety bird is a boy. Let that one sink in. For the rest of you who aren't wearing your smarty pants today, there is some mighty fine learnin’ to be done in this here article.

If you don’t like the classes you’re taking, talk to your advisor about it! No one can tell you what you should be studying, and no one knows what you like as well as you do. No matter how badly you want someone to notice for you, your advisor can’t read minds, so don’t keep your discontent to yourself. Me? I never want anyone to know what I’m thinking because if people could read my mind, I’d get punched in the face a lot. The sooner you realize that you’re unhappy, the better. You can start exploring other possibilities instead of trying to make the current situation work out.

Now some folks may try and put you down and say that some majors are better than others. You can read all about these types of people in this here blog post written by an especially attractive individual. But don’t let them get to you. Some people are sad or frustrated, so they try to bring those around them down too. But you know what? Some people just need a high five. To the face. WITH A CHAIR.

Career Assessments

If you are completely lost when it comes to what you want to do in terms of a career or job or the direction of your life in general, then I recommend a career assessment test. At the Toppel Career Center, we offer many (three) types of assessments. One is the Strong Interest Inventory, and another is the Self Directed Search. They both help students discover interests, preferences, personality types, and other useful information in order to make educated decisions about careers and passions. The SDS is different in that you take the test on your own rather than online, and it is free. The STRONG test will set you back $10, but is definitely worth it. Imagine coming in tomorrow and taking the test and finding out in time for Christmas what you want to do with your life. What more can you wish for this Christmas? I started putting together my list early this year, but stopped midway since Santa wrote me a month ago telling me not to expect much this time around. The third assessment is the TypeFocus and it is free, online, and you can access it on the home page of your HireACane account.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Transfer Student? Me Too!

 Written By: Bree Blair

Transferring schools isn't the easiest thing; being immersed into a new environment with new people is definitely intimidating. Luckily, University of Miami has everything you need to feel right at home. One of the best things to do is to get involved in clubs, even if it's only a couple to start. It has been a huge help for me!

Joining clubs is a great way to meet people because you're all doing something that you share in common (hence why you joined that club in the first place). In my case, one club I joined is called MMST (Marine Mammal Stranding Team). We had our first group trip this past weekend, and it was an awesome experience. Not only did I get to do things I've never done before like see a dolphin show, but I got to share it with new friends. If marine mammals aren't for you, there are tons of other awesome clubs and organizations to choose from! Sometimes it can be hard taking an initiative to meet new people, but it's something you'll be really happy you did in the long run!

Another way to get comfortable at UM is to try joining a team. Team bonding is a really great way to build long-lasting friendships, especially if you meet more than once a week. As for me, I'm on the Hurricanettes, one of the many dance teams on campus. I moved down to Florida early to check it out, and I'm really glad I did. Everyone on my team has made my transition to UM easier than ever. If dancing isn't for you, there are tons of club sports to choose from. There is bound to be one out there that interests you! If you're participating in a club or activity that reflects your person interests, that's where the best of friends are made because you all already have something in common before even really know each other yet!

If teams aren't for you, it's always good to have a study buddy! Who knows, your future best friend could be sitting next to you in class, but you'll never find out if you don't get to know them! Being new is never easy, but all it takes is a little conversation in class or joining a club to make UM start to really feel like home. College is a great way to figure out who you are, and what better way to do that than to have awesome friends with you along the way!