How I’ve somehow acquired internships in college

I have to preface this post saying I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a STEM-superhero-guru type that has privileged knowledge or is trained in job searching.

IMG_7348.jpgI am, however, a little craftier than the average bear because my GPA is not very competitive, and the baseline tips they give college students isn’t what helped me personally.

Fortunately, in my college experience I have been blessed with some awesome opportunities to participate in research and some pretty cool internships. Many of my friends have asked how I ran into these jobs and how to even know where to look.

DSC_0695.jpgSo, although I am 21 years old and probably don’t know what I’m talking about, here is how I gained research experience in my first three years of college:

  • Talk to professors you’re interested in. Sophomore year I took an atmospheric-oceanic interaction class and genuinely enjoyed the stories and personal input my professor had to give on the subjects. I went into office hours and pestered him about how he decided to get into the field, his career path, his advice for a young mind, etc. Although he didn’t have any available research positions, he was able to recommend me to talk to a number of other faculty that shared similar interests. Since then I have done a similar thing for every class I have been extremely interested in. Even if it dosen’t amount to anything in the short term, establishing good relationships with faculty can lead to jobs in the long run, letters of rec, and a great resource for discussing future career or graduate school plans.
  • Befriend grad students. Grad students are awesome! They are not very far from where you are right now and can be a little bit more real with you than a professor can. Similar to professors, they know who to recommend you speak to. What a grad student can provide that a professor cannot, however, is time. Grad students are busy, but they more often than professors sit down and chat about whatever is on your mind.  They ALSO can provide a lot of help with your resume and writing a cover letter.
  • Send some emails. One day my sophomore year I read through all the bio’s of the graduate students in my schools graduate environmental science program. I eagerly emailed about 20 of them (no joke) explaining how old I was, what they were doing that I had interest in, and my interest in gaining research experience or an internship. Maybe five emailed me back, but of those five, two genuinely appreciated my enthusiasm, and from then on they were my allies. Currently, I am working on a senior thesis that was almost entirely the idea of a grad student I befriended my sophomore year. She met with me a few times during the year, and as she got to know my interests better, she suggested I model an equation established in a previous paper she had written.
  • Don’t be a stranger. When you have a good conversation with a professor or grad student, remember to at least write down your name, email, and interests on a post it and if it seems appropriate, hand it to them when you leave. OR you can send a follow up email within the next day or so thanking them for their time and mentioning your contact info in case any opportunities arise. Anytime you see someone you have received guidance from around campus, give them a wave or have a little conversation if you have the time. Don’t be weird, even if you think they don’t remember you, they probably do.
  • Use your department advisors. More often than not, department advisors have a pretty good idea of what is going on with large internship offers, professors looking for undergraduate help, etc. Many majors offer an independent research class- talk to your advisor about how it works and what previous students have done in the past.
  • Check your email. Most departments and majors at UCSB have a mass email list and this is frequented with weekly research opportunities. If you get those use them. This tip is almost too obvious to mention
  • Use connections. Major key. Although it may seem unfair, its true that connections have a lot of weight when you’re looking for a job, no matter the field. My mom mentioned to me that my dad had made software for a clean energy company in Denmark and that I would be interested in their work. Six months later I am about to leave for Copenhagen to work for that very company! Even if what you have connections for might not be explicitly what you’re interested in, something is better than nothing, and I believe you learn a lot from any job. Go for it!
  • Look at small companies. This may be more stem applicable, but a lot of small startups are always looking for interns. It may take an intense amount of google-ing, but you may find some better opportunities than just searching “internships near me”
  • Consider international opportunities. Obviously, this tip requires a little more desire for adventure. If you are set on gaining a lot of experience, however, going abroad to work is an option not many people consider. It also shows a lot of initiative if you are willing to spend a summer in another country just to work.

 

IMG_6874.jpgA couple final notes- Don’t worry about your GPA. Obviously try to have the best GPA possible, but don’t let that discourage you from real hands on experience! You can do it!! My GPA is terrible if that makes you feel any better! Learn how to shake a hand, and say proper pleases and thank you’s. Finally, don’t be discouraged if people don’t reply or show any mutual enthusiasm. Professors are busy, grad students are too. It takes a lot of reaching out to find opportunities but the search in and of itself is a great learning opportunity.

Good luck in your academic endeavors!

The Basic Life Planner Kit

Exciting news! For all of my friends new to planning, I have assembled some of my basic and useful products into one easy to use kit! (in both letter and a5 sizes!!)DSC_0668.jpg

I designed the pages in this kit to be simple but still have lots of utility. I currently have some friends trying it out and I will have their reviews within a week or two.

Heres what the kit includes:

  1. Monthly calendar. This is a good page to mark large events on!DSC_0642.jpg
  2. Monthly Overview. The purpose of this page is to really show all of your big to-do items and projects in one place. Things I would include on this would be appointments, birthdays, house tasks, etcDSC_0647.jpg
  3. Weekly Planner. The title says it all! I think filling this out at the beginning of every week should adequatley prepare you for the days to come.DSC_0676.jpg
  4. Daily Planner. If youre anticipating a busy day or if you just want some piece of mind, fill this out in the morning before you get on with your day.DSC_0674.jpg
  5. Password Keeper. This is obvious.
  6. Travel checklist. If you’re planning any trip, large or small, this list will get the basics you need to have down all in one place.
  7. Weekly Routine. This is a printable I featured for free a couple of months ago. I’m including it so you have the ability to visualize the parts of your schedule that stay constant (for example your school schedule) When I need to schedule an appointment or find time to see someone, having this handy is necessary!DSC_0664.jpg

I am so excited about the idea of more kits on my Etsy. Let me know what you would like in a simple planning kit!

Make sure to also check out my Pinterest full of study and planner #goals

How I get off to a good start in a new quarter

“This is the quarter”

You might say,

“This will be the one. 4.0 here I come!”

or you might be along the lines of,

“I’m going to get all my work done before the weekends. I’m going to have a lot of great time for adventures and tanning.”

or you might be somewhere in between. Regardless of your specific priorities, one thing that almost all students can benefit from is starting the quarter or semester off with a bang. If you get on top of everything from the get go, the remainder of your time in school will be significantly less stressful. Everyone should have time to do what they love!

How do I accomplish this? How do I start my quarters on the right foot?

  1. Organize your computer. Do it. NOW. I store all my old files in folders pertaining to the class, quarter I took that class, and back them up to a cloud drive my school provides for students for free (thanks UCSB) This is such a simple step so many people neglect, but as someone who works with a lot of data in my classes, I understand how stressful disorganized documents can be. Clean it up, its so easy.Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 4.31.49 PM.png
  2. Create a rough weekly schedule. If your computer calendar dosent do it for ya, I have this weekly layout printable for free and a bunch more organizational printable on my Etsy as well. Even if your appointments and things change, knowing roughly when you will have free time will help you find time for homework, playtime, etc. I make a physical copy of my schedule as well as updating my iCal which syncs to my phone in case I completely forget my schedule when I dont have my planner.DSC_0593.jpg
  3. Print out a syllabus for every class. Read it, highlight dates and assignments, know that thing forwards and backwards. I like to copy down the grading scale in my notebook so I can reffer back to it at anytime during the quarter. You might find some ambiguity in the syllabus, which is a great opportunity to go in and ask your professor personally what he/she meant. It shows that 1. you read the syllabus carefully, 2. you care about your success in the class.DSC_0599
  4. Exercise. This one I am a firm believer in if you are capable of it. You dont need to go at 6am every day, but trying for maybe every other day or a long walk in the evening after you eat dinner or something of the like will get your endorphins going, stimulate your brain, and make you really feel like things are happening already, even if its only the start of school. Also we all need vitamin D so make sure to soak in that sun.IMG_6647.jpg
  5. Get a planner. Even if its printables (like these) or a tiny lined notebook you throw into your backpack, you should get ahead before you fall behind. I have lots of resources on all kinds of planning including bullet journaling and larger printables!DSC_0581.jpg
  6. Drink water. This is general life advice but still worth mentioning.
  7. Establish a sleep schedule. It is critical that you get enough sleep, and that you are sleeping at relativley similar times every day. Your body will be confused if you switch your bedtime from 10pm to 2am every other day. This is also basic life advice but sometimes college kids like to pretend they can cheat the system on this one.
  8. Call an old friend (that you like) and wish them good luck! Good karma!!
  9. This may be old fashioned, but I like to write thank yous to TA’s from previous quarters that really helped me. I have established a lot of important connections doing this, I kid you not. Even an email with what you found helpful about their teaching style or asking about the resarch they are doing is a good move. Really, I am so glad I started doing this.
  10. Refresh your room. Tidy up, put up new photos (sign up for shutterfly emails and youll get 101 free prints) and burn a candle. Make your home base a sanctuary!DSC_0597.jpg
  11. SMILE! You got this!

For some more studying and organizational motivation make sure to check out my Pinterest.

How do you prep for a successful semester/quarter? Let me know in the comments below!

Monthly Calendar: the backbone of planning

Dead week is here (lame) but this week I made some free monthly calendar printables for you to use wherever you need organization (not lame)

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Heres the calendars for March, April, May, and June!

I spent some time this weekend thinking about how to organize things is a more simple manner. For anyone not interested in getting a planner just yet, or even if you have one, I would suggest using a simple monthly calendar to keep track of big dates and appointments.

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I also highly suggest everyone in college goes and buys a bulletin board! It is perfect for sticking random things you don’t want to loose. I use it as a half scrapbook half monthly calendar.

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I also understand that March is half way over but if you’re having a freak out about your finals or spring break scheduling writing whats most important down can really ease your mind.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out all my other free printables already, make sure to take a look! If thats not enough for you, my Etsy page should have more than enough to satisfy your needs!

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On a personal note, I had the opportunity to volunteer at the Santa Barbara Zoo this weekend and it was beautiful! Just the right dose of motivation before a very very busy dead week.

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Have a beautiful week! Happy Studying!

Ways to make lots of studying less garbage

Maybe you had three essays due, maybe you bombed a midterm you thought you studied really hard for, maybe you’re tired of work, school, and pretending to enjoy cooking food for yourself. Regardless, college (and all of life for that matter) will never quit rolling from highs to lows.

For those awful work weeks- or months- I have a couple tips that have vastly improved my college experience. It is so crucially important to learn how to create a bright spot in your day or week, no matter how terrible it may have been.

For making the most of a real rough patch, heres my advice:

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Go somewhere beautiful! Even if what you’re working on or dealing with is actual garbage it is such a game changer to look up at your surroundings and escape, if only for a moment.

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Eat good food. I say this about 100% of the time, but food is FUEL! Put good in get good out!

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Take a break and clean your desk. Having a tidy space can alleviate so much stress. This also does not require any brain power.

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Exercise! If you don’t have time to get a little of your anxiety out at the gym, stretch!! Plop down and try touching you toes! Sun salutate! Move your body in some manner you don’t normally! Hold any stretch for 20 seconds minimum and try for maybe 5 minutes of stretching total.

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Check out all my beautiful printables including my finals printables, daily planner, and weekly schedule planner. Write it down and get it out of your head!

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Finally, watch a sunset if you can! Mother nature will always be there for you, even if college is trying to demolish your spirits.

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Remember, you got this!! Comment if you’re in need of a pep talk

Finals again?

I know. The word gives you a stomach ache and a little shiver. The sad but true fact is that quarter system participants are yet again approaching finals season. So how will you cope??

First of all, check out my post on having a good finals season.

Second, it must be your lucky day because I have created some free printables just for you! There is a study planner, finals week schedule planner, and an essay planner. All three of these are available on my Etsy as well in a more refined style.

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Third, enjoy the outdoors while you can! Catch a sunset with your bestest buds! Now is not the time to shack up with netflix. Go enjoy your days so you’re not Vitamin D deficient and longing for nature too an extreme degree during your studying time.

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Finally, most importantly, stay on top of your health now so you don’t get sick!! Grab some water, eat an orange, invest at least 8 hours of sleep into these precious preparation days. If you get sick during finals you could seriously sacrifice your grades. honestly. My brother got pneumonia during finals week and chose to check out of the hospital, roll into his final, and check himself back in. Don’t be like my brother!! TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FOR GODS SAKE

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Lets make this a finals season as smooth as butter! Godspeed!

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Day on one page free printable

Yesterday I released my Facebook page and it was very exciting!

I decided it was just so exciting that I would send out a free printable to all of my new planning friends.

dsc_0145 This planner is a simple day on one page printable with an hourly section and a to do list!

Hopefully this can get people in the mood for some planning and goal setting. If you are in search of more printables of course check out my Etsy shop, my finals planner printable right here, and another weekly planner printable!

DSC_0147.jpgIf you have any requests for free printables please let me know.

Happy planning!