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Is your reliance on Digital Technology Costing you Career Opportunities?

Blogger Profile Picture  By: Sara Kirkpatrick

This past week I’ve attended a number of free campus workshops, all of which promoted face-to-face networking as a prime source to land jobs and internships.  As students, it is important to understand how to use digital media to accomplish these goals, it is equally important not to lose our basic face-to-face communication skills.

Practice your face-to-face communication:

  1. Treat your cellphone like an addiction- When spending time with peer(s), treat your cellphone like a cigarette; it’s a shameful addiction that we all have, and it is not socially accepted everywhere.
  1. Check your phone at the door- When hosting a dinner party, ask your guests to check their cellphones at the door, by placing them into a basket upon entry.
  1. No tech devices allowed- Host a “Y2K” event where no technology devices are permitted. Ask everyone to leave their cellphones and other mobile devices at home or in their car, prior to attending.
  1. First phone gets the check- When out to dinner, make a rule that whoever pulls out their phone first pays the check for everyone at the table.

As upcoming graduates in a competitive job market, we cannot afford to lack the knowledge on how to communicate without the use of technological devices.  Attend a campus workshop, and practice your face-to-face communication skills!

Upcoming free campus workshops: PSU Campus Events

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Have no fear, Fearless Fridays are here!

Blogger Profile Picture  By: Sara Kirkpatrick

As an up-and-coming professional, I’m constantly worried about my past getting in the way of my dream job. As students these fears are commonly expressed, but then quickly ignored; which is ironic because our past can be our strongest qualification. Our past, both good and bad, can lead to determining factors which help land us our dream job.

Last Friday, I was inspired by a Fearless Friday workshop, hosted by Business Associate Dean Erica Wagner: “How to turn your past into an asset.” The title for this workshop didn’t do it justice. I had no idea our own associate dean held such a genuine passion for our educational aspirations. She acknowledged students’ fears about the past with a sympathetic ear, and offered insightful, yet practical feedback.

After attending this session, I learned that our past shouldn’t be feared, but rather embraced. Wagner posed the question, “What’s your secret sauce?”  What are traits that draw people to you?  How has your past helped shape these traits? By answering these questions, students can overcome the fears that are keeping them from their dream jobs.

Takeaway Tips for Confronting your Past:

  • Don’t turn your weakness into a positive; be frank about them
  • Describe any personal growth you’ve experienced
  • Remember, everyone has a weakness – this makes you more relatable

I high recommend anyone who hasn’t attended a Fearless Friday to be fearless and attend an upcoming workshop. It was not only inspiring, but motivating and gave me insight to a different side of PSU.

See you at the next Fearless Friday:

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What are your social media profiles saying about you?

Blogger Profile Picture

By: Sara Kirkpatrick

As I scroll through my social profiles, I see a Portland State University student, a dog lover, a movie buff, the love of pink, and so much more; I am bombarded with images of my favorite memes, and timelines of life events. As I look upon these profiles, I am reminded of my exterior presence – an image expressed through my daily interactions with the digital world around me – it is my voice when no sounds or words are spoken.

In this day and age of social media, the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” has never held more truth. Our exterior image is spread virally through the universe of social platforms. Each day there are 1.3 billion active Facebook users, 500 million tweets, 60 million Instagram photos uploaded and 4 billion videos viewed on YouTube – which translates to 46,296 per second, according to Mary Catherine Wellons of CNBC.

Gone are the days of highly anticipated interviews to make an outstanding first impression. Leaving graduates today are faced with employers who are able to summarize their entire lifespans before they even meet.

As students we are the upcoming professionals, and it is our right and responsibility to project and control our representations within these social platforms.

Google yourself and see what the rest of the world sees.


STUMPED in Stumptown…


By: Sharon Nellist

Can you imagine going into your senior year and doubt the major that you have so painstakingly been working toward the last few years? Well, I certainly can. HELP!

My most recent thoughts: I am certain of the type of job I am looking for…. But will my current major get me there? Will my major hurt my chances of getting this job? Is it worth switching majors at this point? How much longer will it take? Ahh! I have to study more for that last final exam…

My mind is full.

Thankfully! I have the summer to figure this out.

And I know that I am not the only one…

Nearly 80% of new students heading for college are undeclared. About 50% of college students that have declared a major change their major, even two or three times!

Also, Portland State has great resources to help through this “traumatic” time…

What can I do with a degree in….?
Career Workshops, Classes & Events
Exploring PSU Majors Fair

What did or would you do in this situation?

Wish me luck!


Planning Ahead

Andreea Nica_bio photo

By: Andreea Nica

I like to plan. Planning provides me security, a comfort that I’m on the right track. Or, at least it gives me the feeling I’m getting there.

When I began the doctoral program at PSU, I knew there was much work ahead, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the work that had me bogged down. Rather, it was the organization and execution of my five-year plan in the program. I had some vague ideas like any aspiring academic, such as publishing, conferences, teaching and research. But I soon realized that these vague notions of developing oneself as a scholar needed some filling in.

When did I want to publish? And with whom? How many conferences should I attend? What should I teach? What about funding? How many small research projects should I conduct? I needed more direction, and once I gained it from discussions with colleagues and professors inside and outside the department, I began filling in the details of my five-year plan. Excel came to my rescue. I began to organize my goals (brief statements, really) into an Excel document with proposed dates of completion, deadlines for funding opportunities, outcome goals and people I should talk further with regarding the respective goal.

While I am aware that plans change, organizing my time and goals in the graduate program has boosted my confidence and provided a clearer direction on what I want to achieve. I would recommend starting out with one- to two-year plans as they are easier to manage than longer-term plans. After all, many things can change over the course of four to five years.

Good luck planning!

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The Graduation Blues

Brooke HornBy Brooke Horn

I have a countdown app installed on my cell phone. It has three events on it: Portfolio Due, Thesis Defense, and Commencement, each with their own countdown timer. It tells me that I have six days left to finish my portfolio, thirty-six days left to panic about my thesis, and fifty-nine days until I will (with any luck) walk across the stage at the Moda Center, beaming, having earned a Master’s degree in Writing and Book Publishing.

That day feels both terrifyingly close and impossibly far away. There is so much to do before then, so much that could go wrong. And yet, even though it feels like my two-year degree program started yesterday, I feel confident. My education and experiences have equipped me with both a unique range of skills and, perhaps more importantly, the confidence to go forth into the mysterious beyond of post-graduation adulthood.

Never mind that I still waited until the last possible minute to file my taxes this year, or that I opt for pizza and Netflix instead of cooking a real meal more than I’d like to admit.

Over the past two years, I’ve juggled a full graduate course load, 2-3 jobs and internships each term, a serious relationship, and a leadership position on campus. Both of my parents were hospitalized due to medical conditions within the last few months too. To be frank, I’ve been a walking bundle of stress.

Keep-Calm-and-GraduateIf I could pass along one piece of advice to my fellow students, it would be this: learn how to manage your stress. Because you will, inevitably, face a point in your life when everything seems to come crashing down. Knowing how to relax, how to let go and take care of yourself – these are things that I never learned until I really needed them, and looking back, I wish I had learned them sooner. Now I know better: I recognize my limitations, and I listen to my body when it tells me to slow down, go for a walk, or pour a bubble bath.

But thankfully, both of my parents are recovering, my portfolio is coming along nicely, and my friends have been both patient and supportive. I bounced back. I’ve made lasting relationships – both professional and otherwise – and worked with some truly talented authors, students, and educators in my program. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I look forward to the future waiting on the other side of that stage.

Three Management Tools to Help Students Succeed

Andreea Nica_bio photoMany students get overwhelmed with the amount of readings required in each course. If you’re a graduate student putting together your literature review and/or dissertation proposal, organization is crucial. As a doctoral student, I have mounds of journal articles to sort through each week, and without the help of certain technological tools I would definitely find myself drowning in an abyss of academic articles.

I use several tools that support my process that I think could be useful for students at all levels.

Google Docs: I primarily use Google Drive Docs to jot down notes, research ideas and organize my projects. One idea that I recently started to implement is sharing a Google Excel Doc with my advisor, so that I can easily update him on my research process and findings. Try it!

Mendeley: This nifty tool is a reference manager, and it’s a lifesaver! You can access it from anywhere in the world, and you can also download it onto your desktop. Basically, you upload your PDFs, read and annotate (very useful – think of digital post-its all in one place), create groups and collaborate with others. And, last but not least, you can file your PDF articles in appropriate and organization

Zotero: Similar to Mendeley, it stores your articles and readings. You can also add images, audio and video files, and snapshots of web pages. A unique differentiation from Mendeley is that Zotero is the only research tool that identifies content in your web browser, allowing you to easily add the content to your library.

If you want to learn more about citation management tools, visit the PSU library for more information.