Thursday, May 28, 2015

What to Consider as You Take That Next Step

By Eddy Cruz, Director of Career Education

Last year, I posted a short blog detailing three tips for graduating seniors to consider as they walk across the stage and begin to embark on their career or move on to continue their education:

It's All About Passion, Attitude, and Patience
is key
 is your approach to people, tasks, and conflict
is to take the necessary time to learn about the organization
Reflecting back on this past year, I felt the need to add a few more tips to this list.

Reach Higher
With attitude, I learned an important lesson recently from a training I believe is worth sharing. To set this illustration up, I need to ask a question... Are you a runner? For some the answer may be “yes” and for others it may be an enthusiastic “NO!” Regardless of what your answer is, please stay with me here. Many of us have heard the idiom of “Go the extra mile!” I don’t know about you, but when I hear this I get tired and am hesitant. For those that know me, I am not much of a runner and just the thought of a mile makes me extremely tired! Let me try something else to get this point across about attitude since running is not in my immediate future. As you sit there reading this post, take a moment and raise your hand as high as you can! Ok, now that you have your hand raised in the air, I want you to try to reach higher! See? You actually were able to go an extra inch or two! That being said, this is what I want to focus on: going a little further than what you initially believe you can do. As you take your next steps, do not forget to push yourself that extra inch or two. Those around you may reach up as high as they can go (just like you did a moment ago in your chair!) but they will end their effort there. This is where you can push yourself to give that extra inch and set yourself apart from your peers. Over time you will be known for doing extra to make your clients happy and as one that gets the job done!

Be Open to Change
Another thought I wanted to share is being open to change as you begin your career. In my previous post I stated, “Your approach to work is determined by the attitude you come in with.” I believe this is true but have come to realize it is also about your ability to deal with and adjust to change.

If you find yourself in an organization that is comfortable challenging the status quo, you will find yourself having to consistently adjust to change and be okay pivoting in a new direction from one day to the next. Think of these instances as opportunities to try something new and exciting rather than an overwhelming experience that encroaches on your peace. Challenges are a great way to grow yourself; unfortunately, many give up before the breakthrough takes place because they would rather stay the course and not go outside of their comfort zone. This brings me to an illustration I experienced last summer on a road trip from Miami, FL, to eastern Pennsylvania to visit family. During this trip we came upon a few thunderstorms that made us question if we should continue, pullover, or turn back. The third option was enticing. As we were moving towards the storm, I looked back in my rearview mirror to see a calm, sunny and blue sky that seemed like a better experience than what we were about to encounter. As I thought about these options, I realized something: if we decided to stop or turnaround, we would never arrive to our destination! As we continued through the storm we would come upon a new stretch of sunny and blue skies, and this repeated a few times until we finally arrived in Pennsylvania.

All that being said, do not turn back when going through a “storm”. You may be slowed a bit. Storms are meant to challenge us, but trust me, you will be better for it!  Eventually the challenge will become more comfortable for you just give it some time. Again, take these opportunities to grow and learn more about yourself. I am a strong believer that we are given only things that we can handle. Trust your abilities, move forward, and enjoy the ride!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

You don’t have an internship? You don’t have to sweat it

By Maura Gergerich, Toppel Peer Advisor

As many of you have experienced, the past few months have been a rush of applications and interviews in order to figure out what you’ll be doing with your life for the summer. For those of you who have heard good news from companies, congratulations! Some of you may not have had the best of luck, but don’t start your panic just yet. Summer has just started, so there may still be opportunities out there for you. Although it may seem like every position has been filled there are many large companies that have less rigorous recruiting periods and can still include you as an intern. You may also feel like there aren’t any postings in your field. If this is the case you can send a letter of intent to companies that you want to work for and inquire if they happen to have any openings that just might not be posted in the places you’re searching. This is basically the same format as a cover letter except you won’t be applying for a specific position. Even if the companies you contact don’t have openings at this point in time it will show that you are eager to work for them and will probably up your chances should you decide to apply there in the future.

Internships aren’t the only way to spend your summer. Maybe you can expand your search to find a day job so you can start saving up money. This can benefit you by giving you some extra references and also extra pocket money never hurt anyone. It might help to save up in case down the line you get an unpaid internship. You can also try to do some volunteering or acquire a research position in the area. Talk to professors and see what they recommend. There could be on campus jobs that you might not be aware of that would be perfect for you.

While having a summer internship is a wonderful opportunity, it won’t make or break your career. There’s nothing wrong with taking your time off to actually have a break and do things you enjoy. Hanging out with friends from home or catching up on Netflix could be how you want to spend your summer. There’s always the option of fall internships or just waiting till next summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Top 3 Pieces of Advice From A Graduating Senior In Denial

By Kelly Martin, Toppel Peer Advisor

As I approach graduation, every time I talk to an underclassman who asks about post graduation plans and how exciting it sounds, all I can think of is this clip from Billy Madison:

While I haven’t grabbed anyone by the cheeks and urged them to never leave (yet), I figure the least I can do is impart some of my senior wisdom upon the youths of UMiami before I leave.

1. Try Everything
This semester I have found myself going on a lot more spontaneous adventures than I have in past semesters. Whether it’s going to a bowling happy hour on a random Saturday night, a last minute weekend road trip to the crystal clear freshwater springs a few hours north, or spending an afternoon paddleboarding with 20 of my best friends followed by dinner at the WetLab on the marine campus, this semester has been one big adventure. And it’s been amazing. But even beyond the random new things to try around Miami, make sure you also take advantage of everything UM has to offer: study abroad (the best decision you’ll ever make), join that club you’ve always wanted to join, take a class just because you’re interested in the topic. You have nothing to lose and only amazing experiences to gain, so not to copy Nike, but just do it.

2. Keep Things In Perspective
This one took me until the semester I studied abroad to fully understand and appreciate. I’ve always been a hardworking student, worried about every grade on every homework assignment, quiz, or test. A semester studying abroad taught me that there is so much more to life than one grade you get. Sure, failing a class can have a significant impact on your academic career, but there’s a way to balance doing well in school and also having time for yourself. I got through a semester living in and travelling around Australia, doing and seeing everything I possibly could, and still managed to come out with good grades. I’ll admit it, I got a C in one my classes while abroad (Hint: taking economics in a foreign country is not a good idea), but that’s the only C on my transcript and it was, and still isn’t, the end of the world. I have a job and future despite that C, and I have countless memories from my time abroad that did not involve time spent studying. So take a step back, put those grades in perspective of the grand scheme of your life, and you’ll see you have a lot more living to do than studying.

3. Make Your Bucket List Now
I’m pretty sure every single one of my graduating friends has made some sort of bucket list. Whether it’s on a giant poster board hanging in their kitchen, on a note on their iPhone, or even just jumbled around in their head, everyone has a list of things that they’ve suddenly realized they need to do before graduation. But sadly, graduation comes so much quicker than you could ever believe, and time starts to run out. So make your bucket list now; where do you want to roadtrip (the keys, Disneyworld, FSU for a football game)? What do you want to do in Miami (go paddleboarding, go to a Heat or Marlins game, try a new restaurant)? What do you want to do at UM (go to a Lowedown event at the Lowe Art Museum, go to trivia night at the rat, do senior walk at a football or baseball game)? Think about it now and make a list, because sadly, time will run out before you know it.

There’s a million things you can do to make the most of your time at UM, but I think these three are a pretty good place to start. So best of luck to the classes of 2016, 2017, and 2018, love every second of it, and go ‘Canes!