Career

Till Death (or graduation) Do You Part – Selecting a Research Topic

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romance 1
The topics you studied in the general ed classes of your undergraduate years were one night stands; fun for the semester, but rarely thought about after. Selecting a research topic in grad school is the equivalent of dating in your late twenties; you’re looking for something serious that through all the toils and trials, will stand the test of time.

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Picking a subject that already has a fair amount of existing research is usually a smart way to begin your academic marriage. This probably seems counterproductive as you are thinking “Why would I pick something that already has been researched to death? What could I possibly discover.”As any experienced student will tell you, the starting point of all research papers is the literature review: the portion of the paper where you cite the works of people much smarter and more accomplished than yourself. One day, some wet behind the ears first year may be citing one of your many published works but for now, your professor is going to expect a certain number of citations to earn a passing grade. So while the 14th century mating habits of the indigenous people of Utah may sound like a winning topic, if your EBSCOhost search returns only three results, you my want to venture in a different direction.

romance 3

When you reach a certain age, you’re going to want to expand your family from just you and your partner, to a few children and maybe a corgi. As with your relationship, you’ll find it wise to select a topic in which you can branch out on during your time in your program. Keeping in mind you are selecting a thesis that you’ll be with from your intro class to your capstone, you most certainly will want one that will give you the most milage. My topic area of Greek Life has spawned research projects on diversity, privilege, academic success and hazing ethics. You and your topic will be expected to reproduce numerous times during your program, so pick one that is fertile.

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The most important aspect in choosing your topic area, is selecting something you are actually interested in. As with your significant other, you’re going to spend much time with your research topic. All of those long evenings hunched over your laptop in a coffee house or late nights closing down the library will be much more enjoyable if you’re studying something that piques and holds your attention. Just as passion fuels the fires of your romances, may it incite your academic pursuits as well.

HOW TO: Do Laundry in College

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laundry

Prepare: Make sure to put all your dirty clothes in a hamper or basket (get one that’s easy to carry, its possible you will have to carry it up and down stairs). Also, buy detergent that works with all your clothes (and separate bleach if you want, but I don’t). Make sure you have either quarters or whatever you need to pay for the campus laundry machines, before you head down.

 Step 1: Separate out your white clothes from your dark clothes (if you want- I personally just put everything in on cold and it usually works fine). You should also make sure to take out anything that says “Dry Clean Only.”

 Step 2: Put whichever load you are doing into the washing machine.

 Step 3: Make sure to put the detergent in the right place (because sometimes you don’t and then it will come out feeling weird….).

 Step 4: Put the machine on the right settings. (I tend to always put on delicate cold, but that’s just me- if you took the time to separate your clothes, look at the tag and see what it says.)

 Step 5: Pay the laundry machine to do your bidding.

 Step 6: Turn on the machine. Stay until you can see (or hear) that the machine is on and laundering your clothes.

 Step 7: Set a reminder on your phone for however long the machine says it will take. If it doesn’t, set it for about 45 minutes. That way you can come down and check on your clothes and hopefully not find them left on top of a dryer with a couple wet socks having fallen off, gathering dust on the grimy laundry room floor.

Step 8: Transfer your clothing to the working dryer. (It may take a few tries to find out which machines work and which machines don’t dry your clothes no matter how much money you give them…) OR bring your wet clothes to your room and set up a drying rack, but I DON’T recommend this as it takes up a lot of room and for a long time.

 Step 9: Set the dryer to the right settings.

Step 10: Give the machine your money for the hope of dry clothing.

 Step 11: Repeat step 7, but with only the possibility of dry clothing ending up on top of the dryers.

 Step 12: Make sure that your clothes are dry. Having to run it twice isn’t abnormal, more than that is- if you have to, move it to a different dryer and hope that one works.

 Step 13: Bring the hamper/basket upstairs and IMMEDIATELY fold and/or hang up your clothing. Or don’t. But then you’ll be living out of your hamper and not have a hamper to put your new dirty clothes in.

The End – Congrats you have done laundry in college!

Is College Worth It?

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Some say college may not be for everyone, but it’s certainly worth your time and money. Granted, the rising cost of tuition and other college expenses isn’t cheap, but there are far more benefits to earning a degree than not. Not only will there be a greater increase in economic mobility after graduation, but college is also perfect for meeting new people, networking and landing that dream job.

college stats

Statistically, those who graduate with at least a bachelor’s degree made  98 percent more  than those who only had a high school diploma. Those are some good odds! One study also found that those who finished at a four year institution were expected to earn 1.2 million more than those who didn’t.

The advantages of college doesn’t just stop at higher pay grades. It has overall life benefits as well. They are said to be happier and healthier due to better access to healthcare and the ability for more leisure activities.

If paying for college is an issue, there are many avenues you can take to make the situation less of a burden. There are a whole range of scholarships offered to incoming freshman based on what you are majoring in or your age. Checking the colleges’ webpage will give you a better understanding of what is being offered.  Another route is through loans that can be found with low interest and financial aid. If you are working during the school year, many loan companies will allow you to pay the interest on the loan; cutting the price upon graduation.

In the end, college is an investment and with all investments, there are possible risks. But what can be more important than an investment in yourself?

Advice for Every Year of College

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It’s officially August! We all know what that means: classes will be starting before we know it. No matter what year of college you’re entering this fall, keep these little tokens of advice in mind.

 move-in

Freshmen: Welcome! I am so excited for you. Even if you loved high school, try not to hang on to it too much. Also, get to know your professors and advisors! They are only there to help and want to see you succeed. Finally, don’t be afraid to try new things. This is the best time!

 study abroad

Sophomores: So you’ve got a year under your belt and you’re not so new around campus anymore. Approach each opportunity with the same enthusiasm that you did as a freshman. Use this year to get a few internships under your belt or study abroad before you have to start taking your upper level classes.

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Juniors: The past two years flew by super fast and the next two will fly just as fast so don’t miss a minute of it. Classes are going to get harder this year and you’ll get incredibly sick of people asking you about grad school. Hang in there.

 college grads

Seniors: Is it senior year already?! Make sure you’re keeping your GPA up even though senioritis is surely kicking in. Make sure your resume is in tip top shape for the job search that is quickly approaching. Some companies will even hire you before you graduate. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk across the stage with a diploma and a job waiting for you?

 What advice would you pass on to incoming students? Share your advice in the comments below!

5 Important Skills to Learn Before You Graduate

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There are some things you are definitely going to want to master before you finish college.  Finding a job after college is harder than ever and you want to be as prepared as possible.  You’ll likely start in an entry-level position and this list will prepare you for what lies ahead!

1. Photoshop

 photoshop

The world is becoming increasingly digital.  Any company you end up working for has a website and one or more social media accounts.  Photoshop is a great skill to have in your arsenal because it will likely come in handy for a great number of future projects.  Photoshop can help you create/adjust logos, flyers, newsletters, etc.  This is an excellent skill to have on a resume because potential employers will see it as a great asset!

2. Microsoft Office

microsoft office

This may seem obvious, but knowing all the ins and outs of Microsoft Office is essential.  Don’t just know how to use the basics of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, know how to use every feature of each program.  You’ll likely be using Microsoft Office a lot in whatever job you have and you’re going to want to know everything you can; it’ll make your professional life much easier!

3. How to Use a Copy Machine Extensively

Copy Machine

When you’re first starting out in your professional life, the Copier is going to be a big part of your routine.  The last thing you want is to be the person that breaks the copier or needs help using it; to avoid this, take the time to learn how to use all of the features of one of the copy machines on campus—it may not be the exact machine you will have at your future job but it is a great start.  Also look over the machine to know how to fix it when it jams and how to change the toner!

4. How to Write a Professional Email

email

 This is extremely important.  In most jobs, you will be corresponding with many different people and you want to always make a good, professional impression.  Whether it is an email between you and a co-worker, you and your boss, or you and a client/affiliate of the company, you want to make sure you come across as intelligent, organized, and professional.  This is also an important skill when you are emailing with a potential employer about an interview!

5. Social Media

social media

Learn the ins and outs of several social media platforms.  Most companies several social media accounts, so having a lot of knowledge about Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, etc. is really important.  Having these skills is also great for your resume.  If you notice that your company has yet to make an account for a social media platform that is or is becoming very popular, suggest that they make one and maybe even offer to create and run it for them.  This shows initiative and can lead to more opportunities and responsibilities!