One-stop shop for graduating seniors

KatelynMorrisAt face value, graduating from college seems straight forward. You complete your credit requirements and walk across the stage to receive a diploma. PhotoForMardch27PostHowever, what about all the minor details that busy soon-to-be grads are forgetting? How about ordering your cap and gown, obtaining tickets for graduation so your family can attend, sending out announcements, and giving your input on who you want to speak at the reception dinner?

There is a lot more to graduating than college seniors realize. Pitt-Bradford realizes that students are busy preparing for the last few weeks of the semester, and officials have assembled a “one-stop-shop,”  known as Graduation Central, to make it easier for soon-to-be grads to make their graduation arrangements.

Graduation Central was held in the Mukaiyama University Room 39 days before commencement. Students lined up outside the doors, which opened at 2 p.m., and anxiously waited to see what was in store for them. Once the event started, students received a card that would enter them into a drawing for door prizes, which including free regalia. There were 11 different tables set up around the room that offered different information and services for grads:

Pitt Bradford Alumni Association: Information to activate your alumni account, how to keep your Pitt email account, and material for health insurance.

Nominating reception speakers: Students were asked to nominate a student and faculty member whom they would like to hear speak at the graduation reception dinner.

Office of Communications and Marketing student surveys: Students were asked to fill out surveys regarding their experiences at Pitt-Bradford in return for a T-shirt. Students were also encouraged to follow Pitt-Bradford’s Twitter and Instagam accounts, and then mention Pitt-Bradford on their own feeds in return for candy.

Photos with the Panther: Students got a chance to get pictures with friends and the Pitt-Bradford Panther to remember their experience at Grad Center.StudentwithPantherMarch27

Senior Class gift Donations: Students were asked to donate $13 or more to contribute to the senior class gift. In return they received a T-shirt.

Student Activities Council Resume Help: SAC was providing students with a list of any organizations or clubs they were involved in. Students could add the list to their resume.

Career ServicesGave out free resume paper and offered tips for interviews and resume building.

Class Rings and Diploma Frames: Students were able to see samples of rings and frames to purchase.

Graduation Announcements: Students had the opportunity to purchase professional graduation announcements to inform friends and family of their accomplishment.

Purchasing Cap and Gown: Staff from the Panther Shop  took orders for students’ regalia.

Commencement Ticket Distribution: The Panther Shop staff also documented how many tickets students requested for commencement.

The University room was filled with laughter and smiling faces. Everyone seemed to be excited about the process, which would lead them one step closer to holding that hard-earned diploma in their hand.

Ashley Andrucyk, a senior majoring in public relations, said, “This made me realize I was graduating, so it was a great experience.”

She said it was very helpful to have everything in the same place at the same time. The process flowed smoothly, and the system set in place works well.

As a senior, I found the event exciting and helpful. Although there were a few tables that weren’t relevant to my needs, I got what I needed for commencement. I also got some freebies along the way. The experience was almost surreal; it’s hard to believe I will be graduating in fewer than 40 days.  Graduation Central made the process easy and fun. I’m not sure what the alternative would be for students to acquire everything they need for that special day, but I think the one-stop-shop approach is effective.

Tip to survive your first job — Part II

KatelynMorrisLast week, our intern Katelyn Morris offered tips on how to survive your first job. Today she has the second half of that list, which comes from lifehacker.com.

Pay attention to the company culture

  • It’s important to interact with other employees and make an effort to be a part of the office culture.
  • Meeting as many people around the office not only looks good to your superiors, but every person has the potential to teach you something valuable.
  • Learning as much about the company as you can will help you understand what will be expected of you, which could help you advance your career down the road.

Ask questions PhotoForMarch25Post

  • Don’t think you need to know how to do everything in your new job because you’ll most likely need to learn new things.
  • When you don’t know how to do something, ask questions. It’s better that you learn the right way the first time.
  • “Be sure you actively listen to the answers,” says writer Thorin Klosowski,  “and ask follow-up questions so you avoid miscommunication.”
  • When you do make a mistake, which will most likely happen, ask what you should’ve done and learn from it.

Watch for burnout (and deal with it the right way)

  • It’s natural to want to work hard when you get your first job, but remember to take a break. Long-hours and little sleep can inhibit your productivity. Don’t be afraid to take a personal day if you’re feeling overly exhausted.
  • Short breaks during the day to rest your mind can help you get through the long hours.
  • Don’t go into work sick just because you think that you’ll look bad. It’s more important to get healthy, than sick with decreased productivity. Plus, no one else wants to get sick.

Tips to survive your first job – Part I

KatelynMorrisNow that you’ve mastered how to juggle up to six different classes, while maintaining a social life and getting enough rest, it’s time to start a new challenge: work.  For the past year you’ve been the top-dog, a senior in college, but be prepared to feel like a freshman again and start at the bottom. It’s important to know your place and work hard to adapt to your new environment.  Thorin Klosowski, writer for lifehacker.com, gives some advice for people who are starting new jobs:
Accept your newbie status and the work that comes with it

  • You’re most likely not going to be managing the department or figuring out the upcoming year’s advertising budget when you start your new job. What you can expect to do is the grunt work that people who have been there longer than you don’t want to spend their time doing.PhotoforMarch20Post
    • It’s part of being a newbie, so accept it and work hard like you’re doing something you love. Hard work does not go unnoticed and complaining about filing or making coffee will get you nowhere, so suck it up.
    • Remember, you won’t always be the new employee.

Stay organized and never miss a deadline

  • “Being on time, getting your work done, and keeping it all together is incredibly important at a new job,” Klosowski said.
  • An article by Margot Carmichael Lester on Monster.com, offers five ways to stay organized.
  1. Pay attention.  Refer to your planner or calendar to know what task you should be focusing on
  2. Keep track. Arrange your desk, shelves or files based on their deadline. Knowing what task is due and where it is helps you to avoid confusion
  3. Expand space. Clutter may lead to inefficient work spaces. Maximize your desk space. Lester recommends hanging pockets and folders to clear some space.
  4. Manage minutes. Every spare minute can be used to keep you organized. Don’t pile things up on your desk. If you take 30 seconds to put something back when you’re done with it, you will save yourself desk space and time at the end of the day when you want to get home.
  5. Triage Paper. Don’t keep every paper that crosses your path. Once you’re done with a document, throw it out or file it.

How a liberal arts degree can help your student get a job

KatelynMorrisWhen you’re son or daughter tells you that he or she has decided to earn a liberal arts degree you will probably react one of two ways:

1. You may tell them you support whatever decision they make.

Or

2. You might tell them that you think it is a bad choice.

Whatever your thoughts on the choice he or she had made, you should know that the decision may not affect their future success. “In recent years, research into the importance of choice of major has led to a surprising conclusion: it’s not really all that important,” according to a blog post in The New York Times. Before you try to discourage your student to choose a more “practical” major, you should know why liberal arts majors are good choices:

  • Most people will graduate with higher GPAs if they study something they are passionate about: So, if your child is excited about her choice, encourage her to work hard. High grades in college courses can lead to better scores on the graduate school entry tests and admissions. Also, career placement and income are positively affected by high GPAs.
  • Students’ perceptions of what employers want are not the same as what employers actually want: The most common skill employers are seeking a person’s ability to communicate effectively, according to an article by Quintessential Careers. “By far, the one skill mentioned most often by employers is the ability to listen, write and speak effectively. Successful communication is critical in business.” Liberal arts degrees provide students will the tools to perfect their communication skills.
  • Transferability of skills: Where degrees such as finance provide students with specific job skills that pertain only to finance, liberal arts degrees prepare students for an array of skills required by more than one kind of job. “Employers desire transferable skills (skills employees take with them to any job) typical of a liberal arts education.”
  • Most importantly, majoring in something that interests your son or daughter is just the obvious thing to do: Most people have a hard time reading a book they’re not interested in, and the same goes for studying for a class. Not only will students work harder at something they actually want, but they won’t have to force themselves to do it. Work doesn’t seem pointless if you love what you are working on.

Don’t want a 9-to-5 job? Here are some with unconventional hours

KatelynMorrisThe thought of entering the workforce after college is scary, but realizing you have to go to your job every day is even scarier. We no longer get to pick and choose what time we want to take our classes, or how many hours we will dedicate to studying for them.  Most jobs require employees to clock in at 9 a.m. and work until 5 p.m., but not all  jobs. So, if the thought of a traditional, routine schedule sounds boring to you, explore some alternative options from Brazencareerist.com.

Jobs with flexible hours with average salary of $50K+

  • Consultants earn an average of $70,000 for offering clients expert advise for their company. This is a great option if you get complacent with one work environment because you will travel from office to office with changing schedules.
  • Freelance web designers can work from an office space they choose or from the convenience of their own home, creating and designing web pages for clients. They earn and average income of $78,000.
  • Political campaign managers offer a different kind of flexibility. They work mainly during election seasons, but when they work, they work 24/7. When the election is over, so is the hustle. They make around $53,000 for the time spent campaigning.
  • Air traffic controllers bring in an average $113,000 for making sure the skies are safe, and their schedules meet the needs for those who wish to work unconventional shifts.
  • Dental hygienists usually clean teeth for a few different dentists, depending on the amount of patients per office. They have the flexibility of choosing their days and hours with an average income of $69,000.
  • Make-up artists can earn up to $53,000, and they work only when they’re needed. Their hours change constantly based on the job and the client.
  • Nurses PhotoForMarch13Postprovide around-the-clock medical care, therefore, their shifts can work around a person’s preference. The career can be unconventional or conventional. The average yearly salary is $66,000.

Options with unconventional hours with average income under $50K

  • Real estate agents create their schedules based on their client’s availability to see the various properties, including days, nights and weekends. The average income for an agent is $39,000.
  • Social media consultants make about $43,000 for knowing the online trends and keeping their clients up to date with them. Some projects may require you to visit the office; others allow you to work from home.
  • Personal trainers not only can create their own schedules, but they get to stay in shape while working. You can train clients inside, outside or at home, and you can make $31,000 yearly.
  • Graphic designers not only have flexibility in their hours, but in their project choices as well. They can earn up to $44,000 for working when they want on what they want.
  • Tax accountants can choose their hours and their clients. While their hours are up to them, they tend to work more during tax season, and get to enjoy shorter hours during the summer. On average, they make $32,000 a year.
  • Sports coaches’ schedules depend on the sport. Practices, games and recruiting all require time spent by the coach. The average salary is around $28,000.
  • Travel guides can work in any city that has a tourist industry, and they make $30,000 on average. They are responsible for creating a happy experience for the members of their tour group; this may require 24-hour assistance, but they do get down-time in between tours.

4 tips to ease your mind about spring break

KatelynMorrisAfter 18 years of guiding your child through decisions, they head off to college where they can sleep through their 8 a.m. class or eat nothing but Cheetos and Mountain Dew for breakfast lunch and dinner; the majority of control is lost. So, as hard as it was, you accepted your new, smaller role as a college student’s parent. You were forced to let go and trust that your child would make the right decision without your assistance.

Months go by and you’re finally trusting that your son or daughter will remember that electricity and water do not mix, when they bring up their plans for a Spring Break trip. Whatever you do don’t panic or tell them they can’t go. Realistically speaking, it’s not the MTV beer fest you’re imagining, and it doesn’t mean her purse will be stolen as soon as she reaches the hotel lobby either. So, before you allow your mind to imagine the worst-case scenarios, remember: Your student has earned a break from not only research papers, tests and lab reports, but from the chill of the Bradford winter as well. They want to soak up the sun with their friends on the beach. If they’ve worked hard, and if they have the money to spend, trust them. You let them go off to college and live on their own, so a week at the beach is nothing.  PhotoforMarch11Post

Here are some suggestions that may ease your mind:

  1. Just because your child is technically an adult, you’re still a worried parent, and rightfully so. So, don’t hesitate to talk with your student. Communicate to him or her your concerns and expectations when traveling. “I forbid you to go” will
    only generate the “I’m an adult and you can’t tell me what to do” response. This may shut down the open lines of communication, and you won’t get to give them safety tips for their trip.
  2. Encourage him or her to choose a destination you both feel comfortable with.  While places like Mexico and Colombia may not meet your safety requirements, Florida beaches will give student the sun-and-fun fix they’re craving. Do your research to figure out which places are safe and which are dangerous.
  3. When you’ve collaborated on a destination, continue to a part of the planning process. The more you know about her plans, the less likely you are to worry.  You should ask for the hotel information: address, telephone number, room number. Also, know who she’s traveling with. Ask him for his friends’ cell phone numbers, just in case you can’t reach him because he forgot to charge his phone.
  4. Set a designated check-in phone call time. Talking to your son every day will calm your nerves. It will show you that he is not only safe, but also responsible for following through with your agreement.

Spring Break is just another obstacle in the “letting go” process for parents. It may be hard to accept that your student doesn’t want to spend his or her break baking cookies with mom or cleaning out the garage with dad.

Use these 6 tips to get a Spring Break beach body

KatelynMorrisIt’s hard to eat healthy and exercise regularly when the school café serves mouth-watering Buffalo chicken wraps and the Corner Bar has killer wing specials for Pitt-Bradford http://www.upb.pitt.edu/  students. However, if you’re determined to rock your bathing on spring break, it’s time to ditch the junk and hit the gym.

Know your numbers. Before you start you should know how much you weigh and what your ideal weight is. A rough weight to height calculation is 100 pounds for the first 5 feet then 5 pounds for every additional inch. So, if your 5’5” you should aim to weigh around 125. Next you need to calculate how many calories you should be consuming. To figure this out enter your information into the daily caloric need calculator.

Set a realistic goal. Giving yourself four weeks to lose 20 pounds is not realistic. Most experts recommend losing between a half pound and two pounds per week.  So, the sooner you start, the more weight you can realistically lose.

Change your diet. The dreaded “d” word is scary to many people, but a healthy diet should be a lifestyle change, not a seven-day all-juice cleanse. The key is moderation and healthier food swaps. Instead of reaching for that cheeseburger with a side of fries, opt for a piece grilled chicken with a baked sweet potato. Of course you can have a piece of chocolate every now and then but not an entire Hershey bar. Remember, don’t deprive yourself of foods you love, just make better choices and eat smaller portions.

Exercise daily.PhotoforMarch6Post
In order to shed pounds and firm up, along with your diet, exercise is key. Don’t use the excuse “I have no time, I have to study” because if you want to wear that two-piece, you have to sweat. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio at least three days a week. Running, swimming and biking are all good ways to get your cardio in. Also, strength training must be a part of your exercise routine at least two days a week. Squats, lunges, push-ups and free weights are all good ways to
tone up your entire body.

Get a workout buddy. “Unless you’re consistently a highly motivated self-starter, your chances of sticking to a long-term fitness plan without a partner are significantly lower than they are with a partner.” Fitday, an online fitness website, explains why this is true.

Skip Happy Hour. When you’re trying to shed some extra pounds, alcohol is not your friend.  Alcohol is an empty-calorie choice; it adds nothing but excess sugar and carbs into a person’s diet.  Instead of going out to the bar on Friday night, hit the gym for an extra session. The endorphins, feel-good chemicals, released in your brain will make you happy you did it.