I’ve Been Enjoying…

This is a pretty busy time for me as classes are wrapping up and I’m approaching graduation.

I wanted to share through images, some of the things I’ve been enjoying!

Preparing for my Senior Seminar Presentation and finally presenting in front of faculty and friends

Preparing for my Senior Seminar Presentation and finally presenting in front of faculty and friends.

Having fun with friends attending concerts, conferences, and supporting each other!

The Spring weather!

Spring weather!

Inspirational movies and music!

Inspirational movies and music!

Appreciating my last days living on campus!

Appreciating my last days living on campus!

Having a Starbucks on campus and my fav drink being in season!

Having a Starbucks on campus and my favorite drink being in season!

Until next time!

-Sydney <3

Interviews!

As you all know, I graduate in a little over 2 weeks and I am more than excited! Preparing for post graduate interviews have been playing a big part of my next steps.

The more interviews that I encounter, the confident I have been becoming. So, I’m convinced it takes practice and learning from mistakes to become better at interviewing.

Throughout my college career, including this semester, I have had a handful of face-to-face interviews and phone interviews. I’d like to share a few tips that have helped me so far and have been suggested to me by mentors.

First, is to know your own skills and be able to speak confidently about who you are.

It’s also wise to research the company or organization you’re interviewing for to see if it’s the type of experience you want to have and to be able to speak about that during your interview.

I also began to practice going over interview questions and matching the job description with my own skills before my interview.

For interviews, I was advised to always dress business professionally, arrive a little early, and to bring copies of my resume.

During the interview, another tip that I follow, is always having questions to ask at the end because I’m naturally interested and it shows that.

Perfecting interviewing skills is a journey just like everything else.

Below is another resource that I found:

Until Next Time!

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Senior Project: Brand You 101

For this week’s blog, I’m writing about something both relevant to my current life and college students: my senior project!

Communications majors have to research, create a deliverable for, and present on a topic of their choice. I am in the final stages of preparing my speech after creating a website as my deliverable.

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The topic I studied was Generation Yers (anyone between the ages 18-35), Personal Branding, and Online Presence.

I knew that almost every college student (and younger) I know has some type of social media profile and I learned that we can use those profiles to our advantage.

When we understand our skills and how we want to market ourselves to others and employers, we can use social networks strategically!

Employers and HR professionals are looking at social media networks when considering whom they want to hire.

So, it’s important that we present ourselves in a way that reflects are true selves and communications a consistent image.

For my projected I created a website with interesting research, interactivity, videos, and resources that gets the process started for anyone who is interested in learning more about personal branding and how to create and communicate their own effective brand via social media.

Here is the website link: http://brandyou101.wix.com/brandyou101

I will continue to share about my senior project goes!

What I’ve Learned

I came across a recent picture on Tumblr and thought it would be a good topic to blog about.

In college it’s a requirement to take certain general education courses that don’t always seem as beneficial for real world application.

Even some content for major course requirements, doesn’t seem to stick.

I know I’m not the only one has wondered the statement below:

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Although it’s funny, it’s true. Sometimes we wonder what we’re really learning during college and in certain classes.

As a Communication major, I’ve learned specific technical skills and strategies that are directly applicable for certain jobs like writing, video editing, and visual design.

However, in other courses, like math for example, it seems like I only really learn how to pass the class.

As soon as the class is over, I forget a lot of what I learned.

Now that I’m in my Senior year, I’m starting realize some of the things I learned in my classes weren’t always about the actual content. I’ve learned things like how to believe in myself, persistence, how to work in groups, problem solving techniques, critical thinking, patience, endurance, courage, and I’ve learned that I’m capable of learning new tasks.

All of those are important and will help me in any career that I have and I have various courses to thank for that!

“Where Is She Now?”: Jasmine Emmons

My “Where Is She/He Now” blog series will highlight different graduates/alumni friends of SXU and what’s going on in their lives after college, so far.

Below is an interview with someone who inspired me during college and continues to inspire me afterwards, Jasmine Emmons.

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Jasmine at her graduation ceremony.

Q: How was it being an out-of-state student and away from family?

Jasmine: My immediate family lives in Texas. It was a challenge because I am extremely close with my family, but it made it that much more enjoyable when I got to visit.

Q: When did you graduate/ What was your major/minor?

Jasmine: I graduated in 2011. My major was Psychology with a minor in Sociology.  

Q: What clubs and leaderships roles did you have @ SXU?

Jasmine: I was the Vice-President and Choir Director of AFC, a Community Liaison for Residence Life, and a Peer Mentor for Transitions Freshman courses.

Q: What was your favorite thing/part about going to SXU?

Jasmine: My favorite part of attending SXU was the diversity.  It was always refreshing to learn about different cultures, religions, and people.

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Jasmine and I at at school dinner event.

Q: How was your experience with City Year/ how did it change you?

Jasmine: City Year was such an eye opening experience.  While it took alot of time and energy, it truly taught me the value of education and service. It helped me mature my passion for inner city youth and education. 

Q: Where do you work now?

Jasmine: I work for Youth Guidance now which is an organization created to enhance the learning experience for youth in schools around Chicago. We provide tutoring, counseling, social services, and more.

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Jasmine, myself, and a group of singers/students at one of our gospel concerts at SXU!

Q:What are your future plans?

Jasmine: I plan to get my master’s degree in School Counseling and work towards being the principle of a school or the head administrator of a school district.

Q:What’s the best thing you’ve learned at SXU?

Jasmine: I’ve learned that hard work does bring about results. Knowledge is 20 percent of our efforts, but the 80 percent application brings about real change.

Q: What were your favorite classes/professors @ SXU?

Jasmine: My favorite classes were Mind, Self, and Society,  Social Theory, and Perceptions. My favorite professors were Dr. Fritz and Dr. Baker.

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Jasmine is confident about the big plans for her future.

Until next time,

-Sydney

Why You Should Sail an Intern”ship”

Okay, my title is a little corny, but internships aren’t!

I am currently in the process of applying for and landing an internship for the summer after I’ve graduated and hopefully a following one in the fall. While a lot of students are looking for jobs, vacations, or even enrolling to graduate schools, I’m taking a different route. I would like an opportunity to learn more about different aspects of the media industry and also further explore where I fit. During college, I’ve also had internships and would like to share some reasons why they’re so important and how having internships has helped me.

Below is a video that shares the experiences and skills of one of my most recent internships!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbe_m87I6HI&w=560&h=315]

So, why are internships so important, you ask? It’s an education in the real world. You get to put tools and knowledge you learn in the classroom to use. As an intern, you’re expected to need training and you should receive direction and guidance. However, usually your internships relate to skills you’ve already began practicing. For example, during my creative services internship, I was asked to edit video clips. I was required to use skills I learned in my video productions class. Internships also help build your resume. My current resume is filled with three different internship experiences. This makes me more competitive and eligible to apply to various opportunities.  During internships you will grow as an individual. You learn who you are in the career environment and how to overcome challenging situations. My internships helped me get over feelings of nervousness, fear, and inferiority. Internships can additionally help you find your interests. Sometimes you don’t really know what you like to do until you experience what you don’t. During internships you get to test work environments, schedules, and types of work, to help define what best suits you.

Saint Xavier’s Career Center  helped me find an internship program by sending an email blast. One of the programs they sent to Communication majors interested me, I applied, and was accepted. So, don’t underestimate the resources that college centers can offer you. Also, if your school semesters are busy, just take an internship during the summers like I did. There are a variety of paid summer internships available.

Now that you’ve read, care to join me in the journey?

-Until next time,

Sydney

Fighting “Senioritis”?

 

Before I came to college, I heard about the uninterested and unenthusiastic clouds that hover over students during their last semester. Now that I am in my last semester, I know that those clouds can appear during any semester, if you let them.

I know first hand how it can feel to just want to be finished! Here’s are a few tips I do to encourage myself and hopefully can someone else.

tumblr_mgyi0udgcb1ql3q7po1_500 Have a semester goal

It can be really helpful to have a goal in sight other than “just finishing”. Of course you want to be finished with the semester and enter into the next season of your life, but what goals do you have now? A goal for me is boosting my overall GPA. So, for each class I have a grade goal that will ultimately help increase my overall GPA. Having that goal helps me to stay focused and have an inspiration for the semester. Your goal could be to become better at writing papers, end better than you began, or any other class/grade specific related goals.

Have a balanced load of classes

From my experience it has been so important to take an array of classes each semester. Right now I am taking a sociology, art, math, and communication course. The two of them that are elective classes tend to be topics that I am interested in and they provide inspiration. This is harder for some majors where required courses are necessary and in the same field. However, if you can fit one class in your semester that is just for enjoyment, you will be thankful!

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Surround yourself with supporters

This is something that has really helped me during college. When I am stressed or unenthusiastic about school I go to family, friends who are in college, and friends who have graduated. They usually help me put everything back into the right perspective and encourage me. It’s very helpful to talk to someone who was in my position, but has now finished and can attest to the fact that unenthusiastic feelings are natural, but you can press past them.

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Sometimes a break can be as simple as getting a manicure.

Take a break

Although you are in college, college is not your life. Make sure to be socially connected when/where you can be. When I can i dedicate one day during the weekend is to take a break from schoolwork and do something I enjoy. I attend conferences, hang out with friends, or something simple like get a manicure. I do those things as a treat and they usually motivate me to get back to my work with a refreshed mind.
Until next time,

-Sydney <3

Remember That One Time, When I Studied Abroad?

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Graffiti art in Seville & a happy me!

As I’m approaching Spring Break (a break that will be filled with working on projects, for me) I can’t help but to remember one of my favorite break experiences during college. It happened last Summer, when I studied abroad in Spain for three weeks!

I know that when I was contemplating studying abroad, I read various blogs and consulted with others who had studied abroad.  So, I wanted to share some of my experiences for people who are considering going abroad.

Last year, before I studied aboard, I blogged about why I think you should study abroad here and I still stick by this!

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Sight seeing with my lovely group!

I went to Seville, Spain with The Center for Cross- Cultural Studies program where I also took a fast track Spanish language course. SXU’s Center for International Education was extremely helpful in getting me prepared to study abroad.

The CCS program provided me with a host mom to live with, activities, a native friend to practice speaking with, tutoring, tools to communicate, and a sense of community while I was in Spain.

I honestly felt really blessed while I was in Spain. My host mom was so kind and had wifi internet in her home (a rarity). She cooked three meals a day for me (Yes, I said 3! ) and I was completely comfortable with my living arrangements. I lived close to many shopping centers, beautiful scenery, and the building where I studied.

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Ladies I captured at a parade!

When I wasn’t in classes, I enjoyed shopping, visiting museums, going to the ice cream shops on every corner, and just exploring.

Studying abroad was absolutely one of the scariest decisions I’ve ever made. As much as it was a great experience, a few things did go wrong wrong while I was in Spain. I left my credit card at home in Chicago, my class was challenging for my skill level, and while I was in Spain, my foot got cut on glass and I ended up having to go to a hospital and get stitches.  However, none of those experiences compare to the good experiences that I had while in Spain and in the end everything worked out.

I wanted to share those times because things might go wrong while you are abroad, but it’s not a good reason not to go!

spainhappy I love being able to reflect back on my memories in Spain and the trip confirmed for me that traveling is something I am extremely passionate about.

If you’re contemplating studying abroad, I suggest you go! You’ll never regret being able to say, “Remember that one time, when I studied abroad?”. 

If you have any extra questions about studying abroad, feel free to ask and I would be happy to help!

 

Embracing Critiques & Challenges in College

So, I decided to write this blog about something that I’ve had to learn over time and have been recently faced with:

CRITIQUES!

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Recent feedback I received in a class.

 

In high school, grades are usually based on more of a black and white scale. Test taking, proves you to either be right or wrong. It often just shows how much you’ve studied. In college, there is more feedback given from professors when assessing grades. Public speaking, projects, and papers are all constantly critiqued.

I’ll be honest. Critiques are not something I used to embrace. I would just go straight to my grade, check my score, and keep it moving. When I first started college, I rarely paid much attention to the extra comments. I also was sometimes defensive when receiving critiques, until I realized something.

No one is born an expert. Lessons in life have to be lived and/or learned.

Recently, at a church service an older woman told the younger women, “You aren’t even supposed to know how to love (as a wife) we’re supposed to teach you.” When she said that, it helped me because sometimes I tend to be hard on myself, having such high expectations. If you’re like that, breath! Life is for learning. In the image above, I have included feedback I recently received from a presentation I gave in one of my classes. I was pleased with the high A I earned and also the honest feedback. I sometimes get excited or nervous when speaking which results in me speaking too fast. It is good to know that it’s something that I can work on and that it is not a complete hinderance. I think our flaws make us relatable and give us something to strive for.

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This semester, I’m taking a couple of electives. I joke with my friends because neither one of them are what student would call “easy courses”.  Often, during their last semester, seniors take their required courses and have a small amount of credit hours that they need to fill. This is the time when students choose classes that don’t require a lot of outside of class time. Apparently I am not one of those students. Both of the class electives that I’m taking require a lot of outside of class time and projects that include critiques and feedback. I chose to do this because I want to take advantage of the time I still have to learn. Of course I could probably take an easier way out, but honestly I enjoy learning.

There are still topics and interests I want to explore so, why not take advantage of what I can while in college?

Don’t be afraid to take challenges while in college. Don’t feel ashamed to use criticism constructively. Don’t be intimated by not to knowing or to wanting to know more. I think those are precursors for learning and ultimately success. :-)

Until next time,

-Sydney