What Running Taught Me About My Career and Success

Image via Huffington Post

Image via Huffington Post

As I entered my twenties, two big things happened: I went on my first co-op and I started running. These pivotal moments shaped not only my career, but also how I perceive my successes and shortcomings. Luckily for me, my co-ops and my running have always seemed to be in tune together. They’ve gotten more challenging, more exciting, and more frustrating all totally in sync with one another over the last few years.

Going from my first 5k to half-marathons and now training for the big 26.2, running has given me lessons on how to achieve on the road and in the office.

Schedules Are Necessary

Raise your hand if you have ever, and I mean ever, said, “I just don’t have time for… X,Y, or Z.” I definitely have. But when you’re training for a race, you have to schedule your day out a week or more in advance. Life and work can’t go on hold just for you to get in that 5 mile run, so you have to plan. Writing things down in a planner works or put it all together in your Google Calendar.

By making time and making schedules, you can cut down on the time spent distracted or stuck in one project. Planned days and weeks will help you be mindful of importance and force you to prioritize your projects.

On top of day-to-day prioritization, schedules can let you keep the long-term goal in mind rather than keeping your head down stuck in the daily grind. The goals that may seem distant become far more motivating when there is a plan, schedule, and strategy on how to get there.

Not Everything Will Go According to Plan

As a self-proclaimed perfectionist, this was the hardest lesson for me to grasp. I would go out for a long run, not hit my goal paces, and come back grumpy or frustrated (but usually both). Talking amongst running friends, I discovered I wasn’t alone in these feelings. It wasn’t long before I drew the connection between how I felt after a bad run and how I felt after a bad day at work. The frustration wasn’t always because of what happened, but because it wasn’t in the plan.

Learn to let go of the things that go awry and run with the new direction. While you may see the whole picture as “bad”, take a few minutes to think about something good that is coming from it. Sure, it’s never fun to be in a less than ideal situation, but by breaking it down into a few good takeaways can help you to learn, appreciate, and go forward with the new direction.

Rest Days Should Be Restful

Whether it’s your legs or your mind, you have to let them rest. Your weekends and nights are yours! Or if it’s Monday night and The Bachelorette is on, turn your thoughts away from work worries and try to predict who’s getting the final rose. I’m a worrier, I don’t like taking time off from anything. But despite that, I learned that if I don’t take a day off from running, my workouts would suffer. Similarly, if I’m working or worrying even after I’ve left the office, my work the following days becomes sub-par.

Let your mind take a break from work and you’ll be able to return the next day fresh and able to attack problems with a sharper mind and new perspective. Sometimes we get too close to the work and too close to the problems. Taking time away can help you stand back and see it all from a new light. Rest days from the work world can not only feel refreshing for you, they can also help to bring about new ideas and energy each week.

Celebrate Success

The end goal is always the most exciting, but never forget the little successes along the way. Have a killer 2 mile run? Ride out that happiness! Learn something new that will make your workday easier? Have a little solo dance party! If you neglect the celebrations you owe yourself along the way to the big ultimate goal, you’ll lose your fire and joy in the project. But if you can take moments to appreciate the work you do, or the work others around you do, you can have a lot more fun in the process.

Tatum Hartwig is a senior Communication Studies major with minors in Business Administration and Media & Screen Studies. Tatum brings experience and knowledge in the world of marketing and public relations from her two co-ops at Wayfair and New Balance. Her passion revolves around growing businesses via social media, brand development, and innovation. You can connect with Tatum on Twitter @tatumrosy and LinkedIn.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Summer

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With summer classes mid-way through and spring co-ops left with about a month, college students’ minds are inevitably shifted to a long-overdue summer vacation. After a semester long of hard work, we all deserve a nice break, where we enjoy the warmth of sunshine and good company with friends — after all, post-graduation this will all be a luxury for young working professionals. But while it is important to have fun and wind down, college students should also be taking advantage of a summer when they have fewer obligations with schoolwork to make the most out of it.

Here are a few possibilities you can try to keep yourself busy this summer:

  1. Find a Summer Internship/Job

It’s a no-brainer that summer internships ensure career success after graduation. After all, isn’t what Northeastern’s co-op program is for, to make sure that Huskies graduate with ample work experience to get ahead in the game? Regardless of your co-op experience, an extra summer will give your future employers an impression that you are driven, ambitious and willing to learn. Plus, who wouldn’t want extra cash even if it is part-time? Or even if it is just a summer job, be it in a coffee shop, restaurant or a country club, the skills and experience that you will learn to be crucial to building your character and financial success.

  1. Travel

When scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed or Instagram pictures, it is not unusual to see pictures of friends traveling for fun, studying abroad, and doing a dialogue. After all, “life is a book and those who don’t travel, read only one page.” Moreover, travel is crucial for us to understand and make sense of the world around us. The experience, history, culture and the people we encounter will help us discover ourselves and appreciate people different from us. If you are really serious about it, many travel agencies and companies with great deals, such as EF College Break, TravelZoo, and Expedia might be good sources to check out. Moreover, with the vast amount of Northeastern alumni and friends across the globe, it is easy to get connected or even crash at their places so you can save money here and there.

  1. Learn a new skill

Have you ever get passed over for a co-op because you didn’t know Adobe Photoshop or excel? While soft skills such as communication and writing are important in the workplace, hard skills are equally important in helping your application stand out. Consider spending this summer taking classes on acquiring or polishing a new skill (or even mastering a foreign language). From publishing, coding, building a website, to learning Adobe Photoshop, endless online courses and tutorials are at your fingertips. All you need is just a willingness to learn!

And of course, don’t forget to relax and wind down, because you deserve it! Just remember: Work Hard, Play Hard.

Scarlett Ho is a third year International Affairs and Political Science major with a minor in Law and Public Policy. During fall 2014, she studied abroad in Belgium where she interned at the European Parliament. The summer prior to that, she interned for Senator Warren on Capitol Hill, and previously Congressman Lynch in Massachusetts. She can be reached at ho.sc@husky.neu.edu.

Work Your Side Hustle

iPhone Photography

Life is more than the office and it lives outside the 9 to 5 hours. Sometimes we forget that the work can (and maybe should) end once you leave and head home. But not all work is, well, work. Let me explain..

When you’re working on something you are passionate about, how often do you lose track of time? Is there a passion or activity or thing outside of your day job that makes you happy and that you love to put work into? That is what I like to call your “side hustle”.

Side hustles come in a thousand forms. Whether you’re a yoga teacher after work hours, run a fashion blog, or have a passion for Instagramming the world around you — Congrats! You’ve found your side hustle.

But what’s the benefit of working on something that’s not, well, work? Let’s dive in:

Expand Your Creativity. By working on something other than your day-to-day, you can find yourself thinking and working in new ways. Injecting this newfound creativity into your work life can help you stand out in the workplace and develop new innovations or solutions.

Stress Relief. Sometimes it is hard to forget about that deadline or looming project, but when you have a task or passion outside of the workplace, you can shift gears and focus. Taking your mind off of your work can help to ease any stresses and let you come to work the next day fresh and ready to tackle any project.

Networking Outside Your Field. Getting out of the workplace for your networking can grow your horizons and reach beyond your field. If you’re an Instagrammer, for instance, going to an Instagram meetup and photo event can introduce you to great contacts in various walks of life and careers. It’s a great way to dive deeper into your side hustle and to meet people with similar passions, no matter their career field.

So, find your passion and get going on your own side hustle!

Tatum Hartwig is a senior Communication Studies major with minors in Business Administration and Media & Screen Studies. Tatum brings experience and knowledge in the world of marketing and public relations from her two co-ops at Wayfair and New Balance. Her passion revolves around growing businesses via social media, brand development, and innovation. You can connect with Tatum on Twitter @tatumrosy and LinkedIn.

How professional organizations can help you

black-and-white-city-man-peopleDo you know about professional associations, and how valuable they can be as both educational and networking tools?

A professional association is a non-profit group formed of individuals from a specific career or range of careers that focuses on education, training, and networking within their field. The goal of the association and its members typically is to keep up-to-date with new practices in the field, share ideas, and network with each other. Most associations have regular membership meetings, panel discussions, formal trainings by experienced members in the field, and social events. Many even have groups on LinkedIn, and sometimes you can join the LI group without being a dues-paying member of the larger organization.

Professional associations can be a powerful tool during your job search and ongoing career development. Not only do you learn more about the trends and topics in the field, but it’s a great opportunity to meet other professionals, and build or strengthen your network. Members often share job leads with the group, and are willing to give direct insight on potential positions. You can also find individuals who may be willing to meet with you for informational interviews, and advise you on your job search.

Many professional associations also have information on their website specifically for students or those exploring the field, and some even have events specifically targeted to students. For example, the New England Human Resources Association offers an annual career panel for students considering the human resources profession, and the American Institute of Graphic Artists typically hosts a portfolio review for soon-to-be or new college grads.  Most associations also offer discounted membership rates for students.

Ultimately, it’s a convenient way to meet multiple people from your field of interest.  Expanding your connections with professional peers is essential to your job search success, both in terms of their general advice and the potential to help you get your foot in the door of a particular company or job.

To find professional organizations in your field, try Googling “professional association” and your major or career path, for example, marketing, chemistry, nursing, etc.

Tina Mello is Associate Director of University Career Services, and has worked at Northeastern for over 10 years. Nicknamed the “information guru” by other members of the staff, she loves to research and read about various job/career/education topics. For more career advice, follow her on twitter @CareerCoachTina.

Why I Believe in Risk-Taking

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I believe in adventures, risk-taking, and doing the things that scare me. And, I believe that I’m the person I am today because of these beliefs. I constantly thank my 15-year old self, who forced her parents to let her do community development work in rural Paraguay for a summer. Had my teenage self not been determined to go on her adventure, to take that leap of faith, would I be in the place I am now? Would I be going in the same direction, both personally and professionally? Most definitely not. One great adventure can change your entire path- and I think we all deserve to give ourselves at least one great adventure.

Risks are meant to be taken, and sometimes, your life plan is supposed to be a little scary. Leaving your comfort zone is what will make you stronger and smarter, both in personal and professional capacities.

So, I ask you to think of what would scare you the most. Moving to the other side of the world? Working for a giant, multi-million dollar company? Being your own boss? Switching academic tracks completely? Figure out what would give you the adrenaline rush and the butterflies- and do it. Your future self will thank you. Here are some of my own breakthroughs and life lessons, through my adventures over the last few years.

I learned that I could work professionally in another language while running youth development programs in Costa Rican national parks. This was a complete breakthrough, which now has me considering pursuing my masters degree in Latin America. Had I not taken the risk of accepting a job with extremely technical aspects, with coworkers who had little to no English, I wouldn’t have realized my full potential with languages, whether that be Spanish, or now, Portuguese.

I got over my fear of math in a small nonprofit organization’s office in Cape Town, South Africa. “Fear of math” sounds like quite a petty and small thing when I say it out loud, but trust me, it was a fear. I avoided any kind of statistics work at all costs, until the organization of my dreams offered me an internship with Monitoring and Evaluation. I almost said no- M & E is all numbers. But instead, I said yes, and worked five days a week with number crunching and analyzing galore. “Fear of math” is a thing of the past.

I learned the importance of pursuing challenges at Northeastern University. I have been pushed to all limits while at this beautiful university and abroad, but I have also learned that if I want to go beyond these limits, I need to do it myself. No one knows your greatest fears but you- and no one can go ahead and take that risk but you.

Daniella is a sophomore at Northeastern with a combined major in Human Services and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish. She is currently on her first co-op working for a youth development nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniella is passionate about social change, travel, and good food- and can’t wait to see what Africa has to offer her both professionally and personally. Email her at emami.d@husky.neu.edu. Look for Daniella’s posts every other Tuesday.

“I have a strict learning policy…”

I jumped at the opportunity. One of my cousins approached me quite late on a Saturday night. I had class early the next morning into the afternoon. Originally, I was planning on calling it quits and cozying up to a nice book.

“I’m going with my DJ to a club in Sathorn, I’m leaving at 10:30. I can pick you up and we’ll drive over.”

I looked down at my watch. That was only less than an hour away. I looked back up at my cousin, and without hesitation offered him an emphatic yes. Maybe it was the way he proclaimed the company he was going with as his – the words my DJ, made the whole thing a bit more impressive. Whatever I was getting myself into, I was more than happy to reward myself after a long week.

When the time came, I jumped in his car and off we went to pick-up his DJ. The entire way there we had a conversation of how he got into managing. These concepts were foreign to me. They didn’t exactly agree with how I had imagined the entire industry. I simply thought that the function of managing was just to assemble a string of shows held together by promoters, and to head social media campaigns that used bold graphics that no one actually read or paid attention to. Managing, he told me, was a way of harnessing and nurturing talent. The conversation was an honest look into a love unrelated to his work he did as a coder, although, he did seem to love that too.

Upon our arrival we were escorted to an elevator that was set for the 39th floor. After a brief security check, a hostess brought us to the where the main act was already on stage. After ordering a couple of drinks at the bar, we situated ourselves at a table where we got a clear view of the performers.

I examined the surroundings and found that most if not all of the patrons of the club were non-Thai nationals. Australians, Americans, Africans, Europeans, Britons, every type of accent, every type of dress, every type of mannerism could be observed at this venue but Thai people seemed to be absent. It was a curious observation, and so I pocketed the questions that I had begun to form for later. What was even more perplexing to me was the way the DJ and her partner listened to the performers on stage. There was no dancing, and contrary to the way I had experienced clubs prior, they didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves. Instead, they stood stoic, almost expressionless.

It was 3am and the set was near its finish. The DJ turned to us and signaled for our departure. We gathered and we exchanged reviews of the performance. I was pleased. It was apparent however, that the DJ and her partner had their critiques.

On the way back to their apartment a cascade of ideas streamed from the duo and my cousin. It was indiscernible to me, the whole situation. I couldn’t clearly apprehend what was being said. It was in Thai, the conversation, yes, but even so the way in which these words were said confused me. They analyzed the night, it seemed.

“I have a strict learning policy,” my cousin said to me as they exited the car.

“I take them to these kinds of things at least once a week. It’s how we learn new techniques. Not a lot of DJs in Thailand do it, I don’t think. It’s fun. It is very important we improve and learn to improve.”

Interesting. When he offered to take me out earlier in the night, this was the last thing I thought I’d be left with – this idea of learning, at least, in this environment. To me, it was a creative and exotic way to learn. It made sense in other contexts, though. There was no disconnect for me when I had made the comparison to a professional basketball, or soccer player. Aspiring athletes watch and re-watch film. They ask the questions others are afraid to ask. They offer the answers others are afraid to answer. If you want to improve, you immerse yourself in the culture, the language…you familiarize yourself and drown in wells of knowledge related to your craft. You observe others, eager for the same fruits. These things, I already knew. I’ve heard this same song for years and years, especially leaving high school and into university.

I laid in bed and asked myself if I had actually been applying these modules and others that had up until that point been stowed away on a dusty shelf in my brain. I felt my co-op moving sluggishly. It didn’t have the pace that I expected it to have. I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. This dissatisfaction though, wasn’t due to my colleagues or supervisor. It was my own doing. I wasn’t asking the questions I needed to ask. I wasn’t offering answers to the questions that needed answers. I was being too passive.

The following week, I came prepared. Rejuvenated from the experience at the club and in the car, I felt…good. As my teammates would say, it was time to ‘eat’. I wasn’t alone at the proverbial dinner table either. This newfound confidence, stemming from a bit of introspection put me in the right place, in front of the right people.

John is a 4th year health sciences student at The Bouvé College of Health Sciences. With a nose for exploration and travel, John will be writing from Southeast Asia about his experiences on co-op in Surin and Bangkok, Thailand. There, he’ll be volunteering in community clinics, in addition to conducting public health research at Chulalongkorn University. Follow his adventures on Instagram: johnsirisuth.

Don’t Panic: How To Make The Most of Your Last Semester

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So it’s your last year of college. Nervous about being unemployed yet? Yeah, being unemployed in college means more time for fun stuff, but it’s not so cute a year after you graduate. Starting your job search early in your last year of school will put you a step ahead when graduation rolls around.

Make a company list. Make a list of your top 5 to 10 target companies. This allows you to focus your networking efforts on a specific crop of companies. First, check on their website for any openings. Then it’s time to start the leg work.

Check LinkedIn for people in your network who work at your target companies. If you have a contact there, go grab coffee and talk about the company. They can be a valuable resource for you, providing tips for your application and contact information of someone in the department you are looking at. If you talk to your contacts early in your last year, they will let you know if a position opens up in a few months.

Go to Career Services. Their job is to help you find a job. Take advantage of that service while it’s free and available to you. Stop by with an idea of what you want to do. College career advisors have network contacts in almost every industry, so don’t be afraid to come in just for a chat. Your advisor may have contacts in your companies of choice, so make sure you let your advisor know about your job interests.

Talk it up. If your professors don’t know your career goals, they can’t help you even if they want to. Be sure to talk to your professors, especially if you are in a small class or you have lots of contact with a professor. Find an excuse to stop by their office hours, and mention your job search. Professors are usually professionals in their field, so they have an extensive network of upper-level management and may be able to help you out.

Career fairs. Career fairs are an incredible resource for soon-to-be grads. Instead of strolling in with your resume and mindlessly walking around the tables in hopes of finding something interesting, check the attending companies ahead of time if they’re available. This will allow you to prepare for networking with specific companies.

On average, it takes a college grad between 3 and 9 months to land a job. The best to start is November of your senior year or earlier. This gives you plenty of time, and allows you to avoid the June unemployment freak-out.

Networking for Internationals (and Non-Internationals, too)

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A few weeks ago I went to an interesting workshop for International Students where I learn a lot about NETWORKING. I know that many of us do not like networking…. Who likes to talk to a bunch of people they haven’t met in their life? No one. But the true is that NETWORKING is the way most people (in this case students) might find a job or at least can make a good connection. You never know, you can find a mentor or a friend, as well as good ideas and new perspectives about life and careers. The fact is that even though networking can be tough, it can be fun too.

I would like to share with you a few tips that I learn from Joselin Mane, a Social Media Strategist and Networking Guru. In his workshop Networking 2.0, I learned new things I never imagined would work to get to know new people.

First of all, we should start working with our Personal Brand. Create an original business card. Using a picture might be informal but it will make people remember you. Think about it, if you were at an event with 50 different business cards in your hand, you would really want to remember peoples’ faces. On the other hand, we should create a website (just a short bio is enough). Many of us have LinkedIn accounts, of course, but remember that recruiters will Google you, and the more information they find, the better. You can use free websites such as www.about.me or another websites builder such as www.wix.com

Other useful things:

  1. When meeting people, use something that won’t make them forget you. Example: flower in hair, special pin, etc. Use something colorful. Have you been to a career fair? Everyone is dressed in black and white! Its time to differentiate ourselves.
  2. Take pictures or selfies. Take this advice with precaution. Do it when you feel is right because the idea is making a good impression.
  3. Send those pictures in the follow up e-mail. Send a follow up email immediately. Don’t let them forget you.
  4. Practice your elevator speech as much as you can. Try to be natural and fluent.
  5. If you need to use a name tag, use it in your left side. They will see it better.
  6. If you engaged in a conversation remember people’s name. Everyone loves to be called by their names.
  7. Connect with people before the event when possible. Use social media.
  8. Reactivate your Twitter account (if it is a professional one), and put it on you name tag.
  9. Google yourself. Let’s see what the internet says about you.
  10. Join professional groups.

The idea of Networking is meeting new people to create a relationship that might benefit both of them. We just need to be ourselves acting naturally. We are not born to be liked by everyone, so don’t panic if someone ignores you.

If you want to know more about Networking, please visit Joselin Mane website http://bostontweetup.com/


Maria Martin is pursuing a Master in Project Management at Northeastern University. She is passionate about helping others in their personal and professional life. She is currently doing a full time paid co-op at Eversource in the Marketing and Sales Department. You can contact her at mariajesusmartin13@gmail.com

Resume “Power Verbs,” And Why You Need Them

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A resume is said to be a representation of your entire professional being, however, employers are now looking at your resume to see what you are actually capable of in the workplace, and what you could be capable of doing in the future. Convincing an employer you are the right person for the job all starts with the right words. Every word on your resume should be there for a reason- if the word serves no greater purpose, get rid of it! I believe that the most important words on a resume should be verbs, which I like to call power verbs. Every verb used to describe a work, volunteer, academic or personal experience should be meaningful, and show both your power and potential in one way or another.

Here are a few of my favorite power verbs, and why you should consider including them in your next resume revision:

Collaborate

In a recent article from Forbes titled “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates,” the ability to work in a team structure was listed as the number one skill employers seek in their future employees. And this skill is not limited to any one field- no matter where you are planning on applying for a job, odds are pretty high that you will be working with others. With all this said, it is important that you show your ability to be a team player on your resume with a power verb. I love the word collaborate, because it implies an ability to both give and receive from a group.

Oversee

Management and facilitation skills are especially impressive to employers (with no surprise, an ability to make decisions and solve problems was number two on the Forbes list), and you can imply you have both with “oversee.” Consider using the word oversee with regard to any leadership positions you have held, whether that be on campus or professionally.

Develop/Design

The verbs develop and design show professional creativity, and prove that you can come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems in the workplace. Both of these verbs are great if you want to show off your creative and innovative experience.

Improve

It seems obvious, but employers want to hire someone who will make their workplace better. They want someone who will make their systems better, their work environment better, and their lives easier. The power verb that shows you are the person for this is “improve.” You can improve just about anything, meaning you can use this verb to describe basically any experience you have on your resume.

Click here to read the full Forbes article.

 

Daniella is a sophomore at Northeastern with a combined major in Human Services and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish. She is currently on her first co-op working for a youth development nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniella is passionate about social change, travel, and good food- and can’t wait to see what Africa has to offer her both professionally and personally. Email her at emami.d@husky.neu.edu. Look for Daniella’s posts every other Tuesday. 

How to End Your Co-op Strong

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The time has come where students are starting to end their co-ops. If you’re on a four month co-op, like I am, you might only have a few weeks left before you say goodbye to your coworkers and head back to school. So how do you end your co-op strong and make the most of your last few weeks or months?

Don’t slack off.

Just because you’re almost done doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing your job. In fact, this is the time to really step up your game and get the most out of the end of your experience. You want to make sure you don’t leave with any regrets. Ask to attend those meetings you’ve been nervous to attend so far. After four months on the job, you know a lot about your work culture and how your organization runs. If it’s appropriate, your supervisor will be glad you’re showing initiative and you’ll get to learn that much more about your workplace.

Make sure you finish out all your work.

Before you leave your co-op, make sure that your supervisor knows the status of all your projects. You don’t want to be that person who leaves with all their work half-finished. Not only will this leave your office in a state of limbo, but it will also leave them with a bad impression of you.

Finish networking with your co-workers.

Is there that one person you’ve wanted to meet all semester and haven’t had a chance to yet? Reach out to them in your last few weeks! Take full advantage of the resources your co-workers can give you before you leave. Even though you can always get in touch with them once your co-op is over, it makes things a lot easier when your cubicles are down the hall from each other! And don’t forget to get the contact information of your supervisor and other colleagues in case you need a reference in the future. Make sure they’re okay with being a reference and know of your plans once you go back to school so calls from future employers don’t startle them later on.

Lastly, don’t be sad you’re leaving – be glad you were able to spend such a long time in a great position!

You’ve successfully finished another co-op and definitely learned some valuable skills! Whether your co-op helped you solidify your career path (as mine did!) or helped you decide what you don’t want to do in the future, you surely learned a lot about yourself and the industry you worked in. Soak in that knowledge and let it guide you as you decide what your next step is. And make sure you say thank you to everyone you worked with along the way (and handing out handwritten thank you cards on your last day never hurts)!

 

Rose Leopold is a third-year political science major currently on international co-op with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. Prior to this experience, Rose spent her first co-op in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Washington, D.C. Follow Rose’s adventures through her blog justsittingontopoftheworld.wordpress.com and on Instagram.