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Learning & Earning Episode 9: Student Employee of the Year

On this episode of Learning and Earning, we feature a special guest: Holly Lindsey the Student Employee of the Year for IUPUI and the state of Indiana! Holly shares with us some of her favorite parts of working as a Web Developer intern and offers advice on how other students can go above and beyond.

Video version

Description of the video:

Lacey Smith:
Hi, everyone. I'm Lacey, and welcome back to the Learning and Earning podcast. I am here with Holly Lindsey, who is our winner for the National Student Employee Appreciation Week. So congratulations. And to start off the episode, could you tell us a little bit about you?

Holly Lindsey:

Yeah, for sure. So my name is Holly. I'm a senior, soon-to-be-graduate media arts and science student here at IUPUI. And I'm currently working as a web developer intern with the Office of Communications under the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Lacey Smith:
Awesome. I have one of my roommates she's in the media and art school. So that's awesome. And also with graduating, how does that feel?

Holly Lindsey:
Kind of surreal but really exciting. I'm not done with school yet, because I'm doing the accelerated master's program with the media arts and science. But it's still a huge milestone.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. Those programs are awesome. We've had people on before who are planning on doing them. So that's great. Yeah, that's awesome. But with that, what has your work experience at IUPUI been like?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so I think it was 2019 I was I think going into my junior year. And I hadn't really had a job during college at that point. But I was like, OK, I think I'm in the groove of classes and being in college. So I think I'm at a place where like if I want to get a job or just do something else with my time and be able to earn some money.

And so at the time, I was just looking for any job anywhere. And I ended up looking on the JagJobs site with all of IUPUI job listings. And I found a job that pretty much matched exactly what my skill set was. So yeah, I applied and got the job or interviewed and got the job. And so I've been working at that position since then. And between the pandemic and everything, it's been a bit of a ride. But it has been very good.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. With that, has the pandemic-- what changed your position during the pandemic?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so when the pandemic hit and then everything was locked down, we were fortunate enough to be able to work from home-- all the interns in our office. And so essentially, just everything moved online. And we're all trying to figure out how do you work from home? Not having to-- before we would go into the office and have our hours where we worked and do all of our work in the office.

And a good portion of the work we do is taking, working on requests coming in from different people. And so trying to figure out, OK, when requests come in we're not physically in an office to figure out how to kind of distribute the work and how to get things done-- and so trying to figure out new workflows and that kind of thing was a bit of a challenge but interesting for sure.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, definitely. The pandemic made life very interesting, especially learning how to balance school and work together. Then you add on that as an extra factor, it's just crazy. But it's one of those things where I'm like in the future, I'll be able to be like, I did this during such a time that was so crazy. So props to you for that for getting through that and learning how to balance everything.

And of course, but with learning how to balance school and work and then the pandemic and everything, it's a lot. But kind of focusing on the good, what has been your greatest accomplishment during your time in your position?  

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I've been working in this position for a while now-- I think almost two years. So there's been a lot of things that I've done. But I think the thing that I guess sticks out the most maybe because it's most recent is the Institute for Engaged Learning student showcases that we worked on this past semester. So those pages is for the student showcase that they do each year showcasing student work.
 

And they needed some kind of custom pages to make it easier to add those pages and manage, because there's so many students and work to show. And we want to be able to make it easy to both add that information and to look at it. And so working on that I think is the thing that feels the biggest. But there's been a lot.  

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure, especially working there over a year there's definitely different things that you've accomplished. As well as that there's definitely a lot that you've learned and what would you say has been the most important thing that you've learned?
 

Holly Lindsey:
I would say, for me, a big thing has been kind of I guess gaining confidence in my skills and building on knowledge that I had and kind of turning that into real world experience and just kind of learning that I can take on whatever comes my way and adapt to pretty much any situation-- I think especially with the pandemic, like any situation.
 

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I feel like that definitely helped you gain confidence in a sense that you never really realized that you would get, because no one expected the pandemic at all. But if you can look at it in one good way at least, it's that you've learned different things throughout it and kind of how to deal with unpredictable events, especially all over the world. The pandemic and work probably isn't a very fond memory, but there's definitely other ones. So what has been your favorite memory during your time in your position?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I think I have a number of fond memories, especially from when we were physically in the office. Because it's a lot easier to have I guess more social connection and just a little inside jokes and things like that with the people you're working with. I think there's not a specific one that pops out to me. I think any time we were celebrating something or celebrating each other's work is something that felt really nice and that I really enjoyed.

During our biweekly team meetings, we'd have a portion of time where someone would be able to share something that they were working on or their portfolio or resume and just get feedback and critique. And so those have always been really enjoyable fun memories for me.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. And I feel like that's also super beneficial. And then when you put it in a social setting too it's-- because working on resumes and stuff can be stressful, but when you do it with other people, it's just better. And they can help give you feedback that maybe one specific person couldn't, but a whole group of people can really help. Yeah, for sure. And also so you were obviously nominated and you won, but how did you feel when you were nominated?  

Holly Lindsey:
I guess kind of excited maybe and kind of like maybe disbelief a little like, really? But also just kind of like, wow, just kind of I guess happy that what I do is appreciated and that-- Yeah, it just feels good to be recognized I think even if you don't necessarily win an award for it, just to say like, hey, someone looked at what I was doing and thought it was good enough to,
show it to other people. It's a good feeling.  

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. And I feel too, especially with you being a senior and having that little pat on the back at the end of your college experience, I know you're moving on, too, but it's still super exciting and just kind of a way to feel like, wow, I am appreciated here. That's awesome. And kind of with that, obviously, you were nominated for a reason and kind of foregoing above and beyond the expectations. So how would you say that you go above and beyond expectations? Or some tips to other people in how to go above and beyond.

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I'd say the biggest thing in my experience has been kind of trying to always be checking in with yourself in terms of where you want to go with your career or where you might want to go to kind of have an idea of different avenues you want to explore. And this position specifically was really good with encouraging that and encouraging us to bring up ideas or projects or things that we'd want to research on our own to further our personal career. Even if it didn't necessarily perfectly fit in with what we were doing, that it was kind of OK, if this is going to help you with your journey, we want to help you with that.

And so I'd say that if there's a skill set that you're interested in pursuing or learning more about and you see a way that could fit into the work you're doing, kind of propose it and say, hey, what if we did this? Or what if I worked on this? And that a lot of times people aren't going to say no to someone going above and beyond, especially if it also benefits the work that you're doing. And so I'd say that when you make it about improving yourself, that gives you just that extra motivation and reason to go above and beyond.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, I think that's important too is just to kind of think about it in a sense that you're doing better for you. And it's going to pay off for you in the long run. And other people notice the effort in the work that you put in. So that's really important. And you have to stay motivated in order to keep going. So do you have any tips on how to stay motivated during work and difficult times or just work in general?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I'd say it can be hard. And I think the biggest thing for me is just recognizing that it can be hard sometimes and being OK with that. Because I think if you beat yourself up or get down on yourself for it being harder, feeling like you're not doing well enough during a time when it is hard that just kind of creates domino effect. But if you give yourself the space to say, OK, it's hard right now, and be OK with that, that can lighten the load just a little bit.

And then if you need a break and you're able to take time off work, do that. Then with going above and beyond, sometimes it's OK to just do what's expected of you. I think it's kind of a perfectionist type of person-- yeah, just being able to say, OK, today all I can do is just what's expected of me. And that's still more than enough, so--

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, exactly. And I think it's important to acknowledge too that it's OK just to be. It's OK just to do, like you said, what's expected, because some days that's just how it is. And then there's going to be other days where you feel like doing so much and going way beyond what's expected. So it's kind of just about balance really. It's finding kind of the good days and then also the days where it's like not necessarily bad, but just days where you're like, I'm just going to do what I need to get done and call it good.

But to wrap up the episode, one question that we ask at the end of every episode is what have you been learning and earning. So you can focus more on the learning part or the earning part. It can be something just from this year, from this past week, past month, whichever. So what have you been learning and earning recently?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so I would say I mean, the biggest thing earning a degree.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, congratulations.

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, and I think through that learning that I can accomplish something as big as that. And through all the difficulties and just challenges that are presented in the past year, just learning like, OK, I can do it, whatever it is that comes my way.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I definitely think that the pandemic gave some confidence that I don't know if it's what you needed, but it's just like something that's going to benefit you in the long run. It just helps build confidence and showed you that you can really conquer things and some weird times. But congratulations on being our student employee of the year. You definitely deserved it. And congratulations on graduating. That's amazing. But we totally appreciate you coming on to the podcast to kind of talk about your experience and give a couple of tips. So thank you.
 

Holly Lindsey:
Thanks for having me.

Lacey Smith:
Of course. But thank you guys for tuning in to the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.

Audio version

Lacey Smith:
Hi, everyone. I'm Lacey, and welcome back to the Learning and Earning podcast. I am here with Holly Lindsey, who is our winner for the National Student Employee Appreciation Week. So congratulations. And to start off the episode, could you tell us a little bit about you?

Holly Lindsey:

Yeah, for sure. So my name is Holly. I'm a senior, soon-to-be-graduate media arts and science student here at IUPUI. And I'm currently working as a web developer intern with the Office of Communications under the Division of Undergraduate Education.

Lacey Smith:
Awesome. I have one of my roommates she's in the media and art school. So that's awesome. And also with graduating, how does that feel?

Holly Lindsey:
Kind of surreal but really exciting. I'm not done with school yet, because I'm doing the accelerated master's program with the media arts and science. But it's still a huge milestone.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. Those programs are awesome. We've had people on before who are planning on doing them. So that's great. Yeah, that's awesome. But with that, what has your work experience at IUPUI been like?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so I think it was 2019 I was I think going into my junior year. And I hadn't really had a job during college at that point. But I was like, OK, I think I'm in the groove of classes and being in college. So I think I'm at a place where like if I want to get a job or just do something else with my time and be able to earn some money.

And so at the time, I was just looking for any job anywhere. And I ended up looking on the JagJobs site with all of IUPUI job listings. And I found a job that pretty much matched exactly what my skill set was. So yeah, I applied and got the job or interviewed and got the job. And so I've been working at that position since then. And between the pandemic and everything, it's been a bit of a ride. But it has been very good.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. With that, has the pandemic-- what changed your position during the pandemic?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so when the pandemic hit and then everything was locked down, we were fortunate enough to be able to work from home-- all the interns in our office. And so essentially, just everything moved online. And we're all trying to figure out how do you work from home? Not having to-- before we would go into the office and have our hours where we worked and do all of our work in the office.

And a good portion of the work we do is taking, working on requests coming in from different people. And so trying to figure out, OK, when requests come in we're not physically in an office to figure out how to kind of distribute the work and how to get things done-- and so trying to figure out new workflows and that kind of thing was a bit of a challenge but interesting for sure.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, definitely. The pandemic made life very interesting, especially learning how to balance school and work together. Then you add on that as an extra factor, it's just crazy. But it's one of those things where I'm like in the future, I'll be able to be like, I did this during such a time that was so crazy. So props to you for that for getting through that and learning how to balance everything.

And of course, but with learning how to balance school and work and then the pandemic and everything, it's a lot. But kind of focusing on the good, what has been your greatest accomplishment during your time in your position?  

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I've been working in this position for a while now-- I think almost two years. So there's been a lot of things that I've done. But I think the thing that I guess sticks out the most maybe because it's most recent is the Institute for Engaged Learning student showcases that we worked on this past semester. So those pages is for the student showcase that they do each year showcasing student work.
 

And they needed some kind of custom pages to make it easier to add those pages and manage, because there's so many students and work to show. And we want to be able to make it easy to both add that information and to look at it. And so working on that I think is the thing that feels the biggest. But there's been a lot.  

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure, especially working there over a year there's definitely different things that you've accomplished. As well as that there's definitely a lot that you've learned and what would you say has been the most important thing that you've learned?
 

Holly Lindsey:
I would say, for me, a big thing has been kind of I guess gaining confidence in my skills and building on knowledge that I had and kind of turning that into real world experience and just kind of learning that I can take on whatever comes my way and adapt to pretty much any situation-- I think especially with the pandemic, like any situation.
 

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I feel like that definitely helped you gain confidence in a sense that you never really realized that you would get, because no one expected the pandemic at all. But if you can look at it in one good way at least, it's that you've learned different things throughout it and kind of how to deal with unpredictable events, especially all over the world. The pandemic and work probably isn't a very fond memory, but there's definitely other ones. So what has been your favorite memory during your time in your position?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I think I have a number of fond memories, especially from when we were physically in the office. Because it's a lot easier to have I guess more social connection and just a little inside jokes and things like that with the people you're working with. I think there's not a specific one that pops out to me. I think any time we were celebrating something or celebrating each other's work is something that felt really nice and that I really enjoyed.

During our biweekly team meetings, we'd have a portion of time where someone would be able to share something that they were working on or their portfolio or resume and just get feedback and critique. And so those have always been really enjoyable fun memories for me.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. And I feel like that's also super beneficial. And then when you put it in a social setting too it's-- because working on resumes and stuff can be stressful, but when you do it with other people, it's just better. And they can help give you feedback that maybe one specific person couldn't, but a whole group of people can really help. Yeah, for sure. And also so you were obviously nominated and you won, but how did you feel when you were nominated?  

Holly Lindsey:
I guess kind of excited maybe and kind of like maybe disbelief a little like, really? But also just kind of like, wow, just kind of I guess happy that what I do is appreciated and that-- Yeah, it just feels good to be recognized I think even if you don't necessarily win an award for it, just to say like, hey, someone looked at what I was doing and thought it was good enough to,
show it to other people. It's a good feeling.  

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. And I feel too, especially with you being a senior and having that little pat on the back at the end of your college experience, I know you're moving on, too, but it's still super exciting and just kind of a way to feel like, wow, I am appreciated here. That's awesome. And kind of with that, obviously, you were nominated for a reason and kind of foregoing above and beyond the expectations. So how would you say that you go above and beyond expectations? Or some tips to other people in how to go above and beyond.

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I'd say the biggest thing in my experience has been kind of trying to always be checking in with yourself in terms of where you want to go with your career or where you might want to go to kind of have an idea of different avenues you want to explore. And this position specifically was really good with encouraging that and encouraging us to bring up ideas or projects or things that we'd want to research on our own to further our personal career. Even if it didn't necessarily perfectly fit in with what we were doing, that it was kind of OK, if this is going to help you with your journey, we want to help you with that.

And so I'd say that if there's a skill set that you're interested in pursuing or learning more about and you see a way that could fit into the work you're doing, kind of propose it and say, hey, what if we did this? Or what if I worked on this? And that a lot of times people aren't going to say no to someone going above and beyond, especially if it also benefits the work that you're doing. And so I'd say that when you make it about improving yourself, that gives you just that extra motivation and reason to go above and beyond.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, I think that's important too is just to kind of think about it in a sense that you're doing better for you. And it's going to pay off for you in the long run. And other people notice the effort in the work that you put in. So that's really important. And you have to stay motivated in order to keep going. So do you have any tips on how to stay motivated during work and difficult times or just work in general?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, I'd say it can be hard. And I think the biggest thing for me is just recognizing that it can be hard sometimes and being OK with that. Because I think if you beat yourself up or get down on yourself for it being harder, feeling like you're not doing well enough during a time when it is hard that just kind of creates domino effect. But if you give yourself the space to say, OK, it's hard right now, and be OK with that, that can lighten the load just a little bit.

And then if you need a break and you're able to take time off work, do that. Then with going above and beyond, sometimes it's OK to just do what's expected of you. I think it's kind of a perfectionist type of person-- yeah, just being able to say, OK, today all I can do is just what's expected of me. And that's still more than enough, so--

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, exactly. And I think it's important to acknowledge too that it's OK just to be. It's OK just to do, like you said, what's expected, because some days that's just how it is. And then there's going to be other days where you feel like doing so much and going way beyond what's expected. So it's kind of just about balance really. It's finding kind of the good days and then also the days where it's like not necessarily bad, but just days where you're like, I'm just going to do what I need to get done and call it good.

But to wrap up the episode, one question that we ask at the end of every episode is what have you been learning and earning. So you can focus more on the learning part or the earning part. It can be something just from this year, from this past week, past month, whichever. So what have you been learning and earning recently?

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, so I would say I mean, the biggest thing earning a degree.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, congratulations.

Holly Lindsey:
Yeah, and I think through that learning that I can accomplish something as big as that. And through all the difficulties and just challenges that are presented in the past year, just learning like, OK, I can do it, whatever it is that comes my way.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I definitely think that the pandemic gave some confidence that I don't know if it's what you needed, but it's just like something that's going to benefit you in the long run. It just helps build confidence and showed you that you can really conquer things and some weird times. But congratulations on being our student employee of the year. You definitely deserved it. And congratulations on graduating. That's amazing. But we totally appreciate you coming on to the podcast to kind of talk about your experience and give a couple of tips. So thank you.
 

Holly Lindsey:
Thanks for having me.

Lacey Smith:
Of course. But thank you guys for tuning in to the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.

Check out our past episodes

Looking for a previous episode of the Learning & Earning Podcast? Check below to find the video or audio version of a past podcast!

This episode of Learning & Earning highlights our April Featured Student Employee of the Month, Katherine Gatons. Katherine works in Fraternity and Sorority Life at IUPUI, and she is a senior studying photography at Herron School of Art and Design. Check out more of her feature.

Video Version:

 

Audio Version

 

Transcript

Lacey:
Hey, everyone. It's Lacey, the host of the Learning & Earning podcast. And today I am here with our featured student employee of the month, Katherine. So Katherine, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Katherine:
Yeah. So again, I'm Katherine Gatons. I am a senior at the Herron School of Art and Design and I'm studying photography. I work for fraternity and sorority life as well as a part of that community.

Lacey:
Awesome. I love photography. It's such a good major to have, and yeah, it's super enjoyable. But as for your job, what interested you in that position?

Katherine:
I think it was being able to kind of have the background knowledge of fraternity and sorority life, see what happens behind the scenes as well as being able to somewhat use my major of photography to help promote and get the word out about fraternity and sorority life.

Lacey:
Yeah. I love that. I think that in college, especially, it's super exciting when you get a position that has something to do with your major and something that you can use to further your skills with that too. Because with my job, I would love to work with social media in the future marketing for a company. So having this position that I do now, it's only going to benefit me in the future. So with other students, that's one of the things that I recommend the most is just kind of find a position where you can use something that will help you in the future too.

Katherine:
Yes, definitely. And I was working on something, so I'm like, even though this might not help me with a future career, I can still look back at it and saying this helped me a lot and I can put it to anything else I do.

Lacey:
Yeah, exactly. And I feel like too, it's important to acknowledge that even with those jobs that necessarily don't have to do with your career as much in the future, it's still a stepping stone and it's still going to benefit you in the long run because you're getting experience doing something.

Katherine:
Exactly.

Lacey:
Yeah. And that's definitely important in college because the more you put yourself out there, then you could get new opportunities as well.

Katherine:
For sure. Yeah.

Lacey:
But With that, what's the main thing that you've taken away from your position?

Katherine:
You definitely have to be open to new ideas and understanding different organizations because there are so many different organizations that are housed underneath fraternity and sorority life, and they're all different. So being able to understand everyone and where they're coming from.

Lacey:
For sure. I feel like too, with a lot of the positions that you have in college, you really do have to be open because you're learning so many new things going into college and then in your position you're learning even more, and that's definitely going to impact you in the future. But what have you enjoyed the most about your position?

Katherine:
I think it's been the learning process. I think learning about different organizations and cultures, because a lot of our organizations deal with different cultures and in themselves are different cultures, it's been interesting to learn about those different cultures within the organizations.

Lacey:
Yeah, definitely. I think that it also allows you to see things from different perspectives and give you insight into other things that you might've not experienced growing up.

Katherine:
Yeah, for sure.

Lacey:
And would you say that your position has helped you connect it or helped you get connected to IUPUI in any aspect?

Katherine:
Yeah. The entire community is so diverse in majors, what they all believe in, all their different philanthropies. So contributing to different philanthropies inside the IUPUI community and outside has been very interesting and trying to find everything. And they definitely give you advice, all the different ones. They're like, "You can do this to this," and kind of help you spread. And then you now more people in different majors that do different jobs, all the different [inaudible] they can totally... I can find someone like, "Hey, can you help me with this?" And they're like, "Yeah, sure. Definitely know how to do that." Or if I'm trying to find something, they can help me too.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. I think that networking is so important right now. So with your positions, it really helps you learn how to branch out and how to network not only with other students, but it gives you the potential to network with higher-up people who could help you in the future find a job and a career that could last for your life. So that's awesome. Yeah. What would you has been your greatest accomplishment in the position?

Katherine:
That's a really good question.

Lacey:
And you can have time to think about it. That's okay. Yeah.

Katherine:
Greatest accomplishment. I think it's been helping create different events for the community because I've always I work... My supervisor is in charge of the Panhellenic and multicultural fraternities and sororities here on campus and being able to create our 2020 experiences, being able to help kind of orchestrate them. We've even reached out to the community to help us pick them. So definitely being the connection to everyone was definitely a big accomplishment because I'm reaching out to the students to bring information back to all other advisors. So then they can connect and understand each other equally.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. I feel like that helps you a lot with your communication skills. And for me personally, growing up, I was very introverted, so kind of learning how to put myself out there and branch out and connect to other students and advisors and supervisors, that can be really scary. So it's really awesome that you've accomplished that. But also, when you were trying to find a job on campus, what really stood out to you about the position, and what was that process like for you?

Katherine:
So I was looking for a while and then I saw this job pop up on what it was, JAG jobs when it was that I'm like, "Oh, well I know some basic stuff about fraternity and sorority life." I'm in a sorority. I can help, I can expand. And I do like being around the other organizations and learning about that stuff. I'm like, "Well, maybe I can do that," as well as it deals with social media. And I'm like, "Oh, I can do that. I'll have to learn, but I can definitely take pictures for social media and promote." So it was kind of the promotion part of it and being able to learn more about fraternity and sorority life.

Lacey:
Yeah. With your major too, is there a specific area that you want to go into with it or-

Katherine:
There's a couple I want to do. I want to travel with it. But definitely learning how to kind of manage social media through my job has also influenced my social media and trying to get stuff out.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. I think traveling and doing photography would be such an amazing experience and I've always liked photography just because I feel like it's so unique to capture different moments in different places and kind of have that memory. So that's definitely awesome if you can do something with that. For sure. But when you were going through this process, obviously finding a part-time job can be kind of stressful and it can be a long process. So do you have any tips for part-time job search?

Katherine:
Yeah. I was looking for something that could fit in my schedule because having two and a half hour classes for our school is not fun, but trying to find something else fit into your schedule is really hard. So I was trying to find something that would easily fit. Maybe if I had to work on the weekends, it's fine. But I like to work during the week so I have other things to do on the weekends. And I was definitely looking for something that could help me grow in any way. Yes, it might not have to deal with anything in what my degree is, but definitely the experience will help in the long run.

Lacey:
Yeah, exactly. And I think that just finding what you can and what will work with your schedule is also important because like you said, it might not help exactly with your major, but it's still going to be an experience. And I think that in college, it's important not to just pass up an opportunity because it might not be specific to your major because any experience is an experience and it will help you grow. And especially with being a college student, it can be very stressful and there's a lot of time crunches and a lot on your plate. So if you can find something that fits in your schedule, then you should take the opportunity. Yeah. Yeah.

Katherine:
It was definitely a big thing. I'm like, I might have to take off a few days here next week because I have to put up a show next week. So I know my supervisor will totally be okay with me stepping down for a day or two so I can get my work done because school always comes first.

Lacey:
Yeah. Exactly. And I think that's one of the most comforting things that I've learned having my position in the Office of Student Employment is knowing that if there ever is a time, I know I will need a break, that I know I can ask for that and they will be there to help me through that and to provide me with what I need. And so working on campus is really beneficial in that aspect because since you are working with supervisors, instead of working at a job, that's off campus, I feel like they just have a little bit more of an understanding of what that process kind of looks like. And that's very comforting. But speaking of having experience with a job, do you have any tips on how to get the most out of your work experience?

Katherine:
Yeah. Definitely be open to anything. Ask questions. Do research. Because I know from my position, there was, when I started, 23 organizations on campus. I knew a little bit about six of them. So definitely researching and understanding all the different organizations here on campus and researching for any position is very important. So then you can understand what you need to put into it.

Lacey:
For sure. Plus I think too, with going into your interview process, it's important to know more about the job position. That way you show the employers that you do know what you're talking about and what they represent as well.

Katherine:
And definitely willing to learn as well.

Lacey:
Yeah, exactly. And do you have any advice on how to gain experience?

Katherine:
Take any opportunity you can. That's my big thing is I might have to do their work. I might have to help with what we call new member academy. So that's when we bring all the new members from Panhellenic and [inaudible] fraternities and bring them all together to teach them about the community. I might not want to go to these things, but I know I need to, and then I can gain more knowledge from that.

Lacey:
Yeah, exactly. And I think that in college, when you take up new opportunities, it just shows you in the future that you're going to have those chances too where you're going to need to take those opportunities. Even if it's something, like you said, an event that you don't really care to go to, even going to that, you could open the door for so many new things and that's what matters. Yeah. And I think as college students too, it's important to know that because at the end of the day, the event could be maybe two hours out of your day in total. Those two hours could be something really important. Maybe not, but there's still that chance. So it's definitely important to seek new opportunities.

Katherine:
Yeah. And then you can get your face out to the community that you're working with as well.

Lacey:
Exactly. And kind of going back to you though and you as a student and as an employee, I am just curious if there's any fun fact that you would like to share with us.

Katherine:
Oh, I don't know. Fun fact.

Lacey:
Fun fact is such a broad question.

Katherine:
Yeah. Such a fun question. I'm like, what fun facts do I have that I can share that aren't weird?

Lacey:
If they're weird, that's okay. We're up for anything.

Katherine:
I've been working on my thesis show and now I have to spend all this time. I think the show goes up next week. Nothing's done. But my fun fact is I've been creating videos for this. So I've been the producer, the actor, and all the different things that come into videos, and I'm showing this to public. So it's going to be up for a week. I'm sitting here like, "I did all of this," which is fun.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. That's going to definitely make you feel good in the end though, because you'll know that you did that yourself.

Katherine:
Yeah. I'm like, "How many hours of sleep can I get? None? Okay. It's fine."

Lacey:
You're like, "I'll figure it out." Wow. That's awesome. Is it about anything specific or-

Katherine:
I created a small, little fictional universe that I'm in and I'm putting all these different things into it. So that was pretty much what it is. It's video clips that, fun fact, are for TikTok. Yeah.

Lacey:
So I've got so much.

Katherine:
They're In that format, which is not a normal format you would see artistic videos in or any short films in. So that's also fun. So that film format is also very limited space. So trying to figure that out.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. That's so creative. And using TikTok too is just sch a different type of experience and way to do it. So that's awesome.

Katherine:
Yeah. It's definitely a weird way to show people art.

Lacey:
Yeah. How did you come up with that?

Katherine:
I did a couple videos. I've been doing a lot of makeup recently, and then doing self self-portraits with them. So I'm like, I want to show the process of me putting the makeup on. So I started doing it on TikTok and then I'm showing the TikToks with the final images. It kind of just went well together. So I'm like, I wanted to show the process, but also have a final image.

Lacey:
Yeah. That's awesome. That sounds so cool. I feel like it's going to turn out really well too.

Katherine:
Thanks.

Lacey:
But kind of to wrap things up, at the end of every podcast episode, we like to ask our guest what they have been learning and earning this week or in the past month, maybe this semester. You can focus more on the learning part or the earning and it can be anything. So what have you been learning and earning?

Katherine:
Learning and earning. I have been learning about the idea of photo books. So that's one of my classes, and how to make them work smoothly in get an idea across or even a storyline across with just photos. Maybe words, but just photos.

Lacey:
Yeah. So is it a photo book where it's telling a story or is it more like an album type photo book?

Katherine:
The one I just did was more of... They don't have to have a real narrative, but a loose narrative. The one I did was a collection of images that went with a narrative. Okay. So it's not a scene by scene kind of book, like a picture book. It's more the collection of images that can share a similar narrative.

Lacey:
Okay. That's awesome. So they kind of represent something as a whole.

Katherine:
Yeah.

Lacey:
Yeah. Okay. Yeah. That's cool. I love that. I love photography and I love kind of doing stuff like that. I feel like I would enjoy that too. That sounds awesome.

Katherine:
It's definitely been an interesting class.

Lacey:
Yeah. And it's also awesome just to see how much you enjoy the classes that you take and what you're doing because that's really important in college too. Yeah. But thank you for coming on to our podcast and for being our featured student employee of the month. We're happy to celebrate you. And I hope that the rest of this semester is good for you because it's winding down and I think we all just need some positive energy.

Katherine:
Thank you.

Lacey:
Of course. But thank you for tuning into the Learning & Earning podcast, and until next time. Okay. It's done now. But also, I'm sorry if like a couple of times I got awkward. I've never done this type of format for the videos, like I said, so I was like, I don't know if I'm being awkward or not, but-

Katherine:
You were fine.

Lacey:
You did great. And I also love your water bottle.

Katherine:
Thank you. I painted it myself.

Lacey:
It looks so cool.

Katherine:
Thank you.

Lacey:
I love that. It reminds me of your background because the sunset. Yeah. It looks cool.

Katherine:
A picture I took.

Lacey:
I have so many pictures on my phone of the sunset. It's just-

Katherine:
I was driving to campus and there's pockets of rain that are falling that the light's going through, but it's not raining everywhere, which is really interesting.

Lacey:
Yeah. I love that. I love photography too. I considered doing that for my major. And then I decided I'll do communication. So I'm doing that with a minor in business because I want to do something with social media, so.

Katherine:
Sadly, there's no minor in photography.

Lacey:
I know. I am actually taking a photography class in the fall though. And I'm super excited about that.

Katherine:
What are you taking?

Lacey:
I can't remember exactly what it's called, but it's just like a-

Katherine:
[crosstalk] photo for non-majors, probably.

Lacey:
I think so.

Katherine:
Yeah. My best friend took that a few semesters ago. She was like, "Can you help me?" I go, "Yeah, I can help you."

Lacey:
You're like, "I got this." That's awesome. Yeah. I don't know. It's always been a hobby too of mine. So it's just something I enjoy, but.

Katherine:
Yeah, it was definitely a hobby. I'm like, "You know what? We're just going to make it a career."

Lacey:
Yeah. Herron's such a cool school too. But again, thank you for coming on and I'm excited to get everything ready for the social media for your featured employee month. So yeah. But thanks again for coming, on and I'll go ahead and let you go. But again, I hope you have a good end of your semester and aren't feeling too burned out.

Katherine:
Yeah. Definitely. You too.

Lacey:
Thank you. But yeah. Thanks.

Katherine:
Bye.

Lacey:
Bye.

 

Learning & Earning episode eight features two students: Valerie Potter, orientation coordinator with the Orientation Office of Initiative, and Alexis Bloom, the pathology intern in the Department of Pathology within the School of Medicine. In celebration of National Student Employee Appreciation week, this episode is all about appreciation in the workplace.

Video Version:


 

Audio Version


 

Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone, I'm Lacey Smith, and welcome back to the Learning and Earning podcast. This week we are celebrating NSEA week which is national student appreciation week and we have two very special guests, Valerie Potter and Alexis Bloom and they are here to discuss appreciation in the work field. So without further ado, let's get into it. Okay, now we are here with Valerie Potter and Valerie can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Valerie Potter:
Yeah, so like Lacey said, my name is Valerie Potter. I, I guess we can start with my school experience. I graduated with my degree in history in the spring of 2020 with a certificate in leadership. And right now I am studying adult education with IU - Bloomington. So I started out as an education major and then I just fell in love with the history portion of school and realized I really, really loved the just getting into higher ed and all of those things. So I decided to switch my major to history and never looked back. So that's a little bit about my school experience.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. Especially considering that you graduated during the pandemic.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. That was not easy doing a capstone during the pandemic so.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, that's an interesting experience but definitely something you'll be able to tell your kids. Oh, I graduated college in the pandemic.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah, especially with the history capstone where you have to be like physically in the archives and going to libraries and things like that. So switching to online resources was definitely something really difficult. Good thing my topic was a little bit more modern history so I had a lot more access to online things, but yeah it definitely was a challenge, but it's a skill you learn and we can use that in the future, I guess.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Okay. So now I am here with Alexis and Alexis, could you give us a little bit of a background about you?

Alexis Bloom:
So I'm a senior here at IUPUI studying forensic and investigative science and getting another degree in biology with minors chemistry and creative writing. I have had multiple peer mentor jobs throughout my time here. I've been with Pep Talk. I've been with PLTL and I'm also interning here at Indiana University school of medicine's pathology department.

Lacey Smith:
Awesome. But during college, what was your work experience like?

Valerie Potter:
Yeah, so my, the bulk of my work experience was with a program called O-Team. I'm sure most people know what that is on campus, the first kind of introduction that you get into campus. But I joined O-Team in the fall of 2017 as an FYS mentor. That was my first semester ever mentoring. It was kind of like my first big leadership role and at first it was super scary. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I liked working with people and I knew I loved my orientation experience. I really, really enjoyed my FYS. So I mentored for two semesters. I mentored for the fall of 2017 and then the spring of 2018. And then I was like, you know what, I'm I'm pretty good at this. And I enjoy doing this. This is a lot of fun. And this is one thing that I like can confidently say I like this and I'm good at it. So I decided to take a leap and apply to be an FYS coordinator, which coordinators for O-Team are kind of the mentors to the mentors. They really kind of just guide and coach and create training programs and things like that for all of the mentors. So that's what I was applying for and I got it. And my whole world changed when I got that role. My undergrad, the just like my enjoyment of my undergrad, my work, all of those things, just kind of skyrocketed when I got that job, I really was launched into higher ed and what that meant, and really my passions for higher ed just developed from that. So I was a FYS coordinator for, I'm still an FYS coordinator, but from the spring of 2018 to now I've been an FYS coordinator with O-Team and I mentored for two more semesters after that while being an FYS coordinator. And now I'm working as a graduate assistant for the Center for Transfer and Adult Students. So that's kind of a little bit more of my work experience as a student, but the bulk of my undergrad was O-Team. And now I'm getting a really good experience with CTAS while I'm studying adult education. So I'm kind of getting both best of both worlds right now.

Lacey Smith:
So could you tell us a little bit about your position and what exactly that you do?

Alexis Bloom:
So our research lab is a little bit unique compared to other research labs. Usually when you go into a research lab you have one topic that you sit by and you do that for your entire time there. With our research lab we actually embark with a bunch of different principal investigators throughout the medical school and the undergraduate school communities. So we get to see a lot of different types of research. What they do is they send us pathology and histology results from their research. And we analyze that for them either by hand which means we just look at it and we give it a score or we go through Aperio scan scope and use a program to analyze those things. And we send that data back to them and we work directly with our PIs and the interns are in charge of communicating things with them and getting them the results and explaining what we found.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. That's really cool too. I actually haven't met anyone who works in something science related, so that's really cool. And that's awesome. And it's a super fulfilling position as well.

Alexis Bloom:
Yeah. We had a lot of clinical trial studies so it's really nice to know that we're helping with these researchers and making a difference really.

Lacey Smith:
I feel like too, with student employee experiences you kind of learn that there's a lot that you can actually do and you seek new interests and you see like there's more out there than I ever realized. I think that's one of the things I've learned the most throughout my one and a half years so far here at IUPUI. There's just a lot of experiences that I have kind of like the opportunity in the future to build new experiences and learn more. So kind of with that what would you say that you've gained from the position?

Valerie Potter:
I think my student employee experience that I felt like I always explained this, like before I joined the team I felt a little scared caterpillar, like in a cocoon. I was just kind of wrapped up in my own world. Didn't really want to experience much. And then when I did take that leap of faith and I did it's just like, I grew like just into a butterfly. I started like my whole transformation. I'm nowhere near the same person I was before I had my student experience. Like just confidence and skill and ability. Just all of those things wrapped in one. It's crazy.

Alexis Bloom:
I have gained so much from this position. It's not even funny. Besides like just the obvious base knowledge of pathology and all that scientific core knowledge that I'll need in medical school. I've learned leadership skills. I've learned how to organize a lab. I've actually gone through a certain period of time where I was the temporary lab manager. I know how to run research studies. I know how to write a standard operating procedures for a research study and how to communicate and educate people who are higher ranking than me on results that I found. And I analyzed and helped them understand what really we're looking at and what it means for their research.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. I agree so much with my position. I am, I'm an introverted person. This position I have to put myself out there and that's kind of a new skill that I've learned. And also something that I've seen grow within me is that I it doesn't have to be scary. Like you can learn how to do these new things and it will only benefit you in the future.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. That being uncomfortable for a little bit really pays off in the end.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. So it's definitely paid off then.

Alexis Bloom:
Yeah, sure.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And that's super beneficial and it's definitely going to help you in the future. So that's awesome. And you've obviously learned a lot and in that work environment, you know there's different qualities that you need to have a work environment that helps you learn and grow. And one important thing is appreciation for employees and employers. So one of my questions is how do you see appreciation in the work field?

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. I think one thing that I wasn't necessarily prepared for was the amount of effort that supervisors put into you as a student and post, sorry, my cat decided to join. The amount of effort that your supervisors put into you and the people who work with them put into you. They really value your input as a student. That's one thing that I always remember like professionals asking me, they'd be like, no like you're a student right now. What do you what do you think you have the student perspective? And when you give it to them, they were so thankful for you to bring that perspective to them. But that's one thing I just I felt like I, I was always appreciated. That's that's the best way to describe it is I was my skills were being utilized and I really value being helpful to other people. That's just me personally. And some people may not feel that way, but for me when I would have like my supervisor, like, you know that was a really good idea. Thank you for bringing that to the table. We might use that. I'm like, yes.

Alexis Bloom:
So really with me appreciation in the work field just means that what I'm doing is recognized. I guess I know that sounds really basic and really really like obvious. But when it comes down to it, I was, I have been in some places where the work I was doing was just blown off and it, it wasn't counted for anything. And even though I'd been working my butt off it just wasn't going, it just wasn't going anywhere. Even though I was trying my best. And here, my work is greatly appreciated. I'm told on a daily basis that I'm doing a good job, that I'm learning. And my mentor, my boss is helping me grow, he help me apply to medical school. He helped me. He's helping me with my classes and what to schedule and how I should handle certain situations. So I think that is just a wonderful way to show appreciation. It's just being invested in your employees because it shows them that you really care about them as people. And that they're not just a number to you. They're not just there for you to use them.

Valerie Potter:
It's a constant cycle of just, you know feeling needed and your work is appreciated. And the efforts that they put into making you feel like your work is needed.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, exactly. And work takes up so much of our time. And I feel like a lot of times you'll find that you're at work more than it feels like you're at home because when you get home, it's like, oh you do homework or make dinner. And then it's like time for bed, you know? So sometimes you'll find that you spend so much time at work. And so having that environment where you feel appreciated and you feel like you're being seen, that's so important and it's such a good characteristic to have in your work environment.

Alexis Bloom:
I completely agree. It's it's I love coming to work. It's an amazing, it's my favorite part of the day because I can just come in and I can I know I'm going to be comfortable here and I know I'm going to have a good time no matter what.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, that's awesome. And honestly, not a lot of people can say that. So the fact that you can, that's great. And I would definitely agree. That's one of the things that I love about my job is that I don't have to just go to work and deal with work. It's like, I go to work because I enjoy it. And I like what I do. So that's awesome. But kind of with the pandemic and working remote how has that changed? Has that changed any for you or is it still about the same?

Alexis Bloom:
Since COVID hit, we have changed some things in the lab. Whenever it first came and we were first all put on quarantine, we were only allowed to have two essential workers in the lab. I was luckily one of those two people. And that's when I was temporary lab manager because our lab manager was on quarantine. So, but it was, I feel like we did show a lot of appreciation towards our employees still during that time, just because not only did we make sure that everyone was in the loop, we started having weekly meetings, making sure that like everyone had work to do and everyone could get all the hours that they could. We were working around the clock to make sure that everyone was involved with still getting paid. First of all. And second of all, we working around the clock just to make sure, like trying to get our people who are in quarantine, back in, in the lab and trying and we were working tirelessly. It took us about like four months or so. It was well into the summer before we got everyone back but it worked out and we finally did. And I think they knew they knew what we were working on it because we gave them weekly updates. And we said, this is what Andrea said, this is what we're doing. And so I feel like even through COVID, and even through that, our appreciation bar there, my boss's appreciation for us was very apparent and how much he cared with everything.

Valerie Potter:
As an employee. I'm the type of person that I really enjoy like face to face interactions. I really enjoy building relationships in the workplace. That's one of my main goals. I, you know, when I'm working with people is how do we build a relationship with this person so that our work can be beneficial and it can be productive or efficient. And so that's just how my mindset works. So for me this pandemic has been honestly pretty hard with working because you're not seeing people face to face every day. And I like to pretend that I'm not super extroverted. I call myself shy extrovert because I'm very I'm a very shy person if I don't feel comfortable with people yet, but once I am like, I am completely like just I'm an extrovert. I have to be around people to get my energy up. And I really feed off of the vibes of other people. So not seeing everyone every day it's been really hard to be motivated. But one thing that I really appreciate that hasn't changed much is like our supervisors commitment to keeping us together as a team and our supervisor's commitment to making sure that we are comfortable, that we're capable. You know, we have the tools that we need. And like, you know one thing that we've been doing is like all of the student employees we've made like a GroupMe. So we communicate through GroupMe or Snapchat and, or, you know little Zoom calls for lunch. Like when the pandemic first started we were doing like Zoom calls for lunch every week. We just have a little time to sit and chat and keep up with each other. So that's the one way that I feel like it's it's obviously a lot different, everyone's kind of gone virtual and that's obviously different in the sense that we're not seeing each other face to face but that commitment to teamwork and that commitment to helping everybody and making sure everybody's feeling okay like that hasn't changed. If that makes sense.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. For sure. And I think too, that with the little things like having lunch together or checking in making sure you have everything you need, that's just another way to show appreciation for employees or your colleagues. That's awesome. Especially in this time when everything feels very uncertain and you know, we're not really sure if things will ever go back to normal. So yeah, that's definitely a good way to show appreciation. Why do you think that appreciation is important?

Valerie Potter:
As someone who is words of affirmation, I value words and appreciation a lot more than maybe some people might. So, and I mean, there's different ways of showing appreciation for all types of different people. I mean, there's notes, there's words, there's, you know I don't really know. Thank you. Is they're just spending time with somebody, having conversations with them all those types of different ways to show appreciation but I think for most people they want to feel useful. They have these skills that they appreciate about themselves or they have these things that they're passionate about as especially for student employees, you know you're passionate about the work that you're doing. So when someone says like, no the work that you've submitted or you're doing an amazing job, or your personality in the office is so needed, or, you know, your your commitment to this program is what we need and what we value about you. Those are things that just motivate people. And then you have intrinsic versus extrinsic and all of those things but just that feeling of being useful, being needed kind of having that relationship with somebody to that extent, it motivates you. It makes you feel more capable of doing the other things that you need to do. I know, like when I have a really productive day at work and I feel like I've contributed and my, my supervisors or my colleagues have recognized that it helps me you know, oh, I'm gonna go do my homework now and see what I can complete now. Or I'm going to go to the gym or I'm going to go to the grocery store, whatever you need to get done. It just kind of sets your whole day up. Or if it's, you know, in in the evening and you have the next day it just makes you feel more connected to the work that you're doing or other people like it really just uplifts you and creates an environment of motivation and happiness and just really contributes to feeling good about yourself but also feeling good about others and helping others.

Alexis Bloom:
Well, I've always, I've always heard the term like happy wife, happy, happy life. It's kind of the same with like your employees. If you think about it, because like if you have happier employees you're going to get better work ethic from them. They're going to want to come into lab. They're going to do their work faster. They're going to get things done at a better rate. And like, our lab will go through so many projects at once. And we have like three rush projects where we're all trying to get them done. And we're all queuing, QCing. We'll have people coming in extra hours. We'll have people stepping up to the plate and just and getting that stuff done in a record amount of time because we are willing to go there and willing to put more effort into it than if we weren't appreciated. And we didn't feel appreciated if we didn't want to come in. And we only wanted to come in for our set hours at the time because that was all we could stand. So it's, it's it's a lot different environment, first of all. And it's just a lot different for products that you get if you don't appreciate your employees. And I think it's very important to any employer that they should that they should appreciate their employees. Otherwise they're not going to get the best quality of work that they can.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's true. I didn't even think about that because a lot of what I think about is the environment and just keeping it nice but it also definitely does impact the work that you guys put out there and with your field it's so important to put out the best work that you can.

Lacey Smith:
With feeling good about yourself and kind of helping others feel good too. Is there anyone you would like to give a shout out to you to show your appreciation?

Valerie Potter:
How much time do we have?

Alexis Bloom:
I guess obviously my boss, Dr. George Sandusky. He is amazing. I love him so much. He has, he has helped all of us in the lab so much. And I know I keep saying that, but I don't, like extremely, like he was there with us through every step of the medical school application process, through the MCAT. Like he always checks up on, on us asks us how we're asking us, how everything is doing in our lives, because that's in our personal lives as well. Ask us how that's going. He just goes the extra mile and it, you can tell and it makes the lab environment just wonderful to be in. First thing I hear when I walk in the door every day is how are you doing today? Are you okay? Is everything going all right? Like, so it's just, it's good to know that we are that we are very vital in the lab environment environment because he makes us feel vital in the lab environment.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's definitely those little things like asking how you are that completely change your day and can make it better. It's just the little things.

Valerie Potter:
I have so many people, I mean I say this all the time and I when I talk to people about this it's like, O-Team in my undergrad for sure saved my life like completely changed the path that I was going on. I was on a downward spiral and O-Team just kind of shot me back up, like just sent me into a path that I never saw coming and sent me into a form of myself that I never thought was possible. So I have so many shout outs to give the whole entire O-Team. I mean, the coordinators Stephanie Keiner, Jacob Cole, Andrea Engler. I have my, I have my people that I'm working with now Robin Tu and Robbie Lopez-Shu, just all of these people who have such care for other people and it's not the type of forced care. These people, they really just want to to make people feel good. And that is just a whole waterfall that it just goes on to the next person and making people feel like they have a purpose on this earth, which is exactly what my undergrad working experience brought me is just purpose and meaning and all of those things. So I just, there's so many more people that I could list. Those are just the people that come to mind right away is those, those people have just completely changed the trajectory of where I was going. So I have many, many thank you's that I probably could give out more often.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's amazing though. I think having an environment that you can go to every day and during work especially when everything else is so stressful that's such a comforting feeling.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
And it's, it really can help your life be better.

Valerie Potter:
Mm hmm.

Lacey Smith:
And it gives you a structure too.

Valerie Potter:
Oh, for sure. I became such a better student once I got my job because I knew that I was passionate about what I was doing and I wanted to have the time to work and to do those things. So it made me, you know get my homework done faster, you know at least get it done and stay mindful of my time so that I could interact with all of my friends on O-Team and interact with my supervisors. Like, like you said, it gives you a safe haven outside. Like I always looked forward to going to work. I loved getting out of class and going straight to work. And that's not something that many people could say like

Lacey Smith:
No not at all.

Valerie Potter:
Some people are like dreading going to work. And, you know, you have days where you don't feel motivated or you don't feel like you want to do those things and your team just uplifts you and really helps you get stuff done and feel safe and comforted and all of that. So, yeah, I agree.

Lacey Smith:
But to kind of wrap things up at the end of every episode what we like to do is ask our guests what they have been learning and earning this week, this month this year, just, it can be anything, it could be random. It could be something serious, focus more on the learn part or the earn it's up to you but what have you been learning and earning?

Alexis Bloom:
So learning is definitely just a constant, constant cycle of what's going on. So this week specifically I guess we're learning about micro RNAs because we just got this new muscle research and we're seeing how breast cancer affects that. And then it affects muscle regeneration in turn because of this micro RNA that's down regulated in the body. So that's definitely something that I'm learning. And in addition to just learning more about, I'm only you're always constantly learning about how to communicate with people, how to communicate with people who hold more status than you who are higher ranked than you, I guess is a better way to put it. And so I guess through that I'm earning just a lot of experience for medical school and beyond because how many people can say that they have taught doctors how to do something? Not a lot of people can

Lacey Smith:
Yeah

Alexis Bloom:
say, and specifically in medical school like I have sat down with multiple doctors and multiple principal investigators and I taught them how to read slides and I've taught and I'm the one teaching them and I'm an undergraduate student. So like, that's something I've earned really a lot throughout this internship. And I just love that. And it's a great experience to earn because it didn't come easily. And it's like a lot of hard work and a lot of studying for me to get to that place.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And that's amazing. And that's definitely something you should be proud of because like you said, not many people can say that.

Valerie Potter:
That's such a good question. Wow. Give me second to think about it and learning or earning.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. You can think as long as you want it. That's okay.

Valerie Potter:
Does it have to be like school or like employee related or what?

Lacey Smith:
No.

Valerie Potter:
No. Nothing?

Valerie Potter:
Okay. I think, okay. So one of my favorite things that I've recently realized has been helping my own self kind of care self-love journey through this pandemic has been having a nighttime routine. So I'm one of those people that go to bed really early. So I started my nighttime routine around like 10:30 and I stretch, I'll journal. And then I'll end the day with like reading a book with some candles or something like that. I don't always do candles but I always try to read a book before I go to bed. You know, it helps me sleep first off. Cause I'm like passed out by the time I hit my head on the pillow.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Valerie Potter:
But there's one book that I've been reading recently called Atomic Habits. And I don't know if anyone's ever heard of that but it's really, really good. And I, I flip flop. So, you know, whenever I have one book, I'll read a self help self care kind of book. And then the next time I pick a new book I finished that book. I'll pick like a fiction. I really love fiction, like sci-fi, all that stuff. So then I'll read it for the week, but this time I'm on the self care, self love one. And that one is amazing. It really breaks down how your daily thoughts can contribute to how successful or productive your day is. It really contributes to what you can get done. And I, I love it because it's really helping me realize little things that I'm doing throughout the day that are helping me, but are also sometimes not being so great for myself. So I find myself being more aware of when I'm not doing something I'm supposed to be doing. I'm like, oh, this is what that book is talking about. So

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Valerie Potter:
So that's what I've been learning, learning about my habits and in making my world and what I want my role to be. So.

Lacey Smith:
I love that. I am definitely a person who loves self reflection asking any of my friends. They would be like, yes, she does. I think not that I kind of like to look at life as something where it's like, you know they always say like, kind of. You want to be this person or you want to be that person but I'm like, you should just keep growing. You don't just stop once you feel good. You just got to keep finding areas to improve and to grow. So I think that sounds super interesting.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. I agree. I I'm the same. I really appreciate constantly growing, but with growing you always have to appreciate where you are and how far you've come. So that's been good. I feel like a lot is like missed out on in this hustle world that we're in right now. It's really appreciating who you are in the moment which makes you more likely to want to grow and want to be better. So I agree. Self-reflection is something I'm super passionate about. I talk to my friends about it all the time and they're like okay. But, but yeah, I agree with you. And if you like, self-reflection that book will definitely be really good for you.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. I think so, too. And with journaling, I love journaling. I love writing so much. So journaling, stretching.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. Yeah. Stretching has really helped me like feel just like I'll place them like nice relaxed music and I'll kind of get me in that vibe of ready to go to sleep. And it's so good for your body too.

Lacey Smith:
It is. Especially with stress.

Valerie Potter:
Yeah. You can just feel the stress just kind of going away.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Sometimes I don't realize how stressed I am and then I'll do yoga and I'm like, oh yeah.

Valerie Potter:
Like feel your shoulders tensed up throughout the day. You're just sitting there like I've been sitting at this desk for so long..

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. But that's awesome. I love that. That's good. I hope you all enjoyed this episode of the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.

Learning & Earning episode seven features two students: Kell McGee, orientation coordinator with the Orientation Office of Initiative, and Emiley Brettnacher, the career services intern in the Office of Student Employment. In this episode, both students share their experiences with interviewing (both good and bad!) and provide some tips and best practices to help others be successful in their future interviews.

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Audio Version


Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi, everyone. I'm Lacey Smith, your host of the Learning and Earning podcast. And for this week's episode, we decided to discuss interview do's and don'ts with two very special guests, Kell McGee, and Emily Brett Knocker. And they both come on to discuss their own personal experiences, as well as tips and tricks for the interview process. So let's go ahead and get right into the episode. Okay everyone. So now I am here with Kell and Kell, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Kell McGee:
Sure. Well, I'm Kell McGee. I am currently a senior here, IUPUI I'm majoring in forensic science and biology. I currently work as an orientation coordinator for the orientation office of initiatives and as well as I'm a resident assistant and RA here in Riverwalk. So this is really great. A lot of times in my free time, I'm in an organization called NRHH, which is National Residence Hall Honorary, which really focuses on recognition and hosting different events for people on campus saying, thank you for all the things that you do. Whether it's maintenance, housing, or even just the upper staff, like the directors and coordinators and things for housing. And also be volunteer service for IUPUI and some of the community of Indianapolis. Other than that, I'm watching Netflix when I'm not studying for everything and going back to back from meetings there.

Lacey Smith:
I feel like a lot of the times I'll be busy, but I always find time to sneak in Netflix. You just have to.

Kell McGee:
You have to, there's always time.

Lacey Smith:
Okay. So now I am here with Emiley Brettnacher, and Emiley, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah, so as Lacey said, my name's Emily Brettnacher, and I'm a sophomore here at IUPUI, double majoring in sociology and communication studies. And I'm the career services intern here at the office of student employment. So basically that means I get to work with students, which I think is pretty awesome. So they come in during drop-ins or appointments. And we talk about building resumes or cover letters and part-time jobs or strategy sometimes. But that's just a little bit about me.

Lacey Smith:
It definitely sounds like you're busy and have a lot on your plate.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Slightly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, just a little bit. So with that, I feel like you've probably definitely experienced a couple of different interviews and had to go through the interview process a lot. So I'm curious about your job now, how was the interview process for that?

Kell McGee:
So for the RA process, for starters, that one was definitely, tell about your skills, some of the experiences that you've had. A lot of it didn't need to come from something I've done before, which a lot of different jobs do, like have you had experience? Which is really great. But what was also slightly different about that normal ish interviews, depending on what you're going into, was the fact of the cultural competence component that they have within the interview. And just seeing that, how does your mind work? Are you open into learning different things about diversity, wherever you are on the spectrum? Maybe you don't know anything, haven't had hard conversations or things like that, or haven't really reflected on yourself and what's happening in the world. You can not have any of that and have a lot of it. And so that threw it off.

Kell McGee:
For me I was like, Oh, wow. I'm like, okay, they have this other component, for being an orientation coordinator, that one was like, tell us about your skills. What can you bring to the team? What makes you so much different than everybody else? It was very much like I had to have some experience with those kinds of skills before going in. Because they're just not going to open up and hire anyone. And so that I really had to articulate things I've done even before. Because I was also a freshman, first year seminar mentor. And so it's like, "I've done this before. I know what it's like being in the classrooms. I've seen the program, do the research. I know here's what the strengths I need to do well in this job." And it was just like a little more extensive to get there.

Emiley Brettnacher:
So this position is a little different when we talk about interviewing. So actually the office had made this position for me because I was with them my freshman year. So 2019 to 2020. In the fall of 2019, I applied for a program assistant position with the office. And that interview process pretty much was like any other interview process on campus. So I was asked for a half hour interview, at the time it was in-person because coronavirus did not exist. So I went in in my professional dress and I checked in at the front desk. And then I met with Lauren DeHaan, who was the assistant director of our office. And we just chatted for a half hour. Because that's what interviews are. They're like a conversation. And then after that I was hired to the job and I ended up staying with the office as an intern. So that's how that went. My situation is a little different.

Lacey Smith:
After your interview, how would you say that was, did you call back? Did you send an email? Was there anything that happened after the interview before they contacted you?

Kell McGee:
That's always the most nerve-wracking part, is waiting, but I think a lot of times you just got to go in there and do the interview, do the best you can, give yourself 10 minutes in the car or however long afterwards, if you got to cry, cry, if you get excited and cheer, cheer. And then after that, probably the best thing, forget about it, send that follow up email.

Lacey Smith:
Yes.

Emiley Brettnacher:
After the interview, I lived in University Tower at the time, which the office is located in University Tower. So I remember running up the stairs because I lived on the third floor and I was like, I'm only taking the stairs. So I ran up and I went to my room and I immediately got out my computer and I started drafting a thank you letter to Lauren, thanking her for the interview. Because that is common practice, it is a nice courtesy to do for the interview or just writing, "Thank you for taking the time to have this interview with me. I certainly enjoyed discussing this opportunity." And then maybe just adding a little sentence here saying, "I believe that my experience in blank will be extremely beneficial to this position." But after the interview, that's what I did. I ran up, I made the thank you email and I sent it and then I called my mom.

Lacey Smith:
Of course, you have to call your mom after stuff like that. That's always what I do too. So I understand. But yeah, that's definitely a good idea because it's honestly the little things like that that will set you apart from other people. I think that when you're up against other individuals for a certain position, doing something like that, even though it's seemingly small, it makes a big difference in the long run.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah. And it's always important to remember if you're applying for multiple positions and you've participated in multiple interviews, to tailor those, thank you letters, to each interviewer. Don't do a same cookie cutter email to each of them because I mean, it ruins your edge a little bit if you just send them a buoyant thank you letter. You want them to feel special in that sense, like, Oh, this candidate really did appreciate having this opportunity to speak with me.

Lacey Smith:
Speaking of preparation, what's your biggest tip for preparing for an interview?

Emiley Brettnacher:
Drink lots of water. I don't know if you're like me, but after speaking for a while, I quickly get parched. So drink water that way you're you're not focused on, Oh my God, my mouth is so dry. Drink water and just prepare your answers beforehand. Usually, I like to sit and think, okay, I'll practice my elevator pitch. Like my name is Emiley Brettnacher. I'm a sophomore studying dah, currently am the career services intern and I'm pursuing this. And then preparing yourself for those questions that you want to ask the interviewer. That's a really important part of the interview that I think a lot of students forget. But employers want you to ask them questions and sometimes they'll make that know and there'll be like, "At the end, there will be time for questions." But I've had some instances where they see if you have questions because they want to see if you'll take that extra step. Make sure you have those prepared before the interview.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome that you mentioned that because that was my next question. Is do you have any questions that you like to ask that you feel like could be a good recommendation to other students?

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah. I think the biggest thing that you should do first, could be looking at the job description and seeing what questions you have. So a common thing that some employers, especially for IUPUI, they'll put in their job description, opportunity for special projects. And I think it's a really good question to ask and be like, "So what are the sort of projects that employees have done in the past, in this position?" And that also gives you a better sense of what that employer means by that. Sometimes employers will be honest and they'll say, "We let students guide that. So if they see a need for something, we let them take that on." Other times they're like, "Yeah, we have this list going on and we see what you're good at and apply it to you there."

Emiley Brettnacher:
Another question if there's logistical details. So maybe the job might require training and the employer hadn't mentioned that in the interview, you can always ask, be like, "Hey, I noticed that this position might require a training period. How long do you think that will be?" But just asking those intuitive questions.

Lacey Smith:
Just in general, are there any tips that you have to set yourself apart from other people in the interview process?

Kell McGee:
One thing I really relied on is my personality when it comes, when I was a coordinator in RA my personality and how I was able to use that and my skills to succeed in whatever position I was doing beforehand. I was talking about the things that I've done, how did I use those skills, but also how did I bring me into it? But people also don't want a robot. Yes, you can complete these tasks, but at the same time, they're working with you as the person. So yes, you're selling them your skills and it's like, I am qualified, but also you can have all the qualifications in the world, check every single box. But also they're going to look at you and be like, can I work with this person sitting right next to me every single day? And I think that's the mindset that you have to go in. And everyone's unique and their personality, and I think that's just one of my strong suits. So that's where I go in, especially explaining myself.

Kell McGee:
I'm a Zodiac person. I love astrology. That's what it is. And so I always bring up the strengths and weaknesses, I'll mention those things. I'll bring it up. I'll tie it into any interview, even talking in conversation like we are right now, I'll tie into it and talk about it. And sometimes it's the easiest thing you can do. If you don't know what to say about yourself, what makes you unique? Bring in your Zodiac. I even saw this thing, talk about your, what is it? Your Harry Potter house. And it was like, you don't know what to say to describe yourself, mention your Harry Potter house, mention your zodiac, that's a great start. And then just bring in your skills within there. And your experiences and tie in altogether to help you kick off because those are hard questions and be like, tell me about herself, that's a hard question.

Lacey Smith:
With interviews, there can be a lot of nerves. You can get anxious or not know what to say during the interview. So was there ever a question that you feel like you've messed up during an interview?

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah. Yes. I think we get it into our heads that we have to be perfect for them. We have to put on the show of perfection and that simply isn't true, I think. I've been on the side of the interviewer. It's been a couple years since I've been the interviewer, but I remember talking to people and it's really just about finding out who you are as a person. So there are going to be those moments where you mess up on a question or you stumble over your words, or you take that time and you're like, "Oh, just give me a moment to gather my thoughts," which are all completely natural.

Emiley Brettnacher:
But there was, I did have an interview, I think like two weeks ago. And they had asked a question and my nerves were a little high at the time. And I had said something and I was thinking to myself at the time, I was like, "I probably could have said that differently," but it's important to just move on with the interview and just give it all you can after that. So I think, as long as you do your best and you show your best self, that's all you can really hope for.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, exactly. Plus I think it's important not to focus too much on it because then that's going to affect the rest of the interview and they'll be able to pick up on that. So you got to just let it go, especially because at the end of the day, as long as you do okay in the rest of the interview, that little tiff won't matter as much. But speaking of messing up a question, yourself, have you ever been asked a weird question in an interview?

Kell McGee:
Yes. And the most recent one I can think of that comes to my head. It wasn't like a high stakes interview or anything, but it was a mock interview that I had to do for my capstone. And this is a technical interview. So those are a slightly different from normal interviews because they ask you a lot of concept questions about the job, especially in science and STEM. It's like, do you know this thing? And so the hardest thing was, he asked me, what is forensic science? We are a class of forensic science students, he is the head of the DNA unit for the Police Department. And he's like, "What's forensic science?" Sometimes it's those simple questions that you don't expect people to ask you, besides the tell me about yourself, which everyone knows is coming, but we're still caught off guard by it.

Kell McGee:
It's those simple ones that you don't expect, like if someone was marketing, it's like, "So what is marketing?" You know, I know, this is what I'm here for. Like, of course we know, but you have to put it in terms for yourself to define what it is to show your passion for it. I feel like those are the questions that throws you off because you're ready for the, like, explain your skills in this way or your experience. What exactly did you do? Because you have to do that and it's on your resume. And so you pull back from that a little bit. But it's those simple questions, just like, what does the... Another one that was in my coordinator interview was like, what does a healthy work environment look like to you? Everyone getting along? Like what do you mean? I'm ready for the more complicated questions. And sometimes we just forget about those simple ones and those ones throw me off.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Because I feel like when I prepare for an interview, I always think about the questions where there's like situational, where it's like, what would you do? And then there's behavioral, which is, describe a time when? I feel like I always prepare for those. So then when they ask me a really simple question or whatever it might be, it just throws me off completely. And then I'm stuck and like, Oh, what?

Emiley Brettnacher:
So definitely there's some weird questions out there that they can ask you. I remember being on the back end of that, once I was voted onto the committee and thinking of questions and being like, "Let's ask them what shape they want to be," because you want to see what people do on the spot. You want to see that improvisation, because you really do get to see who people are when they're on the spot and you have to answer those weird one-off questions. So that is, I mean, yes.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. It makes me feel like I need to prepare in the future for questions like that, because I've never been asked one, but I've come by so many people who have.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah. And it is important to remember as well that most employers will tailor their interview questions based on what you've put on your resume or a cover letter. So like that interview, I talked about that I had two weeks ago, they had asked questions that I could tell they had looked at my resume. They looked at my cover letter and they wanted to know more about that experience. So you can prepare for those questions, especially if you intentionally put it on those documents, you can stare at your webcam or you can stare in the mirror and be like, this is what this experience was. And this is what I did. And this was the end result. So you can prepare for those. But the one-off ones are a little harder to prepare yourself for. You do not want to ask anything that you can find in the job description though. So if you ask something and they're like, and they respond, "Well, you can find that in the job description," you probably didn't ask the right question.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think it's definitely important to pay attention to stuff like that. Because while you want to ask something that's really important to the job, you want to make sure that it's not something that you should already know. Yeah. So I would say that's a big interview don't

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yes, that is an interview don't.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Do you have any other interview don'ts?

Emiley Brettnacher:
Oh wow. I have a couple. Because like I said, I was an interviewer for my junior and senior year of high school for the state board I mentioned beforehand. Because again, there was this big process and you had to go through an interview. And the biggest thing is fidgeting, I think. I know we're now on Zoom and so you can't really see if I'm tapping my foot or if my hands are shaking, but in an in-person interview, those things really tip off an employer or the interviewer. There was one case where I was interviewing a student. We did it in groups. So there were four other interviewers with me. And the student was sitting in a desk because these interviews would take place out of school and he was bouncing his foot quite a bit. And it was a little distracting. So I would ask this question and then he would be talking, but I wouldn't be concentrated on his answer because he was pouncing his foot so much. And then all of a sudden he started taking off his shoe with his foot.

Emiley Brettnacher:
I don't know if he did it unconsciously, but he was so nervous. He just couldn't stop messing with the seats. And things like that really throw an interviewer off. I mean, I can't even remember what the answer was because I was so distracted. So that would be a big interview don't. Do not fiddle that much to where the interviewers distracted by what's going on.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think it also shows your nerves, so then they're like, oh, I don't know how to feel.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yes. Confidence, I would say is a big thing for interviews. And I know some people have had trouble with that, but I think wearing clothes that make you feel good, pulling out that blazer that makes you feel like a superstar or pulling out that pair of pants that you're like, yes, I look good in those. And just taking the time to really build that confidence in yourself again so that way you can present your best self.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. I think one of the things I've heard a lot in life is fake it until you make it. It really can work. If you keep just faking that confidence, it will work. And like you said, putting on something that makes you feel good. You can be nervous, but stuff like that really does help. And I feel like that's one of the things we don't realize that much, but it does go a long way.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yep. I totally agree.

Lacey Smith:
At the end of every episode, we like to ask our guests what they have been learning and earning this week, or it can be the past month. It can be in 2021. Just what have you been learning and earning? You can focus more on the learning part or the earning part, it's up to you.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Wow. What have I been learning and earning? I think that's a really good question. So I'm one of those people who's a big believer in the growth mindset. So I'm always challenging myself to expand my knowledge on different subjects. And I think the thing that I've learned the most this year specifically is just how to work with students. And I know at first you're like, what do you mean by that? But there really is true to every student is different, and every student is at different part in their journey. They're all going through something at a different time. And I think especially this year with the pandemic and our job search process being a little different this year, I think what I've really learned is how to connect with people on that and just talk to them about it. I feel like last year I didn't really get as much opportunity to do that, but this year I've really had the opportunity to sit down with students and meet with them and just hear their stories and what they're going through. And I feel like that's a very valuable experience for me.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. And I think too with the pandemic, it's always something that we can all connect to as well. So it helps build those connections in this time. And I think it's also really interesting that this year you feel like you've experienced that more, considering that we are going through the pandemic. So that's actually really cool.

Emiley Brettnacher:
Yeah. It's just all these changes bring different obstacles and new paths, so yes.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. It's crazy to think about how things could be if the pandemic never happened, in your personal life. Not as in the world, because obviously we don't want the pandemic to happen, but I feel like in my personal life that it's really shifted things for me and brought new opportunities for me as well.

Kell McGee:
I've been learning recently, is to trust my gut. One of the things I do because I, a lot of times, as much as my Zodiac sign, it doesn't agree. I've been trying to think things through a lot more frequently and even deciding what to do with the future and what I want and just what's best for me. How are things working? What do I want to get out of this college experience to know where I am not going to move my opinion or my views or anything like that. And then where it's okay for me to step away or nuzzle it to give in and that's totally fine. Because I, and especially in interviews and that's one thing that's been on my mind, I was like, "I'm going to have to get a job and do interviews." And sometimes for technical interviews, you can't, it's all about what you know, and not necessarily who you are all the time. And so I'm like, well, that's one thing because I like to consider myself unconventional interviewee.

Kell McGee:
I'll ask sometimes the question, I have to say, don't ask in the interview to the employer or something. I was like, wow, I think it's a valid question and I'll explain why, or I'll give too much information, like I'd done during this. It's just like, here's all the knowledge, here's everything about me. And so I think myself a little bit unconventional interviewee, but I was like, there's some things that like, get the job first. I'm like, let me just pull back a little bit and bring myself to reality. And so finding out where that line is, just, and anywhere it's like, I will not stand for this. I will not budge on this issue. It's like, okay, I can give in on this topic for this little moment, but also not losing who I am. And I'm trying to think about that with just jobs in the future. So I think my personality doesn't necessarily match the career I'm trying to go into. And so it's just been like a lot of give and take and trying to find that balance.

Kell McGee:
It's what I want to do, but it's not always adding up and seeing just who I am in general. And so that's something I've definitely been learning even just for the past month, especially in these two weeks, so many things has been going on and it was like, I'm trying to figure that out now.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I love that you mentioned balance because you're right, in interviews you have to understand what you can share and what you can't, but also you want them to know who you are without knowing too much. And yeah, it can be very difficult and hard going through that. But also I love that you mentioned just trusting your gut. I think that's really important. And for me personally, in college so far, I'm only a sophomore, but I feel like I've just grown so much within myself and realized that, just have faith in me. That's what I need at the end of the day. And that's really important. And that goes hand in hand with interviews as well is just have faith in yourself, breathe, relax, and go in there. It might be, maybe 20 minutes or an hour, but it will be done. And then you'll just have to find out what happens. I hope that you all enjoyed this episode and learned a thing or two, I appreciate you listening and tuning in. And until next time.

 

 

Learning & Earning episode six features, Autumn Abbatiello, the front desk assistant at the IUPUI Honors College. In this episode, Autumn shares how she transitioned to working remotely this past year, and provides some tips and advice to help other students be successful while working virtually.

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Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi, everyone. I'm Lacey, the host of the Learning and Earning Podcast. And I'm here today with Autumn Abbatiello. So Autumn, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Autumn Abbatiello:

Hi, thank you Lacey for having me. My name's Autumn and I'm a sophomore here at IUPUI. And I am double majoring in anthropology and communication studies with a certificate in human resource management. And I work as a front desk assistant at Honors College here on campus.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. Do you like your job?

Autumn Abbatiello:

I love my job. I've worked there since my first semester of college and everybody's just super friendly, super inviting. And just learned so much about Indianapolis as a whole just worked . Everybody there just knows everyone.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. And I feel like it's also a really good stepping stone because working in an office and then being a communication major as well and then anthropology as well. You just learn a lot about the office environment and kind of what your future could look like. So I feel like it's a really good stepping stone.

Autumn Abbatiello:

For sure. It's definitely feels like the first real job. Like it's not like a high school working in like a restaurant or like retail. It's like, there's a certain amount of professionalism that is expected from you in an office setting rather than like anywhere else.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. What all do you do for your job?

Autumn Abbatiello:

So recently it's been a little bit more like involved. Like I've been more involved. Because my old supervisor, I miss him, I love him. He got another job and I'm super happy for him. He's super excited and it's a really good place for him. But because of that, we've kind of the front desk assistant there's me and another girl, Andrea, we've taken on some more responsibilities. So I deal with a lot of the emails. Like it's not a lot of emails, but like our weekly newsletters I'm in charge of. I gather all the information and I drop them. And then I have them approved and then they get sent out by one of the like staff members that I work with. And then I answer the phone. I used to do a lot of the filing, but because everything's very much online, I've been kind of learning to file online, organized in that way, since they don't want everybody touching files. If the advisors want like students' files, they have to go get it. So everything's kind of changed a little bit. And I've also helped with some of the like articles like on our website itself. So I think it's definitely helped me with a lot of those like verbal slash public communication skills. So it's like nice because that's what I could be doing in the future like internally in a company or like two people connecting with company I can be reaching out to them. So I'm feeling like I'm really getting that experience then.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. It's also, I feel like that's a lot of work. And like with school and everything obviously you have to learn how to balance that. So do you have any tips or advice on how to balance work and school at the same time?

Autumn Abbatiello:

I feel like the biggest thing is knowing how much you yourself can handle. I do work a lot. I work about 26 to 28 hours a week. So luckily I have the opportunity that I can sometimes get homework done at work. I haven't been able to get as much done since I have taken on so much more responsibility but I don't mind, I don't mind doing it. I like the experience. But you kind of have to like go in knowing that and like figure out the fastest way to get something done while still giving it the best quality it can get. And also knowing how many credit hours you can handle. Limiting how much you work a week if you know that you are taking intense classes about like semester or something. So just kind of like being honest with yourself and not taking on more than you can handle is the biggest thing. Yeah, that's what I would say.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, and I feel like with us being sophomores in college it's interesting because last year we had experience working on campus when COVID wasn't a thing. And so we kind of got used to that. And then next thing you know we're getting thrown into balancing work/school also during a pandemic. And I'm just curious, like when the pandemic hit, how did you initially feel about working?

Autumn Abbatiello:

Well, initially I was really excited to hear that they were still having us work from home. At the beginning it was mostly just emails and like checking the voicemails and everything like that and just reaching out. So I was really appreciative that we still were getting those hours because like many other college students I'm paying out of pocket and it can be hard sometimes. So I was really initially happy. And like, I think as you work from home if you don't have a lot of stuff to keep yourself busy like I said, I was just doing emails. So it would be like kind of easier to want to slack off. And you kind of have to like pay attention to that and like kind of hold yourself accountable especially like when you're at home because I know when I'm at school like here, like in my on-campus apartment, I'm like fine like I'm very motivated. And like, so like at home, I just like feel so unmotivated. So it's kind of like tricky 'cause you had to learn how to combat that because in the office setting like you're just in your normal routine, but when you're at home, you're not used to working unless you're used to working from home. And I think through time it got a lot easier and I also have more stuff to do. So I had to, one of the things I did was I started going to the coffee shop not far from my house once they were like letting people set in and everything. And I would've just like sit there and like try and get as much work done there so I could come and have a like work/home separation.

Lacey Smith:

Yeah, environment definitely impacts work. I think you get used to being in an office and then with the pandemic being at home, it's very different. I know for me personally it's really hard to do any homework when I'm actually at my home back in my hometown because I feel like I just get easily distracted and being in my room with everything around me, my phone near me. I don't really have self-discipline when it comes to that. So that was definitely a challenge for me during the pandemic. Was learning how to stay motivated when I'm actually trying to work on whether it's school or actually working for work. But yeah, it's definitely difficult.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Yeah, I think it was also kind of like interesting because like when we started working from home at the beginning of the whole pandemic situation, like we were also having to like adjust. So going from in-person classes to like those professors figuring out how they want to do their online. And then like, I know for me a lot of my syllabus actually changed. Like a lot of projects were dropped or like they were altered. So it was kind of like you have to reevaluate. Everything's not only are you trying to figure out how to stay motivated for work and how you're going to work from home. You're also trying to figure out how you're gonna change how you do homework at one place and then how you're going to do it at home now and like how you're going to be able to have those Zoom calls with no distractions or anything like that.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly, and I think one of the biggest struggles for college students was this is the first pandemic that we've really been a part of. And we're at the age now where we can understand it. And so dealing with that, and then also learning how to balance everything, it's been a struggle and it's definitely hard and difficult during this time.

Autumn Abbatiello:

For sure. You just, you had to just get thrown into it. But I feel like it's definitely made everyone stronger and I feel like everybody's handled it very differently. So I feel like IUPUI has handled everything very well considering I've heard so much like things about other schools and like I feel like it was really smart that so much is online. And I know your guys' office does this too but we have our like staff rotating in shifts. So like they still have that in-person aspect to their job but not every week. So different staff members are in every week. And I think that's so smart. It's like partial work from home partial. It's kinda like a hybrid class if you think about it.

- Yeah, and I think it's awesome because it shows that the school is taking it as serious as they can while still allowing us to be here and to have the chance to go to work or to do classes at school in this environment. And I think that's awesome.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Exactly, and especially like if they had just gone like, Oh, you going to have like in-person classes again this semester rather than doing what they're doing more online classes, more hybrid classes, less like smaller class sizes. We wouldn't be able to come back on like hopefully full in-person next semester. Because the longer we try to believe that we can out run the coronavirus or whatever, however you want to say it the longer we think we can still have in-person classes, it's just going to get worse and worse. And we're never going to get fully back to normal whatever that will be in the future. 'Cause it won't look the same as before the pandemic. It's definitely gonna look very different.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. There's been a lot of challenges with this and I know you've mentioned a few but is there any other ones that you've struggled with during this time?

Autumn Abbatiello:

Let me think. I feel like it all just comes down to adjusting. Like I've previously mentioned, you just like have to learn to adjust to so many different things. And then I feel like also just keeping up with it like you have to follow the new show closely to like really know what's going on. And it's also like interesting 'cause we're probably the most like alone we've been like in our entire life. Because the people who are taking all the precautions seriously, they don't want to see like all their friends or like too many of their friends. And it's like, you have to be very careful about who you see. 'Cause you don't want to risk it. And not even necessarily you yourself getting it, but you don't want to expose the people you care about.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Autumn Abbatiello:

And it's also interesting, like now that I'm back in office this semester, just for like modified hours, but I'm like, I don't want to risk getting any of my coworkers like in contact with somebody and then like risk them, their families like so on and so forth. Like it's really like a butterfly effect and it just can like spiral way out of control up everyone's not careful about it.

Lacey Smith:

Yeah, you definitely have to learn how to be safe and smart about it. And I think that's one of the things that a lot of people struggled with at first because it kind of felt, Oh, COVID I won't get COVID, but in reality I feel like it's more common to hear people say I have had it rather than, Oh, I haven't had it.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Yeah, I feel very fortunate that I have not had it. And I haven't known too many people who have had. I've known a lot of people who were in contact with somebody that was too, which was very terrifying. Even though I wasn't in contact with the person that was in contact with somebody else. I was so scared for them and like their loved ones. And especially like when you're like just one of your close friends and you know like they're in like, they're high risk, I guess. Or like they have a lot of older family members and you know they're really close. So it's like really scary to like think about all that. Well, working like remotely taking classes on Zoom, maybe it seemed like inconvenient. Like I feel like it's all been worth it and like I've grown a lot through it. I feel like we all have. We've been forced to, we didn't really get a choice.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure.

Autumn Abbatiello:

We're going to get to say that they were in college and worked remotely as a college student during a pandemic.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, and I really love how you mentioned that online classes can be a struggle, but we should be thankful for the opportunities that we do have. And like I mentioned earlier, we're really lucky to even be here on campus. Yeah, so-

Autumn Abbatiello:

I'm very happy we got to come back this school year and it's also nice for the people who like kinda like we're struggling like with tuition and everything, because there's so many online classes that they can like stay home a couple of semesters and not have to worry about being here all the time. So people like hours away can just take online classes, fulfill our credits and then they're saving thousands of dollars that they would have been spending on housing.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly, I think a lot of this time has been learning how to see things in a positive light and not always see it in a negative aspect.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Exactly, and I feel like that's something a lot more people need to think about. Like this is hard, this is hard, this is hard, this is hard. But what's good is coming out of it. Like think of it even as it's like, well, it's only good in comparison. Like, but it's still something good. It's something good that's happening. We've made it this far. The vaccine hopefully will be distributed to everybody here soon. We're hoping, but-

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, and one of my questions too is, in regards to your job compared to working on campus, to working during the pandemic at home to working now, what has changed?

Autumn Abbatiello:

I feel like before it was kind of like a gathering I don't know. Like you get so used to having however many people work in your office. And like that just turns into like emailing and like on a screen, maybe like weekly staff meetings. But like, I also don't really need to go to those because kind of email me with the stuff I want to, like they need me to do that week or that day or something. So it's kind of like weird you go from like seeing all these spaces, having conversations and like you go to just like emailing about the stuff you need to email about all the stuff that needs to get done. And then like you come back and it's just like, it's weird 'cause then you got so used to just emailing and not really seeing them. So it's like interesting. And also like I said with the switching staff members every week or every other week, like it's like weird 'cause you're not seeing everyone. And so it's like, it's quiet. The environment just has changed. And it like makes you feel different while you're working.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, our office is extremely quiet because we only have at most four or five people working. And so it's very quiet and it's relaxing and peaceful but it shows you the difference compared to years before when there was so much going on and now it's just very quiet and calm which can be a good thing. But it's just, it shows you how crazy things have changed.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Oh, for sure. And it was like also at the Honors College so we have the student lounge connected to the administrative office area. And since we came back last fall, we have it. So they come in like our side like so where my desk is and they like check in wiped on the computer and like can go back to the lounge. Like this is when we're in office obviously. But when they leave they'll leave where the students would normally enter and like check out. So like I'm seeing all these students I'm like wow like I see all these students coming into studying and everything. And like, you also like you're not used to like seeing students 'cause you always think like, Oh, they're coming in 'cause they need help. Or they're meeting with that advisor or like this, that or the other. They're dropping something off but they're just going back to study. So it's like interesting because you're like just waiting to see if they need anything or like if they're just going back and it's just so, it's just like an adjustment.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, it's like you said, it's been an adjustment period and just learning how to balance everything. So with that, what would you say is probably your number one tip for working remote?

Autumn Abbatiello:

I feel like the smartest thing to do while working remote is having set times you're going to work. Like if your job isn't like required to work certain hours, if you're not on a schedule or anything, set hours for yourself that you're going to work and like try and get up a little bit before that, not just like wake up and open up your laptop or get on your desktop or something. I think it's so important to like fully get ready for the day, like get dressed like you were actually going to work. And then like if you need to like switch rooms like at home, I don't have a desk. So I would try to like go in the living room, go into my kitchen or go to the coffee shop and just kind of change the scenery. And like make it feel like I'm less at home somehow.

Lacey Smith:

Yeah, for sure. I think one of the things that helped me is routine. I'm already a routine-oriented person, but if you hold yourself accountable and you just wake up at a certain time, get dressed, do things to kind of motivate you and then start working whether it's in your kitchen or at a coffee shop which from personal experience, I love the coffee shops because you get your coffee and then you can work. And I think being out of the house and being in a different environment, it's just way more motivating than staying at home. So accountability is very important and routine as well.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Exactly, and I feel the same way about like classes and homework. And I feel like I've seen it translate even though I'm back on campus. And like I have my Zoom calls and everything. Like, I've gotten better at saying these are the hours I'm going to do my homework and like trying to get it done, even if I'm like not going on campus to study or anything. So it just like has really translated from just work into like every aspects of my life.

Lacey Smith:
I think one of the biggest things that anyone can take from working remote during the pandemic and using that into going into second semester is, kind of sticking with what you did and what worked at home and then seeing how you can use it here. And if you stay in that routine, I think overall, it just benefits you in the end.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Exactly, It just takes like the stress of thinking away and your body just gets used to it. It just feels natural. I feel like when I don't have a routine, I feel very drained. Like I don't have any energy. But what I'm just used to doing something, it's just easier at that point.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, and I know that for students who live on campus, going from being at home to coming here, can kind of be a change. But like I said before, if you hold yourself accountable and just keep going with that routine or changing some things around with classes and going on campus. But if you do that, I think you're on the road to be successful for the semester.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Exactly, just know what you're in for and like plan ahead and create a routine. And if that routine doesn't work, change something figure out what's wrong and like try and fix it. So you have a routine that does work for you. And not everybody will be like a routine person but I feel like there's a certain aspect that everybody kind of does have a routine. We all kind of follow the same things even if it's not exactly the same or if it's not super organized. Just creating a routine that works for you, whether that's like this, this hour, like everything's super organized. Or just like, I'm going to do this, this and this today, but like not setting times or anything like that's still some type of routine and lots of organizing. And it's just like we'll relieve you of so much stress.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think that's a really important way to kind of learn how to work your schedule and just to stay motivated. And talking about what you learned during the pandemic with remote work and everything kind of leads me into my last question. And this is a question that we ask at the end of every podcast kind of to come full circle but this can be about anything from last week or this month or in general, whatever, but about anything. What have you been learning and earning recently?

Autumn Abbatiello:

Learning and earning, hmm.

Lacey Smith:
And you can focus more on the learning aspect or the earning, whichever. It's completely up to you.

Autumn Abbatiello:

I feel like I really been learning how I'm actually like a morning person. Like I like that's so random. I do feel like so much better when I get up early and I've always been a night owl. But like I really just enjoy getting up early and like starting my day because if I get up like a couple hours earlier than I normally would, and I have all that time to myself, I just feel already so productive with myself by the time it's actually time to work or do homework. So I feel like that's definitely like what I'm learning and earning. I'm earning those hours by waking up early.

Lacey Smith:

Yeah, I love that. That's awesome. I am also, I'm kind of weird because I feel like I'm a morning person yet I'm a night owl. And when you have those two together, it doesn't mix well. But you live and you learn.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Every night's different.

Lacey Smith:

Yeah, exactly. But I appreciate you coming on to our podcast and thank you for talking to us about remote work and what you've learned. I hope the semester is great for you.

Autumn Abbatiello:

Thank you for having me. I hope you have a great semester too.

Lacey Smith:

Thank you. But anyways, thank you for tuning into the Learning and Earning podcast this week. And until next time.

Learning & Earning episode five features, Nyck Weaver, an alumni from IUPUI and the quality control supervisor at Adidas. We all know that networking is important, but it can be a little daunting at first! In this episode, we discuss the importance of networking for your professional development. Nyck provides tips and advice on how to network effectively and how to build confidence for those who are nervous to make new connections.

Video version

 

Audio version

Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone. It's Lacey, I'm your host of the Learning and Earning podcast. And today I am joined with my guests, Nyckolas. So Nyckolas could, first of all we're very excited to have you here, but could you give us a little background about yourself and your experience in college?

Nyck Weaver:
So, like you said, thank you, Lacey. My name is Nyckolas Weaver. I am a supervisor at Adidas. I started at Ivy Tech. I did my two years there, graduated with associates degree. And once I completed my associates degree, I transferred to IUPUI while I did another two years and got my bachelor degree in public affairs. Once I graduated, that's when I entered to work deals, start working for Adidas, and I worked my way up. Started in 2018, got I moved up to a DC coordinator by 2019, and then by March, 2020, I was a supervisor in the quality department and that's what I'm currently doing.

Lacey Smith:
Wow, that's incredible. That's awesome. I always love hearing about IUPUI alumni and their experiences because I find it very motivating for my future. And I feel like our listeners as well are going to find that very motivating and inspiring. So thank you. And I'm so glad that you're doing well. When would you say that you started learning how to network in college?

Nyck Weaver:
Probably when I attended to IUPUI. I think that's when I realized the importance of networking. Working for the office of student employment, working for Lauren and Jenny, they really showed me how to get out there and put yourself out there and to navigate and the importance of meeting, talking to the right people 'cause you don't know where that next handshake could lead to. So I think that's where I realized the importance of networking. And I also brought that into my classrooms when we would have to do the group projects. And that's when you start interacting with people. Then you start to learn their backgrounds and their experience, then they have connections. So you never know where that could lead to. Those always important just to continue to communicate with different people around you.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. And I think networking is very helpful in the future, especially during college because you want those connections to where you can reach out to people and reaching out to people is going to help you possibly find, you know your way to a career or to an opportunity that can help you build a career which is amazing.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's super helpful. And it's definitely, I think one of the most important things you can do for yourself when you're in college

Nyck Weaver:
You know, and another one was I took a course, and I do not want to butcher the young lady's name, but I believe her name was professor Hampton. And I forgot the name of the course, but in the course you had to do informational interviews. And, an informational interview is when you go out and you find somebody in the field that you're interested in you just ask them a series of questions. So you asked them, you know, "What was your path, your journey? What are some qualities you think you need to be successful in this role?" And just questions along those lines. And that right there is how you start to build a rapport with people in a field that you want to enter. And then from there, you just keep going. So for example, I have a upcoming informational interview with this young lady named Melanie Lagrande, and she had the corporate social responsibility executive for the MLB. So I plan to utilize that as soon as I introduced myself let her know where I want to go, and hopefully we can keep that rapport going so she can look out in case any opportunities arise not only the MLB, but in other sectors.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. I think also with that is when you take those chances and you shadow someone, for example, I think it definitely helps you with your career interests because a lot of times you might think a career is something you're really interested in and then figure out, "Oh, I'm not that interested in this." Or you might also figure out, "Hey I actually really enjoy doing this." And in college it can be a little confusing with deciding what exactly you want to do. So when you take those opportunities and you meet people and ask them questions about their jobs, I think it's really helpful for your future.

Nyck Weaver:
And I agree, and I think what you just brought up is also a good point. That job shadowing, you get to see hand and experience whether it's maybe like four hours or you actually have the opportunity to do a full day. And that might like tilt your decision. Like, "Well, do I really want to enter to this field?" Or, "You know what, I can see myself cut out for this. This is what I want to do."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. It's definitely a good way to look into the future and see if something's good for you, or if it's something that you really could see yourself doing and put yourself in those person's shoes for a day. But I think also when you're meeting people it can kind of be scary because a lot of times you aren't sure what exactly to say and you're not sure what questions to ask. So one of my questions for you is when you're trying to network, what's a good way to start up a conversation with someone?

Nyck Weaver:
Are you're talking to on the spot or just somebody that you research that you're knowing that you're going to meet? I guess will be my kind of follow-up question to that.

Lacey Smith:
I would say someone that you've researched and you're meeting.

Nyck Weaver:
So how I like to do it is I like to get online, and I'll just type in "questions to ask during an informational interview." And kind of like what you brought up earlier before we started saying how, you know you just got a couple of questions to ask and then the conversation just flows. And that's literally how mine, my informational interviews go. Like, I'll ask a couple of questions. The next thing you know, the conversation's just smooth, it's flowing, and as they're talking, then I'll just come up with a question right there because they said something that I resonated to. Because, okay, let me ask about this. Let me ask about that. Now it was, I what I thought was gonna be a 30 minute conversation turned into an hour. So now I got them reeled in. Now they're reeled in to me. They want to know what's my interest? Why am I interested in this field? What they can do to help me get to that next level of my career. So just always just pay attention to detail, listen to what they're saying. You may have a question in between, and more than likely they'll be willing to answer that question because what I noticed about information interviews is people love to talk about themselves, good or bad but people love to talk about themselves.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
So utilize that opportunity and take the fullest advantage of it because a lot of people kind of stare off. They only want to, Hmm. I don't think I have that confidence to do it, but no, step out your comfort zone. Go network. Because the more people you know, the more access you have.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think also it's important that when you're having those conversations to really listen to what they're saying, rather than as they're speaking trying to figure out what to ask them next. I think it's important to really stay in tune with the conversation and really be present in the moment. Another question that I have though is you brought up confidence and I know a lot of people can struggle with that, especially when they're meeting new people. And I think no matter how extroverted someone can be they can still be, they can still work on confidence when they're meeting new people and asking questions. So I also was curious if you had any tips for confidence when you're engaging in new conversations with new people.

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. So I what I like to do it just ask basic questions. Hey, how you doing? How long have you been working here? What's your interest? Where would you like to go in five years? That's as far as work-related. Now, as far as on a personal note, you just ask them basic questions that's similar to those. Usually when I'm meeting new people whether it's at work or through family members or friends, I was in the position where my mom always put me in the forefront to meet new people. So my mom is like the hub when it comes to the family. She always wanted to do family reunions. She always wants to get the family together. And when that happened, she always forced me in the front to speak in front of everybody. So I think I took a different path compared to other people. So I kind of got comfortable at an early age to speak in front of people or just go up and talk to people and have conversations. And like in the position that I'm in right now, I have to do start up meetings before we break out and do our work. And I'll be honest at first, I didn't know these guys, I just got into this role. So my confidence was a little shaky at the beginning because all eyes are on me. They're like, "Who's this guy? We don't know who he is." So, but as time goes on, and I start to talk to them one-on-one, I make sure I go one-to-one to get to know my people. That's when my confidence got higher and higher. And I got more comfortable in my role speaking in front of my people. And I think that's one of the challenges that I have with my workers right now, or my colleagues rather, is giving them the confidence to where they can speak in front of other people or just take that initiative and go speak to other people rather then waiting for the opportunity to come to you. Because there's one thing I want to tell my people is that if you wait for opportunities to come to you, you're going to be waiting forever.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also helpful too with them seeing you being so I guess, outgoing and really comfortable with building new relationships because I think it's really inspiring when you see someone else doing that. And it really encourages you to put yourself out there and to try something new and take new opportunities. So that's definitely really inspiring for them, for sure.

Nyck Weaver:
You cannot be scared to fail when you're reaching out there, as far as struggling with your confidence. You're going to mess up, I mess up. It's going to happen, but you just continue to work on it. And then you build on that. And that's when you're gonna start seeing that confidence coming in. Before even knowing it you're just going to be up there, just talking to people that you thought you would never do maybe two or three years ago because you just gained that confidence and just continue to do it over and over. It starts to become a repetition.

Lacey Smith:
Hm. And I think too, the more that you put yourself out there and the more you just say, "I'm going to do this I'm going to try it out and see what happens." I think that just builds confidence too. The more you do it, the more you get used to it. And the more you see, "Oh, this worked out. This wasn't as scary as I thought." And then you start to see yourself getting more comfortable with those situations.

Nyck Weaver:
It's interesting because I remember one of my friends was telling me that he was in a situation at work and he said, the first thing I thought of was me and how I would handle that. So another thing is that you never know, who's watching you, so always just move with confidence, whether you're unsure of your decision or whatever the case may be, always move with confidence. The consequences you can go back and you can see what you did wrong later, but always moving with confidence. Never try to second guess.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And it's, I think it's really important just to remember that at least you tried and at least you put yourself out there.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You always want to put yourself in different positions where you're not really sure about the outcome because it could actually lead to a great deal of good. Once you put yourself in different areas or different a capacity that you're unsure of.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think it's also better to put yourself out there and to have an answer rather than, rather than to think about, "Oh, I wish I would have done this. I wish I would have said this." Because those, wondering "what if?" is just way harder than actually putting yourself out there. But another question that I have is obviously 2020 was crazy, especially with the Coronavirus, and in a way I think that made it very difficult for some people because they weren't sure how to go about networking. And so, is there any recommendations that you have for trying to network virtually in this time?

Nyck Weaver:
So my best friend is LinkedIn. That is what I've been using to network. Like I brought up earlier about being from MLB, just sent her a text od DM through LinkedIn and she responded. I was surprised. And I said, "Okay, well let me see if I can follow up on this." And next thing you know, we set up a date to conduct the informational interview. So I do that. I also try to use people at work to see, like, who they know as far as the networking, but you also just, just talk to people around you. You know, the separation of degrees is only so much. I think that I learned that from Lauren actually. But yeah, just definitely utilize the people that you talk to on a daily basis, who they know. Definitely use LinkedIn. I think that's a great platform. I think you can reach out to people that you never had a chance to reach as far as on a daily basis or in your circle or at school work related, whatever the case may be. LinkedIn, you can reach out to people in different states, different countries. So definitely use that as a resource to network.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I actually learned about LinkedIn when I was in my first year seminar class, and I wasn't sure if I would actually use it that much, but as school went on and as the years go by you use it a lot. Even on job applications they'll ask you if you want to put in your LinkedIn which, if you have your profile built really well and you have those different connections, it looks really good, especially on a resume.

Nyck Weaver:
That'd be also my age too because I started to see that as I was getting older because I know that at the beginning, I was seeing that we would asked to LinkedIn, as I started getting older you have the option if you want to put in your LinkedIn link for those who interested in looking at it. So, I think that's also a good source compared to your resume because you can add a lot more to your LinkedIn profile. Do you want to add to your resume? Cause we want to keep your resume at that one page limit obviously. And you can add a lot more to it in LinkedIn where they can go in great detail, see what you done.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And you can also add in like little links to, whether it's a video that you made, or if you wrote an article, you can add in those links and it helps them see your skills more as well.

Nyck Weaver:
That version, that portfolio. Absolutely.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. So I really liked LinkedIn though. I didn't realize I would use it that much. And now I'm, every time something new happens, I'm like, "Oh I got to update my LinkedIn."

Nyck Weaver:
I'm on the same page with you because you never know who's looking at that page and somebody might get in your DM or texts. Like, "Hey, I got this great opportunity for you that I think you'll get a great fit."

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And when you make those connections with other people, whether it's just your friends or your coworkers, then that can connect you to someone else who might have a new opportunity for you.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah.

Nyck Weaver:
I was looking at LinkedIn recently, matter of fact, and you know they just made the announcement for the March Madness being here, so I've been looking in LinkedIn to see who has different volunteer opportunities. 'Cause I like to participate in that. So, I'm either on LinkedIn or actually on the website. I will definitely want to get involved when it starts here.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. So when you're networking, do you think there's any questions that really stand out and are there any questions that you should avoid?

Nyck Weaver:
Hmm. Any question that stands out. I think one of my questions that stands out that I get a lot of positive feedback is, "What are like the three strongest qualities that one should possess to be successful in this role?" That question alone, I get a lot of positive feedback. Another one is, you know "What is the biggest challenge in your role or the biggest success, your day-to-day responsibilities?" Those are some common questions that I like to ask because I know I can get a lot of information out of them when I ask those questions. As far as questions to avoid, me personally I like to avoid the salary question. I've never brought that up when I've done an informational interview. Granted like, I guess some could ask it because it's an information interview, but I just never thought of asking that. I think that's probably like the only question I try to avoid, but I think everything else is probably in ball game, fair game.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that when you ask those questions too, it's really important to go beyond surface level because I think that also it's beneficial for you to find out that information, but it also shows your interest more

Nyck Weaver:
Right.

- in what they're discussing.

Nyck Weaver:
'Cause you really want to get like in there, not just beating around the bush questions, but actually want to gain insight because you're utilizing not only your time but they're time as well. So you want to take full advantage of it by asking deep thought-provoking questions. Open-ended questions where they actually have to answer them and not just think, yes or no question.

Lacey Smith:
And when you ask questions like that, where they're more deep and have more substance to them it can lead to other questions that you can ask as well.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. You definitely want those detail oriented answers because like you just said, you can go and find another question within that answer.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly. And I think that helps you stand out more to them.

Nyck Weaver:
Exactly. Exactly. You just want it because like at the end, when I ask them, where I'll say, "Thank you for your time. Thank you for taking time out your day to conduct an informational interview. Do you have any questions for me?" Next thing you know, they're asking me questions, and they haven't seen the question they had asked me. I'm pretty sure they didn't have once the interview started, they thought it's probably just going to be over within 15 minutes. But I drew so much detail out of them, now they're interested in me as well. "Well, okay. This person asks some good questions. Let me see. We'll pass this young man along. Let me see if I can do anything to help him." So that's usually the rapport I like to build when I'm doing information interviews, and I love to keep in contact. So just send them a message every three months. "Hey, how you doing? Is everything alright?" Then sometimes we will do another interview. It's not even necessarily interview at this point. We're just talking. They just want to see where I'm at, how I'm doing. Is there anything that they can do to help me to accelerate my career and help me get to that next level.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And then I'm also curious if you feel like it's important to heavily prepare for when you're trying to network with researched people or if you think it's better to go into it with some prepared questions, but kind of just let it flow.

Nyck Weaver:
So this is completely off topic, I guess, or maybe similar but I went to a wedding, my cousin's wedding back in October and you know, they did their vows. So my cousin, she went first she did her vows. Then he went, he said, I'm sorry this pop-up just came up on the screen. So he went and he said, "I didn't write anything down. I'm gonna speak from the heart. So my mind went, "Okay, this is going to be good." He gives the talk, and I think he got lost where he was at in the conversation. And I said, "Ooh, okay. Maybe he should have wrote something down." Maybe you should have, maybe jot a few words before he decided to freestyle these vows. So I bring that up to say, you should have maybe at least three questions down when you're researching people that you want to interview. Probably just don't want to go in there just free styling questions, just thinking about the first thing that comes to mind because now you're going to be just pulling from anywhere, just thinking of a good question. And now that person is on the other side of the computer, or the other side of you think to himself, "Well, why I'm wasting my time? He didn't come prepared."

Lacey Smith:
You definitely want to have a good series of questions on your paper, or whatever the case might be, and then after that, as the conversation goes then you can start coming up with questions on the spot right then and there because now you've got something to build that rapport. You started getting more comfortable, and you start to draw more questions that offer detailed answers.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. For sure. Even if it's just bullet points, at least you have those prepared.

Lacey Smith:
Right.

Nyck Weaver:
And you're not going into it blindly.

Lacey Smith:
I couldn't picture myself going into an informational interview, knowing that I'm trying to get answers out this person, and have no questions prepared. And just thinking about questions out of thin air. I don't think I can get away with that. Maybe some people can, they can pull it off, but I know for me personally, I couldn't do it.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I feel like even if you're very extroverted or very confident, it would still be very hard and difficult to go into a conversation without having a little preparation.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly preparation is the key to success.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. I think obviously there's some things in life that you can wing and it can go okay, but when you're trying to build a relationship and form new connections and possibly take new opportunities, probably not the best decision to go into it not really knowing what to say.

Lacey Smith:
I definitely agree 'cause first impressions are everything. And if you drop the ball on that first impression, you might as well keep it going because more than likely you lost their personal interests.

Nyck Weaver:
For sure. I think you don't realize how important first impressions are until you're trying to build a career.

Lacey Smith:
Right. And that's definitely still working at Adidas. You know, I think I had a lot of great great impressions and that played a vital role into me getting this current role right now. You know, when I got hired for it not only did they interview me, but they went around asking different people about me. They did their due diligence. So they found out that I was a good worker. I interacted with people. And that pretty much kind of put me ahead of the group.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
First impressions are very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah. They really do stick. And if you think about it, it makes sense because a lot of people say that first impressions don't matter that much, but even personally, when you think about it, they do. And they impact your opinion on someone. Or if you want to engage with that person again, the first impression is going to come back to you.

Lacey Smith:
Exactly, exactly. 'Cause I'm pretty sure that you went and did your due diligence and asked about me to Lauren, you know and she gave you good insight about what I was about. So first impressions definitely very important.

Nyck Weaver:
Yeah, exactly. But thank you for giving us some networking tips, but to end off every podcast episode, we like to kind of bring it back to our podcast title. And so I'm going to ask you the question what have you been learning and earning this week? Now this can be anything, whether it's something you've achieved or something you've learned, but what have you been learning and earning this week?

Lacey Smith:
Learning and earning. So I guess two separate categories right now. I have been learning real estate and I've been learning stock market.

Nyck Weaver:
Okay. Those are two things I have been trying to learn. Trying to learn more about ETF, index funds, stock options. As far as real estate, just selling houses, how to get people under contract, collecting assignment fees, title companies. So I've been going back and forth just trying to learn more about those two industries.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome.

Nyck Weaver:
That's a good question. I'm glad you asked it.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, but thank you so much for being on our podcast. We were so excited to have you, and you gave me a lot of good tips as well for networking, and I'm definitely going to use those in the future. So I appreciate it. And thank you so much for being here.

Nyck Weaver:
Thank you Lacey, for having me. I definitely appreciate my time being here.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, of course. But thank you for tuning into the Learning and Earning podcast and until next time.

Learning & Earning episode four features, Laura Ryle, The Communication Network president. In this episode, she provides an overview of how she got involved with The Communication Network, and also offers advice on how to get engaged in clubs and groups on campus during the pandemic.

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Audio version

Transcript

Lacey Smith:
Hi everyone. I'm Lacey Smith and welcome back to Learning and Earning. I'm your host. And I am here today with Laura Ryle, who is a communication major and a poli psy major at IUPUI. So Laura, first of all, thank you for being here with us and tell us a little bit about yourself.

Laura:
Yeah. So hi, my name is Laura Ryle. I'm a current sophomore at IUPUI, double majoring in political science and communications studies. And I might be minoring in legal studies. I'm not quite sure yet. And I am currently based at Avon, Indiana. That's where I live and I usually just commute to and from IUPUI. It's about a half hour drive or so.

Lacey Smith:
That's awesome. Can you tell us what you've been involved in at IUPUI?

Laura:
Yeah. So when I first started going to IUPUI last year, I knew that I wanted to get involved with some kind of organization based around my interests and just some of the skills that I have just because I wanted to be able to put something on my resume and take it with me to career interviews, job interviews, whatever, as well as internship opportunities that might've come my way and just have like some kind of portfolio or resume of things I could offer and show that I had experienced.

Laura:
And I was so actively involved in high school with all things radio and television. I loved doing morning announcements through the school. I wrote for the school newspaper and I loved it so much. And I knew that I wanted to kind of do something again with that in college and take it to the next level.

Laura:
And so I found out through my communication studies program that there was this organization called TCN that stands for The Communications Network. And basically they were kind of brand new and their focus was to start a radio station program with IUPUI and just kind of have a bunch of people contribute with different podcasts and have some school affiliated podcasts.

Laura:
And I thought, "Wow, that sounds like a really cool idea." I wasn't as familiar with the podcasting stuff as I am now, but I knew that I wanted to try it out, see what it was all about and stuff. And it was new territory for all of us. And I quickly was promoted to the social media chair that fall. And it was a lot of fun just posting different things promoting the club and stuff through our Instagram, Twitter pages and Facebook.

Laura:
So jump forward to this past fall semester, I'm going into my sophomore year and I have a couple communication classes with my professor, Trevor Potts, and I go into his classroom and he was the advisor for this organization TCN. And he comes up to me after our first class and says, "Laura, all the officers dropped out. The other member dropped out. You are my only hope will you please kind of revitalize this organization, bring it back to life?"

Laura:
And I just was very just caught off guard with that deer in the headlights type thing. And I was just like, "Oh my goodness." What if I say yes? I don't know anything about this kind of stuff. I don't know what the officers had on their agendas. And I said yes. I was just like, 'You know what? Bring it on. Bring on the challenge."

Laura:
So I became president of the organization. It was literally just me at the beginning of this past fall semester. And I was just like, what am I going to do? So I started off by reaching out to a bunch of communication classes that my professor taught and I had a few people grab interest in the organization. And I was really happy because I literally had nothing to offer to them.

Laura:
I was straightforward and I said, "This is just me in this organization. I have nothing to show. I can only promise that if you help me out with this, you will love the experience." And I had about, I'd say about 10 people interested, a bunch of different comm studies majors. And we instantly started off by just like, okay, we're going to start podcasting. And we all kind of wanted our own individualized podcast. A few people partnered up, but for the most part, we all wanted to do our own thing.

Laura:
And so we have some people doing sports podcasting. We have some people just talking about their daily lives. Some people just talking about different political issues. And we very quickly started the process of planning all of this and recording. And now we have several people posting podcasts on different podcast platforms, including Spotify.

Laura:
I'm not sure of the other ones. I forget. Yeah. Maybe Apple. I'm not quite sure, but it ended up getting big for some of them. Some of them have like a few thousand viewers, which is really cool because we just started this this fall semester. They've only been at it for a little while and I was really, really excited to see the turnout with this. And so I'm really looking forward to next semester. So yeah.

Lacey Smith:
Wow. That is awesome. First of all, it's very impressive the amount of viewers that you guys have received. That's amazing. And also I think building up the network during COVID is extremely impressive. So that's amazing. I think it really shows you too that once you put yourself out there and you just willingly take a chance, you can really build something.

Lacey Smith:
So that's amazing. That's awesome that you did that. And I think one of my questions is how would you tell others to put themselves out there, especially with new stuff like that and taking new roles?

Laura:
Yeah. So you just have to find that knick. Something that like you are really interested in. And for a lot of the people who started off in TCN, they didn't know what they were going to do. They were very confused. They were just like, "What is this podcast going to be about?" At first, some people were thinking like, "Oh I'm going to talk about this and that." And I was just like, "Just narrow it down to one topic."

Laura:
And then I had other people just like, I have no idea what I want to talk about. And I feel like I was one of those people as well. Because I would just kind of like, what am I going to talk about? What am I going to say? I'm an awkward person and just finding something you're really passionate about.

Laura:
I know one of the people doing the podcast she's really big when it comes to I guess just advocating about sex trafficking and just women's rights and everything. She's very, very passionate about that. And she has a lot of personal experiences with that as well. And so that's where her passion for the podcast came from.

Laura:
It was through those topics and she's had, I forgot how many viewers that she's had, but she's had a wide amount of viewers and it's gotten a lot of attention just through her topic and everything and it's very inspiring. So I would just say just anything you can find to talk about. Just something that you are passionate in and then it just becomes natural to you.

Lacey Smith:
Absolutely. I think too, that when you find something that you really enjoy talking about or something you enjoy doing, it makes it so much more worth it when you actually accomplish putting yourself out there and trying something new. It kind of makes you more driven to do those things as well. And you enjoy yourself so much more. And then when it pays off, you feel really good about yourself and what you're doing.

Lacey Smith:
And I think that can also help insecurities and build confidence because the more you put yourself out there and the more it pays off, the more you're going to be proud of yourself and kind of learn to appreciate yourself a little bit more because it can be challenging, especially in college when there's so many new things, so many new opportunities and you really have to take new chances and take risks because that's the only way you're going to really accomplish anything and set yourself aside from other people and kind of have something that other people don't.

Laura:
Exactly and it's so easy in college because, high school it's just like you got to follow the curriculum, but college, you can do whatever you want. And this is really the best time where people are figuring out who they are, who they truly are, what their interests are, what their passions are.

Lacey Smith:
It definitely is. And also freshman year especially, it's important to really put yourself out there because that helps you figure out more about not only who you are, but what you could do in the future. Yeah.

Laura:
Exactly. Yeah. And I think a lot of people make the mistake when they enter college, it's overwhelming. And everyone's just trying to figure out how college works, how the system works and everything. They're trying to figure out their schedules. They're getting used to the amount of homework that they have to do. And how long the essays are and everything, how quick of turnarounds you have to do things. And so many people forget, they have to put themselves out there.

Laura:
Especially when you're trying to get a good career, because you want like good recommendations from professors. You want the cool internship opportunities. And if you're so fixated on just trying to figure out everything, all of the chaos, you're going to miss those golden opportunities to really start building yourself. And I'm just really lucky that I knew going in I had to balance both just getting used to college, but also building myself up in order to get cool opportunities.

Lacey Smith:
And you also have a job outside of school, correct?

Laura:
I do. Yes. So I have a job. It's just a Kroger. I do work 40 hours a week, or it's more 36, but it's pretty much 40. It's considered full-time hours. And so at first I was working just as a personal shopper for people online and I got promoted to work a full-time job there as their cake decorator. So it's a lot of fun doing that. It's very demanding the hours. I'm on vacation right now. And they're already asking me to come in tomorrow. Yeah. But it just made me realize I love working with these people. I love just this company.

Laura:
And I started gaining interest in possibly one day taking my majors and working for corporate with Kroger just because I've been with them for so long. And I really just do love ... I've gotten to know managers on sometimes on a personal level and I really do love getting to know them and just getting to know my bosses and just all of my coworkers there. And I really do want to make it a better place.

Laura:
And so I think that experience of being there for so long has developed into me wanting to maybe work for them one day as an actual career in a better position of course, but something where I'm actually using like my degrees and just some of my interests and things like that.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. That's awesome. And I think having that nice work environment outside of school is great too. And it makes you, when you're stressed with school, at least you can go to work and have nice people to talk to and decorate cakes. That's awesome. That's so much fun, but you do work a lot of hours. So how have you learned to balance not only school and work, but also the communication network on top of that?

Laura:
Oh goodness. So it's still a learning experience for me just because this is my first semester actually working full-time hours because last year I was working part time. I was able to only work the weekends and just I had all week to work on school stuff and the communications network, and then the weekends were dedicated for work. And this is a learning experience for now just because I'm working 40 hours, I'm a full time student at IUPUI and I'm a president of an organization and I have a personal life outside of all of that.

Laura:
And I want to be able to balance time with family, with friends and just also for myself, for my sanity and the way I've managed it. And I think it's just so much easier because of COVID just because even though I'm a full time student, most of my classes are online and The Communications Network, all of our meetings were online.

Laura:
The podcasting we could do on our own time. And everyone has their own podcast. So they're in charge of editing and planning when they want to post their podcasts. They don't have to seek approval from anyone, especially since their podcast isn't IUPUI affiliated, it's their own personal one. Even though they're using IUPUI resources to record their podcasts, IUPUI's name isn't on it.

Laura:
So they don't have to seek approval so they can basically do whatever they want. And I don't have to worry so much about kind of babysitting them, kind of showing them the ranks and everything. Everyone, we had one tutorial day where like, we all did end up meeting on campus together. And we went to the podcast recording studio in the liberal arts building. And we just had one tutorial day of this is how everything works.

Laura:
And then everyone just kind of went from there, kind of did their own thing. And it was so nice that everyone picked it up so easy. So it's not that hard to manage with everything else. With work, I work the weekends still. I work a couple of weekdays and then I go home. I do some schoolwork, I have a couple days during the week where I can focus on school and those days that I'm off work, I'm focusing a lot on TCN stuff.

Laura:
So I do have a couple of full days where I can just okay, plan a meeting, a virtual meeting and just see where everyone's at, share some new announcements and everything, plan some cool opportunities that we can offer to IUPUI campus next semester.

Laura:
And then also just focusing on my own podcasting and video stuff as well. So it's not super hard. I think what I'm most worried about is what is it going to look like when all classes do go back in person? Because I love in-person classes. I hate the online stuff. I'm so bad with technology for one, when it comes to computers. You put an editing software in front of me, that's one thing, but you put just anything else, I'm so dumb.

Laura:
And I just don't retain information as well as I do in person because online it's just, it's very different. And then not to mention the fact I'm doing a lot of my stuff in my room and I see so many things. I have a TV in my room, I have books and I have a door out to where my family usually is at a little living room in the kitchen.

Laura:
And I just am so distracted and I want to go pick up a book or watch The Office or go see what my family's up to. It's really hard to not get so distracted when you're online. And so I do want to go back in person, but what I'm afraid of is when I do go online, what is my work schedule going to look like and school and managing The Communications Network and managing my personal life? Because I'm going to be doing a lot of driving.

Laura:
And because it takes me 10 minutes to get to work, but it's now going to take me almost an hour to get to campus going from work to school. And what is that going to look like in the future? So I can't say that I have it under control yet just because we're in a very special situation. And I won't really know until we do go back in person and then I will be able to see okay, how am I going to manage my schedule with all of this now?

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think it's definitely an interesting time. And with COVID it definitely having online classes can have its perks because like you've said, you can do it online. You don't have to worry about the drive to campus or anything, but also there's this barrier between fully comprehending something and then not understanding it that well, because you're learning it online and sometimes you do have Zoom, but other classes it's completely online.

Lacey Smith:
It's up to you to learn the information they give you the resources and that's it. So it's definitely hard with COVID and like you said, you're not even really sure how you're going to balance it when we are back to in-person classes. So I think a lot of people might be worried about joining clubs or going to events due to that. So do you have any tips for anyone who might be worried about that?

Laura:
It's kind of hard to give advice for people when it comes down to going to in-person things with COVID still lingering in our society, because so many people are scared of what if I get it and then they also want to keep their family members safe. We have those people who are still a little bit worried and who still believe that social distancing is going to be in effect for a long time and wearing masks and everything and for those people who are just so worried about their schedule, just get back into the gist of things.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. For sure. And also I think that the campus, especially IUPUI, other campuses as well, they've done really well with handling COVID and social distancing, wearing masks. It's very rare to not see students wearing their masks and some clubs meet through Zoom and other online sources. So I think that you definitely shouldn't hold back from joining different clubs or going to certain events just because of it.

Lacey Smith:
I think if anything, these can be online so it can still work out and you can still join those different clubs. And I also think that in this time that we're in where everything can be really sad and you can isolate yourself as well, clubs can be a good outlet for happiness and you can really find different things that you enjoy.

Lacey Smith:
And so it's important to not isolate yourself and just stay in your room and do online classes. I think it's really important to continue to put yourself out there despite the circumstances and obviously stay safe. And as long as you're taking precautions, I think you can really find some positive energy with joining a club or whatever it might be. You can really find something great and something you enjoy. And that's something that we all need right now during this time.

Laura:
Exactly. Just surrounding yourself with good people and that's, I guess another perk of everything being online is that organizations are getting used to the fact that we're going to be virtual for a while. So they're creating virtual opportunities with their organizations, where people can just Zoom in one day. Location doesn't matter, you just hop on a Zoom call and you're in a club meeting.

Laura:
And I think that it's good to surround ourselves with good, positive people, positive energies, especially in this time period that we're living in because everyone's going insane with everything. And people are, our mental health is through the roof. It's bad and I think that joining organizations, but more specifically surrounding yourself with the people who are part of the organization with passions and things that you love, things that are around your interests and people with similar interests and passions, I think that's such a good thing.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. For sure. I think another great thing about joining clubs and just making sure you're still putting yourself out there is that gives you a sense of structure when you have those club meetings you have to attend or when you have a new job and you have new hours or something, you know you have a sense of structure in such a uncertain time. And it's really helpful.

Lacey Smith:
And I think for me personally, one of the biggest struggles during COVID was I didn't have everything didn't seem normal. There was no sense of normalcy. And so going back in the fall and then having a new job and different things that I had to look forward to, it gave me a sense of structure to where, despite my classes being online and not having social interaction that much, at least I had a sense of structure. And I had something every day where I would be like, "Okay, I work this day. I'm going to do this."

Lacey Smith:
And then I also made sure I had time to spend with other people because when COVID is making everything really hard and like you said, with mental health, especially it can drag. And when you kind of bring a sense of normalcy into this time, it's very helpful. And it goes a long way to help you out, especially with mental health.

Laura:
Yeah, exactly.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. But this has been a great conversation. One question we like to ask at the end of each podcast episode is what have you been learning and earning this week? If you don't have anything for this week, you can say something during the semester or the past month, it can be anything. We're just curious. What have you been learning and earning, Laura?

Laura:
One thing that I've learned is just no one is letting COVID control this Christmas. Everyone is just more focused on trying to be happy and being merry and just show they're giving and loving selves this Christmas. And I just really love that. And I think that it's just made me really happy to see that.

Laura:
And then I've felt better that so many people aren't as depressed because I think that was a worry that I've heard some people say, "Oh, how's Christmas going to look? Everyone's just going to be really sad. They won't be able to see their families," which yeah, some of it's true. It's going to be hard to go see family and everything, but everyone's just trying to find happiness.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. And I think 2020 with COVID, it's just really shown us that life is very precious and you really need to be thankful for the people in your life and what you have because people are losing family, are losing jobs and it's just a really hard time. So definitely enjoy the Christmas season and be very thankful for what you have.

Lacey Smith:
And it's going to be a new year soon. And I'm very hopeful. I think all of America and the rest of the world is very hopeful that 2021 is going to be a new start and a new beginning. A true new beginning. Yes, it's a new year, but ...

Laura:
I've already heard people on Facebook say that when the ball drops on New Year's, instead of shouting Happy New Year's, they're going to be screaming, "Jumanji," because of everything going on. So I don't blame them. I might do that myself, but yeah.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. I'm so excited for 2021. And I think hopefully it's a great new start and that next semester there will be more excitement and just better energy overall. So we'll be out of 2020. It will be great.

Laura:
Yeah.

Lacey Smith:
So, yeah, but of course-

Laura:
We're in this together. Yes.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah. Got to stay safe though. So we got to continue wearing our masks and make sure that everyone's safe and socially distancing, but here's to hoping 2021 will be a very pleasant surprise. Yes, but Laura, we appreciate having you on the podcast. Thank you so much for talking to us and kind of giving us tips on clubs and sharing your own personal story and you have accomplished a lot in The Communication Network, so definitely be proud of yourself. We can't wait to see what else you guys do, but thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Laura:
Thank you so much for having me. I'm really glad to be a part of this.

Lacey Smith:
Yes. So thank you for tuning into the OSE Learning and Earning podcast. And until next time. Bye.

Laura:
Bye.

Learning & Earning episode three features Lacey Smith, the Office of Student Employment's new Media Production & Marketing assistant and the podcast's new host! In this episode, we discuss the importance of taking advantage of opportunities as they become available and embracing new beginnings.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Rut Patel:
Welcome back to Learning and Earning with the Office of Student Employment. This is now episode three and we are with Lacey Smith. So with that, take it away. Tell me about yourself.

Lacey Smith:
I am a communication major here at IUPUI. I'm a sophomore and I plan to minor in business hopefully, but yeah, so basically my interest with the communication major is that I want to do something that works with people, but also working with social media and possibly marketing. That's pretty much kind of what I want to do with that. I'm open for any opportunity that comes my way.

Rut Patel:
Yeah, she's not kidding with that. We talked for about five minutes and I just about offered her my job, so I'm also trying to convince her to switch over to marketing. But now that you've kind of seen what I've done, and she's also shadowed me on a few different things, so how do you feel about being the new Media Production and Marketing Assistant with the Office?

Lacey Smith:
I'm really excited for it. I have always really enjoyed social media, videography, photography, that type of stuff, anything I can be pretty creative with, so as soon as you mentioned the job position, I was like, yes, this is definitely something I'm interested in. I'm really excited. I hope to bring something new to the table and get the social media looking pretty good. So I'm really excited.

Rut Patel:
Likewise. I can't wait to see what all she does with the position. But something I just wanted to say with that is that I really had no intention of offering her my job just out of the blue. We had a conversation after she mentioned to Lauren about her interest on our headshots project. I just wanted to say how influential and how impactful that can be, just to talk to someone and say, "Hey, I'm kind of interested in going in this direction." You never know what opportunities arise. So with that, what are some things that you've noticed just in work, school, or even life that have just been random opportunities that have been coming your way just from being semi spontaneous even?

Lacey Smith:
Well, when I first started here, one of my coworkers I knew last year, and I remember when she got her position in the front desk, and this year she switched to being the communications intern, so figuring that out and then finding that out about her and her telling me about getting that position. I didn't think that I would get a new position going from the front desk to doing something with the media production, so I think this was one of those random opportunities that I came upon.

Rut Patel:
That's always good. [inaudible 00:03:00] there is talk to people, get to know the people, get to know your colleagues, get to know the people in your offices, that's helped me. I can't even keep track of how many times that's been impactful in my life.

Lacey Smith:
I think it's really important to express your interest no matter what position you're in, because someone you're working with might think you're perfect for some other position and you might get a new opportunity.

Rut Patel:
That's how she got mine.

Lacey Smith:
It worked out.

Rut Patel:
Like she said, it's always important to talk to people and mention your interests. One of the things that really impacted me and that was really random was that I was in our honors college lounge in the library and I just had stock charts pulled up and I was looking at different things and reading about stocks, and then an alumni brother in Delta Sigma PI came up to me and just asked me what I was doing and what I was up to, and we've become pretty close friends since then. And that came upon just because I had stocks up on my computer and he sparked up a conversation.

Rut Patel:
Since then, he's introduced me to professors that have led to different scholarship opportunities. And even now the buy, sell, hold challenge with the Chartered Financial Analyst Society, hopefully that can leave massive impacts on my career. And as it turns out, it actually might. Lacey did the same thing and we just kind of started talking, she mentioned her interest with photography and now this is a next career step for her.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, for sure. I think too, that it can be scary when you get a new opportunity coming your way. Because when I first got the offer for the position, I was definitely nervous and scared because it would be something that's going to take a lot of effort. But if you can do something that's career oriented and a stepping stone, you definitely should take it because it opens so many new opportunities for you in the future.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. I do want to say, be careful about the opportunities that you do take on. I'm very glad that Lacey took a moment to kind of step back and evaluate what she wanted to do before just saying yes and jumping forward. I just kind of say yes to far too many things, and I jump in, and I've now been working hundred hour weeks for the last six months and I'm tired. So definitely just take into account what you want out of your opportunities and take into account what you want to see and where that wants to get you. Not every opportunity is worth pursuing, but every opportunity is definitely worth looking into.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, definitely have to be careful with yourself too, and how much you put on your plate, because it can be very overwhelming if you take up so much that you just don't really have time for yourself. So you have to find the balance between work, school, [crosstalk 00:05:50].

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. So I really like that you mentioned schoolwork and just life overall. Everyone says, hey, life is short, live it up, just enjoy as much as you can. But more importantly, college just absolutely flies by. Your four years in your undergraduate education will just pass by so, so quickly. So really take some time to consider your opportunities and see where that's going to get you in your career and how fulfilling that's going to be for you personally.

Lacey Smith:
And I think too, that the different opportunities that you do take help show you what you do like and what you don't like and what may interest you in the future.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Man, I can't even begin to think about what senior year of high school me would think of me now. Senior high school, I was binge watching Grey's Anatomy thinking I wanted to go to med school. And then I came into college, I was like, I'll just follow the business track, fulfilling the pre-med prerequisites, and then become a doctor.

Rut Patel:
I fell off that train very, very quickly. I don't think I even went to my first biology class. I dropped it the first day. And then wanted to pursue marketing, really, really enjoyed that, did a lot of different things in the marketing realm. Now I'm the Director of Marketing for Jagathon. I guess had this position now that was very heavily in-depth with marketing and then a lot of other things that were just building rapport and working with a lot of people overall. So with that, just really consider what you want to do. Now, I have a very heavy marketing resume and I'm choosing to go into finance.

Lacey Smith:
It's a learning experience for sure. I think you learn a lot about yourself, not only just career wise, but personally, too. I think you learn a lot about yourself. Even in the span of my freshman year, I learned a lot about who I was and what I wanted to do. So it's just important to do a lot of self-reflection and just stay in tune with what you like and just keep going.

Rut Patel:
It's kind of crazy. I'm a completely different person than where I was senior year of high school. And I guess even freshman year of college. You learn a lot, a lot of things change. Your perspectives change quite a bit in college.

Lacey Smith:
Me right now compared to me last year, is a different person. I don't know her. I don't know her. I feel very different, but in the best way too. I think a lot can change in a year. So that's why you just got to hang in there. Especially in college, it can be really hard, but over time you just learn more, basically.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Everyone always says college will be the best four years of your life, and to some extent that's true, and then to other extents, you will kind of have your biggest difficulties and your biggest adversities in those four years as well. So I think it's always important, whether that be for work or just life in general, really take your opportunities and your experiences and try to gain some light out of them. Take the most positive impacts you can and come out a better person at the end of it.

Lacey Smith:
I agree.

Rut Patel:
But yeah, on every job interview I've had so far, everyone's like, "Hey, can you name a time and explain when you were in a group and an experience went poorly, or when a project went poorly, and how did you handle it?" Those are definitely times when you want to explain that in a very, very positive manner. No one interviewing you wants to hear you complain necessarily about the entire situation, they want to see how you overcame it and how that made you a better person, a better employee, and a better teammate overall. So that's just kind of my experience. I don't know what you've had in that regard, I guess.

Lacey Smith:
I have been asked that question so much. At the beginning of one of my classes, professional writing, she asked us that question because the whole class is pretty much group based and, yeah, I've had an answer to that question a lot. But I think you can look at a college the same way [crosstalk 00:10:15].

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. We mentioned that in our podcast with Justin Hyde. I remember he said something like, "It's your degree that will land you the job interview, but it'll ultimately be your experiences that land you the job." And I can't agree with that more.

Lacey Smith:
I also think too that, even with your major, if you know it's the major that you want, there's so much you can do with it. I think that's something I didn't realize before college, is that you can do a lot with different majors. I actually got to interview a comm major alumni, IUPUI alumni, and I asked her for one piece of advice and she said, "Don't narrow down one way to be successful."

Lacey Smith:
I think that's important to think about, because, for me, since I wasn't interested in being a doctor, or a dental hygienist, or whichever, a lawyer, or something, going into college, that I was kind of nervous because I thought you had to have one set idea of what you wanted to do, but you really don't. I think that's something important I learned.

Rut Patel:
You just have to put yourself out there. There are plenty of opportunities available. Even while we're in a pandemic, there are opportunities out there if you seek them out. Take whatever opportunities you can to really realize and find out what you want to do and the person that you are. And then on top of that, find out what's the most fulfilling to you.

Rut Patel:
I know Lauren's helped me through that quite a bit with our smart goals. Just absolutely find out why you're doing what you're doing and how that's going to impact you in your career, but also impact you as a person. I think that's very, very important just to life in general, as well as building a resume.

Lacey Smith:
You have to put yourself out there because you can't just expect things to come to you, because that's not how life works with anything. So the more you put yourself out there, the more opportunities you get. And I think it's also very rewarding because if you put yourself out there, you're going to be proud when you do accomplish something because you know you did it.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. Absolutely. So with that, and building a resume, what have been some challenges in college that you've faced?

Lacey Smith:
I think the biggest thing for me last year, even though I didn't admit it at the time, I was extremely homesick. I did not like living in the dorms and I just wanted to go home. But the good thing was just by me being homesick, I did put a lot of work into my classes, so that was one good outcome. But I would say that was a big challenge for me just personally, because since I was homesick and it affected me personally, and then I wasn't really happy here [crosstalk 00:13:19].

Rut Patel:
It certainly takes a toll. It absolutely takes a toll. I remember my first day of college, I think I ate lunch in my car. I was so scared to be alone. It's just the little things you learn about. But everyone's busy. I didn't really know anyone. I wasn't living on campus, so I didn't have that dorm to go back into. And I remember the few people I knew were kind of busy, and I was so scared to eat alone in the campus center. Which now we've learned people do that all the time.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, that's what you do.

Rut Patel:
That's just, welcome to college. Everyone's busy. You run at your own pace. It's relaxing now, just to kind of sit down and eat.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, it is.

Rut Patel:
But freshman year I was just terrified of those little things. Everything takes its toll. There's a lot to be learned. You have to make your own friend group again.

Lacey Smith:
Yeah, you do. I think that was one of my biggest things, is I felt really alone because I didn't have the closeness of friends that I did when I was in high school, so that was a big struggle, being here, feeling kind of alone. And I loved my roommate too, but I just did not want to stay in the dorms. I didn't like it. Even though I had a nice room, I just didn't want to be there.

Lacey Smith:
When you feel that way, you just kind of want college to be over, but you got to enjoy the moment because it does go by fast, like you mentioned earlier. So I think after [crosstalk 00:14:46]. No, you're good.

Lacey Smith:
I did find a really good group of friends though. And a lot of that came from putting myself out there and just talking to them and making conversation with them, and now they're two of my closest friends, so it worked out and now I live with them and I'm doing great this year. And I think having those friendships is one of the reasons why I'm doing so well.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. I had an interesting story about how I made my friend groups in college. I had one really, really good friend that I came to IUPUI with. I think I met her in like kindergarten. We go way, way back. And then we got here, I became friends with her roommate, and through her roommate I became friends with their neighbor, and they were on the honors part of the tower and everyone kept their doors open and they were talking. So I managed to, just from one friend, meet and become friends with her entire floor of people in the tower. And then through that we started meeting more people in the honors college and different organizations on campus.

Rut Patel:
But I remember they're all bio and STEM students, so they always made fun of me for being a business major. I enjoy my [inaudible 00:15:55] and polos, that is the person I am. I live and breathe [inaudible 00:15:58] and polos, and they always made fun of me for that.

Rut Patel:
Then I went off, I joined a fraternity. Best decision I made in college. I love all the people in Delta Sigma PI. Very, very rewarding experience. Just by putting yourself out there and really networking. They'd make so much fun of me for saying networking in this situation, but you really have to. There's no pressure. Everyone's in that same boat.

Lacey Smith:
And that's the thing too, is when you make one friend it's more than likely they know someone else and then you'll become friends with them and then their friends. You just meet a lot of new people. Which I think too, it's important that when you move in your freshmen year, don't just seclude yourself to you and your roommate and expect that to be the greatest friendship ever. Branch out, go out and make new friends. Because I loved my roommate last year, but I mean, we're not super close friends, but that's okay.

Rut Patel:
And of course, obviously easier said than done, but take some pressure off yourself. Like I said, everyone is in that same boat. Everyone's stressed about making new friends in college, making new connections, gaining new experiences. I think throughout your four years of college, you'll always be nervous about new experiences and meeting new people and pursuing new opportunities. But once you take that pressure off yourself, you become much better at sitting in interviews and talking to people.

Rut Patel:
You just came along with me to our featured student video. We filmed it. Originally when I started this position, I would just call off questions and you would just answer them. It was much less of a conversation. Now, I set up my camera, I'll ask some of the questions, and then we have our side conversations between those questions and I float into another one. Just made it as much a conversation as possible instead of a interview. And that takes all the pressure off of it, and everyone wants speak and give much better answers just because it actually comes from what they're passionate about.

Lacey Smith:
For sure. I think the more comfortable you are with yourself, the more comfortable people feel around you.

Rut Patel:
She put that a lot better way than I could have ever said that. Wow.

Lacey Smith:
Just an easy sentence and you were like paragraphs. But I think that's the truth though. The more comfortable you are, the more others will feel around you. Because, I don't know, I just think it's one of those things, confidence makes you... I don't know how to word that.

Rut Patel:
It inspires others, confidence. It definitely rubs off on others. There you go.

Lacey Smith:
Yes, for sure it does.

Rut Patel:
With that, what do you want to bring to this position? I'm so excited to see what you do with it.

Lacey Smith:
There's so much. I just want it to feel new and also feel different, but not in a bad way, not that it's bad right now, but I just want [crosstalk 00:19:04].

Rut Patel:
Ouch. Just go after me. I'm just kidding.

Lacey Smith:
I want more engagement on the page. I love social media. I really do. I think it's great. I know people hate on it sometimes, but I think it can be a really great tool for everyone. So I really want to make the social media look nice and just have a good feel to it. I want the videos to be well. I just hope to bring a new perspective. I think we are pretty different people, so I think I can bring stuff to the table that you didn't. Not that you don't do anything well, but just different perspectives.

Rut Patel:
I'm so excited to see what you bring. Honestly. I took a look at what she's done with our color palette and our brand guide, and I'm very, very, very excited to see what you do with the the position overall and our more public facing platforms.

Lacey Smith:
Thank you. I think too, the more excited you are about it, the better it will be, and I'm so excited for it. Even just making the color palette for the branding, I was having so much fun with it. I spent probably an hour on it. But, it was good.

Rut Patel:
This is our new Media Production and Marketing Assistant, and now new host of Learning and Earning.

Lacey Smith:
I'm so excited. [crosstalk 00:20:23]. I'm looking forward to it. I think it will be very nice. A new transition.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. It's been a great time. Definitely enjoyed my year and a half with the Office of Student Employment, and I can say with full confidence, I'm very, very glad that Lacey has taken over my position. She will do an absolutely phenomenal job at it, definitely.

Lacey Smith:
Thank you.

Rut Patel:
Find the things you're passionate about and absolutely go pursue them. It's been great. Thank you for listening. It's been great hosting this podcast and also turning that over to Lacey. So I don't know how to leave off. It's not until next time anymore. I hope you enjoy the new podcast with Lacey and thank you so much for listening to mine in the past.

Lacey Smith:
Until next time.

Learning and Earning episode two features our guest, Justin Heidorn, a sales associate at Meijer. In this episode, we explore how your experiences as an undergraduate are all pieces of the overall puzzle that make up your future career and identity as a professional.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Rut Patel:
Welcome back to Learning and Earning presented by the Office of Student Employment at IUPUI. If you've forgotten my name from episode one, I am Rut Patel, the Media Production and Marketing Assistant there. And today I have in front of me for episode two, Mr. Justin Heidorn. And with that, take it away. Tell me about yourself.

Justin Heidorn:
Okay, cool. My name's Justin, as you just heard, I'm 20, I'm a college student. My current major is Business Administration. I started out in Media Production and Video Production, but I determined that I was going to pursue that route, I was going to do it independently through freelance. So I wanted to use my time in college to do something a little more reliable, a little more to expand my knowledge business-wise because I'm kind of a nerd too. I mean me and Rut sit here and analyze stock ETFs and stuff just like every day. It's just the best. So then I decided that if I wanted to learn stuff about video production, I would literally just produce my own content independently. So right now I work at Meyer on the West side as a General Merchandise Sales Associate. So my specialization is in electronics and then I'm a grocery pickup coordinator whenever there's not much to do over there. So where do you want to go next? It's totally up to you.

Rut Patel:
All right, so what do you think looking back is going to be the most important decision you've made or the most influential and what you think currently will be the best decision you've made so far in your career?

Justin Heidorn:
So, I think it's definitely going to be my major change, but I don't know. See, I don't know. So I started working at Meyer when I was 17 is when I got that job. And for the first like year, year and a half, I was there. It was very much, it felt like it felt like just another job. But then as slowly as you kind of build into the hidden culture, you start understanding the hidden culture of how the business functions. It's kind of an addictive, it's an addictive substance in a way, as soon as you get that one day and you start analyzing P&L's with your Store Director, it's just that the competitive nature in me. I played football and soccer in high school, by the way. So I dropped my competitive stuff.

Rut Patel:
Justin Heidorn, we go way back. We were friends in high school. He was our state's number one kicker. He is absolutely understating that he's among the most competitive people I know. And he absolutely was phenomenal in his sport.

Justin Heidorn:
Oh, okay. Whatever. I mean, I'll accept it. You're not wrong I guess, but it's just so intriguing to just learn the backend of how retail works. People are like, "Oh, it's a retail job. It must suck," but you really have to have some skin in the game. If you will, as a true Mid-Western phrase. You have to really care about it. You have to show some sort of emphasis in order for it not to be just another hourly job. So what I'm going to do with this Business Admin degree, depending on which path I choose to take, I may go into the corporate side of retail. Maybe it will be at Meyer or maybe it'll be somewhere else. I don't know. But I'm just trying to build enough retail experience to where I understand general business function so that I can jump straight into a management role somewhere if it is outside of Meyer.

Justin Heidorn:
But they're like, "Oh, it's just a retail store. You sell groceries." But it's like, no. There're shrink numbers P&L's labor costs versus... It's just super intriguing. I don't know. It gets me excited to go to work, which is a super nerdy thing to say. Right now I work 32 hours a week. I'm a part-time employee, but I think I'm the only employee that really goes through with our Store Director and goes through the different departments and determine a loss versus a profit per department and which places need to improve and everything. And so in a way, I guess I am kind of a nerd like that, but I don't know. It's just super, it's super cool.

Justin Heidorn:
Business admin is a wide enough range to where I can jump into a little bit of finance or a little bit of HR or a little bit of something. Obviously it's not as good. It's not as stable as a degree as those independents, Finance degrees or Human Resources or whatever. But I don't know, it's the place I want to be. And I think that that was the best decision that I'll make, hopefully. I don't know. We all are kind of just going by what we think we should do. There's no set path, right?

Rut Patel:
Oh, absolutely. That's kind of how I live my life, really. You figure it out as you go.

Justin Heidorn:
That's what you have to do. I don't know. I think I'm going in the right direction. I don't know what direction that is, but I think I'm going to the right one.

Rut Patel:
Oh, absolutely. You just have to get started. You have to find some place to start. It doesn't even matter where you start, but you find a passion. So for you, it was working at Meyer. Originally your path was going into video production and something with advertising, it's specifically automotive advertising. And then you started working a part-time job at Meyer, you started learning about all these soft skills and Business Admin. It seems like you truly found a passion for this. So to anyone that's in college right now looking for a job, what is your best advice to them? Because obviously when you don't have very much experience, some of these jobs that are available to you are often these retail jobs. So what's your best advice to someone applying right now?

Justin Heidorn:
My best advice is you do kind of have to look at it as this is just a job that I'm going to keep for a couple of years and then drop it. But at the same time, you have to go in wanting to have a winning attitude, right? If you go to write a paper and you're not even done with the first page, and you're like, "Oh, this is seven pages. How am I going to hit 4,000 words?" That doesn't work. Obviously it's going to suck. It's all about the attitude you develop. You have to go in with a winning mentality and that you have to justify that you have a purpose. I don't care if you're pushing carts for JC Penny, you still have to go in as you have a purpose, you have a function in the business, if you were not there, they would be struggling.

Justin Heidorn:
So whether it be, one of my friends works at a Jimmy John's right now. He's in video production still, but he works at a Jimmy John's his turnover numbers and his customer time, his in to out on to-go orders is phenomenal. He's a nerd too. We go over this stuff and it's like the worst. It's like we're 35 and talking about like our son's jobs. I don't know. It's weird, but it's all about... I literally almost got a tattoo. I had the tattoo planned to go on my wrist right here. It was going to say, "Mentality Matters." Right? And that's truly where you get your true success in life, to me, at least is not going to be hard numbers always. It's going to be about how you, react to those numbers and how you react to your current situation.

Justin Heidorn:
So I'm not saying get complacent and just stay where you are. I'm not saying just get a job and can turn it into a career and never move up or push for what you want to do. But I'm just saying that it's a puzzle piece to your puzzle. And so you better make sure that the puzzle piece fits in correctly and that you'd liked putting the puzzle pieces there or else it's not worth your time.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely. I cannot agree with you more. Not only did you just make my day talking about numbers and finance, because that's not major and like something I love to do, but like the way you phrase it as being a puzzle piece, that's just absolutely phenomenal because a lot of what your career is, the connections you develop. And for you it's like your manager going into all these different fields. I know we're good friends, we talked about it once. You met the Sales Manager at Andy Moore and that could possibly into a job for you and like a whole other career subset. And for me, that was also, I want to go into finance, I want to end up in investments at some point doing something along those lines. And the craziest things will lead you there.

Rut Patel:
For you as a manager, and some of the customers you meet. For me I was sitting in the Honors College one day, looking at a stock chart and I met David Goldberg. And then he referred me to not only a scholarship, but he also referred me to like the CFA Challenge. And then from there I met Jonah who also happened to work at the Office of Student Employment. So just as crazy circle, right? And he has essentially, he has my dream job. So what I do right now, doesn't apply for me here whatsoever. But like you said, it's that puzzle piece that gets you one step closer. It's whatever you do again, you just have to get started, find a way. And then your mentality matters. I could absolutely just completely blow off this job because it's not, according to my major, doesn't really help me with those finance goals, but the things I learned doing this job, all the soft skills, what we're doing right now, the podcasts just talking will benefit me so, so much in the same way they've benefited you.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely 100%. So the way that, I don't know, I'm rephrasing here a little bit.

Rut Patel:
Go for it.

Justin Heidorn:
So we said it was a puzzle, okay, but me and you as 20 and you're still 20, right?

Rut Patel:
I'm still at 20, got a few more months.

Justin Heidorn:
We don't know where the puzzles going to finish, right? It's like you're building it from the middle outward. You're starting in the center. You're saying, okay, I went to high school, but then as you add these puzzle pieces, you can say, "Oh, you worked for Jagathon you worked for OSC. You worked for Office of Student Employment. You can build these puzzle pieces and it doesn't matter if you end up somewhere else in the puzzle because the whole puzzle is still important to how you got to the end goal. I was coordinating one of the grocery pickups for when a guy in Plainfield, he had put in an order, we picked it, we got it out. We got like an 82% pick rate or whatever, which is below standard, but it was okay. And I started talking to the guy because he was wearing Andy Moore mask. And I was like, "Hey, what's up?" You have to drive communication. If anybody that has... This is going to be the worst thing and the cheesiest thing ever.

Rut Patel:
Oh I live for that. Go for it.

Justin Heidorn:
If anybody has any rough connection at all, to anything that you do, you have to build a connection with them. I literally stay strapped with like 42 business cards in my wallet, because I'm like, you know what I try to develop a positive connection with almost every single person I encounter, because you never know. You never know what will come back. You'll never know what connection you'll develop that'll get you there. He offered me a job at Andy Moore on the spot because he uses it. He was one of the Sales Managers. He was like, "Yeah, I'll just forward your application. And you'll get started ASAP whenever you want." Just because I was out there and I was delivering groceries to a guy's truck.

Justin Heidorn:
You have to develop a positive connection with as many people as possible, because a lot of people will tend to be antisocial or not want to just go out there and meet people. But that's the best thing ever is going out and meeting people. Because the more times you get to introduce yourself, the more times, you get to tell what you do, you're going to get better at telling what you do. And not bragging about yourself, but you're going to get better at showing what you're good at. Wow. Rude, way to be professional and receive a phone call during a podcast. Unbelievable. No, you're okay. Now I'm being unprofessional. My dog wants to be in the podcast. Hello.

Justin Heidorn:
Okay. We're being unprofessional because you got to be unprofessional. That means I do too. We'll talk about that. We'll talk about the hidden culture of business and how that can lead you to huge success.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely. So hidden culture of business is massively important. I mean, hugely important. If you are ever going to apply for a job somewhere or let's see get an internship somewhere, you cannot go in there expecting to know what you're talking about. My number one advice, anytime you start somewhere new is keep your head down for a little bit. Show that you're engaged genuinely, that you truly have interest in whatever the field is, but you have to learn what is expected of your peers before you can go and try to act like, you know what you're doing. You can't go in there. You have to go in with confidence always, but you have to be ready to learn first. Because if you don't learn what is expected from your superior in any position, you're not going to last. You're not going to go well. You have to develop connections with your peers first.

Justin Heidorn:
I'm just holding a tripod mount. You have to develop connection with your peers first, learn what is expected, and then proceed from there. It's good to stand out. And if you're in a team process of any sort but starting somewhere, you have to try to blend in first if you're me and then try to excel to the top of the team when you learn what values are most important.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely. It's a super stupid thing to say in theory. It's like blend in? What do you mean blend in? No, but you have to not want to be the star of the team when you just joined the team.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. I completely agree. We have so much, I think we're realizing it now more than ever, we have so much like toxic positivity going on and there's so much advice. If you have a passion just absolutely follow it. Quit everything you're doing and just follow that. And I disagree with all of it. Like you said, you have to understand what's going on before you try to get to the top, because otherwise you're just going to follow, unknowingly you're going to follow a path that's not leading you to your ultimate goal.

Rut Patel:
So with any kind of passion, you need to be able to fund it. Of course, it all comes back to the money. Here's my finance major, whatever you choose to do, if you end up on this path towards like Media Production and Design, that's very fruitful. And it's very expensive to go into. So for you, you're not only excelling and Meyer and excelling with these connections to all these things that can lead you to the world of like corporate life and corporate business, but also lead you to this world of media production, media arts. So I applaud you in everything that you've done and all that you're doing to excel in your career path. But for you, what was your biggest moment I guess, at Meyer that for you to be where you are now and all these opportunities are given to you?

Justin Heidorn:
My biggest moment that definitely turned the trigger to where I was okay with what I was doing. Right, we all go through peaks and falls and then there's points where you're like, "Okay, we're okay," is that the first time that my manager, not my Store Director, but my manager went through and was like, "Hey, you reduce our shrink by 23% corporate recognized us for that and I just want to tell you, thank you. And we're giving you a little points bonus." They, were on a recognition system where you can get gift cards. And I was like, "Wait, wait a minute. You're telling me if I actually do something and do it well, I'll actually feel I'll get rewarded for that?" That was the moment where I was like, wait, I have to actually do it and good things will happen. Like I can't go in there with a garbage mentality, just trying to get through the day, waiting for my time to punch the clock out.

Justin Heidorn:
But I actually tried to do it correctly. And I was like, "There's monetary outcome? What is this?" It was this light bulb moment where I was like, "They keep track of everything." Every corporate, every retail store keeps track of everything. And when there is something where there was an outlier that is better than it normally is, and you can be responsible for that. That's huge. I got a recognition from one of our Regional Vice Presidents once because I implemented the program where we take out dog treats to our customer's cars whenever we take out their groceries. And they were like, "Hey, Justin, great job for doing that, for implementing that." And that's huge, again, understand that hidden culture. I just got a shout out from the Regional Vice President.

Justin Heidorn:
I'm just going off on a tangent because that's how it functions. The more times that you can get recognized for doing the right thing, creating positive change. Not even by your direct superior, but just by even their superiors. There's always going to be a chain, no matter if you're in corporate, the only place there's not going to be chain is if you're a Freelance Consulting Business, which is incredibly hard to start up in the first place. But there's always going to be someone who is monitoring your success. For the first, I would say easily, the first five to 10 years of your career in anything you do, there's always going to be someone that is monitoring to make sure that you are doing what you're supposed to be doing. So anything you can do again, not standing out necessarily, but doing your job so well to where you receive recognition.

Justin Heidorn:
It was just the best feeling ever. I was like, "We reduced fish tank throwaways by 23%." I don't give a rat's bottom about our fish, ever. I don't like fish. I'm not going to lie. I will never have a pet fish, but because I was fulfilling the job's needs and I was doing actually what was expected and then beyond, I actually received recognition. And that was at the moment where I was like, I just got to take this head on. To where if I can do that in every single department that I get assigned to, that'll be a huge trend. My trend showings will say, when I was in X department and X's results went upward, their P&Ls were better. Then obviously it's not just going to be a coincidence.

Rut Patel:
I like your puzzle piece analogy. They just start fitting in immediately. It's like you said, when you realize how these business models work, it doesn't really matter what you're doing. Now you are an invaluable assets to Meyer and that grinds up in business, right? Like with you, they make more money. They're more profitable. They are better because of you, right? You are now like one of their star employees, and now corporate sees that. So now you've had all these opportunities that are laid out in front of you for your future, right? Your possibilities are just starting to align now. You've got media arts and production, you've got the grind something landscaping business, and you have Meyer. So now you have another piece of the puzzle. You don't know what it's going to make yet, but you're one step closer to finishing this puzzle.

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely.

Rut Patel:
Amazing.

Justin Heidorn:
It's all you got to do is just work towards another puzzle piece. That's all I got to say. That's my ending analogy is work towards another puzzle piece and do whatever work it takes to make the puzzle piece fit correctly. Because the more time you spend in prep, the better the puzzle piece is going to fit. So do everything like it matters, because it does. That was a great time. That was fantastic.

Rut Patel:
That's incredible. I do have another question for you though.

Justin Heidorn:
Sure. Hit me.

Rut Patel:
Now that we are in the age of a global pandemic, that doesn't seem like it's going to stop. It feels like that, we've got to have some hope, right?

Justin Heidorn:
Absolutely.

Rut Patel:
How has that affected your work? You do a lot of things of course, so how has that affected you? What have you learned? What are some of the things you take with you the rest of your life?

Justin Heidorn:
So, Meyer Corporate, it is a essential business by definition. It is groceries. You cannot survive without a grocery store. So I learned that, obviously there's always going to be people who will still complain. Any clientele base, there's going to be people that will still complain always, no matter what. And that's just how it is, unfortunately. But learning, the whole adaptability of a business function, no matter what it is, in something retail, food-wise, like a Meyer, obviously we can't just close. It's impossible. You can't just do that to a community. You will get demolished. Truly you will build a reputation for the rest of your company's existence because you decided to close during a global pandemic.

Justin Heidorn:
So since it is a food business like that is that we're going to have to adapt in some way. The ability for you to be able to change what you're doing and still make it work as efficiently as possible, that's going to be your number one key always, because there's always going to be adapting. You have to adapt to something no matter if it be COVID or if it be there's a different law in place where you can't sell liquor between these times a day, you have to make it as smooth as a transition, as possible in order for it to work correctly.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. What's beautiful about that is it applies to every aspect of your life. One of our hashtags at the Office of Student Employment is learning and earning. So of course, while you're at school, everyone's like, "Well, I don't want to be in school." A lot of people don't enjoy class and enjoy everything that they're learning. They want that real world hands on experience. And I can tell you right now, Justin, you are absolutely on top of it. You have applied what you are going to be learning and what you will be learning to exactly what you're doing in your workplace. So although even though you're just in retail, you have learned all of the backend things. So it's just an invaluable asset to you. For you in school, you can't be in a better possible situation. To go into Business Admins and go into business to have all this backend experience of what it's actually like.

Rut Patel:
Of course the book can say anything. Anyone can write anything they want in a book but you have to be able to apply it. Everything Justin said so far, he has applied to work everything. He's just not the other way around. So what many of us will do, many of us who will learn everything first and then apply book knowledge to real life and try to adapt. Like you said, it's all about these soft skills that you learn. I can't reiterate that enough. You have to have the soft skills to make any career work and you have to be able to be adaptable. Whether that be in a work setting, in an essential business, whether it be in school, if you can just adapt and keep going, keep putting these puzzle pieces together, you will make a picture. You will meet your goals. You will be somewhere. It doesn't matter what you're doing today. It could be literally anything, but these soft skills will get you so, so far.

Justin Heidorn:
Right. It's all about transferable skills, whatever you do, you will develop a transferable skill of some sort. Easiest one that is that I still lack, my communication skills are not great. I'm not going to lie. I'm trying to improve as always, but you can develop communication skills in literally anything, any job out there you can develop communication skills. I don't care if you decide to become a trash worker, a dumpster when people pick up the trash, put another thing go to the next one. You can still develop communication skills. Those little interactions, even if you meet one or two people a day that happened to be outside or whatever. It's all about having that positive interaction, right? If you can develop to where you can X number of positive interactions and no negative interactions, you're moving in the right direction. Always.

Rut Patel:
And that would take you so, so far because again, people notice. I'm cynical about the world, so anything that's kind that happens at this point, just absolutely melts my heart. But people notice and like the world of social media and the age of technology that we are, if you do something kind that is out of your way, it will get posted somewhere. And people will notice. These small little kind things that people do, in their work, whatever work they're doing, it gets noticed. And it takes them so, so far. That immediately just takes them so far ahead in their career. It's all about getting noticed and meeting and having these connections.

Rut Patel:
One of the things we've done in the past is referring to resumes as, "All right, so now you've learned everything. You have the degree in college, but not yet to prove it." Anyone can say, "Oh, I'm great at communicating." Anyone can say," I'm great at being adaptable." And then your next question at a job interview is, "All right, now tell me a time of..." Right. That's every job interview I've ever been at. "Tell me about yourself, tell me a time when you have done this and demonstrate this ability." So again, it's literally any position you can do, you just have to get out there. You have to get out there as students, as we are right now, we have to be able to prove the things we're saying, right? Because someone else will be able to.

Justin Heidorn:
Right. Even if you're not financially willed to have to work in order to support yourself, because some people that's their situation and that's their life, and that's fine. I still believe that you will benefit from having any sort of job experience, whether it be just 12, 16 hours a week, because you're taking, you know, 19 credit hours. I think that you'll still have an upside to it. I don't think there's any sort of downside because it'll prove that you can have time management skills. If your interviewer looks at your thing and they see an overlap where you said, "Okay, you managed having a job as well as going to school at the same time?" That in itself will be immensely impressive because time management is huge in any sort of any sort of business experience and any career at all, time management is always a part of making an efficient machine if you will.

Justin Heidorn:
I think you always have to keep input. You always have to keep your work, your ethic, you as a person, you always have to stay committed to the input of your system in order to get the output. I think if you just say, "Man, I'm not going to get a job and I'm going to graduate with my degree in Psychology." I think your chance of finding success in the field is going to be lower than the person that got that same exact degree, but has five years of job experience at the time.

Rut Patel:
And to add to that whatever job experience it is, it's like you said, the med school sucks, you could view it as throwing away your twenties, but like really, you're going to do a lot of things you don't enjoy and it doesn't matter. You have to get through it. It's all about bigger picture. It's all about the puzzle at the end. It's just another piece that you put into it. So like, regardless of what you do again, you see these gorgeous cars in the driveway, when they're dirty, great, of course, they put a lot of work into getting there. They didn't enjoy everything they did, but they found a way to get through it. They knew what their end goal was, did everything they could to get there. So whatever it is, wherever you work, do it, do it to the best of your capacity and then find a way to swing your experience in a way that matches a job description in your future.

Rut Patel:
So whatever it is now, look into the dream career that you have, look into some job experiences that there are, and look into the requirements and the job descriptions that are of that field and career, and then apply whatever you're doing to that. Regardless of what your job is right now, you can swing your experiences to benefit you in that interview. Because at the end of the day, it is that interview that's going to land you that job, and it's going to be everything you've done right now. That's going to be spoken about in the interview.

Justin Heidorn:
Right? It's the degree that lands you the interview, but it's the interview that lands you the job.

Justin Heidorn:
Yeah. The more job experience you have, the more experience you have in life as a whole will help you land that job.

Justin Heidorn:
It's all about these experiences. It is definitely life experience has definitely runs off an exponential curve.

Rut Patel:
Absolutely.

Justin Heidorn:
It is not just like a slow, okay, I've learned this much by 10, so when I'm 20, it's going to be two times as much. Not, I think it is definitely an exponential curve where the more you put yourself out there, the longer you try to develop communication and put time into what you want to do. I think it's, it's an immense amount of information because there's no way you're going to consume it all by the time you land your first job, or your first career job, even once you've graduated, you still won't have all that information.

Justin Heidorn:
The scale for understanding is... We'll go into a video game, like Rocket League, the skill cap is through the roof. And I think that it's the same thing with any career you do, is that there's a reason why people that are still 60 plus, and they are the best in the business. There's a reason for that. If you go into any school corporation in America, your superintendent is not going to be some 22 year old, fresh graduate. There's no way. Your, your superintendent is going to have the, not only the Bachelor's Degree necessary, but they're going to have immense amounts of experience in the career field.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. So find your passion and run with it. Absolutely. And if worst case, it's not what you want to do, that's one step closer to what you do want to do. You're just crossing one thing off your list.

Justin Heidorn:
Yep.

Rut Patel:
Another piece of the puzzle.

Justin Heidorn:
Another piece of the puzzle, baby. That's right.

Rut Patel:
All right, well right there, episode two, is now in the books of Learning and Earning sent by the Office of Student Employment. Thank you so much to Mr. Justin Heidorn.

Justin Heidorn:
No problem. Y'all have a fantastic day. And thanks for watching episode two.

Rut Patel:
Episode two. Again, I'm Rut Patel. I am the Media Production and Marketing Assistant at the Office of Student Employment. If you are an undergraduate student at IUPUI, reach out to us for anything you may need regarding your employment here. And we are happy to help you. And I hope you found something beneficial from this podcast that you can take with you your entire life, because I think we've said a lot. This is truly like some of the best advice I think we could ever give any student that is in college right now.

Justin Heidorn:
I think so, too. I don't think we covered anything that was unnecessary. I feel like if I would've seen myself a year ago, I feel like this information would be useful. So that's good.

Rut Patel:
This is definitely the advice I would give someone that doesn't know what they want to do yet. And this is the advice I would give myself my freshman year of high school, I think.

Justin Heidorn:
For sure.

Rut Patel:
Find your passions, run for it, run with it.

Justin Heidorn:
Find your passions, run with it. Don't be afraid to take a side step or two. That's all right. We'll be good.

Rut Patel:
All right. Any last words?

Justin Heidorn:
Alrighty. We're good. Have a fantastic rest of your day.

Rut Patel:
Have a fantastic rest of the day. I will see you in episode three.

Justin Heidorn:
Yep. See ya.

 

We meet with IUPUI alumni, Suketu Patel, to discuss what he learned during his college experience to help set him up for success for work after graduation.

Video version

Audio version

Transcript

Rut Patel:
Welcome to our first episode of Learning and Earning and we are with the Suketu Patel. He is now an alumni member of IUPUI and without further ado, I will actually let him take it away. So please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Suketu Patel:
Hi Rut, my name is Suketu Patel. I graduated from IUPUI, this May 2020 with a computer engineering degree, and now I am currently working at Roche in a accelerated development program where you kind of go through different rotations and get to try a few different positions on Roche's campus to get a feel of what you really want to do. And right now my first rotation is inside sales.

Rut Patel:
Oh, that sounds so exciting. So we're actually friends. I've talked to you about this a bunch, but for the people that don't know, Roche is like one of my dream companies to go into. And I'm super glad you mentioned that you're going to try out a bunch of different programs. What is something that helped you while you were in college decide what you wanted to do and what were some of the things that were most impactful to your career path actually?

Suketu Patel:
It would be the internships that I got to experience even the on-campus jobs. They kind of helped me figure out what my strengths were. So a lot of the internships that I got to be a part of where even the on-campus cyber lab at IUPUI, I got to experience a little bit of programming and realized I'm not the strongest at it. I'm good at it, but it's not my strength. So I kind of had that in the back of my head. And then I started doing a lot of marketing positions on campus and I was like, wow, this is something that I enjoy. This is something that I'm actually really good at. Even though it's not related to my major per se, it's something that I was really good at. So I kept that on the back of my mind.

Suketu Patel:
And then I also got the opportunity to do internships at different companies. And one of them was Roche. So I got to go inside the company and be like, wow, this is where I want to work, but not in engineering per se, which was my internship. So I got to talk to different people like during my time at IUPUI. And they kind of helped me go towards the direction of get the degree that you are working towards. But that doesn't mean that that's exactly what you're going to do in the future. So I kind of got the degree that I wanted. And then I went into this program to help me decide, okay, this is what I'm good at. This is what I'm not good at. I'm going to go towards my strengths. So that's where I am right now.

Rut Patel:
So I know you touched on this a little bit, but what would you say is your biggest piece of advice you would give to any current student at IUPUI or really any university that knows that they want a job that's different from their intended major and something that they would find that career to want to pursue?

Suketu Patel:
First of all, if you want a job that has to do with your major, just do your major, get internships that have to do with that major. But let's say you're two years into a degree or three years into a degree, I think there's an option to switch, but there's also an option to continue what you're doing and get that degree and then kind of have internships that have to do with what you really want to do. And that's why internships exist. So you get to try out different things. And I guess that's the biggest advice is just going out, finding opportunities. There's so many out there. There's like at least a thousand things you can do to do with what you want to do.

Suketu Patel:
I know that marketing and sales weren't things that I really wanted to do, but I just wanted to try out and it ended up being something that I really enjoyed. So I tried it out and then built my resume to kind of target that. And even though I had a computer engineering degree, the people who were interviewing me kind of looked at my experience and say, hey, even though he has this experience, the marketing experience is really there. And these two things combined actually develop him to be even a better candidate.

Rut Patel:
So I'm glad you mentioned your experiences. Again Suketu and I are pretty good friends or at least I like to think so. When I said Suketu puts out, I absolutely meant that this man is the absolute Jack of all trades throughout his high school career and his college career. He's touched on many, many different things, including computer science, marketing, and even some video work. So I will let him explain what he wants to on that. But what specifically do you think are the most important soft skills to convey in your resume and some things that you think recruiters would look for?

Suketu Patel:
So in your resume, the biggest thing for me is that you have the ability to do multiple things. That you have the ability to communicate well with everyone. So let's say you have something on your resume that you managed meetings, and you were able to conduct different organizations where they helped helped others get to a certain point. And that takes a while to develop. And once you start getting into other internships and other, not just internships, but like on campus opportunities, different organizations like SAP SAPB, is that what it is and then there's also Jagathon and all those things, getting into those management positions, like the vice president of something or something like that, where you show that initiative. I think on a resume, that's huge.

Suketu Patel:
For me when I go back and ask the people who interviewed me, what stood out on my resume, they saw the initiative to start a business. I have my own videography thing. So they saw that and they were like, no one told you to go out and create this videography business. So that showed initiative. And then they saw all this marketing experience. Why did you do all these marketing internships when you're a computer engineer? And they saw that, okay, this kid, isn't just going out to do one thing he is going after his passions. And that's one of the biggest thing is going after your passion, what you are good at. I think that's one of the biggest things to go for.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that. I'll actually touch on this too. So I actually got a new job as a banker. We'll leave the bank unspecified, but in my interview process, I wasn't really asked about my experience handling money necessarily or doing computer inputs that we do behind the teller line. But talk more about my experience with Jagathon and more of my experience with community work and leadership and working in teams, which really stood out to me because my main job is counting money and inputting data into computers and I spent an hour and a half essentially talking about my experience working in teams. So going forward, I know you've worked a lot with teams. What's a really funny story that you've had at any point in your career, just working in a team?

Suketu Patel:
Oh, wow. That's a good question. I mean, there's some bad experiences and good experiences of course. I would say like the funniest experience I had was that I'm more of a leader myself. So when I get put into a group with a bunch of leaders, there's a lot of conflict. And I think those kinds of situations really do develop you in a way. And I guess there's this one time where we had a project that me and my group, we had a project and all of us were people who'd like to lead. And I had a different idea and somebody else had a different idea and we were all coming up with ideas on how to solve this issue. And we were all coming up with different ideas. So it was like a matrix of just different ideas and all these leaders trying to fix the problem when all we really needed was somebody to listen and somebody to moderate what was happening. And I guess what ended up happening was that we kind of created our own little polling democracy type system where we all voted on each other's items, but you couldn't vote for yourself. So it was definitely a funny experience where when you put a group of people who like to lead and see what happens and it was definitely different.

Rut Patel:
Oh man., the stories I could tell. Kelly Indy likes to do that. We take personality tests and they put you in groups of people who are essentially the same and the opposite of you. So it's really about that conflict resolution. And I've actually been asked about how I've handled conflict in pretty much every interview I've ever taken and been a part of. So how would you answer that? What's your advice to anyone that's in that interview position and being asked how do you solve and how do you work around big issues while working in a team and handle that in a positive light, especially?

Suketu Patel:
Yeah. Well, number one is, first of all, if there is a situation like where you think you're supposed to be leading and there's another leader in the group, just take a step back and just listen. I think that's the biggest advice.

Suketu Patel:
If there is something that you have an idea about speak up. I'm not saying not to speak up, but I'm just saying if there is a situation where if you create the conflict, you're kind of there too. There are situations where you're kind of holding everyone back if you do create too much conflict in a group. And I'm not saying you, but like if another person has an idea, be open to it and work along with them. You never know what's going to happen. And I think that's one of the biggest things I've learned. Sometimes I just have to step back and be quiet for a little bit and kind of let everything play out. And if it is a mistake, if they were wrong, at least then we know that that was a wrong decision. Rather than holding everything up and be like, hey, this is a wrong idea. I don't like this idea at all. It would take the same amount of time than just going through with the process.

Suketu Patel:
So I think just taking a step back, listening and being open to other's ideas,

Rut Patel:
I absolutely cannot agree with you more. I'm not going to go into my specific group difficulties, but that's essentially a big thing of what I've learned. You just want to move forward. Whatever issue it is you want to learn from it and you want to move forward. So with that, what's your most important experience or thing you've learned during college and how you were able to explain that to any recruiter to set you apart?

Suketu Patel:
The most important thing I learned in college was working with others and also figuring out what's important in that in the moment. Let's say you're studying for an exam and the teacher says to study for everything. Obviously everything's not going to be on the exam. Right? So picking those little topics and picking those little things that are actually important, that actually translates into the real world pretty well. I have thousands of tasks that I have to do within the year that I am given for work. And I have to pick and choose which ones are the most important. Which goes back to time management. I mean, everything has to do with what do you prioritize and how do you get the job that's most important done. Even though that's a hard decision to make. If I know that on an exam, let's say that this one question is going to be 30 points. I'm okay with missing five points and studying for that 30 point question, more so than worrying about the five points and that translates exactly into the real world.

Suketu Patel:
Whereas there might be a million dollar customer and you have to prioritize them versus a new customer that you haven't gotten a chance to talk to yet. They are always going to be there. They're there for you to go talk to, but you have to make sure that your customer that you have currently is taken care of. Like there's a lot of different tasks that you have to manage. Even though that's a hard decision to make. That's a new customer, they could be a $15 million customer, right, but you don't want to lose your main customer. That's just the things that you don't really connect the dots to that do have a big impact. And I think that's one of the biggest things I learned in college is to prioritize the most important things.

Rut Patel:
To move along with that point, you guys might recognize the Seek Discomfort flag behind me. I believe Suketu is still a fan of Yes Theory. A big thing of theirs is to just seek discomfort. Put yourself out there. Say yes to as many opportunities as you can because until you're in shoes, similar to ours, where you have too many tasks where you can't balance them all out and where you have to pick a priority, you aren't really getting that experience of what to pursue and what to necessarily hold yourself back on a little bit. But aside from time management, what's the best piece of advice you can give to someone in college right now?

Suketu Patel:
Best piece of advice, be open to change. Don't be afraid of an opportunity. I think I wouldn't be here if I hadn't accepted an offer to me. Especially when I was given the offer for this accelerated development. I just got a four-year degree in computer engineering and I'm not going into computer engineering. That's a huge decision. But if I hadn't taken that offer, I wouldn't have been working for this amazing company and I wouldn't have the opportunity to do these different things. And it's just one of those things, don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Like the flag says in the back seek discomfort. And I promise you that it will pay off if you go for the uncomfortable situations.

Rut Patel:
Yeah. So I'll actually touch on that a little bit more. I'm also a first year seminar mentor and I met with some of my students one-on-one. And someone asked me what my best piece of advice for them for going into a speech was. I just said, pretend like you're having a conversation. Her topic was dogs. It was a simple speech, something preliminary. And she said, my topic is about dogs. The thing I told her was, if you're talking to me about dogs, we could go all day back and forth and you would have no trouble with it.

Rut Patel:
But the moment you put yourself in a position of pressure where you feel like 30 people in a room are judging you, you're going to start to feel that pressure it's going to affect you. So walk into that, walk into any relationship you can with just the idea, like I'm going to have another conversation. I'm going to meet a new person. I'm going to make a new connection. I'm going to make a new contact. And like Suketu said, prioritize who you're going for.

Rut Patel:
So if you have a $15 million client versus a $1 million client, obviously there's a lot of pressure there. Can't let that show through in your negotiation. Otherwise, they're going to realize like, for $15 million commission check there. So do you have anything to adjust to that?

Suketu Patel:
Great. Yeah.

Rut Patel:
I believe that was Mr. Mike, mutual friend. I know you're very busy. So any last things on your mind that you want to say to everyone in college or anyone else watching? I don't know where this is going to be posted yet.

Suketu Patel:
Good luck. Have fun. Do what you are passionate about. That's about it.

Rut Patel:
All right. Well, thank you so much. Again, that is Suketu Patel an IUPUI alum now at Roche diagnostics. I'm Rut Patel. I am the media production and marketing assistant at the Office of Student Employment. Hopefully you enjoyed our very first podcast in a continuing series. And until next time.