Use Your Summer Job to Catapult Your Summer

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“Summertime, go get a job!”

Have you heard that one yet? I remember hearing that from many people when I was in High School. Oddly, it mostly came from people that I rarely saw, didn’t really know what I was doing with my life, and just liked to offer unsolicited advice. I am all about maximizing the time you have during the summer because most don’t. If you do have a job or will find one for the summer, approach it with the right mindset because that is how you will get the most impact.

Your summer job is really for your development. Minimum wage jobs are not meant to be careers. That isn’t what they are meant to be. You’ll find yourself moving out of those types of jobs by maximizing the time you have when you start. Understand that. Your summer job is a foundation step for your career.

Over the summer, you can develop specific skills that will help catapult your career. Accountability, organization, communication, and work, to name a few.

Accountability

Be the best at whatever your responsibilities are. They may seem small or time spent wasted to you, but you are literally getting paid to fulfill these responsibilities, so they mean something to the business you work for. If you are a cashier, never leave a till unbalanced. If you stock shelves, establish an incredible organization system. Take pride in what you do and max it out. Yes, people will tell you to “calm down, slow down, or stop taking it so seriously” but in reality, you aren’t truly focusing only on today, you are trying to build a mentality that will propel your tomorrow. This will help you establish a habit of accountability. That way, when you start classes again in the Fall, or move on to the next job, you are ready to maximize every class and every responsibility you have even when you know it is only short term.

Organization

Starting a new job means you’ll be adjusting your daily schedule around this new role. Start planning your time so that you are never late. Fit in a solid morning routine, get what you need to get done outside of your job, but do not be late. Once you are at work, organize your flow in the way you get things done. Find the best way to work. Try new things, try new ways, improve the process. This is another habit that will give you success in school and later jobs. You’ll know how to change up the way you study or take notes, you’ll know how to take on new projects in later jobs. You’ll be able to get more done.

Communication

No matter the job, you’ll work with people. Maybe it is only the same three that you see and talk to every shift, maybe you consistently meet different people every day. Life is all people. Start practicing the skill of developing relationships with people. Great communication will present you with more opportunities than you ever thought possible. Focus on seeking to understand, help them get what they want, and let them know you appreciate them. This will help you as you later work with classmates and professors, and future people you will interact with in future jobs.

Work

More than anything, you’ve got to get it done! Make sure you are the employee that gets their stuff done. Even though you know this summer job is not forever, don’t waste your time. You’ll waste your time if you drag your feet. You’ll get more out of it when you build your ability to get things done. This mentality and habit will propel you through the rest of school and you will be ready to make some big things happen when you are ready to jump into your career.

Your summer job is more than just having something to do now right? Right. Go get it done. Build yourself into a better human. Start now, and go get it.

Make this the Best Summer Ever

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There is no off-season for champions. Those that max out their success simply move from performance to preparation. Think athletes, musicians, but also you. Students who look at the summer as their off-season miss out on a valuable time to develop themselves. Without the time constraints of going to class and studying, you now have an incredible opportunity to truly invest in yourself.

If you aren’t investing in yourself, you aren’t growing. So you can spend the four-month break between semesters on cruise control, or aggressively make moves. I was a College Athlete and much of my success came from the development I gained in the summer. Hitting the weights and working on technique lead to leaps and bounds of improvement that set me apart from others. When I connected those principles of growth to my professional and leadership development, I saw immediate results. You can spend intentional time investing in yourself during the summer to make you a stronger leader and work on developing specific habits and skills that will help you catapult your career.

I know that students aren’t often taught to work on leadership development while a student. All your focus should only be on your classes alone, right? I am a huge advocate for education and have high goals for myself as well, but your time as a student can go extremely underutilized if you don’t work on your own development in addition to gaining your education. Call it the “other” education, the social and leadership skills you need to know to understand how to use the education you gain in the classroom in the real world. If you do both, you’ll see double the results! A diploma and the leadership capabilities to make an immediate impact in your career.

There are a few ways you can catapult your development during the summer. Start with these:

Recognize Your Values and Goals

If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands during the summer (and even if you don’t) then you should spend some time identifying what is most important to you. Find your number one priorities. Identify your passions and what you truly want to accomplish in life. You know the questions, students get asked them all the time. What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your major? What are you going to do with that? I remember feeling the social pressure to give a specific job title as an answer to all of these questions, and turns out I didn’t pursue any of them. The first job I had in my career was not even one that I knew existed while in High School. Don’t feel tied down to a job title unless you know that is exactly what you want to do. Instead, make a list of what you want your life to look like 10 years from now. Where do you live? What do you do? Who are you with? Be sure to think big, and review the list often so you can be committed. Those who are interested in a successful life might think about it, but don’t take any action. Those who are committed take action.

Involve the Right People and Resources

I call the people you spend the most time around your Circle of Influence. This Circle is the most influential aspect of your life. The people you spend the most time around will either build you up or break you down. Your friends help you deem what the minimum standard is for everything, how much you study, the food you eat, your habits, and more, it is all impacted by the people you are around. Reflect on the people you spend the most time around and make the decisions that will bring you closer to accomplishing your 10 year plan. If you need to find that social support through social media, so be it. I have networked with many people to help boost up my Circle so that I have higher standards. This Nix Your Limits Leadership Academy was created for this exact reason, you can find out more information here about that opportunity.

It is also important to surround yourself with the resources you need to succeed. That comes in different forms. You can foll0w successful people on social media, but be sure to watch how they do things. Watching how they work and lead is often where the most impactful lessons can be learned. You can also find blogs and podcasts that will provide valuable training and tools. There is plenty out there, you just have to look for it. Start implementing what you learn into your summer job and watch for results.

Strategize to Develop Skills and Habits

Most leadership skills and habits are universally beneficial to everyone. It doesn’t matter what career field you end up in, things like communicating effectively, personal organization, conflict mediation, and personal accountability will always serve you well. Think about people you admire because of what they have accomplished. This doesn’t have to be someone you know personally. Now look at what makes these people successful. What habits do they have? How do they communicate? Use their success as a roadmap of how you can see positive results. Start developing these skills because the earlier you do, the sooner you’ll see results.

Whatever you do end up spending your time doing this summer, be the best that you can. Have the best customer service of any cashier. Be the most organized shift lead of the company. Communicate better than anyone with your boss. Today matters, and if you look for opportunities to grow, and follow through with the action, you’ll find yourself developing the skills that most are waiting until they graduate to start working on.

Execute

If you don’t execute, you don’t get results. It is great to feel motivated, read blog posts, watch YouTube videos, and look up quotes, but unless you do anything about it, you will keep seeing the same old results. Stop wasting your time and take action! Stop only asking yourself what you learned and start asking yourself what you are going to do. Those who take action get what they want. Will you?

You have incredible potential within you. There is no shortage of success. You can set goals, you can audit your circle of influence, you can make lists of habits you need to develop, but until you do something about it, you will never see the results you want. Take action this summer, even though most won’t. Those who do will start living the life of their dreams while everyone else is still out there dreaming.

Guest Post: How to Get Ready for Class…Fast!

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Admit it: you hit the snooze button…again. It’s okay! Sometimes, getting out of bed is more challenging than any of us would like to admit. That doesn’t mean you have to commit to that whole just rolled out of bed look, though. You can still strut your stuff down the hallway – even if you are strapped for time. Whether you’ve got a mid-term in the next half hour or you’re cutting it a little too close to a super important lecture, don’t worry. Great style is within your grasp. Here are some must-have tips to get ready for class fast!

If You Can…Prepare The Night Before

Planning on jumping in the shower first thing in the morning? Chances are, you are more likely to turn off your alarm and fall back asleep. That is why it is always a good idea to do as much prep work as you can the night before. Simple things like showering before bed, laying out your clothes, or making sure your bathroom is organized can result in huge second-savers the next morning.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your backpack is ready to go before you hit the hay. That means packing it with all the essentials. Your assignments should already be printed off and it helps if your laptop if fully charged. Why is this so important? Even if you’re running way behind schedule the next morning, you won’t be scrambling.

backpack

Choose Neutral Pieces From Your Wardrobe

When you need to get ready for class quickly the key is to reach for neutrals from your wardrobe. The last thing you want to do is leave your place wearing clashing patterns or colors. By the time you actually reach class, you’ll end up cursing yourself for your bold fashion choices. Yikes!

So, when you don’t have time to think it over – stick to things you already know will look good together. That may be an outfit you wear often (like your favorite band t-shirt and that super cute pair of pants) or a pair of skinny jeans and a simple blouse. Don’t make it complicated. Do your best to throw on neutral colors and basic pieces.

Stick With Simple Hairdos

The clock is ticking. That means you can forget about any elaborate hairstyles. Especially ones that require curling irons, straighteners, and other heat styling tools that normally give you that enviable hair. In order to get yourself to class (before you’re late enough to make an entrance), try to keep it simple.

If you have lots of hair to work with, throw it up in a topknot bun, low bun, or high ponytail. For short to medium hair, scrunch through a curl boosting mousse or use a cute hair clip to pin it all out of the way. You can also toss on a fun hair band if you are really short on time. You’d be surprised at how great your hair can look in just a couple of minutes. Get creative!

bun-hair1

Choose Three Makeup Must-Haves

On a normal day, you might prefer to put on a face of makeup. You know, foundation, concealer, powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara, bronzer, blush…the works! When time is of the essence, though, choose three things. Yes, just three. Whatever your makeup must-haves are, grab them and apply as quickly as possible.

Need a little help narrowing down your choices? If your skin tone needs some evening out, use a BB Cream and put it on using your fingertips. Have dark under eye circles? Then choose a concealer instead. Using a coat or two of mascara can create gorgeous eyes in a flash. Or for a flush of color, use a cheek and lip tint and dab it on the apples of your cheeks and directly onto your lips.

make-up-bag

Eat Your Breakfast On The Go

The last time saving suggestion is to eat on the go. Once you are dressed and ready, you need to think about fueling your body and mind for the day ahead. Make sure you have granola bars or breakfast bars in your kitchen. They are portable and easy to grab, making them ideal to eat when you’re walking to class or taking the bus. You may also want to keep protein shakes around for another quick grab and go meal.
Just because the clock is ticking doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style. Simply apply these tips to your morning routine – and be prepared to save some major time. Trust me….you’ll never be late for class again!

Shannon Boyce has always aspired to be a writer. She received her Bachelor of Arts from York University, majoring in Professional Writing, with a minor in Creative Writing. Since graduating, she has worked in freelance writing and runs her own blog related to fashion and beauty, The Creation of Beauty.

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4

The Mooching Classmate

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Have you ever made a friend in class that was so eager to talk to you from day one? They always seemed so peppy, energetic and personable. They’d get you in a great conversational mood and were always the first ones to ask you to group up or turn their desk around to face yours. As great as this sounds, always keep in mind the famous line “if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is”. Now, I’m not saying you can’t meet an awesome friend in class that you can knock coursework out with, but this is a different story entirely. This student, my friend, is not just any new friend made in class. This student is a Stage 5 Moocher.

This student will befriend you from the very first day, skillfully sitting next to you from every class thereafter. They may not talk to you right away, but instead take some time to observe your scholarly abilities to declare if you were mooch worthy or not. Or, they may introduce themselves before the professor even makes their first appearance, getting the low down on your past education and studying habits. Over the next few days, you start to realize that this student has a never ending supply of crazy life events that happen on a daily basis. First, their washing machine explodes and turns their homework (which was located upstairs in their backpack) into a soggy tissue mess. Then, their dog runs out and goes missing, making them have to scour the town and miss class. The next day, their roommate gets violently ill off of Ramen Noodles and needs someone to take care of them, preventing your classmate from constructing their paper outline. Conveniently for them, they had paired up with you, the scholarly noble student who actually does their work on time, to complete their part for them. For the first 6 times, you’re fooled time after time into giving your classmate the benefit of the doubt and picking up their slack. After the 5th time their washing machine explodes, you’ve had enough.

Borrowing a pencil here and a pen there everyday is one thing, but them not showing up to 2 out of the 3 classes a week has you carrying enough workload for two people. You feel duped, like your new “friend” is taking advantage of you while they simultaneously post pictures of their outing with friends the night before. So much for their car breaking down in the middle  of the street and waiting for a tow for 6 hours… your classmate was at dinner and bowling the entire time! If this situation sounds a bit too familiar, stop being taken advantage of and follow these tips.

1) Tell Them You’ve Caught On- This doesn’t mean approaching the situation with a “you’re a liar!” right off the bat, but it does mean you can let them in on the fact that you don’t think they’ve been completely honest with you. Your mooching classmate may have underestimated you and will be caught off guard at the fact you’ve caught on to their tactics. If you use this step, make sure you let your classmate know that you aren’t mad at them, just that it’s really stressful for you to do all of the work and share credit with them when they aren’t doing anything. Also let them know that the extra work is making you fall behind on other classes, and that you won’t be continuing to cover for them if they don’t start doing their portion.

2) See What’s REALLY Going On- In most cases, your classmate may just really be slacking off and using you as a perfect safety net. In rare cases, your classmate may have more going on at home than meets the eye. For instance, maybe they have chronic health issues or is so busy with extra-curriculars that they don’t have time to efficiently contribute. In either case, the extra work is not your problem. If they have health issues or too many extra-curriculars, they need to talk with their teacher to work out a plan or drop one of their extra activities to allow more time for school. Even though you may feel bad, you can’t bear the weight of two work loads. Let them know you’re there for support and extra help/tutoring, but that it just isn’t practical for you to do both of your work.

3) Take Turns- In some classes, there’s assignments that serve more as busy work than actual crucial assignments. In these cases, it may not be an awful idea to work together to find the chapter questions or have one student do them one night, and the other the next. As long as your professor doesn’t indicate that you have to work individually, they may not mind you meeting up in the library and doing the work together. Just don’t pair up on tests, essays or exams. You’d be surprised how quick professors catch on to similar answers and this may cost you a big portion of your grade. By alternating, you still allow your classmate to slack off a night here and there while you do the work. Then, when there’s nights that you just can’t seem to hit the books (catch up on some extra zZ’s when you’re sick?) you can relax and know you’re still covered. Just make sure that if this is your plan, that each classmate is really doing the work on “their night”. The worst thing would be for you to come through on your night, and them to bail on theirs and leave you without your assignment.

4) When All Else Fails, Ignore- This may sound a little.. well, bratty, but it’s not. You are working hard and doing your assignments, on time. There should be no reason that your classmate needs to rely on you to get their assignments done. If they don’t have the time and haven’t worked something out with your professor, then that is their problem, and not yours. This also goes for them not understanding the material. If you’ve offered to tutor them or help them understand concepts and they have denied both help from you and tutors in the library, then there’s nothing else you can do. Letting them copy your homework for every assignment won’t help them learn anything and it will just frustrate you. Plus, you’re risking your grade if your teacher thinks you two were cheating. It’s okay to say no if you don’t want to bear the extra weight. Let them know (step one) that you’re feeling a little taken for granted, and only worry about doing your own work on time. If they still insist on trying to copy or giving you excuses, stop answering your texts/calls/emails and turn your assignment in before they get a chance to try and copy it. Or, say you didn’t really understand the material and didn’t do your work. Once they don’t have that source to take advantage of anymore, they’ll either move on to the next victim or be forced to do their own work.