Make Life Easier

Before I made it to NIU life was a little bit simpler to manage.  I could handle all my affairs including homework, a job, and scheduling without much thought or worry.  Now, with 5 classes, 3 student organizations, 2 internships, and social life to juggle I feel like I need my own secretary.  Unfortunately, I do not have the money or the influence to afford such a luxury.  In lieu of my budget and anonymity, I’ve learned to harness technology  to help manage my busy life.  I’m hoping that with this blog I can help you all do the same.  Here are a few applications and technologies that I’ve utilized to make life a little bit easier.

 Make Life Easier

 Google Drive lets you store, access, and share your files anywhere, whether it be on the web, on your hard drive, or on a mobile device.  Here’s how you can start:

  1. Go to Google Drive on the web at drive.google.com.
  2. Install Google Drive on your computer and mobile device (Free for iPhone and Android)
  3. Place files in Google Drive on your computer and boom, it goes straight to your mobile and vice versa!

You can store up to 5 GB of data for free!  Collaborate with others on documents to do group assignments remotely.  I’ve literally completed entire papers and assignments without ever meeting with my teammates.  Another benefit of Drive is that you’ll never have to worry about forgetting an attachment on your computer at home (the second worst excuse next to my dog ate my homework).  With Google Drive, your documents are anywhere you have a computer or mobile device.

 Make Life Easier

Astrid is the personal assistant that I’ve always wanted.  I can use it to make grocery lists, to-do lists that include errands or assignments, and others.  Best of all, its free and I can use the application to schedule all the tasks that I have to complete.  Astrid helps you get your life organized so you will never miss a due date.  Because it offers the ability to add deadlines and priority levels to your tasks that pair with reminders and alarms, you will never forget to follow through with your obligations again!  The lists you create in Astrid go straight to the cloud, so like Google Drive, you can access your lists anywhere you have a computer or mobile device.  Simply log into your account and surprise, all of your grocery lists, book lists, and assignment deadlines are all there!

 Make Life Easier

Right Inbox is free extension for Chrome and Firefox that works with your Gmail account to schedule emails for sending later.  The add-on places a "Send Later" button in your Gmail account with options to schedule the email at any time and date you please!   You can use it to send yourself reminders or send emails to others at just the right time.  I’ve used right inbox to send time sensitive emails that can only be sent between certain hours of certain days (shout out to Mktg 450 students).  Many recruiters for companies have their email on their phones and I’d hate to leave a bad impression and wake them at 2 AM in the morning (when I do most of my work).  So instead, I’ll write the email at 2 AM but I’ll schedule the email for 4 hours later using Right Inbox!  It’s a win-win!  They get to sleep and I get to look like a stud for supposedly being a productive member of society at 6 in the morning (or so the email says).

Use these applications and plug ins and I’m sure they can add a few months, a few more hours to your beauty sleep, and a few less stress induced wrinkles!  2.0out

Do you have any suggestions for apps that have made your life easier?  Share in the comments below!

 

The 2-2-2 Rule

This next guest post is written by Mike Glassberg, an Interactive Marketing Student at the NIU College of Business. Follow him on twitter @cubswin716.

 The 2 2 2 Rule

For most of my college life, I’ve prided myself on the relentless perseverance to reach any and all of my goals and to never give up. This also meant giving 110% in all activities. Giving anything less felt like a failure, something I refused to let happen.

And at the beginning of my first Senior semester, that’s what I did: gave 110% in every activity, project, or assignment that was handed to me – or at least I tried. But it was overwhelming being a leader in two organizations, working for the university, being a Junior Consultant in the Experiential Learning Center (ELC), all on top of my regular class schedule.

 

In college, and in life, you need to understand what’s important to you and prioritize accordingly. Over the last few months, I’ve implemented a new rule into my life: the 2 weeks, 2 months, and 2 years rule.

What will this matter to me in 2 weeks? 2 months? 2 years?

My most memorable use of the “2-2-2″ rule was from a few weeks ago; I had 10+ page midterm due the next morning. My friend had called me that night as I was typing away, and explained to me a serious personal problem she was going through. I value our friendship very much, and want it to last well over two years. So instead of telling her I was busy with a big paper, I used the 2-2-2 rule and decided that I’d get over the poor grade of my midterm paper in two months, but it would  hopefully mean a lot more to her in two months that I was there for her, especially when I was at my busiest.

This rule of thumb has turned me from a bag of hammers to, well let’s say a few hammers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still stressed, but its focused in the right places and allows me to be excellent in the areas I care most about.

I strongly urge you to use the rule of 2, immediately. Today. Use it in class when you get an answer wrong and are feeling down. Use it when your best friend can’t make your big party. Use it when you have a dilemma and can’t decide between two alternatives.

I hope this helps you in relieving stress and choosing between alternatives as much as it has helped me!

Go Huskies!

-Mike

Business Careers House

One of the most difficult things about going to college or trying something new is figuring out how to fit in.  Hundreds of students each year flock to NIU and have to begin their academic careers anew.  As a business major, what are the best ways to fit in and flourish in your new environment?  I’ve heard this question many times and one of the best answers I can give is the Business Careers House.  I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Maria Ziebinska, a Community Advisor from the Business Careers House, to learn a little bit more about what they have to offer.

The Business Careers House is a residence hall that serves as a living learning community.  In this community, business majors can go and get help in anything business oriented.  Whatever students have questions about they can either come to me (a Community Advisor) or they can talk to the House Leader Chris.  Students constantly have questions about which classes to take and homework help. Since the residents are business students, I put up a bulletin board about class registration.  We include information like what number to call to set up an advising appointment, a sheet containing the Gen. Ed. requirements (specifically the ten core classes to get into the upper level courses), and tips with staying on a four year track.

As Community Advisor for the 10th floor, my job is to help my residents connect at NIU and be successful. I let them know what is going on in the residence halls and around campus. If they have specific interests that they wish to pursue, I help them get in contact with someone that knows where to go to pursue those interests.  Basically, whenever students have anything they need to talk about they can come to me.

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Our Community Advisors are Here to Help!

The BCH is located in Grant C and spans five floors from the 8th to the 12th.  The floors are designated to business majors.  We all have common interests and we all hang out and it’s nice to be on the same level with everyone. Since everyone is in the business program many of the residents have similar classes.  Because of this, we set up designated study hours where we meet in the study lounge on our floor and do homework.  If a student does have questions about an assignment, people are there to help!  It definitely feels like a family! 

It’s open to all classes, not just underclassman.  I’m Upper-class and I have two residents that are taking UBUS 310 right now with me.  Transfer students also enjoy the House and have found a great support system here as well.  The support is all the same. We cater to residents needs, so if someone speaks up with specific questions as a transfer, freshman, returning students, even upperclassman, it is our job to help.Business Careers House 2 Business Careers HouseWe work hard to point students in the right direction.  A few events we have already done with the BCH are Dinner with the Dean, Time Management Tips from the BCH Leaders, and Bowling in the Huskie Den.  Dinner with the Dean gave residents a chance to meet the Dean, and she gave tips on how to be successful in the College of Business. Time Management Tips were to give students tips on how to manage their time as they transition from high school to college. Bowling was a chance for all the floors in the BCH to come together and bond.

One of my residents, he was one of the students that didn’t really know what path to go down, so the House Leader and I helped him write up a resume and we took him to the internship fair.  We showed him how to network and how to find out more information about the different career paths he enjoyed.  Like I said before, we’re all there to help each other out!

To learn more about the Business Careers House and all it has to offer, visit their website at http://www.cob.niu.edu/businesscareershouse/index.asp  2.0out

Women in Business Event

This next guest post is written by Elyse Jares, an Accounting Student at the NIU College of Business.elyse Women in Business Event

There are 21% of women in senior management around the world. When I saw this statistic it did not surprise me, especially in the business world. Men still dominate in this field. There are usually only a handful of women in leadership roles. That is why I was thankful to have the opportunity to attend the annual Crocker Program for Emerging Business Leaders at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Cindy Crocker, 1980 Marketing Alumna, served as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Equity Group Investments, one of the nation’s leading real estate companies.

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Women in Business panelists (left to right): NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler, Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro, Program Founder & Host Cindy Crocker

She uses her knowledge and success in the business world to inspire NIU College of Business students. The Crocker Program for Emerging Business Leaders gave 50 NIU business students the opportunity to network with NIU College of Business alumni business leaders and the extremely successful Debra Cafaro. The women shared their insights on networking, leadership, their careers, and balancing between work and their personal lives.

When I first got to the event I felt a little out of place and intimidated. I had never been to a networking event or a hotel that nice before. I found myself diving into the appetizers and felt awkward when I had to introduce myself with no free hands. I didn’t know if I should start introducing myself right away or let everyone eat for a while. Once everyone sat down and each business leader introduced herself, everything seemed more relaxed. The keynote speaker was Debra Cafaro who is the CEO of Ventas, Inc., an S&P company with an enterprise value of $27 billion. Debra Cafaro was selected as one of the Top 50 Women in World Business by the Financial Times. She is happily married with two kids. A major concern many women have and society expects is balancing between work and family. Being able to see several successful business leaders who have juggled a family was very inspiring. They made me realize that you won’t always have a balance between a career and family but you can have both as long as you put enough time and passion into each. It was also informative to hear some networking tips like writing down names right after you meet someone and keeping up to date with the sports highlights.

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Refining our networking skills

It is true when people say it is all about who you know. This event was helpful in the way that it showed us what a real networking event is like. Being able to make a lasting impression on someone involves confidence, assertiveness, and putting yourself out there. This event gave all of us the opportunity to practice these things in a safe and comforting environment. Many of these women were in our shoes and graduated with a degree from NIU. Seeing the possibilities of where our lives could be in 10, 20, or 30 years from now was truly motivational. I am so fortunate to have these types of opportunities through the College of Business and especially events tailored to women in business professions.

Behind the Music: UBUS 310

With Halloween coming up soon I wanted to talk about a scary story that people often hear before ever setting foot in Barsema Hall.  The story I’m referring to is the story folks tell about UBUS 310.

Long nights, endless cram sessions, and the Starbuck’s employee getting to know you on a first name basis are the typical tales passed down by 310 alumni.  We weave the course to be some sort of monster when in hindsight, I don’t really believe the course should have been that difficult at all.  In many cases it is us, the students, who simply aren’t adequately prepared for such an intense course.  I am not trying to pass the blame down and say that someone else is responsible for our shortcomings.  In the end, it is YOU who ultimately decides your grade.  The point I’m trying to make is that students coming in from community colleges or rising up through the general education courses at NIU can give students a false sense of security in their study habits, leading inevitably to struggles in such a detail oriented class like UBUS 310.

Some students are naturally gifted and have not had to study a day in their lives to get the grade.  I am telling you right now that if you are one of those students, you MUST study for UBUS 310.  I was one of these students and made it through high school and community college with no problem.  However, 310 provided me a swift kick to the rear in terms of my study habits.  For the first few weeks I struggled and didn’t know why! I had always earned A’s with minimal effort in community college…why wasn’t it the same here?  I beat myself up over the matter, thinking I didn’t get the material or wasn’t “cut out” for business until I met with another student and began studying the course material on almost a daily basis.

I see UBUS 310 not as a “weedout” class, but instead, as a great equalizer.  I feel that intelligence, GPA, and IQ have nothing to do with success in the class. Don’t write yourself off if you don’t have “numbers” telling you that you’re smart.  Instead, work smart!  Study daily to retain the most information.  Take good notes to look back on and find a group of friends to discuss the material with.  Furthermore, speak with your instructors.  They are there to help!  I never took full advantage of my professors but now I honestly don’t go a day without speaking with them outside of class.  Make the introductions early and watch your grades and network grow!

Success is not out of reach for young UBUS 310 students.  Keep at it, work hard, work smart, and stay positive.  Learn to adapt and respond to this challenging situation and you will be far better off in your courses and your careers.  A quote from American writer and futurist, Alvin Toffler, holds true.  It reads, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  2.0 out

Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” -Cyril Connoll

I came across this quote while researching for a project.  It sparked a dichotomy of feelings within me that I feel compelled to share with all of you.

Initially, I fell in love with the quote.  It spoke to me.  It says that in writing or completing tasks, it is better to do it for your own satisfaction than to do those same tasks for the satisfaction of others, and giving up your own identity in the process.  Now bear with me…as ethereal a concept as this is, I hope that you can all see the deeper meaning of the quote and understand the point it is trying to get across.  There was an old story that may convey the message a bit more clearly.

The story went a little something like this:  One day in an elementary school, a teacher gave her class an assignment to draw a tree.  The brown and green crayons ran out quickly and children had to wait their turn to use those colors.  While everyone else was still waiting on their green and brown colors, a little girl stood up and announced that she was finished.  When the teacher walked over, she realized that the tree the little girl had drawn was purple and shades of red.  The teacher corrected the little girl and said “I’m sorry sweetie, but I’ve never seen a purple and red tree before.”  The small child responded only by saying, “That’s too bad.”Purple Tree kid1 200x300 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

Now as much as I, and perhaps some of you, would love to do exactly as you please in your writing, assignments, and thinking, it is just not a possibility.  A wise woman recited a quote to me written by John Donne; “No man is an island.”  What we do doesn’t only affect ourselves anymore.  Our actions have consequences.  In today’s world, we are expected to assist in work that others need done to complete tasks of their own.  Our employer or our professor will ask for us to “draw a tree” for them multiple times a day and for many different circumstances.  I ask that you all take a moment before beginning your task, not to “fight the power” or “break the chains”, but instead, to reflect on how you would create this tree of yours before quickly snatching for the green and brown crayons. PurpleTree 300x205 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

I believe that exploration outside of typical constraints can lead to learning, growth, and discovery.  By infusing your creative self into projects you can become more passionate about the task at hand.  This passion leads to a better product and eventually a more rewarding journey.  We need to remain conscious of who we are as people, while at the same time, satisfying the needs of our employers and professors.  Just remember that you must remain mature enough to assess a situation and understand when it is appropriate to think outside of the box.  As challenging as this may be sometimes, I would hope that the creative spark within us all doesn’t dim anytime soon.  Think outside the box, but with certain restrictions, and you will be amazed at the things you can achieve! 2.0out

spreadsheets 300x236 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

Perhaps being overly creative when compiling data in a spreadsheet can make things a little….awkward.

 

The First Weeks

I am still coming down  from the summer of my dreams.  After having the opportunity to travel to Southern California as well as Europe through the NIU Study Abroad Office, the world seemed like a magnificent place; free of stress and worry.  This past few weeks of school quickly reminded me that life is just not that simple.  A total of five courses, two internships, and three organizations leaves me little time for rest and relaxation without some task on my mind.  If I’m not reading a book, I’m doing an assignment, and even when the homework is done the emails for organizations flow like a raging river.

I would be lying to you all if I told you that I wasn’t a little bit stressed.  Getting shoved into the deep end of a pool almost always causes a brief moment of panic, regardless of how good you are at swimming.  After a few moments of being in the water, you can orient yourself and adjust to the new environment.  Before you know it, you’re splashing around in the pool and enjoying yourself; smiling like a possum eating graham crackers.

What I mean in the above analogy is just give it time!  If you are stressed like I am, do not worry.  Although we just got pushed into the deep end of a freezing pool we will soon find our way and fall into routines that make us successful.  Keep with it and soon you’ll find time to manage the responsibilities of your courses, work, organizations, and relationships.  I also have a few quick tips that have helped me maintain my sanity, perhaps they can help you too!

1) Write lists

Last year was the first year that I really felt overwhelmed in my work.  It got to a point where I had so much on my plate that there was no way I could possibly remember all the tasks I had to complete by the end of the week.  By writing out a list of everything that needs to be done, you can visualize what is at hand and begin to nibble away at it and prioritize your items with corresponding numbers or colors. After all, how do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

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See!? It's easy!

2) ”Live in day tight compartments” –Dale Carnegie

By doing all that you can TODAY you will make yourself an easier tomorrow.  Instead of waiting to finish that assignment that is due next Tuesday, knock it off the list today so you can move through even more of your list tomorrow and make life easier for your future self. Different Mes1 e1348154153600 The First Weeks

3) Surround yourself with motivated individuals

If you surround yourself with people who take classes seriously, you will see a tremendous leap in your own productivity.  Fly with the eagles and don’t let the turkeys get you down.

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Don't be fooled.

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Hi, I’m the New Guy

the office 225x300 Hi, Im the New Guy

Welcome to my office

It’s finally here!  A new semester bringing with it new faces and new beginnings.  The class of 2012 has vacated the campus and moved on to the real world.  Nick Lo Vetere, past author of this blog, has transitioned from an academic lifestyle to a professional one.  In his place, I will be managing the student blog for the 2012-2013 year.  He said before leaving that his successor would be “someone new, with new thoughts, new feelings and new experiences.  It will be a fresh change of pace.”  I can only hope to continue the excellence that Nick Lo Vetere demonstrated on this site.  I hope that my stories and thoughts resonate with you, my audience, in some way shape or form and give you more insight into what it means to be a student at Northern Illinois University.

First, let me begin by introducing myself.  My name is Nick Kochetta and I am a Senior Marketing major here at the NIU College of Business.  My one mission since entering NIU was to leave it a better place than when I started.  I’ve involved myself in organizations such as the Collegiate Sales Advisory Board, the Interactive Marketing Board, and the American Marketing Association to help realize this goal and I hope that through this blog I can inspire other young students to take ownership of their NIU experience as well.  I want to see students get excited about attending NIU and I want people to see what the College has to offer.  Furthermore, I want to maintain transparency in my posts so that you will not only see all the great opportunities and experiences, but you will also see the struggles that come with it.

I am a real student with real stories that I can’t wait to share!  I look forward to a great year and hope that you’ll join me on this journey called my senior year.

Please feel free to drop a comment and chat.  I’m more than open to continuing the conversation and I welcome all of your comments and criticisms.  There’s much more to come so keep your eyes peeled! 2.0 out