Delfina Erochenko

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Humans of UNCC Meet: Corvus

Photo Courtesy of Delfina Erochenko

“In my free time, I like to sketch a lot. I mainly like to people watch, I like seeing how people interact on a daily basis, myself included. As I’m watching these people, each person is different. You never know what you’re going to get next; it’s like a box of chocolates.”

Academic To-Do List

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We’ve made the move from summer to fall, and with this month we’ll start to see the first signs of fall, the return of the  Pumpkin Spice Latte (whether you love it or hate it!), and a wake-up call for students, reminding us that Summer Break is long gone, and exams, papers, and projects have arrived to replace it. This might sound like an attempt to remind you of how many things you need to do, but consider it a reality check. If you haven’t been focused on your classes, it’s time to start now! Below are a few things you should be checking off (or planning to!) your to-do list.

Registration: See Your Advisor

Registration for Spring 2018 classes begins on Oct. 30, which means that you’ll need to start planning your classes for next semester, and making sure you know what classes you need. This is where your advisor comes into the picture. They are here to help you make informed choices about your classes, that will benefit you and your degree goals. Even if you think you’re sure about the classes you’ll take, make an appointment with your advisor to see if you’re both on the same page. To make an appointment all you need to do is access your myuncc account, and near the top, click on the logo that says “Connect” (it will be where your email and Canvas logos are). Talking to your advisor will give you the certainty that you’re on the right track to completing your degree, and will ensure that you know exactly what courses you should take.

FAFSA:  Submit It

In case you didn’t hear about it last year, you now have the possibility to complete your FAFSA starting October. This date is a much earlier start date than we were used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait! The sooner your application is submitted, the sooner it is off your shoulders. Don’t let procrastination get the best of you when it comes to FAFSA! Waiting until the last few days before the deadline can hurt your chances of receiving many different types of aid, and can definitely put a dent in your pocket. Keep an eye out for the opening period of FAFSA.

Midterms: Keep Track of Them

Don’t forget that midterms are coming up! We are three months into the semester, and if you haven’t put your midterm dates in the calendar, now is the time. Sure, it seems like you have time until midterms arrive, but if you know ahead of time exactly when they’ll be and what to expect, you can organize your studying effectively. It’s also helpful to know if you have more than one exam scheduled on the same day. The goal of keeping track of your midterms is important, so take a look at your syllabi and find out!

Study Abroad: Apply or Start Your Research

During September, many study abroad applications opened, so if you’re interested in a few weeks, a semester, or even a year abroad, take advantage of this time to begin your application process. There is a lot of reading to be done for your study abroad application, as well as researching important information about the country you want to study in, so starting everything now will ensure that you’re not in a rush. If you don’t want to study abroad this year, you can plan your study abroad for the next year. Looking through the various programs the university offers can be a good starting point, so start now in order to be prepared later.

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Career Center: Schedule an Appointment

Remember that using the Career Center’s resources can be a helpful tool for many reasons. If you’ll be graduating soon, you can visit the Career Center for mock job interviews, help with building a strong resume, and tips about work-appropriate clothing. You can talk to a career advisor to get more insight into the type of job that would be a good fit for you. You can also get useful information about current skills that are common in your field of interest, or about internships that may be beneficial to you.

Remember, these are simple things you can check off your to-do list relatively quickly if you start working on them now. Life gets in the way and may make us delay some things, but remember to keep this list handy, so you’re reminded of the items you can check off. Don’t let procrastination get the best of you, and get to work!

How to feel your best

It’s clear that today’s world is about making things happen quickly. From our Wi-Fi to the food we eat, we’re used to everything moving quickly and efficiently. With so much emphasis on things moving fast, we barely get time to think. What’s in that sandwich we got from that fast food place? What about the chips we ate as a snack, do we know what’s in it and how it affects our bodies? This isn’t meant to convince you to never eat fast food again, but what else does it really do for you besides the taste and the fact that it leaves you full? On days when we feel sluggish, or as if we just want to crawl back in bed, several habits we’re accustomed to just make us sink deeper into that lazy, passive feeling. The tips below will give you some recommendations about what you can do to feel your best!

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Food

Feeling your best involves being healthy. Healthiness doesn’t just come from being physically active, and while exercise is important, what you eat determines how you feel as well. What’s important to keep in mind is that statements such as “I’ll never eat unhealthy again” may work for some people, but they’re in the minority. Fast food and processed food is everywhere and it’s cheap, which makes it even harder to avoid. Eating well doesn’t necessarily have to mean that your diet is made up exclusively of kale and fruit, it means that you focus on getting the right foods in your body, but you also indulge in unhealthy foods occasionally.

Unhealthy foods are sometimes referred to as “guilty pleasures”, and while it’s not wrong to use that term, perhaps the “guilty” part should be taken out. To have a healthy relationship with the food that goes in your body, it’s necessary to step back and evaluate how we see food. There is no need to feel guilty when it comes to eating. Of course, eating an entire chocolate cake isn’t good, but having one or two slices won’t kill you.

It can be hard to eat healthy if you’re juggling school, work, or both, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible task. By the time many of us get home, we’re tired and more likely to pick something up along the way or order takeout, but cooking doesn’t have to be a hassle. It can even be a relaxing experience for you. 30 minutes or less is all you need for many healthy recipes. If you keep products at home such as pasta, salad ingredients, frozen chicken, etc.… then you won’t have to worry about what you’ll eat.

Stocking up on ingredients that are easy to make while also nutritious will help a lot if you would like to change your eating habits. If you always have pasta and rice in your pantry, it can be the perfect companion to some grilled shrimp or chicken with vegetables. The only work involved is chopping vegetables, boiling pasta, and seasoning and cooking a portion of chicken.

The goal is to always have healthy, wholesome ingredients on hand, so you’re not always tempted to opt for junk food. Some basic foods and ingredients that are convenient to keep in your kitchen include fruits (great for smoothies and snacking), olive oil (you can cook with it and season salads with it), vegetables (perfect as a side dish or for making great salads), lunch meats such as turkey, bread, and frozen foods such as shrimp or chicken breasts. Many websites offer healthy and fast recipes with these simple ingredients. By making your food yourself, you can always be sure that you know exactly what goes into it. As long as you’re giving your body healthy, nutritious foods, for the most part, indulging in less healthy alternatives occasionally is completely acceptable!

Self-Care

You might have heard this term before. In case you don’t know exactly what self-care refers to, an article from the Tiny Buddha website defines it very well: “It’s the constant repetition of many tiny habits, which together soothe you and make sure you’re at your optimum—emotionally, physically, and mentally. Self-care reminds you to take care of yourself, something that many of us forget to do because of how hectic our lives can be. Stopping to focus just on yourself is also difficult because of the guilt people sometimes associate with taking time to look after themselves.

When your mind is constantly focused on deadlines, appointments, exams, your job, and all the other responsibilities we have, it’s not surprising that we forget to look after ourselves, or even feel a sense of guilt when you finally do something for yourself because you keep being reminded you should be working on “X” thing or you should call “X” person. This isn’t to say you should completely get rid of any responsibilities and only focus on what makes you feel good, but you should take a few minutes each day to focus on your well-being.

Self-care ranges from taking a relaxing shower, to asking for help when you need it or confiding in someone. Even if you feel you can’t talk to anyone, remember you can always reach out to the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on campus. Don’t be afraid to take some time to do things such as taking a nap, go for a walk, have a good laugh, or just close your eyes and clear your mind. To do well feel your best, you must be happy first.

Your Surroundings

After tackling food and self-care, your surroundings are another component of making you feel your best. What do you like? What colors attract you? What are your hobbies? This isn’t a dating website questionnaire, but asking yourself these questions can help you figure out how to surround yourself with things that provide you with comfort. If you often find yourself stressed or a bit anxious, sometimes focusing on something like the colors in your bedroom, or looking at that vacation picture that brings back a lot of fond memories can soothe you.

The space around you can have an impact on the way you feel. In The Architecture of Happiness, Alain de Botton compares walking into a McDonalds versus walking into the Westminster Cathedral in London. The combination of harsh lighting, plastic furniture and fluorescent colors at the McDonald’s makes you feel anxious and rushed. In contrast, the cathedral makes you feel more reverent, and not rushed. The quietness of the space gives you a feeling as if you could stay there for a long time. To give you something else to think about, imagine Starbucks. Their aim is to create an easy-going, relaxed environment, where clients can consume their products. And feel “care-free”, at least for a few minutes. They understand that as humans, we’re all drawn to attractive spaces.

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Similar to beauty, what we consider an attractive space differs for each person. Some people find calmness in a quiet café where they can meet a friend or enjoy a book, while some people are drawn to large, loud malls because their idea of comfort is the hustle and bustle of the people around them. The main point here is that everyone has an idea of a space where they can relax and feel at ease. What is it for you? If it’s your bedroom, then make sure that space is filled with things that comfort you, whether it’s pictures, a color scheme, or whatever makes you feel good. If it’s a café or restaurant take some time to go there every once in awhile, especially if you’re feeling down. If you choose to be in surroundings that make you feel good, then you’ve found a place where you can recharge your “mental batteries” and let go of things for a while.

Feeling your best is sometimes a challenge, but it’s important to dedicate some time to healthy habits (and fun ones too) that better your well-being. Hopefully, these tips are helpful, and you can take away a few things from them! Remember that feeling your best always starts from the inside.

History’s Oddest Jobs

Jobs have existed throughout human history as a way for people to make ends meet. Today in the U.S. and many parts of the world, many jobs must comply with certain pay and safety regulations for an employer to be able to legally hire an employee. However, throughout history, there have been several odd jobs we can’t believe were ever jobs at all, where people did… interesting things for little pay. Below you’ll find 5 of the oddest jobs throughout history. Can you imagine yourself doing any of these?

 

1. Groom of the Stool

During Henry VIII’s Reign, he had a groom of the stool. The groom of the stool had many responsibilities, including helping the king go to the bathroom. He was responsible for the king’s “excretion and ablution” or in other words, he ensured that the king was comfortable while going to the bathroom, and after the act was done, he was also responsible for the king being properly cleaned.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The groom of the stool supplied the king with all the toiletries he needed, and it is argued today about whether the groom of the stool had to physically clean the king or not. He would also monitor the king’s bowel movements and inform doctors if he noticed anything out of the ordinary. While this may seem like a demeaning task, in the Tudor era, being the groom of the stool was a highly coveted and respected position that many men were after. Being the groom of the stool would put someone in charge of the mean who tended to the king’s private chambers, keep track of certain expenses and he would be in charge of deciding who was and was not allowed to enter the king’s chambers. It’s certainly doubtful that someone would take a job position like this today. 

 

2. Body Snatchers

A job that existed in the 1700s and 1800s, body snatcher’s job description entail exactly what their name says. They would dig up graves of recently deceased bodies, and take the bodies so they could resell them. At this time period, anatomy was becoming a very important part of medicine in Europe, and medical schools needed cadavers for their anatomy lessons. Bodysnatchers would work at night (so they would not be caught), and typically in the winter months because the cold would preserve bodies much better.

In less than an hour, a body snatcher could use a wooden spade to quietly dig up a grave. After finding the coffin, it was opened with a crowbar and the corpse would be removed, stripped of clothes or any other belongings, and all the soil would be returned to the grave. After this, the corpse would be taken and sold for a hefty amount to a medical school. After some time, people caught on, and those who could afford it would reinforce their loved one’s graves with iron cages or stone guards, in an effort to prevent corpse theft. Another technique that took a hit on the body snatcher’s jobs was for family members to wait until the corpse was no longer fit for dissection, and then bury it. Without a doubt, this is a job that took a strong stomach and a lack of fear of the dead!

 

3. Wet Nurses

Around the 17th and 18th centuries, it was common in some parts of Europe such as England and France for upper-class women to hire wet nurses, to nurse their babies. Many upper-class women who had just given birth did not want to breastfeed their children because of the thought at the time that it ruined their figures, and that it prevented them from wearing fashionable clothes. The solution for many women was to hire a woman with a lower social status who had also given birth, but was in need of money.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

In England, for some women, becoming a wet nurse was a respectable position that provided them with good incomes for the time. In contrast, in France, wet nursing was not a position that paid well, but for new mothers who had no one else to turn to, it was the only option for earning some money. Wet nurses often left their children behind to live in the home of the child they were to look after and breastfeed. To make a living, they were forced to leave their child in the care of other wet nurses, who were sometimes even worse-off economically than they were. A wet nurse in Victorian England named Judith Waterford was paid to breastfeed babies well past her youth. At 80 years old, she was still being paid to nurse babies.

 

4. Lectors

This job can be traced back to Havana, Cuba in 1865. Lectors were tasked with reading out loud to the people who worked in cigar factories. Since the hours of labor were long and the work could get very monotonous for cigar workers, they devised a way to entertain themselves while getting their work done. They would hold short “auditions” for lectors, who were required to have a strong voice and excellent pronunciation.

Workers paid the lectors by contributing a portion of each of their salaries to pay for the lector’s salary. Lectors then sat on an elevated platform that placed them well above the workers, which helped their voices reach out further, and read content that ranged from American and Cuban newspapers to classic literature that included The Count of Monte Cristo and Don Quixote. Lectors also had to be careful about the material they chose to read to the workers. Factory owners did not want lectors to read content that involved topics about class struggle or economic inequalities because workers could go on strike or demand higher pay. Whenever lectors crossed this line, they would be forced out of the factories and not be welcomed back. Lector’s jobs were soon replaced by radios.

 

5. Sluggard Wakers

The job position of sluggard waker existed in 18th-century churches. People often dozed off during the service, so the sluggard waker carried a long wooden stick and would give people a sharp tap to wake them up. The sticks had two ends. One end was tipped with brass knobs, and the other would be tipped with a fox tail; men would be tapped with the brass knob and women would be tapped with the foxtail.

Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sluggard wakers would walk up and down the aisles, keeping a close eye on the congregation, and use their stick to ensure that everyone was paying attention. Tapping someone’s head with a stick is probably not the best way to wake up someone who is dozing off in a church today.

From monitoring a king’s bowel movements to waking up people with sticks, there are certainly some odd jobs that most of us wouldn’t want today. Some part-time jobs might even sound a bit boring if we compare them to the jobs above. A job is a job, so maybe waking up sleepy congregators isn’t such a bad job?

How to: Study Productively

The Fall semester has begun and with it come papers, projects, homework and exams. It’s very easy to get overly confident about when we need to start studying; many students get the idea studying shouldn’t begin until much later. Many of us are guilty of thinking about a task we need to do and repeating to ourselves it will “eventually” get done. What usually happens is that the task gets forgotten or we begin doing it when we have a short amount of time left. Is this avoidable? Yes. Why do we do it? Most of us can’t give an exact answer as to why, even though we know procrastination is avoidable. Below are some tips that can help you study productively and avoid procrastination.

The Phone. Put it away.

Yes, this gets repeated so much by this point, it’s gotten old, but it’s worth repeating again. We all know studying while we have our phone near us is just a distraction waiting to happen. A text from someone or a notification from an app can delay your studying and focus your attention on less productive things. It’s difficult to not use your phone sometimes, but silencing it or turning it off will give you an interruption-free study session. Look at it this way, you can use your phone at almost any time you want as you go through your day; is one or two hours without it going to affect you?

While you may find it challenging, if you try to make a habit out of putting your phone away, it will get easier with time. Also, if you don’t need your laptop to study, put it away. If this isn’t the case and you’ll have to use it, try Blocksite. You can download it to your computer and it will help keep distractions minimal. You just give it the websites you normally visit and it will block you from accessing them. When you’re done, you can remove the websites from the list, so you can access them again.

 

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Organize your Study Space

Find a space where you can study if you don’t already have one. The most common space is usually a desk, although some people do prefer their bed. Keep this space organized at all times! Our eyes are usually drawn to messes and chaos and this can be a big distraction. It’s satisfying to sit at a desk where everything you need is easily reached and where everything is clean and organized. When you study, the last thing you want to focus on is a pile of laundry on the floor or random garbage scattered around your room. It’s always satisfying to know that you’ve got everything organized and your study space is always ready for you to begin studying.

Make Sure You Have Food

A common distraction when studying is hunger. It’s easy to interrupt a chapter review or notes we’re taking when you start to feel hungry. Once you get up and go in search of food, you’ve broken any concentration you had and will likely get distracted with something else along the way. It’s useful to have snacks prepared and waiting at your desk when you feel any cravings. Anything from cereal bars, gummy bears or your favorite drink is a useful way to take a mini break when you’re studying. Keep some snacks handy so you can always have something to eat, without disrupting your studying too much.

Music

Music is more of a preference when it comes to studying. It may help you concentrate or maybe it does the opposite for you, but if you haven’t given it a chance it is still worth a try. When I talk about music, I mean the type with no lyrics, since we can drift off listening to lyrics. If you enjoy music with lyrics, another option is to look for the instrumental version of the songs you like. Maybe you would feel more focused with Mozart in the background, so classic would be the way to go! Spotify is very useful for finding music to study with. If you open Spotify’s desktop version, go to “browse,” select “genres and moods” and select “focus,” there is a button that is labeled “study vibes.” It’s full of songs that were selected for people who are studying. Having some background music could be more effective than you think.

Pomodoro Technique

Sometimes people might do all the right things. They put their phones away, set aside time to study and sit down at their study space ready to study… but still no productivity. Managing time that we set aside to study can become a challenge. The Pomodoro Technique is a method that can help you manage your time more effectively. It was invented by Francesco Cirillo, and the name “Pomodoro” is due to the kitchen timers that look like tomatoes (pomodoro means tomato in Italian). You work based on blocks of time; for 25 minutes, you focus on a task completely and after the 25 minutes are up you take a five-minute break. This technique can be helpful to those who find it hard to concentrate on tasks for very long periods and the five-minute break is a great motivator to keep working, because you know that the Pomodoro Technique allows you to take regular breaks. Give it a try next time you’re studying.

These techniques are general and meant to help you develop healthier study habits if you haven’t already, but everyone is different. If you don’t feel comfortable while studying for any reason, remember you can always try new techniques or search for more information, until you find something that’s suited for you. Studying can be a chore, but it’s a chore that you can make much easier to complete when you have the right tools. And most importantly, don’t give up!

Think before you buy

Everywhere we go, we are exposed to ads. It’s almost unavoidable, we see them on TV and online, we hear them on the radio or while streaming music and even people are sometimes living, walking ads with brand names on their shirts. We recognize hundreds of companies just by looking at their logos and can even remember their slogans.

As you have likely guessed, companies want us to pay attention to their ads and recognize their logos because we are potential buyers. College students are usually a target consumer base for multiple companies because our age group usually has no family to support and is more likely to make unnecessary purchases.

Buying things isn’t a problem. It’s fun to unwind after a stressful day and shop for something we are interested in, but the problem begins to develop when we don’t limit our purchases, and we lose count of how much we are buying. We live in a time where we can purchase things instantly, sometimes without even putting too much thought into it.

Today, we have so much more clothes in our closet than our grandparents. Constant sales and discounts are very tempting and we often end up making purchases that we were likely better off without. Say you go to the mall for a new pair of shoes, but while you are there you see a shirt that is on sale; you don’t put much thought into it and buy the shirt.

Would you have bought it if it was full-priced? If the answer is no, then you were probably better off not buying the shirt. Many of us have been in this same situation. We plan on buying only one thing, but soon end up with more than we planned and we spend more money than we should.

The point here is, as college students, most of us have incomes that realistically, don’t have much room for many of our expenses. Of course, this doesn’t mean spending money on fun things is bad, it simply means that many of us would be better off reducing our budget for things such as clothes or eating out excessively.

If you look at many ads from fashion or beauty companies, you’ll notice a pattern. Many companies promote their products by using key words such as “new” or “essential.” We may not notice it, but many ads operate on the knowledge that we tend to associate new things as being better than what we currently own. The word “essential” pops up very often in advertising aimed at women.

Think of many commercials advertising their “Spring Essentials,” which are likely clothes or beauty products. Essential means something that is absolutely necessary, do we really think that some new spring themed nail polishes are absolutely necessary in our lives? Of course, many of us answer no, but we don’t realize we are subconsciously paying attention to these messages and acting on them.

However, when we act on them excessively, we begin to lose control of the things we are buying. Is it likely that you’ll find numerous items of clothes you rarely use in your closet? Or maybe you have many items piling up in your apartment that you bought without much thought, but you never use? If asked about our level of consumerism, most of us would answer we don’t think we place very high, but this is because we often don’t realize just how much we are buying.

Many of us operate on the idea that things bring us joy–and they can. But when we start associating our joy only with material things, this can be worrying; we start to think if we want more joy we need more things, which means we need to spend more money. This is money we could be saving, or money that we could use on an experience.

Maybe if during one week, we avoided buying things we don’t need, we could use the money for a trip, or for going to a concert. The point is to make memories instead of accumulating clothes, shoes, decorations, or other material things.

This doesn’t mean that you must stop buying these things altogether, but that instead you should ask yourself if first, it will bring you happiness and second, if you will use it.

Shopping is fun! But it isn’t fun to have a closet that is jam-packed with clothes–many of which you may use once or never use, or to look around your room and see it cluttered with your previous purchases.

You don’t need to get rid of all your possessions or drastically alter the way you spend, but next time you’re shopping, put a lot of thought into what you buy and why you buy it. Do you need it? The answer is up to you.

 

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Five Quick Gift Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Gifts! Some of us like to give them, others like to receive them, but one thing is certain: they are meant to be a fun way to show others how much we appreciate them. Most of us can agree that receiving a gift is fun, but watching another person’s excitement as they open your gift can be twice as fun. Unfortunately, due to school and work, most of us can’t spare a lot of time to make elaborate gift plans; hopefully these five gift ideas are useful or can give you some inspiration in case you find yourself approaching Valentine’s Day without any gift.

When in doubt, give food!

 

This suggestion will seem obvious, but sweets never fail. If you are crunched for time and can’t come up with anything, a box of chocolates is a simple and

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

quick solution. Now, if you have an hour to spare, a better idea is to personalize the sweets by making them yourself. You don’t have to be a culinary expert. Many food related websites are busy releasing tons of Valentine’s Day recipes that are quick and easy. Make your significant other a chocolate cake, some cupcakes or even some cookies. The effort you put into it will be what they value the most.

Make a picture Collage

 

Print off pictures of the two of you together and make a beautiful collage of the memories you’ve made so far. This is a sweet and romantic way to show your significant other all the great memories you’ve made! Get creative with the collage and remember to add your touch! If you want, instead of a collage you can opt for an album.

Movie Tickets!

 

Why not surprise your Valentine with movie tickets? It’s a great way for the two of you to spend some time together and to enjoy a good film. Make sure that you choose a time when your schedules won’t conflict with each other’s. The best part about it is how quick it can be, and it’s a great way to spend time with each other.

Goodie Basket

 

Surprise your Valentine with a goodie basket filled with all their favorite things. If they love a specific candy, fill your basket with the candy and other things they like. Try to make this basket personalized according what their interests are. Maybe you want to make their basket into a mini spa kit; in that case, you can add face masks, lotions and bath bombs. The goal of this gift is to give your significant other a combination of gifts which are specialized to their interests.

Something for their home

 

Photo from Flickr

If you feel like you know your partner well enough, try buying them a decoration for their home. This can be anything; a nice wall decoration, a small sculpture for the living room, some beautiful pillowcases, or anything that will add a nice touch and complement their home. Perhaps if they like to cook you can give them some cute oven mitts or a nice apron. If they spend a lot of time studying at their desk, try giving the something that can be useful to them. Maybe a decoration that they can interact with while they think, like some magnetized sculptures, where a person can form different shapes with a set of magnets.

Valentine’s Day is a great way to show others how much they mean to you! You don’t have to worry about what you give, because if it is something that you put thought into, it will be appreciated. Remember to enjoy the time you spend with your partner, because being with each other is more important than any material thing.

The Key to Delivering Great Presentations

Delivering presentations is a part of being a college student. We’ve all had to do at some point and we’ll likely continue to do so in our future classes. Most of us see presentations as unnecessary or as extra work in an already demanding class, but presenting in front of an audience is a good way for students to lose the fear of public speaking and to learn how to project their thoughts in an organized, concise manner. Below are a few suggestions that might help you improve the quality of your presentations.

The words that we choose are very important. One problem that many people struggle with during presentations is with “filler words”. What are filler words? Words such as “uh”, “like” and “um” are the most common filler words. They add nothing to the message we are trying to convey and make us sound unprepared when we say them. All of us are guilty of using this words, we use them every day! They have become so integrated into our vocabulary that we no longer realize when we are using them. In an everyday setting, it doesn’t matter too much, but in a professional one we should avoid them as much as possible.

Preparation is also a big factor in presentations. If you are working alone, it can be easier to organize yourself and begin preparing for a presentation before it is due, but working with groups always makes the situation more complex. Make sure that you and your group exchange contact info and figure out meeting times that don’t interfere with each other’s schedules. This can be tricky, but not meeting with

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your group members can affect the presentation. If you need to use visual aids, it’s a good idea to open a Google Slide where each team member can add their part of the presentation. It’s more effective than a PowerPoint because don’t have to constantly resend the Google Slide when you make new edits. It’s also quite easy to use.

Don’t read your entire presentation to your audience. It’s tempting, but ultimately a bad idea because you don’t make eye contact and reading it could suggest to your professor that you haven’t taken the time to practice what you will say. Most professors will allow you to have some type of outline on an index card with you just in case you forget key information, but try to have most of your presentation memorized beforehand so you don’t have to read too much information from your outline.

Make sure that your visual aids are not just ready for the presentation, but that they look great. If you use a visual aid during your presentation, always make sure that it looks organized, and that your points don’t end up all over the place. Try to include pictures relevant to what you are talking about, and if it is a group presentation, make sure everyone is using the same color scheme and format. Also, ALWAYS double check for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors.

Do your research. If you have a good visual aid and you know exactly what you are going to say, all of that can get overshadowed if you don’t do proper research on the topic of your presentation. For example, if you are giving a presentation about World War II, you need to read what your textbook says about it, visit to credible websites and make sure you have a solid grasp on the content. Make sure you cover all the important points. What good would it be if you covered WWII but completely avoided talking about the Holocaust? You would be missing a huge part of your presentation. Remember to always prepare yourself with research.

Practice, practice, practice. Don’t just run through your presentation once or twice. Practice it out loud, just to make sure that it all sounds good and that you can run through it smoothly. Lack of practice is what sometimes lowers your score. If you have trouble pronouncing words, or are constantly stuttering, or speaking at a very fast pace, this means that you need more practice. Speaking to an audience can be intimidating, but by going through everything you will say, word by word, you can make sure that the mistakes you make are at a minimum.

Lastly, keep your main points simple. The best way to make people lose interest in your presentation is by stuffing too much information in at once. Don’t use long, overly complicated words unless you are completely sure that your audience will understand them, and remember to try to connect the topic you are presenting to your audience; try to add an interesting fact related to your topic. Keep your audience engaged!

Try to apply some of these suggestions to your next presentation. Even if you aren’t the best public speaker, these suggestions can help you give a strong presentation and get a good grade.

How to Prepare for Your Future Career

Photo from Flickr

When beginning a new stage in life during freshman year of college, most of us have so much on our minds. From what this experience will be like, to the people we will meet and what type of classes we will take, there are many things a new student takes in. One question that most of us have probably not considered before is: What path should I take to prepare for my future career? Yes, knowing what major and minor we want is extremely important, as is registering for our required classes, but after that hectic organizational period many of us experience at the beginning of the semester, we tend to reduce ourselves to going to class, studying and taking exams. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this at all, but we should always make sure we are on the right path and preparing for our career, whatever it may be!

A very important part of preparing for our future career is having a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional network in which people can create an online résumé network with each other and find jobs related to their field. On LinkedIn, you can add your education, employment and internship experience, as well as professional skills and volunteer experience. It is a very useful tool, especially for college students, because it is a professional way to present yourself to companies in which you may be interested. Another important tool related to LinkedIn is their student app: LinkedIn Students. This useful app lets you see the job opportunities available to you with your degree, the earning potential of those jobs and discover internships. Overall, if you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, make sure you do.

Have you taken advantage of the resources here on campus? Another great way to prepare for your future career is to visit the Career Center, located next to Atkins Library. The University Career Center provides several free resources to students who are committed to their future. You can make an appointment with a career advisor to talk about career opportunities, schedule mock job interviews, evaluate your options and find careers that fit for you, get help with preparing your cover letter and résumé, attend informational sessions and much more. While students are in college, they should take advantage of opportunities like these because all the resources that we can get for free at UNC Charlotte will not necessarily be free once we graduate.

Internships are another way to ensure we are prepared. Employers value university degrees, but what they mainly want is experience. Internships are always a great way for students to gain experience in a career area in which they are interested. Having an internship (or more than one) is a great way to show prospective employers that you have the skills they are searching for. The University Career Center can also be helpful if you are interested in finding an internship.

Get to know your professors. Professors give you vast amounts of knowledge and they are happy to talk to you if you’re interested in their career area. By forming a good relationship with your professor, you can find out about useful information, get a letter of recommendation and even get recommended for an internship. When a professor notices a student is motivated, they are happy to help you move further in your career path.

A useful way to learn more about your career is to do some research. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can use the website to search for what type of jobs people with your career focus choose to work in. You can even view previous alumni from UNC Charlotte and see what job positions they have accepted. The idea behind this is not to copy someone, but to see the career possibilities you have. This is all about expanding the perspective through which you view your career.

Career fairs are a great way for you to network with representatives from companies and learn about what they are looking for when they are hiring employees. Instead of networking online, these fairs allow you to do so face to face. This opportunity also allows you to learn about employers you did not know about previously and who knows, maybe this employer could be a future job opportunity.

Overall, it’s important to accept even when you are out of college and have a job, the learning process never ends. You can never have enough information about your career. It’s good to keep adding experience and skills to your résumé and to keep up to date with the news that is pertinent to your job field. Hopefully this information has helped you and you are on your way to developing a career path. Remember, we are responsible for shaping our future.

Fascinating Beauty Routines from the Past

Beauty trends are always in a constant flux. They come and go; some manage to stay longer than others, or make a comeback when a new generation popularizes it once more, but some trends can be incredibly interesting to read about. Humans have had their own definition of what beauty looks like for centuries and our beauty trends have been created to make it easier for people to adjust to these beauty standards. Some of today’s beauty trends include highlighting our eyebrows by filling them in, using matte products for our lips and the use of contouring. Here are six beauty routines from the past that you might find fascinating:

Painting Teeth Black

This trend was popularized in China, but it was also common in Japan, Vietnam and Thailand.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Though mostly women painted their teeth black, men would occasionally do the same; having black teeth was considered a sign of aristocracy and coming of age. This was especially common for women, it meant that they had reached maturity and were now prepared to become wives and mothers. The paint was surprisingly useful for the prevention of tooth decay. This paint was iron-based and contained aromatic spices and cinnamon. This practice can seem shocking to us today, especially with several beauty ads that tell us that having a porcelain smile is what we must aim for. This trend was popular until the end of the nineteenth century, but it is still practiced by small groups of women in rural parts of Asia.

White Lead Paste for the Face

This trend would not gain any type of following today. With our trend of various beauty products that promise that they are “natural” or “organic”, will not block pores, harm skin, or adversely affect our complexion, it can seem hard for us to even think of slathering a paste on our faces that contains lead (which is poisonous in the long run!). During the Elizabethan Era, a pale complexion symbolized beauty, wealth and nobility. This is why many men and women of high society covered their faces with it daily, and were rarely seen without it. Side-effects of this trend were usually baldness, weakened teeth and blackening of the skin. Definitely not worth it!

Crocodile Dung Baths

How does a green tea mask, or a natural fruit mask sound? Good for us, but in Ancient Greece and Rome their beauty trends consisted of bathing in a mixture of mud and crocodile dung and spreading it all over the face. It was believed that the excrement had a brightening and age-defying effect on the skin; if you could somehow get over the smell of dung on your body and the idea of spreading animal feces on it, the fountain of youth was yours!

Eyebrows Made of Mouse Fur

This trend was also common during the Elizabethan Era. Due to the lead poisoning from the white paste people wore to beautify their complexion, hair on the face such as eyebrows and eyelashes would often fall out, due to this side effect, many ladies resorted to using mouse fur to replace the eyebrows. Ladies usually caught and skinned the mice themselves. The mouse fur was carefully glued on the face to simulate full eyebrows. Highly unsanitary? Yes, but Elizabethans certainly made the best of the situation!

Using Urine as Mouthwash

In Ancient Rome, wealthy people would buy urine shipped directly from Portugal because they believed Portuguese urine to be very potent. The urine would often be used as a mouthwash to maintain clean, white teeth! Though this is very unhygienic and not likely to be recommended by any licensed dentist, urine contains ammonia molecules which do help whiten teeth. Gargling urine? Probably not the best idea, but at least it had the desired effect.

Removing Hair with Sandpaper

Today, many people resort to waxing, shaving, threading, and special creams to remove any unwanted hair. However, during the 1940s, wartime scarcity limited many hair removal options. Women would remove unwanted hair by buffing their bodies with sandpaper. That sounds like quite a painful price to pay for smooth, hairless skin! Though this hair-removal method did not remain popular for long, some people today still view sandpaper as a useful tool for hair removal.

From using crocodile feces to beautify the skin, to gargling urine for a beautiful smile, humans have certainly come up with several fascinating beauty routines to keep up with beauty standards. Though today we don’t have many routines that are as extreme or dangerous as the ones on this list, being part of a modern society opens the door for other modifications in the name of beauty, such as plastic surgery. People from the past were certainly willing to go to extreme efforts for beauty, but at the same time, isn’t our culture doing the same?

 

  1. Painting Teeth Black (JapanInfo.com):  http://jpninfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ohaguro-maiko.jpg
  2. White Lead for Face (history.com): http://cdn.history.com/sites/2/2013/11/Elizabeth-I-Hero-AB.jpeg
  3. Crocodile Dung Baths (oilpaintingdecor.com): http://www.oilpaintingdecor.com/upimages/Neoclassicism/Joseph%20Marie%20Vien/Greek%20Woman%20at%20the%20Bath%20by%20Joseph%20Marie%20Vien.JPG
  4. Mouse fur eyebrows (dreamatico.com): http://dreamatico.com/data_images/mouse/mouse-8.jpg
  5. Urine as Mouthwash (smithsonianmagazine.com): http://public.media.smithsonianmag.com/legacy_blog/Urine_sample.jpg
  6. Removing Hair with Sandpaper (lowes.com): https://www.lowes.com/projects/images/buying-guides/Paint/sandpaper-buying-guide-inline-types.jpg

Five Benefits of Learning a New Language

If you were to randomly ask a few people about what is the most important tool for communication, there would be a variety of answers. From body gestures to tone of voice, communication is made up of several important factors. However, one of the most important tools that we use to communicate with each other is the language we speak. Without a language, we are reduced to only understanding face and body gestures. Even writing would be difficult, we would be reduced to drawing symbols.

Most people grow up speaking only one language and for their own reasons, they don’t try to learn a new one. Many years ago, this was the norm. Today, it is different. With globalization and the presence of multiculturalism, the need for employees that have the knowledge of more than one language is increasing. This is one of the reasons why many majors have a foreign language requirement, to prepare students for the demands of the professional world. Here is a list that includes the five benefits of learning a new language.

Wikimedia Commons

It looks good on your résumé

 

Listing a foreign language on your résumé always looks good. It shows you have an additional method of communicating with others and that you have the capacity to apply yourself and focus on a new language. Many large companies conduct business in other countries and having an employee that can communicate in the language they desire is an asset. Tailoring your skills to make a company see how valuable you could be (while being truthful, of course!) is never a bad idea.

It could make your study abroad experience even better!

 

If you want to study abroad, why not try to learn the language of the country you will be traveling to? You don’t need a native level of fluency in the language you are interested in, but if you have a basic understanding of words and phrases that are used in that language, your study abroad experience could be made even more fun. You would have the opportunity to practice your fluency with people local to the country and having some prior knowledge of the language of a country you are going to visit never hurts.

You’ll feel proud of what you have achieved

 

Learning a new language is no easy task. It involves long hours, dedication and perseverance. Whether you are learning Spanish, French, Italian, or even Japanese, you are putting in the effort to learn about not just a language; you are learning about a culture. As you begin the study of a new language, it’s common to become frustrated when you don’t understand conversations, don’t let that stop you. Anyone who has started studying a language can tell you that it happens, but it won’t last forever. Studying combined with time will help you slowly begin to understand and put all the pieces in the puzzle.

Your brain will thank you!

 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information has stated being bilingual or multilingual has many cognitive benefits. Among those are better attention and task switching capacities and a stronger ability to process information. When progressing into older adulthood, bilingual and multilingual people have a lower rate of memory loss than monolingual people of their age. A study conducted that observed more than 200 bilingual and monolingual patients that had Alzheimer’s disease found that bilingual patients showed initial symptoms of the disease 4.3 years later than the monolingual patients.

What do you have to lose?

 

Is there any way that learning a new language could impair you? Setting aside just a couple of hours a week could transform your life for the better. We would be surprised if we looked at how much time we waste on entertaining ourselves with social media when we could be putting that time to better use. Of course, the previous statement is not to make you stop using social media or to argue against it. It is just a reminder for that hour watching funny videos on YouTube or the 30 minutes we spent scrolling through Instagram we could put that time to a better use and give another language a try.

Hopefully this article has given you some insight into what the benefits of learning a new language are and it has given you the motivation to truly immerse yourself in a different culture. UNC Charlotte offers us the opportunity to study a variety of languages, so why not take advantage of it and give ourselves the chance to give another language a try? Perhaps you’ll be surprised to realize you have found a new passion.

How To: Prepare for Your Future Career

When beginning a new stage in life during freshman year of college, most of us have so much on our minds! From what this experience will be like, to the people we will meet and what type of classes we will take, there are many things a new student takes in. One question that most of us have probably not considered before is: What path should I take to prepare for my future career? Yes, knowing what major and minor we want is extremely important, as is registering for our required classes, but after that hectic organizational period many of us experience at the beginning of the semester, we tend to reduce ourselves to going to class, studying  and taking exams. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this at all, but we should always make sure that we are on the right path and preparing for our career, whatever it may be!

NEWGRADS ILLUS.jpg
Contributed by Tribune News Service

A very important part of preparing for our future career is having a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a professional network in which people can create an online resume, network with each other and find jobs related to their field. On LinkedIn, you can add your education, employment and internship experience, as well as professional skills and volunteer experience. It is a very useful tool, especially for college students, because it is a professional way to present yourself to companies in which you may be interested. Another important tool related to LinkedIn is their student app: LinkedIn Students. This useful app lets you see the job opportunities available to you with your degree, the earning potential of those jobs and discover internships. Overall, if you haven’t joined LinkedIn yet, make sure you do!

Have you taken advantage of the resources here on campus? Another great way to prepare for your future career is to visit the Career Center, located next to Atkins Library. The University Career Center provides several free resources to students that are committed to their future. You can make an appointment with a career advisor to talk about career opportunities, schedule mock job interviews, evaluate your options and find careers that fit for you, get help with preparing your cover letter and résumé, attend informational sessions and much more. And again, this is all free! While students are in college, they should take advantage of opportunities like these because all the resources that we can get for free at UNC Charlotte will not necessarily be free once we graduate.

Internships are another way to ensure we are prepared. Employers value university degrees, but what they mainly want is experience. Internships are always a great way for students to gain experience in a career area in which they are interested Having an internship (or more than one!) is a great way to show prospective employers that you have the skills they are searching for. The University Career Center can also be helpful if you are interested in finding an internship.

Get to know your professors. Professors give you vast amounts of knowledge and they are happy to talk to you if you’re interested in their career area. By forming a good relationship with your professor, you can find out about useful information, get a letter of recommendation  and even get recommended for an internship. When a professor notices that a student is motivated, they are happy to help you move further in your career path.

A useful way to learn more about your career is to do some research. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can use the website to search for what type of jobs people with your career focus choose to work in. You can even view previous alumni from UNC Charlotte and see what job positions they have accepted. The idea behind this is not to copy someone, but to see the career possibilities you have. This is all about expanding the perspective through which you view your career.

Career fairs are a great way for you to network with representatives from companies and learn about what they are looking for when they are hiring employees. Instead of networking online, these fairs allow you to do so face to face. This opportunity also allows you to learn about employers you did not know about previously, and who knows, maybe this employer could be a future job opportunity.

Overall, it’s important to accept that even when you are out of college and have a job, the learning process never ends. You can never have enough information about your career. It’s good to keep adding experience and skills to your resume, and to keep up to date with the news that is pertinent to your job field. Hopefully this information has helped you and you are on your way to developing a career path. Remember that we are responsible for shaping our future!

Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Procrastinating

Procrastination: one of the weaknesses that most of us have to face at least a few times in our lives. Putting our responsibilities off until the last possible moment may seem appealing at a first glance, but is it really worth it? While they might not fix the problem right away, these five reasons why you should stop procrastinating can give you a good place to start addressing the problem.

Procrastination harms your body

How many times have you been desperately cramming the night before an exam? Or maybe you had to work on a project from another class because you put off working on that project until the last minute–it’s all a never-ending story, isn’t it? You leave doing something for later, then you do the same for another thing, then another and suddenly you have four different things due on the same week and you don’t know how you are going to get everything done in time. Sound familiar? If it does, you are probably accustomed to procrastinating. Those late night cramming sessions deprive your body of something very essential: sleep. If your sleep schedule gets imbalanced, you feel crankier, pay less attention and crave more junk food.

Procrastination messes with your relationships

Have you ever had to say no to going out because you had to finish an essay that you could have easily completed had you started working on it days ago? Or have you ever missed an important event because you needed to cram for a difficult exam that you could have started studying for weeks ago? These can affect your social relationships. Saying no to things you really want to do because you simply have to get to work on that assignment/paper you’ve been putting off for so long can leave you feeling down. But by organizing yourself with a study schedule or coordinating specific times each week when you can get tasks done, you are doing yourself and your friends a favor! Work and a social life are important, but your grades are important too. By following a study schedule and turning it into a routine, you will notice that you have more time to relax and do what you want. There is nothing better than having fun without responsibilities nagging at the back of your mind.

Procrastination can harm your future

One of the dangers of procrastination is that it leads to a dangerous path of unproductiveness. If you do all the research for an important paper the night before it is due, the paper you turn in will probably differ greatly in quality than a paper that you did extensive research on. Once you know what you are going to write about, why not open a Google Document where you can store sources for future reference? If you do this two or three weeks before your paper is due, you will make sure to have at least some work done. If you procrastinate and leave yet another paper for the last minute, your subpar work will affect your grades. Today it might not seem like a big deal, but the quality of your grades can determine whether you get a much-needed scholarship, an important internship or perhaps even your first job once you are out of college. So try to plan ahead for those exam and paper due dates! You might even be surprised at how good it feels to be on top of things.

Procrastinating will always follow you around if you don’t stop

Once you develop a habit, it becomes difficult to break, doesn’t it? Procrastination is a never-ending cycle that constantly stresses you out and takes the fun out of your college experience. Sure, maybe procrastination isn’t causing you to fail any classes, perhaps you are passing with B’s, C’s–maybe a few A’s here and there- but if you would cut the procrastination in your life in half, you could start to see some positive results. By not putting a stop to this bad habit, you are following a pattern that keeps on hurting you. It is difficult, but forcing yourself to start studying or working when you really don’t want to is the most effective way to break this habit. Procrastination not only affects your grades, it can trickle into your work life and social life as well. If you permit it to grow more and more, it will follow you into your future jobs and relationships. By making a list of the tasks you need to do now and actually doing them, you are doing yourself a favor.

Procrastinating can destroy your reputation

That paper you turned in late? Your professor noticed. The poorly edited part of your group project that you submitted? Your group members noticed that, too. These people were aware of your poorly done work, and now they probably don’t think very highly of you. Maybe you don’t really care what others think about you, perhaps you believe that other’s opinions about you aren’t important. Even if you don’t care at all, it is convenient for you to stay on your professor’s good side. That same professor who now thinks of you an unreliable student could have given you a reference letter, a networking opportunity or even some help for that upcoming test. Think of all the opportunities available to you if you put in just a bit more effort!

Hopefully the five reasons above will help you cut out procrastination–or give you a good idea about where you can start! The truth is, being a college student is stressful. Try to cut procrastination from your life slowly if it is too overwhelming. Something as simple as getting a calendar, buying a planner or even an app that helps you organize your priorities can be of tremendous help to you. Remember that nothing can beat the feeling of having your grades–and life under control.

NT File Photo
NT File Photo