Did Somebody Say Finals Week?

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the Oval is full of life. In the forefront of your mind, you are likely thinking about the summer plans taking place shortly. No matter what you will be doing, we all need some relaxation time! Amidst all of this happiness, you realize that the semester is almost over… meaning finals week is soon approaching us. Finals week this time of year can be a challenge for a few reasons:

  • The weather is beautiful and you want to spend every moment outside
  • This might be your last time on campus until the fall, so you want to take in every moment
  • You have to saying goodbye and see you later to the many friends you have made this year
  • You’re excited about summer plans and a long, much needed break

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some tips to tackle finals week and stay on top- even when you have spring fever.

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

The most precious thing that we have as college students is time. With only two weeks left and a lot to do, good time management is key. Make a list of things you have to get done each day. The key is to set small goals so you don’t get overwhelmed. For me, I make a to-do list for each day and set small, realistic tasks I know I can accomplish. Plus, it is so gratifying to finish a to-do list!

Use the outdoors to your advantage

The idea of being stuck inside the library for the next two weeks seems sad, but if you utilize the great spaces on campus you can enjoy the outdoors, too. Even if studying outside isn’t for you, try taking a a break by walking or tossing a Frisbee outside.

  • Study outside on a bench, picnic table, or grass
  • The courtyard in Hagerty Hall is a great place to study and relax
  • Try the nice grassy courtyard in between Park-Stradley and Siebert Halls

Take advantage of Reading Day

The Office of Student Life puts on an an entire day of free activities and events. Take a study break with some friends or even try a workout class to give your brain a rest. You can check out the schedule online for this year’s reading day, which is Tuesday, April 26.

Coordinate when you are moving out

With all of the assignments and studying, you might forget that you will need to make plans to move out of your residence hall if you live on campus. Talk to your RA or reach out to your Peer Leader if you need packing advice and travel tips, and review the information on the housing website to make sure you’re following move-out procedures correctly.

Make plans to stay in touch with your friends

All of your friends might be done with finals at different times, so it is important to stay on top of this. Plan ways to stay in touch with your friends over the summer, whether that be through Skype, texting, or even a trip! Having some trouble thinking of ways to stay in touch with your friends? Contact a Peer Leader!

Be thankful!

One of my most important values is gratitude, for a simple thank you goes a long way. I would not be at the place I am now without the professors, friends, and family who have guided me through my Ohio State journey. Make sure to thank those that made an impact on you before you leave for the summer. Here are a few ideas of people to thank:

  • The professor in the class you really enjoyed this semester, or the TA who helped you in your class
  • The cashier at the Ohio Union who always swiped your BuckID
  • The cleaning staff in your residence hall who made your building clean and safe
  • Your RA for building community and supporting you throughout your first year of college
  • The friends you have made at Ohio State
  • Your family for supporting you along this journey

With these tips, I hope you can tackle finals week. Take a deep breath and enter finals week organized, and of course thankful for a great first year.

5 Interviewing Tips

interview1

It’s about that time in the school year when you start to think ahead to your summer plans and financial assistance. A lot of applications have been posted, and you are hearing back from people left and right to interview you. You’re thinking to yourself, “I made it through the application process and got to the interview portion. Woohoo! ” Well, congratulations to you! This is the true test, though. The closer it gets to the interview, the more nervous you feel. That’s okay! Being nervous is not always a bad thing; it just means that you care. Don’t let the nerves get the best of you, though. Whatever it may be—an internship, job or scholarship—you have to be confident in yourself that you will nail that interview. I will share a few tips you should think about prior to waiting for that interview date in order to prepare and be as ready as you’ll ever be.

Know your facts.

Make sure you do your research on the organization or position you are interviewing with. One time, I went in the interview, and the first question was “Tell me what you know about us?” That’s going to be extremely awkward if you don’t have an answer to this question. It will only take 10 minutes or so to read or polish up on the people you are interviewing with and the job or qualification requirements. Not only does it show you know your stuff, conducting research helps you answer questions along the lines of what the interviewer is looking for. Google is your best friend!

Review common interview questions.

The weirdest question I have ever gotten in an interview was, “If you could be any fruit, what would you be?” (I answered a guava, and I don’t know why. It was the first thing that came to mind, LOL!) I think it’s safe to say that you probably won’t get a question like that 99 percent of the time. Some common questions to review would be tell me a little bit about yourself, or what are your strengths and weaknesses? They may even come right out and ask, why should I hire you/give you this scholarship? In any case, you should be prepared to give your answer confidently and to the best of your ability. When you are in the interview, it is okay to take a pause to think and take a breath before answering the question that is being asked. Career Counseling and Support Services has a ton of interviewing tips and cover letter/résumé writing assistance.

Look AND dress the part.

It’s true! You only get one chance to make a first impression. This is why you want to make that first impression a good one. This tip is pretty simple. Make sure you adhere to the dress code that was given to you by the interviewer or employer. Body language is also an important part as well. You want to exude confidence and maintain proper posture the entire interview. Basically, you want to look like you want to be there AND dress to impress.

Sell yourself, not sell yourself short.

Now, you don’t have to go over the top with selling yourself. Keep in mind that to get to that point you must have shown them you are worth their time. Therefore, make sure you use that time effectively to show them who you really are and that you ARE, indeed, worth their time. Be elaborate with your skill set and accomplishments. Interviewers are truly interested in getting to know in such a short amount of time, so they need you to shine right away. C’mon! Name another time when you get to talk about yourself in detail for 20-30 minutes.

Ask questions, thank them, and follow up.

The last and final tip I deem to be important is asking questions. The worst thing is when they finish the interview, ask you if you have any questions, and you don’t say anything. Always inquire about something afterwards. It can be as simple as, “What can I expect the timeline to be following this interview?” This just lets the person know that you are really interested in hearing back from them, and you are serious about getting that internship, job, or scholarship. Then, you should thank them when you are done as a common courtesy practice. Now, following up can be done a few different ways. For instance, I have a friend who always sends thank-you notes to his interviewers no matter what. That’s just his method. You can send an email or call if it is necessary to even follow up. Be sure to give the interviewers time to make a decision, though, before doing this step. In some cases, it won’t be needed.

I really hope I’ve helped. Good luck! I am sure you will be great. (:

 

Study Smarter (Not Harder, Not Longer)

It can be discouraging when you feel like you are not doing well in your classes–the exams come back and they are not what you were expecting–to the point where you may even begin to resent them. New students in their first semester of college tend to have a lower GPA than in their second semester (it is rare for students to earn a 4.0 in college), and it’s not surprising. In addition to trying to master course content, you’re also trying to navigate a new environment, make new friends, and manage your time. Know that it is okay to not do super well on your first couple exams; you are so much more than whatever your grades might try to tell you that you are. What is important is that you start to plan how you can improve your study habits so that for the next exam, you feel ready and confident. Then, when you get that exam back, you are content with your grade knowing that you studied as effectively as possible.

So, here are a few tips to improve the way you study, especially if you are anything like freshman Austin and are thinking,

Wow, I have no idea how I could have studied more. I spent so much time preparing. I guess I am just not smart enough.

Thankfully, I eventually learned that it is not about how much time you spend studying but how effectively you use that time.

Focus, Rest, Repeat

Spending hours upon hours trying to comprehend the large quantities of information–while unintentionally getting side-tracked by scrolling through the latest Twitter drama–is probably not the best way to go about studying. I find it helpful to have distraction-free, focused time on one subject for an hour, then take a 5 to 15 minute break, letting your mind chill on it for a few. Maybe take that break time to go on a walk, answer a few texts, meditate, listen to music, or my personal favorite, consume healthy snacks. I find it helpful to change up the subjects, every hour or so that I don’t get bored with the same material.

Spend time with your professors

You have heard it before: “Go to Office Hours!” That’s true…but it is not as easy as they make it sound, right? It can be intimidating going to see your professor, especially if it is a large class. They are not as scary as they seem; they genuinely care about you as a person and as a student, and they want you to succeed in their class. It can be helpful to have questions prepared before you go, especially if you are worried about making conversation with them. At Ohio State, we have many professors with expertise in a wide variety of academia. Don’t be afraid to seek them out even just to learn more about their journey or what they are passionate about in life. Your professors can be your mentors, even if they do not work in your major’s department.

Study with friends!

It can be helpful to study with other people for classes that require memorization strategies. If you can explain things to others, it helps solidify the information in your brain as opposed to reviewing the same notes over and over again on your own. You can test and help each other understand material that clicks for you but not for someone else (or vise versa).

Catch many Z’s

As hard as it may seem, prioritize sleep! Getting rest helps our brains store the information we are trying to learn through out each day. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep each night, and avoid all-nighters as an effective way of studying for an upcoming exam…because they are not effective. Staying active can also help keep the stress levels down, even throughout the time when exams are looming. Physical activity doesn’t have to happen in the gym; it can be going for a walk or run, playing a sport like ultimate Frisbee or basketball, or doing pull ups on your lofted bed (be careful).

Try a few of these tips, and hopefully you will feel more confident heading into your exam, more confident heading out, and make the most of your experience at Ohio State. For more tips for success, check out the Dennis Learning Center for techniques on note taking, battling procrastination, and test taking.

 

 

Your Résumé (not) To-Do List

We’re at the time of year where many students are polishing (or perhaps creating) their résumés for summer employment opportunities. In FYE, we get to see some great (and not-so-great) résumés from student leaders who support new students, so these tips I’m sharing with you are based on years of observation of what doesn’t work on a student résumé.

Disclaimer: My opinion is just one in a sea of opinions about résumés; it also comes with the caveat that you should heed the recommendations of the Career Services office for your college or department (especially if you are seeking to become gainfully employed in that field or discipline).


Extravagant paper

You never know who you’re offending with pink, speckled paper, and the print on dark colors can be difficult to read if the résumé is photocopied. Stick to white or cream résumé paper.

Graphics or pictures of any kind

Who doesn’t love a good cat pic or NFL logo? There is a time and a place for those things, but it should not include your résumé (plus, you may be violating copyright laws). Be remembered for the content of your package, not its wrapping paper.

Inconsistent formatting

A résumé is not the time to experiment with funky fonts, lightning bolts as bullet points, or zigzag margins. Each element of your résumé should look the same as all other elements; for example:

  • Bullet point margins should line up
  • Dates should be formatted identically throughout (9/14 or September 2014…not both)
  • Use of bolditalic or underlined words should be used consistently (e.g., put every job title in bold, underline all section headers)

More than two pages in length

Some people will tell you a résumé should only be one page; regardless, it should never be more than two pages. If you exceed two pages, you are either being too robust in your work history and details, or you are using 18pt font and 3in margins.

Using acronyms

Ohio State is full of acronyms (RPAC, CABS, RA) that the average non-Buckeye may not understand. If the acronym is common and you’ll use it more than once in the résumé, explain what it stands for in your first reference–e.g., Resident Advisor (RA); then, continue to refer to it by its acronym.

Inadequate description of responsibilities

Employers want to be able to determine employee/environment fit for a position, and they need to quickly ascertain which skills you have that are transferable to the job for which you are applying. Choose dynamic words and phrases to illustrate your accomplishments, and aim for 3-5 bullet points for each job or experience listed on your résumé. If you can’t come up with at least three bullet points, it may not be significant enough to include. Download a list of action verbs from Career Counseling and Support Services.

Overwhelming description of responsibilities

Too much content makes it difficult for an employer to discern relevant components of your experience. Again, you’re aiming for 3-5 bullet points per experience that (concisely) demonstrate transferrable skills.

Falsifying information

Lying is bad. Don’t do it.

Spelling and grammatical errors

Two of my favorites: people who say they worked in costumer service (which I guess is helping clowns get dressed?); and, the unfortunate soul who once said she was a lifeguard for the pubic pool. Proofread your résumé, and then ask a trusted friend to look at it as well.

Using a Microsoft Word template

The convenience is alluring, to be sure, but there is nothing about a Word template (that literally anyone with Word can use) that says you are an original, creative person who is more qualified than any other applicant. Create your own template that best represents your identify and experiences.


Additional tips for success

  • Email address – make it appropriate!
  • Objective statement – not necessary unless you’re posting your résumé on a job website.
  • Section headings (and their order) – education should go first (since you’re currently in college) and others depend on the position for which you’re applying (put the most relevant experience next).
  • Font selection and size – nothing too fancy, and it should be between 10pt and 12pt.
  • Sending electronic copies – save and send as a PDF when possible to avoid formatting issues on the receiving end.
  • Using job descriptions/expectations – save your job descriptions or ask your former supervisor(s) for it, then use it to build your résumé bullet points.
  • Envision your “ideal” résumé – pursue opportunities that get you there.

“Working out just isn’t working out”

We’ve all come up with excuses at some time or another to avoid going to the gym: I have too much to do, it’s too far away, or it’s too cold out (or, in the case of this semester, there’s still too much snow on the ground!) But in reality, we know this is something important we should do to live a healthy lifestyle.

Don't put me down for cardio

For me, working out has always been a chore. Last year, I  viewed it as something I didn’t like to do, but I did it anyway. But this had its flaws. If I was really busy, working out was the first thing that would go. If it was really cold, I wouldn’t make the frigid walk to the RPAC.

It took me a while to understand, but working out and exercising on a regular basis has helped me manage my time better, feel better about myself, and be happier in general! (Who knew all that could come from a treadmill?!)

Here are 5 tips I’ve learned over the past year or so on how I have increased my motivation to work out.

Find a friend

Working out with a buddy is a great way to build motivation for a workout. If you and a friend schedule a workout, you’re less likely to back out if you know someone is relying on you to be there. Plus it’s fun! Going to a ZUMBA class or yoga with a friend for the first time can be a fun way to let loose!

Have fun

Finding an activity you enjoy makes working out fun! Running on the treadmill every day can get repititive, so try a variety of things–maybe it’s a pickup game of basketball, or a night of rock-climbing. Trying new activities is a great way to spice things up a bit.

Set goals

If you set a goal in your workout plan, you will feel like you’re working toward something. Maybe it’s running two more laps around the track next time, or increasing the weights you lift. Or maybe it’s scoring a few more goals in your intramural soccer game! Whatever it is, setting a goal helps you feel productive.

Understand the benefits

Understanding the benefits of exercising also helps with the motivation of actually doing it. Now that we’re (hopefully) coming out of the snowy, gloomy winter of central Ohio, the weather is getting nicer and we can spend more time outside. But when it’s cold and gloomy, we lack the vitamin D we get from the sun, which can sometimes affect our moods. By exercising regularly, you release serotonin which helps make you happier! I am no expert on health and medicine, but I’ve noticed when I work out regularly, I’m happier, more productive, and feel better in general. Check out the Student Wellness Center for more benefits and information.

Just do it!

Committing to yourself is half the battle! By scheduling workout times into your weekly schedule, you’ll be prepared for your hectic day. If you know you have a busy couple of days, schedule a workout time so you can prepare to bring your clothes and tennis shoes with you for the day. This way, you’ll be ready  to go!

I understand where the lack of motivation to work out comes from. Hopefully these ideas will help you a little bit! Hey! Maybe with enough practice you can do this: