Category Archives: College Life

Studying Abroad: “You Won’t Know ‘Till You Go”

Filed under: College Life, Education, Fun Ideas, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

“You won’t know ‘till you go!” That’s the slogan my university uses to promote study abroad. In the months before my trip, I posted about the reasons you should study abroad, and what to pack. Now that I’m back, I’m going to share with you my experience studying abroad in Spain and encourage you to hopefully study abroad someday as well.

1. Culture

When you go on a trip with your friends or family, sometimes you don’t get a feel for the culture because you’re with your group doing your planned events. This trip, we worked hands on with employers/employees and even students that live in Spain. It was an incredible opportunity to learn firsthand the differences between our cultures, like their importance of siesta.

2. Skills Gained

Everyday for two weeks we were lucky enough to visit businesses that dealt with public relations, advertising, film, and media. We were taught valuable skills relevant to our studies by some of the best professionals in Spain. Talk about motivation! Every time we left a business, I felt like I was ready to take on the world!

3. Friendships

I do not know too many people from my school, so this trip was a big reason for me to go. There were people ages 20 to 33 on the trip with all kinds of backgrounds and walks of life. People that probably normally would not be friends all became so close in such a short amount of time just because of this experience. It was amazing the love we all had for each other by the end of the trip, even though we’re all so different.

4. New Perspective

It’s easy to get in our own bubble in the U.S. and think that our way of life is the “norm” (is there really such a thing), but going to Europe woke me into reality on how far behind I am compared to students my own age. I’d say about 90% of the people I met there spoke even a little bit of English. I do not speak any other language at all. Students there are taught from a young age 2-3 languages. Something like this gave me a new global perspective, and it has really motivated me to start working towards learning about the world, other cultures, and other languages.

5. Learning

Instead of being in a classroom for the semester, we were in film studios talking with producers, or in public relations firms learning their best strategies to getting new clients. This was incredible as a senior college student to be able to work directly with people in the field that I’m studying to be in. It was just like job shadowing, but a million times better. This trip was so much more than what I thought it would be. Yes, it was educational, but it was also life-changing for me because it changed my perspective on a lot of things. You can take a trip anywhere and have a great time, but to have an experience like this is definitely worth doing. I encourage you to consider studying abroad with your school because you really won’t know until you go.

Have you studied abroad, or are you planning to? Where? What was your experience like?

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Staying Academically & Professionally Oriented During Summer

Filed under: College Life, Education, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Serena Piper Blogger Biography

 

 

 

 

Summer is notorious for college students to “take a break” from school, chill out a little, and relax after having relatively high stress levels. But, sometimes we can get a little too laid back, not realizing that even though it’s summer, we still have homework. Yes, homework during the summer – and I’m not talking about summer school (but that does count too!). No matter if you’re a senior, freshman, junior, sophomore, or recently graduated – it’s crucial to always be focusing on the future of your academics and career, even when you are in need of a serious life-pause.

If you need a little inspiration on ways you can continue to work towards your life goals, here are some ideas:

1. Create A Vision Board

This is a strategy a lot of people in well-known positions use, including celebrities. Get a bulletin board and pin to it all the places you want to be able to go, all the things you would like to do, and pictures of what you want your life to look like. Every time you see it, you’ll feel that little spritz of motivation to keep focused and stay strong. It’s a good reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

2. Find A Support Group

Since you’re on Twitter and Facebook most of the time anyway, put that time to good use and find social groups and accounts to follow that support 20-somethings trying to find their way. Type in a few keywords, such as “college,” “postgrad,” “motivation,” and you’re on your way. Not hooked into social media? Type those same words into Google to bring up a variety of local support group you can join for meetings. You can share your struggles and successes with each other, share resources, and network.

3. Make A List

Create a list of all the things you have accomplished thus far. It’s super easy to get stuck in that rut of negative thinking by focusing on all the things you have to do, things you haven’t done, and things you should have done by [insert age here]. Change this around and make a list once a week of things you’ve accomplished, no matter how small. Tried a new meal at a restaurant? Add it to the list. The little accomplishments will measure how well you’re progressing. In addition, whenever you catch yourself in the rut of that negative thinking, stop yourself and replace it with a hopeful, optimistic thought.

4. Work On A Portfolio

Depending on your major, a portfolio is a crucial piece to have on hand for interviews, or for handing over to a career advisor at your university. A second pair of eyes never hurts, and if you already have one going, add to it, update it, and keep it fresh. Taking a look at it periodically is another great reminder of what it is you’re working toward.

5. Interview Someone With Your Dream Job

Is there someone in particular you strive to be like? Reach out to interview them, find out how they got where they are, and draw your inspiration from your new muse. Can’t get there contact information? Look for someone who has a position similar. Make sure when you ask them about their job, you find out how they stayed motivated. It never hurts to gain new ideas.

Do you have any secrets for staying driven? Share them with us!

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Dealing With Unemployment Blues

Filed under: College Life, Graduation, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

All college students have pretty high expectations of what is ahead of us after graduation. Since we were children, we’ve had this idea embedded into our brains that we have to go to college so that we can get good jobs. But what many of us learn when we graduate college is that finding that job post-graduation can take quite some time. Sending in resume after resume without a single response can really become quite depressing, and it’s easy to fall into a rut. However it’s important to not only to stay positive during your search, but to also enjoy the time you have off.

Here are a few tips on how to deal with those unemployment blues:

1. Be Proactive, But Not Obsessed

Sitting in front of your computer screen all day looking through hundreds of job sites and emailing resumes can take a toll on your psyche. It’s important to get out of the house and move around. You still need to live your life, so do not dwell just on job searching! Go take a walk, enjoy some sun, and remember to take job hunting one day at a time.

2. Set Small Daily Goals

Don’t make your everyday goal be “find a dream job.” The odds of that happening right away are not too great and you’ll just stress yourself out more. Make small daily goals for yourself such as “send out five resumes” or “find three companies I’d like to work for” so that they are things that you can actually accomplish each day and feel productive doing so.

3. Take Advantage of Free Time

Take advantage of all of the free time that you now have as you are in that in-between stage. Plan out an allotted time each day to continue your quest for a job, but also take time to do things you enjoy. Go to the beach, go out to brunch, or enjoy a nice book. These are things that we take for granted when we have all the time in the world, but once you’re working a 9:00am to 5:00pm job, these will be the things you miss most. Don’t dwell on the fact that you are still unemployed and instead relish in the fact that you have the opportunity to do all these things.

4. Don’t Pressure Yourself

This can be a really stressful time and we put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to succeed in our search to find the perfect job. However, in the long run, these few jobless months won’t mean that much. Don’t compare yourself to others and think you’re the only one who hasn’t found a job yet, or that what you find is not as good as what someone else may have been lucky to land. Don’t stress yourself out, be content knowing that you’re trying your best and giving it your all.

Most important of all, don’t lose hope. The right job for you is out there and you will find it eventually. Good luck on your search fellow graduates!

Share your job hunting tips and advice on how to stay positive with us!

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Dos And Don’ts To Packing For Studying Abroad

Filed under: College Life, Tips, Travel & Abroad - Angelina
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Bailey Buckingham BookRenter Blogger Biography

I am lucky enough to be one of the student’s from Texas State going to Spain this summer to study abroad! I’ve been so excited for various parts of the trip, but as it gets closer, anxiety has definitely set in because I have had to start thinking about what I should pack! There’s only so much room in a suitcase, but I also want to make sure I’m prepared since I’ll be so far away from home!

I put together a list of my do’s and don’ts for my trip to help guide you when (or if) you take an abroad trip! Of course, these are things that are important to me, so you can always customize your list when the time comes!

Do’s

The most important things to pack when studying abroad are:

1. Passport/ID

This one seems pretty obvious, but I feel like I have to mention it because your passport is the number one important thing that you need to bring on your trip. Before you leave, make copies of it and your ID. Take copies for yourself, but also give family members copies of them, just in case something happens! It’s best to be prepared.

2. Camera

Whether it’s disposable, or a digital camera, bring one. Don’t just rely on your phone! This way you avoid running out of storage or damaging your phone. Also, the quality can sometimes be better.

3. Several Forms of Money

I plan on bringing a debit card, credit card, travelers checks, and also getting some Euro’s before I head to Spain. The last thing you want to happen is for something to get stolen and it be your only form of money. Keep these forms in different places around your luggage, and in the hotel safe!

4. Adapters

Pay attention to what country you’re traveling to and find out if you need to buy a special adapter. I need to bring one because of my hair devices and phone charger. Don’t wait until you get to the airport to buy one, it’ll be way over priced!

5. Comfortable Shoes

As much as I want to look good out on the streets of Barcelona and Madrid, I also know that their streets are mostly cobblestone and I’ll be doing a lot of walking. It’s way more important to be able to walk the next day, than to get a compliment on your shoes!

Don’ts

This list is just a few things people have advised me not to bring abroad. I agree with them and will pass them along to you:

1. More Than One Hair Device

This one is easy. Choose if you want a straightener or a curling iron. For those like me, who like both, just choose one! You’ll be thankful when your suitcase has more room!

2. Expensive Jewelry

You don’t need to bring any of your expensive jewelry. Especially if it has sentimental value. Leave it at home so you avoid the risk of losing it or it being stolen.

3. Lots of Shoes

Your best bet is to look over your itinerary and figure out exactly how many pairs of shoes you’ll need, and then don’t pack more than that. I’m bringing a business casual pair, a comfy pair, and sandals. Shoes take up so much space, and they aren’t a necessity.

Hopefully you’ll get to experience studying abroad, and if you do, hopefully this list helps you get started with your packing!

Share your packing advice in a comment below!

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5 Biggest Resume Mistakes

Filed under: College Life, Post Grad and Career, Tips - Angelina
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Sylwia BaranBookRenter Blogger Biography

A resume is the very first impression you make on any possible future employers. Before you even have a chance to charm your interviewer with your wit and humor, they have to first like your resume. Therefore, it is crucial that your resume is impressive, professional, and on-point. Don’t make silly mistakes that can potentially cost you a job.

Avoid these resume mistakes and you could be on your way to your next interview:

1. Forgetting to Proofread

This is the number one mistake that job applicants make that has a huge impact on a resume review and yet can be so easily avoided. Make sure to read your resume over several times before sending out a final copy. Then after you’ve read it, have a friend read it over too in case you missed anything. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

2. Lying

Although it’s usually okay to embellish a little bit about your responsibilities at previous jobs, do not put down blatant lies. If you do not know how to use certain computer software that the job you are applying for requires, don’t say you do know how to use it in the hopes of figuring it out if you get the job! This will not work and you will just end up looking like a liar and feeling embarrassed.  Then your whole overall value as a reliable employee will be tarnished, and may even cost you the position.

3. Not Enough Detail

If you are a recent college graduate, you are probably desperately applying to 20 different jobs each day, so your natural instinct may tell you to simplify this process by creating a generic resume that you can quickly send out that generalizes your skills to apply to all of the jobs you are applying for. Do not do this. It is tempting because it is easy, but make the time to tweak your resume to be specific to each job that you apply for. Use the same key words from the posted job description to fill into your resume. The person reviewing your resume will see you obtain all the skills required for the job and may ask you to come in for an interview. It is more beneficial to send out 8 resumes that are more personalized and detail-oriented, than to send out 20 cookie-cutter resumes.

4. Rambling

More information is not always the best. Using superfluous words and rambling just to fill space on the page does not indicate more experience for the job. It may actually do more harm than good. It’s good to keep a resume short to the point. As the saying goes, quality is better than quantity.

5. Unprofessional Presentation

Resumes should be clean, not crumbled, typed in black ink (unless you are applying for graphic design), with consistent font face and size. Your resume should not only read as professional, but should also look that way as well. It should be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also nothing crazy. Use traditional formatting and make sure it is easy to read. When in doubt, clean and simple is the best way to go.

Put some effort and time into your resume each time you apply for a job. You may be anxious (that’s normal) to just applying to any job you come across that looks decent, but don’t just throw yourself into applying without taking the time to present yourself in the best light for the position. Your resume is your golden ticket to get called in for an interview, so be sure to treat it as an important step in the application process!

Share your resume tips with us in the comments below!

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