Why You Should Take a Gap Year
College Life |  Source: klwsk

Why You Should Take a Gap Year

There's no time like the present.

YOCO. You only college once. You only have four years of undergraduate schooling to make lifelong friends, drink cheap beer, and be a young and free adult. What happens after college? You get a job or an internship and start working while you work your way up in the industry until you retire 50 years later.

OK, maybe that was a bit dramatic, but in a sense, it's true. Once you are done with college, unless you go back for graduate school, you almost always get a job and that's where your fun, carefree life full of Natty Light and rooftop parties begins to come to a halt.

But is doesn't have to be that way. This is the time to do all those things that you have always wanted to do. Stop saying, "Oh I'll do it someday when I'm older." Chances are it won't ever happen if you keep saying that.

Before you take that internship that you don't really want, or before you take that job that doesn't really interest you, think about what you really want to do in order to make yourself happy and the places you've always wanted to go.

Graduate with your class, go party with your friends, and take a gap year. A lot can happen in one year, and you can discover unimaginable, beautiful things about yourself. We have our whole lives to work. Why not just take one year for us?

Why not travel to California and see the Hollywood sign if that's what you've always wanted? Why not buy a ticket to go to London and see Big Ben? Why not visit Belize or Panama? Why not bike across the United States? Why not? We are so young. Why not do these things now?

I spent four months studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, and that was all it took for me to understand how important it is to make your dreams a reality. You learn things that cannot be taught in a classroom; you learn things about yourself that you didn't even know existed; and you discover what it really feels like to live and be free.

Go see the world. There is too much out there for it to be left unseen.

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College Life | 

Advice on Getting an Internship for People With No Connections

You suck, but it's OK!

There is no sugar coating it: getting the right internship is just as important as going to college at this point. While it can be stressful, it is more than possible to score yourself an internship.

A year ago, being a girl from small-town Indiana, I would have told you finding an internship in an industry almost foreign to my state would be impossible. Now, I've been to New York City for one and am on my way back this summer for not one, but two more internships. Here's some pro advice on doing what you think can't be done from someone who's been there.

1.Attend every career fair.
I know so many people who have gotten amazing internships from career fairs. While they can sometimes seem like a hassle, they are so worth it if you're serious about your future. Prepare a resume and research information on the companies you want to hit while you're there.

They'll be impressed that you know your shit; and if they feel like they're important to you, you'll become more important to them. While seeing a list of big companies can be intimidating and the "why would they want someone like me" mentality is an easy one to pick up on, there is a reason they're coming to your school: They're looking for people like you.

2. Figure out where alumni work.
This can be really helpful simply because people like to hire other people from their alma mater. While, of course, you have to have the credentials, school pride holds a lot of weight in the job market. Universities often have a list of alumni at big companies somewhere on their website, but if you don't find what you're looking for there, use the LinkedIn search options or visit your career center.

3. Search company websites.
Scroll to the bottom of the page and companies will typically have a career section. This is a good place to find out if the company is hiring interns or at least a good place to find an email and a name to contact with inquiries.

4. Find exact names and emails.
While this can sometime be extremely difficult, finding a way to contact a real person (not just jobs@whatever.com) is extremely helpful and important. A lot of times these won't be right on the careers page, but there are ways to find who you're looking for. Sometimes it takes serious investigation of the company's website; and sometimes it takes a little cyber-stalking.

I've gotten emails from searching names of people I know who work there and the name of the company. Sometimes they have their email out on other social and professional platforms. This works especially well for magazine internships. Search the internet and try to find the email format of the company you want to apply for, ie. firstname@companyname.com. The next step is as simple as finding the names of people in the department you want to work for (in a magazine check out the masthead towards the front) plug the name into the email format, and send away.

Search the internet and try to find the email format of the company you want to apply for, ie. firstname@companyname.com. Next step is as simple as finding the names of people in the department you want to work for (in a magazine check out the masthead towards the front) plug the name into the email format and send away.

5. Find websites that post internships.
While I can't tell you specific sites for all industries, for those of you looking for fashion or editorial internships, check out freefashioninternships.com (where I scored my first internship). These kinds of websites post who's looking for what kind of intern, as well as either information to send your resume to or an application right there you can fill out.

6. Ask around.
You'd be surprised how many potential connections are around you. Maybe one of your dad's coworkers knows someone, or maybe a friend of a family friend works for the company where you're trying to intern. Spread the word and see what happens.

7. Talk to professors.
A lot of professors actually worked in the industry their classes center on. Their prior field experience can help you a lot. Make a point to become friends with your professors and attend their office hours. Eventually, you may find yourself in a position to ask if they could help you out a little on your internship hunt. Most likely, they'll be more than happy to do it.

8. Get involved.
This is a great way to meet people with similar interests, who then may have helpful connections. Whether it's writing for a website like FlockU or joining an on campus club. Even people your own age may have connections they're willing to share.

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College Life | 

Grade Level: Fifth-Year Senior

It's not the time it takes to get somewhere, it's the direction you're going.

Graduating from college in the traditional four years isn't always a given. Whether it's due to switching schools or majors, constant curriculum changes, or completing prerequisites for graduate school, four years to graduation doesn't always seem doable. As a fifth-year senior, here are a few things you'll realize as you attempt to make it through that final stretch.

Everyone around you will seem like babies. Newsflash: They are babies. Every freshman around you was still in middle school when you were graduating high school. Don't allow yourself to feel old. I prefer the term "seasoned".

Don't get upset at the babies (aka freshman) turning the library into a social event. Remember, you once did the same thing. As a fifth-year senior, you'll find that getting your work done in cozy coffee shops is much more appropriate, and fun.

You might feel lonelier. As a fifth year, you'll do more things alone, like studying, eating, grocery shopping, and even working out. But this isn't necessarily a bad thing. When the day comes for you to move to a new city and start a new career, you'll already feel comfortable enough to dine by yourself or try out a new workout class alone. To be honest, the time alone I've had in my fifth year has given me more time to get in touch with myself. I've realized I needed this extra year to understand my passions and where they could take me next in the post-college chapter of my life.

Going out is different. When you do have time to go out, it will be a lot different than it was your first four years: Two-For-One weeknight specials at the bars will turn into a glass of red wine on the couch and bad reality TV. Your body will reject going out multiple nights in a row and you might be the oldest one at the campus bars. But this doesn't mean you can't have fun anymore, it just means it's time to mix it up. Find out which bars downtown are known for an older crowd of med students and young professionals and grace them with your presence.

Don't beat yourself up. Sure, some of your friends are living in cool places and working their new 9-5, but that doesn't automatically put them in a better place than you. I'm sure they get jealous that you still get winter breaks, Fridays off, and hot athletes in your group projects. Remember, time will pass, and you have the rest of your life to work. Enjoy where you are right now.

This extra time in school is happening for a reason. Maybe you need more time to understand where your career is going, more time to understand who you are, or more time to meet people who will make a difference in your life. Remember, it's not the time it takes to get somewhere, it's the direction you're going.

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Why You Should Take a Dialogue Class

Who doesn't like a nice, polite discussion about hot topics?

I'd gone through college taking the basic requirements of speech, writing, math, and so on. But there is one class I think that needs to be added the to core requirements list: dialogue classes.

To put it briefly, a dialogue course is a class where you get together with a small group of people and talk about a hot topic and how it relates to your field. In my dialogue class, we talked about sexism, and it was awesome.

We talked about everything from equal pay for equal work, everyday sexism, gender roles, catcalling, and everything in between. Now, the subject matter may change as the group does since the groups need to be equal in regard to what you're talking about. For instance, one half needs to be homosexual while the other heterosexual if you are talking about gay rights.

No matter what you are talking about, you get to hear from both sides of the argument and it is enlightening. There was one exercise where everyone in one group would talk to each other while the others were on the outside listening in, and I got to get a glimpse in a guy's mind about women's stereotypes and such. There are lots of different things you do to get the most out of the conversation, but the whole purpose of the course is to open your mind to both sides.

Not only do you do that, but you learn not to interrupt (which is a pet peeve of mine). There are rules in a dialogue about interrupting, time limits to what you can say if it gets out of hand, and what to do if you cross a line.

It teaches you how to have a civil conversation and not let emotions get in the way, though the subject matter may hit close to home personally. It is an essential skill to learn how to communicate logically and not get hot headed. Goodness knows we need those kind of people in the world right now.

Besides learning how to communicate effectively and get your thoughts across, you get very attached to your group members. I looked forward to going to class every day, even though it was a bit long. I looked forward to an interesting discussion and to check up on my tiny group to see how their weekend had gone.

In order to have an intense talk with each other, you have to be able to trust your group first, so we did some group strengthening exercises and some other get-to-know-each-other activities that truly made me care about what each person had to say.

Dialogues are great, and you will be doing yourself a favor if you enrolled in one right now. Seriously, do it. They tend to count as an elective of some kind. Check it out, and you'll thank me later.

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College Life |  Source: @hannah.landman.1

Crying Through My Senior Year

Is college seriously almost over??

I did't realize that I was dreading my senior year until the day that it happened and it hit me pretty hard. My time in undergrad is coming to an end and it makes me want to curl into a ball and cry and wish that my tears could turn back time.

I realized I envied the little freshman, a thought I never thought I could have. They have four whole years left. They still enjoy staying up late, and the novelty of frat parties hasn't worn off for them. They are fresh from orientation and ice breakers and are so ready for the next chapter in their lives, while I on the other hand am reluctantly getting to the end of one. Serious bummer folks.

The worst part about it is that while I'm crying about leaving school, I simultaneously need to look for big-girl jobs and adjust to paying my own phone bill (yikes). After graduation I have to make new friends and I will have to seriously cut back on my Netflix binges (double yikes).

I have no idea how taxes work or how do something that isn't school. I need to start actually paying for my education, which means I will continue to be a broke human, but it isn't as acceptable as it is when you're a college student. I sincerely have no idea how to be an adult.

This year will of course be fun, but it will be a year full of lasts. My last first day, my last homecoming football game, my last Halloween that I can dress a little slutty while it's still appropriate.

I have nine months to live it up and do everything that I wish I had done in the past three years. I have this weird feeling that I want to go to more parties while also feeling like I'm a little too old for them. IF THIS IS WHAT BEING A SENIOR IS THEN I WANT NO PART OF IT.

But what can I do? Literally nothing. I guess if you need me you can find me in my bed crying until graduation. At which point I will put on a cap and gown, get my diploma, and then continue crying as I enter the workforce and (try to) become a functioning adult.

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What it's Like to be Single in Your Last Year of College

Who am I going to take graduation pictures with?

Okay, so you're a senior now. You know the best bars in town. You know which restaurants to avoid. You know which frats throw the best parties. And you probably perfected a hangover remedy.

You just have to finish one more year of school. But, there's one thing you forgot about. You are single as hell!

The first few weeks usually aren't too bad. You meet up with your roommates. You catch up with your buddies from the past years. You tell yourself that a relationship isn't needed.

I mean, relationships are stressful and time consuming anyway. You are a freakin senior, you don't need any more pressure right now.

But then it gets chilly out, you've already seen every single movie on Netflix, and those weekends start to drag. And that's when you start to doubt your ability to be single.

It's only been a month, but you're in full desperation mode. You might send a risky text to an ex, who definitely isn't in a relationship right now, right? Wrong! Their Facebook always shows you much more than you need to know.

So, plan b comes into play. You now start to do what every single college student does: you download Tinder, then look away in disgust as the app installs.

You end up swiping right for about 30 minutes straight. You get one or two matches then celebrate. However, you meet up with your matches and find yourself regretting ever telling them your real name.

Seeing all your cuffed up friends doesn't help. You feel genuinely happy for your friends but you always thought you'd be the one to be in a relationship first. Now, they basically are married to somebody.

Your friends always seem to notice when you're feeling lonely too. They say cliche lines like, "I wish I was single sometimes too" or "Just try to focus on you for now." Then they say their favorite line, "There's somebody out there for you, you just gotta put yourself out there".

If you had a dollar for every time you heard that line, you'd be able to drop out and build your own damn college. Just thinking about how single you are sometimes makes you sad and makes you feel like you are going to be alone for eternity.

You start to question life. You start to question everything about yourself. You start saying things like, "Am I ugly?" or "Maybe I should change my style up". But do not let these thoughts overwhelm you.

Focus on your life and take advantage of your college experience. Those four years fly and you always have to make the best of all four of them. So, go to that movie theater by yourself. Go to that local diner for a meal. Enjoy your life. Nobody can complete you like you. You never know, your soulmate might be at that diner too!