Friday, October 29, 2010

Keep it classy senior!

How NOT to turn into "that girl" during your final year

You've carried yourself with poise and grace for the last three years, having a kick ass time but still respecting yourself and others around you.  However, it's not uncommon for many college seniors to get a little crazy their last semester, or two, of college.  It might have something to do with the growing cloud of real-life responsibility in their forecast or the lack of weekends left to go shot-for-shot with your best friends, but nonetheless it happens to the best of us. As a senior with less than eight weeks until the big day, I'm here to offer you advice on how to keep you from falling off the deep end when you're supposed to be gearing up to walk across the stage.

-Just because you're 21 doesn't mean you have to attend EVERY happy hour and frat party there is.  I'm not saying stay in on a Friday, but using the week days to catch up on homework will help you stay on track for graduation, and it won't hurt your bank account either.  

- Don't ignore responsibilities when it's something big.  Sure, occasionally skipping your 8am sophomore year didn't end up messing up your life, but being hung over for an internship interview that you want for next semester won't look good.  As you get closer to the real world, you need to start to realize how you act and carry yourself might have implications on your future.

-You don't ALWAYS have to be the "cool senior".  Just because you have an ID that actually works and you live in an off-campus house that lets you drink whenever you please, doesn't mean you have to be the next party animal. Buying alcohol for minors can get old real fast, not to mention it can cause you serious legal problems.  And being the host to all the pregame parties from now until the end of the year will only make you resent your freshman and sophomore friends.  Go out when you're feeling it, but don't beat yourself up when you'd rather stay in, watch Grey's Anatomy and wake up for Friday's classes actually not hungover.

Posted By: Kayla Molczan   

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Staying in Touch After Graduation

Photo provided by: Taylor Ray
As your last semester from college quickly approaches, you will soon cease to take tests, write papers, flunk pop quizzes, and never again will you read a ridiculous 75-page textbook chapter overnight.  However, you also will no longer be ordering pizza at 3 a.m. or watching movies all day on the couch with your best friends.While your exodus from this playground we call college will no doubt be liberating, some of you may be going through the stress of leaving your best friends.

Keeping in touch with your friends post college can be easier than you may have originally thought!  While you won’t be skipping class to watch movies all day or order junk food in the middle of the night, you will be able to maintain correspondence with your best friends with ease.  This post highlights some great tips to staying in touch with your college classmates.

Create a group on Facebook for your group of friends!
Since everyone is already on Facebook try creating a group for your close circle of friends to post comments on, create and organize events, and maintain group communication so no one can be left out!  It can serve as a one-stop shop to catch up with everyone all at once.

Pick up the phone when you can.
Nothing is better than hearing the voice of your best friend when you’re down or stressed.  Even if you don't have time to have hour-long conversations, call or text every once in a while to let your friends know you still care about them.

Plan a group get together.
While this can sometimes be difficult, try and get together when you can, maybe even once a year.  Compile a list of those who live closer to you and try and see them more often.

Keep your contact info updated through e-mail. 
Start a mailing list and have anyone update their contact information via e-mail when they move, change numbers or addresses. 

Posted by: Taylor Ray

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How to Combat Procrastination...READ NOW!

We've all felt defeated by the big, bad procrastination monster at one point or another, and it doesn't feel good! Putting off tasks and problems for another day only brings on more headaches and not-needed stress.  Today, I'm going to offer some college-inspired tips on how to start acting now and stand up to this stress inducing problem.

1. Break down the problem!  From the mouth of the wise Martin Luther King, Jr., "you don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step." Anything can seem relatively impossible if you look too far ahead, so break the problem down into smaller, more manageable segments.  You will not only be able to focus more intently on each part of the problem, but you will feel a sense of accomplishment when you start checking off parts that you've solved.  Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day!  And your 10-page research paper won't be typed in a night either.

2. Don't make a mountain out of a molehill! AKA Don't blow a task out of proportion.  You can make any task or problem seem more difficult than it actually is by over thinking it and putting it off.  It's only natural that the more hours and days you delay something the worse it seems in your mind.  The best remedy: look at the problem, do a little planning as to how you're going to attack it, and then dig right in!

3. Start with the hard tasks first!  If something on your to-do list is really bothering you or making you anxious, do it at the very beginning of your day.  If you get this yucky task out of the way first, the rest of your to-do list will seem simple and easy! 

4. Finally, finish what you've started!  Not starting a big project or task will have you feeling stressed and anxious, but starting something and not finishing it will make you feel just as bad.  So before you begin something else, tackle your unfinished business.  This will leave your mind feeling clear, refreshed and ready to handle something new!

Written By: Kayla Molczan

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

5 Elegant Costume Ideas for the College Senior

Now, that you have spent perhaps the past three years dressing up as a Naughty Nurse or Sexy Police Officer it's time to take this years costume to a new level.  Take on a more mature costume theme and still look gorgeous with the following five costume ideas for college seniors.  The good thing about these costumes is you will be able to re-use them at future parties and not feel like complete teen.  Sorry guys, this post is for the women.
Photo from

Flapper:  A woman from the roaring 20's with a little attitude is the perfect mature character to take on for the night.  Decide how risque you go with the length of your dress and play around with fun accessories like wigs and fake eye lashes.
VampireThe vampire craze has swept the “tween” nation, however it’s not just for the Twihard’s out there.  It can also be a very mature and fun costume for adults.  Grab some fangs and fake blood and you’re set.

Egyptian Princess: Dress up in complete elegance with this costume idea and even take a date as your Pharaoh.  This outfit is also easy to accessorize with jewelry and gladiator sandals.
Marilyn Monroe:  Take this classic costume and add a modern spin to it with black or red pumps.  This costume is always classy and sophisticated, but don't be surprised if people ask you to stand over a vent and pose all night. 
Marie Antoinette: Bust out the hair powder and wigs and don't forget to cake on the make up for this royal costume.  While accessories for this costume may get expensive, it's worth the look to complete it with jewels and petticoats.  
Posted by: Taylor Ray
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Digging Inside the Portfolio. Part 3: The Resume

Along with your cover letter and letters of recommendation, the resume is also a piece inside your portfolio you will want to perfect.  The resume stands as the key document in showcasing exactly what experience you have done in the past and what you are capable of bringing to the table in the future.
I  1. Include relevant contact information. This is extremely important because you want a potential employer to be able to contact you if they wish to set up an interview!  If you start sending out applications while you are still living at school but you know you are moving home immediately after graduation, put your home address on there.  Also, make sure your email and cell phone number are easily visible because they will more than likely get a hold of you this way. You don’t want an employer to pass you up because your contact information was not easily accessible.
2. 2. Include specific information. When listing your past experience whether it be an internship or job you have held, or courses and projects you have completed while in school, be specific. Lay out exactly what tasks you were given, what you learned, and what you are capable of doing. Employers want to know EXACTLY what your skills are.
3. 3.  Keep the formatting easy to read.  You want your resume to be a visual representation of yourself and employers will think of it this way. You do not want it looking cluttered, unorganized or hard to read.  Keep the font simple and the text size readable, and make sure the different sections are easily set apart from each other.  You want your resume to look as polished as you will look in person when you come in for that interview!
Posted By: Kayla Molczan
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Friday, October 22, 2010

Digging Inside the Portfolio. Part 2: Letters of Reccomendation

Going deeper into the explanation of each individual piece you want to include in your portfolio or even just to have prepared for future interviews, there are few guidelines and tricks you can apply to selecting letters of recommendation.
The Value of Letters of Recommendation: Getting your foot in the door is always about who you know, and letters of recommendation can speak volumes to employers.  You may not have gotten the greatest grades compared to the others you’re competing against, but when it comes to personality traits that set you above the rest such as enthusiasm, initiative and creativity, you can display these through your recommendations.
Where to Get Your Letters: When preparing to ask others for recommendations think about who you have worked closely with and who knows you personally.  For example, if you are a leader in an organization and have a faculty advisor they would be an excellent source.  Ask those who have had authority in your academic career, who you have learned from, as well as those who have a positive opinion of you and your capabilities.  Look for those you know who are warm and supportive and who don’t mind giving you a little reinforcement during your job-hunt. 
The Content: After you have selected and received feedback from your sources, outline the job you are applying for so they can cater the content toward that specific position.  Give them a copy of your resume so they can have something of reference to work from.  Make sure your letters verify experience, confirm competence, build credibility and bolster confidence.
Next step, working on your resume! Look for an upcoming post from Kayla about how to build an outstanding resume. 
Posted by: Taylor Ray

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Digging Inside the Portfolio. Part 1: The Cover Letter

Along with a portfolio of relevant work you’ve done, you will also need to perfect your cover letter and resume before you graduate so they are ready to go when you come across jobs you are interested in.   Employers get hundreds upon thousands of applicants with decent cover letters and resumes so you will need to do something different to stand out amongst the crowd.  Research shows an employer spends an average of five seconds looking at a resume before they decide whether to throw it out or not.  The goal: to stay out of the trash!
Let’s first focus on the Cover Letter!
1. Know who you are addressing.  Never say “To whom this may concern” because it is vague and will not inspire a connection between you and the employer.  Also make sure you use appropriate titles and prefixes when addressing their name.
2. Spell check until the cows come home.  Misspelling even the simplest of words can cost you the job.  Remember, employers are getting tons of resumes so they need one simple way of sifting through them.  Correct spelling and grammar is one easy criteria they use to decide if you are a yes or a no.
3. Be specific.  Do not send a generic cover letter to multiple employers.  Read over the job description for the position you are applying for and the overall company and include things in your resume that shows you did this.  Showing the employer you have done your homework and actually researched the company will put you above the rest.
Posted By: Kayla Molczan
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Value of a Professional Portfolio

Svensk "gaffelpärm"Image via WikipediaAn item you can bring to an interview that can give you a major leg up on competitors is a strong, relevant portfolio.  Brining in examples of your previous work can show employers you are prepared and organized, while at the same time it gives you a platform to talk about your greatest achievements with tangible, visual aids.  

Depending on your interview or profession, you can use either a three-ring binder with plastic page protectors or a leather bound, briefcase style portfolio with three-ring binder and pockets within for displaying your work.  These can be purchased at Wal-Mart, Staples or any other office supplies stores and can range from 15 to 50 dollars depending on the quality.  

Once you have selected the format of your portfolio, it's time to start filling it with relevant pieces.  Some elements that are essential to include in your portfolio are copies of your resume to give to a potential panel of interviewers, cover letter, business card if you have one, reference contact page, letters of recommendation, college transcript, and at least five pieces of work that you are most proud of and are related to the job you are interviewing for. 

Quick Tips:
  1. Choose your example work wisely and do not be afraid to go over it and make corrections to your original work. Make it relevant to the interview.  
  2. Keep your portfolio organized and to the point.  Look at this as a summary of your greatest achievements.    
  3. Place labels and tags on pertinent information you want to bring up during your interview.
  4. Practice talking about the pieces in your portfolio to your friends before your interview.   
  5. Have copies of selected pieces to give to employers.  
Posted By: Taylor Ray
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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Upgrading to a Sophisticated Interface

Now that you're about to ditch the college lifestyle, it's about time you trade in your hot pink Dell mini laptop, for the most functional piece of technology that fits your career needs.  Take a look at some of our favorite new computers, tools and toys that are beneficial and even essential to getting started at your first job.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Start saving NOW!

For many of us, college is a time when we can cruise by on school loans, checks from Mom and Dad, and our paycheck from our easy work study job.  However, the real world will not be so breezy.  My piece of advice: before you are officially an unemployed college graduate (not to be pessimistic), start by saving as much as you can now.  You don’t want to wind up with $50 in your bank account and be forced to work at the local grocery store while you’re looking for a real job just to get by.

Top 5 Tips for Cutting Corners- College Style

1. Don’t eat out- As juniors and seniors, we have painfully been introduced to the world of grocery shopping.  It’s expensive!  So, eat what you have at home and don’t waste the extra cash on fast food or lavish dinners.
2. Take advantage of college deals- Get that college ID out and ready when you find yourself at a movie theater or grocery store.  Many businesses offer great discounts to students just because they are in college.
3. Turn off the lights- As we enter into the winter months, our gas and utility bills are going to get even higher!  I know it was annoying when your dad told you to do it, but turn off lights and tvs when you’re not using them.  It will make a difference on your next bill.
4. Be creative- Your family and friends all know you are a college student.  Make homemade presents for birthdays or holidays…it will save you tons of money and usually  mean more to them anyway. : )
5. Don’t go crazy-  If you are lucky enough to have a little extra spending money from your college loans, be careful what you do with it.  Sure you might feel rich with that extra couple thousand in your bank accounts but remember, you will have to pay it back...with interest!

Posted By: Kayla Molczan

First Time Design

One of the most important aspects of starting out on your own is staying within your budget and living within your means.  However, that being said, getting your first place put together can get insanely expensive, especially when your drawn to stores like Pottery Barn and IKEA.  The trick?  Keeping it simple and using what you already have!  Check out these general design tips when getting started decorating your first place.
Choose a theme
Your first place will more than likely be smaller in terms of square footage, so choosing how you want your apartment to feel will play a huge role in your theme.  Choose a color scheme to fit your theme and stick with it.  These colors should appeal to the mood or setting you’re looking for your apartment to feel.  For example, cool colors like blue and green will express a calming atmosphere. 
Furniture Search
Shop around at garage sales, thrift stores, Craig’s List and EBay.  Find pieces that will blend in with almost any color scheme and that are fairly flexible in terms of location in the apartment.  Be careful of oversized couches that may only fit against one wall in your space. 
Incorporate You
Use your color scheme to incorporate your own taste with accents like throw pillows, blankets and unique wall décor. This will help you to add color in creative ways if you can’t paint the walls in your new place.
Make Your Rental Your Own Home
Incorporating who you are into your décor is the main point of this post.  Keep your home cozy and personal with the things you enjoy, like music and scents you’ve grown up with.  Place family photo’s in frames and use them as wall décor.  Be inspired and get creative with family heirlooms and don’t be afraid to give them a fresh coat of paint or tweaking.  

Posted by: Taylor Ray
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Look Before It's Too Late!

While we have mainly been focusing towards the future, today I’m going to focus on opportunities that are right at our finger tips as college students!  It is completely natural for students to get the senior year jitters and be constantly focused on how they are going to cope with their entrance into the real world.  However, before we make that final exit we need to take advantage of certain college-specific opportunities that will be extremely rare once we get that diploma. 
1. Newspapers! Most institutions across the United States offer free copies of top newspapers to its students.  Pick them up!  Never again will you be able to grab a copy of The New York Times or USA Today without reaching into your pocket for a couple bucks.
2. Special Guests!  I never understood how out of an undergraduate population of 20,000 students, only 15 will show up to an Emmy award-winning guest lecturer on campus!  Schools invest a lot of time and money to bring really interesting people to you, so show up and take the time to meet them!  You can never hear enough advice and they might turn out to be a great contact to have in the future!
3. Interesting Courses!  Colleges offer so many more courses than those needed to satisfy your graduation requirements.  Interested in an off-the-wall subject? Sign up for a course in it.  Never again will you be able to construct clay pots or learn how to ice skate for free.  
Posted By: Kayla Molczan

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finding Your Own Apartment

Apartment buildings lining the south side of E...Image via Wikipedia
Finding your first apartment outside of campus and away from your parents can be scary if your not prepared.  However, with a few basic tips to follow you’ll find it’s not as intimidating as you once thought.  Below are some of the most important items to consider.
Establish a Budget
It will be much easier to know how much your rent should be if you have a job prior to searching for a home. Most of the time, if you are paying your rent by yourself, it should equal about 25 percent of your income.  However, depending on your lifestyle, you may need to consider other expenses you will have, for example utilities, cable and Internet.  Since you are a college graduate, you more than likely will be trying to get out of debt from college loans and living within your means is crucial for these first several years post graduation. 
Where you work should determine where you would look for a place.  Living closer can save you time, sleep and money if planned efficiently.  If you live in a larger city, finding a place farther away from the metropolitan area will be significantly cheaper, so my advice to you is to find an equal balance between time and costs. 
Ranking your top five choices will help you decide when it comes to the final move.  Staying organized and keeping photos and pamphlets about each option will keep these properties from blurring together. Make sure you know the dates and exact apartments that are going to be available to you for each location.  Take your time in making your decision.  Once you have decided allow yourself 24 hours before signing a lease.  
The Final Steps
After making your decision, you are now ready to fill out an application, pay the application fee and wait to see if you were approved to rent.  Once you are approved you will more than likely make an initial deposit, along with your first months rent and sign the lease.  This will typically occur the day you move into the apartment.  Now you will need to call and register for utilities, which could include gas, electric, water and waste disposal. 
Get excited, because you will be officially on your own!  Look for an upcoming blog about decorating your apartment on a budget and taking advantage of all the amenities your complex has to offer!

Posted by: Taylor Ray
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Friday, October 1, 2010

How to Dress for a Job Interview

It is hard enough to actually secure an interview with a company you would like to work for, so once you get one, you don't want to mess it up!  One of the most important aspects necessary for nailing a job interview is dressing appropriately.  Katie Roney, a professional recruiter from Expert Village, explains exactly what to wear to an interview and why dressing to impress is so important. 

Posted by: Kayla Molczan

And the Search is On! How to Find Your First Job

Job hunting is not easy for anyone and being a recent college graduate brings even more roadblocks into the picture.  However, the point of the last four (plus) years of our lives' as college students were to better prepare us to land better jobs.  As someone who has begun to dabble in the realm of job searching, here are some tips to keep in mind.  Happy searching!

1. Use old contacts
Just because you may not have a lot (or any) real-world experience when you first enter the workforce does not mean you won't be able to find a job.  Chances are you more than likely completed an internship, worked part-time, or met someone from somewhere who works in the field you would like to, during your time in college.  Network with them!  It's all about getting your foot in the door and once you land that interview, show them all you have to offer.

2. Keep an eye out for job fairs
It is a very good idea to start looking for jobs while you are still in college, and if you do, use their resources!  College and universities are always helping their students find work after graduation and many facilitate this by holding job fairs throughout the year.  Take advantage of the work your school did to get the companies there and go!  Face-to-face contact is much more beneficial than emailing or making phone calls.  Print off copies of your resume and get ready to meet potential employers!

3. Take advantage of your advisor
Many students tend to forget this, but your advisor and your other professors in college probably held positions before coming to teach at a university or college.  Take advantage of the contacts and resources they have before you get that diploma and you are on your own.  Ask them detailed questions about how it was like for them when they first graduated, things they would have done differently, pitfalls to avoid, etc...any advice is beneficial.  

Keep your head up and remember you will find a job as long as you are persistent! 

Posted by: Kayla Molczan