Sunday, May 31, 2009

Helpful Advice for Job Seekers (Part 1 of 2)

This week's blog entry brings us to two pieces of advice I would like to pass on to all the job seekers out there. These two pieces of advice are ideas I have settled on over the last few years during internships, school, and studying abroad. Let's begin.

"Make it your own."

Sometimes when things get hectic, you may feel like life is out of your control. We have all been here. Occasionally the combination of several stressors in our lives can set off what feels like a nuclear explosion of stress and the feeling that the light at the end of the tunnel will never arrive. Explosions like this seem to happen even more frequently for college students in engineering who are trying to balance one of the hardest majors on campus with trying to maintain a social life and get enough sleep to survive. Yes, it's hard, but let's think about this in terms of making it your own.

Making it your own means choosing paths for yourself that match what you truly want. This includes being introspective to figure out what things you would like to pursue, a determination to find out more about these things, and a drive to accomplish what you have set out for yourself. An example of this is how I settled on doing study abroad. I've known for a long time that I want to integrate travel into my life, but it wasn't until I arrived home after my first year at MSU that I really started wanting to pursue a study abroad program. After a few weeks back at my parents house, I realized I didn't want to have to live at home over the summer again if I could help it (sorry Mom and Dad). Knowing this, I started brainstorming ideas of how to get away. The two paths I ended up settling on were study abroad and a co-op program.

My first step towards spending my next summer somewhere else was to research each path (co-op and study abroad) in order to figure out the plausibility for each and make a plan to incorporate these into my life. For study abroad, I got onto the Office of Study Abroad website and searched programs that met my criteria. I wanted something outside of engineering, in the summer, and preferably in Europe. The program I chose was literally the first one I looked at. I kept on coming back to its profile because it seemed to be exactly what I wanted.

The next step was to make a plan. Within a week, I contacted the program coordinators, researched scholarships, and started to figure out the logistics of making a commitment to this program. The rest is history.

Now how could you apply this to your life? If you know that you'd like to do an internship program, start using your resources to figure out how to do this. Sitting around talking about how you want to do this or that is never going to get you there. Start acting on your ideas and see where it leads you.

Another aspect of making it your own has to do with when you're committed to something and realize you are totally overwhelmed. This is the point where you need to step back and figure out how to setup the situation so that you are able to be happy. An example of this is when you move somewhere new for an internship. How can you make it your own?

One way to make it your own is to figure out one of your passions and integrate it into your new position. Love trying new things? Sign up for a class or event in your new location. You'll get to learn something new and also meet new people in the process. This can pretty much be applied to anything.

Hopefully this piece of advice helps! It has definitely been an important part of my mind-set over the last few years. Next week I'd like to continue with Part 2 of the advice for job seekers with how respect leads to respect.

As usual,

Good Luck Job Seekers!

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