• Your one stop for college news and resources!
Girl studies for post-graduate degree with head in her books

Applying for a Post-Graduate Degree

When we get to the end of our studies, many of us are at a loss as to the next steps in our careers and our lives. At this stage, it can be tempting to apply for a post-graduate degree.

After all, more time spent at college seems like fun!

But it is vital to go into post-graduate study for the right reasons. It is important to make measured decisions and not act on impulse or whim. At the end of the day, you will be investing a lot of time and—more importantly—money in the program. And some may question if a college degree is worth the effort.

Read on for useful tips to bear in mind when contemplating to apply for post-graduate study.

Don’t rush into it

First of all, you should think about whether heading straight back into studying is the right option for you. Maybe you should take a year out to relax and earn some cash before embarking on your next challenge.

Contrary to what you might think, many employers look favorably upon those who have removed themselves from their comfort zone to work and travel abroad. It demonstrates a certain quality of independence most employers will value.

Also, don’t simply go into post-graduate study because you want to stall your entrance into the ‘real world’. You should think carefully about whether the course you intend to enrol in is going to help you with your career down the line.

Rather than undertake a post-graduate degree because you’re unsure of the next step to take, you should ask yourself: will it be worth my time and money? Where will this course get me?

On that note, if you haven’t already, make some goals and objectives.

What are your goals with a post-graduate degree?

Before making any major life decision, it is always a good idea to set out some targets and goals.

In this case, some questions to get you started could include: what are you trying to achieve from your move into post-graduate study? What do you hope to get out of it? How will this course further your career ambitions—if at all?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider why you are thinking about a post-graduate degree. You should also reflect on whether you could achieve your career goals via other means.

Of course, some professions require a master’s degree or higher level of academic qualification. But others—such as journalism, business, finance and marketing—offer industry-standard qualifications at a fraction of the cost of a post-graduate degree. For this reason, think about how you can get better value for money.

Earn while you learn

Making money while studying is, for most of us, the only feasible way to fund a post-graduate degree. Therefore, it is crucial to consider if your chosen mode of study is compatible with part-time work. If not, you may struggle financially, making your degree more stressful than it needs to be.

Many post-graduate degrees offer the option of part-time study. Opting for this route will ensure you get the most out of your degree without compromising your ability to make ends meet.

Why not take a job in a café, bar or restaurant? Hospitality work can be a fun way to make new friends. You could even meet influential figures who might help you out.

Weigh up the rewards of a post-graduate degree

Think about what this course is going to do for you.

Will it help you obtain skills in employability? Or do you already possess those skills? Is the cost of the degree going to be outweighed by potential future earnings? Will you be able to pay back your loans?

All the above questions are vital when you consider a post-graduate degree. Think about their answers sensibly to avoid disappointment or a difficult financial situation later on.

Remember: be realistic about what post-graduate study is; it’s not a golden ticket to employment!

Be ready for a challenge

After you have deliberated on all of the above, if you still think a post-graduate degree is right for you, be ready to embrace a challenge.

Post-graduate study is much harder than undergraduate.

You will be expected to do more reading and researching than ever before. If you think this workload will be too tough, perhaps post-graduate study is not for you.

Think carefully about whether you are willing to devote a whole new year of your life to intense study. Post-grads are expected to explore their subjects in comprehensive depth and detail. Be prepared for this and bring your A game!

So, before you fill out that application form, consider the above tips to ensure you make an informed decision.

 

Bullet Journaling

Seven Effective Bullet Journaling Tips

By Rose Martin

College life can be extremely stressful. Balancing multiple responsibilities, projects, examinations, extracurricular activities, work and social life is an overwhelming experience for most students, often causing them to lose sight of their long-term aspirations. Every student struggles with effective time management and organization amidst the chaotic college schedule, which may contribute to stunting his/her career growth. If you are looking for a simple and effective way to organize your life, bullet journaling can help you manage your tasks and set your priorities right, putting you on the fast track to success.

A neat and organized bullet journal with intricately-designed pages and handwritten notes speaks volumes about your personality. Though bullet journaling isn’t easy, it is a quick and effective technique to get a grip on your life, inspiring you to stay organized, creative and productive.

Here are seven valuable bullet journaling tips that will help you stay organized and manage your time, enabling you to build a bright and successful future.

  1. Determine your objective

Before you dive into bullet journaling, it’s crucial for you find your motivation. Determining your expectations and motives for starting a bullet journal will help you document your life events and goals in an effective manner. Moreover, your primary and secondary objectives will determine the format of the journal, enabling you to include the necessary sections or collections.

For instance, if your primary objective is to organize your college life, your journal must give due importance to your lecture schedule, the study time, the extra classes and the examination schedules. You could have other objectives of starting a journal, namely planning your diet and workout sessions and/or monitoring your savings and expenses.

  1. Focus on the basic elements

The index, the collections, the rapid-logging, and the migration make up the basic structure of a bullet journal.

Index  

The index typically takes the first page of the bullet journal that helps the journalist to organize the various sections or collections, ensuring easy navigation through the journal pages. Make sure you include all the important topics with the corresponding page numbers and leave enough space for sections you might want to include later.

Collections

Every page in the bullet journal is given a topic that serves as a means to organize similar ideas. These topics are referred to as collections which may utilize several pages of the journal. The three main types of collections are –

  1. Future Log – This section is used to note down events and appointments in the future
  2. Monthly Log – This section enables you to organize your month using the calendar page and the task page. The calendar page must have enough space to enter short notes or events that you need to remember.
  • Daily Log – This section helps you manage your daily tasks, events, and notes in order of their occurrence.

Depending on your objectives, collections can also take additional forms, namely meeting notes, shopping lists, expenditures and mind maps.

  • Rapid-Logging: Rapid-logging helps you make entries in the short-form notation using bullets and signifiers. You can use the task (indicated by a dot), the event (indicated by an open circle), or the note bullets (indicated by a dash) throughout the collections to signify whether they are scheduled, changed, or completed.

A few examples of signifiers are a star symbol (*) for priority tasks, an eye for ideas you need to explore, a dollar sign ($) for purchases, and an exclamation mark (!) for a new inspiration.

  • Migration: Migration helps you review your performance and filter out the tasks that haven’t been accomplished. It is typically done at the end of a month when preparing the next month’s log. Evaluate whether the unfinished tasks are still crucial and worth doing and migrate them between collections on a monthly basis.

Further reading: Six Helpful Time-Management Tips for College Students

  1. Use signifiers and doodles creatively

Embellishing your bullet journal with signifiers and doodles will make it look arty and appealing. Signifiers give the bullet points an additional context, enabling you to enter short notes in a creative manner. Elements such as dots, circles, dashes, stars or asterisks, crosses, right and left arrows and exclamation marks help you chart out the daily, weekly, or monthly plan quickly and easily.

  1. Invest in good-quality tools

For bullet journaling, you will require tools such as a notebook, pens, sketch pens, rulers, Washi tapes, and stickers. These tools will determine the life and the attractive appeal of your bullet journal. Moreover, good-quality tools will help you stay committed to the cause, motivating you to use them creatively in your journal.

Invest in archival-quality paper that is acid-free, enabling you to keep your handwritten records safe and fade-proof. Most bullet journalists seem to prefer notebook brands, namely Leuchtturm 1917, Moleskine, Rhodia and Essentials. Pigment and ink pen brands like Sakura Micron, PilotFriXion, Staedtler Triplus Fineliner and Uni-ball Jetstream can help add a touch of color and creativity to your journal.

  1. Don’t go completely off technology

Traditionally, a bullet journal involves penning down your daily activities, events and future goals. However, amidst your demanding schedule, you may miss out on some important events or deadlines. Use digital tools such as Google Calendar, Todoist and Evernote along with your bullet journal to manage your appointments, project deadlines and tasks effectively.

For instance, at the beginning of the month, enter your monthly plan in the Google Calendar and use your bullet journal as a daily tool to compile and monitor the tasks, the events, and the goals by referring to the digital calendar.

Using the best of both worlds (on and offline) will help you organize your life and focus on your professional and personal goals.

  1. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bullet journaling

Bullet journaling is a creative journey in which you constantly need to experiment in order to come up with the most effective organization style that meets your needs. Since you are new to this process you may be tempted to follow the various formats available online. Regardless of whether you try the original Ryder Carroll style or other contemporary ideas, remember to experiment and be open to change. Retain what’s working for you and get rid of formats that are not helping you achieve your objectives.

  1. Get inspired, but avoid comparison

The internet is full of inspiration with millions of Instagram and Pinterest users posting gorgeous bullet journal pages. It’s ok to refer to them for a few creative ideas, however, avoid comparing your journal with others. Every person has a specific objective for maintaining their bullet journal and the format will change accordingly.

Comparing yourself with others will disappoint you and stop you from trying new things. Your bullet journal is unique to you and must meet your requirements. For instance, if you like to express everything using symbols and doodles, nothing should stop you. Similarly, if you prefer scribbling your goals instead of using symbols, go ahead and do it.

College life is all about planning and organizing tasks, managing time effectively and setting objectives that help you realize your purpose in life. Use the above-mentioned bullet journaling tips to take control of your life and build a bright career.

Rose Martin is an editor at Book Siren. Book Siren helps readers learn about various book publications and authors. Rose likes to travel with friends and family. Her main interests are music, reading novels and fitness. Reach out to Rose at martinrrrose@gmail.com.

Job After College

How to Land a Job after College

While graduation seems like it’s a long time away, before you know it you’ll be launched into the world of work. With thousands of students graduating across the country it can feel like a mad scramble to get a job after college. In the wise words of The Hitchhikers’ Guide to The Galaxy: “don’t panic”. With just a little time and effort, you too can join the ranks of working Americans with your very own job. We’ve collected some advice that you may find useful in your job search.

Figure out what your dream job is

Do you have any specific interests? Are there any skills you have that you want to be able to use in a future career? Try and figure out where you want to be in 10 years time and use that as your goal. Maybe you want to be a writer, a lawyer or a marine biologist. Pick out skills or experience that you’ll need to achieve this goal and work towards it in your search for a job after college.

Don’t worry about landing your dream job to begin with

This nugget of advice may seem contradictory to the previous, but it’s true. Very few people find themselves with their ideal job as the first one they get. Instead, apply for jobs with similar elements to your dream role, and use it to work on your transferrable skills. Employers may be nervous about hiring a graduate who doesn’t have much experience, so try and use your first job after college to show future employers that you are a reliable worker. You could try to enter the industry you eventually want to end up in, but don’t be discouraged if you have to start at the very bottom of the ladder.

Utilise your assets

We live in a world of endless technological possibilities—why are you stuck using emails and phone calls to try and get yourself a job? With social media, there are hundreds of employers looking to hire. LinkedIn allows you to showcase your skills while applying for jobs. You could even create your own website to properly advertise yourself on. Take charge of your personal branding so that people can reach out to you, or see what you’re made of when they’re considering hiring you.

Network your ass off to land a job after college

Who is doing what you want to do? Find people with your ideal job and reach out to them. Try not to be creepy or annoying—instead, contribute to their conversations on Twitter, or respond positively to their work. There are plenty of networking events and career fairs you could attend in order to meet like-minded people. Be confident, introduce yourself and let them know you’re available.

Don’t give up on your dreams

There is always going to be that one person who gets the perfect job after college having sent out just one application. Whether you send out one, 10 or 100 applications, don’t lose hope that you’re going to get to where you need. Take care of your mental health during your job search—take breaks when you need to and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just make sure you keep that end goal in sight.

Further reading: Nail a Successful Job Interview