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.


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.

Congratulations SPEA December Grads…

The SPEA Career Development Office wishes you well for a successful and bright future.    Here are a few tips to help you get a great start in your first post-college job.   After you settle into your new career, please consider becoming a networking resource or mentor for other SPEA students.

Remember, if you still need help with the job search or have any career questions, the CDO is here to help you.     You can still access the SPEAcareers.com job board,  or e-mail speacare@indiana.edu         or call  812-855-9639  for career advising appointments. 

If you are away from Bloomington we can conduct phone or SKYPE advising sessions.

Again, congratulations on your achievement!

The CDO Staff:  Mark, Alejandra, Glenda, Katie, Marlene, Melodie, Rhiannon, Scott, and Susan

Forget What You’ve Been Taught About Self-Discovery

Our Director, Mark Case, found this great article that puts a new spin on answering the question, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

20 Ways To Find Your Calling – Forbes.com

by Jessica Hagy

Not sure what to be when you grow up (whenever that is)? Fret no more.
We can figure this out together. Let’s get started.

1. Ignore the future, deal with the present. 
The question, “What should I be when I grow up?” is wrong. Ask instead, “What is next today?” People become fat one bite at a time, and we become adults one hour at a time, so what we do today matters.

2. Shop around. 
Unless you try on the outfit, you’ll never know if it fits. Do the same with vocations, avocations, hobbies and skills. You’ll need to sample every flavor to know your true favorite taste.

3. Say yes to odd opportunities.
Say yes to the things that intrigue you, instead of the ones that bore you.

4. Find a problem to solve.
Being the solution makes your work feel meaningful. Having an issue to work against also gives you a villain to play against—and makes you a hero.

5. Burn your plans.
Your life will not go according to plan. Nobody’s ever has. So don’t worry if you get off track. The track was imaginary anyway.

6. Do not follow someone else’s dream.
Your parents want you to be A. Your boss wants you to be B. Your friends want you to be C. And society is clamoring for you to be D. You can’t please everyone, but if you do what YOU think you should, at least you’ll be able to sleep at night.

7. Blend your talents.
Instead of doing something that only takes advantage of one skill, create a mash-up of several things you do well. You’ll set yourself apart and feel more satisfied with what you’re doing.

8. Seek out people you actually like.
It’s more satisfying to dig a ditch with friends than to design a skyscraper with a team of sociopaths.

9. Give yourself permission to change your mind.
Most of us choose our paths around 18. As time passes, you might find new things to do and places to be and people to know, and a few calls you made at 18 will probably need to be overturned.

10. Ask the elderly for advice.
They’ve been there, done that, got the AARP card. You’ll find that happiness and satisfaction have more to do with love and purpose than dollars and cents.

11. Roam a library.
You never know which book, author, or topic will speak to you from the shelves. You might just find what you didn’t even know you were looking for.

12. Seek support, not tolerance.
You’re going to need help with anything and everything. Make sure you have people in your corner who do more than just nod and say, “that’s nice,” when you tell them your dreams.

13. Spend time before you spend money.
Invest in reading and talking and finding out before you plunk down a ton of money on a degree or a certification or a relocation. You might find that you don’t have to write a check to compose your future.

14. Don’t confuse a job with a purpose.
If you are working to support your family, they are your real bosses. If you are working to further a goal or idea, don’t let your paycheck (however plump it is) become an obstacle to it.

15. Consider your epitaph, not your resume.
Thinking long term can help you see both what’s vitally important and what’s certainly silly.

16. There’s no need to be THE best.
Very few people are the very best in the world at anything. Doing your best doesn’t mean you have to be THE best. Your best is more than enough.

17. Don’t keep score.
No one will be at the top or bottom of their game forever, and who you perceive as your competition is a constantly changing cast of characters. Keeping score can become a full-time job if you let it, and that’s an awful way to spend a day, much less a lifetime.

18. Change course if you find yourself coasting. 
It’s possible to get stuck on a very easy and vaguely rewarding path, like a cushy or undemanding job. If you feel yourself simply rolling along, it’s time to switch gears, because coasting can atrophy your dreams.

19. Be authentically uncool.
Stick with what you love, even if others sneer at it. This is also referred to as integrity.

20.  Relax.
There’s no right answer, but there are thousands of viable options.

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.