Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Playing to your strengths is the best way to achieve your goals

There is nothing much to report this week. I didn't have to do a speech this week but we got assignment sheets for 6-8 minute persuasive presentations due in 2 weeks. I'm thinking of doing mine on why it is important for companies to hire people with disabilities because finding a job is main focus in my life right now. I'm almost certain that the reason I'm still unemployed has nothing to do with having Spina Bifida, so despite being told differently ,I bring it up whenever I think having a disability can give me a leg up in the position. In my opinion living with a disability helped me approach and overcome unique challenges better than the average person and that is a characteristic that is essential in any employment role. Speaking of employment, I got some good news today! I was contacted to have a phone interview tomorrow for an internship at a local non-profit. I'm typically not a fan of phone interviews because I like to be able to read facial expressions, but I'm really glad to have the opportunity because it could lead to something great. Unless I find out something related to my job search within the next week there won't be a blog entry because it's Spring Break. Talk to everyone soon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You gotta take the good with the bad

This week in Speech writing I gave a presuasive presentation about why people should neuter their pets. I was graded on the spot, and got 180 out of a possible 200 points, which is equivalent to 90%. According to my professor the content in my presentations has been very good but I need to work on eye contact, movement when I speak and reducing my use of non-words ( ex. umm). I tried my hardest to be concious of these issues during this speech but since I was little I've had difficulty improving many issues in a task at one time. I'm not sure if this has anything to do with having Spina Bifida but I'm not going to fall into a crutch and use it as an excuse.
Now for the bad news, I didn't get the paid internship I recently applied for because another candidate had more experience than I did. The woman let me know via email, and while inside I was not taking the rejection well at all, I immediately replied back and asked what she recommended I do to gain more experience so I can earn a similar position somewhere in the near future. She kindly wrote back and told me to consider doing some unpaid internships to build my resume. While I know she's completely right I really want a paid position because I need to build an income if I want to start living a completely independent life within the next few years. I'm very frustrated at this point with my job search and I'm constantly kicking myself in the ass for not starting my search prior to graduation this past May. For now I'm just going to chalk the rejection up to experience, find an unpaid internship or if I'm lucky a paid position. Through this last interview I also found out about a young professionals group run by the organization and i'm looking forward to getting involved in that to expand my networking contacts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Real world experience is the most valuable

I'm in my fourth week of graduate school and so far I'm loving it! This week in Speech Writing we had to give short presentations selling a product for a different reason than its primary use. I chose toothpaste as an acne treatment ( it really does work :)), and to my surprise two other students chose the same topic.I'm not sure how my speech compared to theirs but I think I did well. In Government Relations and Lobbying we had our usual lecture and met with our groups for our final project. So far I am liking how my group is working together and I think the project will be successful.
Both of my professors are adjunct this semester, meaning that teaching is not their primary job, and they often work in the field in which they are instructing. I really enjoy having adjunct instructors as opposed to full time professors because even though they may not know all of the latest educational techniques they know what is going on in the workforce at the current time. This makes it easier for them to give career advice and make connections for jobs and internships.
This is a busy week for me in terms of my workload. On Monday I have a 5 minute persuasive presentation on why people should neuter their pets and a 2-3 page paper on a lobbying organization of my choice and of course I have my weekly reading for both classes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Optimism is the key to success

 Hi all! Sorry this post is almost 2 days late.This week in Speech Writing we went over critiques of our first presentation. I had problems in many of the areas I suspected including posture, introduction and my use of non words (i.e. umm). While I wish I could have done better, I am looking at this speech from the prespective that I will definitely improve the aspects of my public speaking skills that need work, and in addition I will continue to strengthen what I'm good at. In Government Relations and lobbying we had a pretty normal class discussing articles we found throughout the week and having a lecture on a topic from the textbook. We also took time to have our first in class meeting with our group for the final project in which we have to lobby the issue of assets being checked in order for famillies to receive food stamps and create a powerpoint explaining our strategies. We had two sides to pick from when it comes to our issue, either side with the Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger or the Governer of Pennsylvania. Our group decided to challenge ourselves and side with the governer and while I definitely do not agree with his politics I think by taking this approach I will learn alot more than if I had stayed inside my comfort zone.
As I mentioned last week I had an interview for a paid internship on Tuesday. I think it went well considering I was pretty nervous. I arrived early and to my surprise the woman who was supposed to interview me was out sick and somebody else from the department ended up meeting with me. I immediately saw this as a disadvantage because the woman who was supposed to interview me is higher in the ranks than the woman I met with and she will likely be making the final decision. She won't have a face to face meeting to judge me on, just writing samples, and I hope that is enough. I was also the first person to interview for the position so I am worried that I will be forgotten by the time they are done interviewing the other candidates. That being said, I am confident that I made the best possible impression and that my writing samples are top notch so I think I have a decent chance of getting the position.