The life of College

the stuff you don't learn in the classroom. Tips from a business college student with some occasional rantings and poetic insights on life.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Resume and Networking

After however many years it takes for us to graduate, all we have to show for ourselves at an interview is a piece of paper, and it’s not a diploma. No employer can infer your skills and abilities during the short amount of time taken during an interview. The only thing we have to show for ourselves is our resume. Through that we can attempt to communicate our skills and abilities through our past experiences. In order to standout from your peers when entering the work force for the first time, it is important to have past experience to show that is relative to the desired field of work. Looking back on my freshman year, I remember feeling like I had plenty of time to get down to building the foundation of my career in ways outside of academics. At that point in time I hadn’t even thought of a putting a resume together, never mind what I should be trying to get on it. I feel that, specifically in the business world, it is getting more and more competitive in finding jobs. Seeing as I have yet to attempt the task of finding my first job out of college, I may not know this competition to be a fact. But in my experience at career and internship fairs, the pressure is on. Everyone is trying their best to make themselves stand out from everyone else. That’s why it is important to do what it takes to make yourself more valuable. I had a wakeup call this past year. All I had on my resume were jobs at restaurants and coffee places, and I realized that I needed something more than that. I made the best decision of my college career when I joined a business fraternity. I learned valuable information, that you probably don’t learn about in school, about making the best impressions through proper professional dress, how your body language sends messages to others about the kind of person you are (good eye contact, hand shake, etc.),. I experienced the true value of networking by talking to people in the fraternity about how I was pursuing an internship with AOL. I found that one of the girls had an uncle who worked there and could help set up meetings with recruiters and give me the contact information of those who could work with me on my quest. But I had unfortunately gotten into the game too late. Yet another opportunity came my way when a speaker came in to talk to us about his word of mouth marketing company (BoldMouth), and he mentioned that he might be needing some intern help over the summer. Bingo, internship landed. It seems most people want to help you out if they can. And through having an internship, you meet even more people and contacts. Turned out the CEO, Todd Tweedy, of BoldMouth used to work at AOL as well and could also get me help with an internship there for next summer. So just talking to relatives and friends about what you are trying to accomplish may turnout to be the easy way to get in on what you want and get your resume looking that much better.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On Professors

One of the things I’ve learned over the past two years, is that a class is no better than the person teaching it. I’ve taken calculus twice; the first time being taught by a professor who had no concept of organization which then led to accidentally excluding some important steps to solving a calculus problem during his lectures. The second time, I took it with a professor who actually knew what she was doing in front of a classroom of college students and calculus became magically comprehensible to me. My point of this is that having the right professor can be the key to success in a difficult class. The best place to find this information out is ratemyprofessor.com. I pick my professors and my schedule by this source of information. Granted, comments and professor ratings are not always accurate, and it is important to bear in mind that what is right/wrong for someone else may not necessarily be the case for you.
The absolute best source of information is of course your peers, though they are not as accessible for the information you need since not everyone is taking the classes you need. These are the people who can tell you the dynamics of tests given, how a professor grades, what gets you on their good sides, etc. I had a professor who gave extra points for coming to her office hours to argue about answers on the test most recently given (she was a business law professor and a mediator in the professional world and always loved a good argument). Whenever I meet someone who has this woman as a professor, I make sure they know about the point, because you only get them if you take the time to find out she gives them.

Introduction

I am a college student currently attending James Madison University in Virginia. I am a junior majoring in marketing and I feel that there are so many little tips to make college life go a little bit smoother that we don't always hear/know about, especially from the beginning. I feel that just this year I woke up to the understanding of how important and short our time in college is for the success we strive for. If we don't know who to talk to or don't happen to stumble across the information that we need to achieve that success, how will it become ours? From the simple things such as finding the better professors and saving money selling books to getting the job we want, I want the basis of this blog to be a conglomeration of knowledge on how to do college better…along with a lot of the little things that make life a blast…