Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Spring Break Debate

T-minus 28 hours and I'm off to sunny Florida with some of my closest college friends. That's right, for the second year in a row, I'll spend part of my spring break enjoying the warmth and relaxation of white sandy beaches. A recent post on Ms. Career Girl made me reconsider the practicality of this tradition among college students and soon-to-be professionals.

On the site, guest blogger and fellow college senior Rob Pitingolo writes about his decision to spend the week using his time more wisely to stay home and continue the job search, while also saving money that would've been used on travel expenses. 

That's a wise decision in my mind, but I am not afraid to encourage students to travel if they have the means to do it. Because I've already accepted my full-time job, I am more certain about the future. That leaves me more open to making the trip as long as we keep it on a limited budget!
That leaves one last question: What do employers think?

Like Rob, I've also had several of my professional mentors encourage me to take this one last adventure as a college student. My biggest desire for hitting the highway for a 14 hour road trip is the chance to get even closer to friends I truly cherish. After graduation, our group will start relocating to other parts of the state and country for careers, families, and other stuff. Sure we'll reunite as alumni at football games and weekends at the lake, but this is one last hurrah before life as a big kid starts.

Big kid life. That's why this post is important.

We've all heard the horror stories of irresponsible, disrespectful, out-of-control partiers ending up in dangerous, unbecoming and stupid situations. The worst part is that nice people and students with great potential aren't immune to this threat when beaches and beverages are thrown into the equation. (Yes Mom, I hear you saying that as I type this.)

My folks are certainly no exception to the rule when it comes to worrying about my safety and decision-making for the upcoming week. Judging from most spring break stereotypes, I totally understand my parents' concern. However, by choosing to spend vacay in a less populated Florida town, we're avoiding the typical scene from "MTV Spring Break," and the types of activities that make all good parents cringe. In our eyes, the chance to relax doesn't have to come in forms of profain irresponsibility. I don't have a source, but I'd say that's something employers AND parents can appreciate! See you when we get back!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Typo Territory

I just came across The Traveling Cowgirl blog, which happens to be written by an alum of MU's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. Among the variety of creative posts I enjoy from this blogger, I found a particular fondness with a comedic, yet educational, take on the importance of proofreading emails.

She obviously learned the proofreading lesson in a funny and memorable way! Do you have any silly or embarrassing stories with typos? Please share!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Power of Passion

Am I the only one annoyed by Facebook status updates from friends who obviously hate their jobs? You know the type:

"Tom hates his job."
"Cindy wants to quit."
"Bob can't wait for vacation."

Sure, we can all be accused of complaining about things when our day has been frustrating. However, this constant negativity makes me question those friends who've obviously not followed their passion in life.

One of my favorite quotes is from Confucius. He said:
"Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life."

Loving a job or career has everything to do with passion. For me, that passion is agriculture. It's the chance to educate others about farms and food. It's the chance to introduce farmers to consumers, and vice versa. It's the opportunity to write about the farmers who don't take vacation days or sick leave, so we'll have food on our tables tonight. That's my passion. It's my purpose, something greater than me, what keeps me going when the work gets tough, and the reason you won't see me complaining about work via social networks!

Have you found your passion?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Show Some Leadership

One of my earliest memories revolves around learning to order my own food at a restaurant. Hearing my Dad say, "Show some leadership," at the age of three should have been a good indicator that I was not destined to be a shy person! On the surface, that experience may seem trivial. However, I was taught how to speak up at an early age. Even the simplest action of ordering my own chicken strips obviously left a very lasting impression on me as the first step in my road to becoming an outgoing girl.

Overtime, Dad's advice evolved beyond food orders to more important situations. Those three simple words have become a staple phrase in my family and always surface in situations that require me to take chances and be bold. As I approach graduation and begin planning for the future, I've used this encouragement to keep on trucking. I know I'm not the only one out there who needs a little extra motivation to take that leap and jump into all the uncertainties that life after college has to offer!

So, as a student, how can we "show some leadership" when all we hear about is a tight job market? It's simple. If you don't apply for a job, you aren't going to get the job. Unlike star college athletes getting recruited for a professional team, it's less likely that an employer will be the one to make the initial contact to discuss career needs with the average student. So as the sole person in charge of your future, here's a little nudge from a girl who stepped out on a limb and got the job.

In my experience, I had to get up the courage and ask for a position that didn't technically even exist until I showed interest. I don't know if I call that luck or preparation, but either way it's proof that sometimes being bold and showing some leadership can get a person further than imagined! So my challenge for the week is to encourage other students to "Show some leadership" and make an effort on their path to career success!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Start the Countdown!

It's official. In just over 1,500 hours I'll be walking across the stage at a commencement ceremony ending what I've come to know as the greatest four years in my life this far.

I'm sure if you asked my parents, they'd say the countdown to graduation started in August of 2006 when I started my college career. After all the bills for tuition, books, rent, groceries, nights out, concert tickets, Mizzou apparel, and parking tickets (yes, plenty of those), my dad has declared he's excited to have me off his payroll and onto the payroll of someone else.

No matter the costs associated with the experience, the education and experiences are enough to last me a lifetime. As the saying goes, college truly has been the time of my life.

Now, I'm just nine weeks and one day away from becoming an official college alum and it's starting to sink in. Join me as I learn lessons about myself and others in this transition from life of the party to life at work.

This all sounds like a roller coaster if you ask me. I'm hoping this will be a way to share the ups and downs of this new transition and even get some insight from others who are in my shoes. Whether your prefer heels or flats, moccasins or cowboy boots, tennis shoes or flip-flops, join me in the journey from college campus to office workroom!