Josh Hughes

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

School of Thought Series: a poem

In Education, Poetry on May 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

DC Recycle Bin

I had an idea,

but it wasn’t ready.

I can admit failure,

and save the thought for another day.

Because I’m always thinking.

Picture brought to you by [F]oxymoron

School of Thought Series: Quarter-Life Crisis.

In Education, Life on May 11, 2011 at 2:02 am

"Yes I Do Have a Small One"

Yes, older adults are not the only ones that get to have a crisis in their stage of life.

I remember picking up a book titled Quarter-Life Crisis in Barnes & Noble with a cellphone on it and “WTF” as the text message. About to graduate college? A cellphone and text message [both of which I am obsessed with]? On sale!? I’ll bite.

It was a quick read, but I am really glad I read up on the life change that was about to happen to me.  It just so happened that people like me [extremely social, involved, and highly productive college students] can have a hard time adjusting to life in the real world because it isn’t frat parties, RA programs, or socials. It changes into a game of corporate climbing, middle management, validating your degree [and existence], and maybe meeting your partner [if you didn’t already end up married before graduating].

I suppose reading about it helped my transition.  I called it a phase out.  I noticed others going through the same process slightly before me [as I graduated in the Summer]. You emotionally check out and remove yourself from the surroundings.  You are preparing to move from a part of life that has been your goal for 4+ years and that is definitely exciting…but also comes with the daunting tasking of figuring out the next path to explore next.

To those graduating this year, the world is your oyster! Don’t listen to the unemployment rate, don’t listen to those that say you can’t make your dreams come true. If you want something bad enough, you fight for it and you look for people who can help you get there.

If I can ever help offer insight or answer a question, please feel free to contact me.

Path

These pictures brought to you by Swanksalot and greeneydmantis

School of Thought Series: Education – Right? Necessity?

In Education, Professional on May 10, 2011 at 11:11 am

Law Books

Right to Education. First thing that comes to mind is _______?

Is education a right? Is it a necessity? And if so, to what degree?

As a part of my School on Thought series, I thought the interesting subject of right to education would be a perfect [albeit debatable] topic.

If we use the college student’s best friend Wikipedia – a right to education gives us:

…is enshrined in Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[5][6][7]

The right to education has been reaffirmed in the 1960 UNESCOConvention against Discrimination in Education and the 1981 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.[8]

In Europe, Article 2 of the first Protocol of 20 March 1952 to the European Convention on Human Rights

Breaking it down..

Internationally-

Intruiged Faces

When you apply the right to education internationally, one might think of third world countries in need of implementing a primary education system. This is where I think education is a right.  Teaching children necessary skills to develop into people who can work and strive to make their countries better places. Many believe that through education, you can elevate the living standards of a country. Teaching them how to think for themselves, the causes of disease, how to read, write and count- THESE are rights. Being educated, they can educate their peers. That generation can educate the next and continue to raise the educational level and hopefully raise standards of living along with it.

Domestic-

Classroom in the Afternoon

Similarly, American citizens have the right to an education, a primary one.  This primary education should help them develop critical thinking skills, a familiarity with math, science, literature, and the arts. It should provide guidance and filter people into skilled trades and professions.

Is primary education doing the job? After you graduate high school, does standardized testing help you get your first job? manage your money? Or does it just try to send you to college?

What about college? Do we all need a college education and the risk of collecting 10 years of student loans?

The 4 year college degree has indeed become the new standard, but many graduates after four long years of finals and term papers are faced with a common response from HR departments: “You don’t have enough experience.” Does that mean institutions of higher learned are failing us?

Is this educational standard raising standards of living? For some, it might. But for others, it is a dangerous catch-22. Those that go on to college based on family or society expectations are most likely to earn debt instead of a degree. This because a financial burden that the individual must carry for varying lengths of time. Many companies use a college degree as a benchmark for hiring, even if the position has little or nothing to do with the degree. Where does that leave the degree-less? Jobless.

Is college the best route for all? If it isn’t, is there something higher education institutions can do to make the standard more function [so graduates don’t hear they don’t have enough experience]. If college is the standard, is it also a right? A necessity to function above the poverty line? I don’t have these answers, but I do know that any graduate or non-graduate can make their dreams and goals come true while overcoming any obstacle, all it takes is wanting it bad enough. I also know with continued programs, we are slowly making changes to make the world a better place.

Disclaimer: being a college graduate myself, I am thankful for my college education and do not regret earning it.  My college years helped define me as a person and prepared me for the real world. In reflection, it was less the course material and more the life experiences I accomplished. I can’t help but wonder if that is the big secret. The successful realize that the true test isn’t the midterm, but the skills they are developing in and out of class? Hmm..

Image brought to you by Mr. T in DCBiggs_l

School of Thought Series: Interns, Freelancers, & Temps oh my

In Education, Professional on May 9, 2011 at 8:08 am
Devil Wears Prada..

After interning in college, free freelancing for a little venture with friends, and working a few temporary contracts after college, working a traditional 9-5 job seems a bit foreign to me. I’ve often been asked how I landed internships, a job right out of college, or pick up my stuff and moved across the country and only missed 119 days of work.

I’d like to share a summary of my experiences with each “untraditional job type” in the hope that will spark an idea, help someone get a job, etc.

Intern-

I never fetched coffee. I colored pasta once for an experiential marketing campaign for Barilla once. That was fun. Getting the internship? I applied everywhere.  I went to information sessions given at the Coles College of Business and a few interviews. I turned down a few that didn’t feel right. Sadly, a few companies like to offer internships because they a neon sigh that says: FREE WORKER

The one that felt right was Euro RSCG Impact. The Experiential marketing department’s logistics office.  They were all professional but with personality, and that goes a long way. I learned a lot about pricing, program management, hiring a team, product knowledge, and a lot of random facts. I think that is actually the best thing about marketing professions or marketing majors/professionals: we learn a lot of random facts. While the internship was unpaid, I am a firm believer that I was paid heavily in non-monetary ways: lots of left over program swag [ I was able to eat Barilla pasta for a month. I also got a neat grown, and a light up Palm tree]. I was also paid in knowledge though.  The report and research skills I developed were priceless. I also made a few professional contacts that I keep in touch with today.

Euro wasn’t my only internship.  I also managed to land a 3 month internship at CNN’s Medical Reporting Dept.  Dr. Gupta knew me by name, I did staging for the main newsroom in use at the Atlanta bureau, and even got to write a blog post. How did I land CNN? Apply. Apply. Call. Apply. Call. Email. Basically you become a stalker [in the most professional way possible] to show them that you want it and to keep you in the front of their minds. I actually didn’t get the internship when it started, but was hired as a backup when the first guy couldn’t take the pressure.

Internship tips:

  • Go with your gut, don’t be desperate, and ask yourself “How can this help me develop?”
  • Cliche but true: The only way it is certain you won’t get the position is if you don’t apply.
  • Not being paid to work sucks. Some of the best internships in the US don’t pay $ and that is a sad fact.  Tell yourself there are other forms of payment, it is true.
  • You don’t have to pay to work for free- my second internship wasn’t for course credit so I didn’t have to pay tuition for it.

Internship Blogs/Websites I like:

The last thing I am going to say about internships is that it really helps. It validates your education. It helps you compete against a diverse and typically crowded job market. Sadly, students don’t realize this until it is too late and many college programs don’t build mandatory internships into their programs.

Freelancer-

Just because free is build into the compound word freelancer, doesn’t mean you work for free.. in most cases. I count my current experiences as a blogger and writer as freelance work, which currently has left me with a negative income. That being said, the stuff I have written as a freelancer [ this blog, pieces for CommonCreativAtlanta, and otherwise] have not earned me any money.  I have gained valuable insights and opinions and use this knowledge personally and professionally. I have several friends that freelance for a living, and they are quite happy existing outside Corporate America’s restrictive existence.

Freelance Tips:

  • Network. Network. Network. & Social Media.
  • Freelancer. Not Free. Develop pricing and stand firm.
  • All work and no play make freelancers break.

Freelance Blogs/Websites I like:

Temp-

A maybe not so secret tip amongst those that relocate is to find a temp agency in your new city to start the cash flow, build professional networks, and possibly get a full-time job.

After the holiday season, I went for a “test drive” of DC and San Francisco. I spent a week in each city and felt it out.  [for this post, I’ll focus on the temp job aspect and not focus on relocating] I sold my car, booked my ticket, and ruled out the possibility of ‘What if you don’t get a job?’

All you need to start is one friend. Through one friend, I met several. It was one of these contacts that put me in touch with the Temp Agency his department uses. Two weeks later, I am working in IT. Before, I could barely change out RAM, but now I’m patching server rooms and building training manuals for programs and devices.

The key about the temp job is it is what you make it! For some, they are temp-to-hire and both parties get to test things out before either invest a lot of time or energy into training, taxes, etc. For others, like a coworker of mine, it allows him to work and travel.  He works a lot of hours on special projects for a few months, saves, and then heads out to see family, or explore Asia or Europe.

From my personal experience, finding a temp job is one of the best things someone looking for their first job, a new career move, or supplement their income can do.

Temp Tips:

  • Find a temp agency you have a good feeling for.
  • When working your temp job, don’t think of it has temp, this is YOUR job.
  • Don’t beg to be hired. Let your work speak for itself.

Temp Blog/Websites I like:

Summary:

A professional life takes work to develop [and .25 seconds to destroy]. The best thing to do is start as early as possible [but it is never too late] and to be proactive [but not obsessed]. Not everyone can do an internship and not everyone is happy with the stress that comes along with being a freelancer or self-employed.  You have to do what works right for you.

Image brought to you by IMDb.

A few thoughts…

In Education on May 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

Thinking... please wait

– The blog got a facelift. check it out: www.thinkingjosh.wordpress.com

– Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms, but specifically, to my Mother: I would not be the person I am today without her guidance, love, and inspiration.

– Starting Monday, I am going to do a 5 piece series on college/education related stuff. It is fitting I think. I hope that it gives people things to ponder and maybe direction or guidance to newly graduated minds (college or otherwise).

Image brought to you by karola riegler photography