Grown Up U

Top Three Tips for Going Back to School or Starting Work

September 08, 2021 Division-of-Agriculture Season 1 Episode 1
Grown Up U
Top Three Tips for Going Back to School or Starting Work
Show Notes Transcript

Are you nervous about starting college or starting your first “real world” job? If so, start  listening to Family and Consumer Sciences Agents, Pamela Luker and Rachel Chaney, as they share some tips to make the transition from high school to college or to your first job a little easier.  (By the way, we're a little nervous about starting up our podcast series, so we can totally relate!)

Transcript Episode 2: Going to College or Starting a New Job? Here are Your
3 Tips for Success!
Intro: Adulting – Thinking of all the things adults have to do can be intimidating.
Maybe you are realizing just how much you don't know about living on your own.
If this sounds familiar, join us today to learn the skills you need and take some of
the stress out of being an adult.
This is Grown Up U, an adulting podcast to help you navigate the twists and turns
of adult life. Listen and get life skills you didn't learn in school.
Rachel Chaney: Welcome to the first episode of our Grown Up You podcast, I'm
Rachel Chaney, I am the Yell County family and consumer science agent and I'm
with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative
Extension Service.
And today we're going to be talking about starting college or maybe starting your
first job and maybe you're nervous about that. And if you are, that's OK. I hope you'll
keep listening. We've definitely been there. And here with me is Pamela Luker, and
I'm going to let her introduce herself.
Pamela Luker: I'm Pamela Luker and I'm in the family and consumer science agent
for Pope County.
Rachel Chaney: So we have definitely been there and during this podcast, we are
going to share some tips to make a transition from high school to college or to your
first job little easier if you'll keep them in mind and put them in place. Hopefully
they'll help you out.
As someone who I'm kind of more of a traditional student, if you look at it that way. I
was graduated college, sorry, graduated high school and went on to college, to the
University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. I got my bachelor's and then right out of
college, got a job with extension actually. And I've been with them for nine years.
But I moved to an area that I didn't know anyone. So definitely understand the
nerves. That was definitely probably the scariest for me. Fresh out of college, moving
to somewhere where I didn't know very many people. In the end, you know, I got my
master's while working.
So I understand juggling your time, too, with that. But, Pam, you had a little a little
different background than what I did, right?
Pamela Luker: Yeah. So my experience was more of a non-traditional experience
for a college student. So actually not too long after I graduated from high school, I
went into a career and moved out the state and just started fresh and had to learn
some of these things as I went and I wish I had someone to tell me some of these
pointers. But in my late twenties, I went back to school and get my bachelor's degree
and then later my master's degree and I actually switched career path. So hopefully
my experience as well as Rachel is a little bit of a different experience can help you
guys, whether you're getting a new job just starting out or if you're starting college
for the first time.
Rachel Chaney: Yes, yes, so we've got two different experiences here, so we're
going to share with you three tips for maybe getting started and hopefully this will be
helpful to you. Definitely. If you've been there, done that and you want to share your
experiences, use the #grownupu. You can follow us on social media and share with
us what you've learned and what are some things, tips that you would like to share or
your own experiences or maybe how this has helped you first.
So our tips for getting started is to get social, be engaged, and manage your time
wisely. You know, Pam, if you don't mind, tell us what we mean by getting social.
Pamela Luker: Alright! Sure Rachel. So what we mean by getting social is actually
putting your phone down, and I know that's hard for some of us these days, but put
your phone down and start talking face to face with other people.
As soon as you start college or maybe even your new job, make it a point to
introduce yourself to other students or your coworkers. You may have to get out of
your comfort zone and remember, first impressions matter.
So if you're not getting that phone down and talking face to face and having that
interaction, that can really be a negative experience at your first job or with your first
college professor. So make sure that you are putting the phone down and getting that
Face-To-Face interaction also with the other person talk and listen to what they're
saying, become involved in on campus, in your office and professional groups and
activities. So that's really important because if you don't become involved, you might
not make it.
I know even on campus, I noticed that some students who didn't go out of their way
to try to see what was going on or speak to the professor, especially when they were
having trouble with something, they didn't seem to make it through to get their goal.
Which is get their degree. Or at the office, they didn't stick around as long.
So also in an office situation, make sure you're avoiding those slackers. I know most
of us have been in that situation, and we know after a few days exactly who those
slackers are. So you don't want to get that reputation and you don't want that to rub
off on you. Instead, what you can do is you can find a mentor. And as you grow in
your job, you can also become a newbie’s mentor. So learn who those leaders are and
get to know them.
Find out what the social media policy is and the dress code is for your campus or
your company, because I know that this can get you in trouble. If you don't know the
social media policy or dress code, you don't want that negative reputation.
And as you become more comfortable around campus or in your job, make sure
you're willing to help out or volunteer when need is put in the work and effort from
the beginning and you will be rewarded later.
But those are a few tips that I have on getting social. Rachel, is there anything that
you've experienced you might want to share?
Rachel Chaney: Yeah, just to kind of add to what you had already mentioned is
becoming involved in your campus office and professional groups or activities is
really important. That may seem like it's not at first, but it helps you in the long run.
As far as college goes, that professional group might have alumni that can help you
when looking for a job. Because I keep hearing the thing, it's not sometimes what
you know, it's who you know. And so networking is super important.
I know in our organization we have professional associations that we can be a part of
that help us in our career as we go. It helps with getting promoted because we can get
awards for different things that we do. And a lot of times jobs have that as well.
Different jobs have different kind of things that you can do, but even just those
birthday parties or were stuff like that. It may seem kind of like, “Oh,
I have to go to another party”, but I mean, it's also OK, who doesn't love cake?
But I think it's very important to have those interactions at networking opportunity
and get to know the people you work with. Or that if you're in a dorm,
go into some of the dorm activities that they have. If you're new and don't really
know anybody at the college who might be joining a sorority or fraternity. And
there's different things you can do to get social.
And one thing also to add on the social media policy and dress code, you know,
social media is a part of our life. It's something we have that will always be around.
And, you know, I'm not saying trying to be a social media police or anything like
that, but I will say people will check you out. So as someone who is fresh out of
college joining extension, I remember thinking back the administrative assistant said
we tried to find you on Facebook to get to know you before you started. And so that
first impression, they actually already had a first impression of me based off of my
social media.
That's really all I have for getting social. The next one is be engaged. So are we
talking about someone getting a ring? Is that what this is? Pam?
Pamela Luker: No, we are not talking about Beyonce putting a ring on it. Well, so
what we mean is now your assignments. You want to be engaged in your work.
Write down everything. In a new job, ask for a copy of your job description. On
campus or in your new job, learn everything you can about what's expected of you
and you want to identify resources that are available. Take every training opportunity
that is offered.
I know whenever I first started, that was some advice that I think Rachel, you may
have been given me, is to get out there wanting to be social and learn,
learn who everyone was within extension, but also to take the training opportunities
whenever they become available because they can benefit you.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Asked for clear clarification, but whenever you do
that, you are showing that you're interested and you're engaged. So for me, it makes
me feel like someone really cares about their job and wants to do a good job.
It also helps you not to make assumptions.
So, Rachel, I know you gave me some good advice from whenever I started on that.
Do you have any additional that you'd like to add?
Rachel Chaney: Yeah, I'll just say and again, those training opportunities is a great
way to get to know people. So it's a great way to kind of check off the checklist of
getting social because sometimes those trainings will have networking opportunities.
And so you want to be involved in those and having those certificates look good on
your resume for other jobs .And maybe this is just a stepping stone to something else
for college, you know, is it someone who was doing the trainings and teaching?
I always felt good when someone would ask a question because that meant that they
were listening. So be engaged in class, ask questions afterwards, take advantage of
those office hours that they give you, because I've heard a lot of teachers say they'll
wait till the last minute, as in trying to get their grades up or whatever, and that
teacher maybe has never heard of you. And so it's really important to make those
relationships and be engaged in class, drop out and visit them with their office hours,
ask for those clarifications.
And just something I've seen in this job has a lot of times with people who maybe
didn't last as long or chose to leave extension because they didn't try to be engaged.
They didn't ask questions when they needed help. And a lot of times people aren't
going to just hold your hand. They're going to expect you to be a self-starter. They're
not going to micromanage you. I mean, you might have that in some cases, but at
least in our job, we don't have that. And so you kind of have to make that step to ask
the question.
Pamela Luker: Well, our next step is going to be manage our time wisely. So,
Rachel, we know college professors and employers expect you to be on time. Can
you tell us a little bit about how we can make that happen?
Rachel Chaney: Yes, I can. And I will tell you, this is one area I have to work on
myself. So I think everybody can and. A little better time of managing their time and
you want to just plan ahead. Think about what you've got going on and give yourself
plenty of time in the mornings. You know, there's always going to be something
that's going to happen that you want to allow time for in the morning to get there and
getting ready, driving to campus, finding a parking spot at morning, traffic of the
commute and there's a wreck. I mean, there's so many things that can happen. So
definitely think about that. Be aware of the planning fallacy which states that you
will probably need more time than you think you will. Something I need to
remember for sure.
When planning your class schedule or work schedule, ask yourself if you're an owl or
a rooster, which is what this means is when do you have the most energy? Is it in the
morning or in the afternoon? Now, for myself, I am definitely not a rooster. I'm an
owl. I have always been a night owl and I definitely have more energy and
productivity in the afternoon.
So a lot of times I kind of plan in that and just know mornings is not good for me.
And I think me and Pam are complete opposites on this. Right?
Pamela Luker: Absolutely! So in the morning I'm ready to go. I want and I
accomplish most of my task early in the day but by nighttime that energy is gone.
And just for example, Rachel and I work a lot together. We actually work well
together but one thing that we've learned is I am a rooster. She's an owl. So when we
work together, we've learned we have to do it kind of in the middle of the day. Like
right now we're recording our podcast and it is the middle of the day because it works
out for both of us but if I were to ask Rachel to get on with me and let's get some
work going at 8:00 in the morning, she may be calling me about 8:15 am, telling me I
need to set that time back a little.
Rachel Chaney: Yes, yes, I definitely need coffee in the morning to get me going,
but I can do it if I have to. But I just know I'm better in the afternoons but which is
very opposite of a lot of people. I'm just getting things done and checking things off.
And where some people hit that 2:00 p.m. lull and tiredness, I'm like, let's go, let's get
started. So I just know that going in and I think that's very important.
Important to think about.
Researchers actually call this our circadian rhythm, a twenty-four-hour internal clock
running in the background of our brain cycles between alertness and sleepiness. So
do your most important work when you have the most energy.
This could be the same with class schedule. Thinking about that, and I will tell on
myself, I thought because I went to high school and we were eight, had to be there eight o'clock, that I could do a college, eight o'clock class or seven.
I think it was actually even seven thirty class. And of course my parents laughed at
me because they know me well and said there's no way that's going to work. And
they were right. It was very hard for that semester. And let's just say I never did the
eight o'clock class again.
With that, when you're multitasking, you want to take small task.
First, tackle those small task. We throw around that word multitasking but studies
have found that deeply focusing on a single task at a time can be more helpful and
500 percent more productive.
Pomodoro technique. So this was really interesting looking this up. It's a time
management method developed by Francesco Cirillo, and I will probably say his
name wrong, but I highly recommend you look into this technique. It was developed
in the late 1980s and this technique uses a timer to break work into intervals
traditionally twenty-five minutes in length, separated by short breaks each. And a roll
is known as a pomodoro, which is the Italian word for tomato, after the tomato
shaped kitchen timer that Cirillo used as a university student. So I think that's a really
neat technique to try. I'm definitely going to plan to try it myself and I'll keep you
posted on how it goes. But I know it's something in a way, I do want to have a little
to do list. Once I marked something off, I take a little break because that's something
definitely give yourself a little reward for getting through whatever you need to do on
your checklist.
Pamela Luker: I can definitely see how I can benefit from it. I know that sometimes
during the day I'll just take a little break and I'll go and take a walk around the block
or something and I feel so much more focused when I come back. So I haven't tried
twenty five minute, but that's a good little tip. I appreciate that, Rachel and I am
going to try it myself.
Rachel Chaney: Yeah. Yeah, I know. I kind of can get hyper focus so I get maybe
two into whatever task I'm working on so that twenty-five-minute timer can help me
with maybe my procrastination and putting things off. Where it just,
it's just twenty-five minutes or so. It can help me wrap up things because you get too
involved in something, maybe keep working on it like a paper or something, keep
fine tuning it. Giving you that timer helps you with that deadline too.
And according to sleep researcher Nathaniel Kleitman, our minds naturally crave
breaks after every 90 minutes of intense work. So that's very important to think
about. And especially, you know, when a job you may not get set breaks are not our
job doesn't have that. And so scheduling rights for yourself is very important when
thinking about the different tasks that you have to do in the day.
You can use your phone to save time by setting up reminders and your calendar.
I actually have on my calendar at work and have this option to set up different things.
And so it has like a focus time where it gives me kind of a reminder, here's a two
hour window to just focus and then actually has one on checking emails. So that way
I can, like, turn off my emails because that's a distraction that I have.
And so that's something you could look at too is setting up that in your calendar. And
I set reminders if I have to write things down, that's one thing.
I have to have my calendar. And Pam knows this if I don't have my calendar. I can
write something down. I'm more likely going to forget it. So a lot of times if I don't
write it in my calendar, if you look at my phone, my reminders have stuff that I've
thought about that I need to do for the next day.
And I love to do list. And so to do list tells you what to do, but a schedule is going to
tell you when you're going to do it. And then checklist can be useful to help you
check off task and think about what other tasks you need to accomplish so you can
kind of do a combination where you start with that checklist and then figure out what
you need to do for that week and then set it in your schedule when to do it.
I know Pam talked about we set she set time to block off for recording this session
and put it in her schedule to block off for recording and editing.
Right. So it's definitely something you've used. And I know I've used to love getting
things off of my checklist. I feel a little bit of an accomplishment to want to do that.
But definitely prioritize your checklist. And this is something I need to work on is
sometimes I do things that maybe aren't as important, but it's a task I know I can
complete easily and sometimes they're just too daunting. But it's important to get in
there and do it. Don't just keep putting it off.
And I'm saying this to myself, learn to be organized so that you can stay focused
when necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or when you can delegate if you have
the option to delegate your time or if you maybe you're starting a job and you are
over, people don't feel like you have to tackle it all yourself, delegating it out, or we
work as a team here in my office and some things we do together. And so I work
with my coworkers to figure that out. Me and Pam work together on a lot of things
and trying to figure out who's doing what and talk about it when we're getting ready
to do something and identify your time wasters and limit those distractions.
Maybe it's text messages, Facebook, Instagram, tick tock. I know you can be on tick
talk for hours and not realize it. So is it something that can wait until after work or
class? So putting away those distractions and know some people turn off their emails
when they're at work and only check it at a certain time. So they kind of let you know
you're not going to get if you're needing something immediate, you need to contact
me because I only check my emails at eight o'clock in the morning and then I do my
job and don't check them until later in the evening or whatever. So figure out what is
your distraction and try to limit it.
If procrastination is a concern of yours, try to follow the five-minute rule. This is
actually popularized by the Instagram founder, Kevin Systrom. The rule means
telling yourself you're only going to do five minutes of work on a project, in most
cases that's enough to get you motivated. So maybe try the five minutes and then it
turns into your twenty-five minutes of work that you need to do to get ahead at
college and in work.
Set goals for yourself. Do you have a short term, medium term or long-term goal?
Short term is going to be one year or less. Medium term is the next five years and
long term is over five years. So think about your goals and set those goals and then
reevaluate your goals. You know, your long-term goals might change. So think about
that as you're looking at college and getting out of college and going to work or
maybe just getting out of high school and go into work, it may change. I know Pam
just talked about how she decided to go back to college. Right. You mentioned you
had started in work. And so your goals changed over the time period.
Pamela Luker: Right. They did. What I thought I wanted to do, I decided that's not
what I wanted to do. And so I went back in and went to college so that I could do
what I want or the career I wanted. But, you know, things and the situations in my
life changed over the years, too. I had a family and some priorities changed.
And that's OK to change career paths in the middle of your life, if that's if that's
what's going to make you want to get up and go to work every morning.
There's nothing wrong with that. I know that I absolutely love my job and I'm soo
glad, even though it was difficult doing it later in life while I had a family but going
back and making it possible to make that career change. Just know, it isOK to do it
and it can be a positive thing.
Rachel Chaney: Yes, for sure, I know I went from high school to college, thinking I
was going to be a go into radiology and quickly realized science is not necessarily
my area of expertise, but something you kind of need for radiology. And so my short
term goal change in that kind of change all my goals and went into family and
consumer science and didn't even plan to be with extension, even though my family's
in that. So I've known about it my whole life, but I just kind of worked out that way.
And so and now my goals have changed what I want to do as I get older too.
So I just generally set goals for yourself, but reevaluate those goals.
It's OK to change them if you have to.
And then last thing is just keep to a routine. We are what we repeatedly do. The best
way to get ahead in school and on the job is to stay healthy. And that means getting
the sleep that you need and thinking about work life balance. And that's something
we hear about a lot. But it's really important to have that balance. This could be the
same with college. College has a lot that you're juggling in a way, prepares you for
working. Is your juggling finals and, multiple jobs, getting social, getting that social
aspect, and work, and not having money and all that or so many different things that
you have to deal with in college, too, as well as with work starting out. I'm trying to
figure out how to be successful in your job, so I definitely feel for those getting
started. And Pam, you had something?
Pamela Luker: I just wanted to go right along with you. You were talking about
keeping a routine and the best way to get ahead in school and on the job is to stay
healthy. And that means getting enough sleep that you need. I know, especially
whenever you're in college having to study for those finals and things like Rachel
said, sometimes we don't take care of ourselves. But I can attest to just having a
family and kids. You are running here and there and having more to keep up with
and things at home, you know, it can become overwhelming. And I feel like I don't
always get enough sleep. But even yesterday, my family took a little time to relax
and I got extra sleep. And today I feel so refreshed and I can definitely see the
difference in how I am approaching things at work, because I'll tell you, no one likes
you to be cranky at work, at school. You know, you deserve the best. You and
certainly your coworkers.
Rachel Chaney: Yes and those all-nighters, while they may seem tempting, they do
not always work. And maybe some of you it's worked for and good for you. But I
have found it doesn't always work out for me. And so it's very important to set your
time, schedule time wisely. Think about what test you have coming up. And don't try
to wait till the last minute to study all night or whatever. As someone who has tried it
and it didn't work, just take it for me to do something different.
And we just hope these tips have helped you. So when you're starting that new job or
you're starting college, take time to get social, be engaged and plan your time wisely.
We're trying to say thank you for joining us for our first episode of Grown Up U. We
have many more episodes to come that we hope you'll enjoy. I know we have some
on getting your utilities and stuff straight for your apartment to think. The next one is
how to just establish yourself in a new place, getting along with coworkers and
roommates. I'm intrigued to see on that one how that works because, you know, me
and Pam have to work to get that's when we get along great. So budgeting your
FASFA refund and a whole bunch of other topics that we have coming up.
So be sure to join us for the Grown Up U podcast. You can follow us and social
media, follow us on whatever you listen to your podcast on how to keep up to date on
new episodes. And once again, thank you for joining us. And share with us that
#grownupu what you have tips for going back to school or starting work.
Alison Crane: For more information about this or any grown up podcast or to learn
more about educational opportunities, visit our website
wellness/grownupu. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram at you a grown
up u podcast.
The Grown Up U podcast series is brought to you through the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service.