How To Make The Most Of Your Winter (Or Summer) Break

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Let’s face it; the hardest part about being in college is learning how to successfully manage your time. Months of non-stop hard work make it darn near impossible to get anything done over winter break ( or even summer break!). The question is, should we even have to be productive?

The answer is yes and no. One of the most important things that life will teach you is that taking breaks and knowing when to relax is just as important as getting things done.  Take your deserved breaks during the holi{day}s, but before and after get a few things done! The important thing to note is that taking more frequent breaks throughout more of your days is more important than taking one long break of non-stop non-productivity. During the semester, If you find yourself frustrated over something, take a 5 minute break…watch babies laugh on YouTube or read an inspirational quote…anything you need to give you the determination that you started with!

During long breaks from school, take the time to learn about something you haven’t gotten the chance to because of your class load. Once you’re in your major, read about your chosen field and career choices. BLS.gov’s occupational handbook, (www.bls.gov/ooh/), provides salary, work environment information, job outlook statistics and similar positions for hundreds of jobs.  This is valuable information you want to know when choosing a career path (more on this later!).

Read about the leaders in your field, the pioneers of innovation or the “rags to riches” stories. People like J.K Rowling, Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey all got their start from less than desirable backgrounds. Their amazing stories will inspire you to stay focused and reach your biggest accomplishments.

Follow your favorite leaders and companies on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to get your daily dose of information and motivation!

Make yourself more marketable by brushing up on a second language. Take 20 minutes every day to study your conjugations, practice with friends/family members, etc. Look over notes or Power Points from your favorite class within your major. Remember that everything worth learning has to be learned in smaller increments over longer periods of time. Cramming may work for a test the next day, but wouldn’t you rather retain information specific to your future career?

Stay motivated and get learning, my friends, that way you can start the new year ready to tackle the semester with your best foot forward!Exercise your brain to learn more often and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

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Why Studying Abroad Will Land You a Better Job

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Study Abroad! No, but really. Do it now!

It’s hard to escape the advertising of 500+ study abroad programs that are offered at our university and each time we pass the countless information tables and fairs we marvel at the limitless opportunities and say “Yes, I’ll go one day!”

But studying abroad isn’t an option we can continue to pass up, like every other “I’ll do it one day” mission. We can only study abroad while we are studying; studying in a university that is, and let’s face it…most of us don’t plan on being in school for longer than we have to. We see it as an educational obstacle we have to get though first in order to start living. Why not make our time here more about extraordinary learning experiences over traditional classroom settings?

Too many students miss out on the chance to broaden their horizons and go abroad due to financial restrictions, class offerings and familial restrictions. These days there are plenty of options (think scholarships, summer programs) to accommodate these concerns. Besides, what other time will you be able to use financial aid to travel?

In 2011, a senior economics major from California, by the name of Todd Lane, landed a job with Apple due to his experience abroad in Spain. He stood out and landed the job by gaining the appropriate cultural perspective, knowledge and language skills.

Employers are looking for candidates who can thrive in little known territory…employees who will take risks and are more culturally sensitive. Without these things personal growth cannot exist and when your employees are not growing neither is your company.

Studying abroad will ignite a passion for understanding different cultures and the people behind it, which will allow you to perfect your cross-cultural communication skills. With our increasingly diverse workplace, it’s important to understand the idea of mutually beneficial relationships both internally with your coworkers and externally to your customers.

This past summer, I studied Spanish and international business in San Jose, Costa Rica. Besides the obvious fun I had (jumping into waterfalls, zip-lining, etc.!) I was able to perfect my bilingual communication skills in a way that was not possible at my home university in North Carolina. My next study abroad experience will take place in Spain! I cannot wait to practice Spanish under entirely new customs and dialects, learn about a variety of European cultures and make myself even more marketable to prospective employers.

College isn’t about the grades you make, but the hands you shake.

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Working on campus has its unexpected perks.

I was fretting about an upcoming accounting exam, when our director of employer relations laughed, told me to stop worrying and said “College isn’t about the grades you make; it’s about the hands you shake.”  This got me thinking, if earning a post graduate job was all about networking then why was I so stressed about passing this exam?!

I realized then that not being able to understand balanced scorecards in accounting as easily as I did certain topics in marketing did not make me stupid…it made me disciplined and surprisingly smarter!

Don’t let bad grades define your potential or measure your intelligence.

I realized that I shouldn’t focus on learning things that I may not use in my marketing job. As college students, we should focus on what we’re good at and what we enjoy…which will hopefully become our major!

Hard work is not always reflected in grades and as counter-intuitive as it seems, it never feels like you tried hard enough…even when you spend hours practically building a relationship with your text book.

So instead of beating yourself up about it, use it as motivation to learn more about your career field and the skills you need to develop to get there. Build your communication skills by networking. Develop your organizational skills by becoming an officer in a student organization…whatever it is do it! And do it mindfully.

The next two things are vital. Above all, always be likable and trainable. No one wants to work with someone who can’t take a joke or who remains negative and closed off to personal interaction. Put yourself out there! Attend every event you can possibly attend and meet everyone in the room. You never know who you’ll meet, what connections you’ll make and what opportunities may arise. Be flexible and willing to learn. Every company will come with its own culture and work standards, so stay willing and excited to both adapt and bring to the table your own unique ideas!

As the academic semester draws to a close and the holidays approach us, let us rejoice in the fact that we won’t ever have to see those jarring subjects again and that one day our hard work will pay off no matter what! Make the grades you need to obtain your degree and graduate with pride by making better use of your time developing useful skills and not pouring over material you may not ever see again!

During my wait for final grades to be posted, I came across an article that practically changed my entire outlook on the one thing we all hate the most…failure. Take a look and get ready to be even more motivated!

“Why the ones who have bad grades are often the ones who are most successful”

http://elitedaily.com/life/motivation/why-the-ones-who-have-bad-grades-are-often-the-ones-who-are-most-successful/