Enter below by Tuesday, November 11th for the chance to win your very own pair of Biba Patchwork Fancy Pants!
So I’m finally at college. And I’m officially a senior now. It’s funny because you’d think it would be more bittersweet, but I’m actually pretty excited while also being completely ready to leave. But before I left, I was playing Persona 4 with my brother. It was a lot of fun, and surprisingly had a lot of stuff that related to college life for a game mostly centered on high school. So here are a few lessons from this awesome game:
- Sometimes the best things you’ve been looking for are at home.
- It sucks to be a loner, but best friends are everywhere. You just need to put yourself out there.
- Silence is always an option.
- Don’t run away from your destiny.
- Translating languages is hard (especially if it’s Japanese or Chinese)!
- If you don’t get the right answer, don’t be afraid to keep searching for the truth.
- If you’re dealing with the cops, lying is probably not your best option.
- There are multiple ways to fall in love, and with multiple people.
- It’s OK to have a few embarrassing hobbies. They add character and personality to your life.
- At times you will be jealous of your friends success. At times they will be jealous of yours. It happens. Deal with it, and support them in their efforts, and they’ll do the same.
- Sometimes you trust the wrong people.
- We’re all filled with insecurities. If we don’t acknowledge that, they’ll come out in the worst possible way.
- Don’t worry about all of those things you’ve heard before. Be open to changing your initial viewpoint.
- Stereotypes are real, and they’re pretty damaging.
- People will question your sexuality if you don’t fall into conventions. The best you can do is be strong within your own ideas.
- Trying to please everyone is exhausted. It’s OK to pick and choose.
- Listen to others. You’d be surprised what they have to say.
- Loosing a loved one to dementia is one of the most painful, heartbreaking things you can deal with. If that makes you upset and angry, that’s fine. You have to deal with these things on your own terms.
- You choose how you want to say goodbye.
- Accept endings. It’s great to have something that isn’t lasting forever.
In my opinion, one of my best and worst qualities is that I’m an introvert. I love being an introvert, but even throughout college it’s been difficult. It’s hard to get people to understand that you may want to spend a Saturday night reading a good book or watching videos online without anyone else surrounding you. And since college more than anywhere else will force you to be an extroverted introvert (i.e. participate in a lot of clubs/activities/committees/etc.) sometimes I need my weekends/weeknights as a cooling off procedure.
When it comes to networking, job interviews, and public speaking, it’s a completely different ballpark. While there’s been plenty of articles written to show how “socially inept” the Millennial generation is because of social media and our propensity to take selfies, post our entire lives online, and feed into our narcissistic personalities, I’d argue that most societies still celebrate extroverted personalities. And that makes sense. Very little would get done w/o great speakers or those who are willing to be active talkers, but sometimes it’s frustrating that the nature of quiet isn’t appreciated. This is very apparent with public speaking and job interviews, which come off as kryptonite to many introverts. So for all of those ambitious introverts like myself, here are a few tips for your next big speaking event:
1) Utilize your body language
Power poses are one of the best things you can do to gain confidence before and during an interview. Relax your shoulders, position your feet towards the person (or people) you’re speaking to, and converse in a lower tone. Especially for women, many of us tend to raise the pitch of our voice when we’re nervous or to appear more feminine. I’ve done this many times myself. Don’t second guess your abilities or feel insecure. They wouldn’t have bothered to call you back for an interview or asked you to give a speech if there wasn’t something of interest in your profile that stood out to them, so be confident and speak in a clear, deep tone. Additionally, practice power-boosting poses. Stand up, put your hands on your hips, and focus on building confidence before beginning an interview or speech.
2) Always keep eye contact
This one probably doesn’t need explanation, but it’s a hard one. Your friends and family won’t notice if you lost eye contact, and most of the time you’re so comfortable talking to them that direct eye contact comes naturally. If you feel yourself slipping during an interview, pause, take a deep breath and/or close your eyes, and then resume. It’s better to make a semi-dramatic pause as a way to collect your thoughts instead of loosing eye contact and seeming unsure of yourself.
3) If you make a mistake, breathe and start again
At some point, you’ll have an awkward bout of silence. People will laugh when you didn’t mean to be funny. You’ll trip. Life goes on. Most interviewers are empathetic and understand this may be your first time dealing with this situation. Either way, it’s OK. Breathe. Relax. Say, “Let me clarify that a bit more/Let me start over/etc.” No one wants to deal with embarrassment, but you’ll be fine. Learn from it, and move on.
4) Fake it till you make it
A lot of people have problems with interviewing because they don’t know how to sell themselves. So think about it: how badly do you want this position? I’m not asking you to fake a personality or be disingenuous, but if faking how excited you are is the best way for you to overcome these issues, then do it. Pretend you’re meeting your favorite celebrity, or you’re auditioning for a role. If you’re giving a speech, imagine that you have the best product in the world, and the only way it will reach people is by hearing your words. Or pretend you’re discussing a new idea to your friends, and focus on your personal brand. At the end of the day, there’s a thousand people who have the qualifications and experience, but only you can bring yourself to the table. Show them your personality and skills, and don’t shy away from showing how great you are.
If you have any other tips on interviews/public speaking, be sure to share them in the comments!
- A Dirty Word: Introvert (indianaprolis.com)
- Personal Branding for Introverts (blogs.hbr.org)
- 4 Things Introverts Do that Makes Them Effective Leaders (psychcentral.com)
- 15 Things You Might Have Misunderstood About Introverts (lifehack.org)
- Links We Love: Introverts & Extroverts in the Office (thedailymuse.com)
Since I haven’t written a post in forever, I thought it would be fun to open with a story:
Most of my friends and I come from a variety of different backgrounds, I’m sure we could fill the entire diversity spiel just by sitting in a group together. I have issues with the academic perception of diversity, but I’ll get to that another time. Regardless, nearly of all us have some difference via gender, socioeconomic status, nationality, race, or ethnicity. And one of the things that I’ve noticed from discussing issues of minority background with my friends is how dramatic it was to come to my college when we first arrived.
While I absolutely love my college now, it was painful both academically, socially, and emotionally to adjust to it even though I came from a school with similar demographics. Unfortunately, my college is not an activist campus. I wish it was, but it isn’t. I think if it had been, there would have been a greater sense of awareness and preparation not just for students of color, but in forming transitions to adjust to college life.
I’m saying this mainly to reach out to the student who struggles at college either due to their presumed minority status, but even those who come from an incredibly different background than the college they attend. The college experience is always shifting and changing. Sometimes it’ll be the “best thing ever”, but other times, it will HURT. A lot of it can depend on the cultural differences, but I promise, it will get gritty and dirty at some points. And that’s OK. I’m not saying you’ll overcome all of your issues instantly, but it’s OK to feel discomfort and shock. While it sucks sometimes – I know it did for me at a lot of points – you’ll leave with a greater sense of maturity, and a set of skills that will serve you well long after you leave college.
While I hate telling students that they’ll have to change for the world, I want you all to know: be open to change. You’d be surprised how many similarities will arise even in the things that you’d find different.
It feels like it’s been forever since I posted! But you know, school happens, work comes, I decided to become a sex columnist, the usual. Here’s a link from a great American TV show, Roseanne. I think it’s a surprisingly touching view regardless of how fond you are of the show itself.
The conclusion to the Intern Extraordinaire series has finally arrived. Here are some more tips for navigating the internship waters. The first post is located here.
Try virtual internships!
For some reason, this always gets lost within the internship debate. Not that all virtual internships are unpaid – or even should be – but it’s a great and easy way to get around the unpaid hurdle. If you’re in the interests of saving costs, and want to work on building an online presence, I think the virtual route is the way to go. Unfortunately, it is true that unlike physical interns you may not get the same training and day-to-day company experience, but if the company is involved with their interns you’ll have active participation in the company through Skype, Google, or other virtual mediums. I’ll admit, it involves some major time management skills and the willpower to complete your work at home, but if you’re willing to try it I would definitely recommend participating in a virtual internship. I would recommend being absolutely sure of the company’s online presence though. If you’re doing a virtual internship, you want to make sure that you’re with a company that you feel is moving forward within the internet sphere.
Unfortunately the deadline has already passed for this year, but if you’re interested the U.S. government has a virtual internship program as well.
Look for “In-House” positions
One of my best friends is an English major, and managed to find an internship with our college’s communications department. Our career services department also offers an internship to help out with some of the career development programs. I know not all colleges have them, but it never hurts to look around and see what kind of opportunities your college has. You might even be able to talk a professor into taking you on as a research assistant, which can still lead to a lot of benefits, especially if you want to work in academia!
Don’t forget about campus ambassador/brand ambassador programs
Many people consider campus ambassadors to be a great way to gain experience with a company without actually being an intern. I personally don’t have much experience with them, but I know that companies such as Apple, Coca Cola, and Adobe (one example is listed here) have ambassador programs. It’s a great position for budding entrepreneurs and social media lovers who want to have both a larger online presence, and gain some essential sales experience.
The Financially Impossible Situation
Lastly, we come to those who realize that ultimately, working for free is not a task they can undertake. And even though thousands of articles have been written about how that may be the end of the world for you, I’m here to say that it’s OK if you can’t take on an unpaid situation. Stick to your FT, PT, or Work Study job, look into potential on campus jobs that relate to your career path, and emphasize your skills in the career that you’re shooting for. While working at the college gym may not relate to your career in journalism, emphasize that you’re diligent, hard working, and willing to still to a schedule and can manage large groups of people. Show that you’re a dedicated person despite not having internships. You may not start out at the corporation of your dreams, but many students haven’t been able to do that at the moment as it is. Stick to what works best for you.
And if you’re a paid intern, take advantage of you opportunity to network as much as possible. Enjoy the experience, but make the most of it.
Hope that this article helped you get on the right track for navigating the intern world. Please feel free to respond with any more points or questions about the unpaid and paid intern life.
- The Cost of Free Labor: Unpaid Internships for the Affluent (ingeniouspress.com)
- Are You Giving Interns What They Want? [Infographic] (business2community.com)
- The Internship: The beginning (courtneygoldblog.wordpress.com)
- Five reasons why internships can shape your career (snagajob.com)
- The Intern Anomaly (thetwentiesacademic.wordpress.com)
- Take a Chance on an Intern (peat.org)
Note: This is a post for everyone that has done an internship, or for those who are hoping to do one soon.
Here’s the facts about internships:
- Interns come in the paid and unpaid varieties. You can naturally assume which one is coveted, but even the paid ones are struggling to cover the cost of living (as not all of them pay a decent wage).
- There’s been some debate on the legality of unpaid interns, and whether their exploitative or helpful. Due some of the legal claims, this may change the nature of unpaid internships within the next 5-10 years.
- For most majors, internships are the new reality. The recommendation is to do 2-3 before graduating, but it depends on a lot of factors.
So for students, finding an internship is a must. But for many, working for free is financially impossible. I completely understand, as I’m only able to do it because I’m working roughly 4 jobs every semester. For those worried about the intern squeeze, here are my top tips for you:
Set goals, set money, and make a choice
If you don’t have the money for an unpaid internship, don’t kid yourself. Look for available resources such as if your school offers stipends. There’s also INROADS for minority students looking for potential work. Many schools require internships – and you have to pay for it. Make sure you know the basics as early as possible, and then create a budget
Paid Intern? Maximize your time
You’ll hear a lot of discussion about it, but there’s little benefit to being a paid X intern at prestigious company if you’re just shuffling papers all day. Don’t be afraid to speak out to your coordinator, and ask if you can attend a marketing team meeting, take a day to observe the trading floor, or shadow the programming staff for a day. It’s great that you’re being compensated for your time, but remember that most paid internships are similar to entry level positions: they’re testing you to see if you’re a good fit for the company. Take the initiative.
Unpaid? Budget, negotiate, maximize, and power through
Under any conditions, please do NOT take an unpaid internship and stay with it if you think your time isn’t being maximize. There’s a lot of talk about not burning bridges, and many will tell you to stick with the internship for recommendations, but for those who can’t afford to provide free labor for little benefit, it’s not worth it. A mediocre recommendation from a supervisor that barely involved you within the company is of little benefit.
That said, don’t scoff at the internship immediately because it’s unpaid. I’ve had to work during all of my unpaid internships, but I can definitely attest that most of them gave me valuable skills that I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere else (like interviewing the head of the American Firefighters Association at a rally in Philadelphia). But I do think that many of them can be questionable. Ultimately it’s a judgement call, and one that we have to make with little preparation.
Word of Caution: While the debate concerning unpaid interns is ongoing, I severely caution potential interns to throughly research companies, their reviews, and the corporate culture before taking on an internship. It is not worthwhile to be exploited, and protect yourself from taking on an exhausting and fruitless task by defining your goals and keeping in close contact with the media and your career center. And even then, the judgment calls will have to be on you.
Next week, I’ll post part II of the Intern Extraordinaire, giving you some more tips on finding, choosing, and surviving your internship!
- Expanding Opportunity Through Unpaid Internships (redalertpolitics.com)
- Why unpaid internships mean inequality of opportunity (macleans.ca)
- The Paid Unpaid Internship – Part 2 (business-estate-planning.com)
- In praise of unpaid internships (globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com)
- Why Social Media Internships Should Never Be Unpaid (mashable.com)
- Entitled millennial, I was not (theglobeandmail.com)