The Value of Doing an Internship

July 1st, 2013

Are internships valuable career related experience, career connections, future job opportunities, or free labor? The answer is a all of the above, but it’s up to the intern to pick the best opportunity and arrange for the most rewarding experience.

Each year, college students spend thousands of dollars getting academic education with little or no field experience and job related training. Employers are reluctant to hire an inexperienced college student and train them at their cost or to be liable for an inexperienced student’s inability to deliver. And students are not likely to always get the required career training and connections from college.

College Interns

Students are also unlikely to get mentors and a career related network through college. Professors and guest speakers are great sources, but perhaps not enough.

Internships are a great way to gain career related experience and build a portfolio containing related experience and tangible results. They are also a great opportunity to connect with mentors, career network, and future employers. And employers tend to hire their own successful interns, or their competitors’. However, students have to be prepared to invest the time to learn and to contribute some level of work to the company in exchange for the free training. After all, look at the time and money invested in college degrees just to walk out often with minimal work experience and dismal work opportunities.

Internships have to offer valuable career experience. That doesn’t include preparing coffee and picking up laundry. It’s up to the students to determine their career path and the experience and connections required to get there. Then find internships that fit, or even create their own
opportunities by proactively approaching companies. If the internship appears to offer minimal value, turn it down. And where appropriate, it never hurts to negotiate a better arrangement.

Unpaid internships in some states are illegal. And paid internships can be minimum wage jobs unrelated to a student’s career development requirements. However, they can be a rewarding experience for students to build their profile. But students have to proactively search for a
fitting internship and negotiate the most suitable arrangement.

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The Worst Christmas Family Cards

December 19th, 2012

In honor of the Kardashians revealing their Christmas card, we felt inspired to share the bad, worse and the straight up Child Protective Services material. Happy Holidays, and if you felt the need to share your personal collection, please reach us. We’ll keep it anonymous …

Kardashian Christmas Card 2012

Kardashian Christmas Card 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Financing your Education: Beat the Debt Blues

October 30th, 2012

Image via salon.com

Student debt is at an all-time high, yet perhaps the most terrifying part of this is that many students (myself included) still aren’t ready to shift the way we think about spending and saving. Chances are, students do not have a lot of interest in saving money, even if they don’t have a lot of it.

Why is this?

The answer is pretty intuitive. Instant gratification derived from spending provides us with the short term thrills that we can conceptualize and that we crave in the now. It is much more difficult to visualize the gratification we will feel four years down the road when we aren’t buried in student debt. It’s an abstract thought as opposed to a tangible beer, designer pair of jeans, new laptop, etc.

Secondly, university and college is supposed to be about experiences! This idea that “these are the best years of your life” are drilled into our minds and I would speculate the amount of times I have felt guilt over not going out and not studying have been equal. The Halloween Boat Cruise, the costumes, the parties, the Spring Break trips are arguably as big of a part of our education as the courses themselves.

But the debt is real. A TD Economics study found the average student debt after university is $27,747 ! How does one stay on top of this mountain of experiences and education without going through school with a heavy heart and a light wallet?

LocAZu has outlined some realistic and helpful measures to make sure you keep yourself above the student debt blues and into a reliable stream of income:

  • Get experience! This cannot emphasized enough. The economy is shifting, and employers aren’t willing to take as many risks as they once were. While it used to be enough to apply as a bright, bushy-tailed and eager student, these days employers want someone who has already been in the field a few years. Even when job postings boast ‘no experience required’, the market is so competitive that more often than not somebody with experience will have that edge to butt out the competitors. So obtain an internship, go on co-op, even volunteer while you are still in school. Companies are usually more eager to help active students (especially when it’s free), and the experience and competitive edge you will obtain is invaluable.

  • Be resourceful: Ideally, don’t take on debt if you don’t need to. Be crafty in scoping out ways of keeping money in the bank whether it’s finding affordable housing or negotiating student deals wherever you go, from sushi-to-go to drop-in yoga classes. There are resources out there other than financial aid that can still be of major assistance in spending smart.
  • Hone your skills: You have your degree, or perhaps you have a diploma in a skilled trade. Guess what? It’s not enough. Good news, the peripheral skills you develop can go a long way in filling the gap between degree and job. Regardless of your option, almost all employers are looking for a set of fundamental skills such as critical thinking and communication, says Carl Van Horn, director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University. Take time to familiarize yourself with Powerpoint and Excel, even if your degree is in music, or perhaps, especially if your degree is in music. Best news is this extra skill development doesn’t need to cost you a penny. With the likes of YouTube you can find tutorials on everything from how to tie a tie to how to give an effective presentation. Make yourself well-rounded, and you become a more valuable and marketable asset to any team.
  • Apply for bursaries you don’t believe you are qualified for: This seems counter-intuitive. Of course, apply for bursaries and scholarships you do qualify for, but don’t limit yourself to that. There is money out there and people who want to help students financially, often times it’s the recipients that are lacking! According to Kam Holland, director of awards and financial aid at the University of Winnipeg, students simply overlook grants and financial assistance that is available to them. At York University, when a $45,000 scholarship was posted recently, out of 50,000 students only 5 had applied. Acknowledge that it takes time and effort to apply, sometimes up to 12 hours per application. The requirements, whether they are official transcripts or letters of recommendation, are enough of a factor to deter many students from applying. Don’t let that be you. Instead, put the hours in, the odds are in your favour.
A little bit of research and craftiness can go a long way when it comes to ending up on top of your finances. Learn budgeting early (great way to incorporate Excel!), look for resources, apps, and individuals who can help you. Acknowledge that people do want to help. If you do need money above and beyond what you have incoming, consider a student line of credit and look up interest rates in your province or state.
Your bar-nights and bank account can live in harmony. Get savvy, get saving, and beat the student debt blues.
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Halloween 2012: Creative Campus Costumes

October 13th, 2012

It’s that time of year again! That fabulous, pumpkin-aura’d, crunchy leaves, freeze-because-your-costume-is-so-sexy holiday we all love so much. Undeniably however, never too far behind the thrill of mistaken identities and cheap firecrackers lags the apprehension of how to top last year’s costume. Why not try something different this year?

LocAZu is here to help with 3 great Campus costume ideas to get you going this year (And classroom appropriate!.. mostly).

1. Breaking Bad

Trick or treat, Bitches. AMC’s hit series is a great source of inspiration this year. Walter White’s multiple personas make it easy to portray his character in any number of ways, try these for starters:

  1. The Cook: Ah, the classic chemist turned Meth cook. You’ll need a Hazmat suit, but in case you don’t even know what that is let alone where to get your hands on one, why not use a raincoat instead? Or even a painters’ suit? Equally Effective.

  1. Heisenburg: Perhaps easier, just make sure you have the hat down and a sketchy pair of shades. Grow your own goatee (if you can) or else let a trusted friend have their way with a sharpie. Stick-on facial hair works as well, available at most costume shops.

*Breaking Bad images from Wonder How-to

If you’re interested in upgrading to a partner costume, Jesse Pinkman is even easier to portray. Baggy pants, baggy shirt, a cigarette behind the ear, and a vulgar mouth.

Bonus! Throw some blue rock candy into a ziploc bag for your signature blue meth.
Bonus Fun Fact: On the actual show they use cotton-candy flavoured rock candy to portray meth.

2. Tall, Extra Hot, Mocha 

Why not dress up as the fuel that keeps you going between classes? That’s right, your favourite cup of Java. Have fun with your customization: Are you a tall Blonde? Skinny Caramel Machiatto? Venti Dark Roast? Cinnamon Dolce Latte, extra sweet? Get creative. So simple to do! Find a white dress, some brown parcel paper, and an artist friend to draw on your logo of choice. Guaranteed to get a latte compliments!

Tall Blonde, Extra-whip Mocha, and a Caramel Frappucino

A tall order!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Group Costume: 3 Blind Mice!

3 blind mice, Ladies version!

Ladies version!

3 blind mice, male version

And for the gentlemen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So simple and so effective! Grab two friends, and dress up head to toe in gray. Alternatively, feel free to dress it up, black and white style. Throw on some sunglasses, buy a cheap cane (or acquire on somewhere), and buy your starter mouse ears & tail set (You can also easily make your own using a headband and construction paper for the ears, and an elastic band and some string for the tail). Ta-da! Extra points for whiskers and a nose.

 

And there you have it! With control over how much to cover up or  how much to show off, these costume ideas can go from lecture hall to campus pub. Happy halloween from all of us at locAZu, and send us some of your campus costumes!

 

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LocAZu Student Network: Lecture Note Sharing with Swagger

September 24th, 2012

How does a student who is cooler than penguin add to their already awesome swagger? By joining student network LocAZu to share lecture notes.

You know all about the Feminist Ryan Gosling Tumblr; you listen to Mumford and Sons on repeat, and you’ve worn your pyjamas to class on more than one occasion. You’re a pretty awesome college or university student, but Dr. LocAZu, LocAZu’s mascot, has a secret to share with you: you aren’t living up to your potential. Don’t panic. The best way to increase your awesomeness is to share lecture notes with student network LocAZu.

LocAZu is the one-stop-shop for college students to share lecture notes and study material, trade textbooks, share events and share course and professor evaluations.  Active at 600 schools in North America, LocAZu is a comprehensive tool to help you and your friends get through school with less debt, less pain, and more fun.
Want to start sharing lecture notes and study materials?

Read the rest of this entry »

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