Steer Clear of Creepers: Navigating Awkward Office Situations

image source: http://duebymonday.com/tag/behavior/

image source: http://duebymonday.com/tag/behavior/

It was a Wednesday afternoon, 15 minutes before quitting time. I had just graduated high school seven days earlier and had started a summer job at a small newspaper. In the midst of packing up my bag to officially shut down for the day, the screaming started. Yells I never expected to hear in an office. The executive editor and senior writer were exchanging harsh words about not meeting the Wednesday printing press deadline. I was frozen at my desk in the back hallway. The exchange went on for almost 20 minutes. Once quiet was restored, I quickly snuck out the front, so thankful to be out of the office.

The next morning, while writing my first article, the senior editor came over and apologized for what I heard the previous day. She said it was the biggest argument the two of them had ever had. She said to expect an outburst between her and the executive editor once a month. Three days in and I hear a huge fight; is it really that bad here? I thanked her for the apology and warning but questioned the office dynamic.

Later that same day, the secretary came to the back to use the paper cutter and asked how things were going. She then brought up that if I ever see the accountant (who conveniently sits right by me) intently watching videos on his computer to alert her. He watches porn in the office. Woah! Hold on-I’m sitting right near a porn watcher?

For the second day in a row, I left the office with way too many questions about the atmosphere and lack of professionalism. I drove straight home and spoke with my mom about the porn-watching situation. My mother told me that I didn’t have to return to the office. I could quit and avoid the uncomfortable situation. Through tears, I told her that I was not about to forgo my dream internship, or what I pictured was a dream internship, because of a couple crazy people. She told me she would support my decision but recommended that I ask to be moved. There was no need to have me sitting in the hallway.

Friday morning on the drive to work, I went over in my head how I would ask to be moved. I told myself that unless I speak up, I would be on edge the rest of the summer, knowing the porn-watcher was too close for comfort. Upon arrival, I told the secretary I thought about yesterday and decided I was not comfortable being around a horny guy and asked if it was possible to be moved. Just then, the associate editor walked in and he immediately agreed that I shouldn’t be sitting back there. As a result, I was moved to an empty office up front.

Later in the day, the senior writer issued another apology, this time on behalf of the staff. She was sorry I had to witness a guy watching porn and that she also is uncomfortable around him. The executive editor apologized too, saying he was unaware of the situation but that it was taken care of. One week down, I left the office with so many uncertainties about company culture but I was hopeful the summer could only go up from there.

There were more arguments and more porn streamed but I just turned a blind eye. The experience I got from writing for a newspaper trumped the negatives. At the end of the summer, my mom asked me a very important question: Looking back, would I intern for the newspaper again? I quickly responded “no.” But then on second thought, I said “maybe.” I learned how to professionally deal with coworkers that I didn’t want to be around. I spoke up for myself when I saw inappropriate behavior. More importantly, I took advantage of interning for a newspaper and published many articles. By the end of the summer, I became the best intern they had ever had. I proved to myself that I can handle any situation and can only hope that I will never have to deal with a poor company culture again.

 This guest post was written by a Northeastern Student who wished to remain anonymous.  

 

Balancing the Ice and Academics

NU Women's Ice Hockey huddle

NU Women’s Ice Hockey huddle

This guest post was written by Heather Mottau, a freshman hockey player on the Women’s Ice Hockey Team at Northeastern University. 

Have you ever gone to bed with four different alarms set on four different devices?  I have.  Days we have practice at six in the morning here at Northeastern, I have alarms set on my watch, iPad, iPhone, and my iHome.

Waking up for hockey practice is not easy.  Every part of your body tells you no.  Sometimes I swear I can hear my teddy bear whispering, “Stay here with me” as the alarm goes off at 6AM.  The only thing that gets me out of that bed of mine is will.  Hockey has taught me not only the power of will but a multitude of other life lessons including, discipline, determination, dedication, commitment, tenacity, responsibility, reliability, devotion and so many others that I plan to keep with me for the rest of my life.

I’ll never forget the day I was taught the importance of punctuality.  I was sitting in the locker room getting ready for practice when I noticed that one of my teammates was not there.  A few other teammates tried calling her but there was no answer; we all continued to get dressed as usual.  Being a freshman, my mind was racing as I laced up my skates.  What would happen to this girl for missing practice?  What would be her excuse?  Would her excuse even matter to the coaches?

About 15 minutes into practice, my she arrived, opened the gate and hopped onto the ice with a look of total panic on her face.  She was the first person of the year to be late to a practice.

The coaches did not say a word to her for being late, which I found so odd.  Practice simply continued as usual until the end when our team came together in a group huddle.  Coach told the latecomer she was going to skate for being late.  He did not ask her why she was late. It did not matter. After practice, one of my teammates informed me that she took a nap and forget to set her alarm. She made an honest mistake but she also made a commitment to our team. Now do you understand why I set 4 alarms anytime I sleep?  In the future, when my teammates and I graduate college, we will have a  strong understanding of what making a commitment really means in whatever occupation we pursue.

Heather handling the puck

Heather handling the puck

Every student athlete at the collegiate level has acquired the skill of time management.  If not, there would be no possible way they would be able to continue being a student athlete. Northeastern’s course load is intellectually challenging with a rigorous schedule along with experiential learning outside the classroom. Student athletes must learn how to manage their time well and balance their sport with their academics.

One must not forget the extra pressures added to a student athletes life.  An athlete represents their school.  They are a symbol of their school and must carry themselves respectably in all areas of their life. It is a privilege to play for your school, and players must understand that this privilege can be taken away very easily.  There are always people waiting for you to fail, and people that would kill to be in your spot at the Division One level.

Being a student athlete, in my opinion, is a job. Just like any job it consists of learning how to handle different kinds of pressure: pressure within their sport, expectations and pressure put on them by coaches, as well as academic pressures. It is a necessity to balance practice time with studying time, plan ahead and know when they will be missing classes because of games.

When that fourth alarm goes off in the morning I know the only thing that gets me out of bed is my will and love of the game.  I made a commitment to my team.  I admit some days are hard.  I’ll be sore and tired but I know I have to push through.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Northeastern Women’s ice hockey team and for the opportunity to represent my school.  What I’ve learned thus far from this experience could never fit in a single blog post.

A student athlete boils down to two simple concepts: you have to do well in school and well in your sport, but it all starts with the will to do so.

Heather Mottau is a freshman who is #26 on the Women’s Ice Hockey team here at Northeastern. She attended boarding school at the ripe age 14 in the cold state of Minnesota to pursue her hockey dreams (and as a result picked up a slight Midwestern accent after living there for four years). She loves hockey, writing, and sitting in Starbucks pondering life.  

Things To Take Care Of Before You Apply: A To-Do List

30 Rock... full of words of wisdom source: digitalfireflymarketing.com

30 Rock… full of words of wisdom
source: digitalfireflymarketing.com

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Think of a few things that are the worst: missing your train by ten seconds, room-temperature milk, and wearing socks to bed. You know what’s probably worse than that? Missing out on a job even though you are the perfect candidate. Get your business in order, even before you start applying, to avoid those speed bumps that could cost you your dream job.

1. Check yourself out on social media. Google yourself – don’t be shy. Employers are more likely than ever to look you up on Google, Twitter, Facebook, and anywhere else they can find information. It’s your job before application time to spruce up your social media channels and take care of anything that might show you in an unfavorable light. Drunk pictures? That’s not cute.

2. Set up a voicemail message. Remember when ringback tones were awesome? That time has passed. Let go of your I’m-clearly-a-high-school-senior Pitbull ringback tone and record a short, clear voicemail message. Make sure to state your name clearly, and it’s probably best to listen to it a time or two to make sure no one can hear the oven timer going off in the background. A great voicemail message makes you seem more like a human and less like a robot, so get that done.

3. Set up an email signature. Because you’re that kind of official. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or pretentious – just your name, school name, and maybe cell phone number at the bottom to make it as easy as possible for potential employers to contact you.

4. Start brainstorming interview “moments.” It’s important to be prepared for an interview at any time – an employer might call you the day after you submit an application and schedule an interview with you the next day, and cramming for an interview is a less-than-ideal situation for the nerves. In an interview, it’s important to have “moments,” or quick stories about situations you have encountered or projects you have been involved in that will solidify your position as a qualified candidate. If the position is customer-service oriented, think of a time you exhibited stellar customer service skills and try to incorporate it into your interview if possible. It will give your interview substance and make you a more interesting and memorable candidate.

5. Do your research. It’s obvious when a candidate has done his or her research when the time comes for an interview. Instead of awkwardly fumbling around the company website, check out a few other sources. The company profile on LinkedIn will give you a list of similar companies in the industry (aka. competitors you should know about). The company Twitter will give you a sense of the office culture while providing access to industry-related articles you should probably read. It’s important to be well-read because

You are a capable and qualified candidate who deserves to be gainfully employed (repeat that to yourself a few times in front of the mirror before you head to an interview). You did the legwork, got the relevant experience, and wrote a crazy cover letter. Now it’s time to get your business in order and avoid the stumbling blocks on your way to the interview.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here.

5 reasons you should work at a start-up — and tips for doing so

This guest post for The Works was written by Zachary Williamson. Zack is a 5th year Comm-Media Studies Major and has co-oped at the New England Conservatory as a Video Production Co-op and  at CustomMade as a Marketing Co-op. He recently accepted an offer from CustomMade as a Creative Associate for the Marketing Team. Zack also freelance as a photographer for the Northeastern Athletics Department.

While many people go on co-op looking to work for a large, well know brand, I encourage people to consider smaller, less established, start-ups. These kinds of companies tend to be a good fit for self-motivated people, or someone who wants to work in a fast paced environment.

For my second co-op, I was fortunate enough to be hired at CustomMade.com, a start-up that had already secured some venture capital funding, and had been a member of the marketing team during a time of incredible growth. Every co-op is a different experience, but if you want to try something less traditional, a start-up is the way to go.

1. Work at a start-up for at least one co-op.

Working to build a company is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have early in your career. Working at a smaller company means that you are making a far greater impact because you make up a significant portion of the staff. It also means that you have to be flexible, oftentimes wearing many “hats” or serving multiple roles, depending on the needs of the company. That said, you will most likely have a lot of skills to leverage and market when looking for your next co-op, considering you were both the HR and IT assistant.

2. Be ready to make mistakes, and own them when you do.

Part of working at a start-up is building something new. Depending on the field, it’s possible that a company is the first to ever attempt something at a particular scale or in that way. Being cutting edge means you’ll inevitably make mistakes, both personally and as a business; and you’ll most likely make a lot of them. Learn from and take ownership of your mistakes to avoid them in the future. But don’t let fear of making mistakes prevent you from… (see #3).

3. Take risks and force yourself to learn new skills.

One of the co-founders of CustomMade told me they would rather a project fail, than not push it far enough or try at all. Trying out new projects makes you more versatile–and versatility is one of the best skills you can bring to a start-up. Specialization is important, but don’t allow yourself to settle into a comfort zone. All co-ops should be about seeking new opportunities, but small companies in particular have more work than they have employees. Stepping up to a task, and then figuring out how to complete it, will make you that much greater of an asset to the company as a co-op, and a more appealing full time hire in the future.

4. Start-ups move quickly– very quickly.

Most start-ups have limited funds to operate, so they need to be incredibly agile and quick to try new ideas. While it’s all well and good to work out how to complete a task, many are time sensitive. Start-ups have to be quick to adjust and find a viable solution if something isn’t working. Things have to change quickly in order to conserve funds, and sometimes projects have to be abandoned in order for this to happen. This leads into my next point, that…

5. Start-ups don’t have room for egos.

Since speed is critical for a start-ups’ survival, they need to build teams of people who can quickly switch gears and go with the new flow of the company. A negative attitude won’t get you far, every challenge must be approached not with a “this won’t work attitude”, but rather a “how can I make this work, or work better” mindset.

Start-ups require a lot of work, but they can also be incredibly fun and rewarding. They force you to make incredible career developments because you have opportunities to do everything and anything. A lot of start-up culture revolves around the concept of work really hard, play really hard. If you like a new challenge every day and never want a dull moment, consider working at a start-up. It was the best decision I’ve made to kick start my career.

Zack has spent the last four years as a coxswain on NU’s Men’s Rowing Team, and is rounding out his final semester at NU as Comm-Media Studies Major, with minors in Cinema Studies & Production. He has co-oped at the New England Conservatory as a Video Production Co-op and at CustomMade as a Marketing Co-op for 16 months (he never really left). He recently accepted an offer from CustomMade as a Creative Associate for the Marketing Team. Zack also freelance as a photographer for the Northeastern Athletics Department. You can find him on the sidelines of a home game or on twitter @ZackWVisuals. (PS CustomMade is always looking for awesome people to join our team in Cambridge, MA, so feel free to reach out if you’re interested!)

In a New York state of mind…

City Spot NYC

Allison Walker has been working at BWR Public Relations in an exciting, fast-paced internship in the Big Apple for the past few months.  Despite the high cost of living, (a standard movie-ticket will cost you $13.50!) and despite the fact that NY is home to some of Boston’s biggest sport rivals (the Yankees), Allison has thoroughly enjoyed her internship and time so far in NYC.  She was kind enough to give me the inside scoop on her internship, her viewpoint of NYC, and advice for any Husky who is looking to intern there.

Ashley LoBue (AL): What type of public relations does BWR Public Relations do?

Allison Walker (AW): BWR Public Relations is a celebrity PR company that works on the talent side, so we do celebrity PR, but we also do events for corporations.  

(AL): Tell me a little bit about what you do day-to-day as a public relations intern.

(AW):  Well the good news is that I never have to get coffee! It’s great because I get to do minimum “intern” work. In the beginning I had to do some photocopying, and I was charged with updating both electric and binder press kits for clients, but then I started getting more responsibility as the internship went on, which was really cool.  I was given the opportunity to work NYC Fashion week, where I created client schedules, booked them for shows, and acted as their informal “body guard” during shows. So, I basically managed their interviews and any interactions they had with the press and photographers.  I also got to go to the DKNY birthday party and made sure the clients were situated there and helped my supervisors create client schedules and looks for the Emmys.  I’m really excited that I get to go to these types of different events (I go by myself or with a publicist) to make sure that everything is going according to plan for different BWR clients.  

 (AL): So now I know a little bit about what you do and what you enjoy as part of the internship.  What do you find challenging?

(AW): Sometimes the work hours are challenging. For Fashion Week, I had to work all day and into the night to coordinate everything and make sure everything was going smoothly.

(AL): Could you take me through the process of how you got your position in NYC?

(AW): I got the interview through the co-op system! It’s the first time they are doing co-op. I interviewed with them at their office in NYC. It’s best to go to interviews in person unless it’s really difficult to get there.

(AL): Do you have any advice for students that want to work in PR?

(AW): Well, I do have a really big background in entertainment PR and film, and I’ve also done music PR, which probably made it easier for me to land this internship.  They are looking for someone who is really outgoing and is not just going to just sit in the back corner and wait for someone to tell them what to do.  They like people who can take initiative and ask, “What do you need? I can do this.” PR needs a type of person who can put him or herself out there. So, my advice is to be confident and let people see your willingness to work hard and passion for the industry.

(AL): What are some of the major differences between living in Boston vs. living in NYC?

(AW): NYC is a lot more expensive than Boston and a lot more fast-paced and cut throat than Boston.  People think,” oh that’s not true, it’s just a rumor”, but it’s so true.  Honestly, everyone has either done what you’ve done or done more, but that makes you more driven and makes you want to try harder, which is one of my favorite things about the city.  NY is a perfect place to start a career or intern because it makes you ready for anything and made me into a super intern.  Boston is a great place to intern, but NY has made me excited, driven and competitive. NYC is one of my favorite places, so I might be biased, but I definitely recommend for anyone to intern here at least once.

 (AL): What do you want to do post-graduation?

(AW): I do like celebrity PR– it’s fun, exciting and I get to do a lot of fun stuff.  I’m not sure though.  I think maybe something in the entertainment field because I like that environment.  Journalism or public relations is probably where I’m going to end up.

(AL): And finally, what is your favorite food in NYC?

(AW): That’s a tough one. Probably the 24 hour diners!

Ashley LoBue is a Career Advisor and The Works’ City Spotlight corespondent  If you want to be featured as a City Spotlight, or know somebody who should, contact her at a.lobue@neu.edu. 

How To Rock The Career Fair

Source:  blog.vodafone.com.au

Source: blog.vodafone.com.au

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Career fairs are all about being remembered. You bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to a company and you deserve to be remembered. A little bit of preparation can go a long way in sticking out among a sea of candidates.

Create An Elevator Pitch: Maybe you’re sick of people telling you to make an elevator pitch (or maybe you’re sick of other, more detestable things like slow walkers and paying back student loans). An elevator pitch is crucial at career fairs, where time is limited and attention spans are short. An elevator pitch allows you to communicate your best self in the shortest amount of time (about the amount of time you spend in an elevator awkwardly clearing your throat and avoiding eye contact with strangers, hence the name). Make sure to include the following:

1. Your name

2. What you are studying/where your skills lie

3. What your background is in, especially if it’s different from your major

4. What you are interested in

5. A tidbit about the company. This shows that you know the company and you did your research. Employers don’t want to waste their time, and this lets them know that you came prepared because that’s just how great you are.

Resumes: Speaking of coming prepared, let’s talk resumes. Don’t bring one. Don’t bring five. Bring at least fifteen, depending on the size of the fair and the number of companies you are interested in (you should look at the list of participating companies beforehand).

talk about unique Source: badgercareerbuzz.blogspot.com

talk about unique
Source: badgercareerbuzz.blogspot.com

Make Yourself Memorable: Once you have an employer’s attention, make your conversation memorable, but don’t draw it out. A short but interesting conversation is more likely to stick out in an employer’s head than a long but fruitless conversation. You don’t have to mention every interesting thing you’ve ever done, but mention at least one thing they can remember about you — where your last co-op was, an interesting class you took last semester. Maybe start with “last summer I completed an internship in customer relations and communications and I taught myself basic HTML.” This can be part of your elevator pitch. You are different and super interesting, so give employers a glimpse into how awesome you are.

Get A Business Card: It’s like getting a rose on The Bachelor – it’s the whole point. Getting a business card from a potential employer is your ticket forward in the hiring process for this company. Be sure to send a quick email after the fair (preferably that same evening or the morning after) to follow up and restate your enthusiasm for the company. Avoid sending a vague, fill-in-the-blank email – zero people will remember who you are if they get an email saying, “I loved meeting you last night.” Employers will only remember you if you make them remember you. Mention something you talked about during the fair (this will be helpful if you followed Tip #3 – just saying).

Provide Value: Another quick tip about follow-up emails. It’s important to provide value so employers don’t feel they’re doing you such a favor. Send along an article you read this morning: “It was great talking to you yesterday about how your new company blog. I read this article today about the growing importance of content marketing in your industry and thought you might find it interesting.”

Remember: Employers aren’t at career fairs to judge you. They are there to recognize talent and attract great candidates. So don’t worry if your first conversation isn’t perfect – start by talking to your “B list” to get warmed up then by the end of the night you will be talking to your dream company like a pro.

 

How to Be a Real Person and Other Things I Learned On Co-Op

This article was written by Lindsey Sampson, a 3rd year international affairs student at NU as a regular student contributor for The Works.

Co-op is a unique opportunity that allows you to explore potential career paths, network with professionals at every level, and grow in ways you didn’t think possible. But, real talk time: sometimes learning and expanding your boundaries is hard. Here are a few of the lessons I learned from my first co-op.

1. How to be a real person: For the first month of co-op, I woke up with just enough time to get dressed, scraped myself off of my desk at 5pm and sludged home on the T. Eight

40 hours is harder than I thought.... Source: Frabz.com

40 hours is harder than I thought….
Source: Frabz.com

hours of solid productivity five days a week was exhausting – I never made plans on weekdays except to cook pasta, watch reruns of So You Think You Can Dance, and run into bed. The 40-hour workweek takes some getting used to, but by the end of my first co-op cycle, I was going for morning runs and making dinner plans on Tuesdays like I was somebody. Experience with a real work schedule is such a valuable learning opportunity.

Co-Op Tip: Don’t rush into making tons of plans your first week – you don’t want to get burned out. Take time to figure yourself out and establish a schedule.

2. How to make yourself valuable: It’s hard to make a real, lasting impact when you work two days a week and people keep calling you “intern.” Spending six months at one company during co-op allows you to fully immerse yourself in a department or a group. You find your place and start to learn more about your strengths based on your contributions. I didn’t know creativity and design were strengths I had until I worked on a project creating posters for one of our large events. It takes some time to establish yourself as a valuable member of a team, and working so closely with my department for six months allowed me that experience.

Co-Op Tip: Speak up! Making your voice heard will allow you to make a deeper impression on your employers. Respond to group emails , get involved in meetings, take on leadership roles – don’t just float around in the back unnoticed.

3. Uncommon common knowledge in the workplace: My first week of co-op, I drafted an email proposal to a caterer and re-read it fifty times to make sure it was professional. Invaluable office skills, like being able to write a professional email, fielding phone calls from difficult customers, and learning the ins and outs of client relations, are skills that can only be acquired on the job. Having these skills early sets you apart from other applicants when the time comes to apply for jobs.

Co-Op Tip: You will learn a ton your first week on co-op, so take notes on everything. This will allow you to more fully absorb facts and processes. If you’re feeling wild, combine your notes into a training binder or portfolio for the next co-op because you’re just that kind of thoughtful.

4. Handling different management styles: In the real world, having three six-month jobs in for years is flaky. In college, it’s co-op. Over the course of your four or five years at Northeastern, co-op will likely expose you to several different leadership and management styles, allowing you to be a better leader. Becoming a leader is less like growing a tree and more like building a bird’s nest – constructing a leadership style means collecting diverse lessons and habits from those around you.

Co-Op Tip: Pick up habits from your employers as you go – if something was helpful for you, chances are good that it will be helpful for someone else down the road. If you notice something meaningful about your boss’ communication style or organizational methods, try it out for yourself.

5. How to establish a network: I still get emails and updates from co-workers at my previous co-op. Co-op gives you several opportunities to establish strong relationships with professionals in your field. Don’t end co-op without establishing at least one or two strong professional connections. Just being able to hear about experiences firsthand from other professionals will help you gain valuable insight into your own career.

Co-Op Tip: Take the time to grab lunch or coffee with your managers and co-workers. Ask them questions you have about education, career paths, work, life – anything you want to know. They usually want to help, so let them! If you communicate your career goals, they will be better positioned to help you reach those goals.

Most importantly, take full advantage of co-op. Take the time to learn everything you can while on co-op. Talk to everyone, explore new things, and take on projects outside of your comfort zone. Co-op is an amazing opportunity, so it’s time to grab that bull by the metaphorical horns and get to work.

Lindsey Sampson is a middler International Affairs major with minors in Social Entrepreneurship and Writing. She enjoys writing about Millennials in the workplace and social media as a marketing tool. Follow her blog here.

Tips to Survive Your First Semester of College (Well)

Steps to survive source: blog.chegg.com

10 steps to survive your first semester at NU, we know you’re as smart as this kid… 
source: blog.chegg.com

This article was written by Megan Fernandes, a 4th year international affairs student at NU as a guest blogger for The Works.

1. Don’t learn to pass, learn to understand

Never forget: you came to college to go to school and learn; not just to socialize. That being said, your courses don’t need to be painful.  Take advantage of the opportunity to tailor your courses to what you’re interested in and explore.  If you do that, passing will naturally follow. If you learn simply to pass, you won’t be making the most of what Northeastern has to offer academically (you probably won’t do well either). So, enjoy your courses and aim to understand as much as you can.

2. Start networking early

Networking doesn’t start during your first co-op; it starts as early as your first day of your first course, when you introduce yourself to your professor and other students. Everyone you meet along the way is a potential networking opportunity, but always remember to be yourself.  Talking to someone purely for the connection and for personal gain will come off rude; instead focus on asking for insight, advice and information—it makes the conversation much more enjoyable for the both of you. The connections you create will be extremely helpful once you start looking for jobs. My advice: prioritize maintaining these relationships.

3. Wake up for class

Basically, if you don’t go to class, it’ll be much harder to understand what is being taught and come time for finals, your life will be nothing short of miserable and exhausting.  Set multiple alarms, tell your roommate to throw pillows at you until you wake up, and don’t forget your shoes when you run out of your dorm.

4. Don’t wait until the last minute to do laundry. Buying new underwear and socks every month really adds up

The laundry room is located in your residence hall for a reason, and the convenience factor isn’t to be taken for granted! Freshman year is probably the most convenient laundry will be for a long, long time, so make the most of it. Don’t mistake detergent for fabric softener, and remember that not everything washes best on the same setting!

5. Join a student group

Getting involved early on campus will help you make friends and give you something productive other than classes to commit to. Northeastern has all kinds of student groups, from Greek life to academic groups to community service groups, and there is something for everyone. Not only will it be a great way to meet people who care about the same things you care about, but sticking with an organization over the years and even growing into a leadership position will also look great on your resume.

6. Check your bank account regularly

It’s very easy to forget to check how much money you have, and you never want to find out that your bank account is empty when you’re just about to pay for something. Those situations are never fun and require a lot of unnecessary explaining. Your parents will probably also not approve of your overdraft fees! Get into the habit of managing your money early on, it will make life much easier as you get busier each year.

7. Figure out early on where the dining halls are and when they close each night

You will quickly learn that needing food at random times of the day (and night) becomes a norm of college life, and the buffet style dining halls will be a saving grace especially around finals time. Prepare yourself early by figuring out the lay of the land, and don’t forget your Husky card!

8. Create a weekly schedule for getting all your classwork done

Everyone will tell you that time management is key to success in college, and they are absolutely right. If you structure your time outside of class well, not only will you get your work done, but you’ll also allow yourself more time to relax and enjoy the social parts of college and Boston. Make a weekly schedule and then find a place where you work well. If you need it to be quiet, go to the fourth floor of the library, if you need to people watch, go to the Pavement coffee house on Gainsborough, and if you need to work outside, go to the Centennial Common. Whatever you choose, make sure you are as efficient as possible with your time!

9. Take the time to explore myNEU and all the NU resources available to you

Northeastern has numerous academic resources to help their students, from dedicated professors with office hours, to an extensive online library database, and each student even has access to four different advisors (academic, career, co-op, and financial). Be aware of these assets and seek help. The myNEU portal is also a major tool in navigating your way through college. Some of the big-ticket items include your degree audit (where you can look up all the courses you need to take to graduate and explore different double major and minor options), your student bills, and your appointment calendar. There are also several resources that aim to help students with concerns that are not academic, including RA’s in every dorm for housing issues, and a health center on campus for medical issues. In any situation, always remember to use these resources proactively.

10. Make good friends, make good memories, and pay everything forward

Finally, these college years will be life changing and a time to make some incredible friendships and memories. Figure out what makes you happy, and push yourself to try new things. Reach out to people and make them laugh. And lastly, help others whenever and wherever you can, it will always come back around.

Megan Fernandes is an international affairs student in her fourth year at Northeastern with academic interests revolving around global poverty alleviation. Megan is originally from Houston, but went to high school in Bangkok, Thailand before moving to Boston. She loves learning about other cultures and would be happy to show new people around Boston! 

3 Tips From an Northeastern Alum to Kick Off the Year Right

Boo-ya Source: NEU memes twitter; twitter.com

“what up–”
Source: NEU memes twitter; twitter.com

It is unofficially the end of beach days and warm nights and if you’re one of the 250,000 college students that reside in this city, you’re most likely unpacking your hand-me-down appliances and claiming your room/bed while you attempt to take a breather and read this post. As you mentally prepare yourself to make 2013-2014 your “best year yet,” take some advice from a NU alum and now NU career counselor (yes, I’m talking about me), and kick the year off right by following these very simple, somewhat obvious, success pointers. We can ease into the new year together.

1. First impressions count– so be on time.  Freshman year of college I had a class in Hurtig Hall.  I was overly confident and gave myself 10 minutes to walk there from 319 Huntington Ave.  Turns out, what I thought was Hurtig, was actually Hayden Hall– meaning I had to basically sprint from one side of campus to the other. I arrived 10 minutes late, sweaty and out of breath. As you can imagine, I did not make the best first impression and my professor made a point to say something to me at the end of class. Whether you’re a freshman or a senior and whether you’ve had this professor before or not, be respectful of other people’s time and be on time, even if that means dragging yourself out of bed 10 minutes sooner than you wanted to.

2. Don’t dress like a slob, even if you’re “just going to class.” There have been multiple studies done linking feeling good about how you’re dressed to success at work and in the classroom (Psychology Today even has a resident “Psychologist of Dress” on their site). Not to mention that approximately 90% off all communication is non-verbal, appearance being just one aspect of that.  Joyce Kinsey Gorman writes in this Forbes article, “Clothes make a strong visual statement about how you see yourself. Comfort may aid productivity but, in this era of “Me, Inc.” and “the Brand Called You,” are flip-flops, sweats, jeans, and flashy or revealing clothing part of how you want to be judged?” To answer that question, “no, not really.” Although I’m happy to rock yoga pants and flip flops while running to CVS on a Sunday, I notice how much better I feel and how much more work I get done when I like my outfit. Keep this in mind when going to class.

3. Ask if you need help and help if you are asked. Everyone needs help with something at one time or another, whether it be moving that piece of IKEA furniture you found on the side of the road into your bedroom (Merry Allston Christmas), or

Happy September 1st move in! #AllstonChristmas Source: Kickstarter.com;  Jared Vincenti

Happy September 1st move in! #AllstonChristmas
Source: Kickstarter.com; Jared Vincenti

your organic chemistry homework; as a community it is important to help one another. Northeastern has plenty of resources to help you with anything you may need and as a part of this community and as an active citizen you should be giving back and sharing your knowledge with others through student organizations, volunteering, etc. Not only will extracurriculars make you feel good about yourself, they look great on a resume and help you develop skills and qualifications outside of co-op. Also, as a true believer in karma– you get what you give, so give back!

Kelly Scott is a Career Advisor at Northeastern University and social media enthusiast.  A proud Gen Y, she enjoys writing about workplace culture and personal online branding. For more career insight, follow/tweet her at @kellydscott4.