Do you have a ‘Plan Z’?

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This post was authored by Manuj Goyal, on Co-op in India. notes-514998_1920Evolution is a fundamental aspect of life on Earth and I believe a key principle in the road to success. Having the ability to adapt, to think on one’s feet, and to find opportunities when all plans you have fall apart is even more essential in the country of India where chaos seems to be the driving factor of all life. In a place with such a long history, a place where so much innovation and discovery has and does occur, a place where so many people coexist harmoniously, it is sometimes difficult to fathom how things happen smoothly considering the seemingly haphazard and chaotic progression of events in any situation.

Earlier in my coop journey in India, I traveled the state of Rajasthan in collaboration with the Department of Information Technology and Communication as well as the Department of Planning. Learning about and analyzing rural conditions, farming techniques, and common mindsets, I gained clarity on the direction my product development and my overall project. I began to narrow down and define the exact area of the agricultural and farming process which I wanted to make more efficient and easier and began creating a plan with goals to develop this product.

Before diving deep into product development though, I decided to head to a small farm where volunteers from all around the world came to learn about permaculture, and agricultural technique based on the mindful usage of resources and careful integration of the environment with agricultural processes. Permaculture has been used throughout the world and due to its foundation in basic principles of agriculture rather than specific techniques, it is effective in a variety of environments. This institute and center of innovation and learning was an ideal place for me to refine my design parameters and gauge the possibilities of success of a technical product in a rural agricultural setting. The farm also offered a unique setting with limited access and resources as it is three kilometers, about 2 miles, up a mountain from the nearest town, a town with only tea shops and limited supplies. The closest major town is more than thirty minutes by a local bus and so the environment and setting was ideal for planning and analyzing the development of a product.

Things sound too good to be true, don’t they? A few days before I was meant to head to the farm from Rajasthan, riots and civil unrest broke out near New Delhi, the city I had to connect through in order to get to the farm. The government shut down all road and railway travel entering Delhi from the Rajasthan direction and cornered me into staying put where I was. So my options became to either change my plans or take a 400 dollar flight to a city approximately nine hours by bus from the farm or take an 800 dollar, 24 hour travel time flight to a city approximately two hours from the farm. I decided that it might be best to postpone my trip to the farm but with no way of knowing when the unrest would end or if it would spread to other parts of the country, my project teetered on a precarious edge of collapsing completely.

But using the resources I had available to me, I reconnected with my collaborators, advisors, and mentors and quickly came up with a Plan Z since Plan A and Plan B and pretty much every other plan had fallen apart. Instead of forcing my way to the farm and potentially endangering my project further, I spent some time in Rajasthan looking further into the infrastructure and agricultural difficulties within the state. After this it was time to head to Delhi in March where 3.5 million people were meeting up to celebrate all cultures, diversity, and spiritual living at the Art of Living’s World Culture Festival. Together we meditated and celebrated for three days while discussing leadership and innovation at the Global Youth Leadership Forum. After a silent retreat in Bangalore with thousands of leaders from around the world and a week-long service project in a village in Orissa, I finally got the ability to travel to the farm.

I write this blog post from a small farm on the side of a mountain, three kilometers from the nearest town. The food is prepared on a fire stove, the water comes from a river a kilometer away, clothes are washed by hand, running water works because of gravity, electricity comes from the sun. Rural life can seem fantastical, picturesque, otherworldly, and simple. The fact of the matter is that getting into the rural mindset, living the rural life, farming at a rural scale on the side of a mountain is not easy. In the west and in urban areas throughout the world, electricity, food, water, clean housing, and many other faculties are often taken for granted. I work here in India to bring these same faculties to the people who support the rest of the world by feeding us and taking care of the natural world that allows us to be alive and enjoy life on Earth. My hope is that through the technical skills I have and through the lessons I’ve learned in India, I can inspire others to also give back and find ways to celebrate the simple things in life. I hope that my posts inspire you to join this celebration, to speak up for nature, to give back in whatever way you can.

Motivation: A Practice

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Motivation is something we all need to keep us plowing through whatever the task at hand may be. Currently for me, it’s about the finals that I describe as slaying me. It might be a bit harsh, but I definitely need motivation to keep me going through this entire finals week. For you, it might be a hard deadline at work or a tough project that you just can’t seem to get it done.

I call motivation a practice because it’s not something that just happens naturally. Motivation is how we all keep moving forward in whatever it is that may be in our way to the next thing(s). Motivation, however, is something we have to practice. It seems silly, but keeping your head up throughout tough tasks is not easy. I find it easier to keep myself motivation once I’ve already started, but how does one motivate him/herself to start?

Break it up into smaller pieces. A lot of us tend to think of a large project as one thing, and while yes it is one thing at the end of the day, break it up into its smaller, more manageable components. For instance, I might have to write a report, so I have my introduction, conclusion, and everything in between, from methods, results, and analysis. If I think of it as a paper, I get scared. If I think of it as writing my methods and then results first, then the introduction, and finally the analysis and conclusion, it is SO much more manageable and any anxiety I had reduces immensely.

Make an outline and plan out the time. It helps to create an overarching plan for what’s ahead. I’ll write out in a notebook what I plan to do everyday for a week or so, especially if its a busier week than most. I’ll relax about it and know what I have to focus on that day. This will help also break down the project(s) (see above) as you’ll only be working on smaller parts each day instead of one big thing.

Head up, practice that motivation, and you’ll get through it! Be like a bird, you’ll fly right through it.

Beyond the Green Line: New York City

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BEYOND THE GREEN LINE is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works’.  Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area. 


Did you know that has deemed New York City one of the best cities to start your job search?  Did you also know that New York state had the most Fortune 500 companies in the nation (55) in 2015? Some of them may sound familiar – J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, MasterCard; Time Warner, Cablevision, Verizon, CBS and 21st Century Fox to name a few.

Additionally, there were 104,300 new private sector jobs created over the last year in NYC –a 2.9% increase, which was above the national rate of increase.  Last year alone, 472 Northeastern students did a Co-op in the NYC region.  The Husky Nation doesn’t end there – the New York City Alumni Community has a strong membership and can be your extended Husky family away from Boston.

Why live and work in NYC? See for yourself…

Food and Drink

  • All of the pizza. Available at ANY HOUR. Also, Bagels. YES.
  • Pastrami on Rye at Katz’s Delicatessen – there’s a reason this deli is 127 years old and going strong.
  • Cronuts and Cookie Shots from Dominique Ansel Bakery
  • Create your own brewery pub crawl – 12 microbreweries in NYC
  • The Manhattan – born right here; also the Egg Cream which contains neither egg nor cream…


  • Coney Island – did you know that the hot dog was perhaps invented/definitely popularized here?
  • Comedy Cellar – iconic West Village club where Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle recently put on a performance
  • From the American Museum of Natural History to the MET to MoMa, there’s a museum everywhere you turn – check out some of the lesser known ones too like the Frick Collection and/or the International Center of Photography
  • Theater – Broadway continues to innovate and delight millions, but theater comes in all shapes and sizes. According to the 2012 World Cities Culture Report, New York is home to 420 theatres –about 70 more than Paris- and theatre attendance is highest in NYC at 28 million people/year.
  • Music – Bowery Ballroom; CMJ Music festival, held each October in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn; Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival;
  • Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – a New York City tradition since 1924
Photo Credit:Sukrit Srisakulchawla

Pictured: NYC Co-op connector Julia Le with friend on the NYC piers. Photo Credit: Sukrit Srisakulchawla



  • Obviously, one must commune with nature in Central Park but also the High Line –NYC’s only elevated park formed out of 1.4 miles of a retired rail track
  • Take the Staten Island Ferry to check out Lady Liberty herself
  • If you think the city is wild, check out the 4,000 animals at the Bronx Zoo (go Wednesday when it’s free!)
  • Check out a game – NY Jets or Giants; Knicks or Nets; Yankees or Mets; Rangers, or Islanders


Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers through your MYNEU to apply!

Alphasights – Analyst/Associate

American Express – Treasury Analyst; Analyst, Operations

Bank of New York Mellon Corporation – Assistant Writer; Fund Accountant

Crowdtap – Full Stack Engineer

Educational Alliance – Special Needs Support Counselor – New Country Day Camp

Marsh & McLennan – Assoc. Training Advisor; Risk Analyst

Morgan Stanley – Developer – Java; Financial Analyst; Junior Human Resources Generalist & Project Manager

Mthree Consulting – Application Support Analyst

Office of the New York State Attorney General – Data Scientist

Open Systems Technologies – Java Developer 2

Pfizer – Sr. Associate, Financial Reporting & Special Projects; Scientist, Molecular & Cellular Biology (non-PhD)

SHOO IN LLC – Financial Analyst; Client Relations Specialist

Success Academy Charter Schools – Art Teacher; Editorial Director


NUcareers job portal

Co-op Connections New York

New York City Alumni Community

We want your feedback!

Feel free to leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or particular cities you’d like us to profile.  We’ll be taking a break for the summer, but will pick back up in the fall with more inside looks at major cities across the nation. Have a great summer!

This post was authored by Melissa Croteau. Melissa is an Assistant Director of Employer Relations at Northeastern University where she focuses on initiating new and broadening existing employer relationships with a goal of increased full time, internship and co-op hiring of students as well as greater employer engagement within the broader Northeastern community.  She just celebrated 5 years of working at Northeastern where she also earned her Master’s in Higher Education Administration in 2013.  When she’s not chatting up employers, she enjoys singing in a 100-person choral group, hiking, and exploring the MFA.

BTGL NYC Sources:;;;;;;;;;;