It’s here, Senior Year, your final year at UVM. Surprising how quickly time has gone by?
Your Senior Year is sure to be the same: a blur of homework assignments and social activities that’s over before you know it. However you measure it, or choose to spend it, time is passing. It’s said that how you spend your time reflects your values and shows what you really care about.
Before you get too busy, take a moment and think about where you want to be nine months from now. What steps can you take in the coming year to take you where you want to go? How will you use this time to prepare to transition to work and the “real world”? As Franklin Field said, “The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: I did not have time.“
So make some time to start the year off right by dropping by Career Services for Careers and Coffee, our kickoff Senior Event. Pick up the Senior Packet, eat cookies, drink coffee and chat with a counselor about your plans for life after college.
“Just get me in a room.” –That’s Don Draper’s signature line in Mad Men. and refers to his uncanny ability to smooth-talk anyone. While I may not close million dollar deals before breakfast, I usually do well with people. This was not the case, however, when I had my first phone interview…
First off, I had broken my routine the day before. Rather than my usual afternoon bike ride, I spent the extra time researching the organization. While this type of preparation was good, I had too much nervous energy so I didn’t sleep well. To make matters worse, I gave myself a full hour of free time before my interview, which I mostly spent glancing at the clock every three minutes. I was worried before the call even started.
Without having the physical gestures and body language of normal conversations, phone calls can be awkward and disjointed. But I dwelled on this fact before the interview even started, so when the conversation got clumsy for a moment, I felt as if my worst fears were being realized. I reacted by talking quickly. At some point I got up to walk—thinking that it would calm me—but I soon found myself pacing and my breath became even more hurried.
When a friend asked me how the interview went, I dropped Draper’s line; “Just get me in a room!”
It turns out, I did need room. A very specific one. For my next phone interview, I borrowed the use of a friend’s office that had a window overlooking the park. This helped because I had something to look at. My eyes could wander so I didn’t have to. It also felt like an interview because I was sitting in an office setting. If you get fidgety during a phone interview, find a way to occupy yourself in a way that won’t distract you: find an appealing view, a painting, or grab a stress ball.
In contrast to my first interview, I kept busy by doing some painting until fifteen minutes before the call. This not only calmed my nerves but focused my mind. So if you have a hobby you find relaxing (yoga, braiding, playing an instrument, etc.), use it as a preparation tool. It’s a better strategy than dwelling on what could go wrong. That can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you can find strategies to help you relax before and during your interview, you will have a much easier time presenting your true self on the phone. Let yourself act naturally by smiling and gesturing like in normal conversation—you’ll find it imbues confidence and friendliness to the cadence your voice.
Some students may feel that their major and GPA brand them for life. Such fears can be only exacerbated by the recent recession and an uncertain job market. But these two labels are not an undergraduate’s most defining characteristics and putting too much emphasis on them may cause unneeded stress.
Zac Bissonnette, guest writer for the New York Times, gives several great reasons why students shouldn’t let money be the deciding factor in choosing their course of study. Firstly, students are more likely to succeed in their major field if it is something they are passionate about. Secondly, and perhaps most interestingly, research has shown that an individual’s earnings do not significantly differ across majors.
Although it depends on the industry, for many employers, GPA is not nearly as important as something like relevant internships, according to Laura Morsch of CareerBuilder.com. She cites a 2005 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ “which found that 70 percent of hiring managers do not report screening applicants based on their GPA.”
Heather Huhman, a writer for the Examiner, explains that a GPA is a fallback for employers looking to pare down the plethora of applications they receive for a job. The solution? Find other ways to set yourself apart from the crowd, such as communicating experiences that exemplify leadership, creativity or entrepreneurship.
“Balance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life. It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.” -Thomas Kinkade
In this fast-paced world, it’s easy to learn the skills of extreme multi-tasking, sleep deprivation, delaying joy, and others that defeat efforts for our health and well-being. School and work can make it challenging to practice self-care, and learning to balance all of life’s many demands can be tricky.
Although striking such a balance is no easy feat, even the President of The United States of America finds time to pull away from his demanding job. The new year is a great time to begin implementing strategies to help you stay centered through all of life’s obstacles and prioritize the things that matter most to you.
Feeling overwhelmed with life as a college student? Or maybe you are a recent graduate, still adjusting to life on your own. Chances are you have been or are currently at a crossroad in your life. Which path do I choose? This may include: major choice, career, relationships, finances, etc.
Twenty-somethings commonly struggle with expectations and ideas of life after graduation.
The truth is: you don’t need to know what your entire life will look like five, ten, or twenty years from now. You will grow immensely as an individual in your twenties, since it is a time for reflection and personal growth. You may change career paths four or five times to see what fits, and that is normal. It is all part of the learning process.
“You’re supposed to have moments of uncertainty about which path to take, because the twenties are full of crossroads.”- Lisa Kudrow’s Commencement Speech at Vassar College in May 2010, a humorous take on life in the twenties.
Recommended Reading- Kenneth Jedding’s Higher Education: On Life, Landing a Job, and Everything Else They Didn’t Teach You in College
This book addresses topics such as:
Marketing yourself after graduation in a tough economy, no matter your major.