I Deserve It

Today, one of my colleagues shared an article recently posted in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Professors See a Lack of Professionalism Among Students.” open hand

Sadly for you students out there the author,  Ann Schnoebelen, is spot on. The amount of professionalism that we see displayed by students is low and we see it in constant decline.

What has been causing this decline in professionalism?

The author cites a few culprits: technology, lack of focus, lack of motivation, and an inability to effectively communicate. The biggest problem cited in the survey, however, was a problem of entitlement. Faculty say that students today are too entitled and feel like despite how little effort they put into something, they should be handed everything.

The world OWES them.

I have seen this play out a few times in my career here at IU. I have had students who believed that because they paid money for their degree, that I should make sure they have a job when they graduate. Clearly, that is not actually my job. My job is to teach you how to find a job, which is much more beneficial in the long run.

I have also seen students who are exactly the opposite. SPEA is full of very hard-working, motivated students who want to get out there and make a difference. This is why I feel like I am really lucky to be here. Entitled students exist, but they are in the minority.

What can you do to make sure that you are not one of the unprofessional students?

  • Continually practice your written and verbal communication. You will never, ever be perfect that this. It is a skill you must practice for the rest of your life. Get used to practicing it NOW.
  • Hone your interview skills (mock interview, anyone?).
  • Network in person, not just online.
  • Put your phone, tablet, laptop, whatever-piece-of-technology down and pay attention to people who are talking to you. That includes teachers, friends, family, and people you don’t know.
  • Realize that the world owes you nothing. Once you get past that, it is going to completely change how people perceive you and you are much more likely to make professional connections and get a job.

Work on these things. Practice them. Perfect them. We can help you do that.


“Community Building” – It’s the New Networking

I am going to just go ahead and admit it. I hate networking. Hate it.social-networking-sites

You would think that someone working in the career services industry would have to love networking right?

Not really. I am completely an introvert. That being said, that does not mean I cannot network. If forced to, I can push down that giant ball of panic that begins to rise up in my throat and talk to one maybe two people (max) who I do not know. They have to approach me first, though.

If you are introverted (or even extroverted) and hate networking, you are certainly not alone. There are some things that you can do to make networking less of a challenge and more enjoyable.

First of all, let’s scrap the name, “networking” in favor of something less daunting. How about “community building?” After all, that is all you are doing when you talk to people about careers and interests. Better, right?

Second, let’s forget about making community building about you. If you go into a room with no expectation that you will have to rattle off your prepared elevator speech to impress as many people as possible, that takes off  the pressure. Instead, when you enter a room or meet someone new, ask them about THEM. Ask them about their career, where they went to school, what internships they did, etc. You get the idea. People love to talk about themselves. Inevitably, they will ask about you. By then, you will be much more comfortable. You can be honest about your career path, skills, and interests. Hopefully, they will then work with you to see if they can help you on your path.

Finally, follow up. Get their card. If they don’t have a card, get their name and email address. At the very least, go home and connect to them on LinkedIn (if they have a profile). Then, send them a message or email letting them know how much you enjoyed talking to them. If there were any action items, like if they asked for your resume, be sure to follow up on it.

Now, if you are an introvert, you can go ahead and curl up on the couch and sit in the quiet solitude for a while to recover. I highly recommend chamomile tea with honey and a good TV show.

Oh, The Places You’ll Intern (or Work)!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”


– Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!


Growing up, I had my favorite Dr. Seuss book, Hop on Pop. It was not until graduate school that I was exposed to Oh, The Places You’ll Go! I was babysitting for a friend and her child grabbed it off the shelf and begged me to read it. As I read it, I found it inspiring in a cheesy way and wished that someone had read it to me as a child.

Now that I am all grown up (sort of) and working here in the CDO, I am pleasantly surprised every single day by the various goals and aspirations of our students. We have students who want to go into nursing, run art museums, manage teams, work for the federal government, start nonprofits, work out in the field doing scientific research and everything in between. Students want to travel all over the world for internships, volunteer work, and jobs.

My job is to help them achieve those goals.

Much like the quote above, SPEA is equipping you with the know-how (brains in your head) to DO the things you want. You have feet or some other means of transport, and you really can steer yourself any direction you choose. Only you will decide where you will go, even if at times it seems like the current is sweeping you away and you have no choice in the matter.

There is just one thing that Dr. Seuss got wrong (sorry, Doc). You are NOT on your own. Your SPEA community is behind you. You have teachers, mentors, friends, colleagues, and advisers all here to help you out. Do not forget that as the chaos of spring semester begins to whip up around you. You are in control.

If you start to feel lost or overwhelmed by your job or internship search, reach out. Our team is here to help you navigate the waters. To make an appointment, you can log into http://www.speacareers.com or call our office at 812-855-9639.

Once you do get a job or internship, drop by the SPEA atrium to place a pin on our map (see picture above!). We would love to see where all our SPEA students are going when school lets out.

Time to Become (Re)Acquainted

Hello! My name is Katie Sewell. I am a career advisor with SPEA’s Career Development Office.

What did you say? I look familiar? Well, I should look familiar. For all you returning SPEA students out there. Welcome back! Our office has changed over the summer in many, positive ways. I personally like to think of it as a metamorphosis. Like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Here are some changes you are going to notice:

  1. Our name changed – We are now the Career Development Office (CDO). We feel that the name more accurately represents what we do and our role in the world.
  2. SPEACareers.com is on a new platform. It is beautiful, shiny, new, and just all around awesome. You are even going to be able to request appointments with us through it. The official launch will take place soon and you will be notified.
  3. We have an excellent lineup of events for fall already. For example, this year we are kicking off the new year with the first annual SPEA Career Expo! It’s a fair! It’s an exploration trip in Bloomington! It’s Superman! Just kidding about that last part. But seriously, take a look at our events calendar, and I think you will be pleased.

Are you new to SPEA? Welcome!!! In that case, I do not look familiar… yet. You should not only get to know me, but the other Career Development staff as well. Come in soon and stop by often. If you go through the entire school year without meeting us, then there is a problem. We will not know how to help you unless we know you! We are located in SPEA 200.

Even if you do not want to come in for an individual appointment, I encourage you to take part in one of our many workshops. You can find out more about how we can assist you and also take a look at our events calendar by going to our website.

We look forward to seeing you or meeting you soon! Don’t be a stranger now, ya hear?

The “Tears for Fears” Approach to Your Career

I will admit it. Right here, in front of everyone. Ready?

I, Katie Sewell, am a fan of Tears for Fears.

I do realize that they were big in the ’80s. I don’t care.

Whew. Now that THAT is off my chest, I heard “Everybody Wants to Rule to Rule the World” this morning and it got me to thinking. One of the things that I enjoy the most about my job is that I routinely have students come into my office for career advice and when I ask, “What would you like to do with your life?” they answer, “Save the world.”

Connection to Tears for Fears?

Everybody wants to save the world. (Now sing that to yourself)

That is a huge task. I will be the first to admit that I cannot think of a single job where you would save the world. The world has so many ills to cure, that no one job can accomplish the task of saving it… unless you are Superman, of course.

I once met with a student who was downtrodden because he wanted to save the world, but with his student loan debt, knew he would have to take any job that paid enough for him to afford his monthly bills. Fair enough. What he didn’t think about was that you can save the world every day. It just depends on how you look at it.

Right now, I can feel you staring at the screen and saying, “No. What? You can’t save the world every day!” Yes. Yes you can.

Think about it. Even if you do ONE thing each day either at work or outside of it that changes one being’s life for the better, you have changed their world. Therefore, you have saved THEIR world. See?

Now think about all the things you can even do today to change the world for the better. You can pick up and recycle that plastic bottle you just stepped over on your way to your car. You can take a few minutes to talk to your professor about how much you enjoy their class. You can volunteer. You can call your grandma. You can take your dog on an extra long walk instead of sitting down in front of the TV.

Little by little, if more and more people did these things, slowly the world would be saved. Meanwhile, you are saving the world for one person, animal, or the ecosystem surrounding that plastic bottle.

So – What happened to that student? They left my office feeling better, which made me feel good. You may or may not get a job that involves saving the world. It is what you do at your job and outside of your job each and every day that will help to save the world, in the end.