The Student After Life

Valuable lessons to take away from college as the real world approaches

Master the fine art known as BS-ing

Writing a resume makes me want to cry. “Do potential employers care about this? Do they care that I worked here? Oh god, my grade point average sucks.”

Add resume writing on top of the stress of searching for a job and it’s no wonder people stay in school for 4+ years. “Whaddya mean I have to have 2 years of professional experience?! How am I ever going to get professional experience if nobody will give it to me?!”

Heck, last night I applied for a job that I’m so not even qualified for. I applied for 5 different positions with the Washington Nationals (Nationals Human Resources- If you’re reading this, I’d really like a job! (:  ) Ok, they’re not reading this, but a little sucking up never hurt anybody.

A little BS-ing on a resume never hurt anybody either.

My very first job was at Blockbuster (which I’m sad to say has now gone out of business- R.I.P). Not a very glamorous job, but my mother told me that you never diss a company that’s willing to pay you. I was able to BS this job enough on my first resume to make it sound like I was THE Blockbuster.

I was also able to make it sound like I was an essential part of Target’s payroll. I made it sound like if I wasn’t at work, the whole store would just fall apart- when in fact it meant someone wouldn’t be sitting at the fitting room giving customers that little plastic card with a number on it.

I’m sorry to say that neither Blockbuster nor Target made it onto my big girl resume. Employers aren’t going to care that I can straighten shelves and hand customers plastic numbers.

What DID make my resume was a perfectly BS-ed description of my Defense Contracting job. Now, I’m not saying you should make things up- that’s a huge no-no. What you do have to do is make yourself sound like an invaluable employee. Make your responsibilities sound bigger than the were.

The first thing I have underneath the Defense Contracting job is “Lead researcher of a team responsible for collecting and analyzing data for a biometrics database project for Department of Defense (DoD) use; collaborated with legal team on accuracy of data and areas needing further research”

Wow that’s a mouthful. It’s also 100% correct. It also makes me sound like I the head honcho of that company when in fact I was just a temporary employee. I somehow managed to take “Had a couple conference calls and meetings with one or two other people about collecting data” and “Leaned back in my chair and told my cubicle partner ‘Okay, I’m going to research these 3 countries, you take these 3′” and turn it into that brilliant sounding bullet point.

Lead researcher has a nice ring to it.

Buried under all these personal examples is a very important lesson. Make yourself sound important. Jobs want two years professional experience? Make it sound like you’ve already had that. Learn to master the fine art that is BS-ing. It could lead to bigger and better things…like oh, I don’t know….a job with the Nationals. They’re still not reading? Rats. Maybe one day. I did highlight on my resume that I was proficient in various blogging platforms. 🙂

Until next time…

P.S. Thanks mom for the blog idea!

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Food chain

TWO POSTS IN ONE DAY? SAY WHAAAT?!

Inspiration has been lacking lately. Time has become a precious commodity. Blogging unfortunately took a back seat to other classwork. But I’m back with a vengeance.

Today we’re going to talk about professors. Ready, set, go!

In high school we’re all made to believe that there is a very specific hierarchy that exists within the walls of our school. Goes a little something like this:

Principal –> Administration –> Teachers –> Us

There we are. Bottom of the food chain.

Then we enter college. Same frame of mind still applies. (Yes I know colleges don’t have principals, so substitute that for President).

Should the President be respected and treated as though they’ve work their behind off to get to this position? Absolutely.

Does that mean their untouchable? Absolutely not.

But we aren’t focusing on the President (oh, just FYI- Longwood’s president recently participated in a flash mob. It’s okay to be jealous other schools). We’re focusing on professors.

Don’t be afraid to approach your professors for help. I know some of them give off a “I’m better than you because I have 47 master’s degrees and I’ve written 14 dissertations” vibe, but you never know how they really are until you approach them outside of class. OF COURSE they’re going to give off a “I’m the professor, you’re the student” feeling in class. There has to be a sense of.. I don’t want to say dominance because they aren’t necessarily in charge of us…but there has to be a sense of respect and understanding that occurs between a professor and his/her students.

I’ve never had the greatest grades in college. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I’ve managed to do alright, but never great. Professors are available to help you be great. (Man, how cheesy was THAT?!)

The hierarchy exists in college. Just not in the same way. Don’t be afraid to approach your professors outside of class. It took me a couple semesters to realize that professors are people too (but oh man isn’t it still sooo awkward to see them at a restaurant or at the grocery store?!) They’ve been in our shoes before. Trust me, professors will remember who came to them outside of class for help.

Break the food chain.

Until next time…

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Golden rule, anyone?

Picture yourself in a classroom setting. Suddenly, you begin to freak out and looking frantically around the room hoping to make eye contact with someone. WHAT’S HAPPENING?! Your professor has just uttered the words some college students hate to hear::

GROUP. PROJECT.

I’ll be up front with you. I absolutely LOATHE/DESPISE/DETEST/ABHOR/HATE group work, but throughout every group project I’ve had, I’ve managed to learn some things and it’s the topic for today’s post.

Do you remember that song “Bossy” by Kelis? She’s probably more famous for gracing society with the lyrical genius that is “My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard…” but that’s a whole different story. The opening lyrics to her song “Bossy” are:  “You don’t have to love me, you don’t even have to like me. But you will respect me.”

Hmm. Kelis might be on to something.

There’s always those one or two kids in class that just seem to rub you the wrong way. Whenever they talk, all you’re hearing in your mind is “Shut up shut up shut up shut up.” So, naturally whenever a group project rolls around you get put in a group with one of these kids. OF COURSE. You shuffle over to your group, dreading what’s to come. You begin to talk to your partner, discussing possible topics/ideas and dates for meetings. Your group mate suffers from the following:

DISCLAIMER:: *If any of these the things I’m about to list describe you, I promise you it’s merely coincidental. This post is not meant to attack anyone* 

  • He/she throws out ideas that are in no way/shape/form related to your topic or the class
  • He/she looks at you to lead the way for the entire project
  • He/she is always absent and is possibly not even there the day groups are assigned
  • He/she is NEVER free during the week except for like 10 PM on Mondays and like 7 AM on Fridays

Doomed. From. The. Start.

I know there’s a lot of background information and scenarios in here. But in order to properly convey my message, I had to make sure you all understood where I was coming from. Maybe you’ve never been in a situation like this and you can’t identify with any of the things I’m saying. Now you can (somewhat, anyways)

Here’s what I’ve learned through my many experiences with group work: Just suck it up and do it. You can try and talk to your professor about reassigning you, but as a professor of mine once told me “sympathy is in my dictionary between ‘s***’ and ‘syphilis.'” You’re stuck with this person. You’re expected to do your project. Do the project and move on. You don’t have to become best friends with this person. IT’S OKAY TO NOT LIKE SOME PEOPLE. Let me say that one more time:: IT’S OKAY TO NOT LIKE SOME PEOPLE.

It’s not okay to disrespect whoever you’re working with.

I know this all seems a little “golden rule-y” and whatnot, but I think it needed to be said now. This is the time of year when end of the semester presentations are being assigned and you’ve been around your current classmates long enough to know which ones “bother” you and which ones are alright. Just remember to respect each other’s opinions and if you have to, let their ideas down gently. It’ll all work out for the better.

And if all else fails, listen to the first 11 seconds of”Bossy

Until next time…

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