Preparing for Finals

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“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” or at least that is what a very popular Christmas song would lead us to believe, but right now are you a little more concerned with the final exams on the road ahead than what Santa will leave under the tree?  If you are, you are not alone.  Maybe you’re struggling with where to begin when it comes to finals prep.  Sometimes beginning the process can be the biggest hurdle.  I have some great news for you today because our friends in Academic Support Programs have put together some wonderful tools that will help you plan out your studies for this final home stretch.  You can find these resources here: Finals Study Guide- fall 2013 (3).

Maybe you’re struggling with maintaining your motivation to study.  Think of finals as a major project you are working on for your job.  How will finishing the semester well influence your career plans?  What can you learn from this experience of intense study and hard work?  This challenge might just be something you could describe to a potential employer in an interview when asked about a time you overcame a challenge or stayed motivated in the midst of difficulty.  Putting in the time and effort to study diligently can be a great opportunity to not only be a successful  student, but also to develop character.

If you would like one on one help, the Success Center is here for you.  Remember, you aren’t in this alone!  We hope you do your best on your final exams and enjoy a restful Christmas break.

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Thoughtful Thursday

I had the great opportunity to attend the Texas Women’s Conference in Austin on Tuesday and one of the speakers I heard was Delia Ephron.  You may recognize her movies, which include You’ve Got Mail, Hanging Up, and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  Her topic was “Life at a Crossroads: Finding the Courage to Choose a Different Path” and the quote above was one of the things she said that stood out to me and certainly reflected her own values and views of happiness and security.  Whether or not you share her perspective on these values, I hope her words will encourage you to ponder the things that are important to you.  What is essential for you to live the life you want?  For Delia, happiness is a huge value and one that she has been willing to take risks for.  What are the guiding values in your life?

Is Grad School in Your Future?

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Thinking about going to grad school in the future, but unclear about where to start?  Kaplan is hosting a “Do’s and Dont’s: Getting into Professional/Graduate School” workshop TODAY from 5 – 6 pm in Hankamer Cashion Building, Room 110.  This workshop can be a powerful opportunity to hear from an expert and get lots of questions answered.  Also, did you know that the Career Exploration team in Career and Professional Development can help guide you to the program area that is right for you if you are unclear about the direction you want to take with your graduate program and our Professional Development area can help you write a personal statement?  Please stop by and see all the ways CPD can help you achieve your goals and if you aren’t sure if we can help with a certain aspect of your journey, just ask!  If we don’t offer services in a particular area, we will do our best to help you find the person who can help.

Big Game

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Word on the street is that Baylor is playing in a pretty high profile game tonight at Floyd Casey.  The #10 Sooners are coming to town to play against the #6 Bears in a history making matchup.  It is the first time ever that two top 10 teams will be facing off at Floyd Casey Stadium.  But what else makes this game so important?  Why do we get fired up about the amazing season our Bears are having?  Because they are successful!  Success like this doesn’t happen overnight.  This kind of success takes endurance and discipline.  It takes focus and drive.  These are principles we can all apply to our lives in achieving our career goals.

Just as the Bears have to know the plays and be able to match their opponents, we have to take time to think about where we are headed and what it will take to get us there.  We have to put in the time in the classroom and outside of it.  Discipline to follow through on class assignments, keep up with the reading, and manage our time and study habits well are just a few of the areas we cannot let up on if we want to be successful in achieving our career goals.  If one of our football players decided to take a week off from workouts in the middle of the season and maybe just put in a quick workout the night before the game, I’ll bet his lack of discipline would show up in his stats the next day if he was allowed to play.  It would be like waiting until the night before to study for a test.  If we put in consistent study strategies all along the way, our skills will prove themselves when they are tested.  Just like our Bears are putting up amazing stats (I’ve heard them described by some as video game-like), when we consistently apply discipline in our studies in the areas that fit with our gifts, we can achieve strong grades to aid us in our career search.

Not only do our Bears put in time in individual workouts, but they take on scrimmages and practice as a team.  They put themselves in game like simulations, so they can most adequately prepare for what they will face in a true game scenario.  Informational interviewing, job shadowing and internships are like scrimmages for career development.  Putting ourselves in the workplace situation helps us gain skills, understand the work environments and build our network.  Did you know that around 60% of internships turn into jobs?  That’s a pretty high number, huh?  It works!!

A final thing to keep in mind is that our Bears don’t play any of these games on their own.  They have great resources in their teammates and coaches.  Before each play starts, they are looking to the sidelines for their cue.  They listen to their leaders and know they have a place to go when they have questions about how to proceed.  You do, too!  Sometimes it might feel like you are running downfield on your own with obstacles in your way, but please remember you are not in this game alone.  The team at Career and Professional Development is here to help, so if a recent deficiency feels like a penalty flag and you’re wondering if you need to look for a new game plan or maybe you’ve been working on your skills and need to find an internship to put them into practice, please contact our office today.  We would love to help you find the right strategy for you!  Sic Em, Bears!!

What’s Your Career Costume?

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Today is a day traditionally celebrated by children donning costumes and visiting houses with a familiar greeting of “trick or treat”.  I was thinking about that idea of dressing up and the frequent question we ask children, “What will you be for Halloween?”  This question leads us to answers that include the child’s favorite super hero, fairy tale princess or animal.  We find out what the child is interested in and what things they may aspire to be.

In the same way, when we ask ourselves what career field we might want to go into, it can be akin to trying on that costume.  What clothes do I want to wear to work?  What kind of environment do I want to work in?  From wearing a powersuit and working in a skyscraper in a large city to wearing your comfiest sweats and working from your own home computer, the sky is the limit as to career settings that are available today.  Think about what suits you best.  Would you like to work in a high energy world filled with lots of people interaction or are you more interested in a calm, peaceful setting where you can work more independently?  The answers to these questions can help guide your direction and if you are unsure about what might be the best fit, I encourage you to make an appointment with our Career Exploration team.  One of the assessments we use is a personality inventory that will help you understand yourself and your natural personality preferences better.  This self-understanding can be a valuable tool to guide you in the career direction that will work well for you.  Let us know how we can help and have a safe and happy Halloween!

A Handwritten Thank You Note

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As you journey through life, the handwritten thank you note is always a valuable tool to have in your back pocket.  Whether reaching out to someone following a networking introduction or connecting after an interview, a thoughtful, well-written thank you can speak volumes to those who receive it.  Here are a few links with tips for writing a thank-you note following an interview:

http://www.levo.com/articles/skills/negotiating-table-the-interview-thank-you-note

http://www.prepary.com/what-to-write-in-a-thank-you-note-after-an-interview/

You may find opportunities to customize these templates for other situations as well.

Happy Homecoming!

This weekend is a special one for the Baylor family.  It is a time when all those who have walked these hallowed halls before return to celebrate and remember their time at Baylor.  The activities from Freshman Mass Meeting to the football game and everything in between fill us with remembrances of the past and great hope for the future.  As you meet new faces and greet familiar ones during this special weekend, be sure and take time to listen to the stories of alumni you encounter.  They have a rich wealth of knowledge and hearing about their journey at Baylor and beyond may give you some knew insight as you are selecting your major and/or career path.  Enjoy this special Baylor experience.  Before you know it, you will be returning to campus and sharing your story with the current campus community.  Happy Homecoming!

Happy Fall Break!

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I hope you all enjoy your extra long weekend!  Take time to get some extra rest and maybe think ahead on homework, tests and assignments, so you’ll be prepared, but don’t forget to take advantage of networking opportunities that may arise as you find yourself out of your typical day to day routine.  If you are traveling to your hometown, take a minute to stop in and visit with a family friend who may be working in the same industry that interests you.  You may find a potential internship or job shadowing experience right in your back yard.  Wherever you find yourself during your extra time off, take a minute to think about where you envision yourself in the future, where you are now, and what your plan might be to get to the future you see.  Remember, you don’t have to go it alone!  We at Career and Professional Development are here to help you.  So if that path from where you are to where you want to be looks a little blurry, make an appointment online or stop in for a visit.  We’d love to work with you to help make your dream a reality!

What Does it Cost to Live?

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Have you ever wondered how much it costs to live in the real world?  As you look at estimates of yearly salaries for different career paths you are considering, do you ever wonder how those numbers break down to paying the bills each month?  If these are some of the questions you are wrestling with as you explore career options, I have some valuable tools for you!

Several states offer “Reality Check” websites, which allow you to choose a specific location within the state and choose specific living expenses you might like to have once you are out on your own, so you can build a budget and get a clear idea of what kind of wages might be needed to live the life you want.  Once you finish the calculating, the website gives you a list of careers that make the salary that fits with your budget.  You might want to go through the budgeting process several times.  One time, you might want to focus on essentials, recognizing that entry level jobs may start at a lower rate than salaries once you have been in the workforce for a few years.

Here are links to the three states who offer reality checks:

Texas Reality Check

California Reality Check

Colorado Reality Check

It might even be helpful to see the differences in each state, especially if you plan to live in a state other than those three.  Remember, if your state is not listed, you can also look up specifics about the area you are interested in living in online, using some of the budget ideas the reality check uses as a guide.

If you would like more help with choosing a major or a career, please visit Career and Professional Development.  We’d be happy to help!