Tag Archives: Work

Makeup is not Freedom

As I go into the final stretch of my undergraduate education here at Radford University, I’m preparing to enter into the adult world of employment. I, like many of my peers, am searching online sites and talking to different professors about potential job opportunities in my field. For the first time I’m looking at jobs that offer an annual salary and health benefits, wondering which ones I qualify for, and what to do to ensure I get the job I want. What to wear to an interview, and what to put in my resume. That’s what I’m focusing on in the last four weeks of the semester, not, for the first time in years, on my finals.

As a woman, I have a whole slew of things I have to consider when it comes to presenting myself to future employers. How high my heels are, how short my skirt, how to style my hair and most importantly what is the exact right amount of makeup. These questions are debated over and over until I finally perfect my interview outfit.

I’ve been told by many people that makeup is a tool. It’s a form of self-expression and it’s freeing. Strong women wear makeup, and they use it to show off their inner beauty. These same people were also trying to sell me thick concealers and foundations so maybe they were a little biased.

Here’s the thing. I love makeup. I’m the kind of girl that owns bright purple lipstick that I will wear around the house just for fun. But makeup isn’t freedom. It’s not strength. It’s definitely not a sign of great feminism. Women are expected to wear makeup in the professional world. Women who do are paid more and are more likely to be given promotions. Women who don’t are told they aren’t dressed appropriately. There are real-life consequences for me if I don’t put this gunk on my face.

No matter how people want to spin makeup to me, it still doesn’t change that fact. Girls can love makeup. They can become amazing artists and even make careers out of the field. But this one fact remains. Makeup isn’t freedom. It’s another way that society has made women feel like they are not enough. That we need to cover up our very skin in order to look appropriate to work in a cubicle. That’s damaging. Don’t buy into the idea that makeup is for strong women because that only deludes you into believing that you are benefiting from a system that preys on your insecurities and weaknesses.

Are Summer Jobs Realistic Anymore?

With the school year winding down and summer break almost upon us, a lot of students are starting to make plans for their summers. Some have vacations, some will simply be going home for the summer, and many will be looking for a summer job. College and life, in general, are expensive and we could all use a little extra cash in our pocket. People have been doing this for years, so it is no big deal, right? Not exactly.

starbucks worker
“Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round.” Photo from: http://cdn.thesimpledollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/starbucks-barista.jpg

The world is changing and progressing rapidly and things aren’t the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round, at the very least. And working year-round is not a very plausible option for most college students. First of all, most college students go home for the summer which is usually not very close to college. It can be two hours away, four hours away, or six or eight hours away. So even if a college student wanted to, the idea of having a year round job is not a possibility. And with that option gone, the job opportunities dwindle. Most places of business do not want to hire someone only to replace them after three months; that is just bad business.

If a college student lives near their college campus and does stay in the same area year-round, they will still run into similar problems. While it is not impossible to keep a job and go to college at the same time (plenty of college students do exactly that), it is difficult and not something that everyone can do. Any college student can tell you that college is hard and that it takes a lot of time and effort; many have to spend the vast majority of their time working on school work. It is not uncommon for them to have very little spare time left and it’s hard to work at a job when you only have a few spare hours. College is intensive, and the whole point of summer break is to give you an actual break, not spend it begging for a job that you’ll likely have to quit in a few months.

Money jar

You can make your jar fun and pretty too! Photo from blog.quizzle.com

Over the past year or so, I’ve realized how important money is. I don’t mean that in the superficial “money buys happiness and being rich is all that matters” kind of way. I mean that having money is truly the only way to survive. Money buys food, shelter, clothes, and education. Without those four necessary things, we as humans can’t survive. However, despite the basic needs for survival, money also buys things that differentiate surviving from living. Anyone can survive, but not everyone truly lives.

Money can’t buy happiness, that I agree with. However, money can help. I consider living to be defined as experiencing new things, enjoying what life has to offer, and doing these things with people you love. Money can purchase concert tickets, amusement park tickets, gas for road trips, plane tickets that allow you to explore the world. Without money, you’re left with what your hometown has to offer, the same movie theaters and outlet malls that you’ve been accustomed to your entire life. I wouldn’t consider continuing to go to those places as experiencing or learning new things. Although money can encourage living, you have to work hard and save up to be able to experience what the world has to offer.

Money jars are pretty self explanatory. I’m sure you’ve seen them on tumblr, pinterest, and maybe even instagram. Money jars are jars that contain money that you’ve saved up. When you receive your paycheck or whatever type of money you receive from working, you can take a fraction of your earnings and place it into the jar. I’m choosing to put 20 dollars every month into the jar. By doing this, eventually, you’ll have enough money saved up to be able to travel, to buy tickets to wherever or whomever you want to see. This method allows you to continue to pay rent, buy food, or other responsibilities you might have to survive, while also saving up so you can live. Because what is surviving without living?

By having a physical object to look at, containing money that you have worked hard for, it allows you to see the bigger picture, to see why you work those long hours, working yourself to the bone. It gives you a reminder of why you work and do the things you do. Money jars are a physical reminder of the fun experiences the life has in store for you. It reminds you to never give up because living is more important than simply surviving.

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things After Spring Break

Everyone looks forward to spring break, whether they have a trip planned or they’re just headed home for the week. It’s nice to look forward to something and it’s a good way to motivate yourself to keep working hard on your schoolwork. Everyone needs the week break we get in early March but no one wants to return to our regular lives and normal routines.

A good way to get back into your normal swing of things is to be on top of the work you have due the first two weeks back. Make sure you’ve written down every deadline for every assignment, paper, and test and that you get a jumpstart on working on those as soon as you get back to school from break. No one wants to do this but if you do, it will be a smoother transition back into your school life and hectic schedule.

Portrait of male with bad sunburn
“Everyone needs the week break we get in early March.”

Another way to get back into your routine is to keep making to-do lists so you don’t forget what you have due each day and week. This will also help you figure out what you can put off doing and what you need to get done by the end of that specific day. This way, whether you’re still reminiscing about spring break and wishing you were back there instead of in the library, you can still daydream while getting your assignments done.

Nobody likes the transition from break to work, but everybody has to do it anyways. If you remember to get a jumpstart on all of your work due in the first couple of weeks back it’s sure to help you back into normal life. Also, if you remember to keep a checklist of what you need to get done each day it will help with what you have to do every day and what you can do every day. Good luck getting back into your routine!

Time management tips

Time management can be difficult to handle in college. Between classes, homework, projects, and papers you think you don’t have any free time. However, if you manage your time right, you will have some time to spare. Whether you get a part-time job, join a club or sports team, or just relax is up to you but each commitment will take a certain amount of time, and how you deal with your schoolwork will determine if you have the time for each activity.

Manage your time throughout the day. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Manage your time throughout the day. Graphic by Katie Gibson

Making a to-do list for each day can help out immensely with your heavy workload. This way, you know what you have to accomplish for that day and can prioritize your work. The key to making a to-do list is to not put too many tasks on it. If you only put a few things that you absolutely have to get done by that night, then you can only focus on those few things and accomplish your goal.

Another helpful tip for time management is to have and utilize a planner. Having a planner seems like something that is normal and standard for most college students but whether or not it’s used and how it’s used is the deal breaker on how helpful it can be. To make your planner as helpful as possible it’s best to write down all the due dates you are aware of in the beginning of the semester. This way, even if that week you forget something is due you will see it already written down. Leaving reminders is very beneficial and will help with time management in the long run.

As long as you are making to-do lists, writing down stuff in your planner, and not letting the stress of school take over your life and attitude, you will be surviving, and conquering, the time management wheel that is college!

Distractions of Social Media

Every time I sit down to do my homework or study for a big test, I find myself picking up my phone every few minutes or so. People may not have texted me, or maybe they did, but either way I’m constantly scrolling through my social media apps instead of focusing on what’s really important: my grades.

 

Are social media sites too much of a distraction? Graphic from The Online Mom
Are social media sites too much of a distraction? Graphic from The Online Mom

It can be difficult restricting yourself from your own phone, it’s very tempting to want to look at who posted pictures and what’s going on with your friends from home.

I’m constantly thinking about something that was posted on social media or what I’m missing out on when I’m focused on something else like studying. Sometimes it gets so bad that I just decide to put my phone on airplane mode, that way nothing will distract me because I won’t receive any text messages until I take it off of airplane mode.

It seems silly, not being able to look at your phone for a couple hours while doing schoolwork, but it’s actually very challenging. I’m sure a lot of other people and students my age especially struggle with this, so we’re not alone!

It’s always a good idea to remember what’s really important in life, not what’s going on in other people’s lives that they feel the need to post about..

What’s happening to you right now is what you should be focused on, not what’s going on in other’s lives.. Getting that good test grade you need for your class and studying as much as you possibly can is way more important than someone’s new family puppy swimming for the first time.

The swimming puppy will still be there when you are done with your schoolwork. Study first, then watch the cute and adorable golden retriever puppy attempting to swim in a kiddy pool.

 

How to make it from back-to-back stressful weeks

College is like a nonstop marry-go-round of tests, projects, and papers. Sometimes, it feels hopeless because no matter how hard you work towards a goal there is always another one right after you accomplish your first. It can seem like it’s too much, the weight is overbearing and you can’t make it through. Everything will be okay as long as you make sure you are setting goals and achieving them with positivity.

Round and round the workload goes; when will it stop? DECEMBER. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Round and round the workload goes; when will it stop? DECEMBER. Graphic by Katie Gibson

College is like a nonstop merry-go-round of tests, projects, and papers. Sometimes it feels hopeless because no matter how hard you work toward a goal, there is always another one right after you accomplish your first.

It can seem like it’s too much, that the weight is overbearing and you can’t make it through. Everything will be okay as long as you make sure you are setting goals and achieving them with positivity.

The further you get into your major and upper level classes, the faster the merry-go-round seems to spin. It can get hectic and overwhelming but the one thing to remember is to breathe and know that everything will turn out okay.

If you don’t get that “A” you were hoping for on one test it’s not the end of the world. There will be more tests and more projects and papers.

Do the best you can with what you have and everything else will work out. It’s hard to get in the habit of being stressed about the upcoming due dates or tests. Remembering that you can only do your best is a key factor in surviving back-to-back stressful weeks.

Another thing to remember is that everyone is going through what you are. If you’re feeling stressed, talk to your classmates, or peers, about whatever it is.

Chances are, they are all feeling similar to how you are and you can exchange methods of relaxation and help you make it through your work.

Don’t let the merry-go-round take hold of you and your life. Always remember that all you can do is your best and that’s enough to get you to your goal. Set achievable, reachable, and realistic goals and you will be on your way to riding the merry-go-round of due dates and tests, with ease.

 

Six things communications majors hear too often

 

1.)  Wow, you’re lucky! Your major must be so easy!

Why does everyone assume communications majors have it easier than any other major? Our major is just as hard. It’s just hard in a different way. We have more projects, more group work, and more papers to write. It’s a different kind of difficult.

2.) That’s a broad major, do you not know what you want to do after college yet?

Yes, that is somewhat true.  Communications is a broad major. However, I know exactly what I want to do and how I want to do it. I have a goal and I’m determined to reach it. I also have backup plans and they are all pretty specific as well. It’s a broad major but that doesn’t mean I picked it because I don’t know what I want to do.

3.) What’s that?

Sigh. Describing what your classes are like and how you get graded without written work is sometimes difficult. Often people find it odd if you don’t have a test or quiz every week. Oh well, you tried.

COMS majors are tired of all the comments. Graphic by Katie Gibson
COMS majors are tired of all the comments. Graphic by Katie Gibson

4.) That sounds so fun!

Yes, I love my major. Yes, it’s fun sometimes. No, it’s not all fun and games. When you tell people you don’t have desks in some of your classes and just cameras and audio boards, for some reason they think that you get to goof around all class and get a good grade no matter what. Being in front of cameras and performing over and over in front of your classmates is hard. So yes, my major is fun, but very difficult and sometimes nerve-racking as well.

5.) That doesn’t sound too stressful!

You’re right, standing in front of my classmates and teacher and reciting a script over and over while also being recorded isn’t stressful. Piece of cake! It becomes something you get used to, but that doesn’t mean it won’t shake you up a little every time you have to get in front of a camera and classroom full of people. Not to mention all of the preparing and speaking to your reflection in a mirror over and over for days before it’s your turn to speak in class.

6.) If it’s very hands on, you probably don’t have a lot of work outside the classroom at least.

I spend about 5-6 hours in an audio lab per week, not including studying for the tests and turning in scripts. It can be frustrating to hear someone say something that’s so off from the actual truth, but the best thing to do is either to explain or just take a deep breath and move on from the subject. You know how hard you work, and that’s all that matters!

Hang in there communications majors; you have to just keep on keeping on!

 

 

Work it, girl!

Ramen: the basic diet for a college student. Even though the sodium explosion that is ramen can be quite a treat every once in a while, it’s not the best means of sustenance. To prevent the fate of a constant ramen diet, one must seek out funds. These can’t always be a given; sometimes they must be sought out.

One form of money-making for students is right on campus: work study. This offer is exclusively for undergraduate and graduate students that have been accepted for financial aid benefits through the federal government. To gain that eligibility, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If approved, those students are allowed to apply for part-time jobs. Those jobs may also include community service like tutoring kids off-campus.

FullSizeRender
“One form of money-making for students is right on campus: work study.” Photo of: Student Danielle Johnson

Students who receive the work study opportunity make minimum wage and generally have a set amount of hours that they’re allowed to work per week in order to adhere to their budgets. The budgets depend on the how much the college can afford. Keep in mind that graduates and undergraduates are paid at different rates. There are cases where you might not be paid exactly by the hour.

This year students may work up to 180 hours each semester, working 12 hours a week and earn $7.25 an hour. Not only does this time help you earn some extra pocket money, but it will look great on your resume–as long as you use the opportunity wisely. This offer gives you real work experience and can help you get closer with departmental connections at the school that are able to further your career.

Student employment on campus doesn’t happen without a little bit of work. To gain one of these positions, you must contact a supervisor listed under the available job you’re looking for. From there, you can discuss potential employment. Those positions are listed on RU’s website and whenever a new one’s available, it’s listed again.

The jobs usually list what requirements the employee must fulfill and the daily functions they would have to carry out. Some of the positions listed are: Geology Department Opportunity, McConnell Library Opportunity, Technology Assistance Center Opportunity, and Women’s Basketball Operations. Usually, these jobs are the most fruitful when they relate to what your major is.

Optimism: The common sense killer

Graphic by: Alex MorganNever before in my life have I bothered to notice that there is a quiet battle going on between friends and foes alike. The optimists, realists and pessimists drive each other bananas.

This realization slowly began to trickle into my brain in my first semester at Radford University. I was forced to work in a group of three for a six credit class that I didn’t want to take. The problem here is that groups of three are dangerous. There will almost always be the person who wants to work hard, the person who is moderate about everything and the lazy person.

There was a power struggle for the entire semester between the one who wanted to work hard and the one who didn’t. The moderate took whatever side was most convenient at the time. When the less motivated member was winning the battle, the hard worker was teased when they thought things wouldn’t work. The general insult was being called a “negative Nancy.”

Through this, I saw the battle that rages in almost any group setting. The main problem being that realism is often misinterpreted as pessimism by those who don’t like to hear the truth.

When working in a group situation there will always be a mixed bag of attitudes. The important thing to remember is that the group needs to stick together in order to survive. If it doesn’t, then in a college setting the hard workers will always talk to the teacher and will always get the grade they deserve.

Optimists are the troubled ones. They will often believe things always work out in the end, even if they don’t put 100 percent of their effort into it. They drag down group work with all their weight, causing everyone else to carry their load.

The realists are usually a healthy mix of optimism and pessimism to the point where they can make rational decisions that will keep the group afloat, even if it means taking on all of the work. When the realist becomes incensed over being taken for granted, they become mistaken for being pessimistic. In a way, they become the pack mule.

Pessimists can go either way in group work. Either they think everything will fall to pieces anyway, or they work extra hard because they don’t think small flaws will be forgiven. They can either drag a group down by not doing enough, or their drive for perfection will run the group right into a wall.

Of course, everyone can vary between which category they fall into. I’ve been known to be optimistic, realistic and pessimistic all in the same day. It’s no different for anyone else, unless they are hellbent on being one thing.

Just remember these personality traits can make or break a group situation. The solution is to come to some conclusion of how the group can be themselves and still work together, even if it means threatening to talk to the teacher. It might seem petty, but people should learn how to not drag each other down.