Thursday, January 31, 2013

How to never lose your good ideas

I got the idea for my book while walking on concrete in an outdoor breezeway.


I was working full time at a community college, and at the time the idea of writing a nonfiction book was a distant dream

So there I was, strolling in the Florida sunlight after having walked across campus to the print shop to pick up signs for the newest student life event, and BOOM. It hit.

I should write a book for community college students, teaching them how to connect with their peers, professors, and professional mentors. I see that the successful students here are doing the same things, just like I did. 

And the rest is history. 

Or is it that simple? Not exactly.

A million other things could have distracted me from making that idea a reality. We get ideas all the time, as we're going through our days. But often, they disappear due to distraction

So when I got this idea, I raced to my desk and sent an email to myself, fleshing out the thought. 

Whew. Idea solidified

You probably get more good ideas than you realize. And as the book Imagine: How Creativity Works explains, we typically get those ideas during times of rest.

Walking, working out, on vacation, when you shower, and just before you fall asleep are all times when your mind often cranks out ideas. 

But if you don't act on them immediately, they will disappear as fast as they came. 

So the next time you have an idea that strikes you, write it down immediately. I have a notebook app in my phone just for these ideas, as well as one in my iPod that I fill in when ideas come to me at the gym. I also keep a small notepad by my bed.

Even if 99% of your ideas never work out, you never know how that one could change your life. 

Write down the ideas that come to you in times of rest and relaxation, and in between, keep learning lots so that your brain will have many creative things to mull over when you finally take a break :)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Video: Quick tip to get organized in college

I recently had one of my YouTube subscribers ask me to do a video on getting organized in college, so below is a quick tip on how to do just that! :) And if you prefer videos to blogs, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel (where you can see all of the lovely screen shots YouTube chooses). 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Now is the time to prep for your exams. Yes. Really.

An exam blog post in January? Am I crazy? Maybe a little, but crazy works really well in college.

Most students don't think about exams until the last few weeks of the semester. This is a bad idea

The best students start thinking about exams in the beginning of the semester. These students get plenty of sleep towards the end of the semester, never pull all-nighters, never have to say no to hanging out with their friends because they have to study, and get A's on their tests.

This can be you.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare for exams now so that, come the end of the semester, you'll get amazing grades and maintain your sanity: 

1) Go to class
I know this seems obvious, but I'm constantly amazed how many students skip class. Never, ever skip class unless you are incredibly ill. Getting one day behind will set you back immensely when it comes to being on top of the material for your future exams. 

2) Takes notes with exam questions in mind
During class, pay attention to the points in the lecture where the professor seems particularly passionate or dwells longer than usual. Take notes during class in a way that makes it easy to look back on throughout the semester, especially come exam time. I'm a fan of the Cornell Notes method

3) Review your notes every other day
Get to each class at least five minutes early, and use that time to quickly read the notes you wrote for that class during the last session. 

4) Visit the professor
Have you visited your professors during their office hours yet? Now is the time to go! Ask for help as soon as you find you're not grasping a concept 100%, or if you feel like you're doing great, ask for clarification on a project to ensure you're heading in the right direction. 

5) Talk about the class with friends
Discuss homework or other projects with your classmates. This is a great way to make new friends, as well as delve the subject deeper into your brain. 

It's never too early to start preparing for your exams. When you spread out the work over the entire semester, you'll find yourself at the end of it calmly walking through the halls towards your exams, wondering why everyone else seems so harried. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Quick activity to choose your major or career

As I recently shared in a review of the outstanding career book, So Good They Can't Ignore You, you don't have to have it all figured out in college.

But when it comes to choosing your major and career, the sooner you find some kind of direction, the better. It's okay if that direction changes (it probably will) but having it will propel you towards graduation. 

The key is to choose a major and future career path that matches your talents, interests, and economic need.

So below is a quick activity you can do right now to start to explore what this might be for you. I also highly recommend talking about this with a professor, career counselor, or professional mentor as soon as you can. 

1. Take a piece of paper and draw two lines so that you have three columns. 

2. In the left column, write "things I'm good at" and then list all of your skills and talents in that column. Think of your best subjects, the things people compliment you on, your people skills, your thinking skills - everything. Keep writing, no matter how long it takes, until you fill up the column. 

3. In the far right column, write "things that bring me joy" and then fill up the column with everything that brings you joy. Don't analyze; just write. It can be hobbies, interests, things you like to do in your free time - anything. Just think about when you feel most alive and happy, and write it all down.

4. In the center column, write "something people pay for" and then see if any of the things that bring you joy in the right column match your strengths in the left. Draw connecting lines between anything that seems like it could have a match, and then write on the line where they intersect (in the center column) what kind of jobs could match that talent and interest. Be creative, and consider how your skills and interests translate into doing something people would pay for. And then consider what major(s) would qualify you for that kind of job. 

5. Keep your list and don't feel like you have to fill up the middle column right away. You may only come up with one thing, or you may feel stumped. That's okay. The process is the important part, and it's a process you should continue throughout college. Continue to edit your list, and bring it to a mentor for advice. 

If you find your skill or interest column is lacking, let that be a reminder to build more skills (e.g. studying, reading) and try new things (e.g. volunteering, clubs, or internships) so that you can build your career capital and have even more options for your future career.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Can you be yourself on social media if employers are watching?

A student recently asked me the following question:

I wanted to ask you about incorporating personal branding with social media. I have ALWAYS used social media to vent - but if that makes you less favorable in the eyes of employers, it seems that there is no longer a medium in which we can post semi-inappropriate statuses, or share our actual thoughts in the moment, when Twitter/Facebook is being monitored by employers. What I'm really asking for is advice on finding that balance. How do you do it?

Here is what I said:

This is a GREAT question. Personal branding and your online persona go hand in hand, but you are right: it requires balance.

While it can be hard to figure out how to balance your personal and professional self on social media, the process is actually easier than you think. The key is to be intentional and thoughtful about why you have social media and the results you desire from your posts.

For example, ask yourself: is social media a way for you to A) connect with professionals, network, and find jobs, B) connect with friends, or C) both? 

A) Professionals: If you primarily desire for your social media to be professional, think of all your channels as a LinkedIn, and focus on adding value in your field and remaining positive and helpful. Notice the social media channels of the top professionals in your field and use them as role models. 

B) Friends: If social media is a way for you to vent and be your uninhibited self, you'll want to be very intentional about your privacy settings and who you allow to be your friend on Facebook or who you let follow you on Twitter. 

C) Both: For me, social media is both an important part of my job (I get most of my clients from it), and a vital part of my social life (I love my Facebook friends and Twitter peeps). Since that is the decision I've made, I'm very intentional about remaining positive, fun, and helpful. If I have a horrid day or need to vent, I do that with my close friends, in-person or in a direct message. You can also consider having two separate profiles, a private one just for friends and a public one for networking. 

Again, the key is being intentional. The worst mistakes people make with social media come when they don't think about it at all. Choose your number one social media priority, and then post accordingly. 

Have fun with it and be yourself, but remember to adjust depending on your desired audience, just as you do when you choose how to dress for an interview versus a party. 

Only you can decide your social media priorities, and once you decide, you'll be far ahead of the majority of people who don't even think about it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

$10,000 college prize winner shares his story

I recently had the privilege of interviewing recent grad Greg Woodburn about the organization he started in college to donate shoes to those without: Give Running

Greg was one of 20 students who won the $10,000 Pearson Prize, an incredible cash award given every year by the Pearson Foundation to students who are giving back. 

You can get inspired to apply by reading Greg's story on the P.S...Blog. As of today applications are not yet open, but should open soon. Keep checking. 

And in the meantime, check out Greg's amazing story and think about what you can be doing right now to qualify for such a prize. 

Even if you don't win, the actions you take to think about how you can give back - in a way only you can - will give you more than you could ever imagine.

Disclosure: I am a consultant with Pearson and am a paid blog contributor for their blog, but am not paid to share my posts or their company on this blog. I share because I am a true fan of the opportunities and want to give you the chance to apply and be inspired as I have been. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

TV Episode: How to manage your time and overcome obstacles in college

"You can't manage your time, but you can manage yourself." - A quote from my interview with the amazing Zack Richardson on the newest episode of The SKiNNY! 

"Are you afraid of public speaking?" 5 ways to be a better public speaker

A few days ago I received the following questions from a reader:

1. Were you afraid of public speaking ever?
2. Do you experience any feelings of performance anxiety?
3. What tips do you have for giving great presentations?

The short answer to the first two questions, is YES. 

I never thought that public speaking would be a part of my career. While I love being around people, I am more of an introvert. At a party, you can find me in deep conversation with one person, or the quiet one in a big group, laughing at everyone's jokes and stories. I love being the audience for outgoing people, and don't like to talk about myself. 

However, the best public speakers are experts at storytelling, humor, and, talking about themselves


But when the president of my community college alma mater asked me to speak at a scholarship fundraiser, I couldn't say no.

It was the first time I shared my community college story in front of an audience. The reaction afterwards blew me away, and I realized my story impacted people. It seemed talking about myself could make a difference.

And that is when the anxiety began to fade. 

While you may not be looking to make public speaking a career, it is an important skill to have in your toolbox to help you advance in whatever your field. 

Below are the processes I use to help me overcome my fears. I hope they can help you relieve anxiety and speak with confidence:

1. Use your anxiety
I still feel the butterflies right before I speak. I once heard someone say that the feeling of nervousness means you're about to do something important. Run that saying in your head to remind yourself that it's okay to feel nervous, and instead of clamming up, let the adrenaline energize you to add value to your audience. 

2. Prepare against "bad" anxiety
Okay, so not all anxiety means you're about to do something important. Sometimes it means you're unprepared. So to ward off this brand of anxiousness, practice your speech days before, and know your audience. 

3. Know your audience
The best way to lessen your anxiety is to do everything you can to get to know the people you'll be speaking to. There is nothing more nerve-wracking then not knowing how your speech is going to be received. If you get to know your audience and keep their needs in mind as you prepare your speech, you will be able to craft it into something they'll love, appreciate, and gain value from. 

I recommend seeking out and writing down the answers to the following questions about your audience: Who are they? What do they want? How can you add value to them by what you say? How can you make them feel good? 

4. Write out your speech first
Once you know your audience, open a word document and free-write your speech. Don't judge yourself, just write. 

Then, go back and edit for clarity and flow. Also check it to make sure it's mostly anecdotes and stories (relevant, of course). People pay attention to stories, but drift off when you recite too much information. Think edutainment. 

Ensure your speech is personal and relevant to the lives of your audience. If you do this, no one will be checking their smart phones while you're speaking. 

The next day, read through your written ideas for the speech and transfer key words to notecards.

5. Be conversational
The best speeches are conversational. Have you ever had to listen to someone read a speech? Unless they are very talented, it is a guaranteed snoozer. 

So take your notecards, set the timer, and just talk out your speech as if you were talking to a friend. Use facial expressions and hand motions, and really try to re-live the stories you are telling. 

During this process, feel free to edit the notecards as you go, based on things you keep forgetting or transitions you need to add.

(Quick note about PowerPoint: use words sparingly, if at all. Use one or two relevant pictures per slide (personal pictures are great; they'll endear the audience to you and make you seem more relatable), and don't switch slides too often. Have no more than one slide for every 10 minutes. If you do PowerPoint right, it can be a great way to keep you on track and give your audience a visual element to enjoy. But when in doubt, leave it out). 

On the day of the speech, have your notecards in your pocket. Though if you do this right, you'll find you won't even need them. 

Anytime you're asked to speak publicly, go for it, and watch how others are touched by your honest talk. When you speak about what you know and are confident of the value you can share with others, the anxiety will melt away.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

"I'm feeling pressured as a transfer, what do I do?" A student asks for transfer advice

I recently received the following question from a student I'll call Teresa:

How did you cope with all the changes when you transferred from community college? I've just gone through my first day of orientation and all I hear from administrators is "if you're a transfer student, you need to act right away." Talk about pressure. I've also heard that the academic rigor is going to increase dramatically. I would really love your advice. 

Teresa has just transferred to a highly selective private school, and they are correct - you do have to act right away.

Two years goes by fast, and you don't want to waste any time. However, feeling pressured is not a good way to start, so below are the tips I shared with Teresa to help you relieve the pressure and have an incredible transfer experience. 

1. Find a faculty mentor
My faculty advisor became my mentor at my transfer university, and her guidance led to a free trip to England, New Orleans, a $2,000 research grant, me being chosen as the commencement speaker, and winning the top award for graduating seniors that also included $3,000. I tell you all that only to show you what a difference a faculty member can make in your transfer life.

So during your first few weeks visit all of your professors in their office hours, as well as follow up with your faculty advisor (if you have one). Then make follow-up appointments with the professor(s) you really connect with and start to build a personal relationship by asking for advice regarding how to get engaged on campus and in your field. 

2. Go to club recruitment
Find out when all of the clubs will be showcasing what they do and go! If you've missed it, look at all the clubs online and contact the president's to get more information. Then, visit all of the meetings that interest you.

3. Be strategic with your involvement 
There are a few strategies you can take with how you spend your time during your last two years of college - what's important is that you are strategic.

What worked well for me during my last two years was choosing just one organization that really interested me (the orientation team) and getting deeply involved. I wanted to work in education so I knew learning about this process would be a great experience, as well as help me get to know more people on campus. 

I then spent the rest of my time in class or the library, and then got a paid internship in the education field that gave me the opportunity to tutor, pay for gas and rent, and fulfill the internship requirement for my major. 

During your last two years, it can be really smart to think about your career and how your involvement can help you build relevant experience to get that first job out of college

4. Visit your campus career center
Visit the career center on your campus right away and start taking advantage of every service they offer. Find out when they have career fairs, how to get help with your resume, what internship and job databases they use, and if they offer any alumni professional mentorship programs. 

5. Have fun
Two years does go by fast. And while it's a great feeling to finish, I miss college all the time. I miss the satisfaction of getting a good grade, the ability to catch a quick coffee with a friend (I just had to schedule a breakfast with a friend four weeks in advance because we're so busy!), and time spent on nothing but learning. 

And don't worry about the advanced academic rigor. If you've chosen a major you are interested in and good at, then you won't notice a change in your academic requirements (e.g. for me writing a 20 page paper in my major was so much more fun than studying for biology). You will have to work hard, but if you've gotten yourself from community college to a four-year university, you already know how to do that. 

I received this follow up from Teresa :)

This is such a tough transition for me. But after my first day of class today, it seems a lot of it was in my head. My professor was actually really cool and it seems that the class will be fairly easy to pass (as long as I read and show up!). 

Good point on getting with a faculty advisor – I have one appointed to me and met with her once. I have a follow up with her in March. In the meantime, I’ll definitely make use of those office hours! Thanks for the support. It really goes along away!

Feel free to send me your questions anytime at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is "follow your passion" bad career advice?

Is "follow your passion" bad career advice?

Cal Newport says yes. And after reading his new book, So Good They Can't Ignore You, I agree.

I have been a long-time believer in choosing your career direction based on something you are interested in. My dad never loved his job and simply stayed to support the family, which I respect immensely. However, he always regretted his lack of options, and consistently told me and my brothers to do everything we could to find work we loved.

But to me, that never meant following some deep-seeded passion (in high school my passions consisted of reading, the beach, and Disney movies, not exactly exactly career-worthy pursuits). 

So while I didn't throw out passion altogether (and if you read Cal's book closely, you'll realize he doesn't throw it out as much as redefine and reorder it), I always intrinsically knew that I needed to work hard and keep options open. 

That strategy, along with following my interests and skills, led to my current dream job. However - here is the clincher - it is a career I could have never conceived of nor planned in college. 

So what do you do in college if you want to have a great career but still aren't sure what that is or where you fit? 

As a generation that has grown up with technology, we can be a pretty impatient lot. And that can extend to the time we think it should take to find a job we like.

We see the Mark Zuckerburgs of the world and we assume that success comes quickly. 

We forget that success takes time. And a closer look often proves that even those who are successful at a young age usually started developing their skills earlier than most. 

It's that beginning stage, though, that can be the hardest to endure. No one ever tells you in college that most entry-level jobs are unexciting and grueling. 

However, instead of giving up, getting frustrated, or daydreaming about what you could be doing instead, Cal offers a different approach: to work hard and begin to develop the rare and valuable skills necessary to move up and forward in your career when the opportunities present themselves. 

So Good They Can't Ignore You reinforces the idea that success does not occur overnight, nor is your "perfect job" hidden at the end of some elaborate treasure map. Instead, it's something you create. 

In other words, you don't have to have it all figured out in college or early in your career.

But you do have to dedicate yourself to working hard and getting good at whatever it is that interests you enough to apply the kind of diligence that begets greatness.

As Cal says in the introduction, "You need to be good at something before you can expect a good job." 

To figure out what you want to be good at, keep exploring and gravitating towards where you see your interests, skills, and economic need (e.g. what people will pay you for) align. 

And I highly recommend you read So Good They Can't Ignore You after college or during your junior or senior year. To me, Cal is the Malcolm Gladwell of our generation, and I promise his book will make you think differently about your career and give you the tools you need to craft a job you love, over time. 

(I also highly recommend Cal's books on college success How to Win at College and How to Become a Straight-A Student). 

Disclosure: I care about you too much to ever recommend anything I don't truly love. I admire Cal immensely (he even endorsed my first book and gave me invaluable advice through that journey). However, he did not ask me to recommend his book on my blog. I only ever recommend things to you that I truly love, and am in no way paid to recommend anything (though, as I always say, if Oreos, Hawaiian Airlines, or Disney want to give me free stuff to recommend them I'll be more than happy to sell out in an eye-blink...j/k;))

Monday, January 14, 2013

The #1 way to make a bad first impression

I recently heard a speaker say it takes fifteen good impressions to fix one bad first impression.

I don't know about you, but I believe that 100%. 

And recently I have noticed this one thing people do frequently to make a bad first impression. I must warn you, once you know this, you will start seeing it everywhere.

Are you ready? The #1 way to make a bad first impression, every time, is to open with:

unsolicited advice. 

In my book and in much of my networking advice, I explain that what works best to establish a first impression is to tell someone how much you admire them, why you care about their work, or how much you appreciate what they do. 

That tactic has gotten me and the dozens of other students I've mentored meetings with executives from the White House, Disney, the NBA, The New York Time, etc. 

But you know what never works? 

Yep, you guessed it: unsolicited advice. Which is, in short, telling someone what you think they need to change, how they need to do something better, or why you know something they don't. 

Have you ever posted something casual on Facebook and had that one random person give you some kind of advice or feedback when you weren't asking? It's awkward. It's uncomfortable. And, regardless of the correctness of the advice, it gives you a bad feeling towards that person.

You don't want to be that person. 

If you're number one concern is being right, putting forth your opinion to everyone, and making sure you are telling people what they need to do, then, well, unsolicited advice just might be for you. Just know that you will sacrifice the ability to network effectively.

When someone gives advice to a person who didn't ask, it's frankly a bit insulting. There is no way around it. Unless it's in the context of a mentorship relationship, professor-student relationship, boss-employee relationship, or close family/friend relationship where you already have a strong foundation of trust, it's an instant relationship-ruiner.

Especially when it comes to first impressions.

So if you ever feel the need to give someone advice that they didn't ask you for, ask yourself these questions before you proceed:

1) Do I have a strong foundation of trust with this person?
2) If I don't say what I'm about to say will this person get into serious harm?
3) Is this person going to appreciate me giving this advice? 

If the answers are yes, go ahead. But if they're not, just say no to unsolicited advice.

(And, to be honest, even my husband and I joke about the unsolicited advice we give each other, because it still drives us crazy!)

Instead, the best way to build good first impressions in your networking and personal relationships is to think about how you can give unsolicited positive feedback. Nothing will endear people to you more. 

Overachievers Action Item
Think about how you feel when someone gives you a compliment on Facebook. Today instead of just "liking" your favorite pictures and comments on your newsfeed, comment and compliment generously. And then watch what happens. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Your quick guide to starting community college

When I wrote my book and started this blog, I had community college students in mind. What I didn't expect, was that it would garner such interest from high school students.

I've received dozens of letters from community college students who've used Community College Success as part of a class, and many of them echoed the same sentiment: This book was so helpful; I wish I read it in high school. 

And yesterday, I received an e-mail from a high school student asking for my help in figuring out how to get to community college. I've received many e-mails like hers from across the country, and it serves as a reminder that no matter how much information is out there, or how much we assume people already know, we all need help starting new things in our lives. 

Especially college. 

Some people might think "preparing" for community college is an oxymoron. Wrong. While the application process is usually much less complicated than a 4-year university, a lot of preparation and understanding is still required. 

College is complicated, especially if you are the first in your family to go. And the earlier you prepare, the better chance you have of getting the classes you want, saving money, and having a great experience. 

So below is my top 10 list of things to do your senior year of high school in order to prepare to attend community college. I hope it helps!

1. Make an appointment to talk with your high school guidance counselor about your college options. Come prepared with all of your questions and be sure to follow up. Ask him or her to recommend community colleges based on the program or major you are interested in. 
2. Talk to your favorite teachers about your college aspirations. Let him or her know what community college you want to attend and ask for help and advice. Many of them will be more than happy to help you and serve as a mentor.  
3. Google the community colleges your guidance counselors and teachers have recommended, and read everything you can on their website. Start with the "Academics" or "Programs" tab to make sure they have a program or major that interests you. 
4. Find the "Apply", "Application", or "New Students" tab on the website and read everything you can about what you need to do. Most colleges start with an online application, financial aid, and residency.
5. Start putting reminders in your calendar to send your high school transcripts to your community college once you've graduated, as well as take the necessary tests (community colleges accept SAT/ACT scores, or you can take a different test at the college; test scores do not limit you from getting in, but they do determine your starting point for your Math and English courses. If you do not score high enough, you will have to start in prep courses that cost money but do not offer college credit. These courses are okay and a good refresher, but you don't want to end up there just because you didn't study. Ask your testing center for a study guide before you take the test). 
6. Schedule a tour of the community college that interests you most. You can usually do this on the website. 
7. Schedule an appointment with an admissions counselor or recruiter on the community college campus to ask all of your questions and get the help you need when it comes to the other documents, like financial aid. Do this as early as possible. 
8. Ask around on Facebook or in your community to find someone who goes to the community college you are interested in. Invite them out for coffee or set up a phone call and ask for their advice. 
9. If you want to get a 4-year degree, start searching websites of the 4-year universities that interest you and start to plan what degree you would like to end up with. Bring this information with you when you first meet with an advisor so that you can ensure you are on a program track that will easily transition you to your 4-year school. 
10. Find out when the club recruitment fair is at your college (usually the first week) and make sure you can attend. Go around to all of the tables that interest you and plan to try out a few meetings until you find a club you like. Get connected the first week so that you do not do college alone. 

As I hope you can see, while there are a lot of administrative tasks, the most valuable thing you can do when preparing for college is to make sure you find other people who can help. Keep asking and seeking help until you get what you need.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret: no one who does college successfully does it alone. Some people have help built-in in their parents. Some people have help that money can buy (e.g. paid college advisors). Some people are in programs that guide them every step of the way. That's all great. 

But not everyone has that. 

The good news though? All people have the potential for the creativity and courage needed to seek out the help they need and make college happen. And if you've read to the end of this blog, you are exactly that kind of person. You can make it to college and beyond. And I really hope you do.

If you need any additional help feel free to e-mail me at or check out the first chapter of my book for free.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Are you setting a curriculum for your goals?

Okay, so I know the word "curriculum" is not sexy. But it's a word that's inspired me recently, and I hope you'll come to love it as much as I do. 

2013 is here and many of you are setting your goals for the year and dedicating yourself to what you want to accomplish. While writing down what you want is a great first step, more is required.

You must also set a curriculum of resources that will teach you what you need to know in order to reach your goals. If you want your life to grow in some specific way, you have to grow first; and like most things, those who are strategic about it will win.

As Jim Rohn said, “If you want to have more…you have to become more. Success is not a doing process, it is a becoming process. What you do, what you pursue, will allude you—it can be like chasing butterflies. Success is something you attract by the person you become.”

So while you're thinking about what you want this year, I want to challenge you to think about who you need to become and what you need to learn in order to reach those goals. 

I've always been an avid reader, but this year I decided to set my own "curriculum" for my goals this year. I made a list of 12 books I'm going to read and reflect on by the end of 2013 that are related to my goals and growth. For example, one of my goals is to write my second book; thus, four of the books on my list are about writing.

But Isa, I'm already reading books in college! Why would I want to read more books? You are so annoying and I hate you. 

Whoa. That was harsh. I see where you're coming from; I know you're already reading books. But I'm talking about going above and beyond. And if you're not a big reader, you can choose from any number of resources.

Okay Isa I don't hate you anymore.  

(Blogging for a few years may or may not be having some sort of effect on my level of crazy....don't judge me ;)). 

Whether you like books, ebooks, audiobooks, seminars, webinars, or online articles, there are definitely resources out there to help you grow. And public libraries still exist and are still free (something I'm constantly grateful for). 

If completing college successfully is your number one goal right now, I highly encourage you to start planning what resources you will consume this year to help you do college better. There are many to choose from (including a little diddy I wrote). 

In short: Think about how you can become better at what you want to accomplish this year, and then pick resources to help you get there. 

You will find, as I hope you are finding in college, that learning what you want to learn (i.e. setting your own "curriculum") can often become the most fun and "sexy" thing you can imagine. 

Thanks Isa, you're the best blogger in the whole world. 

I need to get out more...


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Best way to network and get top-notch work experience in college

Disclosure: I consult with Pearson Students; it is one of my favorite parts of my job. However, Pearson Students is not paying me to write this blog post. I am writing it of my own volition because I feel very passionate about what their student program offers, and after seeing it up close this past week, I knew I just had to share the opportunity with you. 

This past week I spent some time at a conference with the Pearson Student Advisory Board. You've probably heard me talk about Pearson before, as I consult with them, contribute to their student blog, and serve as the ambassador for the One Professor campaign. 

I first met the Pearson Student Advisory Board in New York where they were introduced to each other and all the things they would be contributing as part of their job this year. In short, the Board is made up of about 12 college students from across the country who do projects to inform a variety of Pearson company projects. 

At the Pearson conference, I was blown away by how much the executives at Pearson really listen to the Student Advisory Board. They take their opinions very seriously, and this week I got to witness these incredible college students making major decisions for a corporation!

It is so amazing for these students to have exposure to top executives and be able to contribute to major business decisions at such a young age; all students should have the opportunity to contribute to an organization before graduation in order to get pumped for their future job.

And that is exactly what happened to these students this past week; they started to get incredibly excited for their future careers. While some of them want to work at Pearson, and others as lawyers, engineers, or teachers, they all started to see that life after college could be pretty cool. 

Their confidence seemed to grow with every handshake from a CEO or VP, and by the end of the conference you couldn't tell the students apart from the actual employees of the company. They were professionals. 

This can be you. Whether it's with Pearson or another leadership or internship program at a company you're interested in, I highly encourage you to start researching and applying for programs that can give you this kind of exposure and experience. 

The PSAB members will tell you how much they've benefitted from the professional development, networking, and friendships, not to mention getting paid a stipend and getting to travel to places like New York and Florida for free! (If you want to connect with one of them for more information or advice just let me know and I can put you in touch.) 

Applications to serve on the 2013-2014 Pearson Student Advisory Board are currently open until February 11, 2013. The application process is very competitive, so you'll definitely want to start prepping as soon as possible. 

It's a great opportunity for any student who wants to grow professionally, and it's especially ideal if you're interested in business, education, publishing, marketing, editing, communications, public relations, or higher education. 

Pearson also has a Pearson Campus Ambassador program, which is a paid hourly job you can do from your campus, with the potential to move up to become a Regional Coordinator, which offers incredible management experience. 

I highly encourage you to start searching for advisory board or internship programs at companies that fascinate and excite you. There is nothing more catalytic than mixing your college education with real-world experience.
Jumping on the stage with the PSAB's after they met the CEO

Monday, January 7, 2013

Three quick tips to start your Spring semester

Hi Guys,

I hope you had a great winter break! I can't believe it's already over, but I hope it was a great time for you to spend with your family and relax your brain.

Now it's time to rev up again, and below is a video with three quick and easy things you can do to get your brain back into college-mode. 

Today also marks my return to work and blogging, and I am so excited for some of the articles I have in store for you this year. If you also have any topics you'd like to see, feel free to shoot me an e-mail at

I hope you have a wonderful Spring semester! And huge congrats to those of you for whom this semester will be your last!! :)