Women & Apologies

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Did you know women have more connectability between the left and right brain? This biological skill has naturally armed women with the ultimate advantage of engaging both sides of the brain: the analytical left and the creative right brain — amazing!

However, as this skill offers many social advantages, it also increases sensitivity to emotions and in turn creates an increased need to apologize, sometimes in situations where an apology is not necessary. This has been notably detrimental for women professionals in today’s workforce.

After viewing a YouTube video on this phenomenon in my summer Business Ethics (BA385) course, I found myself constantly falling victim to the phrase, “I’m sorry.” However, most of my alleged “infractions” for which I apologized were not infractions at all, they were merely apologies for simply going about my business in ways that were absolutely necessary. Whether it is taking a seat in class a few seconds before someone else was hoping to sit down, asking a necessary question of a colleague or peer who had the answer or carrying out other similar tasks and functions that allow me to successfully get through the day, I had subconsciously equipped myself with a canned apology waiting breathlessly to be delivered.

As women and young professionals who will soon be entering, or who are already in the workplace, we need to acknowledge this issue and eliminate our impulsive need to apologize. If we do not eliminate this subconscious affliction, it may impact our future employment opportunities. We could place ourselves at risk by not being taken seriously, or even worse, we could become overlooked by employers for an opening in a company or for a promotion to a managerial role.

Rather than falling victim to this rising issue, let’s embrace it! I encourage all of my PSU female peers to insert the #SorryNotSorry trend into their daily thoughts, interactions, and lifestyle. Let’s use it as a way to empower and solidify our future roles within the workplace of today!

Stress My New BFF

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As college students, we struggle with stress on a daily basis, from weekly assignments, to midterms to final exams. Stress has become the annoying classmate sitting next to us in lectures, constantly demanding recognition and by default, holding us accountable for everything we could have done differently or better.

 
I have always been submissive to stress’s ability to not only overpower me physically, but to also drain me emotionally. With winter term finals just around the corner, I have decided to redirect my attitude about stress, and instead of avoiding it, I am embracing and befriending it.

Identifying stress as my new BFF not only gives me complete control over my stress reactions, but research has shown that stress actually works in our favor by strengthening our relationships with oxytocin also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or Body Image 2.pngbond socially. Even playing with a pet, such as my cat Miko can cause an oxytocin surge. This concept of befriending stress was introduced to me through my SBA Organizational Behavior course, which highlighted an inspirational TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.

As students, I think we have a deeper responsibility to find ways to manage stress, which is why learning how to befriend stress not only teaches us to stop and listen to the messages our bodies and mind are sending, but gives us the skills needed to become smart, decision-making professionals. These are the soft skills future employers will be looking for!

Want to make stress your BFF? Check out the TED talk here.

Let’s be friends

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Have you ever met someone and thought, “I would just love to be friends with this person?” However, before you could articulate “hello,” the fear of awkwardness and rejection stopped you.

Even extroverts, such as myself, from time to time find it uncomfortable when having to initiate conversations with fellow classmates, and fall victim to the above line of thinking.  This is particularly true when approaching classmates that I would like to get to know better.

For instance, last winter term, I met a fellow PSU student through SBA’s Fearless Friday workshops. She was knowledgeable, funny, outgoing and double majoring in my same fields. I immediately wanted to befriend her, but my fear of being awkward preventing me from introducing myself, and I said nothing.

sara-and-susieFortunately, in the next term, I found myself sitting next to this same SBA student in a PSU workshop.  This time, I decided to take the advice of a recent blog post I had read, 11 ways to turn strangers into friends, and pushed myself to use one of the blog’s suggestions: Imagine that the other person is already your friend.

In doing so, I stepped out of my comfort zone and was not only rewarded by a friendship with this classmate, we eventually became freelance partners, offering our collaborative talents and creativity to clients. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the risk to put myself out there to meet someone new.

I encourage each and every one of my PSU colleagues to take a chance today and talk to a classmate who you’d like to become friends with. You never know where that friendship might take you.  Who knows; you could be sitting next to your future business partner!

Hats off to pampering

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As students, we tend to wear an assortment of hats, each representing the variety of responsibilities we shoulder daily.  This includes student, leader, networker, teammate, organizer, employee, freelancer, etc.  Our list of responsibilities is ever increasing, as employer demands are constantly changing and the need for additional skills outside of traditional coursework is highly desired. In the midst of this evolving set of commitments, we often forget to take time out of our busy lives to care of ourselves.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to even imagine prioritizing something as simple as taking a bubblebath when there are so many other demands in life. Despite my busy lifestyle, I am slowly attempting to rearrange my priorities to incorporate self-care (pampering) activities, since it is an important aspect of stress management, which in turn is essential for academic success.

It is amazing how beneficial a massage, soak in the tub, and other forms of pampering can be to revitalize us inside and out. Here are some pampering suggestions:

  • Take a scented bubble bath
  • Schedule a manicure and pedicure
  • Cleanse facial pores with a clay mask
  • Get a massage

Wearing lots of hats is definitely a balancing act, which is why prioritizing and scheduling at least some pampering activities is crucial. Self-care allows us the time we need to de-stress and revitalize so we can feel our best, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Alternatively, students are encouraged to visit PSU’s Mind Spa , a space on campus for students to relax and rejuvenate, and where some of these services are available for free.

Holding on to summer’s downward facing dog

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

The fall leaves have officially fallen, and my summer tan-lines have slowly faded, but I am still determined to cling on to what’s left of my summer break activities. Gone are the days of karaoke Sundays, watching movie marathons, or attending an outdoor yoga class with my adorable French Bulldog (pictured on the right). Now, the majority of my days are yoga-dieselfilled with study sessions and research papers, with no chance of catching up on the latest paranormal romance novel.  Nonetheless, I am steadfast in my resolve to find a way to integrate at least one of my summer activities into my hectic fall term schedule.

Say hello to hot yoga – a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions, typically referred to as Bikram yoga. Hot yoga seemed like the perfect solution to my fleeting summer fun, since I can practice it early mornings at 5:30 a.m. without schedule conflicts. Over the last month, yoga has created a space for my body and mind to take a break from social and academic pressures. This healthy new-found habit of mine has not only alleviated stress, but more importantly it has improved my overall concentration.

An interesting study by The International Journal of Yoga showed that students who devoted seven weeks of regular practice doing poses, breathing, and meditation significantly reduced their stress levels. As a result, their academic performance increased. Amazing!

I highly recommend to all of you, my fellow PSU colleagues, to consider adding yoga into your fall schedule. Note, as students we receive free yoga classes through the Campus Rec Center! Check out the calendar  for more details.

September Sunshine + Networking = Opportunities

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Let the countdown for the final days of summer break commence. It’s official. Fall term is almost upon us; how are you spending your last days being textbook free?

If you’re a super planner like me, you’ve made a “final days of college freedom checklist,” which consists of: a binge-list of tv favorites on Netflix and HBOGO, dates with the friends who’ve managed to stick with you through the craziness of last term’s finals, visiting places that you fantasized about while studying/living in the library , and finally, last-minute networking events.

September networking is often overlooked, since the majority of us want to spend our time outdoors basking in the sunshine. Business devotees are no different, which is why the summer season offers so many networking opportunities, from mixers on the patio of Rogue Ale House to the September Camp Optimization meet-up.

Be sure to squeeze in a few of these upcoming networking events and get a jumpstart on your future careers:

Happy Networking!

Lead by Example

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As a Portland State student, how do you become a better leader? If you’re like me, you read a lot of books, troll Twitter for trending bloggers, and attend a few conferences. Recently, I’ve come to realize that one of the best ways to grow is to engage with other students.

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A few weeks ago, fellow PSU student Bertonitti Tayetto reached out to me and asked if he could share his marketing internship in PSU Chronicles. Bertonitti is an Emerging Leaders intern at The Hello Foundation, a local company that provides speech and occupational therapy to school districts and private clients. To grow as a leader, Bertonitti is implementing the project Hello Everyone at the foundation. It is a clinic designed to specifically help college students with speech and occupational therapy, ranging from professional to daily social skills (clinic sessions starting at $125).

Bertonitti is conducting a student survey to launch his project. Please help out a fellow Viking by completely his Hello Everyone survey.

What really impressed me was Bertonitti’s passion for his internship and the job-related skills he is gaining (Google Analytics, interviewing, social media and project management).

The next time I am prepping for an internship interview, I will remember Bertonitti and use his Top 3 Interviewing Tips:

  • Research the company.
  • Wear clothing that makes you feel confident.
  • Speak with others about the company.

Way to go Bertonitti!