Guest Post: Choosing Your Major

Hello friends of Jenn! My name is Rachael and I am from The Overwhelmed Undergrad. As my blog implies, I am an undergraduate student who is way too busy doing anything and everything I can get myself into. I am a junior biology major with a minor in equine studies. I have four jobs on my college campus, I am involved in various clubs, and I ride for my college’s IHSA Equestrian Team. I started my blog to write about the random musings of an overwhelmed undergraduate student. Today I want to share with you my experience with choosing a major, something that seems to be more difficult than it should be.

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Ever since I can remember, I wanted to become a veterinarian when I grew up. Animals are my passion, my whole world, so why wouldn’t I want to help them for the rest of my life? Entering college, I knew that there was no other option for me other than majoring in pre-veterinary science to prepare myself for veterinary school. I made my way to my new college home, 250 miles away from my hometown, ready to make my dreams come true. A year and a half later, at 19 years old, I realized that I had absolutely NO IDEA what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. *Cue in immense amounts of panic*

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After way too much deliberation, crying to my friends and family, and having many conversations with my professors, I changed my major to biology. I saw the little light bulb shining above my head: I was not obligated to do what I always thought I was going to do. Do I still love animals more than anything? Yes. Do I still want to help them? Yes. Do I still want to enjoy my career? Yes. Do I NEED to go to veterinary school to do this? No.

College is about finding yourself. Yes, this is probably the most common cliché you are going to hear before, during, and after your college years, but it is probably also the most important. It is okay to explore the opportunities that the world has to offer. If the opportunities presented to you seem more appealing than what you thought about in the past, then go for something different! The only person that you have to please is yourself. If you do not major in something you enjoy to enter a career that you will enjoy, the only thing you are going to be is miserable.

What are a few “simple” pieces of advice that I can give to an incoming or new college student about choosing their major?

  1. Choose a major, take classes and electives you enjoy, but always keep an open mind.
  2. Get involved on campus and throughout the community. You may love doing something that you never would have expected.
  3. Learn everything you possibly can. I don’t care how boring that stupid short story is for your Intro to Literature class… Read it, dissect it, find a different viewpoint, and learn.
  4. Attend lectures hosted by your school, even if extra credit isn’t being offered.
  5. After all of that, change your major if you want to. Change it 5 times. It is okay to be indecisive. (But remember to make sure it won’t affect your graduation date…)
  6. Most importantly, make new friends and have fun. College will fly by without you noticing, but it is such an amazing experience.

Thank you for letting me visit! I hope you all enjoyed.

 

About the Contributor:

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Rachael is in her junior year at a small private college in Massachusetts, majoring in biology with a minor in equine studies. She believes that animals are better than people and leading a boring life is completely unacceptable. Her blog, The Overwhelmed Undergrad, is a place in the universe where she shares stories from her anything but calm life.

 

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Guest Post: Just For Me Mani (Plus, An Interview Tip!)

Hi everyone!! My name is Jacqui and I run a U.S. nail art blog called craftynail.com.  I’m very happy to guest post for Polished PR today!  After all, I’ve been reading Jenn’s blog since, well, since we both started blogging!  I love that Jenn throws in little tips on career building.  I moonlight as a nail blogger, but I work as an advisor at a university for my day job.  So education and career planning is in the forefront of my mind as well.  If you read through to the end of my post I will have a bonus job interviewing tip for you!  But let’s see my nails first…

As a blogger, I often find myself doing my nails specifically for a nail art challenge, or to review a new product I received. But what’s different about this manicure is that I did it JUST FOR ME! It’s not often enough that I get to do a manicure just because I feel like it! I used two polishes that have been calling to me saying, “Jacqui, you love me, why don’t you wear me?  You keep thinking about me, but I’m still sitting here on this shelf!” Those two talking polishes are Zoya Zuza (my base color) and Sinful Colors Lush Life (glitter topper).

Being this glitter-tastic didn’t come easy though! You won’t believe how many coats of polish I’m wearing here. I applied one coat of Essence peel-off base coat, two coats of Zoya Zuza to give me a nice teal base color, 5 coats of my Sinful Colors teal glitter, and one coat of Seche Vite topcoat.  That is a total of 9 coats!  I didn’t expect needing that many, but I wanted it to be super glittery and my Lush Life glitter was more sparse than I expected.  Oh well.  No one said being beautiful was easy!

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Now for my job interviewing tip!  I interview students from time to time when my office needs a new student worker or intern.  I have also been on the other side, as an interviewee, since I have had many career changes since I graduated from college.  I’ve landed some jobs that I had no experience in at all.  I’d like to think that a lot of my success hinged on my interviewing skills.  Specifically, my enthusiasm and honesty.  What do I mean by that?  If I’m interviewing for a job and I’m really psyched about it, I make sure to tell the interviewer!  You should come right out and tell them exactly why you think you are perfect for the job and that you’re really excited about the opportunity.  Be honest with them.  If you’re thinking it’s a perfect fit for you, then tell them that!  If they don’t ask you questions that allow you to express this stuff, then make sure to bring it up before you leave the interview.

When I’m saying my goodbyes I like to stand up, shake their hand nice and firm and tell them how excited I am because of x, y and z. Look them straight in the eyes and be honest and enthusiastic.  You want to end the interview with a bang so you stand out from the bunch.  Why would they want to hire someone who just comes in, sits down and answers their questions like a drone when they could hire YOU!

I must admit, I always get so nervous before I interview!  I can’t tell you how to handle that, since I haven’t found a solution for that yet.  LOL!  But none the less, I hope my little interviewing tip is helpful for you.  Thanks to Jenn for having me!  And if you want to see more of my Craftynail style, find me online!  Here’s where I’ll be hanging out– facebookpinteresttwittertumblr, and bloglovin. 

 

 About the Contributor:

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Jacqui lives in the Hudson Valley of New York State, where she works at a university as a financial aid counselor. When the daily grind of student loans comes to an end, she can be found hibernating at home while whipping up some cool craftiness. The main focus of her blog, Craftynail, is on nail care, nail polish and cute nail designs.

Guest Post: Shaping Your Career Path With A Blog

Everything starts with an idea. For me, though, it started with a fear. The idea of people reading my writing has always been horrifying to me. I would cover my paper when teachers walked by, shoo my sister away if she saw me scribbling, and then later on, I just decided not to write anymore.  The fear of someone else reading and then possibly critiquing my writing was enough to stifle my passion for a long time.

I am, now a public relations major at Penn State, and after being undecided my first two years (more like, undecided most of my life), I could not be happier with my decision. I love PR because I have a passion for people. I want to be the bridge between person and company, and public relations is the perfect way to do that.

Public relations isn’t all glam and gold though. I have to write, and people have to read it. My writing professor this semester gave me great advice, and that was to write everyday. Simple enough, right? I wanted to take this a step further. It’s one thing to write everyday, but I saw this as an opportunity to rekindle an old flame. After not writing for so long, I wanted to do something worthwhile with it.  So naturally, I started a blog.

I have only been blogging for a couple of months. After I published my first post, I was excited, horrified and proud. Nothing is more permanent then the Internet, and now I had about 300 of my own words, published for the whole world to see. I wanted to keep going. The fear I had of people reading my writing and critiquing and judging was slowly starting to disappear.

After only a couple months of blogging, I was accepted to be a member of the Her Campus Blogger Network. But, what’s even more exciting to me, is that I’ve told my friends and my family about my blog. I was afraid of judgment, but all I am getting is love and support.

I cannot wait for my blog to grow into something truly amazing and wonderful. I am excited for upcoming projects and my future as a blogger. I am grateful for my new followers and my exponentially growing views that I receive everyday. But I don’t think anything will ever compare to seeing someone I love and them telling me, “Hey, I read your blog today.”

 

About the Contributor:

Me

Briannah is currently a sophomore studying public relations at Penn State University. She recently discovered her passion for blogging and loves to write about the obstacles she faces in college and how she is over coming them. Her blog, Briannah., is a lifestyle, fashion, and beauty blog where she gives her readers the inside scoop on fashion trends and beauty product reviews, as well as allows them to see her mistakes and triumphs as a college student.

Getting An Internship Part 2: Preparing Your Cover Letter

In this second part of the “Getting An Internship” series, I’m going to go over how to compile information within paragraphs to create a basic cover letter. Your cover letter will help the reader (hopefully your future internship supervisor!) get to know more about you, your passions and your skills.

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Traditionally, cover letters are used as an attachment, sent along with your resume for review by the recruiter. While others may recommend that you continue distributing your cover letter as so, I actually recommend that you use your cover letter as the body of your email to the recruiter. One of the big things that we learn as public relations students is when pitching to an outlet to gain coverage of your client, you want to capture the reader’s attention– and then get to the point. I look at reaching out to a recruiter the same way. Whichever method you choose is up to you, but this tip sheet will help you either way. Make a rough draft that answers the following questions, and then form them into sentences (with transitions!) to create smooth paragraphs that flow together.

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I’ve also attached a sample cover letter below that will help you get the gist of how to put it all together. This cover letter is one I actually used to secure an interview, and ultimately an offer, from my current job. I hope that you find this useful, and if you have any questions at all, don’t be afraid to ask!

To Whom It May Concern,

My name is Jennifer Thai and I am a public relations student at the
University of South Florida, expected to graduate in December of this
year. I came across your listing for the social media associate
position on the Ad 2 Tampa Bay job bank, while searching for career
opportunities that are a match with my area of interest. This particular position
caught my eye as it entails creating & maintaining social media
strategies as well as other public relations & marketing initiatives
for clients, which is where my expertise lies.

I have three years of public relations and communications internship
experience in both agency and in-house settings, as detailed in my
resume. I also bring four years of internship experience in digital
marketing—because these particular digital positions required me to
work remotely, I am proud to say that I have gained the ability to
successfully manage multiple projects in a fast-paced environment
while never missing a deadline.

I am a creative and socially-driven individual, and I believe that my
abilities in interpersonal communication, taking initiative and
remaining level-headed through any situation are qualities that would
best suit a position of this nature. I would love to be given the
opportunity to fill this position, and to be able to show that the
qualities that I possess will establish me as an ideal social media
associate. Thank you for your time and consideration, and I hope to
hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Thai

Countdown To The New Year

Where do I even begin to start? This past year has been, for lack of a better word, wonderful. Even in its worst moments, I was given blessings in the form of lessons, and I’ve grown significantly from where I was at the beginning of the year. In just less than 9 hours, 2014 will arrive…and who knows what’s in store for us this coming year? My resolutions for the year are:

  1. To continue shaping myself and growing as an individual;
  2. To embrace change and life’s surprises;
  3. To learn more and continue perfecting my skills in the workplace;
  4. To be able to provide for myself without any assistance from my family or significant other.

Now that I have graduated college and am moving on to the next phase of my life, these are four areas I want to improve on within the next year. I’m going to take each day as it comes– we’ll see what becomes of these resolutions once December 31, 2o14 arrives!

And of course, I want to continue growing this blog and exploring my creative side, but that’s not so much a resolution as it is a way of life for me ;) I was lucky to have the time to put together two nail designs this week, both expressing my excitement for 2014:

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I’ll leave you with my favorite quote regarding the New Year, from Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.
I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful,
and don’t forget 
to make some art —
write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Happy New Year 2014-01