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Five Tips for Networking While in College

 Five Tips for Networking While in CollegeNetworking is a critical part of life, but it is often a very misunderstood practice. Networking is not the process of collecting contacts who can help you out at some future point in time. If this selfish supposition is your stating point, then your network is not likely to grow or maintain itself as a solid support system. True networking is based on balanced exchanges, mutual respect and genuine fondness. Forging real, long-lasting bonds with people is the key to effective networking.

Here are some tips for networking successfully in college:

1. Office hours are almost as important as lectures.

If you think that officer hours are a waste of your time, you’re a fool. Some of the long-term bonds you can form will be created in the offices of your professors. Get to know these welcoming men and women. Talk about the course material, their research or your career interests. Ask for advice. Be respectful and courteous, and recognize that your professors don’t have a lot of time.

A majority of professors love interested and engaging students. Think about how many disinterested bodies they have to try and teach. If you enter office hours with genuine enthusiasm and a thirst for knowledge, you will soon discover that most of your professors are friendly and helpful. Once you have created a working friendship, you’ll have an ally in your field of study who will be there for you for the rest of your life. Don’t forget to keep in touch when you leave.

2. Section is a time to make allies.

Section can be grueling, especially if the discussion grows stagnant with repetition, soap-box speeches and general nonsense. When you witness something stupid, like say, a person professing their undying devotion to 19th century proletariat revolution, look around the room. See who else is rolling their eyes along with you. Find like minded, intelligent classmates and target them for friendship.

3. Get to know your roommates, housemates and neighbors

Familiarize yourself with the people around you. Be your own person, but don’t be anti-social. Talk to people. Find out their likes and dislikes. Develop relationships with people you respect, and shy away from associations with distracting, unfocused party mongers. Unless of course, your interests happen to coincide with these people.
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4. Be social when it comes to hobbies, interests and events.

Meet people who share your interests. Join a club, find a study group or start a band. Connect with others who share your unique set of likes and dislikes.

5. Don’t be a jerk to anyone.

Don’t be a chump in section. Don’t try to embarrass people. Keep it civil with your roommate. Just don’t cause too much drama—your network will be better as a result.

Remember, don’t have the mindset of “how can this person help me in the future.” Your network should consist of friends and colleagues that you generally respect and would help out in any situation. The feeling should also be mutual. Don’t coddle a bitter professor just because he’s got a name that would look nice at the bottom of your letter of recommendation to grad school. Don’t associate with kids you don’t like. Create real relationships based on trust and mutual admiration. That’s how you build a large network of real friends who would do anything to help you out, and would expect the same type of assistance from you.

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A Teacher’s Advice to Returning Students

When I taught Writing I at a local college, I saw a lot of returning students. They were easy to spot, too. They were all extremely nervous about coming back to school, unsure of whether they could succeed. I would try to ease their fears, but it would often take weeks to convince them that they really could succeed in school. Although all these students were working toward undergraduate degree, I have seen the same type of fear when taking classes with returning graduate students. Before you get too worried, though, let me give you a few words of advice.

Talk to Your Teachers

First of all, talk to your professors about your concerns. Many were probably returning students at one time or another, and they can understand your fears. If you have children or are caring for an ill parent, also go ahead and tell your teacher. Assure them you will be at class all the time, but you wanted to let them know in case there is ever an emergency. They are likely to be much more forgiving if you let them know your situation up front.

Find a Mentor

During graduate school, a mentor can be a huge help. If they are part of the profession, they will be able to give you insight when you beginning preparing research projects, and they can give you encouragement when times get tough. If they have actually completed the same program, they can provide you valuable advice regarding the teachers and the classes.

A Simple Truth

Let me tell you a simple truth. The older the student, the more prepared they usually are for college. Times have changed and younger students have weaker writing skills and less discipline. Returning students are generally more successful, although they are more affected by outside influences like family emergencies and tough financial situations. Realize that you are likely better equipped to succeed in your classes than your younger classmates, even though they still have the school thing down.

If There are Problems…

If you do struggle in a graduate level class or if an emergency occurs, talk to your teachers. Don't allow yourself to fall further behind without letting your professors know about the situation. If you need extra help, they will gladly give it, and if you need some other type of consideration, they will do their best to assist you. Don't wait until it's too late to save your grade to speak with your professors.

Relax

Finally, relax. Don't worry yourself too much about returning to school. Just stay excited about the experience, work ahead, and count your blessings. You will likely succeed in graduate school and impress yourself with your knowledge and abilities. You have a lot to offer your classmates, and the graduate school experience – the sharing of ideas, the collaboration – is an experience you'll remember fondly for life.

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Smart Networking Tips For Job-hunting Grads

You don't have to be a seasoned professional to have a great list of contacts. In fact, if you think about it, you probably already have a number of contacts that you made without really thinking about it. All of your classmates and professors are contacts. That is a pretty good start. Also, everyone that you have ever worked for or interned for is a contact. Not only can these people all offer great job hunting advice, but they can also lead you directly to the source- a great company that is looking to hire. Here are some great tips for networking and job hunting:

- Job hunt with friends. Did you have a study group while you were in school? If so, get together a similar group for job hunting. Even if you had exactly the same major as your classmates, it is likely that you will all have different feelings about what kind of jobs you want to have. Therefore, get these trusted friends together, talk about what you want out of a job, and then get to hunting. Of course, look for jobs for yourself. While you are doing this however, note any jobs that might be perfect for one of your friends. In so doing you can help each other find great opportunities.

- Get in touch with previous employers. When you are getting close to graduation, be sure to get in touch with previous bosses and supervisors to learn about what is going on in the industry. Perhaps they know someone who is hiring and can give you a good recommendation. Also, make sure that you get in touch with any companies that you interned for. If you would like to work for them full time, be sure that they know this and ask for them to think of you if they have any openings.

- Talk with professors. If you had a particularly good relationship with one of your professors, be sure to ask him or her if he or she knows about any great job openings. It is likely that your professor will be able to help you with some leads. If not, he or she might be able to help you brainstorm about networking ideas that would work particularly well in your industry.

- Play the home field. If you went to college away from home, be sure to consider the contacts that you have in your home town. Perhaps there is a job for you back home.

- Go to job fairs. Many school host or sponsor job fairs. Be sure to attend them and speak with representatives from every company that you would like to work for.

- Post your resume on web communities for your industry.

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Top 5 Best Study Habits

1. Go to class
Show up to your lectures and sections. Participate in class discussions. Absorb all the information that you are supposed to, and don’t let absences create gaps in your knowledge. If you miss one lecture in your global history course, you’re going to always wonder just exactly how humanity formed the ability to speak. You’ll go from caveman to the cradle of civilization, without knowing what happened in between.

2. Take insanely good notes
Take pride in taking high-quality notes. Write everything down, even if you already know the material. If another student asks a question, make a note of it, and include your professor’s response. Think of yourself as a court reporter, with you notebook being the stenography machine. Record everything that goes down and you’ll learn more. You’ll have a written record of all your class proceedings. You’ll be able to retain information longer because you have to write it down physically as you process the info mentally. You’ll be better prepared for tests and assignments, and you’ll never get bored (or at least you’ll be less bored than your classmates, because your too busy writing everything down).

3. Do your work
You’ll have an easier time studying if you’ve done all your work the way you’re supposed to. When you study for a test, you’re supposed to be reviewing things that you already know, not teaching yourself material for the first time. Get your assignments turned in on time and do all of your reading. The more familiar you are with your material, the easier it will be to analyze and apply what you have learned in tests and assignment situations.

4. Ask questions
If you need further clarification, get it. Ask questions during lecture. Meet with your professors during their office hours. Share knowledge with other students and pool together your combined know-how. Debate people. Always ask for more info when you need to.

5. Manage your time wisely
Don’t party too hard. Prioritize your social commitments and your scholastic obligations. Find balance, and be in control of every moment of the day. Make to do lists. Schedule in free time, and realize that your time in college is limited. Take advantage of it while you can.

If you just to what you know you’re supposed to do, you’ll succeed in college. The best study habits are the ones that work. So find out what works for you, and stick to it.

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A Day In The Life Of An Online College Student

Amy Kirwan, a recent graduate of Phoenix University, recently sat down with me to speak about her day-to-day life as an online college student. As a working professional, she found the online environment a great fit for her lifestyle. Working nine to five, Amy would check in with her online school a few times a day to stay in touch and check out the status of her group projects so that if her online classmates needed anything from her, she could take care of it right away.

For the most part, though, the daily life of an online college student is shaped by the off-line life of that student: you can participate in the online classroom environment without disturbing your work schedule. You read for your classes on your own time, and conduct research when you can. At night, students spend several hours at the computer.

When you’re on the computer at night, you can interact with your classmates. Online colleges try to arrange classes so that people in the same time zone are taking classes together. Therefore, when you’re working, the people in your classes tend to be working as well. In addition to free-form interactions with your classmates via the message boards, you will be required to post written answers to discussion questions about your readings. These written responses take the form of essays. In addition to providing your own answers to the discussion questions, you will be responsible for reading and responding to those responses posted by your classmates.

Phoenix University requires its students to actively participate five out of seven days a week. If the school week begins on a Monday, you will probably do the required reading on Monday and Tuesday and post your responses to discussion questions by Wednesday.

In addition to the substantive responses to your classmate’s discussion question essays, you will interact with your online classmates by participating in group papers and group presentations. One example of a group project is the creation of a new business, where teammates work together to craft a mission statement, a business plan, as well as plans for how the company would be marketed.

Depending on the course you take, you might also be responsible for writing an individual paper each week, in addition to the work you are responsible for in your team project. Each week, you will receive an assessment from your online professor, which will include results on papers and tests as well as commentary on your online posts as well as an overview of your progress in the course.

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10 Tips On Surviving Sophomore Year

1. Avoid the sophomore slump.
It might be harder to do than it seems. You’re not a freshman anymore, so the pressure’s off. You know your way around; you know who your friends are. You’re way more comfortable this year, and there’s so much college ahead of you, you might feel like it’s all right to relax. But it’s not. Sophomore year counts for something, too. Though you’re not yet an upperclassman, in a very short time you will be. Then, it’s out the door and onto the real world, with a GPA that reflects your efforts sophomore year as well as all of the other ones. Bottom line: it’s great that the anxiety of being new is over with, but some pressure to succeed is okay.

2. Don’t recede into the background.
Maybe you’re not as comfortable as some of your classmates, even though you are a returning student. Sophomore year can be especially tough. Historically, the sophomore class is the one that gets the least attention. You’re not new; you’re not about to graduate. The conventional wisdom seems that for the moment, you’re okay. But what if you’re not? If you’re still having trouble adjusting, you should talk to someone, your resident adviser, perhaps. Try an extracurricular activity you didn’t last year. There’s still plenty of time to have a great college experience.

3. See your academic adviser.
Having an appointment with your academic adviser may help you rekindle a feeling of focus. The two of you can talk about your options for your major course of study, and the rest of college as well. If you feel yourself slacking off, tell your academic adviser you need a motivational speech.

4. Take choosing your major seriously.
Though picking a major does not lock you into a life lived within the confines of the subject area you pick, it will affect you in the job market.

5. Go to the Career Counseling Center.
A visit to the Career Counseling Center might help clarify what major you should pick. Make an appointment to talk to a career counselor, discuss what types of careers are available and appealing to you. This might help you decide on a course of study.

6. Consider an internship or volunteer opportunity.
The more real-world experience and exposure you’ve had to the industry or field of your choice, the better when it comes to applying to jobs after graduation. You might talk to your career counselor about what opportunities exist, or email an alum in a field that interests you and volunteer yourself.

7. Make plans for your summer.

8. Consider a term abroad or on exchange next year.

9. Do take that fun elective you’ve been eyeing in the course catalog.

10. Make time for fun with friends.

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10 Tips On Surviving Freshman Year

1. Orientation activities are a must.
Even though they might make you feel awkward, even though there might seem to be 500 of them, you should go to as many orientations as you possibly can. Remember, most of the other people attending them feel just as awkward. Lean over to one of them and ask: "Haven’t we already been to 500 of these things?" You might make a friend for life, or at least for dinner. In addition to the opportunity to begin meeting your classmates, orientation activities also provide useful information about the school, its campus, its activities, and its policies.

2. Meet as many people as you can.
Beginning with your new roommate, take the time to get to know the people around you. Although some students show up to college with friends from their high school, for most people, this is not the case. You’re all in the same boat. Take that boat to dinner together, to campus social events, etc. Making friends with those around you will help ease you into the atmosphere of college.

3. Go to all of your classes.
After 500 plus orientation activities, the start of classes might seem like a brutal slap in the face. Or maybe you’ll realize that nobody is going to give you detention if you skip, so you start skipping. Whatever reasons you have for cutting class, they’re bad. Learning is really what college is for. Don’t deprive yourself of it.

4. Do your homework when it’s assigned.
Again, the freedom of college can be intoxicating, but don’t become so infused with it that you begin blowing your work off. Like skipping classes, procrastinating on your homework has toxic consequences for your grades.

5. Learn time management skills.
You might not believe it at first, but going to all of your classes and doing all of your homework does not equal having no free time. Once you get your course schedule, you should look at where you have blocks of free time. You should dedicate some of those to studying intently, so that you have time for other things. Don’t spend freshman year with something always hanging over your head. It’s a bad precedent to start.

6. Get involved in extracurricular activities.
With your time management skills, you should be able to handle at least one activity outside of classes that excites you.

7. Make sure you eat.
And make sure you eat right. Cap’n Crunch is delicious, agreed, but it is not a breakfast, lunch, and dinner option. Eat a vegetable occasionally, and try not to get too addicted to caffeine.

8. Make sure you sleep.
Which you’ll be able to do, if you don’t become a Starbucks junkie, which you won’t have to, because of your time management skills.

9. Get some exercise.
Even if it’s just going for a walk. The fresh air is good for your mind and body.

10. Make time to have pure, unadulterated fun even after the start of classes.

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