Internships are a (sometimes unfortunate) prerequisite to breaking into many established fields in today’s job market. They can be tough; hard work, unappreciative bosses, and no money. Internships can be very useful though, if you use them properly and aren’t afraid to stand up for yourself in certain circumstances.
The first thing to remember is that internships are meant to be mutually beneficial. That is, actually benefiting you and your employer. Too often you hear stories about interns being sent to get coffee or pick up the dry-cleaning, and this, frankly, should never be the case. Interns are not free labour. Even if you’re not getting paid in dollars you should be getting compensated for your time. You need experience, training, contacts, and support from your employers, and you shouldn’t settle for less. This has even become a legal issue in the United States, and hopefully the situation is improving, but that is a worst-case scenario. If you feel like you’re not doing enough relevant work, say so, and most employers will be receptive. Be respectful but firm in insisting you should be getting relevant experience in lieu of payment. You deserve it.
The second thing to keep in mind is that old adage “you get out what you put in.” In my own experience, I learned a great deal during my internship because I showed genuine interest in things that were going on, even in other departments. As a result I became friendly with people working in many fields and gained real, valuable experience and knowledge because of this. Now, that’s not to say you need to be obsessively keen—that’s no fun for anyone—but a healthy interest in what’s around you and a good work ethic really can make the difference.
Lastly, know your limits and stick to them. Don’t stretch yourself too thin if you know you can’t afford a full time position that doesn’t pay well. Find a sponsored internship though your school or government (they exist, and in higher frequency than you might think) or find a part-time position that you can supplement with something else a few shifts a week. Realize that you’re not working for the money and don’t consent to working extremely long hours or in stressful conditions if you don’t think it’s worth your time. Treat yourself with respect, and ask that your employer do so as well.
Stick to your principals and enter into an internship with an eager attitude and an open mind. If you do that they can be very useful (and certainly enjoyable) for both you and the people you work for.
Jeremy lives in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and dog. He spends a lot of time reading, writing, and riding his bicycle, though usually not at the same time. His most recent passion is training his pup in agility, and while she may not be a champion (yet) they have a lot of fun together.
My brother once told me, “you are the most tired-looking person in the morning I have ever seen.” I do believe he told me this the moment I walked downstairs after waking up. His comment was greeted with a glare possibly more intense than the yellow blaze of morning sunlight itself.
I used to be the person that would hit the snooze multiple times to trick myself into thinking I was getting extra sleep, but really I was losing quality sleeping time. I would begrudgingly drag myself away from my warm sheets to the chilled tiles of the bathroom floor. If the morning felt particularly groggy, I preferred to brush my teeth while resting on the edge of the bathtub. Every single morning I would promise myself, “Tonight, I go to sleep early” only to look at the clock later that night and realize that 11:58pm was not the time my earlier-self had in mind.
But I also find that I am most productive earlier in the day. Maybe it’s the quiet, the energy of everybody else heading off to work, or the calm atmosphere of knowing that there is still an entire day to work on something. Steve Pavlina’s blog post on How to Wake Up Feeling Totally Alert is about getting in the habit of wanting to get up early. It goes into great detail about the steps to feeling alert the moment you open your eyes in the morning. These are some rules that I follow so that I wake up (most mornings) alert.
1. Don’t eat heavy foods before bed.
A terrible habit of mine is night eating. There’s always a point after dinner when I crave a little something. It takes a lot of energy for your body to digest food, which uses up energy. If you eat food that exhausts your body during the night, it’s no surprise that you will wake up exhausted. Water can usually ward off the late-night hunger pains, you just have to be patient enough to let it work. If you’re still hungry vegetables are the ideal pre-bed snack.
2. Sleep when you’re tired
This means don’t bother going to bed if you’re still wide-awake. If you find yourself nodding off at a certain time–don’t fight it–just go to bed. Your body will eventually regulate itself with a regular morning wake-up time.
3. No snoozing. Nope, not even once.
This is a difficult one. My brain always seems to convince me that hitting that button and sleeping for a little bit longer is the best idea it’s ever come up with. Another Pavlina blog here if you need some more convincing.
4. Look forward to the morning
Find something to be excited about! I’ve created a challenge for myself that gets me out of bed. I’ve started a 30-day vlogging challenge where I get out of bed at 6am every morning and film it. Today is day 25.
5. Move that body
It is way more satisfying going to bed after some physical activity. Right now I’m all about Moksha hot yoga. It keeps me alert in the day and then gets me sleepy at night. I’ve noticed that if I do a lot of sitting in a day I will be very tired. I may even have a catnap to fight it. But that means I’m wide awake around bedtime which conflicts with rule #2. It doesn’t have to be a lot. Even a quick walk after dinner or during a break at work would give your body the energy it needs.
Find out what time of day works for you! There is a sweet spot where you feel the most active and ready to get work done. Experiment, see what works best, then stick with it! It will all pay off in the end.
A big part of maximizing your education is learning to keep your motivation levels high, even when all you feel like doing is watching TV or YouTube videos.
Here are six ways to stay motivated:
Work in 30-minute blocks.
For most students, 30 minutes of intense focus is a suitable amount of time before they should take a short break. On days when you feel particularly unmotivated, you can always tell yourself that you’re only 30 minutes away from your next break.
On a rough day, set your timer for five minutes.
On days when even 30 minutes seems too long, set a timer for five minutes and tell yourself that you can choose to take a break when those five minutes are up. Chances are that you’ll decide to continue working after those initial five minutes.
Do your hardest task first.
Once you finish this task, you’ll feel a surge of motivation. Don’t give in to the temptation of starting on the easiest task first.
Find out when you work best.
You probably work better during a specific time of day. For two weeks, keep a detailed log of how productive you are at different times of the day. What task were you working on? Were you able to focus well? What were your energy levels like? Once you determine when you work best, you can schedule the tasks that require more creative and analytical thinking for those times. On the other hand, when your energy levels are lower, you can do more routine tasks like completing your assigned readings.
Smile when you wake up.
There’s a field of psychology called proprioceptive psychology, where scientists have discovered that you can alter your behavior to alter your emotional state. For example, you don’t just smile because you’re happy; you can make yourself happier by intentionally smiling. So smile when you wake up—you’ll naturally begin to think about all the reasons you have to smile, and you’ll feel more motivated to start the day.
Set daily goals.
Setting daily goals is a way for you to keep track of your progress. I encourage you to set these daily goals at the end of the previous day, e.g. On Tuesday night, set your goals for Wednesday. Review your goals at the end of each day, and don’t forget to celebrate—even if it’s in a small way—your successes!
I’m guessing that what you want most is to have a fantastic semester.
I’m guessing that what you want now is to go on Facebook and Twitter.
Start using these six techniques today, and don’t let what you want now prevent you from getting what you want most.
These are the questions that came to mind as soon as I read the title of this article. When we’re given a certain amount of hours every day, it’s very easy for us to get distracted, whether work related or not. Given a little less time, there is that added pressure that really pushes us to get a move on. Any procrastinators out there know what I’m talking about? I know you’re reading this. Maybe you’re thinking you’ll read this article later. Do it now. Be More Productive.
Come back tomorrow to see where all that wasted time goes!
Now what? You’ve graduated from University and this is your first fall without heading back to campus. Without finding a job right out of the gate it can be hard stay excited about all the possibilites. A recent UBC graduate speaks about his post-graduation experience.
A few years ago I graduated from university with an undergraduate arts degree in English literature. Even as I type this I can hear the collective consciousness of anyone reading this yelling out “oh yippee, another one.”
I take a lot of flak for my degree. It seems every time I mention my chosen major someone feels the need to comment how impractical it is to study lit and that I should have gone into engineering, commerce, or (my favorite) dentistry. Pretty much every arts major gets this to some degree, and sometimes it can be hard to defend; at the end of the day these naysayers make some valid arguments. I’ll be the first to admit that studying English hasn’t landed me a six-figure salary, but you know what? I still greatly value my degree, and here’s why.
I believe learning has a higher purpose than just getting you employed. Perhaps in previous generations a university degree was just a right of passage before going into the workplace, but as anyone will be quick to tell you, getting a degree these days does not guarantee you a job. Instead of focusing on career opportunities, you need to change your end goals in order to get the most out of your experience.
The value of education lies in learning about what you love, discovering what interests you, and culturing a healthy curiosity that will stay with you for the rest of your life. I genuinely loved what I studied and believe it has made me a more interesting and well-rounded person. Through literature I’ve learned about culture, history, psychology, and philosophy, not to mention how to communicate and relate in ways I didn’t know before. This knowledge has set me apart from my peers in other fields on more than one occasion. True, I don’t have a corner office, but if that were important to me I probably should have considered commerce. I studied what I loved, and if I had the chance to go back and do it all again I probably would.
“To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.”—Mark Sullivan”—
From the CEO:The Difference Between a Job Site and a Career Platform
I get asked all the time whether we are a “job site” whenever I mention what we do. Not only is it wrong, the misconception is fair. Many people don’t see a difference. For example - Forbes just released a list of The Top 75 Websites For Your Career. The list is a composition of job posting boards and internship sites, which are also posting boards. There are very few (if any) career sites in there. I’m going to talk about how we see the difference.
First, a quote to begin:
Most people approach their work in one of three ways: as a job, a career, or a calling.
If you see your work as a job, you do it only for the money, you look at the clock frequently while dreaming about the weekend ahead, and you probably pursue hobbies, which satisfy your effectance needs more thoroughly than does your work.
If you see your work as a career, you have larger goals of advancement, promotion, and prestige.
If you see your work as a calling, however, you find your work intrinsically fulfilling [since] you are not doing it to achieve something else. You see your work as contributing to the greater good or as playing a role in some larger enterprise the worth of which seems obvious to you. You have frequent experiences of flow during the work day, and you neither look forward to “quitting time” nor feel the desire to shout, “Thank God it’s Friday!” You would continue to work, perhaps even without pay, if you suddenly became very wealthy.
Jonathan Haidt - The Happiness Hypothesis
The difference is not as simple as laid out above, but I like the quotation a lot.
A Job Site
A job site is exactly what it sounds like. Do you notice a big “search for a job” box on the homepage? Is there an option to “upload your resume?” Chances are you are on a job site. There are oodles of them - from Monster to CareerBuilder to TheLadders and down to Craigslist. LinkedIn is also a job site but does some really interesting things in the way of professional networking. Job sites do not solve any problems for the user - they are a marketplace. They have a listing of jobs (from employers) and they have a list of resumes (from users). Their job is to match these two up. Most job sites are not very good at this, but innovation is very slow in this space.
A job title is something specific, like “Managing Director of XYZ Corp” or “Lead Cultivator of Bananas at ABC Farms.” They have a list of requirements and give a description of the job.
Everything I’ve listed above, Sokanu does not do. Why? Well - it doesn’t solve our problem. What is our problem? That most people have no idea what they are meant to do. What is the point of a job site if you don’t even know if you are on the right track? What track? A job site only makes sense if you know that attaining a job is a step along a specific path. There are 3 million job postings that exist, unfilled. There are WAY more people then that who don’t know what their perfect career is - leading to a mismatch of skills.
Job sites do not solve this problem.
A Career Platform
A career title is something much higher level, like “Carpenter” or “Accountant”. A career title has a multitude of job titles that fit underneath it.
The reason we are unfamiliar with career platforms is because there are hardly any. The reason? They are really, really hard to build “correctly”. They need to customize to each person’s unique situation, and help guide them. They need to begin with the end goal in mind - and ask the question, “where do you want to go?” They should facilitate the process of discovery and trial and error. Users should be able to “sample” a multitude of careers and see what they like and don’t like. Only once they have narrowed down some choices can they see the path in front of them.
The career platform should also help the person with their path. Part of the path may be going to school. A step may be meeting a specific person. Another one yet may be finding a job within that career. Notice that a job is not the be all end all. It is merely a step (albeit an important one) in your path. Most people approach this with the opposite attitude. They start out with applying for jobs that they have no passion for and with no context of how it fits into their path in life.
Finding your calling, going back to the quotation above, is the ultimate goal. We try and take a direct approach at combining your calling with a career that is optimized for you. We see finding a job as only a step along a path to finding your calling. That is why we would never call ourselves a job site.
For many people, finding a job is the best (or only) option for creating a living for a family - we are after something different. Find a career that’s right for you, work passionately, live happily.
This is my final semester at University. Even writing the words sends a little thrill through me knowing that this is the last time I will be picking out my favourite pen from the University Bookstore, or winding through bookshelves in the library, or scoffing at the prices of cookies at the coffee shop (but buying one when it’s the only option for a burst of energy). By the time winter arrives I will finally have my degree.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to work part-time, which gives me a decent allowance, but students know that school has a habit of drying up funds come tuition-time. I’ve learned a few things about saving money that I’d like to share.
Take Advantage of that Student Card
Everywhere I go I ALWAYS ask, “do you have a student discount?” Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised by the deals I can get. If you plan on spending the money anyways, it’s better to see of there’s a deal. And if you are graduated, keep that card! It may be a while before they check the expiry date!
Buy Second-Hand Textbooks
I admit, that first year of school, I pushed aside the books with the orange stickers and went for glossy, uncreased textbooks with that “new book” smell. I wanted my own, fresh books that I could mark up with my own notes. But secondhand textbooks are another way to save those precious dollars. And I’ve realized there are a few bonuses: the spines are already broken-in so they fall open on the table and if you happen to find a book belonging to a diligent student, the important sections are already highlighted!
Save on Supplies
I like to stay really organized (I also like being crafty), so in my first year I made myself folders for my loose pages out of cereal boxes. They are super easy to make and they’ve lasted longer than of the plastic folders I’ve purchased. But there are some things that just can’t be crafted together. Keep looking for school supplies throughout the year as they go on sale. And if you ever run out of anything you’ve got a handy supply.
Pack that Lunch
Buying a lunch, even if it’s just 5$ a day, can get to be pretty expensive (buying coffee every day adds up too, but it’s a treat that I don’t want to give up—instead I get a drip coffee and bring my own mug to get the discount). Packing a lunch is a way to save a little money very day. Whenever I make dinner I always put aside a portion of food to take for lunch the next day. It’s quick and typically more exciting than a sandwich (unless you love sandwiches, in which case, go for it!) It’s definitely worth it to invest in some leak-free Tupperware for the messier dishes.
Don’t Shop when You’re Hungry
When I’m ravenous and walking through a grocery store everything looks good. Too good. The basket gets pretty full before I’ve even done the full circuit. Have a bite to eat before you head out to shop. If you can’t, buy a little something at the store (I like rice crackers) before you start shopping. Check out the magazines for ten minutes so your stomach has enough time to tell your brain it’s satisfied.
Any ideas you’d like to share? I’m always looking for more ways to save :)
When I first started University (5 years ago) there were fewer laptops and smart phones around campus. If someone was taking notes in class it was through old fashioned pen and paper. Granted, a few people would lug around laptops (Dell seemed to be popular at the time). Professors told me about their own college experience writing papers involving real books, hours at the library going through shelves and spending time with the Dewey Decimal System. There was no handy search bar or filters.
This year, you can hardly walk three steps without seeing the glowing apples, someone thumbing their phone, or Facebooking while they “study.” We have so many more ways to use technology and as a result, more distractions.
There is one way I combat the bouncing icons, bleeping messages, and notifications that very easily pull me away from tasks—distraction free writing rooms. It’s a private space for writing that blocks out all the distractions. I find the atmosphere so nice that I don’t want to leave the room but reluctantly do (usually for the thesaurus).
The middle of September is upon us and the work is starting to pile up. How do you keep that motivation? It’s incredibly easy to mark your pages, set the work aside to do later, and forget about its deadline coming up in a couple days. Getting off to a productive start in the morning is a fantastic way to keep meeting your goals. By the time lunch rolls around you’ve already accomplished so much. Then you have the freedom to work on more assignments (since it’s still so early) or to do other things you’ve been putting off that week. HackCollege has curated the 6 best tasks students should make a habit of before noon.
For many, school is back in full swing and that means lots (and lots) of reading. In a few short weeks a stack of books on your shelf needs to be read closely, marked with notes, and reformed into essays, projects, and presentations. Daniel Wong, author of The Happy Student tells us his top 10 ways to cracking open those books.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you."—Maya Angelou”—