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Charlie Fletcher

How to Navigate the Job Market as a College Student

How to Navigate the Job Market as a College Student

So you’ve got your degree in hand; now all you need is to land the perfect job, which should be easy, right?

For many, college studies are what seem like the hard part, and landing a good job is the reward for all that hard work. But navigating the job market can be just as daunting as end-of-year exams.

Just as preparing for a big exam takes effort, so too does preparing for job hunting and interviews. You can’t expect that simply obtaining a degree will automatically get you in the door.

Today, most people who are entering the professional job force have some sort of formal education, so you’ve got to have more than just your degree to stand out, and ensure your application reaches the top of the pile.

Landing a good job, however, is not impossible. You can successfully achieve the job of your dreams if you put in the time and effort to adequately prepare for your post-grad life.

What the Current Job Market Looks Like For Recent Grads

The good news for recent graduates is that the job market is looking up. This is not your millennial’s job market.

Instead, today’s job market is very strong for recent grads. In fact, reports show that this year’s college graduates (2022) will enter one of the strongest job markets in recent history.

Despite the mass layoffs and hiring freezes that occurred in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, companies have fully recovered and are on the lookout for fresh new graduates.

According to a recent job outlook survey, 56% of companies say they plan on increasing new graduate hires. Furthermore, there are 65% more job openings now than there were before the pandemic.

With the labor shortage from the pandemic, new graduates will also have more bargaining power when it comes to negotiating better wages and benefits. Numerous employers are already enticing new graduates with generous offers, including:

  • 401(k) matching
  • Employee discount programs
  • Full medical, dental, and life insurance benefits
  • Family planning benefits
  • Mental health and wellness benefits
  • Employee stock purchase programs
  • Student loan repayment assistance
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Flexible time off
  • Signing bonuses

Tips to Help You Navigate the Job Market

Despite a good job market, it’s still important to put time and effort into your job hunt process. The harder you work, the more companies will recognize that hard work and be willing to give you a shot.

Here are seven tips to help you navigate the current job market as a recent graduate:

1. Make Connections Prior to Graduating

Even before you graduate, it’s important to start thinking ahead. Having connections and job experience prior to graduating can significantly boost your chances of landing the job you want once you do graduate. So if you haven’t received your degree yet, consider finding a job while you’re still a student to improve your chances.

2. Boost Your Resume

Make sure you include ALL of your work history and experience on your resume. Many graduates are ashamed to have things like babysitting or restaurant work on their resumes as they think it’s irrelevant or might make them seem juvenile.

But babysitting shows that you are trustworthy and capable of managing others and working in a restaurant shows that you can likely handle fast-paced and even chaotic situations. So don’t count something out just because it seems irrelevant to the job you are trying to land.

3. Know What You Want

Be confident and know what you want. You’ll never land your ideal job if you are afraid to speak up for yourself and your wants and needs.

If mental health is a concern for you, for example, don’t be afraid to inquire about mental health accommodations or ask for them when you are interviewing. You want to impress potential future employers, yes, but they should also be able to impress you and give you what you need.

4. Focus on Networking

Job hunting is not just about sitting behind a computer applying for jobs. It’s also about putting yourself out there and networking.

You never know when a connection might lead to a job opportunity. So don’t be afraid to carry your resume or a business card with you wherever you go.

Talk to friends, family, neighbors, and former professors. You can even strike up conversations with people you don’t know while you are out and about in your daily life. Seeking out career events is also a great way to make new professional connections and network.

5. Build Your Leadership Skills

Pursuing self-improvement is also important when navigating the job market. Don’t just rely on the specific job-related skills listed on your resume. There are many other skills and qualities that can help you stand out and land a job, such as leadership skills.

Leadership skills are essential when looking for a job because companies specifically look for new graduates that have leadership potential. They want people that will help move them forward as a business and lead them into the future. So improving your leadership qualities can significantly improve your job prospects.

6. Be Proactive

One of the biggest mistakes college graduates make when navigating the job market is sitting around waiting after applying for jobs. You must be proactive, which means you can’t just send in an application and never check back in.

Do not expect the company you are applying for to do all the work for you. Go above and beyond with your application to show that you did your research and know about the company. Tell them what makes you stand out and what you have to offer them.

And then, even after you’ve applied, make sure you check back in and follow up to let them know that you are hungry to do the work and are still interested.

7. Don’t Be Afraid to Decline an Offer

Many college graduates will be so thrilled about getting a response that they will jump on an initial job offer. But it’s important to make sure that the job and what they are offering is the right fit for you before you agree.

If you do happen to accept an offer and something better comes along, don’t automatically assume you can’t decline the initial offer — even if you already signed a contract.

It is possible to decline a job after you’ve already accepted and signed a contract. You just need to be smart about it. Thoroughly read your contract, be honest and tactical about why you’re declining, and express your gratitude for the opportunity.

Wrapping Up

If you are a recent grad, count yourself lucky to be entering one of the best job markets in recent history — but don’t let that fool you. Landing a good job still takes work. With the right mindset and effort, however, you can smoothly navigate the market and land your ideal job.

SEE ALSO: Best Paid Online Jobs for College Students

Advocating for Inclusive Events & Services On Your College Campus

Advocating for Inclusive Events & Services On Your College Campus

As a student, you’re in a great position to advocate for change on campus. Your voice matters to decision-makers, and you can form student organizations to rally around a common cause.

You can even use your voice to advocate for greater inclusivity and accessibility on campus. This is important, as many universities fall short of their responsibility to folks who are considered neurodiverse and/or disabled.

Advocating for more inclusive events and services takes time, investment, and plenty of planning. However, you can get the ball rolling this semester by learning to amplify your voice on your college campus.

Assessing Inclusivity

Advocating for greater inclusivity and accessibility is always a great way to use your voice. However, before you start asking for support, you need to assess your campus’ current commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Begin by getting in touch with your University’s support services. Most larger institutions will have a department dedicated to educational access and resources for students of different abilities. Ask them about how you might be able to get involved — you may find that a student organization already exists to promote better inclusivity on campus.

Next, complete an inclusivity self-examination. An inclusivity self-examination requires some research, but the effort will be rewarded with a clearer picture of your university’s current accessibility and inclusivity standards. As a minimum, try to research the following:

  • Are administrators at your institution empowered and trained to promote greater inclusivity on campus?
  • Do people with disabilities work in positions of power/authority at your university?
  • Is inclusivity part of your university’s mission statement?
  • Are all students supported during their academic careers? Are there any statistical discrepancies in your student body?
  • Do current events include additional information on reasonable accommodations?

Research gives you a clear direction to head in and you can use your findings to help rally other students around the common cause of accessibility and inclusivity on your college campus.

Student Organizations

Joining a student organization is a great way to amplify your voice and advocate for more inclusive events and services on your campus. Many student organizations are directly tied to the administrative departments of the university and you’ll find it much easier to gain momentum as an official club.

When creating a club, be sure to include folks from a range of backgrounds and experiences. It’s important that your club adequately represents the student body, as this will help you spot issues and ensure that all members of your student body can thrive during college.

ADA

Title II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guarantees that all universities must provide “equal access to postsecondary education for students with disabilities.” However, many universities fail to meet ADA standards.

As an advocate, you should familiarize yourself with the ADA act and document any lapses in ADA compliance. Pay particular attention to things like accessibility during extracurricular activities, accessibility of residential facilities, and the aids available to students.

If you identify an ADA issue, raise it with the administrators at your university first. Oftentimes, administrators are aware of issues on campus and are working hard to resolve them.

If administrators were previously unaware of inclusivity issues on campus, suggest solutions and try to be part of the decision-making process where possible. For example, if your university has an outdoor program, you can advocate for mobility aids to make outdoor activities more accessible. A small investment in portable ramps and scooter lifts can make a big difference for folks with mobility disabilities.

Support Services

Most larger institutions already have a support service in place to help folks with disabilities and/or neurodiversity. However, many students are unaware of the services available to them. You can make a difference by using your on-campus presence to connect people with the resources they need.

Increase awareness of inclusive support services by creating and attending as many on-campus events as possible. Hold disability awareness events in visible areas of your university and network with other organizations to ensure that their members are aware of the services available to them.

If you feel that more can be done to support students, you can consider advocating for greater access to therapy services. Therapy can make a big difference in a student’s academic career and quality of life. You may want to look into alternative forms of therapy, too. Therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted activity therapy can be modified to suit all participants and can help with things like self-esteem, empathy, and non-verbal body language.

Conclusion

As a student, you’re in a great position to advocate for greater inclusivity on campus. Start by reaching out to current services and find out what is on offer currently. If you spot gaps, try to work with administrators to find solutions. This may require some teamwork, so consider creating a student organization to share the load and amplify your voice.

SEE ALSO: How to Benefit From Intuitive-Decision-Making as a Student?

The Importance of Cybersecurity For College Students

The Importance of Cybersecurity For College Students

As a college student, you likely have a lot on your plate. In addition to working on passing your midterms, memorizing the new syllabus, and determining what you want to do after graduation, you also need to stay vigilant against the threats of cybercriminals. Yes, you may have a full life, but if you aren’t careful and you let a hacker steal your information, then you could face an all-new set of problems.

Since computers are used in just about every facet of student life, we want to set you up for success. So, we have compiled all of the information you need to know about potential scams, the methods that you can use to stay protected, and how to take some of the stress out of cybersecurity.

Dangers Of Cybercrime In Education

Many people believe that hackers spend all of their time focusing on mega-corporations that have millions of dollars and customers to steal from, but that could not be further from the truth. The fact is that cybercriminals are after any data that they can get because all of it can be used for malicious purposes. Social security numbers and banking information can be used to take out fraudulent student loans, while even seemingly innocent information like birth dates and email addresses can be sold on the black market.

Hackers are looking for easy targets and they know that students have too much on their minds to think about cybersecurity, so they often attack educational institutions. Many universities are home to hundreds if not thousands of students, so hackers can get a lot of information at once, and they can cause major havoc.

There is also a lot of cash moving about at universities as students need to pay for classes, books, and food. If a hacker is able to upload a virus to the system, then they could steal a lot of money. That is why students need to keep an eye on their finances. If they notice that their money is gone, then they can notify the administration, and they can try to stop the leakage.

All of these scenarios above explain why the whole education sector is at risk of cybercrime. As a student at a physical or online college, you are not responsible for saving your school, but you can protect your own computers and personal data, so your private information is not put in jeopardy.

Understand Common Scams

The first step to cybersecurity in college is to learn about common scams and how to avoid them. One of the tactics that hackers use the most is the phishing email, which appears to be a legitimate message, but really, it is sent by a criminal, and it includes a link or attachment that if clicked or opened, can unleash a virus onto your computer. The hacker will often pretend to be a person of authority, like a professor or a representative from the school, so you are intimidated to open it. You should be mindful of the possibility of phishing scams and watch for these warning signs:

  • An email that claims to be from a college administrator but comes from a common email address like Yahoo or Gmail.
  • The message is not directed at you but to “sir or madam” or “to whom it may concern.”
  • The subject and body of the message have spelling errors.
  • There is a link or attachment that you were not expecting.

Another major scam that could impact your entire campus is ransomware. That is when a hacker is able to breach the network and lock down the entire school so that administrators cannot access any data until they pay the criminals a fee. As a student, you must prepare for this potential scenario, if only because you may need that locked information for an upcoming class or assignment. To get ahead of the problem, back up your data on an extra device like a thumb drive so you can access it even if the main computers are inaccessible.

Be Smart About Security

It may seem daunting to take on cybersecurity scams, but with the right precautions, you can protect your data and your school work. For instance, you can enable a DDoS shield to help prevent the risk of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, which is when a hacker floods your system with internet traffic and essentially prevents you from reaching your systems or completing any work online.

Even if you do not have access or the funds to bring on more complex security measures, you can follow some common sense security steps to protect your data, including using complex passwords and two-factor authentication, which is an additional form of protection like a code sent to your phone or the biometric scan of an eye or fingerprint. You can also buy and enable a virtual private network that will disguise your location and encrypt your data so it cannot be read even if it is stolen.

You might also consider moving your school assignments to the cloud, which is what you are doing when you use online programs like Google Docs and Microsoft Teams. Experts say that using these online platforms can help you to be more productive because they make it easier to collaborate with others, and you can access your data from anywhere, from your dorm to the computer lab. Best of all, many of these cloud companies have their own security teams that will keep an eye on the data you have on their servers, so you don’t have to. It is a nice way to have 24-hour protection.

In the end, the idea of cybersecurity may be daunting at first, but by understanding the risks and taking the proper precautions, you can keep your school data protected so you can focus on passing your classes.

SEE ALSO: How to Benefit From Intuitive-Decision-Making as a Student?

How To Navigate College When You're Neurodivergent

How To Navigate College When You’re Neurodivergent

Neurodivergent traits are likely to inform many aspects of your personality that deserve to be celebrated. However, you know better than anyone else how they can also present certain challenges. One of the situations many people living with cognitive processing differences (CPDs) find difficult is the transition to life as a college student.

The traditional education system has historically been geared toward neurotypical students. The designs of classrooms, the curriculum, and even the social structure have developed on the assumption of typicality. This is despite the fact that a large part of the student body may fall somewhere on the neurodivergent spectrum. The actual number of neurodivergent individuals enrolled in college is hard to determine. In fact, only 37% of students with disabilities report it to their university — and some neurodivergent individuals aren’t diagnosed until later in life, if at all. Further, neurodiversity is complex, often not being categorized as a disability

Unfortunately, this can make the college experience feel less inclusive. Many universities are taking steps to address this imbalance, but the situation is far from perfect. As such, you may find it helpful to develop strategies and adopt existing tools to suit your needs. There are a few tactics that can help you navigate college as a student with neurodivergent traits.

Seek Relevant Resources

Unfortunately, when education is designed for neurotypical students, the resources available to those with neurodivergent traits don’t always jump out. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist, you just may have to search a little for them. Neurodivergence takes various forms and encompasses a range of neurological frameworks. Even within the definitions of the autism spectrum, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia, individual experiences differ. This means you may have a very specific set of challenges and needs to address. It’s important to look for the resources that are most relevant to you.

While neurodivergence is not a hindrance but, rather, a difference in neurological functioning, you may still need to take the same route as those seeking accommodations at college under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Usually, student support services will be able to direct you to the resources available to you on campus and arrange meetings with any relevant members of faculty or staff.

It can be important to prepare before making these inquiries or having meetings. If you know what tools you need to effectively learn and navigate college life best, take these details along. However, if you’re not sure what resources are available, make a list of the circumstances and tasks you feel you’re likely to find challenging in college. This is not only a starting point to explore the options, but it can also help you to feel more confident when seeking resources.

Find Your People

College is a more manageable and positive experience when you make meaningful connections with other people. This tends to be true for both neurotypical and neurodivergent students. It may be the case that your CPDs contribute to the challenges of social interactions. This can make it even more important to establish a social group in college that can celebrate your differences and support you during difficult periods. After all, isolation can often add to the experiences of stress and anxiety.

Finding your people doesn’t necessarily mean you’re hunting for other neurodiverse people. Look for those who share similar interests as you. Join on-campus groups and societies. Get involved in political or social initiatives you care about in the local area. Your passions, particularly those you find easiest to talk about, can be a valuable gateway to building relationships in college.

It’s also worth considering that this approach can be a tool to bolster your life beyond college. Adopting solid networking practices now can mean you’re in an easier position to extend your circle in enriching directions later. Indeed, taking a healthy approach to networking can relieve some of the anxiety you may feel in social situations. Prepare some talking points beforehand and loosely schedule your routine leading up to it. Importantly, be clear about the emotional boundaries you want to set.

Maintain a Dialogue With Your Professors

It’s an unfortunate fact that your college curriculum and the methods used are likely designed with neurotypical students in mind. This doesn’t mean your professors aren’t able to provide support. Nevertheless, it’s important for you to make the first move here. Empower yourself to start a meaningful dialogue with your professors that you can develop over time to make your college experience more positive.

Chatting about your neurodivergent traits and how these factor into your learning is a good start. In all likelihood, your professors won’t have been provided with any advance information about your needs. Talk about the positive factors your unique perspective brings to your experience of learning and the subject you’re studying. Discuss any specific hurdles you have found in your previous learning environments.

Prioritize Self-care

It’s important to put some solid self-care tools in place to help you process the difficult elements of college and maintain your physical and mental well-being. This may involve creating a safe and calming space to reset in. You’ll almost certainly be sharing your space with a roommate, but work with them to agree on decorative elements that promote tranquility. Utilize neutral colors on the walls and soft furnishings where possible.

You should also build regular forms of self-care into your day. Much as your college timetable is scheduled for control and clarity, treat your wellness tools with equal importance. Take a few minutes for meditation and mindfulness on a daily basis if you feel it will help. Plan blocks of time for your interests that help you feel relaxed and positive in between your classes and work. Maintaining your well-being is a vital part of navigating the college transition.

Conclusion

Navigating college when you live with neurodivergent traits can be challenging. It’s important to gain clarity on your needs and seek the most relevant resources. Make regular efforts to form social connections and maintain positive dialogues with your professors. Remember, utilizing self-care tools can help you decompress during difficult periods. With a few additional strategies, there’s no reason your college experience can’t be as enriching as you deserve it to be.

SEE ALSO: How Students Manage Time to Watch Anime Movies

4 Ways College Students Can Pursue Self-Improvement

4 Ways College Students Can Pursue Self-Improvement

College is an opportunity to obtain a degree that can propel you forward in your career, but it’s also much more than that. For example, the college experience can be a foundation for self-improvement.

Self-improvement is essential for developing a healthy relationship with yourself, growing your skillset, and ensuring you step into post-grad life prepared and confident. Ultimately, self-improvement puts college students on a path to living more fulfilled lives.

College students can pursue self-improvement and reap the benefits mentioned above by doing these four things.

1. Learn New Skills

College won’t teach you everything you need to know to succeed. Still, you must learn as much as possible for real self-improvement. Therefore, it’s essential to develop skills that have nothing to do with your coursework in ways that aren’t fostered between your college’s walls.

Start with online tools for self-improvement. For example, there are various educational videos to choose from on YouTube. You can use Khan Academy’s free academic network, connect with other learners, and pick from thousands of video lessons. E-books and social media platforms like Clubhouse are also excellent self-education resources.

You may have to learn new skills in your free time, and it may be little by little. However, it’s essential to truly improve.

2. Prioritize Health and Wellness

A little over 40% of college students navigate depression and anxiety symptoms. And, unfortunately, 75% of them won’t seek treatment.

Moreover, college students are known for poor diets, irregular sleeping habits, excessive alcohol consumption, and improperly balanced exercise — all of which lead to poor physical health. Poor mental and physical health only impedes self-improvement.

Bettering yourself requires you to hyperfocus on health and wellness. Take care of your physical body by exercising regularly and eating well, both of which also help naturally regulate your hormones. See your primary care physician and any specialists regularly to ensure your internal organs are functioning correctly and your muscles and bones are in good shape.

You must nurture your mental health in college, too. Make self-care a part of your everyday routine. Manage your stress levels. Ensure you have a life outside of school. Get out into nature, practice mindfulness, and pursue your passions. If you need an extra layer of support, enlist the help of a therapist or counsellor. When you prioritize your health and wellness, it’ll be easier to make self-improvement constant.

3. Work on Your Mindset

Mindset is everything. If your mindset is inherently negative, you’ll see the world through that lens and conduct yourself in a way rooted in hesitancy, doubt, and fear.

On the other hand, when your mindset is intrinsically positive, it’s much easier to accept and navigate the tough things life throws at you, which builds character and resilience. You’re also more likely to genuinely appreciate the good and keep building on it.

You can work on your mindset by:

  • Journaling;
  • Facing your fears;
  • Listening to empowering podcasts;
  • Listing what you’re grateful for each day;
  • Committing to positive internal dialogue;
  • Surrounding yourself with good people;
  • Stepping out of your comfort zone often;
  • Reading self-help and self-improvement literature;
  • Participating in meditation and mindfulness activities;
  • Interrupting negative thought patterns with positive ones;
  • Showing yourself grace and understanding during hard times.

Even if you are swamped with college work, it is important to carve out time to take care of yourself. Working some of these tips into your routine can only benefit your performance in the long run, because you’ll be less likely to become burnt out.

4. Stay On Top of Your Finances

When it comes to college student spending, you’re usually on a tight budget. However, the majority of students use their limited money on eating out, buying clothes, and stocking up on snacks.

One of the worst things college students can do is put themselves in a financial bind. You need money to live. You also need it to advance and improve. Bad spending habits and a lack of financial literacy won’t allow you to do either. Instead, an unhealthy relationship with money incites constant stress and anxiety.

Reduce financial stress in college so you can live comfortably and pursue self-improvement opportunities. Create a budget and stick to it. Minimize frivolous spending. Keep growing your financial literacy so you’re ready to make mindful investments in the future.

In addition, financial information and other confidential documents have a lot of personal information on them. Thus, it’s essential to protect your identity and safeguard your information.

Keep your personal information in a secure place only accessible to you. It may be uncommon to shred items in college, but flash drives, receipts, or mail should be taken care of in that way.

This will help ensure none of your personal data is leaked or acquired by someone who shouldn’t have it. You don’t need that stress on top of everything else, and it will prepare you for handling sensitive information in the future. Keep your finances organized, accurate, and protected so you can build a solid financial foundation that enhances your self-improvement efforts for years to come.

There are obvious reasons for everyone to pursue self-improvement. College students, in particular, can benefit tremendously from a continuous effort to improve themselves. Not only will your college experience be more valuable, but you’ll also be prepared to step into post-grad life with purpose and confidence. Start with the tips above to prioritize self-improvement.

SEE ALSO: College Dating: 5 Ways to find Love on Campus

Adulting 101: Preparing for Your Post-grad Life

Adulting 101: Preparing for Your Post-grad Life

The days leading up to your college graduation are equal parts exciting and nerve-wracking. On the one hand, you are thrilled about the idea of using the knowledge that you gained during your schooling in a new career that can help you become the professional you desire to be. On the other hand, after several years of having room and board and only needing to focus on your studies, it can be scary to realize that you will soon be out in the real world.

While it seems daunting at first, you can live a happy and productive life after college if you make the right preparations and get your mind in the right space. Consider these tips for staying healthy, finding a job, and relocating to a great place to live post-graduation.

Start Taking Care of Your Health

While some students watch their weight and exercise throughout their college years, others may not have had the time. That’s normal, but you might be feeling as though you need to present your best self to accomplish your goals. You can get into the habit of exercising every day by waking up early before your first class and getting 20 minutes of cardio or light weights. Not only will you start a healthy routine and feel better, but exercise can help to clear your mind so you can finish your final classes with ease.

Many students also live a more sedentary lifestyle during their college years, and they don’t always have the healthiest diet. It is also not uncommon for many young people to drink a lot of alcohol during this time. It’s a good idea to wean yourself off of beer and binge drinking. If you continue to drink after college, you can experience health problems, including increasing your chance of liver disease, stroke, and malnutrition.

Excessive drinking affects your body in other ways, such as weakening your immune system. Sick days are few and far between after you graduate college, so stay ahead of the game. Alcohol can also lead to weight gain, thwarting your efforts to stay physically fit.

Leaving college can be a bit stressful, so you also need to ensure that you protect your mental health. Take walks and breathe fresh air whenever possible. Get plenty of sunlight because vitamin D can put you at ease. If you are especially worried about graduating then you should talk to a professional therapist. This can be virtually or even through your school, but don’t be afraid to seek the support you need to feel better about your future.

Start Your Job Search

Even if you have not yet graduated, it is still a good idea to start your job search or at least look at the opportunities that may be out there. This way, you’ll have a good jumping-off point once you leave school. You can take little steps today, including starting a LinkedIn page where you mention your college major. While you are there, start to find connections at your school and introduce yourself. You may be able to reconnect with those individuals when it is time to find a job after graduation.

This is also a good time to start building your resume. Since you likely have not yet had a job that connects to your college major, you can instead focus on listing the current skills that you can bring to an organization post-graduation. Try to focus on leadership skills, organizational skills, and soft skills. For example, your sense of empathy will help you better understand the needs and desires of future clients.

You can also take this time to get your foot in the door of a company you would like to work for after college. Start by researching career fairs in your neighborhood. Research the businesses that will be there so you are knowledgeable when you introduce yourself. You can also contact companies and ask about potential internship opportunities. You may not be paid in these positions, but if you impress the management, then you could get hired down the road. There are many online letter templates available that can help you stand out when contacting these companies.

Look at Potential Places To Live

Since you will need to leave the dorms when you graduate college, you will want to start looking for a place to live. If the only option is to live with your parents, then that’s okay. Living at home allows you to have the services that you require and to save money for when you eventually move out on your own. Plus, with the safety net afforded by your parents, you could even try to start your own business and take bigger risks in your search for success.

If living with your parents is not an option, then you will need to look at other options for yourself. If you have a potential job lined up, then you should look for apartments that are nearby, so you don’t have a long commute. Even if you cannot live in your childhood home, you should live close so you can stop by when necessary to have a family meal or do some laundry.

When looking at potential neighborhoods, you should also research important factors such as the economy and crime statistics. If you are a member of a specific community, then you will want to do this and other research that lets you know the atmosphere of the potential locale. Some of the best cities for LGBTQIA+ folks, for example, include West Hollywood, CA., Austin, TX., and Providence, RI. These places don’t have as many issues with housing discrimination, and there is a higher presence of queer-owned and queer-friendly businesses. If you want to move to a welcoming neighborhood, look for similar signs that you are choosing the right place.

As you can see, there are many steps that you can take to make the transition from college to the real world as easy and comfortable as possible. Consider these tips and tactics, and you’ll feel better in the years to come.

SEE ALSO: 3 Tips for Realistically Starting a Business in College

3 Tips for Realistically Starting a Business in College

3 Tips for Realistically Starting a Business in College

College students tend to get stereotyped a lot. Those stereotypes include everything from laziness and partying every night to living off of ramen noodles and pizza. While you’ve undoubtedly had a late night or two and your diet might not include five-star dining, many of those stereotypes are overblown.

In fact, you might have a hard time striking a school-life balance when you’re juggling classes and a social life. Yet, that doesn’t mean you don’t have time to start a business in college. One 2019 survey found that 70% of college graduates would prefer to start their own business, rather than work somewhere else. If you have an entrepreneurial mindset, you don’t necessarily need to wait until you graduate to get your business off the ground.

But, how can you make a new business work while maintaining your grades, social connections, and classes? Let’s cover a few helpful tips to start your small business.

1. Turn Your Idea Into a Business Plan

If you’re thinking about starting a business, chances are you already have an idea in mind. However, your first step needs to be making sure that the idea is a viable one. Is it something someone else is already doing? Are you fulfilling a need or want? Should you get started with something else to get your foot in the door of a specific industry?

There are countless startup ideas for college students and recent graduates, so make sure your idea is something unique and useful, or consider tweaking it before you officially launch your business.

Once you’re ready to move forward with your idea, it’s time to build a business plan. That can look different for every small business out there, but there are a few key components that every business plan needs, including:

  • An executive summary
  • Business description
  • Funding/financing options
  • Financial projections
  • Market analysis

Your business plan is crucial for a few reasons. First, it will keep you organized and make your mission clear. Let it serve as a motivational tool for yourself and any employees you choose to bring on.

It’s also a good thing to be able to show potential investors or anyone who might want to support your business. The more people know about who you are and what you’re doing, the more interested they’ll be in helping or getting a piece of the pie.

2. Build Your Brand

When you start your own business, you’ll automatically have to wear many hats. You might be an expert in a certain product or service, but that’s only one component of building a successful brand.

One of the most important things you’ll need to learn is how to market your business. Thankfully, most college-aged students are relatively tech-savvy. You can use what you already know about social media to start building a following and boosting your digital word-of-mouth advertising.

Building your brand might require reaching out to other people or hiring gig workers to get things off the ground. For example, your business will need a logo that helps you stand out. You can create a professional logo by using an image library, your own artistic skills, or by hiring a professional. If you don’t know where to get started, working with a pro is a solid investment.

Yes, working with freelancers to help with marketing can increase your upfront costs. However, if you’ve got financial backers, this is exactly what you should be using them for. Alternatively, you can pay for everything out of pocket by working a side job. There are plenty of online jobs that pay well and will work with your busy schedule. If you need a little boost getting your brand in front of people, it’s worth it to invest in the right people and ad placements.

3. Be Ready to Make Every Decision

When you own a business, no matter how successful it becomes, every decision will eventually fall on your shoulders.

As you grow, you can delegate certain responsibilities to others. However, at the end of the day, you will always have the final say in how your business works. It can be a lot of pressure on one person, and it’s important that you’re ready for it. If you want to feel confident in your decisions, use a few helpful steps to make the process easier:

  1. Identify the decision
  2. Gather your information
  3. Look for any alternative solutions
  4. Weigh the evidence
  5. Choose from alternatives
  6. Take action
  7. Review

Eventually, you’ll become more comfortable with the process and have an easier time trusting your gut when it comes to the choices that impact your business.

Is starting a business in college easy? That depends on how much work you’re willing to put in. Will it take a lot of time and effort? If you want it to be successful, most likely. However, by starting a business now, it could be fully up and running by the time you graduate, setting you up for financial success and independence right away, rather than having to navigate a job search.

So, if you have a great idea, a solid plan, and a strong drive, use these tips to get your business started. You never know if your idea could end up being the next “big” thing.

SEE ALSO: College Dating: 5 Ways to find Love on Campus

College Dating: 5 Ways to find Love on Campus

College Dating: 5 Ways to find Love on Campus

College is often a time of many new experiences, and finding your first serious mate can be one of them. Unlike in high school, when it was often about who we had a crush on, in college, we are more mature and ready to find that special someone. In some cases, the person you meet may turn out to be your soul mate.  

If you are new to college or you’ve not had the best luck finding love, then we are here to help. We have many tips for how to find the right person for you, places where you can find them, and the importance of companionship, even if the relationship is not romantic.

1: Think About What You Really Want

Before you jump blindly into the college dating pool, it is important that you take time to reflect and think about what you really want in a relationship and in a potential partner. If you are looking for something serious, then finding a healthy relationship is key. That means dating someone who shares some of your interests, is easy to talk to, and values you as a person. Plus, there needs to be mutual respect. If you date someone you think you really like, but they don’t treat you right, or they disrespect you, then you need to move on, or the issue could escalate. 

While we will talk a lot about finding love, some college students are too busy or focused on their schoolwork to think about a relationship. If that describes your mindset, then that is understandable, but it is important that you find someone to speak to and share your time with or else loneliness can get the best of you. When we are lonely, we can start to feel hopeless and disconnected, and that is the last thing you need during your college years. If you are just looking for friends, then consider signing up for a class on campus or befriending one of your floormates in the dorm. 

2: Campus Activities

When it comes to finding a potential love interest, consider the many clubs and groups that are available on campus, including fraternities and sororities. If you are looking for an activity to join, then review the bulletin board in your dorm, where you may see many listed events, from professional gatherings at the library to local parties. You can also focus on your grades and meet new people by starting or joining a study group.  

If you need money for tuition, then consider getting a job on campus where you can meet even more people. There are also typically many sporting events on campus. Even if you are not playing, you never know who you will meet by going and having a seat on the bleachers as you enjoy the game with your peers.   

3: Talk To Your Friends

While you can meet plenty of new people by trying out new activities on your own, you can also talk to the friends you already have and see if there is anyone they know that they think would be a great fit. That way, you have a person in common, and you can even go out to do group activities, be it going to the campus bowling alley or taking a nature hike at the local park. Once you are comfortable with the new person, consider going on a one-on-one date. 

4: Go Online

Sometimes when you are looking for love, you need to go to where the people are, and if recent studies are any indication, then you might want to go online. Due to the popularity of social media and apps like TikTok, many young people in Generation Z are trying virtual dating by going on video apps where they can see a potential match face-to-face but in the comfort of their home or dorm.  

There are many dating apps that you can try, some of which are hot spots for college students, including OkCupid, Friendsy, and Zoosk. When you use an online app, make sure that you are truthful and honest about your personality and the activities that you enjoy. When you talk on video, be yourself and avoid the use of filters. You want people to like you for who you are. Just remember to not rely exclusively on dating apps and get out there and have a date in the real world as well. 

5: Volunteer

When you are looking for someone to date, you will want to find a person who is caring and compassionate in everyday life because they will share those attributes in the course of your relationship as well. A surefire way to find someone that cares is to volunteer either on campus or in the town surrounding the school. There are many opportunities to volunteer your services, from working at a soup kitchen or food bank to lending your time at a donation center or doing community work. When you’re there, strike up conversations with the people you work with and see where it goes. 

As you can see, there are many ways that you can meet people and create a romantic connection while you’re in college. Just remember to keep an open mind, prioritize your studies, and have fun, and you will eventually meet that special someone. 

SEE ALSO: Tips for Dealing With Difficult College Roommates

Leadership Skills that Help You Land a Job After College

Leadership Skills that Help You Land a Job After College

College is a great place to learn the ins and outs of your chosen major, but it empowers students to build more than technical skills. You can also use your time in college to develop valuable soft skills that are easily transferable between careers — including those required of strong leaders.

When you’re getting ready to graduate and start finding a job, many of your potential employers will evaluate your potential as a leader. Students who learn, practice, and excel in their leadership skills are viewed by managers as highly capable of taking on diverse positions, contributing more to their companies, and taking on higher-level roles over time.

However, the ability to lead isn’t something you can simply put on your resume. You’ll need to be able to demonstrate the right skills during your interviews to impress the companies you’re applying to. Here are the leadership skills recruiters and hiring managers value most, as well as how you can develop them while getting your degree.

Modern communication skills

Leadership has changed a lot in recent years, but communication remains one of the most sought-after skills across industries. Applicants with strong resumes can lose out to less qualified job candidates if they have poor communication skills. On the flip side, great communicators can win significantly more job offers than their competitors.

Modern communication skills must be comprehensive. In addition to being great at written and verbal communication, today’s leaders need to be technologically literate. Video meetings and other remote communication channels (like Slack and email) are now the norm. Consider joining a public speaking course, speech and debate group, or career prep program in college to practice your ability to choose words and gestures carefully.

Being culturally sensitive in your communications is also becoming incredibly important, especially as businesses implement more diversity and inclusion initiatives. College is the perfect time to interact with people from different backgrounds and listen to their feedback.

Organizational skills

While technical skills allow employees to successfully complete tasks, organizational skills make you capable of taking an entire project from ideation to execution. Businesses are looking for organized leaders who can carefully identify goals and keep track of their progress to ensure their projects can end successfully. Leaders should be able to delegate tasks, follow up, and avoid stalled projects with ease.

In college, practicing organizational skills is simple. Challenge yourself to stay on top of your assignments while taking part in extracurriculars. If possible, take on leadership roles within those extracurriculars and work toward ambitious (but feasible) goals each semester.

Adaptability

The business world is shifting faster than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic — which forced many workplaces to quickly go virtual and develop creative strategies to stay afloat — proved the importance of adaptability as a leadership skill. Job candidates who are able to smoothly adapt to new tasks, software, teams, and work cultures (rather than resist change) are highly desirable in the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers.

A large part of being adaptable is the ability to stay calm and work through stressful situations. Since shifts in your work environment can throw you into unfamiliar situations, employers want job candidates who can keep a level head and excel in the face of change.

One way you can develop your adaptability is by finding healthy outlets for stress. For instance, you can implement meditation into your daily or weekly routine to practice healthily dealing with stressful situations after college. Start meditating during your midterms or finals and see if it’s the right outlet for you.

Empathy

Empathy is another leadership skill that’s increasingly prized in the workspace. As more companies become employee-focused, recruiters and hiring managers are seeking leaders who can contribute to a positive work environment — particularly as the current worker shortage continues to impact their ability to find qualified employees. Great leaders must be exceptional at listening and collaborating with diverse peers and managers.

Volunteering can be a great way to practice your empathy skills in college. Challenge yourself to work alongside and serve populations that you don’t normally interact with and step into their shoes. Practice entering conversations without any expectations and be curious about the people you speak with.

Land your dream job

Landing a job right after college is no longer a simple matter of demonstrating the industry skills you’ve developed. It also requires you to show off your soft skills — the ones that allow you to act as an exceptional leader in any role. Soft skills give you room to grow within a company over time.

Start by developing your communication skills, making sure to practice increasingly prized skills like video calling and empathetic listening. Plus, learn how to be organized in your work and adaptable to new (and potentially stressful) situations to increase your value in the eyes of recruiters and hiring teams.

SEE ALSO: 5 DOs and DON’Ts for Landing Your First Job After College

The Importance of Keeping Up a Social Life in College

The Importance of Keeping Up a Social Life in College

Everyone’s seen the college movies where the students spend so much time partying, they fail all their classes; but too much studying and isolation isn’t great either. This all-or-nothing approach isn’t a good thing for such a critical time in a person’s life — when they’re just starting to come into themselves and figure things out.

Life is all about finding a balance, and college is no exception. If you’re a college student, your goal should be to find a balance between schoolwork and socializing. This will help to keep you in a healthy mindset. And if you stay grounded in a healthy mindset, you’ll be able to do better in your coursework.

The Benefits of Finding the Balance Between Socialization and Studying

There are many benefits associated with being well balanced. Not only is it a great way to prepare yourself for having a great work/life balance when you get out into the business world, but it will make you a more well-rounded person.

Better Mental Health

The first benefit of having a well-balanced social life and study life is that it’s better for mental health.

Modern life can be stressful, especially for teenagers and 20-somethings. Never before have we had 24/7 access to social media, news, and everyone in our lives. It can be a lot. This constant access can be great for connecting, but it can also be a drain on emotional and mental health.

It can be important to focus on your mental health in college. It has been proven that isolated students will struggle with mental health issues more than students with healthy relationships.

It Makes You a Better Student

First of all, if your mental wellbeing is in a good place, you are more likely to be a productive student. People who are happier are more productive and can get more accomplished. Secondly, you are more likely to be productive and engaged if you are friends with other productive and engaged students. It’s good to be surrounded by others who can encourage you and help you stay motivated and inspired.

If you work together in groups, you can help each other and hold each other accountable. You can study with each other and work on big projects and papers together.

Improve Social Skills

College is all about improving the skills that will get you places in the workforce afterward. One of those skills is knowing how to talk to people and build relationships. Even if you don’t go on to work in sales, for example, it’s always good to know how to network and build relationships, no matter what field you end up working in.

Ideas for Improving Your Social Life

So now that you understand more about why it’s so important to have a college social life, you might want some ideas for achieving that.

1. Attend University Events

Your college plans some fun events for all of its students, so make sure you check your email or check its website regularly to stay updated. You can usually find events like sporting events, concerts, speakers, and festivals that are open to students or the community at large.

There may also be groups at your university based on interests that you have, so be open to checking those out as well. And some schools may even plan off-campus events like day trips that you can join in on.

2. Bond with Your Roommate

It may seem awkward at first if you are assigned someone random to live with, but try to get to know them. Spend some time asking them about their interests, what they like to do, what kind of music and movies they like, etc.

One fun way to get to know them and bond is to decorate your dorm room together. This is a great way to get to know each other, and it makes it a little less awkward because you are doing something to create the perfect space for both of you. If you can learn to get along with your roommate, you might just end up with one of the most lasting and meaningful friendships of your life.

3. Form Study Groups

One great way to get to know people in your classes and to learn the material better is to form study groups. This is really a win-win situation. You can plan fun gatherings where you spend the first hour studying and the second hour socializing.

Sometimes people need a reason to get together when they are first becoming friends, and a study group can be a great reason.

4. Take a Road Trip

Once you have your group of friends more or less in place, one of the most fun friend activities to do together is the road trip. Just make sure you all know the rules before you hit the road. Who’s driving? Who’s car is in the best shape? What’s the plan if something unexpected happens? Do your parents know where you’re going to be? Just make sure you hash all that out.

Nothing is more fun than getting together with some friends, throwing some tunes on the stereo, hitting the road, and anticipating getting to the final destination.

College can be both a fun, social time and a serious time for learning. There’s no need to make it just one of those things!

SEE ALSO: Sustainable Moving: Tips For a Green Moving Season