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A Winter Wonderland?

winter, blog, college

Going to a college in the northern part of the country can be a bit of crapshoot. Sometimes winter is really cold, and sometimes it’s weird. Now maybe that’s just the state of Pennsylvania, because as anyone living here can tell you, the weather’s pretty weird in general. Most of the time, it’s freezing cold by the time mid-January hits. We typically get no snow for Christmas, but next week there’s a good three inches on the ground. And then winter goes through this love-hate stage where it can’t decide when it’s going to leave come March and April. Last year, winter stuck around a good while, till the first week of April, before it finally said goodbye.

So January 2017 starts, I come up to school early to get a class out of the way before the spring semester starts, and I’m prepared for the worst. Icy conditions, a foot of snow, and anything from 20 degrees to 20 below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. And it looks like at first, that’s how this two week class period is going to go. And then it reaches 50 degrees. 50. Degrees. And back home, a few hours south of my school, it was in the 60s. For January weather, that’s ridiculously warm. Not the warmest it’s ever gotten, but definitely unusual for this time of year.

In complete honesty, I really don’t mind it. The only time I like the cold is when there’s snow on the ground, so for it to be warm is a rather nice change. Some folks might get worried about global warming and climate change, but I don’t think that’s the case. Usually, the temperatures balance out here. If the winter is colder, the summer is warmer. If the winter is warmer, the summer is cooler. Weird weather is also pretty typical for Western Pennsylvania. And given that the Southern half of the US was hammered with snow a few weeks ago, I’d say this is following the weird weather trend on the East Coast.

While I don’t mind the warmer weather, it’s making me realize the cold isn’t all that bad. You don’t need an excuse to not go out when it’s cold. You can stock up on snacks and soups for the days you don’t want to cook anything. It’s an excuse to wear cute and comfy clothes all day. And you can go play in the snow, if there’s snow to play in. But with warmer weather, you can’t really use the weather as an excuse to not go out, unless it’s raining. You can still wear cute and comfy clothes, but you can’t play in the snow. No matter what winter is like, it seems to be a give-and-take. You either get really cold temperatures, but can stay indoors and snuggle up with yummy food. Or you get mild temperatures, but can’t escape going outside or play in the snow.

I’m hoping that the weather will get a little colder since I am starting to miss the snow, but I’ll enjoy the warmer temperatures while they last. And hope desperately that temperatures don’t touch the single digits during daylight hours at all this winter. I’ve been through that the past few winters, and I want nothing to do with them this winter. For now though, I’ll kick back, wait for the spring semester to start, and enjoy the warmer temperatures for the weekend with my friends.

So what’s your favorite part about winter? Are you someone who loves the cold, or do you prefer the milder winters? Let me know in the comments, and I will see you lovely readers in the next post. Until next time!

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7 Tips for Every College Senior’s Nightmare

blog, jobs, career, college, senior

Since I entered my senior year of college last semester, one thing has been nagging me. The dreaded job search. It’s the one thing every graduating student worries about. Where am I going now? What is the next step? For me, it’s especially difficult. I like writing, especially creative writing. But I’m also good at marketing and managing social media for companies. So where do I fit? Should I look for a marketing position or a writing job? Should I combo and go for a content creator? But I also want to do an MFA in Creative Writing. And a company hiring me for marketing might not be too keen on me skipping out on a few weeks of work to go write fiction at a low residency program. Maybe a writing job, but most of those are technical or professional writing. So what’s a girl to do?

While I may not know the direction I’m definitely going in, I have picked up some tips from websites and other adults about what I should be looking for. So here are a few of the general ones just for you guys.

1. Know where you can search: The first big step in the job search is knowing where to look. If your college has a job search site, that’s always a good place to start, but it won’t have everything. Another place to look are your favorite companies’ website’s “Careers” page or check their LinkedIn page. This allows you to see the jobs offered at a place you know you like. It’s also important to be familiar with the major job sites employers use. The top three are Indeed.com, Monster.com, and CareerBuilder.com. These are good spots to find jobs you can’t find looking through your college’s jobs site. That said…

2. Be aware of Fakers: There are a lot of “companies” that try to “hire” you to get your personal info and scam you. Sometimes these companies can slip through screening at the big sites since they can’t keep track of everyone (especially if they appear legitimate). Best thing to do is research the company that has the job you want before applying. Make sure they aren’t scams or companies who scam their customers. People often fall for this, and you don’t want to be the next victim. It’s also recommended not to post your resume on your account as many companies, legit and illegitimate, can see it. Instead, just attach it to the actual application when you’re applying. Now that we’ve talked about safety…

3. When searching, don’t limit yourself by location: Location is always something to keep in mind, but don’t let that define your job search. Use the job type for your main search, and keep location in mind without letting it rule your job search. With that in mind…

4. Be aware of all the keywords under your job type: There are plenty of different words used to describe any one job. Like typing “writer” into a job search can bring up “Content creator,” “Editor,” or “Publishing assistant.” It’s the same for all jobs. So be sure to make a list of all the keywords attached to your job type and explore them as well. You never know what you might find, and what you might never have thought of might be the perfect fit.

5. Understand you might not get the dream job right away: You’ve taken classes, done the research, and prepped yourself your entire college career for THE job. The one job you’ve always wanted. And you go out and apply to several (legit) companies offering the job. And get rejected by all of them. Well, it’s definitely not uncommon. Sure, some people get lucky and find their dream job, but don’t count on that luck. Instead, apply for positions you know you have at least some experience in and can learn from. If one of those includes your dream job, then go for it. But always have backup plans, just in case. However…

6. Don’t let your “lack” of experience stop you from applying: Say you find a few jobs you know you can do very well, but the company requires 3-5 years in ___ category. Guess you shouldn’t apply right? Wrong. When companies list out requirements, most of them should be taken at face value. But also understand that they’re looking for the ideal candidate, i.e. the PERFECT candidate. Which doesn’t exist. So if you see a (legit) job where you meet all but one or two requirements including years of experience, don’t let that hold you back. Apply for the job and see what happens. Obviously, you don’t want to do this with a high-level job like Senior or CEO or jobs you have no experience in whatsoever. But do apply for the ones you know you can do that “require” under 10 years of experience in something you know.

7. Use your college’s resources: Every college should have some way to help their students brave the job search. Be that a job search website companies can add to, getting in touch with alumni, or even interviews with companies on campus. Even your professors can be a big help if you ask them to be references. No matter what, be sure to look at the resources your college offers on jobs. They can be invaluable.

These are just a few of the tips I’ve learned from visiting websites and talking with others who’ve been in the workforce for a while. There are plenty of other folks out there who know the ropes of the job search, so I would definitely recommend check out other blogs and articles for tips. Whichever job search option you use, be it major site, college site, and/or your favorite companies’ sites, I wish you luck. Let’s rock the job search!

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As the New Year Begins: A Reflection on 2016

2016. I think most people can agree this wasn’t the greatest year we’ve had for the 21st century. Many people were taken from us, from beloved celebrities passing too early to friends and family members in many horrible incidents across the globe. Fights, anger, shootings, war, terror attacks, the presidential election, all of these have left their mark on 2016. The bad news: 2017 might not be much better. The good news: it doesn’t have to be.

2016 wasn’t the greatest year for most people. But it still had it’s bright moments. It brought us some fantastic movies. It was a chance for college students to show what they’re made of as they entered the work force. And it was a chance to start over, even if the next president-elect isn’t who anyone wanted (even those who voted for him). There were still holidays to celebrate with family. There were still new memories, new life, and constants throughout 2016. Many people I know celebrated a new addition to their family. They celebrated the chance to spend time with friends and family throughout the year. Despite the anger, the hardships, and the general negativity towards one another, people still found reasons to get up every morning and keep moving.

But what does this say about 2016 as a whole? There were no doubt some really nasty parts. The year starting off with several beloved celebrity deaths paved the way for heartbreak and mourning. The election primaries finishing with two candidates many didn’t want. ISIS’s grip on Europe slowly building up anger at refugees and hostility between both parties. And Syria’s situation becoming more and more messed up, horrifying, and confusing for those outside of Syria and Syrian civilians. Not much can be immediately thought of when it comes to good things in 2016. But doing a little digging provides a few victories in 2016.

Endangered animals like pandas and tigers are slowly regaining numbers. The money from the ALS Bucket Challenge was used for ALS research, which found the gene responsible for the disease. Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar (warning: there’s a video). Pokemon Go brought not only the world of Pokemon to life, but also encouraged a lot of people to go outside and interact while playing a virtual game. Harry Potter fans were transported back into the wizarding world with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And millions of students worldwide entered their last year at university or high school/secondary school before they start the next chapter of their lives. All of this happening with the 12 months that were 2016.

Yeah, 2016 did not look good for a lot of people. Unfortunately, there aren’t high chances that 2017 will be much better. But that doesn’t mean it has to be. The good things that happened last year happened because we decide to make them happen. We decided to put in the effort to help endangered animals. We managed to raise that money, even though it was a few years back, to research the gene for ALS. And we decided to take charge of our lives, enjoy the entertainment given to us, be it Pokemon or Harry Potter, and start preparing for the next chapter in our lives where it takes us. And that’s what the new year is for.

2017 is a new chance. Sure, it’ll be scary. There are opportunities for failure. But so is every year. So instead of getting worried about what the new year might bring, let’s hold strong and not just hope things will get better. Let’s make things better. Here’s to you, 2016. Thanks for preparing us for the road ahead.