Unpaid internships have been the source for a lot of controversy recently. I can definitely see why people despise them, people hate doing work for free. But I do not thing the answer is to do away with them.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, close to 30% of undergraduates take unpaid internships. The reason for doing so is simple: These students want to have experience before they are thrown to the job market. The thing is that nowadays, having a degree in, say, History, does not make you a very competitive prospect in the HR world. You need to distinguish yourself in some other way. This is what unpaid internships pay you, the ability to say “I am qualified for this job because I have experience in the field”.
But, of course, what people who oppose unpaid internships claim is that this system is a way for companies and organizations to exploit free labor to do the work they don’t want to do. Interns are often forced to the sidelines- answering phones, copying papers, filing, and the like- and this makes these internships pointless. While that argument has some credibility, I would have to disagree. Not only does it allow students to have experience to put on their resume, it gives them a chance to rub shoulders with people who work in their field. It is all about networking, who knows who might offer you a job, or agree to be a reference? And what about the other benefits of working in an office with other people who are employed in your field, even if you are just filing papers you will have access to many different people, who might become your mentors, teachings, or other benefits to you.
The fact is that by ditching unpaid internships, you are depriving a lot of students the chance to gain all this. Those previously unpaid internships will not just reappear as paid internships, many will be gone for good. One of the reasons employers have internships is because it is a worker who you don’t have to pay, who is perfectly willing to work for you. In other words, it is an economic boon for the employer. If you force employers to pay their interns, those previously unpaid internship will dry up.
So, I never had to deal with the so-called “freshman 15″. I always have been skinny (closer to the underweight side of the balancing beam then the overweight one, and having a fast metabolism), and college didn’t change this. But I am going to do my best to give you some advice on how to stave off the freshman 15 (or 30, or 40, or 350) as I know it is something many people worry about.
- Don’t View Food as an Activity: Something that I have noticed is that the friends that I have who gained weight often are the ones who view food as an activity to do, rather then a necessity. What I mean by that is that they decide to go eat because their friends are going, or because they want to hang out, or because they have one meal left and its sunday evening before the next week’s meals come in. Eat when your body tells you to, not when your friends do.
- Focus on Eating Healthy over Losing Weight: Now, all the research I’ve seen claims that it can be really difficult to lose weight, or even maintain weight in some cases. If you start by simply trying to eat in a healthy manner, it should be much easier to control your weight, and improves your health just by itself.
- Don’t go Overboard With Alcohol: One can of beer has approximately 150 calories. That does not sound like all that much until you drink four beers which totals 600 calories, which is about 1/4th of what is suggested for a college-aged male in the entire day. If you are drinking heavily often, expect to have to work out at the gym more often.
- Set a Schedule for the Gym/Exorcise: The good news is that most colleges/universities offer free use of their gym (or at least include it into tuition). Use it. And furthermore, make a plan as to when you will go to the gym, how you will get there, and what you will do. If you build it into your schedule every week, it becomes a habit.
- Stay Away from Sugary Drinks: Holy shit do us college students love some sugary drinks. From Soda to fruit juices, these can have quite the toll on your health. The 20 oz bottle of Dr Pepper I am currently drinking has 250 calories in it, which is more then a can of beer, Vanilla ice cream cone from McDonald’s, and McDonald’s Small Fries. Either cut it back or quit it completely.
- Be Informed: This should be obvious, but do your research. Know not just the Food Pyramid, but also the science behind it and how to truly manage your weight.
- If Really Worried, Talk to a Doctor or Nutritionist: They can help. Really.
- Paper (Loose Leef, College Ruled, and printing)
- Calculator (Scientific or Graphing… Depends on course load)
- Pens (Black, Red, Green, and Blue)
- Folders (As many as you need to organize your classes)
- Laptop Computer (Whatever one you like!)
- Organizer/day planner
- Sturdy Backpack
- Cheap printer**
* I recommend waiting for the first day of class to purchase books to minimize wasting money & time
**Optional, but highly recommended
- Cups, Plates, Silverware (Cheap, long-lasting, and durable)
- Any instruments you play that are not too large (guitar, keyboard, et cetera)
- Comfy pillows
- Recreational books
- Cell Phone
- Fan (Small is fine)
- Keyboard and mouse (Cheap, durable)*
- Waste basket/Trash can
- Desk Lamp
- Alarm clock (One that will actually wake you up!)
- Sheets, blanket/comforter (Ideally 2 sets, make sure to figure out what size is appropriate)
- towels (more then 1)
- Handsoap (preferably liquid)
- Paper Towels
- All-Around cleaner
- Lysol or other bleac-based cleaner (Vomit… Yukk)
- Storage Containers (Something like this is fine, as is good, old-fashioned cardbord boxes!)
- Coat racks (Over the door hooks are great!)
- Powerstrips (These things)/extension cords
- Laundry basket/hamper
- Detergent/laundry supplies
- Tool kit*
- Medical kit/supplies (band-aids, anti-infection cream)
*Optional, but highly recommended
Just the essentials, obviously bring plenty of shirts, underwear, etc
- Warm Jacket
- Rain jacket
- 1+ pair of nice clothing (suit preferred)
- Nice pair of shoes
- flip flops (for communal showers. Trust me, you want ‘em)
- slip-on shoes/sandals (for walking around the dorm)
- Walking shoes (sturdy)
- Shower caddy/mesh basket
- Bar soap
- toilet paper (plenty of it)**
- Cleaning supplies: toilet cleaner, toilet brush, etc**
- Plunger (Trust me, you want it if you need it)**
**If you have a suite style residence
- TV (If you want it, though realize that you can often just use the internet)
- Fridge (Talk to roommate[s])
- Microwave (Talk to roommate[s])
- Computer monitor (can help multitask! Surprisingly helpful to have a second monitor)
- Shot glass(es) (If you are into that stuff…)
- cups/glasses (Yep)
- Backup set of toiletries (Can save your ass many times!)
- Mattress pads (Dorm beds are hard and uncomfortable)
- Sewing kit (If you can sew)
What NOT to bring:
- Guns (duh)
- Alcohol/drugs on the first day (You DON”T want to be the guy who is smashed during the first floor meeting. Especially not the RA)
- Candles (Open flames are generally NOT allowed
How do you get a college job in this shitty economy? Sadly, there are no guarantees but for many of us college students getting a part time job is necessary to pay for college and possibly have a bit of spending money as well.
But today’s economy is one where jobs are hard to come by and hard to actually get. Over the first couple weeks of summer I found this out the hard way when my job fell threw and I was thrown into the long list of unemployed students. In High School, employers are all looking for 18+, and when you finally turn 18, employers want 2-3 years of experience just to stock a few shelves. This is what you have to realize: you are on the lowest rung of the employment ladder.
This does not mean you can’t get a job, but it means you often have to work harder to find and keep a job. I may not be an expert, but I thought I would compile a list of suggestions as to how to help elevate yourself above fellow applicants (With a little help from a family friend who owns a store that regularly hires college students, lets call him A.D.).
- Follow Up In-Person: Don’t just send in your application and expect to get a call back. After a couple days, go in and talk to a manager or hiring director. Don’t pester or annoy, just go in to put a face to the application. It can help the manager see you as an employee there, and most importent it makes you stand out.
- Use a Cover Letter: Many online applications have an ‘optional’ area for a cover letter. I’m sure your parents would be surprised how many people do not complete this section of these application. The cover letter is a great opportunity to distinguish yourself from other applicants, especially if you do not have much documented experience.
- Be Open To All Opportunities: One problem a lot of people have is thinking that they are “above” any particular type of work. This isn’t saying that you should take any job you get offered, but don’t write a job off immediately.
- Know What is/ is Not Worth It: Despite what I said before, it is importent to realize that some jobs are just not worth it. Many of these jobs target students as they are willing to work for little pay and jump through hoops to get money. You need to know whether a job is worth taking. Selling knives door to door for $2.50/hr is probably not worth your time or effort.
- Have Good References: Easier said then done, right? According to A.D., this is something many college students struggle with, and something that can make the difference between getting that interview and not getting it. And no, your mom isn’t a good reference. Pretty much, you want to have 2-3 people who are willing to tell a perspective employer that you are a hard worker and reliable. A good reference is one that knows you in a professional way (it should be noted that it does not have to be a boss or co-worker, someone who supervised you volunteering, a neighbor who you catsit for, or even a teacher can serve as a good reference, the importent thing is that they can vouch for your work ethic and reliability).
- Be Honest With Yourself and the Employer: Obviously, you should try and highlight your positive qualities, but you should also be willing to delve into what you are improving on. There is a large temptation for you to exaggerate your skills, or outright lie, but that very rarely pays off in the end. Overselling yourself only ends up with disappointment.
- Make Your Positive Qualities Stand Out: This should be obvious. When interviewing or corresponding with a potential employer, make sure to stress your positive qualities, and why He/She wants you as a worker. If you are timely, organized, and friendly, don’t just say that but tell him/her about how you managed to file paperwork in half the time that was expected, or tell him how you never were late to your last job.
- Act/Be Professional: A quote from A.D: “I don’t know how many people showed up to their interview late, dressed in yesterday’s jeans, with their ass hanging out. I do know how many came dressed well and on time. They are the ones I hired.” It is importent to make a good first impression, and because of that, you need to be professional and appropriate throughout the hiring process. Unless told otherwise, address any emails properly and dress up in business attire for interviews, be on-time and patient for any sort of meeting.
Anyway, that is what I came up with for now.
I would like to thank A.D. for his help with this, giving advice, reading over my advice, and all that good stuff
1: Social Work
2: Computer Science
5: English/ English Lit.
Topics Covered: Psychology, Math, English, Writing, Social Sciences. Child development, educational theory, the learning process
Professional Options: Elementary school teacher, High school teacher, special education teacher
Skills/Expectation: Patience, understanding, clarity, public speaking. Modern teachers are expected to be able to think on their feet and create dynamic, innovative lesson plans that implement technology within their classes.
Highest Degree Required: BS/MEd, depends on state policy
Testing: Differs based on state, always one or two professional tests for teacher certification.
Job Outlook: According to the BLS , teaching jobs are typically mid-to-low paying. Elementary, STEM, and Special Education teachers are particularly in demand.
Similar Degrees: BA in Psychology, MA in Counseling, EDM Educational Administration
Some tips for the use of communal bathrooms (for the sake of honesty, I lived in suite style dorms las year, so this is compiled from friends, relatives, and online:
- Create a bathroom bag or bucket, basically a bag, bucket, basket, or other container that includes all the neccesities for a trip to shower/ brush teeth Toothbrush, toothpaste, cup (best if left separate from shampoo/other stuff), shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, body wash, shaving cream, razor (electric or disposable), etc…
- Always use shower flip flops, that you use only for bathroom/showering. Cheap, rubber flip flops are fine, you just don’t want to get bacteria from the gross shower floors.
- Combine visits to the bathroom, if possible. Take a piss before showering and then brush your teeth after showering. Most people don’t enjoy going to the communal bathrooms, so if you can get everything done in one trip it is generally better then if you take 3-4 trips. Also, that guy who always seems to be in the bathroom? He’s pretty creepy, amiright?
- Use the urinal rule* for the showers. In fact, try and be as non-creepy as possible. Don’t hang around for a long time, don’t stare at other people’s genitals, don’t have sex in the shower (please don’t. Nobody wants to see that!)
- Get in, get out. Don’t start hanging out in the bathroom. If you bump into your friend, don’t just chat it up for half an hour by the sinks, take it into the hall or common room. A few words are fine, but if you want to start a conversation, please take it outside!
- People will see you naked. Try to minimize this, but don’t act all terrified of it. It is inevitable, and don’t overreact.
*The Urinal Rule: If you see someone at a urinal (or shower) and there is more then 2 urinals (showers), pick the one furthest from the one the other person is using. Conversely, if you find yourself needing to use a urinal (shower) and see that there is nobody at the urinals (showers), choose the urinal (shower) that is furthest on one side of the urinals.
Ex (A is a person using a urinal/shower, N is not a good urinal to pick, Y is a good urinal to pick):
So, you are off to your college dorm, with its hard mattresses and pesky RAs watching your every step. One thing that is common among incoming freshman is worry over their random roommate.
In the end, whether you get along with your roommate is not based around whether or not you become best friends, but rather based on whether the two of you can create a good enough relationship to deal with each other. Of course there will always be that one ‘roommate from hell’, but here I will give you some minimal advice to help you survive your freshman roommate.
- Create Communication Channels: As soon as possible, establish difforent channels of communication so that you two (or more) can agree on the running of your ‘household’.
- Create a set of rules, and STICK with them: You don’t want your roomie to drink in the room? Let him know at the beginning of the year, and don’t just let him do it “just this once”. Often as the year goes on you become more lax, maybe you skimp on washing the dishes or you let your roommate smoke in the room just that once because, you know, it is pouring out side and he really, really, really needs a smoke. Setting rules is easy in the beginning of the year, when everyone just wants to be friendly, the challenge is sticking with them. And trust me, there will be that one time when your roommate wants to break the rules just that once. Don’t cave in.
- Realize the minimum amount of time you have to spend in the room: You don’t have to spend every waking hour trapped in your dorm room. In fact, I would highly discourage that. If you and your roommate can not get along, leave to a study lounge, the library, etc… There is no need for you to be in your room other then when you are sleeping. If you have a roommate you just can’t stand, or that you need a break from him/her, take advantage of your freedom to go elsewhere.
- Find some common factor: It does not have to be some giant hobby, but find some common ground from which you can expand your relationship. Whether it is a favorite food or a college major, you can use common interests to improve your relationship.