Tag Archives: graduation

Business Card Giveaway!

29 Mar

There’s many ways to stay connected in our digital age- LinkedIn, Facebook, phone applications like Bump. However, when it comes to networking, nothing replaces a good ol’ business card. I feel like this is something every young person starting out in their career should have. Whether you’re interviewing, at an event or dating, having your contact info easily accessible is very useful.

The kind folks at Uprinting are giving away two sets of their awesome Die Cut business cards to two lucky readers. For a chance to win, leave a comment below with how you plan to use them. Two winners will be chosen at random Friday, April 1st. Details Below:

1.  2 readers will be getting a set (250pcs each) of Die Cut business cards (Rounded Corners, Leaf, Rounded Single-Corner, Half-Circle Side, Circle); 14pt Cardstock Gloss / Matte / High Gloss (UV), or 13pt Cardstock Uncoated on a 6 Business Days Turnaround; Front Only or Front and Back printing

2. Restriction: Limited to US residents 18 years old and above only.

Don’t forget to  Like UPrinting on Facebook and share the love with your friends! (http://www.facebook.com/uprinting)

[This giveaway is sponsored by UPrinting, no monetary compensation was given. For more information about business cards, please visit http://www.uprinting.com/business-cards.html.]

Good luck!


Commencement Speech by Jeff Bezos

3 Aug

I came across this Graduation Speeh today on TED, by Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. The whole speech is wonderful, but the end (pasted below) really struck me.  I think these are important questions to ask yourself at any point of your life.

How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?

Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?

Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?

Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?

Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?

Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?

Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?

When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?

Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?

Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.

Two Cent Tuesdays

29 Jun

Back again for Two Cent Tuesdays and today we have a fairly common question from a recent graduate.

Mad Grad,

I’m just graduated, moved home and I am starting to look for a job. I’ve been hearing a lot about the dismal job market though. Should I be concerned? Help!



Trust us when we say you are not alone in this question. Although the tumultuous economy over the past few years has lead to numerous layoffs and businesses closing their doors, things are finally starting to look up. It is often thought that during a decline in the economy people are more apt to introduce new ideas and entrepreneurship has a chance to thrive. I think we have seen many examples of that recently, especially with the help of technology and social media. With that being said hundreds of new companies have sprung up over the past year because people were willing to take a chance when they had nothing left to lose.

From what I have seen lately there are a lot of jobs out there. On top of that, many of the openings seem to be for fresh out of college motivated and anxious young people. As you mentioned you are starting to look and looking is only half the battle. You could search job postings online for months, instead try to be strategic. Even if you can narrow down the type of work you want to do your search will be much easier.

Target specific companies that are appealing to you and even if they aren’t hiring request an informational interview so you can get a foot in the door and an idea of what it would be like to work there.

The number one thing to do right now is network! I cannot express that enough. Reach out to everyone you know send them your resume for feedback or to pass along. Ask questions to friends, parents anyone who has crossed your path and see if they can help you land a job. Be bold,  courageous and above all don’t be afraid to ask for help! (Seeing as how you emailed us, you are already past that stage!) Good luck and let us know if we can offer any more advice!


The Mad Grad

Guest Post: Taking the First Steps in Your Adult Shoes

27 May


Graduating from college is a huge step in life. The question changes from what do you want to be when you grow up to  a more realistic one- now what? The first steps you take after college are the start to your adult life. I started thinking about this in light of a friend deciding to move back home.
My friend Matt went to college in Oregon and moved to San Diego upon graduating last summer- to live with his best friend and start a new life. He got a job as a waiter to pay the bills while he looked for a job. He felt like he didn’t fit in here and talked about it often. He was constantly reminiscing about the college days and how he was the “big man on campus.” After less than a year, Matt has decided to move back home. I have mixed feelings about his move, because he did give it a shot, but I don’t think he was open minded enough.

Here’s a few pearls of wisdom for the new grad out there:

1. KEEP AN OPEN MIND: Be ready for new experiences and new challenges. Be ready to LEARN. Managing my own money and supporting myself financially was something I had to adjust to.

2. EXPECT TO BE DISAPPOINTED: You will be let down at some point, that’s life so just be ready. You might not get the first job you interview for. You may not get the salary you expected. All I’m saying is be realistic. Especially in this economy the game is totally different.

3. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE: Even if you stay in the same city you attended college, your life will not be the same. Friends will leave and life will be different. There are no “mental health days” allowed at work like in college. You need to change your method of thinking and remember that you are being paid to be there and your company values your time so you should too.

4. TAKE RISKS: If not now, then when? Move somewhere new. Apply for a job you might be under qualified for. Travel and work somewhere exotic for a while. Go out and meet new people- NETWORK! This is probably the most valuable take away networking will do wonders for your career in the present and in the future.

5. TAKE YOUR OWN PATH: This is your time to be selfish. By that I mean, you need to make decisions for yourself  about where you will live, work and play. Don’t make your plans according to what your best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend is doing- you will be left thinking what if. Go with your gut and make sure that you are doing something that you are proud of and are in a place that you feel excited about going to work and being part of the company.

Starting off is both frightening and exciting and you will never get another first chance to decide what the first thing you will do after college is going to be so make it something great and do not be afraid of listening to your heart!

-Nicole LaVelle

Nicole LaVelle is a recent graduate from San Diego where she studied graphic design she has also studied in Florence Italy and she is now working as a Designer at a marketing company. You can see her work here http://www.nicolelavelle.com

What I Wish I Knew In College

6 Nov


Your grades do matter: Most companies won’t ask for your GPA (unless of course you’re applying for Google or Facebook). But if you eventually decide to go back to Grad School, that C- in statistics may come back to haunt you. 

Get Involved: Although clubs and volunteering may seem soo highschool, this will give you experience for your future career or improve your grad school application. What employer wouldn’t be impressed by the President of the Red Cross, or someone who was proactive enough to start their own club? It’s also a great way to meet new friends and help out your community.

Take classes that really interest you: It may be hard to imagine at the time, but after college, you’re going to really miss learning. There are so many more classes I wish I had taken for the sake of learning instead of just getting credit towards my degree. 

Choose a major that you love: You’ll find once you start interviewing, that most majors prepare you in someway for whatever job you are applying for. Instead of choosing a major because you think it will look better on paper, or impress an employer, choose a major that you are genuinely interested in. If your job requires a specific major, choose a fun minor. 

Get Experience: In college, I was pretty sure that when I graduated, employers would be sympathetic to my lack of experience. After all, I was a college student with little time to study for all of my classes let alone work! But I quickly found out that this was not so, and employers do expect you to have experience immediately after graduation.  Internships are the best way to get experience and have a job ready for you after graduation. Most internships are only offered for college credit, or are difficult to take after college when you need a steady income. Take advantage of the experience and networking which internships offer.

Watch your credit: Between parting, studying and going to the beach, the last thing on my mind in College was my credit score. However, after graduating and looking for houses, the late payments came back to haunt me. Every landlord does Credit checks, and it can be very difficult to get an apartment with a low credit score (especially if moving to a big city). No matter how busy you are, never neglect to check your bank account and avoid overdraft charges and late payments.

Care About Politics: It wasn’t until I graduated and moved to San Francisco, that I really started caring about who I voted for and the propositions. However, after seeing the huge impact the youth vote had on this election, it is extremely important to start caring as soon as you can vote. The elections impact college students tremendously from college loans, parental notification for abortions, military service and community college board members. 

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: Although you may have the mentality that you won’t drink like you do after college, the effects from binge drinking can last a lifetime. Over-drinking can lead to poor decisions and regrets that will last long after college. Have fun and enjoy a drink or two, but don’t start poor drinking habits that will carry with you after. 

Cherish Your Friendships: After college, it’s hard to stay in touch with friends. You move back home to different states and countries, and have different schedules that make it hard to stay connected. Spend as much time as you can with your friends, before they are a plane ride, or time zone away. 

It’s okay to move home after Graduation: In college, I couldn’t imagine how or why anyone would move back home with their parents after living independently for four years. All I could think of was the image of Will Ferrell in Wedding Crashers screaming “Mom, the Meatloaf!” Little did I know, that I would be moving home after Graduation, along with 95 percent my friends. Most people don’t have the money or career immediately after graduating to move straight into their own apartment. Moving home temporarily is a great way to acclimate to your new lifestyle and save money while finding a job. 

Practice Good Habits: Without Mom there to scream at you, it’s tempting not to leave your room in shambles, drink straight from the Milk Carton, and sleep until noon. However, the habits you practice during college, will carry with you after you graduate. Cleaning, taking care of your health and practicing a regular sleep schedule will start to come naturally if you do these things regularly (and make you a better roommate).

Enjoy every minute of it: As Tom Petty said, “Work never ends but college does.” While college may be a blast, you never really appreciate it until you start your 9-5 job and feel guilty staying out past 11pm. Savor the ability to sleep in on a Wednesday, or go drinking with friends on a Tuesday, because you’ll miss it later. I know I do!

What do you wish you knew in college?

Top Ten “Must-do” Things after Graduation

20 Oct

1. Learn To Cook: In all honesty, I have no idea what I ate in college. Probably because I was usually too hungover to eat anything other than pizza, mexican food, or hamburgers. Between racing to class, my dwindling bank account and the Decrepit state of our kitchen from the late night parties, cooking was not something I did often let alone think about. This is why after graduating, and settling in your own apartment, cooking is more of a possibility. In fact, after a long day at work it can even be relaxing, and a great way to bring friends together and meet new people. Browse your nearest bookstore for tips on cooking on a budget, and easy to prepare meals. 

2. Volunteer: You’ve heard it said before, ” If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.” Well, this is your opportunity to stand for something. Volunteering is a great way to become involved in your new community after graduation, meet people, stay busy, and spend your free time making a difference.

3. Travel: Remember when you were younger, and the feeling you got when you sprinted out on Christmas morning and saw the brand new bicycle with a huge bow on it from Santa? Well, that is the feeling you get once you have accrued enough vacation days at work to actually go somewhere. Take advantage of the time after college, when you aren’t bound to your class schedule or sick days. Grab your backpack, a close friend and go somewhere you’ve always wanted. Trust me, once you start your new job you won’t have this luxury. 

4. Meet with a Financial Advisor: The first thing you should do after college (now that Mom and Dad aren’t helping out with rent) is to sit down with a financial advisor at your bank. They will help you open your own bank account (if you haven’t already), start a savings plan, and improve your credit. 

5. Exercise: The easily accessible candy bowl/ nervous snacking/tired after work/sitting in front of a computer all day/free food in the kitchen/fully stocked cafeteria- pounds can sneak up on you after college. Join a gym, take a walk/run or hike to de-stress and look as great as you did before the Freshman 15.  

6. Find and Cultivate a Hobby: Sorry, but “going out with Friends” does not count as a Hobby, although most of us wish it did. After graduating, and starting your 9-5 job, find something that relaxes you and that you love doing. Take up a sport (running, biking, soccer etc), do something creative (sew, knit, paint, draw) or learn an instrument. Doing so will take your mind off of the busy workday, and the stress of figuring out your future.

7. Read: “You always want what you can’t have.” In college, this was the luxury to read a book for fun and not be thinking in the back of my mind, “What are you doing reading Harry Potter?! You have 400 pages of your biology book to read by tomorrow!” Now that your text books have hit the bonfire (or even better a used textbook site), read read read. And not just books, reading the newspaper, news sites, and articles will keep you informed of current events, and give you something to talk about with coworkers and friends. 

8. Update Your Resume: Now that you are graduated and are applying for full time positions, it’s time to make your resume more professional. Have your friends and family review it and give suggestions, and buy books to help you perfect it. Move that education section to the bottom, and the experience to the top- you are now a working professional. It’s important to have your resume, edited and ready to go at all times, maybe even carry a copy with you as you search for a job. It sounds nerdy I know, but you’ll thank me if you run into Steve Jobs at Starbucks. 

9. Drink Responsibly: Your body can’t handle the keggers, binge drinking and thursday night 2 for 1 specials anymore. Instead, have one or two drinks with dinner and sip don’t gulp. As you start your professional career, you don’t want to be seen around town acting like a frat boy at a Journey concert. And Let’s be honest, who wants to be the talk of the water cooler? 

10. Save a Little Money Each Week: If you are like me and struggle to meet rent every month on your entry- level salary, you may be wondering how this is possible. Really, putting aside 100 dollars a month (25 a week) is pretty reasonable for most people. You may have to stay in a night or two, or skip a shopping trip to do so, but it’s worth it in the long run. This is especially important with the state the economy is in right now. Lets say you put 100 dollars in your savings for 12 months. If the unthinkable happens, and you lose your job, you will have enough money to pay rent for a short while while you look for another job. 

Bonus #11: Vote!! It can be tough to vote in college, as you change residence often and have difficulty imagining life outside of your college bubble. But as you enter the real world, you start to see the policies you previously didn’t think twice about, affecting you. Get out there and register.

Grad School.. Only Fools Rush in

5 Jun

For some of you smart cookies out there, it might be very tempting to go straight into grad school after college. If you sat at graduation eagerly awaiting your next final,  and if you from birth knew your life calling and it had at no point changed since then, by all means go for it! But for the rest of us lost souls who change our “future professions” more than we change our toilet paper rolls, going straight to grad school might not be the best idea.  Here’s why:

After college, you are filled with a great deal of knowledge, but not experience. You may have learned about modern art from Pollock to Warhol and anxiously waited the day where you would work in an Art Gallery. However, you graduate and land an internship at a museum only to discover a passion for psychology.  This situation is very common among recent graduates. Many of us find that once we are in the jobs that we daydreamed of during college classes, they aren’t anything like we expected. Very few of our jobs end up even being related to our field of study.

I might be an extreme example, but since graduating a year ago, I am already on my 3rd job! I went from psychology, to law to project management. As crazy as this sounds, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because each job has brought me a step closer to what I want to do. It is especially hard with parents, friends and the media pushing us towards certain positions. (I can’t say wanting to be a lawyer had nothing to do with the glamour of Law and Order) 

Post Graduation is a confusing, emotional and exciting time for most of us. Racing into grad school, when you are not completely sure of what you want to do will only waste your time, effort and money. The amount of time you choose to take depends on how ready you are, and what field you are in. The average age of business school applicants is 27. They usually require at least 4 years of working experience. The average age applying to Law School is slightly lower around 24.7. 

Point being the recommended age of applying to grad school varies depending on your desired area of study. But no matter what you decide to do, taking at least a year off after college and volunteering, interning or working in the field that interests you BEFORE applying to grad school can be life changing. It will not only improve your application if you choose to go with the career, but will save you lots of time and money if you take another path.

For some, grad school can be an excellent choice to gain knowledge and advance your career, but don’t rush into it. Years down the road, you don’t want to feel “stuck in your job” because you spent so much time and money in Grad School to get there. Instead, take your time and enjoy the journey. 


Carpe Diem, Seize the Day Already!

30 May


Last Weekend I was lucky enough to see Jenny’s little sister graduate.  After a night of partying in San Diego, we were very tired, but this was quickly replaced by the excitement of the proud parents, and family members eagerly awaiting their graduate’s big walk. 

The actual ceremony went as predicted: The family members piled in to the auditorium while the soon-to be graduates filed into their seats nervously laughing with friends, and waving to their friends and family in the stands who quickly snapped the perfect picture. We sang the national anthem, stood for the silent procession of flags, and awkwardly sang their school song. The speeches were surprisingly short and sweet with splashes of humor and seriousness. 

The part of graduations I look most forward to is the main speaker, who, because of their expertise and success, makes their best attempt to impart their life lessons to the thirsty graduates. Despite the exhausting long ceremony, I was somewhat disappointed when she said she would only be speaking for 3 minutes to move the ceremony along. At the end of her short speech she told them the lesson she wished to leave them with was “Carpe diem, seize the day!” Okay, first I get  3 minutes of what is supposed to be the most important speech of the ceremony, and now I get the most cliche line of all time? I immediately envisioned graduates all over the world, hearing the exact same line. How drab!! Where was the creativity and uniqueness? 

But then I started thinking: I don’t remember any other part of her 3 minute speech. In fact, I don’t even remember ANY part of my own 30 minute speech at my own graduation a year ago. Maybe she was on to something here. She took an important line that most of us (including myself) needed to be reminded of. How often do we forget to really “seize the day?” And by that I mean, going through our everyday routines, as if we have many left. I may have heard this line before, but I needed to be reminded of it. I need to seize the day more.. take advantage of every opportunity, go on a random trip I’ve always wanted to take, help someone in need, catch up with an old friend, do something that scares me, learn something new. 

Maybe this was a lesson, that sometimes we need to be reminded of life lessons that we have become numb to.  How many of us live everyday by the Golden Rule? Take the Road less Traveled by? Dance as though no one is watching? 

I’m glad her speech was short, otherwise I would have forgotten something that my teachers and parents preached throughout my life, as did Robyn Williams in my favorite movie, The Dead Poets Society:

Carpe Diem! Sieze the day already! Life’s a tickin…