HealthLearnWellness

Nature has an incredible way of creating and rebounding. There are countless lessons we can learn from nature if we just look close enough. At times, it’s hard to accept what happens in our lives. We begin to draw inwards, closing ourselves off from what’s going on. Looking outside, however, could be just the thing we need to help turn things around.

Burying Vs. Planting

When you think about burying versus planting, two very different meanings arise. While the former implies death or stowing away, the latter suggests the opposite with feelings of new birth and growth. Yet they are essentially the same action. The process of digging something up allows for many things to happen. It is preparation for both endings and beginnings, decay and development, vulnerability and hope. We often times bury things in our own lives. Pressing our fears, disappointments, and anger into the backs of our minds or the depths of our hearts in order to hide and forget that they are there. We bury goals when they seem out of reach to save ourselves from being exposed to embarrassment or regret. We cover up as much as we can but by doing so, are mistakenly blinding ourselves from nature’s true process at hand: the growth of perspective.

Sometimes it is necessary for one thing to close for another to open, whether it’s letting go of certain ideas you have grown up with, choosing to say goodbye to negative people, or moving on from an upsetting event. Experiencing any level of loss reminds us of the value of those around us, the time we have, and the opportunity to seize every moment. Burying and planting come hand in hand, and it’s learning the rhythm between them that can help us adjust our thoughts and become hopeful for whatever comes our way.

The Ripple Effect

Like the proverbial pebble dropped into a still pond, the impact of our actions can reverberate outward into reaches far greater than we know. Knowing our capacities to influence the people around us, there should be a conscious and cautious effort towards making that influence a positive one. So much of what we say and do can be channels of inspiration, encouragement, and support for others and even ourselves. Being the first to forgive can help start mending a broken relationship. The mindset you choose to have in the morning can alter your whole day. Journaling can turn into writings for a future novel. Sometimes there are clear intentions with our actions and sometimes there are not. After all, the only thing we have true control over is which pebble we choose to throw. It’s at least understanding the scope of our impact, the fact that our behavior in the present can sway events in both directly and indirectly, that we can begin acting in ways that are most likely to bring positive change.

Timing

Human beings are constantly fighting against the one thing that nature whole-heartedly accepts, understands, and obeys: life’s timing. There are birds that consistently follow migratory patterns throughout the year, flowers that only bloom in favorable seasons, and fish that survive in shallow streams until they’ve grown enough to swim into deeper waters. Nature always follows the progression from waiting to changing. People find it difficult to wait and are uncomfortable with change. It seems unnecessary sometimes to have to postpone plans, or move from one place to the other, or spend time working for others when we could be working for ourselves. All of this, however, is exactly how nature survives and thrives. It’s a lesson we can all learn from. There is a sense of collaboration with time itself when we allow it to just happen, when we accept that certain seasons must precede the others. Just as one chapter in our life can be dedicated to preparation and reflection, the next can be for action and transformation.

Nature is one of life’s most important teachers and its curriculum will always be the same. It’s about embracing the light and the night, knowing how to rest and store our energy, and blooming into our best selves whenever the time is right.

Image: Grzegorz Mleckzek

EducationHealth

Preparing for college starts the minute you walk through those front doors on the first day of high school. The classes you take not only affect your GPA, but affect what schools you can apply to and how prepared you are when it comes to deciding on what you want to do for the rest of your life. Here are some tips for those going into and currently in high school to prepare for college:

1. SAT Scores

The dreaded test many of us spend three of our high school years stressing over and preparing for may not be as intimidating as you think. Yes, SAT scores are important, but if you don’t do well on them it doesn’t mean you won’t get into college. Of course, some schools such as Ivy Leagues are extremely competitive and require high SAT scores in order to get accepted, but there are more and more schools that are starting to realize that judging a persons’ academic skills based on one single test is unfair. If you’re not a good test taker, look into these schools! Many schools no longer require SAT scores as part of the application at all, but even those that do are starting to weigh them less heavily. Coming from experience, I can say that whether you have extremely strong SAT scores or not will not directly impact your acceptance to most schools, however it does impact the grants you receive. The higher your SAT scores, the more money your school is willing to give you as far as academic grants go!

2. Dual Enrollment

Though not all schools have dual enrollment programs, more and more are starting to add them. Dual enrollment classes typically give you college credit through your community college as long as you pass the class; no test required. They’re free and a great way to gain college credit! Though not all colleges will accept them as transfer credits, many do and it looks great to have college classes under your belt when applying to schools regardless! These classes can end up saving you tons of money and don’t necessarily have to be harder than any other class you’d take in high school.

3. Honors/AP Courses

Yes, honors and AP courses are extremely helpful when it comes to getting accepted into a majority of schools, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all. If you don’t feel as though you’ll do well in these courses, don’t stress yourself out. Instead focus on doing the absolute best that you can in the classes that you’re in to get the highest GPA that you can. If you’re willing to take on harder courses, I can’t stress how important it is to start your freshman year. Your classes will be your easiest then, and they can really boost your GPA. Don’t slack off just because you think you have four more years to get your grades together. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later!

4. Your Schedule

Your guidance counselors are most likely to tell you all about the importance of taking challenging classes in order to look more appealing to colleges, but what they don’t tell you is that taking diverse classes are just as important. Yes, it looks great to take that Honors Algebra 2 class or that AP Environmental Science, but it looks just as good to have Theater and Sculpture on your schedule. Colleges want to see diversity and that you’re able to balance a variety of different things and excel in them.

5. Extracurricular Activities

As I said above, diversity is key. Colleges love seeing that you’re in National Honor Society, but they love seeing that as well as your involvement in the spring musical and basketball and writing for the school newspaper. Colleges want diverse and unique students to come to their campus in hopes that you will bring that diversity to their campuses!

Overall, enjoy your four years because as corny as it sounds they fly by! Have fun, be yourself, and pursue your passions.

Image: Flickr

EducationTravel

It’s August. The carefree summer is slowly, painfully, even bitterly on the distant horizon. No! There are a few more weeks! For a freshman entering college, there is the buzz of excitement and anticipation. For those of you who are coming to New York City for college, welcome! As celebration of your soon­to­be­arrival, here are some things you should consider before packing up and moving in.

Dorming in NYC is nothing like dorming in a university with a campus. Many schools in suburban towns have their own little communities, enclosed with lawns, parking lots, and even buses to get from one part of campus to another. NYC is not like that at all. If you’re going to school in Manhattan, chances are you’re going to be in, well, Manhattan. Your buildings are probably integrated into the city. Parsons and NYU, for example, have their buildings and resources blocks from each other, and students tend to walk or take the subway. Some schools are more closed off than others, but if you’re in NYC, why not use this chance to explore?

Exploring isn’t hard in NYC, but it takes practice. Actually, getting anywhere in NYC takes practice. The city is a grid for the most part, but some sections, such as the West Village or Chinatown, can get a bit muddled. Remember: short blocks are streets. Long blocks are avenues. Learn to read the MTA map. Use Google Maps but keep in mind that walking, not driving, is the go­to method, so learn to live without your car.

While travelling, dress properly. The weather in NYC can range from 75 degrees to 50 degrees in a week. Autumn is great because it’s a chance to layer clothes, but check for rain, wind, or hurricanes (you can’t miss the last one). Hurricanes do affect us, as with Hurricane Sandy, so keep that in mind.

Grocery shop in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. Weekends and after work hours are packed with people getting off from work. My out­of­state friends think Trader Joe’s is a good option, and there are always corner stores that you can run to if you need laundry detergent or instant noodles in a hurry. Those corner stores (or delis) are everywhere, so no matter where you dorm, they should be there. If you have a day where you don’t have classes and you want to stretch your legs a bit, go stock up on Nutella. You’ll appreciate it.

Remember, NYC is like no other city in the world. Always ask questions, keep an open mind, and be prepared for anything. Welcome and good luck!

Image: Unsplash

EducationSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

When most people clean their room, they clean their closet. But there are other parts of your room that you can’t neglect. You have that Economics textbook propping up your laptop. The Victorian novels you bought for Lit class are scattered on three shelves and you probably spent $200 buying all of those last semester.

Students often forget (or don’t have time) to sell their textbooks at the end of each semester. Finals can get in the way, or going back home/going abroad will be more of a priority than a few books lying around. But unless they’re on a shelf (and you’ll be using them again), there isn’t any reason to keep them. There are many options to sell them, either back to the school’s bookstore or online.

Speaking of things you’ll need again, you might want to sort through all your notes. Some students use a laptop and save their docx. or PDFs there. Luddites like me like to print things out (sorry trees!) and write notes on them before putting them in a folder. All those papers scattered in your room? The Post­Its reminding of you an upcoming final? The pens that dried out because you lost the pen cap? (I prefer clicky pens myself) This is a good chance to go through what you want to keep (or not keep) and delete/throw out what you don’t want.

Laptop users, this is a good time to back up your data! You might unexpectedly need that final paper’s works cited page again, or you might get a handout that you’ve gotten before. I like to back data up every half a semester, but the summer is the best time to do it. You might want to tune-up your computer and all that techy stuff while you’re at it!

This time of the year is a good chance for you to make a workspace for yourself. If you’ve been living off your bed with laptop in lap, you might have found yourself falling asleep while doing a paper (sounds familiar?). If your desk space was cramped up with dirty laundry, old lip gloss, and a dusty printer, well, it should all cleaned up and free for you to use. If you create a workspace, it will help you concentrate.

Remember, if you always push your chair in after you use it, it won’t be piled up with clothes and other things. Keep a container for pens and other office supplies, and make sure your printer is in a spot that’s easy to access. Ink is also easy to refill, so always have that somewhere in case you have to emergency­print a handout or something. Things like that can distract you from working during the school year, and if you start the habit this summer, you are more likely to maintain it (and get to know where everything is) by fall.

Now that your room looks like it’s ready for summer fun, as well as for the next semester, there are a few things you can do to keep it that way. Next week, I will share my tips on how to maintain your organized space.

Read Summer Action Item – Clean Your Room: Part I

Image: Kikette Interiors

EducationSkills

Meeting people in a purely professional context can be nerve wracking, especially if “small talk” isn’t quite your thing. Placing yourself in a setting specifically geared towards meeting new people and talking about yourself can feel contrived or just plain awkward.

But it’s time that we reclaim the concept of networking and shift the perception from “weird” to “organic.”

Start embracing networking in a new way…

Organic networking is about preparation. This may sound counterintuitive but stick with us! Like any activity (sports, academics, a new skill) practice makes perfect. This same concept can be applied to networking. Prepare by having professional/personal cards at the ready, wearing comfortable and appropriate clothing, and reviewing your own résumé before stepping into a professional environment.

Organic networking is about knowing yourself first. Don’t try to be a people-pleaser. You are who you are, and you have your own unique experiences. Rather than attempting to appeal to somebody else’s expectations of who you might be, speak confidently about what you are truly interested in and your personal experiences. From a technical point of view this tactic will help you speak more clearly and definitively, therefore making you sound, appear, and feel more confident.

Organic networking is about having a clear vision. How do you want to present yourself? What will you say when meeting someone new? Having a clear vision ahead of time about what you want to say about yourself is extremely helpful. You are essentially taking yourself off of the hot-seat and appearing calm, cool, and collected instead. If you don’t know exactly how to describe yourself, focus on two important details and go from there.

Organic networking is about enjoying the moment. In the midst of school and sports and extracurriculars and friends and family life can get pretty hectic! Think of networking as an opportunity to take time for yourself and meet new people who are interested in similar things.

Networking can happen anytime and anywhere. Therefore it is by nature an organic activity that you should be ready for rather than scared of. Networking is an awesome way to make new professional connections or even just to meet new people and be inspired by the interesting work they are doing!

How will you embrace organic networking?

EducationSkills

Let’s face it: interviews are stressful! There’s no denying that interviews lead to increased anxiety, rushes of adrenaline, and panic over not knowing what to say. Use these tricks below to help you shine and prove why you are the best candidate for the job.

Basics:

1)   Maintain eye contact.

2)   Give a firm handshake.

3)   Remember to smile.

4)   Arrive ten minutes early.

5)   Dress appropriately.

When in doubt, dress nicer than you think you need to. Looking sloppy is the easiest and quickest way to start off on the wrong foot.

6)   Bring an extra copy of your résumé*.

*Don’t necessarily keep this in front of you, but have a fresh copy stowed away in a bag or briefcase. Use your own judgment to assess whether or not to offer a copy to the interviewer.

7) Keep a notebook and pen in front of you.

Not-So-Basics:

8) Ignore that little voice in your head.

There is a common saying that we are all our own worst critics. That little voice in your head telling you that you aren’t prepared enough, that you aren’t qualified for the position, that you aren’t ready, IGNORE it! Switch off the emotional voice and focus in on the pragmatic one. Don’t stand in your own way! You can do this!

9) Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Carpe likes to prepare in two simple ways: personal and professional.

For the personal preparation, update your résumé. Make sure it is up-to-date with the most relevant information (i.e. if you are now a sophomore in high school consider removing random activities from before freshman year; if you are now a sophomore in college consider removing anything from high school that does not highlight an important personal asset). Take a look at Purdue University’s Online Resource for how to create a great résumé.

Secondly, prepare professionally by doing thorough research on the company you are interviewing for and the people you are interviewing with. Two good places to start are on Linkedin and through the website of the company or group you are interviewing with.

10) Have information in front of you.

Create “cheat sheets” for yourself. Print out a copy of your own résumé and highlight the three main parts that stand out. This will provide you with a quick reference for your personal agenda (see below). Warning: don’t look down at paper for more than a quick glance to guide your thoughts. You want to keep the conversation flowing.

11) Set a personal agenda.

Before the interview begins, decide on a couple standout points that you want to work into the conversation. It could be as simple as a fun fact about yourself to help the interviewers remember you, or something more specific like the latest project you worked on and how it challenged you. Depending on how long the interview lasts, try to work in 1-3 important points that you believe will set you apart from the rest of the competition.

12) Send a reminder e-mail.

Sending a brief and polite e-mail the day before an interview can be a good way to make sure the interviewer is still available to meet. Let them know what you will be wearing and reiterate that you are excited to speak with them in person. Sending this short email will help sooth your nerves the night before.

13) Send a follow-up email.

Always send a follow-up email or card to thank the interviewer for his or her time and consideration. I would recommend sending this follow-up a few hours after the interview or early the next morning.

14) Offer to pay.

If you are meeting for coffee or a small meal, offer to pay. It is appropriate to spend about 5 to 15 dollars.

15) Be able to confidently answer, “Why do you want to work here?”

You need to know why you want the job. If you can’t think of a reason right away, reconsider if you are aiming high enough or following a true passion. At Carpe we pivot all the time to follow what inspires us, and you should do the same.

16) Don’t be afraid to ask, “Why should I work here?”

You matter. You are valuable. You are going to be contributing to a team and working hard, so ask the tough questions and don’t be afraid to demand what you deserve.

No matter how informal or formal an interview is, these steps will help guide you in the right direction.

How do you prepare for an interview? Let us know!