During the recent London Summer Olympics, Nike had a series of commercials around the theme of “Find Your Greatness.” These commercials struck me as we are all on that journey to find our personal greatness. As a faculty member at Florida State University, I am constantly reminded how this journey looks and feels different for everyone. Whether it is through your academic work, engagement in student organizations, or participation in athletics or intramurals; finding your greatness can be exciting and yet painful at times.
In order to maximize your time as a student here at FSU, focus on finding YOUR greatness. First is to work on knowing yourself. Just as the Ancient Greek aphorism states “Know Thyself,” understanding what your greatness is the first step to taking full advantage of your time at FSU. Simple things like understanding what time of day you study best, or what foods give you energy, or even if you learn better sitting in the front of the classroom are essential in reaching your full potential. Start today in learning about yourself, as this is a lifelong process.
Creating deep, meaningful relationships is another tip for you to maximize your time at FSU. I know that I am a better person because of the people around me, who will not only support me in finding my greatness, but who will challenge me to do better. Every day I am thankful for the students, faculty and staff I work with because they inspire me to be a better person. Because of these relationships I think about how I can “show up” every day giving 110% to those around me. They give me a space which supports and yet challenges me to know myself better and live with purpose every day.
Getting rid of the fear of failure is my final tip in finding your greatness. We all have this fear that we are not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough. The list of “I’m not…” can go on forever. So, you may ask, “How can I do that?” Through knowing yourself and creating deep, meaningful relationships, you will know that you are enough. Having courage to take risks and looking at failure as the opportunity to learn is critical.
FSU is an incredible community of faculty, staff, and students who care. Be intentional about your time here. As one of the Nike “Find Your Greatness” commercial states, “Somehow we have come to believe that greatness is a gift, reserved for a chosen few… you can forget that. Greatness is not some rare DNA strand. It’s not some precious thing. Greatness is no more unique to us than breathing. We are all capable of it. All of us…”
So, get out there… find your personal greatness. Because you are great and our world needs you!
Kathy Guthrie, FSU School of Education
It’s the question you’ll first be asked when you are identified to someone as a college student:
“What’s your major?”
Thankfully, though many said naively, I’ve known what I wanted to do my whole life: international non-profit work. In fact, I was so sure that I really didn’t even care that Florida State didn’t have a related undergraduate course in what I wanted to study. I immediately settled into International Affairs and found my real home in Geography, adding it as a second major my junior year.
But when people ask me, “what’s your major?” I coyly say “Haiti”. Haiti is what I’ve learned about most in college, it’s what I’ve studied, what I’ve focused on, and what I talk about most often. I went on my first trip with my dad in July 2010 and found out about the FSU RSO “Noles for Haiti” that fall. With the club I’ve been able to help lead fundraisers at FSU and trips to the New Life Children’s Home orphanage, which we support, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
As I start my senior year at Florida State, I can confidently say that I have not found my exact future career. I adore Geography but have no plans to continue in the technical field. As I meandered through my incredibly interesting and informative classes, I realized that what I was doing with my free time was the thing actually shaping my college experience. My education? Learning that Haiti is a country we as Floridians and Americans should partner with; we both have a lot to offer each other. My joy? Taking fellow students to Haiti and seeing some of them renewed in their passions like medicine or education. Haiti has put my classes in context, and my semesters into a greater perspective. I realize I’m fortunate to have a future that won’t depend on my GPA, but my grades improved once I found that thing that made my heart beat. This was big, Haiti, and it impacted every aspect of my life.
Unlike many of my soon-to-be graduating peers, I don’t have that many concerns about my first job. It might not be what I want to do at first, it might not even have to do with Haiti, but I want to help people and I’m willing to humble myself to do it.
I highly recommend this attitude for students just starting off college. Maybe you don’t know what your major should be, and maybe you try out some that don’t fit you. Don’t make that your biggest goal, because as you discover your PASSIONS (take classes that catch your eye, be brave and join clubs that interest you) it’ll fall into place. Take the pressure off yourself and find the thing that you could talk forever about when someone says, “what are you interested in?”. I’m sure, eventually, that will line up with a major, you will graduate, and you’ll eventually do what you love. It takes patience, but for a senior majoring in trying to learn from people in a Caribbean country, it’s worth it.
Kylie Foley, Senior – International Affairs and Geography
Director, Noles for Haiti
In the movie series Pirates of the Caribbean, Captain Jack Sparrow has a compass that others think is broken because it doesn’t point North. In the second of the four movies, Dead Man’s Chest, Captain Jack reveals the true power of the compass. He explains that it doesn’t point North, it points to “the thing you want most in this world.” Hold the compass, think of the thing you want most, and the compass will point to it. As you start or continue your FSU career, I’d like you to pause for a few moments and think about what you want most in this world. More specifically, what do you want most from your time at FSU? Where does your compass point? For a sailor, a compass is a vital tool to determine direction and keep a ship on course. A compass can be a vital tool for a student too.
During my years teaching Economics at FSU, I’ve seen nearly 20,000 students walk through my classes. Drawing upon some of their experiences, and remembering some of my own, I’d like to suggest three goals you ought to have. First, get knowledge and graduate. Your primary purpose for attending college is to learn new skills, sharpen existing skills, get exposed to new people and ideas, and graduate. In Economics jargon, this is called investing in human capital. That is, the time, energy and resources you devote to getting an education is an investment. An investment in yourself. Just like investing in the stock market, you want the biggest return possible. Making smart, consistent choices about going to class, preparing for assignments, and finishing tasks will result in bigger returns.
Second, form meaningful, mutually-encouraging relationships with other students. Don’t be a Lone Ranger. You will need help at various times as you navigate through this period of your life. Chances are, the friends you make in college will be your closest friends for life. Twenty years from now, you will likely still be in touch with your college friends and much less likely to be in touch with your high school friends. For some parts of your life, you will learn more outside the classroom than inside. Your friends will help you learn those valuable lessons. In addition, remember the old saying “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Your college friends will help you find jobs, dates, and business leads after college. Form those relationships now so you can call those people later.
Third, form relationships with at least three faculty members, and probably at least one staff or administrator, before you leave FSU. And the earlier, the better. I can nearly guarantee that you will need a reference, a letter or recommendation, or some other helpful gesture from several of these people. I usually politely decline requests for letters of recommendation more than I accept them. I don’t like to decline, but it is really in the student’s best interest if I do. The purpose of a letter is to inform the reader of something that can’t be obtained in the application packet. A letter shouldn’t repeat information on a transcript or resume. A letter should tell the reader more about what the student did in class and say something personal about the student. If I don’t know a student, I obviously can’t write anything personal. That will come across loud and clear in a letter and potentially make the student look bad if I did write a letter.
In addition to these three goals, I’d like to offer a challenge to you. FSU has been offering classes since 1857 and expects to offer classes and education for many more years. In other words, FSU has been here for a long time before you arrived and will probably be here a long time after you’ve graduated. My challenge to you is this: Make a difference. How are you going to make FSU a better place when you graduate than when you arrived? Are you going to make a physical improvement? Are you going to touch somebody’s life in a positive, meaningful way? What legacy are you going to leave? Make your time at FSU more than just about you.
Joe Calhoun, Department of Economics
Welcome back to Florida State University for the start of a new academic year. Whether it is your first semester here or your last we, Advising First, hope that you maximize your time at FSU by taking advantage of all the unique opportunities that college has to offer.
I am a graduate student in the School of Communications. I also completed my Bachelor’s at FSU. My time at FSU has afforded me the opportunity to be a part of many different efforts and causes. From involvement with groups such as the FSU Wesley Foundation, the Women’s Tennis team, and now Advising First, I have had the privilege to interact with many great people at FSU, both students and faculty. These interactions, along with my classes, have made a tremendous impact on me and transformed me into who I am today.
It is my hope that you are getting involved with campus groups and meeting some of the fascinating people that are involved with this school. If you are not, I encourage you to do so. In the meantime, we hope to give you a sampling of these tremendous people this semester with our new blog series, “Advice for Maximizing Your FSU Experience.” The blog is a personal initiative of mine and will be a collection of entries by some of the amazing people associated with our great university. If there is anyone specifically you would like to hear from, I invite suggestions. It is my sincere hope that you will take advantage of the wisdom they have to offer and that you begin to leave your own legacy on this campus.
Advising First, Social Media Intern
Expanding your horizons within your major choice
Do you only see one option when faced with a decision?
Do you live in black and white?
The answer may come as an obvious ‘no’, so why see through this same pinhole when it comes to major choice as an Undergraduate student? As a new bright FSU student, it is easy to think on a singular track with what major you choose in regards to what careers are available. I often hear statements such as:
“I want to be an accountant, so I MUST be an accounting major and that will be the ONLY job that I can get!”
With this follows a fear of this narrowed mindset. What if you choose not to go into accounting? What if this profession is not the best fit? It’s completely the end of the world, right?
Realizing that your major does not entirely dictate your career from the start can help immensely with opening up several doors giving yourself options. If you have an interest in other careers and areas pursue them while you are a student. There are endless opportunities to be involved in organizations, research, and activities of other areas that you may want to venture forward with. If you are that accounting major but you also have a passion that lies in music, foster it! Whether it is through playing in music ensembles, or building relationships with music faculty members, those are experiences that you can personally vouch for when pursuing your passion.
The knowledge and experiences you gain as a student are golden, because when it comes down you sitting in a room being interviewed it will not just be about what is black and white on your diploma. I challenge you the next time you meet someone with a career that interests you to ask them what their major was, or what careers lead them to that position-you might just be surprised.
So don’t forget, just because you declare a specific major does not mean you are only in that boat going to one destination. It’s completely up to you where your experiences as a student will take you post-graduation, your directions are endless.
When over caring for others results in under caring for self.Whether it is your roommate, your best friend, your significant other or your parent, no one enjoys watching a loved one go through a stressful time. Often these events can trigger stress in your own personal life, as you feel powerless to stop their impeding crisis. Compassion Fatigue occurs when you deplete your energy in efforts to care for those around you. Without proper self-care, you leave yourself at risk for your own crisis.
Here are some tips for avoiding Compassion Fatigue, especially at the height of the semester. These suggestions may seem like common sense, but even the basics can lose importance under relationship duress.
While you may think staying up until 3am to listen to your roommate cry about her Biology grade is supportive, doing it night after night will ruin you REM cycle. Aim for at LEAST 7 hours a night and limit naps to no longer than one hour so you don’t throw off your entire sleep cycle.
Do not forget that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and dinner does not count if it consists of Red Bull and Combos. Pack lunches the night before and make your breakfasts something simple, such as granola bars, bagels with peanut butter or fruit. Yes, your life has a lot jammed packed into it and tending to a boyfriend/girlfriend’s problems potentially usurps valuable meal time. (No, drinking Vitamin Water does not count as taking a multivitamin.)
Think smart! If your stressed-out friend lives close, take them to the gym with you and sweat out the stress! Take a yoga class or even better, Zumba! Stay active to reduce your own stress hormones and keep your own well-being intact.
If you know you have a midterm the next day, you may have to tell Mom you can’t hear about her new boyfriend and his annoying passion for video games right now. Set up a better time to talk and reassure her that you just need to study right now but you will take time for her tomorrow.
Even if it means going to the University Counseling Center, have someone you can turn to about your own hurts and stressors. You need support too and as much as it may make you feel needed to have your friends and family lean on you, make sure you lean on someone too.
Ultimately, you have to care for yourself before you can care for others. Keep in mind you can only do so much! Follow the Noles Care guide (http://counseling.fsu.edu/prevention.html#reachout) and remember that FSU has a wealth of resources for its students. Don’t be afraid to utilize them or encourage others to do so!
Adding an undergraduate certificate to your bachelor’s degree at the Florida State University could be very beneficial when entering the job market. According to an article titled, “Certification Programs and the Job Search Edge” it states, “Certifications show employers your dedication and commitment to your profession.” The article is by Rachel Zupek, a writer for www.careerbuilder.com.
The article explains experience in the hard skills, such as a project management professional, and soft skills, such as customer service, are both highly sought after. According to a survey done by careerbuilder.com, there are several areas that employers would like their workers to enhance their skills in. Below is a list of some of these areas, with a few corresponding certificates offered at FSU. Combining an undergraduate degree with one of these certificates can provide students a competitive edge when applying for jobs.
In addition to the ones listed below, FSU offers industry specific certificates as well, such as Art and Community Practice, Elementary School Science, Jazz Studies, Political Economy and more. You can view all of the FSU undergraduate certificates here: http://www.academic-guide.fsu.edu/certificates.html .
- Customer Service
- Interpersonal skills
- Business etiquette
- Business ethics
All of the FSU undergraduate certificates can be viewed here: http://www.academic-guide.fsu.edu/certificates.html.
Florida State University
Undergraduate Academic Advisor
Article from Careerbuilder.com – http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-1085-Salaries-Promotions-Certification-Programs-and-the-Job-Search-Edge/