Author Archives: Mike Queroz, Communication

Learning time management

Throughout my college career, I have worn a lot of hats. Not hats as in clothing wear, but rather in the various roles I have held — student, intern, employee, student government leader and others I have held at various times. The first two years, I really struggled with time management. I’ve had all of these different roles, but could not find a proper balance in which I can enjoy myself as well. However, once junior year came around, I was finally able to learn how to juggle many things.

Why am I saying this? Simply because I notice how many students feel so stressed out about the various things they have on their plate. Sometimes, they are like this all 4 years! So I’ve recently asked myself – hmm, how did I learn time management? Well, today I will be revealing my secret formula.

  • Dedicated time – Junior year, I started dedicating specific times for specific things. For example, if I had student government work to do, I would make sure that during my office hours, I did all of the work I needed…and I stuck to it. If I had student government work, then I made sure I did it during that time and at no other. Similarly, if I had homework to do, I made sure I did it during pre-set times throughout the week. I spread my homework out throughout the week so that I can accomplish more in little time. If I set 2 hours for doing my communication readings, then I made sure I did it during those 2 hours and in no other time slots. Even though I knew I had more stuff to do, I learned not to worry about them until the time I had allotted for it. This not only decreased my stress time, but also increased my productivity because I was able to focus on one thing at a time. To sum it up, I became more successful by dedicating various times for my various tasks. And I stuck to them.
  • Turn-off my mind and my device – Similarly, I learned in the past year how to turn off my mind. Yes, I have lots of stuff to do at all times – there’s never a moment where I don’t have something to do. However, this is life and I accepted it. So, if I had set time for relaxation, then I told myself to do just that. So instead of watching a movie and worrying about the many chapters I have to read for my management book, I just enjoyed my movie and kept the worries saved for when I had to read the book. Also, this goes along with turning off my cellphone or other devices. I am typically addicted to it! But I learned how to put my phone away during times I couldn’t afford to be distracted. For example, during homework time or when I was at my internship, I put my phone in my bag and kept it there for hours at a time and practiced patience until the time I said I could look at it. Overall, turning off your mind or devices requires a little practice and patience – once you master that, your stress levels will drop significantly.
  • To Do lists – I would be lost without my Reminders app on my iPhone. I keep track of everything I have to do at school, my internship, USG or anything else in life. I set timed reminders as well to let me know when I have to do them. Keeping a to-do list, whether on a phone or a notebook, has dramatically decreased my anxiety and increase my productivity.
  • Sleep does good things – When I first started college, like other college students, I thought sleep was for the weak. I would be perfectly content with doing homework at midnight, going to sleep at 3 a.m., then waking up at 8 a.m. Looking back, getting 5 hours of sleep and doing homework at the absolute last minute made me feel utterly miserable. Now that I have dedicated times for homework, I could go to bed at midnight instead of starting homework at that time. I now value sleep so much that it’s really hard to function on anything less than 7 hours. Moral of the story is to sleep and good things will ensue! Like Benjamin Franklin once said – “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man [or woman, might I add] healthy, wealthy and wise.”

If you find yourself strugging with time management and stress, I really hope you are able to improve on it with my suggestions! Let me know if anything helps you, or comment below with any of the things that have helped you!

Course evaluations

Always wondered what happens to those teacher evaluation forms you fill out at the end of each course?
Well, as an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) member, I’ve been working on getting that information displayed for all students on our website. USG funds the program that allows the colleges to get student feedback on courses and their professors. In the past year, other members of USG and I have been working with a professor to get that data from the colleges. With that information, we have had the obtainable data displayed on our website. You can view the currently available course ratings here.
This is awesome because this allows students at UIC to obtain REAL course ratings, as opposed to other websites that can often give unreliable data. So remember these evaluations when you’re making your schedules next month! Please spread the word to all of your friends!
We’re currently working on getting more recent course evaluations. In the meantime, if you think of any improvements that could make the page better, please comment and let me know!
Until next time…
Mike

Socializing on campus

Since the UIC Confessions Facebook page has been brought back over the summer, I found myself not as interested in it. Why? Because it seems like a lot of the page is flooded with students complaining that they don’t have any friends on campus. I do realize that sometimes students tend to feel “disconnected” from campus and their peers due to UIC being a commuter-based school. But I ask myself: why is socializing a big problem on campus? What can we do to rid of this connotation?

Whenever I walk to class, I notice that many students (myself included) have their headphones in. I personally like jamming out before class, simply because it helps me feel motivated and sane. But walking with your headphones on also disconnects you from everyone else around you. What if someone from the class that your heading to always takes the same route as you and wants to walk and talk about how much you hate (or love) your class? Or what if someone just thinks you look awesome and wants to chat? All of these opportunities disappear because many of us have our headphones in.

I personally have no complaint about feeling disconnected from campus. Since my freshman year, I feel like UIC is a part of me. This is probably because I am heavily involved in extracurriculars. But what about other people who feel disconnected? Isn’t the simple answer to just GET INVOLVED? I’ve preached this so many times, but what is the big apprehension behind joining a student organization? If you feel like you are one of those people who feel disconnected and want to do something about it, then you can find a bunch of organizations to join here.

One of the things I found to be most effective in meeting people outside of my extracurricular activities is sitting next to someone new in class. This was especially useful during my first couple years at UIC. Whenever I had a new class, I made sure that I sat somewhere new every class session so that I can interact with new, exciting people. I can honestly say this was really effective because I’ve met a lot of awesome people and became class buddies with them. I still talk to many of them today! So if you’re scared to get up and talk to someone in the Inner Circle, start by sitting next to someone new in class.

There are many ways to make friends, or even soul mates, on campus. Just swallow your pride or embarrassment and speak up – bite the bullet! Take the first step by doing something about it, rather than sitting on a computer talking about it.

Until next time…

Mike

Reevaluating my schedule and enjoying life

Throughout my blogs this semester, I’ve mentioned that my schedule is very tight. With a part-time job, internship, USG, the UIC Communication Honor Society, and school, things have been hectic. I’ve worked with a full load throughout my college career, and it really hasn’t been a problem until now. With upper-level classes and working on my senior paper, I just needed more time. Not only more time to read, but also more time to live life.
In order to lighten up my schedule, I decided to quit my part-time job. It wasn’t an easy decision – I LOVED working with the children I worked at the school I worked at. And, I appreciated the extra bucks in my pocket. However, what’s the point in making extra money when I don’t have time to enjoy using it? So now that I have a good 12 hours off of my weekly schedule, I will have more time to focus more on my studies and relax a bit.
It also wasn’t an easy decision because I have a high work ethic. In fact, I think that a lot of American society has a strong emphasis on “working hard.” Naturally, I have carried the same work ethic throughout my college career. I felt a bit guilty quitting my job because I didn’t want to be a “quitter.” I didn’t want to feel like one of those people who just give up something because they couldn’t handle the pressure. However, after much thought, I realized – I only have one life to live — I might as well live it happily and healthy. So what if I gave up on my job? If it means more time to do things that I love or if it means putting more effort into my studies, I think quitting my job is worth it. I never want to be one of those people who work so hard and so much that they forget to enjoy life.
Although I am going to be a bit sad going into my last week of work, I am happy that I will be able to have more time to myself. Because in the end, that’s all you really have. Yourself. So you might as well enjoy your time :)
Until next time…
Mike

How to get an internship

So this week, while sitting in my monthly internship seminar, it dawned on me: I talk a lot about my internship experiences on my blog, but shouldn’t I offer some of my tips to my readers? Well, today I will be doing exactly that!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have held three internships. The truth is, finding an internship can be a long and arduous process. It takes tons of research and follow-ups to get an internship. However, if you follow my tips below, I sincerely believe you should have no trouble landing an internship for next semester!

  • First internship? Search local.

My first internship was actually here at the UIC Office of Sustainability. Previous to holding this internship, I had no other work experience related to my major. I figured an internship on campus would actually be ideal for my first internship, because it is a) on campus and b) a great way to begin my career training doing something for my school. This is why I highly recommend you apply for something more in-reach when looking for your first internship. Not only is it convenient, but it also provides you a great connection to UIC.

  • Research online

When looking for an internship, I always spend a lot of time using Google or other internship websites sifting through the various opportunities out there. There are a TON of internship opportunities out there. Some of my favorite websites are internships.com, entertainmentcareers.com, and UIC’s Career Services website. Also, your college should have an internship advisor, so it would be wise to go in and talk to them about opportunities. 

  • Can’t find one? Make a call!

If you can’t find an internship, try calling a company or business of your interest and ask their manager if they are hiring any interns. Although I have never done this personally, I have heard plenty of students who have had luck obtaining an internship simply because they made an effort by calling the business. Sometimes business aren’t hiring interns but are willing to bring one on if you make a good case of why they should!

  • Apply promptly

Once you come across an interesting internship, apply right away! Chances are other people are applying for the internship at the same time you are. If you delay in sending your application and resume, these people will have a better chance of getting the internship, simply because they applied first.

  • Revise your cover letter and resume

This should be pretty known already, but make sure you have your cover letter and resume revised before submitting them. It is imperative. No employer wants to see tons of misspellings and grammar mistakes.

  • The importance of the follow-up

So you can apply for as many internship as you want, but the hardest part is getting a response from the company. This is why it is EXTREMELY important to follow up a week or two after you submit your application. How? Just send a nice email to the hiring manager asking about the status of your application. If they do not reply to your follow up within a week, send one again! Every internship I have received is because I followed up on my application. Take a gulp of courage and follow up on your application!

  • Interview, Interview, Interview

This should be straight forward as well, but make sure you prepare for any interviews you get. UIC’s Office of Career Services provides great mock interviews, so if you aren’t comfortable with your interviewing skills, this is a great way to get practice. Also, make sure you dress nice — dress to impress!
With these simple tips, I think you have a good chance of landing an internship. Internships are  good opportunities to apply everything you’re learning in the classroom into a real-life setting. With an internship, your odds of getting a job after graduation are much more likely!
So what are you waiting for? Get on it!
Until next time…
Mike : )

Joining USG and getting involved

For the past three years, I have been heavily involved in the UIC Undergraduate Student Government (USG). I usually mention USG in my blogs, but I’ve never truly explained the connection I have with the organization.
In high school, I was the secretary for my class’s student board. When I came to UIC freshman year, I knew that I wanted to get involved and active in class government. During the Fun Fair (now known as the Involvement Fair) I went on a hunt for the student government booth. After swimming through the sea of organizations, I finally came across the USG booth. After getting information, I decided to visit the organization’s first meeting the following day.
During the first meeting, I was SUPER lost. If you’ve ever had an encounter with Robert’s Rules, then you know what I mean. Nevertheless, as time went on I finally got the hold of how USG runs and flows. In fact, the month after I became a member, I went to Washington D.C. with the members to attend the American Student Government Association conference. After the conference, I was SO inspired to become an effective student leader at UIC.
Following the conference, I began to step up more. Soon, I became a committee chair in USG. As a chair, I organized a little charity event called “The Undie Run.” The event had students run in their underwear across campus, donating the clothing they wore to charity, in addition to their other clothing donations. It was a successful event that was covered in UIC News and more. Organizing the event truly made me feel a sense of importance.
I ran for vice president for USG my freshman year. Due to lack of competition, I won the race. After a successful year as vice president, I decided to run for reelection my sophomore year. Again, due to lack of competition, I won the race. During my junior year, I was truly able to improve on my role as vice president. And I even was able to revisit D.C. to attend former President Bill Clinton’s “Clinton Global Initiative University” conference.

USG members and me at CGIU

Back in January, I decided to not run for vice president again, due to wanting more free time my senior year. Also, because I wanted to make sure the organization would transition well after I left. This past month, I instead ran for a committee chair position and received it! I know am continuing to work with USG to improve student life and promotional efforts. It’s a position I truly enjoy.
The reason why I explained my story is because I wanted to let you all know about the importance of getting involved on campus. My experience in USG truly shaped me as an individual and a leader. It has taught me so many life and career lessons that I will carry on for the rest of my life.
If you’re not involved on campus,

I highly recommend you do so! Join any club or organization that you find interest in. Whether it be a cultural organization, a fraternity/sorority, or even USG (we are accepting applications now ;) ) get involved. Student leaders truly are able to help shape UIC. Do your part by stepping up : )

USG assembly from last year

Until next time…
Mike

Catching flow

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

I know I talked about how tight my schedule was the past two weeks. Comes with senior status, right? As I get adjusted to my schedule, I’ve come to a realization: the reason I take a lot on is not only because I enjoy my activities, but also because I want to make sure I am career-ready by time I graduate in May. I’ve had this mindset all four years of college and although time is tight and things get crazy, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am determined to succeed in life — if it requires a little extra work and lost time, then I am willing to sacrifice that for a bit. In order to achieve success, you need to give all you have.

With that said, I couldn’t be happier to report that I am finally feeling more adjusted to my schedule :) So adjusted that this week felt like it lasted only two days! I’m getting a hang of how to approach homework time, work time, class time and every other aspect of life. Especially my internship.

This week I really caught on to the hang of things at my new internship. I’ve learned not only in textbooks, but from personal experience as well, that every company’s culture differs in many ways. In one company you’ll have to clock-in and out and your bosses keep track of your every minute — but in another, lunch is when you want it and your boss wants to give you free will. I’ve especially learned that once you learn and adapt to a new workplace’s culture, you succeed much more! I’ve done just that. Because I was able to understand and adapt to my new internship’s culture, I got a bunch more work done. I now better understand what I do, how I do it, when to do it and why I do it. I’m really loving my new internship thus far and am only excited to continue on with the company for the next couple of months.

Also, I’m excited to announce I was elected as the communications & recruitment chair for the Undergraduate Student Government (USG)! I am so happy to take on this role and make sure that you — and all UIC students — are able to come out of this school year knowing about USG and what we do. Keep an eye out for some of my new ideas and doings right here on my blog ;)

Do I wish I had a big empty space in my weekly schedule that I can just relax in? Yah…but then I think…hey…college is almost over!

Until next time…

Mike : )

New beginnings

Last week I said school has been pretty light so far…I guess I spoke too soon.
Although I love my classes, this week I started USG and my internship — add that on top of my classes, other organizations, work and maintaing my social life — well, things get tricky. However, I think that the long and arduous week is due to lack of sleep. I’ve got an average of six hours each night, which is no good. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my college career is that life is A LOT easier with more than seven hours of good rest. So it’s time to kick my bad sleeping habits back to the curb.

On a happier note, as I mentioned, I started my new internship this week! I have held two previous internships before — one doing social media and another doing radio promotions — but this one is more public relations/media intensive.
I’m interning at Christopher Foltz Collaborative, L3C, which is a social enterprise firm. Social enterprise means that it applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in human and environment well being, rather than maximizing profits for shareholders (according to Wikipedia ;) ). We primarily do public relations and marketing for local companies as well as implementing give-back models for them. I am working on some new and exciting projects for the company so I’m super pumped to be on board there.
My first week went very well. The atmosphere is very Google-like. In case you didn’t know, Google is known for a very relaxed atmosphere, which allows tons of innovation. There’s even a dog in the office! The atmosphere is a lot different than other internships I have held, but in an exciting way. I cannot wait to see all of the knowledge I gain and the experiences I have during my time there this semester.
Although time and stress get tough, I am very blessed to be able to have all of these experiences in my life. I mean, that’s what college is for, right? To work your butt off so you can succeed after graduation! So with that in mind, I know with patience and SLEEP, I can make my last year at college THE BEST.
Until next time…
Mike : )

Smooth sailing

My, oh my, first week of classes has gone by fast!

I started off the week on a great note – I got a new internship! I interviewed with a public relations firm last week and I was beyond excited to find out that I received the position. I am interning at Christopher Foltz Collaborative, L3C, which is not too far from UIC. Even just after my interview, I know that I am going to really like this position. I am hoping to gain a lot from this experience and become more prepared for career work after graduation.

As far as classes go, I really can’t complain! I am only taking 12 credit hours, with three of those being internship credit. Although my classes are heavier in material, I am confident that I can do well in each of them with proper time and dedication! I am fortunate to have such a light schedule overall, since I have my internship, work, USG and the communication honor society to focus on.

One thing I may have a hard time with, though, is scheduling in free time. I did a pretty good job this week, however. I was able to grab lunch with a couple of friends throughout the week and make time to exercise. I’m hoping I can continue to make time for myself, as all work, no play = sad Mike.

Overall, I couldn’t have had asked for a better first week of classes. With more homework coming up next week, along with the addition of USG and other commitments, I am hoping I can still maintain a sense of balance and do well this semester.

Until next time…

Mike :)

…And we’re back!

After a restful summer, I am back on the blog grind for the 2013-14 school year! Its crazy to think that the first week of school is already here, and even CRAZIER that I am now entering my last year of college! But more on school later … let me fill you in about my summer.

The summer was pretty eventful for me. It all started with a move of houses with my family. We moved to a different city back in June. Sounds pretty simple, right? Wrong! Who knew that moving would be so difficult?! It was such a difficult process — packing boxes, lifting furniture, transporting them in trucks, and unpacking were all strenuous. For a matter of fact, I still have some boxes to go through and unpack in my house. Any free time I had at my new house was spent cleaning up or unpacking. It wasn’t all bad this summer, though.

Despite working at my local summer camp again, I also began working out. I signed up with a personal trainer and began learning rigorous workouts. For the past month and a half, I’ve spent most of my free time doing cardio or lifting weights … pushing myself to the limit at times. However, it’s been worth it so far. Working out regularly is something I’ve been wanting to do for the past seven years. After years of working out off and on, I think I’ve finally got into a good habit of exercise and strength-building. It’s something that I want to make a routine for the rest of my life.

When not unpacking, working, or working out, I managed to squeeze in some long, crazy nights with my friends. Towards the middle of the summer, I realized that this could potentially be my last summer of freedom, since I graduate in May. Although I didn’t get much rest in this summer break, I do not regret making the most out of every minute I had.

This week, I begin another busy semester. Despite only having 12 credit hours this semester, I also have my senior seminar in communication — my big senior cap for my degree! I am hoping with a light load, I am able to put all of the focus and energy I have on every single one of my classes.

In addition to classes, I also am working part time this school year and will still be involved in the Undergraduate Student Government. I also have a new title — president of the UIC Communication Honor Society, Lambda Pi Eta! As president this year, I am hoping to bring more opportunities and knowledge to the students enrolled in the communication program. I am also looking to bring on an internship this semester as well.

It’s been a busy summer and it will certainly be a busy school year. However, I am just going to put my boxing gloves on, apply my new-found strength, and knock out my last year of college HARD!

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