Taking Action For Job Action

Jobs. Internships. Professional development. Networking.

These are all things we worry about, even before we reach our first years of college. Even when I was in high school, I had to check boxes on college applications regarding what I wanted my major to be, a decision that at the time seemed to be momentous. What was I good at? What did I want to do?

In my case, I knew I didn’t want to do anything involving math or science. I wasn’t particularly bad at these subjects, but man, I did not enjoy them. I knew I liked my English and history courses, but I couldn’t see myself pursuing anything seriously in one of those fields. So, like many 17 year olds, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life.

And, in high school, a lot of people told me that it was, in fact, fine that I didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career. Many adults I knew joked about how they still weren’t even close to knowing what they wanted to do – or, that they thought they did and very quickly realized it was the wrong path.

But, more and more, I found that not knowing what you want to do seemed less and less acceptable. It was fine in high school, and maybe fine in my first year, but by sophomore year it seemed like I should know. And I wanted to! But I didn’t know where to start. I knew that I liked people and writing, but not much beyond that. I felt that my friends were inching closer to what they saw as a realistic future for themselves, and I was still stuck in that in between feeling of knowing I had potential, but not knowing where to direct it.

In my sophomore year, I finally declared to be a Communication major – something, I thought, that could be applied to a wide variety of professions. And, after all, I knew I loved communicating. Verbal or written, I think it is fascinating how we as humans experience communication. I find it interesting to look at communication in a non-linear way, as a study and profession that constantly evolves and expands. The more classes I took with the passionate professors in the Communication Department, the more I found my own passion for this field of study.

Finally, at the end of sophomore year, my wonderful friend Sydney invited me to be a part of the Odyssey at Villanova. This online platform gives students across the country an outlet to share thoughts about anything from pop culture to the political climate. Not thinking anything of it, I joined to help out my friend. I wrote a few articles and realized I actually enjoyed writing about my own observations or experiences. I thought of it as a hobby or an outlet, not necessarily a life move.

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Sydney, the wonderful woman who inspired me to write!

 

Much to my surprise (and pleasure), I was then approached to write for this wonderful Villanova Admissions blog over the summer. Justin Ledesma, who coordinates this awesome blog, said that he saw some of my articles on the Odyssey and thought I would be a good fit for the student blogger position. I remember reading this email from Justin, almost shocked it was intended for me. I always just enjoyed writing, I didn’t actually think I was good at it.

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But, here I am now, writing for the Villanova Admissions blog. Was this a strategic move for my professional development? Not necessarily. I just told a friend I’d help her out. Fortunately, someone saw some talent in my writing, and it led me to this wonderful opportunity. Perhaps job action is just about taking action – action over our lives, our goals and our talents. This furthering of our careers is intertwined with furthering ourselves as people.

Sometimes, especially as students, we think of professional development in such rigid terms. We think of networking events, business cards and suits. And yes, that is a crucial part of it. But another major factor is figuring out what you actually want to do in the bigger scheme. Part of our professional development is our human development – taking leadership roles, writing in our free time, volunteering more – not because it will help our resumes, but because it will help us.

So, take a step in the right direction and take a chance. You might not know it will bring you closer to your calling, but it’s worth a shot.

 

Early Application Submitted? What to Do While You Wait.

Hello Early Applicants!

It’s November 5, a few days after our November 1 deadline, and you may be wondering “What I should be doing next or did everything I send arrive properly at Villanova?” A great way to check is to access the application checklist via your Applicant Status Page.

Here is an example of what you might see:

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As seen in this screenshot, you can see what items have been entered into our system and which ones we may still be waiting for. Documents sent through Naviance will update within 24 hours.  Items sent through mail or email will be registered within one week. Also, when it comes to Teacher Letters of Recommendation (only one is required), the checklist will not specify the sender of the letter.

If you are still missing the Villanova Essay or your Report Card/Senior Progress Report you may add current grades (first quarter/first marking period/grades in progress/etc.) directly to your application by selecting the Upload option (please see below) . Please do this by December 1.

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Hope this helps! Now that your application is in, please take the time to focus on and enjoy your senior year!

Justin Ledesma
Senior Assistant Director

Tricks and Treats

As feelings of fall continue to descend on Villanova’s campus, the list of possible activities lengthens. You can carve pumpkins, pick apples, enjoy a Villanova football game and place the final touches on your Halloween costume. The weather cools, the sun sets earlier and you can’t help but want to go out and do something new. Near Villanova, there are plenty of new activities to partake in when the weather changes. So hop in your car or call an Uber and head over to four of the best places to visit near Villanova.

Linvilla Orchards, Media – Just 20 minutes from Villanova’s campus is Linvilla Orchards. This past weekend, members of my sorority and I had a great time catching up after a busy fall break with pumpkin picking, hayrides and a lot of apple cider donuts. It was a great way to take advantage of a warm Saturday and get off campus. I love getting to go to Linvilla every fall since my freshman year.In doing so, you can really see just how beautiful a Pennsylvania autumn can be.  https://www.linvilla.com/

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Had a great time visiting Linvilla this October!

Spirits of ’76 Ghost Tour, Philadelphia – Ever wanted to learn more about our nation’s first capital? Explore the city of Philadelphia with a twist. Visit some of Philadelphia’s most historic and spookiest sites, including the Old Pine Street Church and Cemetery and the Second Bank of the United States. For Villanova students, it’s only a train ride away. I would love to look at the city of Philadelphia from a completely different perspective. Once again, my love of history might entice me enough to take the risk and get a good scare. http://www.spiritsof76.com/

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia – I’m not a big fan of scary things, but if you are, Eastern State Penitentiary would be right up your alley. “Terror Behind the Walls” tours throughout the month of October take you through six haunted attractions designed within the Philadelphia prison. Even if haunted houses aren’t your favorite, the penitentiary has tours almost every day, featuring exhibits on the history of the prisons, and even an exclusive look at Al Capone’s cell during his one-year sentence. https://www.easternstate.org/halloween/

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Al Capone’s cell in Eastern State Penitentiary 

Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride, Glen Mills  – One of the top rated haunted attractions in America, the Haunted Hayride at Arasapha Farm has over 25 scenes ranging from ancient churches to creepy caves. A fan of the famous Bates Motel? Transport yourself into their world of haunted pictures, creaky floors and echoing screams – if you dare. http://thebatesmotel.com/

With fall comes change, and with change comes the inspiration to do new things. I love Villanova, but sometimes it’s nice to get in the car and explore someplace new. For me, it’s taking a chance and walking into a terrifying haunted house, but for you, it could be something completely different. We can hesitate when it comes to change, but I’m looking forward to all the great things that autumn has to offer. As the second half of the semester kicks into gear, it’s important to take a break, go on an adventure and ultimately see what tricks or treats lie ahead.

 

Studying (And Traveling) Abroad: Learning About Europe, And Myself

Cheap airline flights. Long train rides. Overnight bus rides. Random layovers. Inconvenient arrival times. Why is it that abroad students are so willing to bend over backwards to make such travel arrangements?

Well, namely to stretch the dollar – or, in my case, the Danish krone. The cheapest flights are also the ones that charge you for a carry-on and to drink water on board. They’re the ones your parents would never think of flying, but are the ones we rely on to get from city A to city B. Not many people would want to take an 11-hour bus ride overnight to Munich if there is an option to fly, but when you’re a college student, you do.

The other reason we do this is because we don’t know when else we will be able to. When students look past graduation, there are a lot of question marks. Where will I live? Where do I work? Am I surrounded by friends from college? How often will I see my family? All of this uncertainty makes us fairly certain about one fact: Being abroad is a time to travel. We will be in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia or Australia for a fixed number of days, and we will end up filling this time with memories of new cultures and new experiences.

Before I left America for Denmark, I blindly signed up for a trip to hike and rock climb in southern Sweden. I had never been to Sweden before, and I thought that if there was a time to go, it was now. And as the trip came closer and closer, I began to wonder why I spent so much money going to a random destination when I saw pictures of my friends going to places like London, Barcelona or Paris.

But, with the trip already paid for, I figured I shouldn’t be going into it with a negative attitude. And, being from California, I am open about the fact that I have high expectations when it comes to hiking. I miss the redwoods being next to the ocean, and I miss the fact that there were trails 10 minutes from my high school.

But when I got to Sweden, I could safely say these were some of the prettiest views I’ve ever seen on a hike.

22049891_10155618400596702_6026568562629572994_nAlongside three of my favorite Villanovans, I was able to explore a part of the world I never envisioned seeing. I saw beautiful pale pink cliffs against a dramatic blue coast. I saw pebble-lined beaches with the clearest water. I saw deep green hills studded with Swedish sheep.

If you asked me a year ago, I would never have known I would spend a weekend in Kullaberg National Park, Sweden. I would never have envisioned myself rappelling down the side of a cliff. And, no matter how much I miss Villanova or California, I know this is the time to explore more. To explore new cities and countrysides, yes, but also for exploration of my own growth and for the development of new friendships. Planning trips with new friends has given me an appreciation for exploration and excitement, one that I hadn’t necessarily had before embarking on this journey in Denmark.

22089216_10155618400206702_6254975837997917276_nAs I write this on a train from Hamburg, Germany, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, it is not lost on me how fortunate we “abroad kids” are. Many college students don’t have the resources to have such eye-opening experiences. That is why it is so important that we appreciate travel for what it teaches us, as opposed to looking at our travels as a list of accomplishments.

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The ability to travel is surely a blessing. It allows us, as students, to have a more developed sense of self and place in our communities. It allows us to see history, society and politics from different perspectives, contributing to our overarching human education.

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Do Something Nice Day – Everyday?

During the first week of my first year, I distinctly remember walking from the South Campus dining hall back to my residence hall, Good Counsel. This was probably one of the residence halls that had the shortest walks to the dining hall, and I don’t even want to do the math of how many times I did that walk. Hundreds upon hundreds. So what was different about this one walk?

 

Well, as I turned the corner to go to the main door, I saw someone was walking in ahead of me. This person stopped, turned around to see if anyone was coming in, and then waited. We made eye contact, and I thought, why is he waiting there? I looked down to see if he’d dropped something. He continued to prop the door open, and then I thought, is he waiting for me? I proceeded to physically turn around to see if one of his friends was behind me, but there wasn’t. Once I got to the door he smiled, and I thanked him, and he said, “No problem.” I definitely had a confused look on my face, because I have literally never had anyone hold the door for me that long.

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Obviously people have held doors for me, but in a more reasonable way – when I was getting out of a car or when I was right behind someone walking into a restaurant. It wasn’t a foreign concept to me, but rather the sheer amount of time that someone would wait to do something like that is what shocked me. That someone would take the time to wait, and to have the awareness to look around to.

 

I, however, learned that I should grow accustomed to this. I have literally never known so many young people to hold pretty much every door open for others. I don’t know what it is about Villanova, but I have had my door held for me more times than I can count in any given day. And, if you’re a student, I’m sure you can attest to this – people will hold your door if you’re in their eyesight. Sometimes I have legitimately felt so badly about having people wait for me that I walk faster just to relieve them of their duty, so that I can take up the post to hold the door for someone else.

 

When we’re on our commutes to work or class, it is easy to plug in and zone everything else out. I think it really says something about the students at Villanova that even if we have headphones in and are in our own world, we still are conscientious enough to look around and see if we can do something small for each other.

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So, I hope Do Something Nice Day reminds us to be the best versions of ourselves. That we remember what it feels like when someone gives us a genuine “thank you” or a big smile. To feel that our kindness and genuine care for others has a real impact on our communities. I’ve learned that Do Something Nice Day at Villanova is not a holiday, but everyday. I’ve learned from others in the Villanova community to truly care about the people around us. These actions of kindness do not only help individuals on a day-to-day basis, but also help to foster a community of encouragement and support – a community that I am proud to be a part of.

Moments of Gratitude on Day of Service

What do you think most college students are doing at 8:00 on a Saturday morning? I’ll admit: It can be difficult to start your weekends at an early hour. For the past five days, exams, club meetings and coffee breaks with friends have overwhelmed your schedule. For many students like myself, a Saturday morning is the time to get some rest and relax before another busy week. There is one Saturday morning in particular, however, that has students focused on something different.

Every September, the St. Thomas of Villanova Day of Service gives Villanova students the opportunity to give back to the community surrounding our university. When I signed up for Day of Service with my freshman orientation group, I remember feeling a little hesitant. Do I really want to get up that early on a Saturday? What kind of work are we going to be doing? Can one person really make that big a difference?

I had an absolute blast during my first Day of Service. I remember spreading mulch around a newly built playground in Philadelphia and picking thousands of weeds out of a community garden. Of course, I’ll never forget how appreciative the people were to receive our help, but what was just as rewarding were the memories I had made during that day. Freshman year, it was great to spend the day with the first friends I had made at Villanova. Sophomore year, I became even closer with members of my sorority who I thought I already knew. I saw that by working as a team, we were able to do something that much greater than ourselves, and the ability to see exactly how I can make a difference is comparable to that extra hour of sleep.

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Villanova University takes great pride in its dedication to service, and Day of Service represents just a slice of all the work students contribute. What I love most about Day of Service, however, is how much it reminds me of how grateful I am to be a member of the Nova Nation. One of my goals recently has been to focus more on the things I do have as compared to the things I might want. Nobody’s life is perfect, and as we complain about a stressful assignment or an argument with a friend, it’s important that we take a moment to look around and see what we already have. I have great friends. I am receiving an excellent education. I can make the choice to sleep in on a Saturday morning. Day of Service reminds me to not only embrace what I have, but help those who might not have what they need.

As I finish up my third year participating in Day of Service, I am that much more humbled by the work the Villanova community has done to help the larger one. There is nothing better than knowing you can make a difference in someone’s life. I can never fully repay Villanova for the opportunities it has given me, but I can use those opportunities to give back to someone else. Looking around and seeing the difference my friends and I can make in someone’s life is what makes picking weeds, spilled jars of paint, and one less hour of sleep completely worth it.

When Streaming Brings You Together

The Emmys are coming up this week, which means we’ll all have the opportunity to hash out which shows we think are the best with friends and family. If you’re anything like me, and you don’t watch Game of Thrones, you probably are feeling just as much of a social pariah as I am right about now as well. Thinking about how many group-viewing sessions I have missed out on because of this is quite impressive – this show has some really dedicated followers! There are full coffee houses that have been rented out to view the next episode of GOT in Copenhagen, which never ceases to astonish me. It’s impressive how much one show can bring people together. Whether it’s with your friends or family, there’s something comforting about gathering to watch your favorite drama or sitcom.

For my family, this would be 60 Minutes.

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Yup, that’s right. It’s that show that your old uncle probably watches. It’s been running since 1968 on CBS, and is still running strong. From the age of 7, I can recall watching news pieces about advancements in technology, interviews with famous politicians or celebrities and tensions overseas. It soon became ingrained in me that after Andy Rooney’s segment was finished, I could have Sunday dinner.

When I was in high school, I would get so annoyed with this tradition. My parents always made a point of calling us downstairs, informing us it was time for 60 Minutes. I would moan and groan about how it took too long to watch the whole program through, and that I was always too hungry by the time it was over. I always pretended I had better things to do, like homework (a classic high school excuse). But as I spent more time at college, I began to realize how much I missed such a tradition. I missed taking the time out of my day for just something I did with my family. I missed talking about what Leslie Stahl reported on at dinner, or joking around about something we learned about a beloved politician. For some reason, despite all of my complaining, I missed Andy Rooney.

I wanted to have a tradition like this at school, but didn’t know what to do. Luckily, in the midst of a conversation about how much I love Sophia Bush, I learned I could record real-time television shows online, right in my dorm room. Needless to say, this changed my life.

The girl who I was discussing Sophia Bush with then informed me that she records Chicago PD and watches it on Sunday (and that we should watch it together)! Again, this changed my life.

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So, that Sunday, we watched the new Chicago PD in her dorm room, with her laptop up on her desk for an optimal viewing position. And the Sunday after that, the next one. This then became our new tradition.

This is when I learned that family traditions don’t have to stop at your family’s front door. You can bring them with you, change them, alter them and make new ones. It doesn’t have to be in your family’s kitchen where you have your favorite dish for your birthday –it may turn into a tradition you start with your new family at Villanova, eating it your friend’s apartment. I didn’t have the comfort of my own family room, but I was able to create that tradition with a friend I now consider family, in a dorm room in Sheehan.

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