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Career

Becoming a Pharmacy Technician: What to Know

July 12, 2021

Pharmacy technicians help a pharmacy run smoothly. They support the pharmacist, customers and medical professionals by dispensing medication. If this career path piques your interest, there are many different paths you can take to become a pharmacy technician. It all depends on whether you need to take pharmacy technician classes to get licensed or registered and certified in your state. Follow these steps to determine the path that’s right for you.

What are the regulations in your state?

Each state has different regulations about who can work as a pharmacy technician. The  Pharmacy Technician Certification Board provides an at-a-glance look at state requirements. You can easily see if your state requires certification, licensing or registration, or both. This is an excellent first step to help you plan your timeline.

Next, you will want to take a closer look at your state’s requirements. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy can give you more specific information about your state’s requirements. This resource can help you make sure you have all the current information you need to become a pharmacy technician in your state.

No Regulations

There are currently only five states that have no requirements besides a high school diploma or GED. These states do not require technicians to register with the State Board of Pharmacy. If you choose this route, most of your learning will come from on-the-job training. After at least 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician, you will be eligible for certification through the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).

National Certification

Two dozen states require pharmacy technician certification. Some of them require it in order for pharmacy technicians to become licensed or registered. Others just require it to get a job as a pharmacy technician and perform specific duties.

Before you take the exam, you have to finish a PTCB-recognized training program or have 500 hours of work experience as a pharmacy technician. However, you can apply to take the test if you are within sixty days of finishing your program. Your certification will be granted once you provide proof of completion. This could be a copy of your certificate with your name, completion date, and the title of the program you finished. It could also be an official letter from the training program with the same information.

The pharmacy technician certification exam takes about two hours to complete. It currently costs $129 to take the PTCB certification exam, but make sure you check their website for changes. Once you pay the required amount, PTCB will email you to let you know if you are authorized to schedule your exam. Some employers may even pay for employees to take the certification exam.

Licensing or Registration

Almost half of all states require licensing or registration in addition to national certification. Pharmacy technician classes can prepare you for both.

The registration process may look a bit different in each state, but you can probably expect an application, an application fee, and proof that you’ve completed the training that your state mandates. Check the State Board of Pharmacy for specific requirements.

If you decide to take pharmacy technician classes, or if your state requires them, the time requirements can vary. Programs can range from a few months to two years. Programs may offer a certificate, diploma, or degree.

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists requires accredited programs to include a minimum of 600 hours of instruction over at least 15 weeks. Longer programs may offer you an associate degree and extensive hands-on training in the field.

The length of the program is just one factor to consider. You will want to make sure the program you choose can meet your other needs.

  • Does it meet your state’s requirements?
  • Can it help you achieve your personal career goals?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Will the school help you find a job after graduation?

Other Considerations

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pharmacists are taking on more patient care roles, like giving flu shots. This means pharmacy technicians are also being asked to play a greater role in pharmacy operations.

Even if your state does not require licensing, registration, or certification right now, requirements are getting stronger all the time and could change in your state. Employers may also prefer to hire pharmacy technicians who have completed a program and obtained certification.

Look for a school that offers flexible, accelerated programs to meet state requirements and give you an edge in the pharmacy technician field. You will leave with an associate degree and preparation for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE).

You can complete an accredited training program and become a licensed pharmacy technician in less than two years. Find out what your state requires and choose the right path for you.

Student Life

5 Ways for Creative Students to Make Money

June 29, 2021

Starving artist and broke college student? This trope almost feels impossible to avoid as a student wanting to pursue your creative strengths. However, in the age of the internet, there are plenty of opportunities for young artists to not only establish themselves but also to make some money.

  1. RedBubble

If you are a busy, on-the-go student, then RedBubble might be the best money-making option for you. This website focuses on helping to simplify the selling process for artists. All you have to do is upload your artwork, select what products you want to sell and then promote your shop! RedBubble allows for you to bypass any shipping or printing hassle without any out-of-pocket costs. All in all, RedBubble is the perfect starting point for artists who want to begin selling their creations.

  1. Etsy

Etsy might be up your alley if you are more crafty and have some time and resources on your hands! Etsy is an e-commerce company that provides a platform for artists to sell handmade items and crafts. If you love making jewelry, clothing or home decor pieces, you can find a home to sell your creations on Etsy.

  1. Skillshare

You might be interested in sharing your creativity and talents by teaching others. If you are, then selling your own classes on Skillshare might be the best option for you! Skillshare provides a platform for anyone to teach. You do not have to be accredited or a professional in your field, all you need is to be passionate about what you do and willing to help others. Start by creating your own class, and then as your following builds, you’ll earn money!

  1. Artfinder

If you are drawn to selling more traditional pieces, and you have a more solid idea of who you are as an artist, then Artfinder might be the best fit! Artfinder is a marketplace of independent artists who sell their own original works. Whether it be printmaking, sculpture, photography or another medium, you can sell your art among other creators who are just as passionate about their craft as you!

  1. ShutterStock

You are probably familiar with ShutterStock if you often work on producing presentations, videos or promotional pieces. ShutterStock is a platform that provides stock images, videos and vectors around the world, and it allows for anyone to contribute. If you have high-quality pieces that you are willing to share for others to download and use, then submit them to ShutterStock. Everytime one of your uploads is downloaded by a user, you will receive payment.

These are just a few of the opportunities that exist for artists to make money. Not only are they user friendly and customizable to you, but they are also great ways for students to enter the art world while pursuing an education. Good luck and happy creating!

BIO: Morgan Kubasko is going to be a freshman at Barrett, the Honors College, at Arizona State University. She is majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication. She is currently a summer intern with Grad Guard Insurance Company.

Career Transition

Finding Meaning in Your Work

June 14, 2021

You might love your job but sometimes wonder what you’re actually contributing to the world. There’s a common misconception that you have to work for places like a charitable organization, a research lab creating cures for illnesses, or an activist group to make a difference. These are just examples, of course. But, sitting behind your desk might not always feel fulfilling.

Maybe it should.

By changing how you think about work, you’ll start to see there are small things you can do each day to make a difference and find meaning.

Not sure just what those everyday meaningful moments might look like? Let’s talk about what you can do and the impact it can have.

How to Find Fulfillment in Your Work

It’s not necessarily up to your job to bring you a sense of purpose. You have to decide what that is on your own, and come up with personal ways to make your life more meaningful. That often starts with changing your perspective.

Start within your business. How does your specific job impact your coworkers, clients, customers, or anyone you interact with? Consider some of the following careers in data analytics:

  • IoT specialist
  • Data orchestrator
  • Data hygienist
  • Machine teacher
  • CIO

On the surface, you might not think those careers are helping anyone. But, it’s about how you analyze data and what you do with it that makes a difference. Most researchers are collecting data and putting it to use for good reasons – mostly to help the planet and/or mankind. That’s something you can feel good about.

Are you a web designer or programmer? Consider how making the sites you create more accessible can help others to use the web freely. Do you work in marketing? Focus on “green” efforts that can reduce your agency’s carbon footprint. Are you a business person? Have a positive impact on your whole team by hosting brainstorming sessions and making everyone feel valued.

We could list examples all day. The point is, whether you’re a corporate CEO or flipping hamburgers for a living, you can find meaning in your work when you look for ways to do it.

Pursuing a Positive Career

If you’re just graduating college and entering the workforce, you have a unique opportunity. You get to choose your own career path and look for jobs that will provide you with a sense of meaning.

Consider what you’re truly passionate about and any jobs that might allow you to do something with them. If your biggest concern is the environment, for example, you might want to work for a business that is focused on sustainability efforts.

Even if you can’t directly work with a business dedicated to such things, you can be a voice and a light wherever you work. Change the company culture by advocating for recycling programs and environmentally-friendly upgrades. Again, seeking out ways to make changes and find meaning can make all the difference.

You’ve probably heard the saying “it’s the little things that count”. Consider the things you can do every day at your job – no matter how small – that might have a more meaningful impact on someone else than you originally thought. The more you focus on those things, the better you’ll feel about the purpose of your career.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Other Student Life

Why It’s Important to Always Learn New Things

June 3, 2021

Lifelong learning is a self-initiated education focused on personal growth and development. There are no pre-set standards as to how lifelong learning should be. It can take place within or beyond the four walls of the classroom and should be voluntary for the purpose of achieving personal fulfillment.

Learning is becoming more and more critical in the workplace since tech innovations continuously redefine and create jobs in the labor market. Companies have favored massive open online courses (MOOCS) to assist in their employees’ professional development. MOOCS are getting a fair share of popularity in terms of education modality. This platform is comprised of online distance-learning courses that are aimed at delivering the curriculum at your own pace. Technology, business, design, personal development, and language courses are enjoyed by people of all ages and professions in this modern and convenient learning program. 

Knowledge is everywhere. Even the simplest hobby of collecting stamps is putting learning into practice — from finding where to buy stamps, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, maintaining them in their original form, and studying each stamp’s history. Learning a new musical instrument strengthens your memory and forms reading habits, practices your multitasking skills, increases blood flow in your brain, allows for a mind reset, and reduces feelings of stress and depression. Books are timeless pieces of knowledge source. Reading a book can increase empathy, build your vocabulary, prevent cognitive decline, and alleviate mental strain. With many book sales and cheap ways to ship books, this is not so hard to do. 

There are plenty of reasons to keep learning and you should start today. Make your time useful, allot room for intellectual conversations, grow your small business and reduce stress through a learning experience. Here are other initiatives worth engaging in:

  1. Trying out a new skill. You might just find the fun in cooking, baking, bartending, or gardening.
  2. Self-taught learning. Researching on any topic of interest or learning a new language.
  3. Plunging into a new sport or activity. Taking a zen moment for yoga, increasing your adrenaline with martial arts, or just finishing an exercise.
  4. Getting in touch with tech. Discovering new smart devices and navigating software applications.
  5. Learn a course through MOOC. Business management or technology, take your pick.

Learning something new makes us updated on trends and technological changes. In these modern times, what you do not know makes you left behind. If you are fully unfamiliar with what you want to learn, look back and revisit moments in your life when you wanted to do something but had to defer for a variety of reasons. Whether it is for personal, passion, or professional education, you can definitely lean towards learning new things for personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Humans have a natural desire to explore, learn, grow and find ways to improve their quality of life, sense of self, self-esteem, and worth. When we are fully aware of the possibilities to improve ourselves, only then will we be able to see our true potential.

BIO: Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila who writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.

Career Student Life Transition

10 Powerful Tips For Graduates Entering The Workforce During COVID-19

April 29, 2021

Across many industries, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have caused uncertainty, affecting employment and experience opportunities for new graduates entering the workforce. As one example, a growing number of candidates are now interviewed virtually, impacting the opportunity to build relationships with the people involved in recruiting.

On the extreme side of things, many of today’s recent graduates will also be required to start their professional careers from home. Here are some insights for successfully entering the workforce during COVID-19. 

#1: Don’t Stop Learning 

Graduating from college doesn’t mean you are done with learning. While the knowledge and certificate or degree you acquired are valuable possessions, they are not the only things that lead to success. Beyond academic knowledge, there are a lot of things left to be learned that will put you ahead of others in finding, achieving, and being successful in your work life.

#2: Look For Internships First 

Though it is good to have aspirations for high-paying jobs, it’ hard to go from graduate into lucrative roles without taking a few other steps first. The number of open vacancies for recent graduates is now limited than in the past. Businesses are still trying to figure out how COVID has impacted their company and the industry in general, and they aren’t willing to make financial commitments or take the same risks they did in the past. If entry-level positions are slim, check out internships. One could even land you a full-time position once it’s completed!

#3: Start Building A Portfolio 

A portfolio is documentary evidence of what you are capable of doing. When other candidates compete for the same jobs with traditional resumes and cover letters, having a portfolio will help to differentiate you as a valuable resource. When desirable opportunities are not available, consider starting private projects related to the types of jobs you’ll love to be doing in the future. Or, consider volunteering in similar roles to show your strengths.

#4: Commit To Proactive Networking 

Being proactive about networking will put you ahead of other people that are usually waiting in a reactionary mode. You might have heard that your net worth is directly related to your network.  And, most people are holding back interacting with others because of the pandemic….now is the time to stand-out and shine when others are waiting! If your LinkedIn profile isn’t already in top shape, spend some time to do and use it as one of your greatest networking tools.

#5: Embrace A Relentless Drive

For you to move from being a graduate into the world of work, you need a relentless drive. More than anything else, this characteristic will empower you to withstand inevitable obstacles you may discover along the way. And, you can share those learning experiences with potential employers. A strong work ethic can land you just about any job, regardless of experience.

#6: Be Adaptable To Change 

When you are entering the workforce as a graduate, you are bound to experience a lot of opportunities that don’t match your expectations. At that moment, your best bet is to be open and adaptable to change. All employers want people who can adapt and change course during challenging times. This goes along with your drive. Work hard and be relentless!

#7: Try New Things 

Both in terms of learning and networking, you must commit to trying new things. Another way to look at this is that you have to embrace going outside of your comfort zone. The world works differently because of COVID-19 and you need to learn how to adapt. This might mean taking the time to learn how to use the new software the company is using for all of its virtual meetings. Or, figuring out the ins and outs of a project management tool that seems confusing now, but will be instrumental in organizing your team’s projects down the line.

#8: Define Your Meaning of Success

The big question is this – what does career success mean to you? Once you clearly identify what success means to you, convey that to others in a way that relates to your personal values, vision, and life purpose. Once this is communicated clearly, others can understand how they can help you achieve this, and how it fits with their goals for recruiting the right talent.

#9: Set Measurable Goals 

Having a goal is important. But if you don’t have a way to measure progress towards accomplishment of your goals, achieving them is difficult. As important as it is to set goals, measuring progress, and modifying your strategy when needed, are also important. Don’t aim unrealistically high nor sell yourself short and aim too low.

#10: Find Your Internal Motivation 

Motivation is the fuel that drives people to accomplish their goals. Without it, life will seem like a challenge. However, people need to find what drives them and satisfies their sense of self-worth and purpose. External sources can motivate you to achieve some things for a little while; however, they’re limited in helping you attain long-term, sustained success.

Spend time gaining self-awareness about your strengths, your goals, your measures of success, and what can get in the way of attaining these things.  Once you understand yourself better, you’ll know what you need for continuous growth, and which career roles will be best for you.

Adulting Career Student Life

3 Ways to Balance Work and Study

April 6, 2021

You’ve probably always had a certain subject that fascinated you. In your free time, you may find yourself reading about new innovations and insights in the field. You constantly have ideas on the topic that start with, “It would be so cool if they…” 

Sound familiar?

The only downside is that your field of interest has zero to do with your current job. 

It may be a great time to take the leap, study your chosen subject, and get a degree or certification that would allow you to channel that passion into a career that inspires you every day.

Studying and working simultaneously can be a daunting endeavor. But it can be done! Some sacrifices and strict budgeting will be required, but only for a finite period of time. 

Here are three tips for how to make the most of your schedule when balancing work and study:

Maximize your available “ear time.”

There are more times during the day than you realize when your hands may be busy doing something, but your ears are available to study. This is why it’s a great idea to get assigned reading in an audio version if available. 

Record all of your lectures and corresponding notes that you take yourself. You can even create “audio flashcards.” Record a question or definition and leave a few beats of silence for you to drill your responses as you listen.These recordings can be used when you’re driving, working out, cleaning, cooking, getting ready, waiting in line, etc. 

Also, be sure to take advantage of the time immediately before bed. Our brains retain information that we consume right before bed the most clearly into the next day. Wake up and refresh the information as you get ready, and you will have successfully “locked it in.” 

Another great idea is to use repetition immediately after hearing a lecture. Take several minutes to go over the notes you just took and “teach” them to yourself out loud as if you were the professor. This will solidify connections between ideas and make them far easier to remember in the long run. 

All of this will help the information you’re learning to become information that you know. Which means you won’t have to desperately cram before a test. Instead, you’ll be refreshing thought connections that have already been solidified with personalized associations.

Break apart your workload into bite-sized pieces.

A great method for managing your study load is to chop up your reading and studying into smaller goals for each study session available over a given period of time.

For example, you’ve been given a 50-page reading assignment due in five days. First, determine the available time you have outside of work and family obligations. If you have four hours over the course of five days, you can estimate your target per-hour page rate. For that particular week, it is 12 and a half pages an hour. And, depending on how long your time blocks are, you will divide your page goal accordingly. So if you have 15 minutes while you’re waiting for something to cook, try to read about three pages.

Breaking up your reading and studying into smaller, more manageable chunks will help you avoid the stress of trying to find huge blocks of time to complete larger assignments. And preplanning the proportions helps alleviate the constant, “I have so much to do!” feeling. You can relax a little, knowing that as long as you successfully accomplish each predetermined portion in the schedule you created with your free time, you will reach your target goal for the overall assignment. 

Take advantage of vacation days.

This tip is likely not a crowd favorite. When taking on the added workload of balancing a job and study, sacrifice will be needed on some level. The things you should not sacrifice entirely are as follows: sleep, exercise, meals, hygiene, your job, and at least some quality time with family and friends. 

But the things that you will need to be willing to sacrifice are watching TV, viewing social media, partying, and sadly, vacations. You will still be utilizing your vacation days but as brief rest days and pre-test or presentation prep days. 

When you get your syllabus, mark out when events like this are happening and put in your request to use a vacation day for the day before well in advance. This will allow you a dedicated chuck of time to refresh everything you’ve learned and finalize any preparations you may need.

A major benefit to this: it will decrease your anxiety leading into a test or presentation day. Increased anxiety will only undermine your performance, so take that vacation day to prep and gather focus.

Throughout your time as a working student, have your “why” handy. Write a mission statement for yourself beforehand and read it whenever you feel a bit like tearing your hair out. Writing down your “why” will also help you understand where this motivation to study and shift gears is emanating. If at first, your “why” is only “to make more money,” you may want to do more research into careers that can make you more money but also genuinely interest you. 

When you read your “why,” you want it to touch something deeply motivating and energizing within you. Once you have that, it can act as a pair of jumper cables when you feel depleted and fuel you as you master the balance between work and study.

BIO: Kristie Santana is a life coach based in New York City. She is the founder of the National Coach Academy and co-founder of Life Coach Path. Her mission is to help prepare aspiring coaches for a thriving career doing the work they love.

Career Transition

3 Ways to Gain Experience That Will Land You a Job After College Graduation

April 1, 2021

If you head to college right after high school graduation, your focus for the next 4+ years probably isn’t going to be climbing the corporate ladder. Granted, you’ll work toward a major and learn how to do a specific job.

But, that doesn’t mean a career will be available to you immediately after graduation. College can offer a degree, but you’ll enter the working world with “entry-level” experience, which many employers don’t want.

So, what can you do to gain experience while you’re in school so you can kick off your career right away?

Immerse Yourself in the Collegiate Experience

One of the best ways to gain experience and get advice is to take advantage of all the services your college has to offer. Develop a close relationship with student services. It’s their job to not only get you through your collegiate career but help you prepare for the “real world.” They can assist you when it comes to things like resume writing so your job applications will pass things like automated applicant tracking systems.

Student services can also help with:

  • Campus life and extra activities
  • Mental and physical wellness
  • Diversity on campus
  • Alumni relations

Those functions can all help you gain more experience for a future job. Getting involved with activities and clubs on campus can help you gain experience in teamwork or leadership without having to work in an actual “job.” Plus, those who work in student services might be able to connect you with alumni in the industry you’re interested in.

Whether you’re getting your degree online or in-person, reach out to student services in an email or give them a call. Student services should be available to the entire student body.

Take a Part-Time Job

Many college students end up working part-time jobs to help pay for tuition, food, or off-campus housing. But, the right part-time job can actually be a great way to network. Having an internship in college is helpful, especially if it’s in the industry you’re interested in. But, internships don’t usually pay, and you may not get the hands-on experience you need if you’re just getting people coffee.

So, while there’s nothing wrong with waiting tables or working retail, try looking for a part-time job that will allow you to hone in on the skills you’ll need for a long-term career. That could include working in an office, or even starting your own freelancing business on the side for writing, graphic design, or any other useful skill you want to grow. You could even start your own online business as a side hustle. 

Even if you haven’t decided on your major, holding down any part-time job will let future employers know that you’re responsible and able to stick to a schedule, so it looks good on a resume.

Get Involved Locally

If you don’t want to work in college, consider volunteering either on campus or in the local community. While it won’t show up as work experience on a resume, sometimes life experience is more appealing to employers. Getting involved with an organization that matters to you will give you hands-on experience.

You’ll grow skills like:

  • Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Organization
  • Patience

Adding these skills and your volunteer experience to your resume could be extremely beneficial, so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Landing a job after graduation isn’t just about having experience in a particular industry. It’s about having well-rounded skills and knowing how to market them. Keep these tips in mind to get the job you want after graduation, rather than sending out dozens of applications with nothing in return.

BIO: Sam Bowman has a passion for learning. As a seasoned professional writer, he specializes in topics about people, education, tech and how they merge. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

Career Student Life

7 Online Business Ideas for College Students

February 18, 2021

As a college student, schoolwork can be frustrating. It is not just because college life can be challenging, but also due to the lack of financial independence.

Luckily, college students these days can earn money from the comforts of their home. That is, if you know time management skills and how to meet your deadlines.

If this is something you can handle, here are seven online business ideas that you can start today.

Online Tutoring

If you know that you excel at a particular subject, consider getting into online tutoring. You don’t even need to go to your students’ house to teach them because you can do it through a video call.

When you tutor a student face-to-face, you can charge higher for it, but if you can’t do it face-to-face, especially nowadays, you can do online tutoring.

What’s great about that is that you can teach anyone from anywhere. You also have the advantage of offering cheaper rates because you don’t have to be face-to-face to teach your students.

Freelance Writing

Freelance writing is such an approachable way to make money online, even as a college student. It’s another gig that you can do no matter where you are, even when you’re in your college dorm. Since you probably have to write papers as a college student anyway, freelance writing is just like that, but you get money from it.

Ecommerce Store

If you have a hobby where you make things from scratch, you might want to sell them online by starting an ecommerce store.

Anybody can do it, and you can sell almost anything online. If you make stickers, knit, or even create digital products, you can start an ecommerce store.

The options are endless, but your biggest struggle might be your ability to stand out. Think about what makes your brand or product unique and how to best get the word out about it!

Website Development

If you have programming or web development experience, consider working as a freelance web developer. There are plenty of small or even large companies who want someone to make websites for them. Your expertise will surely come in handy, especially in this digital age.

Virtual Assistant

Running a business is a tough job that requires you to juggle a lot of tasks and roles. That’s why many entrepreneurs hire assistants nowadays to help them manage their workload.

In this modern world, we now have something called a virtual assistant. A virtual assistant is like an executive assistant, although you do things online.

This allows you to work with someone from another country. And your tasks can include organizing your boss’ schedule, scheduling and confirming meetings, and more.

This can be an excellent way for college students to earn some money, and gain some experience you can put on your resume. And you might even learn a thing or two about running a business from your employer.

Dropshipping Business

These days, there is a growing number of people who buy their daily needs online. Whether it’s for groceries, clothes, or anything under the sun, there’s an online shop there for you.

However, inventory management can be overwhelming, especially if you are staying in a dorm. This is where dropshipping could come in handy.

That’s because it allows you to run an online store without having to worry about where to store your products. That’s because your manufacturer and supplier can handle it for you. This also includes packing and shipping products, as well as handling returns.

Luckily, there are a plethora of dropshipping guides online. Hence, you’ll never run out of ideas on how you can maximize your dropshipping business.

Blogging and Vlogging

Social media has allowed people from all walks of life to become celebrities of their own.

If you’ve always been interested in being known for your character, you might want to start blogging or vlogging your daily life. It’s like having a passion project that can make you money, but it can take a while before you start seeing money rolling in through ads or merchandise. Think of a niche and see how far it takes you!

The online business ideas listed above can help college students to earn money while pursuing their degree. The best part is that you not only make money, you are also setting up your career path.

Student Life

How To Gain Life Experience While You’re Young

February 2, 2021

It may seem like until you get experience, you’ll never be hired for anything. The common paradox is that you can’t get experience until someone hires you. There are, in fact, many ways to gain experience for the future while you’re still young.

Read Critically and Expansively

One of the easiest ways to prepare for the adult world is to read as much as possible. Through other people’s lives and experiences in both fiction and non-fiction, you gain insight into human nature and different lives you’ll never lead. Read so that you will be well read. Read so that you will understand allusions made by others. Read the nonfiction works of Dr. Gundry MD or Malcom Gladwell or Christopher McDougall to expand your knowledge about ideas and form opinions of your own.

Listen to Your Elders

Yes, older people sometimes repeat their stories, and, yes, sometimes they are slow to get to the point, but 80-year-old brains contain decades of wisdom that you are, well, decades away from achieving yourself. You may imagine that older people could not possibly understand your problems, but even though the names and dates may have changed, human problems have essentially stayed the same for hundreds of years. You may be surprised to discover that some old-school wisdom like “your word is your bond” and “say please and thank you” can actually take you pretty far in the modern world.

Travel Often

If you have a chance to go someplace new and try something new, take it. You never know what you might learn on the journey or gain from the destination.  You might see a bald eagle, learn how to change a flat tire, or discover your waitress grew up next door to the guy who runs the company you just applied for a job at. The world is interconnected, so get outside and see some of it before you’re tied down to a career with only ten vacation days a year.

Learn a Another Language

The older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a second language. When you were three, you probably didn’t think twice about singing songs in Spanish, French, German or Chinese. The older you got, however, the more uncomfortable you became at making mistakes. It’s human nature. Fight against it and keep learning. Become as fluent as you can in school, and then if possible, take a semester abroad or sign up for a volunteer trip to solidify what you know. Sometimes knowing a second language can leapfrog you right over the more experienced competition when you are ready to look for a job.

Volunteer on the Weekends

You may be too young for the job you want, so take this time to volunteer on the weekends or over the summer. Find an organization that will let you do the kind of work you’re interested in such as helping animals, tutoring or computer work and treat it like a real job. Show up on time. Be polite to your fellow volunteers. Don’t shirk menial work. Before you know it, you will probably be given greater responsibility. When it’s time to apply for jobs that pay, you will have references who will speak glowingly about your work ethic and can-do attitude.

Keep a Journal

It may be difficult to understand how keeping a journal when you’re young will help you when you’re older, other than aiding your recall when you write your “before I was famous” memoir. But a journal is a great way to reflect on what you learn and what you still don’t understand about life. It’s a place to write sage advice from others, lists of things you may never do again, and dreams for the future. It’s your past in the rearview mirror and also your future out the front window.

You won’t know exactly which event or skill you learn while you’re young that will help you in the future, but the more you pack into your elastic brain, the better prepared you’ll be. Don’t assume that just because you don’t have the job of your dreams that you’re not gaining experience.

BIO: Brett Clawson has a degree in Business Management and has started a couple of small businesses. When he’s not focusing his time on those, he spends time with his wife and two sons. His oldest son has entered the wonderful realm of college, and he now enjoys sharing tips that he and his son have found essential for college life.

Student Life

Planning to Study a Tech Subject in College? Here’s How to Prepare

January 26, 2021

Technology is an exciting field in which to specialize as there are so many strands, with links to IT, engineering, automation and robotics. With its ever-growing reach, employment is readily available in its related industries, and the expert nature of many roles can mean significant compensation.

If you’re thinking of studying a technology-related subject further in higher education, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Start Researching Courses

If you know the type of job you’d like to take in after leaving education, it’s a great idea to start looking up top college or university courses that focus on that particular discipline. Examine how each course works and think about whether it suits your ambitions. If you find an option you particularly like, take note of its entry requirements so you know what to aim for. Different courses focus on different specialisms, disciplines and processes. It’s important that your chosen option gets the balance of theoretical and practical study right.

Get the Grades You Need

Generally, tech-related courses ask for good grades in mathematics, science and IT – and solid skills in practical subjects such as woodwork, metalwork or design and technology will help you to stand out. To make you look great to a university or college, and to improve your chances of employment further down the line, you could also look at extracurricular courses. Many organizations now offer beginner and intermediate coding classes as well as other tech and IT guidance.

Think About Funding

How are you going to pay for your studies? It’s a good idea to start saving as soon as possible to make sure your tuition is covered. To make up the difference, you can take out a student loan from a private lender. You can gain approval without the need for a cosigner, making it easy to secure funds when it’s needed and you simply start to repay it after graduation when the time is right. There are also plenty of federal loan options as well. Many students opt for filling out a FAFSA in order to see any sort of financial assistance they might qualify for, some of which might be fully forgiven based on your particular situation. Lastly, there are many different scholarships available. A quick Google search will show various scholarship sites like FastWeb, FinAid, and The College Board, just to name a few. You should apply to as many as humanly possible, the worst they can say is ‘no’. Don’t forget to protect your investment with tuition insurance.

Start Studying Now

If you have the time, why not start reading more advanced material on your chosen area of tech right now? Developing a good level of knowledge at an early stage will help you to focus your efforts and gain a real level of expertise throughout your courses. Look up the names of the lecturers or teachers on your preferred course and find out about the papers and books they have written. Reading these will help you to get an idea of the specific subject areas you’ll be studying – and may inspire you to explore further into certain fields.

Think about subscribing to magazines or online communities and keep an eye out for new publications, television programs and lecture series about any and all technological fields – even if it isn’t completely relevant to your own chosen area of study. By staying curious in this way, you’ll find fascinating information and resources everywhere. It’s important to keep this habit up throughout your studies and career. It’s the key to becoming an expert.