GUEST POST: Why You Should Consider a Gap Year

12 06 2012

This guest post is contributed by Dana Vicktor, a senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org. 

More and more universities are encouraging students to take a year off after high school before starting college in what is known as a gap year. College graduates can also take a year off before starting work – an intentional year off, not just unemployment forced by the economy.

Whether a gap year is taken at the start of college or the end – and whether you spend it traveling, volunteering, working overseas, or just reflecting on your goals – there are several benefits it can offer. Here’s why you should consider taking a gap year:

 Define Your Goals

School and work can consume so much of our focus that we lose sight of why we are doing what we’re doing. Sure, you go to college to get a degree so you can get the job, and you get the job so you can make money to live. But you may not know what you really want to do with that degree and what type of work you’d like to perform.

 A gap year can help you to focus on what you really want to do with your life. It can help you answer questions about what kind of work you want to do, where you want to live, and what you want to accomplish in your life.

 Build Your Resume

There are a number of ways that you can spend your gap year that will build your resume and boost your career prospects: You can teach or work overseas. You can volunteer locally or abroad. You can travel for pleasure. You can even spend the time doing nothing, reflecting on your goals.

 These activities can help you boost your confidence and increase your skills. Prospective employers will also be impressed by volunteer experience or time spent overseas. These activities will show that you are dedicated, adaptable, and self-directed.

 Try Again

 If you applied for college but didn’t get in, taking a gap year gives you the opportunity to try again in a year after you have built up your resume. If you have graduated from college and are unable to find work, taking a gap year gives you the chance to redefine your career goals and boost your resume with applicable experience.

 The key is to engage in activities during your gap year that will help your efforts. Volunteer in a position that is compatible with your chosen profession. Find part-time work that will give you the experience you need. Learn a language that will make you more marketable.

 However you spend your gap year, there are many benefits for you personally and professionally. You can use the time to broaden your horizons, learn more about yourself, and define your goals for your future. It also gives you the opportunity to have experiences that help your career or academic prospects.

 Did you take a gap year before or after college? How did you spend the year, and how did it help you? Tell us about it in the comments!

 

Dana Vicktor is the senior researcher and writer for duedatecalculator.org. Her most recent accomplishments include graduating from Ohio State University with a degree in communications and sociology. Her current focus for the site involves symptoms of pregnancy and next maternity.





GUEST POST: Graduated and without a Job? Navigating your Job Search after College

10 04 2012

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

There’s often nothing scarier than graduating from college and having no idea what you’re going to do with your life. After all, you may have been told that this is precisely what college is for—to prepare you for a future rewarding career. While this can be true, the real purpose of college, in my mind at least, is to develop the ability to think critically about any given topic. This will prepare you for the work that you eventually do, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you’ll know your exact career path once you get your diploma. If you find yourself jobless upon graduation, here are a few tips for discovering your career path, based on my experiences being unemployed when I first graduated.

  • Search your alumni database for potential job leads.

This, in my experience, has historically been the greatest untapped resource in terms of securing future employment. Of course, contacting alumni won’t directly get you a job, but it can help you figure out what you want to do with the help of people who were once in your position at the same school and now have succeeded. Find alumni in your area who are pursuing careers you are considering, and ask to meet with them for lunch.

  • Don’t necessarily take the first job you get, but don’t be too picky either.

When you’re looking for your first job, there will be long periods of time with no response from any applications, and then you may hit a spell when you’re getting interview after interview. It’s best to seek a middle ground between holding out for that dream job (which, for most people, doesn’t happen until years later) and taking the very first thing that’s offered to you. Accept a job that you feel you can conceivably excel at and a company whose culture you mesh well with.

  • Consider seeing a career counselor.

Many recent graduates will finish schooling having absolutely no idea what they want to do with their lives. If this is the case for you, it may be beneficial to visit a career counselor, who can help you access your strengths, weaknesses, and personality traits to determine which type of career you would do well in and would enjoy. For more information about what a career counselor does, check out this page on the Princeton Review website.

  • Network, network, network.

Most good entry-level jobs you will not find on job boards or classifieds sections of newspapers. You’ll have to get more creative with your job search. The most important aspect of finding a good job is getting one through someone you know. As such, widening the scope of “people you know”—also known by its cruder name, networking—is absolutely essential. You can do this by joining different young professionals groups in your area, attending conferences in your target industry, or merely doing something you enjoy—like participating in informal adult sports leagues—that requires group participation with strangers.

Finding a job in this economy, of course, is no easy task. But if you keep being persistent, you’ll an excellent first job eventually. Good luck!





GRADUATION

6 02 2012

 It came, we concurred and it STUCK! 16th January 2012 was a day of reckoning for me and all those that celebrated with me my Graduation from College. It was the best culmination of 3 years of hard work and dedication.

It all started at 6am when i woke up to prepare for the unexpectedly great day. We drove to the University freedom square with my parents where the function was to take place. Like all other graduation days, the trip to freedom square was slow but enjoyable despite the traffic.

By 9am, i was already seated in the Graduates tent at freedom square just in time for the function as the Chancellor and his procession had just got in. The function started with award of PhD’s for the several candidates followed by Master Degree awards and finally Bachelors and Diploma’s.

I waited patiently in our tent for my name to be read and when it was finally read, it was all smiles and joy for me and all my fellow graduates as we raised our Graduant Hats up high for every one to see.

After my name was read, i left freedom square with my classmates and took our final class picture that would seal our journey together for last 3yrs in our memories forever. We were all jolly and looking good on this memorable day whose journey started on the same grounds during our fresher orientation 3 years ago.

My Classmates

At home everyone was waiting congratulate me.  Aunts, Uncles, cousins, Grand parents, Parents, Brothers, Sisters and Friends all made it to my big day and shared a very special luncheon with me to celebrate this big day.

Besides the celebrations, I also got to meet relatives I had no met in years. Uncles, Aunts and Cousins i last saw when i was a child all showed up on my day. It was emotional for me and I am so glad they came to celebrate with me.

16th January 2012 is day never to be forgotten for me.

Let me take this opportunity to thank my parents for facilitating my education and ensuring that they educate me to this stage and “I won’t disappoint them“. I also thank my siblings for all the support they gave me. Great thanks go out to all my relatives and friends that supported me and to those who came to witness my graduation. Finally, I would like to thank YOU the readers of this blog for all the loyalty, reading and various kinds of support you gave me.

It’s been an HONOUR for me to reach this great mile storm and I AM GOING TO ACHIEVE MORE.

At the time of posting, i am working as a Volunteer Biologist in aWildlifePark as you can read some of the previous posts. So i guess my career as a Biologist is just getting stated.

My future plans are to advance my career as a Biologist through getting hands on field experience and later going for further education for MSc and PhD. THE JOURNEY JUST GOT STARTED.

This is my final post on this blog so let me close off by saying, THE QUEST FOR KNOWLEDGE IS AN ONGOING PROCESS AND WILL GO ON NO MATTER WHAT KIND OF QUALIFICATION YOU ACHIEVE. SO TO ALL OF YOU, KEEP READING AND EDUCATING YOURSELF and like Steve Jobs (RIP) put it, “STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH”…. And always “FOLLOW YOUR HEART”!

Before i sign off i would like to share somethings with you…..

This is my Transcript (I had to black out lots of sections in order to protect myself and for privacy concerns).

Your the Judge.

Finally, i would like to share the following songs with these special people…

Going out to all my Classmates and Fellow Graduants ……

Friends for Forever (Graduation Song) – Vitamin C

Going out to all the Mysterious Girls……..

Mysterious Girls – Peter Andre

Going out to all you all of you Guys and everyone that played a part in my achievement,,

Thank you -DIDO

THANK YOU ALL

Joash Mabs (BSc Biochemistry & Zoology)





D-DAY

15 01 2012

It’s just a few away from Graduation Day and all is now set for the big day. In the 3 days since i returned from the park, i have been running up and down making sure all is all set and  no mikstakes to be made.

So far i have already processed my invitation cards, gown, booklet and most importantly my transcript. I was surprised when i got my transcript since it takes a long time for most people to get theirs but i guess it was my lucky day.

Now armed with my Transcript i can fairly compete for jobs since it’s one of the requirements. I’ll take it with me to the park and try landing a job there.

All i am left with regarding graduatiuon is attending the Ceremony on Monday, 16th January 2012 then i get a Certificate after. I am planning on taking lots of pictures so expect quite a number of them by the end of the week.

For now i have to go and finish with preparations………. XOXO

Follow all the Graduation Updates on my Twitter Page





COUNTDOWN TO GRADUATION DAY

11 01 2012

It’s 5 days to the big day. The day i’ve been looking forward to since i was admitted into college over 3 years ago. The Day of my Graduation.

It’s not been easy to get to this day, as you can read in the previous posts here, College has been very tiring for me. But i gladly finished it without repeating a course so i am proud of myself.

I am now doing Volunteer work in at a Wildlife Park in a field that i love a lot (Conservation) and it’s not the boring office work that everyone yarns for, i am doing loads and loads of field work.

I have come this far and i know i can achieve more through my commitment and patience. I hope Graduation Day will not mark the start of of dark future but a start of life of opportunities and loads of decision making. Whatever happens, i am going to succeed no matter what.

D Day is Monday 16th January 2012. I will post as many pictures as i can. Till that day, Stay Safe…





HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE PARK

8 01 2012

Happy New Year people and hope your enjoying 2012.

I am now half way through my volunteer work at the park and the experiences I’ve had so far have been so many. The past 3 months have been so informative as I’ve learnt a lot and i am looking forward to more experiences in the next 3 months.

When i started working at the park, i was attached to the Monitoring and Research department (MR) and it’s one of the most interesting units of the park. Other departments include Administration and Finance, Law Enforcement, Tourism and Community Conservation. Considering my educational background, the MR department was my best fit.

The MR unit does several activities such as Controlled Burning of the park, Fire Fighting, Animal rescue (where we treat sick and wire snared animals like elephants), Collecting samples from sick and dead animals, Supervise research activities in the park, Mapping burnt areas, Maintain the GIS database, Prepare Monthly and Quarterly reports, among others.

I have also met a lot of new people and now that i am living alone I’ve got a feel on how living like a bachelor feels like. So far, the experiences I’ve had have been the best.

Right now i am hoping to stay longer than the six months i was given so towards the end of my program i will talk to the Park Manager and see how he can help me stay longer.

They say pictures Here are some pictures from my several adventures at the park. I hope you enjoy them .

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Volunteer Work at a Wildlife Park

5 10 2011

In an earlier post, i hinted about my plans to do Volunteer work in order to build on my working experience so i could compete fairly for jobs with other graduates in future.

Well, i have just confirmed that i will be heading to a Wildlife Park on Friday, 7th October 2011 to do Volunteer work in Wildlife Conservation and Tourism. I’ve been quite busy during the past month to secure this placement and i am glad i finally go it. The placement will last 6 months (till April 2012) and i am more than ready to take it up.

My expectations: I hope to gain loads of experience especially in wildlife conservation and this will hopefully give me certain advantages when i decide to go for further studies. 6 months is good experience but i will need more. I also hope to have a good time.

The area where I will be working is very remote (it’s along the equator and a rift valley) but that is a good thing because i was becoming fed up of the city and what i need right now is a place that is calm where i will be able to relax and reminisce about my time at college.

I don’t really know if this will be a relaxing task since wildlife work involves lots of hard work and dedication but what i am certain about is that this is going to be a different experience from those i have had before. I have only been to a wildlife park once (in April during field course) and it wasn’t that bad. However, this particular park where i am going to work is very different and much bigger (764 sq miles). I am also there on a different role so i must expect a different experience.

This park has has many mammal species (95 species) such as Hippopotamuses, Elephants, Leopards, Lions, Chimpanzees, Buffaloes (and so many more). It also has lots of birds (500 spp) and reptiles. So it’s going to be a completely new experience, new opportunities and challenges but i am ready for everything.

Hippopotamuses

The Kob

Since the area where i will be working is very remote, I don’t know if I will have Internet access, but in case do, I will be posting regularly or whenever i can here. I will also be posting daily updates to my Twitter page so make sure you catch me then.








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