The Top 4 Ways To Work On Your Career While Still In School (Guest Post)

By Alex Pejak.
Alex is an economist currently working on a few projects in Australia. She is passionate about market research and career development. She is also interested in topics related to project management and business IT.

As you study it’s always an excellent idea to keep the next step in mind. What will you do once you graduate? If you’re like most students, you’re planning to find a job and start a career. Yet we live in a very competitive economy and many students are finding that careers do not simply appear out of thin air upon graduation. The best jobs go to those who began preparing long before it came time to find one. To make sure you land the kind of position you’re hoping to get, it’s a good idea to start working on your career now, while you’re still in school.

In general, the most important and most effective ways of setting yourself up for post-graduation success involve building up your skills and experience in the field you’d like to work in. This gives you confidence in your choice of career, and shows employers that you’re ready. Also, the experience you gain during your studies will ensure you know the industry’s leaders, language, and trends, which will help you choose the best employer for you rather than finding yourself looking for the one with the largest career-fair booth.

1. Do The Best Job You Can  

The simplest method of setting yourself up for a smooth transition to the working world is simply putting in the effort during school. By being diligent, getting good grades, and participating both on and off campus, you start attracting fans and building up a network… people who will be eager to help you succeed later.

Sometimes, you may even find the organizations you volunteered at will want to hire you right out of school. Compared with sending out hundreds of CVs and sitting through dozens of interviews, this can be a highly appealing proposition.

In other cases, you’ll find your experiences mean that club leaders, peers, and professors will give you glowing references, and will help to mentor you as part of their own legacy. The resulting experiences will make for wonderful stories in job interviews, and your accomplishments will look excellent on your CV and in cover letters.

2. Intern or Volunteer In Your Time Off         

Often, the classic “student jobs” like bartending or retail have no connection to the career you want to pursue later. There are few better ways to explore an interesting-sounding career, on the other hand, than interning or volunteering in a related position. Make a point of spending your summers and breaks in positions, even if they’re unpaid, which have a connection to the career you want to pursue.

Since applying to internships is nearly identical to applying for a regular job — you’ll require a good quality CV and cover letter, and you may need to show language or computer certificates — the process will also provide valuable practice for the working world later.

3. Go Abroad    

Interning or volunteering abroad is a little more complicated, to be sure. However, expanding your horizons and learning to work in a different culture is always a valuable personal development experience and highly attractive to employers. Showing experience abroad on your CV will convey to potential employers that you can work well in nearly any situation, that you’re more well-rounded and balanced than most other candidates. This marks you as a candidate for leadership and management from day one.

Better still, going abroad is not as difficult as it sounds. While you will likely require translated copies of your CV, cover letter, references, certificates, and such, online translation makes this fast and easy. Additionally, once you’ve found a position in a foreign country, the firm will likely have resources to help you arrange a visa, accommodation, and the like.

4. Pick Your Classes Wisely   

Last but not least, though it may seem obvious to some, your choice of classes is an excellent way to work on your career as you study. You can use your classes as a way of learning about the current trends, major players, and language of the fields that interest you. Look at which classes have a practical application to your field of choice, and focus on those. Particularly in business classes, the materials you read may be the same things that shaped the management ideals of the companies you will go work for.

Conclusion

In many respects, the best ways of preparing yourself for a future career as you study are the simplest: put in as much work as you can, take every chance you get to gain hands-on experience in the field. The exception, studying or working abroad, is a little more involved but also one of the most rewarding. In fact, there’s a good argument to be made that going abroad is so beneficial because there are hurdles involved — most candidates you’ll be competing against won’t bother. Keep this principle in mind as you study, too. By looking for opportunities that most people can’t be bothered to take, it’s easy to give yourself a big advantage.

 

The Many Ways Students Can Make Money From Unwanted Items (Guest Post)

By Maja Tisma. 

Maja is a Graphic Designer with a passion for Frugal Living. She wants to help people to make their money go as far as possible, and does so with her website DailyProof.

As a student, it’s often difficult to fit any kind of employment around your studies. Even if you find a way, trying to make ends meet can seem pretty much impossible! Everyone knows that getting a job while at college or university can help your employability afterwards, but practicalities surrounding actually getting your degree must come first. How, then, should you best make some money to actually maintain your standard of living and get by?

First if all, it’s a good idea to get yourself into a habit of reading blogs and websites dedicated to the practice of frugal living. There are some great tips out there, and most aren’t at all time consuming. Not only are they great for providing you with ways to make money, websites such as Daily Proof and even your typical Social Networking sites can help you actually save money, too. From coupons to budgeting, there’s no point in shying away and looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Still stuck? Here’s a breakdown of the best ways to gain from stuff you already have:

Ebay/Amazon

Now, these ones are a bit of a given, but it just goes to show that tried and tested methods really work! Whether you’ve got some old clothes flung at the bottom of your wardrobe, or some antiques handed down through the generations that you really see no use for, these websites could indeed be your saving grace. If you don’t really have anything sale-worthy, get customizing! There’s a new trend surrounding upcycling, and it’s a fantastic way to make something shiny and new out of old stuff. It’s environmentally friendly as well, because it’s basically just a glam form of traditional recycling.

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

These are some books sold by the editor of this site for over $100!

De-Cluttering Sites & Stores

Following on from the standard sites mentioned above, there are some great sites out there which actually take the hassle out even more (if that’s possible!) from selling on your junk. Just go to sites like De-Cluttr, enter the barcode or specifics of the items you want to shift, and you’ll be given a price. And that’s it! No auctions, no waiting around for someone to commit to a purchase. You’ll be invited to send off your items (from gadgets and CDs, to DVDs and clothes), and once they’ve been vetted, they’ll pay out. On the same level are businesses such as Cash4Clothes, who pay out to recycle your stuff for you, by taking your clothes to places in need. You won’t get much for them, but it’s better than them just sitting there collecting dust, right?

College Groups/ At College

If your college is on Facebook, it’s likely that there will be a group dedicated to the students. Find people taking your classes and see whether they’d like to buy your books from you once you’re done. Not only will you make a little back from your investment, you’ll win some brownie points in helping out some of the younger students.

‘The Old Fashioned Way’

Have a yard sale! It may not seem very 21st Century, but sometimes, the oldies know best. As the warmer weather approaches, it’s the perfect time to gather some friends and set up shop (literally) for the day. Be prepared for hagglers – set your prices a little higher than you actually hope for, but not so high that you have them running for the hills. Make some posters and flyers and pepper them around the neighborhood, and you’re good to go!

Swap Shop

This is a trend that has been sweeping campuses the last few years. A ‘Swap Shop’ might not make you any money per se, but it’s a brilliant way to gain some new essentials just by using the ones you no longer want. Think of it as a giant hand-me-down extravaganza; whether it’s just between your circle of friends, or even spread to a larger audience. Why not charge everyone $3 to enter, have everyone bring 3 good items of clothing that they no longer have use for, and give everyone a ticket to be used in exchange for someone else’s clothes that they do want? The admission can be put to charity or a society event, so not only will you gain a new wardrobe for next to nothing, the rewards can be reaped elsewhere as well.

There are an abundance of ways that you can make a little extra cash while you’re studying – you just have to get creative!

 

Landing a Dream Job in Wildlife Tourism (Guest Post)

By Dianna Terry. Dianna is a marine biology PhD candidate working for an ocean conservancy organization.

Kneeling in roadside sand to identify a lion’s pugmark, interpreting a humpback’s tail-slap for a ship full of camera-wielding whale-watchers, collecting a blood sample from an ailing goose in a marshland refuge—a career in the wildlife-tourism industry is often rife with adventure. For anyone who loves animals and wild ecosystems, it can be a deeply fulfilling dream job.

wildlife careers

Do you love animals? Consider a career in wildlife tourism.

Wildlife tourism, though, covers a broad spectrum of specific careers. You could become a safari guide for a travel company, which might be the job that most automatically comes to mind. But you might also be a field researcher, studying populations of wild animals in national parks and other protected lands that attract wildlife-watchers in droves. Maybe you’ll don a doctor’s coat to ensure a population of endangered animals is secure against devastating disease—including those potentially transmitted by humans in ecotourism situations. Perhaps you’ll tackle another aspect of the field by regulating industry practices with an eye toward sustainability through a group such as the International Ecotourism Society.

Zoological parks also often fall under the umbrella, and not only because the animals on display serve as educational ambassadors for their wild brethren: Many leading zoos are also heavily involved in conservation work. The Milwaukee County Zoo, for example, has long tended one of North America’s biggest colonies of captive bonobos, and works to secure wild populations of these rare great apes in equatorial Africa, according to BonoboConservation.com.

Education

Pursuing an academic track in biological sciences gives you a comprehensive, technical understanding of how animals are put together and how they function in relation to their environment. Mastering these fundamentals of physiology and ecology is crucial to many aspects of conservation work.

To some, wildlife biology or zoology might appear “softer” academic routes than physics or chemistry: A trotting wolf, after all, seems easier to understand than the invisible latticework of an organic compound or the complicated equations accounting for the behavior of the universe. But biologists familiarize themselves with many levels of ecological organization and process, from an animal’s physiological requirements to its larger-scale interactions with other species, the seasonal and long-term patterns of its movements in the context of different habitats, and its response and susceptibility to climatic fluctuations.

Beyond a wildlife-biology or ecology program, a degree or certificate in veterinary studies can also usher you into ecotourism work by giving you the tools to diagnose and treat diseases affecting wild or captive animals. For example, the Veterinary Technician Program through PennFoster.edu exposes you to everything from basic tenets of biology and medical mathematics to intensive courses on animal anatomy and nutrition. When assessing potential veterinary curriculums, keep an eye out for accreditation by institutions such as the American Veterinary Medical Association.

An undergraduate degree or certification in wildlife ecology, conservation biology, or some related field may be sufficient to land professional work in wildlife tourism—particularly when combined with plenty of practical experience. However, further education is often mandatory for high-level research and managerial positions, as NationalZoo.si.edu explains.

Interning and Volunteering

As with any line of study, volunteering or interning can be enormously beneficial. Beyond making you more attractive to a hiring committee, it provides a better sense of exactly what kind of position and what area of focus most interests you. Jobs working with charismatic megafauna like elephants and tigers can be highly competitive; volunteering as a data-cruncher or field assistant gives you a taste of the drama while also improving your resume.

Inquire with zoos, wildlife refuges, veterinary clinics, national parks, ecotourism companies, and other organizations to find out about volunteer and internship opportunities. If you’re lucky and committed, you might even land yourself a direct job opportunity out of the deal.

Deciding to Become a Teacher (Guest Post)

By Fiona Mayberry.  Fiona loves teaching others, and loves that the internet allows her to reach different people every week. She currently writes about education policies and degree certification processes.

If you’re in high school or college right now, you’re probably putting a lot of thought into what you want to do with your life. It’s possible that the most influential people in your life have been teachers, which might inspire you to become a teacher yourself. Before you commit to that career path though, there are a few things to consider:

Source of Motivation

If you want to become a teacher to change people’s lives, that’s wonderful. Just know that you won’t feel like you’re making an impact every day. If you’re inspired by seeing small improvements in a student’s work, or knowing you made someone’s day better, then you’ll be fine. If, however, you expect to see large results quickly, you might go through long periods of time where you feel frustrated. It’s important to know yourself and have realistic expectations.

Hours

Some people are attracted to the teaching profession because they like the idea of working the same schedule every day. 7-3 Monday through Friday seems pretty cushy, and the idea of summer breaks is appealing as well. But teachers often have to take their work home to grade papers and create lesson plans. They also have after-school events such as staff meetings, parent conferences, and continual learning opportunities. You’ll work a lot more than just classroom hours. Also, depending on your financial situation, you might have to teach summer courses or find an additional source of income for vacation times. Keep all this in mind and know that class times are not going to be your only work times.

Do you have what it takes to be a teacher?

Do you have what it takes to be a teacher?

State Requirements

Every state has its own requirements for teaching certifications.  If you’re planning on moving, make sure you know the requirements for the state you’re considering. Certain areas require different tests and even prerequisite degrees and courses in order to take the certification tests. Classroom experience is also a qualification that varies state-to-state.

Likewise, states all have different laws when it comes to what is taught in the classroom. Look into how much input teachers in your target area have over what they teach. Look at the current proposed bills affecting education so that you know not only the current classroom atmosphere, but what it’s likely to be like in the future.

Once you take all these things into consideration, you will be more prepared to make an informed decision. Will a classroom environment allow you to thrive? Is teaching the way for you to fulfill your life goals? If so, start looking at online teacher communities, and talk with those in the field. The more you see of what teaching is actually like, the more prepared you will be to have a positive impact on student lives.

Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits in College (Guest Post)

By Dorothy Richardson
Parent, wellness coach, DIY guru

The college experience is formative not just in terms of education, but also in terms of lifestyle. As students move away from their childhood homes for the first time, they have complete control over every facet of their day. What they eat, when they sleep, how much they party, when (or if) they do their homework is all up to them. While this can be a great learning experience for young adults, it also presents potential downfalls if poor lifestyle habits are adopted. Those habits can carry on into adulthood and have negative effects on short and long-term health. With that in mind, college students should make a concerted effort to build healthy lifestyle habits while still in school. Here are four ways to preserve physical and mental health, both now and in the future.

Healthy Lifestyle Seamless Pattern

Establish a Regular Sleep Routine

A regular sleep schedule has numerous positive effects on a college student’s health. According to Scholarships.com, students who get 7 to 9 hours of sleep on a regular basis experience improved concentration and reduced fatigue. Those students may also experience a reduced appetite, which can help combat college weight gain. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note, the ill-effects of poor sleep can be severe; teenagers and young adults may suffer from poor academic performances, depression and increased social difficulties.

Unchain Yourself and Get Active

College students can spend long stretches of time sitting in class and studying at their desk. But prolonged sitting can come with consequences. Sitting for long periods with poor posture can place excessive stress on the back, leading to muscular pain and even conditions like spinal stenosis. Students should take breaks throughout their study sessions to get up and get active. Students should also be mindful of how heavy backpacks, poor diets, excessive screen time and other variables can affect their back health, according to Laser Spine Wellness. For tips and features on back health, check out online videos and resources offered by Laser Spine Institute on their Youtube channel.

Avoid Excessive Drinking

Drinking is a common pastime among college students, but it can have damaging consequences both while in college and years into the future. For one, excessive binge drinking can cause damage to the liver and other organs. Heavy drinkers face an increased risk of alcoholism, and it increases the risk of both alcohol poisoning and sexually transmitted diseases and other problems compounded by poor decision making, according to the CDC. And new research coming out of Harvard University suggests excessive drinking during the college years can actually increase an individual’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s later in life, while moderate drinking (up to 3 drinks nightly) can reduce this risk.

When Stress and Sadness Overwhelm, Seek Professional Help

Maintaining mental health can be a serious challenge for many college students. High stress, fluctuating moods, homesickness and depression can all create challenging obstacles to overcome. Fortunately, many colleges and universities offer free or low-cost mental health services to students in need. Students should take advantage of these services to mitigate the negative affects of their mental health conditions. By seeking out professional help, students can develop coping skills that will help them manage their current problems and even give them the tools to handle similar situations in the future.