Friday, June 10, 2011

The End of the World As We Know It

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

So, here we are. Today is the last day of exams, and tomorrow is Convocation. Though I did just channel Rebecca Black a little bit there (which seat can I take?), it’s actually a very deep and profound sentence—I’ve gone through the process of reading, writing and studying for finals like a maniac twice already this year, and here I am, finished with the third round. However, this time around, it seems much more...worth it. It’s incredible to believe that I’m done with my first year of college and even more incredible that so many students and faculty are moving on to do great things-—whether that’s starting an internship across the country or actually entering the full-time workforce. As a first-year student, it’s enough just to think that I’ll be going back home in a couple days, but I’m sure that in three years, I’ll be somewhere completely different—-maybe at CAPS again writing my billionth blog post or maybe, well, who knows? I’m excited though.

Speaking of the blog, I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading and giving me feedback on my CAPS blogs. I hope my posts have been informative, thought-provoking and interesting. I’ve had tons of fun writing them, even LOL-ing here in front of the computer at times, especially as I’ve embraced my role as a 19-year-old college student who is, herself, discovering what she wants to do with her life. And of course, CAPS is always here to help (seriously. They don't even tell me to write that anymore).

So for one last time (before I come back in the fall), I’d like to wish you a happy weekend, and a great summer!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Why I Love the U of C

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

I’m glad to be back blogging after a long weekend, which I hope you enjoyed as much as I did (despite the fact that we seem to have skipped spring and gone straight to summer, as usual)! It’s hard to believe that I’m a couple classes, a reading period and 4 finals away from summer, and boy, I can’t wait. From what I’ve gathered, it should be a pretty relaxing summer—filled with the UChicago campus (sans the UChicago stress), rooftop pool lounging and lots of summer reading and shopping. But I have to admit that I will miss UChicago, because there really is a lot to love about this place. So in honor of our wonderful school, in no particular order...

Five things that I’ve learned to love about the University of Chicago:
  1. Sriracha Hot Sauce: Sure, Bartlett has its rough days, but allow me to divulge my little secret for getting through them: Sriracha hot cause. Also known as rooster sauce, this Asian chili hot sauce makes any dish googolplex* times more delicious.

  2. Exercise: I’m going to say this once and very slowly: waking up at 7:30 in the morning to swim at Ratner does the college student’s body good. I’m going to ignore that loud collective gasp you just let out and insist that it really, really does. As a prospie, I would have never thought to relate UChicago to exercise, but now I find that it helps me de-stress, get through the day, sleep better and burn off all that late night Sarpino’s pizza that I douse with Sriracha Hot Sauce.**

  3. Speaking of Exercise...
    The Core! Of course, all prospies are in “love” with the Core. But they’re so young! They don’t know what love is. Love is relating football players to Nietzsche. Love is seeing Freud everywhere—and I mean everywhere. And I hate to say it, but Love is knowing what interests you the most (Political Science and Spanish, in my case). Thanks for a great year, Core.

  4. Chicago: Hot Dogs, Nuevo Leon, Garrett’s Popcorn, Chinatown, deep-dish pizza, the Art Institute, Al Capone and our president. Some may complain about the Hyde Park bubble, but quite honestly, one of the world’s best cities is a 15 minute Metra ride away. I highly recommend it.

  5. CAPS! Of course, right? No—but really, I’d like to give a shout-out to my favorite Career Advising & Planning Services, especially my fantastic boss Laurel. [Ed. note: No, I did not tell her to write that.] I’ve learned so much here, from how to tame our monster of a Xerox machine to the importance of always being positive, as well as many design tips. Apparently, I’ve developed my “design aesthetic,” since I started working here, and I can’t wait to keep doing it!
So, there you have it--my five favorite things about the University of Chicago. Did I miss something? Leave me a comment!

*googolplex: “A googolplex is the number 10googol, i.e. 10(10100), which can also be written as the number 1 followed by a googol zeros (i.e. 10100 zeros)” –Wikipedia. I learned about googolplex in fourth grade and have always wanted to use it in a blog post ever since.

**Buy yours today!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Top Places to Work

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

"Top" (Top 10, Top 5, Top 100, etc.) lists aren’t always the most accurate—how can they be when being better or worse is majorly subjective? But, as you know, everyone looks anyway. The University of Chicago, as most anyone on campus can probably tell you, was ranked #7 last year on one list but dropped to #11 on another, but remains #1 on yet a another. (In my personal opinion the latter is the correct one.) But one “Top” list that I think is worth reading--especially if you're a fourth-year looking for some places to target in your job search) is FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to work for. Some of the perks are a little silly, but I mean, going to a beauty salon at work? Sounds good to me.

Here’s what I have to say about the top 5 companies:

5. NetApp
Location: Sunnydale, California
Perks: Free fruit Tuesdays, Free Bagel Friday and Free espresso daily
Verdict: Not impressed. The temperature peaked today at a toasty 68 degrees here in Chicago—who needs California? Just call us the Sunnydale of the Midwest. Plus, I get free fruit, bagels and coffee at peak event seasons here at CAPS, anyway. Maybe we should be on that list.

4. Google
Location: Mountain View, California
Perks: Free food, free laundry and a climbing wall
Verdict: Impressed. We sure don’t have mountains in Chicago. Plus, it’s GOOGLE—it’s a verb for goodness sake. And it’s been translated into various languages.*

3. Wegman’s Food Market.
Location: Headquarters are in Rochester, New York
Perks: “This year, 11,000 employees took part in a challenge to eat five cups of fruit and vegetables a day and walk up to 10,000 steps a day for eight weeks.”
Verdict: Pretty cool, I guess. Five servings of fruit I could do…but vegetables too? Plus, it might be kind of tough since you’d be working at a food market—after all, donuts are food too.

2. Boston Consulting Group
Location: Boston…duh
Perks: Generous Pay and commitment to social work
Verdict: Sending consultants to Haiti to provide on-the-ground support following the earthquake is awesome. Verdict reached.

1. SAS
Location: Cary, North Carolina
Perks: “on-site healthcare, high quality childcare at $410 per month, summer camp for kids, car cleaning, a beauty salon, and more -- it’s all enough to make a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot gym seem like nothing special by comparison”
Verdict: Wowza.

Want more? Check out the full list here.

*"To google" in Spanish is "googlear". Also, Google in Chinese is 谷歌.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Things of a Logistical Nature

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

I’ll be working on campus during the summer—it’s official! I’m pretty glad I have a job, but now it’s time to tackle some of the logistical problems. You see, I live in “Chicago”, which is not to say that I live in Chicago. You see, with quotation marks, “Chicago” refers the sprawling suburban Chicagoland area, and to write it otherwise irks “real” Chicagoans (those living within city limits) to no end. Believe me, I know from experience. Anyway, I, specifically, live in the northern suburbs, and though I told that one kid from Texas that I was from Chicago, I actually live a good hour away. I know a lot of other students who are working on campus as well, so allow me to divulge some information about transportation and what there is to do on campus (and in the ‘burbs!) during the summer months.


Though you could always commute to the city every day (and suffer through the notorious Chicago traffic), I recommend taking public transportation to save money and our planet. I plan to take the Metra every morning to Union Station. The Metra will also take you to the Ogilvie Transportation Center, depending on which suburb you depart from. To find out how to take the Metra from “Chicago” to Chicago, use their trip planner.

Now that you’re downtown, how do you get to the South Side? There are actually quite a few options. If you’re arriving and departing during peak commuting hours, you can take:
  1. #192 University of Chicago Hospitals Express: This bus takes you from the Goldblatt Pavilion at the University of Chicago Hospitals to Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center. It runs south from Ogilvie from 6:30-9:00 AM southbound from then back toward the city from 3:45 to 7:00 PM To find out more, download the schedule.

  2. #X28 CTA Stony Island Express: This bus takes you from the southside to downtown and back. It runs from 63rd and Stony Island to Union Station from 5:52 am to 6:42 pm, Mondays to Fridays. Download the schedule here.

  3. #6 Jackson Park Express: This will take you from Stony Island down to Michigan Avenue, if you just want to do some shopping, or bike along the lakefront, or… anything, really, even on weekends. It’s great. Download the schedule here.

Things to do on Campus

Now that you've made it back to campus, there are plenty of things to do:
  • Avoid the Chicago summer humidity and work out in the nicely air-conditioned Ratner Athletic Center! No excuses--you’re already on campus!

  • Print out one of my blog posts and find me on campus. I’ll be signing autographs. (Kidding. Mostly.)

  • Chicago’s 64th Annual 57th Street Art Fair: June 4-5, Saturday 11-6 and Sunday 10-5. We’re still in school at this point (unfortunately), but hopefully we’ll be well into summer by that time. Support our local businesses, and check it out!

  • Randolph Street Market Festival—-Okay, this isn't actually on campus, but it's still a great event. Vintage art and fashion, food, drinks and artsy things all around! What’s not to love? Click here for more information. And actually, since we're on the subject, going to any of the city’s open markets and festivals (Maxwell Street Market, Taste of Chicago, Pride Parade…to name a few) is a great idea.

  • Summer Dance--Also not on campus, but SO much fun. Shake your groove thing to a variety of dance styles all summer long. It's right downtown near Millennium Park, and even offers dance lessons! Check it out!
That's it for now! Happy 5 weeks until summer!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Things Are Looking Up

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

Good news! According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employer hiring has increased 19.3% for the class of 2011. As a member of the class of 2014, I take that as a great sign—things are finally looking up!

In fact, this reminds me of a conversation that I had with a member of the CAPS staff yesterday, about how students have become much more practical about their collegiate careers. Going to college to get an “education” has now expanded to all include all senses of the word. So, in addition to, say, a liberal arts education, we also now mean securing “street smarts” and “soft skills” so that we have the abilities we need to succeed in any economy.

This shift is especially apparent at the University of Chicago. Though we're still known for being cerebral, academically rigorous and a little bit (okay, a lot) nerdy, we’ve made a couple of changes so that we can be all of those things and still be ready for the workforce. Interest in CAPS, especially, attests to this—-there has been a 68% increase in the number of first-years making appointments with CAPS to get their resumes reviewed, ask questions about summer internships and start getting another kind of education.

Personally, I think it’s a great movement. As long as we don’t forget the values of a quality liberal arts education, this new awareness of the importance of interpersonal skills and understanding the “real world” as something that's more than an MTV show should really take us to some great places—-and just in time for employers to start hiring again.

If you feel like you'd like to develop your skills, check out some of the resources we offer:

  • The "Chicago Careers In…" Programs (Business, Arts, Higher Education, Law, Health Professions, Journalism, Public and Social Service, and Science and Technology), which are designed to give you a quality pre-professional focus. Learn more on the CAPS website.

  • Interview Stream: Practice your interview skills anywhere, anytime. Click here to learn more.

  • Going Global, a resource for students interested in working abroad. Click to learn more.

And, as always, if you're looking for a specific resource or just want to talk about everything that CAPS offers, feel free to make an appointment!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Uncommon Resume Advice

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant, and Laurel Mylonas-Orwig, Strategic Programming and Outreach Manager

Here at UChicago, we like to think of ourselves as outside-of-the-box thinkers. We fill out the Uncommon Application (supplement). We read the Uncommon Blog. And we spend the Uncommon Fund on things like a laser rave in Harper and puppies on the quads during finals (I'm pretty excited about that one). So, there's no reason that our resumes shouldn't be uncommon as well!

I’ve been doing some research about resume writing—as I continue to apply for summer jobs, I want my (and your!) resume to shine as brightly as possible. However, while we all know that a resume should be organized, easy to read and reflective of your past experience, you may not know about some of following tips (that just might help you get ahead):

  1. According to an AOL Jobs article, the number one resume mistake is only writing about past job tasks and not elaborating on what was learned or achieved from that task. The article suggests asking yourself questions such as:

    • What specific professional challenges did I face when I took this job?

    • Do I have specific performance goals? How well did I do against these goals?

    • What is my greatest achievement in this position? How did I do it?

    • What were results and benefits to me and the organization?

    By answering these questions on your resume, you will give the employer a clearer picture of what you have done and why you would be a valuable employee. The article also has several other helpful suggestions, so I highly suggest you take a look at it.

  2. This Forbes article outlines nine pieces of advice about what to include/leave off your resume. I’ll just list my favorite ones:

    • Don’t use heavy resume paper, elaborate designs and other embellishments.

    • Don’t include an "objective", or a paragraph summarizing your skills.

    • Don’t share information about yourself as a person—such as hobbies and memberships.

    This article also says that you don't need to keep your resume down to one page, but until you've got a couple years of experience under your belt, you probably should.

  3. The last segment of this US News article answered a question that I’ve always had about how long to leave experiences on my resume. They advise that you keep a “rolling four-year tableau—the resume should always reflect the accomplishments in the most recent four years.” Also the first comment, unfortunately, has applied to me; Eelynn Lee says that grammar and spelling errors are “quite common”. Asking others to proofread your resume before submitting it for a job is always a good idea, and remember that spell check is your best friend--but won't catch everything. (Editor's note: It's especially important to remember that spell check will not catch words where the misspelling is a real word, but in the wrong place/context. For example, I once saw a resume for someone who had experience as a "Pubic Account Manager". She did not get a call for an interview.)

  4. Finally, I recently came across this AOL Jobs article about one typo that you should make on your resume. As you may have noticed, we favor "resume" on this blog over "résumé". This is an accepted spelling, but, of course, not strictly correct. However, in the age of online resume submissions, it is generally a good idea to omit the accent marks. The reason for this is that many database programs convert documents to plain text, which strips out text flourishes. That turns "résumé" into "r?sum?", which looks very much like a typo. To be on the safe side, unless you're submitting a PDF or a hard copy, leave out the accents. The French will survive.

I hope you all learned quite a bit about your resume writing—I know I did. If you’d like more, click on the article links or, better yet, make an appointment here at CAPS at (773) 702-7040!

Friday, April 1, 2011

What’s CAP-pening?

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

See what I did there? It’s just been one of those punny days, I suppose, being April Fools Day and all.

Well, first things first: welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a relaxing spring break filled with sleep, if not also sun-drenched and coastal. I myself was in Southern Indiana hammering and carrying plywood with some members of the University of Chicago Habitat for Humanity chapter. It was a great experience, especially seeing the finished house at the end, though I am glad to be back in the city.

Anyway, we are now well into first week—the add/drop frenzy is slowing down, reading has been assigned and it’s now time to get yourselves into CAPS! Here’s what we have going on in spring:

  • CCIB information sessions (only for class of 2014): Come learn about Chicago Careers in Business and the application process. CCIB is a selective “Chicago Careers in…” program for students pursuing any major, as long as they are interested in business. Since CCIB is a three-year program, so this info session is only open to current first-years. Join us April 5, 12 pm in the East Lounge and April 14, 4 pm in the West Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

  • Exploring Business Careers: Careers in Advertising/PR/Marketing: Explore advertising, PR and marketing with a panel discussion with representatives from an ad agency, a public relations firm and in-house marketing. Talk about getting started in these careers and different internship and full-time job opportunities on April 14th at 5 pm in the East Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.
  • Summer Opportunities Information Session: The fact that we have one of these on May 9 means that there are still summer opportunities out there for you! Don’t miss this chance to do something fun, productive and maybe even lucrative this summer. Stop by on May 9 at 4:30 pm in the West Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

  • Exploring Business Careers: Careers in Financial Services: Explore and get an overview of what it’s like working in the vast field of financial services on May 10 at 5:30 pm in the East Lounge at Ida Noyes Hall.

Those are just a few highlights of all the exciting things going on at CAPS this quarter. We are also part of the Hire Big 10+ Consortium, which is hosting a Virtual Career Fair from April 5-7. This online opportunity gives you the chance to network with employers just like you would at a physical career fair, but you can do it from the comfort of your living/dorm room (you can even wear your pajamas, if you want to). To learn more and sign up (required to participate), click here.

And, of course, don't forget that you can see all of the CAPS programs happening this quarter on the CAPS calendar!

Happy Spring Quarter!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Applying is Terrifying

by Jonathon Baron, CAPS Marketing Assistant

We’ve covered a lot of information about applying for jobs and internships on this blog, and we’ve talked about the stress that goes along with the process.

No argument there. I’m a senior entering my last quarter here, and while I’ve found a professional niche that I now want to enter, I've also found that it doesn’t make the application process any less terrifying. I have to support myself next year, but I also want a job that I will actually enjoy. So I’m worried about all of the variables that go along with the search: that I’ve misjudged aspects of my application, that I’ll be rejected after getting my hopes up, or that I’ll miss possible opportunities because I haven’t extended my range far enough.

What can I do to reduce the anxiety? I've gotten advice about broadening my search, that I should network to the utmost and send resumes to as many employers as possible in order to maximize my chances of finding a job—-and one that is a good fit, at that. But I’ve put some thought to this, and I wonder if, at a certain point, it’s actually more useful advice to loosen up, let go, and place your faith in yourself to find what’s right for you through a narrower scope.

It’s tough to be graduating and to not know what you’re doing next year, and we’ve been trained for four years in working hard for the right results. Plus, UChicago does a fantastic job of introducing willing students to a large network of alumni (the Alumni Careers Network), and providing information and advising regarding employment. CAPS even provides on-campus recruiting (OCR) for UChicago students, and has a massive database of interested employers, looking for all kinds of people to hire in the Chicago Career Connection (CCC).

These are all fantastic resources. But because there’s such a wide range of information and assistance available to University of Chicago students, it can start to seem like sorting out the mass of information in front of you is even more stressful than sending in the applications. Even if you’ve narrowed your job search to one industry, and you’re only looking at employers in a single city, you’d be stunned when you notice the still enormous number of possibilities open to you.

So here’s my two cents, and you can take it or leave it: strike a balance. Try to put things into perspective. You can’t do everything. The resources at your fingertips are there to assist you, not to make the application process more complicated. If you start to feel overloaded, take a step back and take a breather. Don’t just go to CAPS to get the names of more employers or alumni to talk to—ask for advice on how to preserve your sanity while you continue your search. That’s part of the process, after all. You shouldn’t limit your search and bank on possibilities that could go south and leave you stranded come June. But you’re only human (even if you are a soon-to-be University of Chicago graduate—congratulations), and it’s more productive to develop a clear strategy for your job search than to overextend yourself and go crazy in the process.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Alternatives to Summer Internships

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

As a first-year, I've already heard a lot about how important internships are, but I’ve also accepted that it’s pretty tough to get a Metcalf internship at this age. As I wait upon responses from other internships and opportunities, I’ve been brainstorming (with a little help from my friends, and from CAPS) alternatives to summer internships. So far, this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. Get a job and do some volunteering on the side
    Start contacting businesses to ask about working for them this summer, and don’t forget to mention that classes for us don’t start until the end of September—-this will set you apart from everyone else who has to go back to school in August. Volunteering on the side is a great way to do something that you like that you might not otherwise be able to do, and it also looks great on a resume. If you've been volunteering for the same organization for awhile, don't be afraid to ask if they have any paying positions that you might be able to fill.

  2. Take the time to travel, either around the country or internationally.
    Why, you ask? Well, why not? Not traveling is something many people regret, so make the best of your youth and get out there. Whether you want to visit all of the great Midwestern amusement parks (Wisconsin Dells, Cedar Point, Six Flags Great America…seriously, they’re great), go camping in Michigan or travel across Europe, summer is a great time to get away from all the reading and work of school and relax.

  3. On a related note, my best friends and I are in the process of planning a road trip.
    I moved away from them during my freshman year of high school, and I’m super excited to be dedicating a week of my summer to spending time with them. We’re not quite sure where we’re going yet, but using this time to catch up is great, especially when none of our schedules match up during the school year.

  4. Contacting alumni in your area through the Alumni Career Network is always a great way to broaden your horizons.
    Check out the Alumni Career Network on to find alumni who are doing something that you're interested in. E-mailing and networking with alumni is a great way to learn about what their UChicago education has done for them, and it may even inspire you to do something similar. These alumni have volunteered to dedicate their time to at least talking to curious students, so be polite, but also satisfy your curiosity and network!

  5. Start your own business!
    I did something like this with my friend last summer--we made flyers, talked to our neighbors and eventually had a little tutoring business going. It was nothing too big, but various family friends asked us to tutor their elementary and middle school students. It’s a great way to stay busy, earn some extra money and keep your brain fresh and active.

If you need help coming up with more ideas, or want to talk to someone about how to get started with a summer job/internship/research project, come visit us!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Interview Brainteasers

by Laurel Mylonas-Orwig, Strategic Programming and Outreach Manager

Most mornings when I arrive at work, there are already a handful of students in business attire loitering in our reception area. Since interview season officially opened at the end of October, I've observed a lot of different waiting room activities. Many students bring a laptop or a book while others read the newspaper; some pace nervously, while others sit, staring straight ahead, until an interviewer appears to collect them.

Let's face it, interviews can be nerve-wracking. While on one hand getting an interview is good news--at least you're being considered--on the other, getting an interview means that you have to prepare yourself for at least a 30-minute barrage of questions about who you are, what you do, and why you want to do it at Organization X. So, in summary, yikes.

The good news is that there are a lot of different ways to prepare yourself for an interview. As you may have heard before, CAPS offers practice interviewers (call 773-702-7040 to schedule an appointment with one) who can grill you as much as you'd like. We also have a new tool called InterviewStream, which you can access via your Chicago Career Connection account. InterviewStream allows you to record yourself answering questions, and then review it yourself or send it to us. Just a tip, though--even though you can use it anytime, anywhere, please, if you're going to send it to us, put a shirt on.

One of my favorite strategies for preparing for an interview is to review the company information and come up with questions that you think they may ask you (or that you want to ask them). This is an especially good strategy if you're interviewing with a company famous for its tough interview, say, Google. A recent article on Business reviewed 15 of the questions that prospective Googlites have been asked in interviews. Take a look at a few of them below (answers are at the bottom; for all of the questions and more detailed answers, see the article). Although questions like these are certainly not going to be the norm in interviews, they're amusing/interesting to read (and if you are interviewing with Google, congrats and best of luck)!

  1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
  2. How much would you charge to wash all of the windows in Seattle?
  3. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
  4. Design an evacuation plan for San Francisco.
  5. Explain the significance of "dead beef".
  6. A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
  7. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year old nephew.
  8. You are shrunk to the size of a nickel, and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?

Here are the answers:

  1. This purpose of this question is to see if you can explain the challenge to solving the problem. When it comes down to it, this is really just a glorified math problem, like the type that your 5th-grade math teacher thought were tons of fun. The short answer is, ballpark an estimate for the size of the bus (we'll assume 8' x 6' x 20'), and then determine the amount of space inside the bus (960 cubic feet = ~1.6 million cubic inches, since there are 1728 cubic inches in a cubit foot). Do the same for a golf ball (V = 2.5 cubic inches, if r = .85), then divide the former by the latter to come up with the number of golf balls (~640,000, my math says, though the author of the article above claims 660,000). Assume some space will be taken up by things already inside the bus, like seats, so round down accordingly, leaving you with ~500,000 golf balls. The important thing about this question is not whether you get the answer exactly right--this isn't a math exam--but that you can explain the process clearly and show that you know how to go about solving the problem.

  2. This problem is deceptively simple. While you might be tempted to try to figure out how many windows are in Seattle, and then come up with a lump sum for the total number. This is a good way of complicating your answer needlessly. Instead, think of something like $15 per window. This answers the question, without causing you to do a lot of unnecessary mental gymnastics.

  3. This is a problem of supply and demand. There can only be as many piano tuners as there are jobs for, so that's the answer. If you want to be more specific, lets assume that pianos need to be tuned once a week, and it takes a piano tuner one hour to tune. If he works a 40 hour week, that's 40 pianos. So, one tuner for every 40 pianos. If you want to go deeper into this type of problem (a Fermi problem), check it on Wikipedia.

  4. There a multitude of ways to approach this problem, so the first thing to do is ask what kind of emergency you are planning for. From there, you can proceed. This is another question that's designed to see how you attack the problem.

  5. This is a tech problem, despite how it sounds. Here's the answer, cribbed from the article: "DEADBEEF is a hexadecimal value that has was used in debugging back in the mainframe/assembly days because it was easy to see when marking and finding specific memory in pages of hex dumps. Most computer science graduates have seen this at least in their assembly language classes in college and that's why they expect software engineers to know it." In all likelihood, you're not going to get asked this type of question unless you're applying for a job that is more tech involved.

  6. He landed on Boardwalk! Yes, it's really just a bad joke.

  7. There are a lot of different answers to this question, mostly because it's designed to test your ability to convey complex ideas in simplified terms. Here's what the article suggests: "A database is a machine that remembers lots of information about lots of things. People use them to help remember that information. Go play outside." (I agree, minus the last sentence.)

  8. This is all about testing how creative and inventive you can be when put on the spot. So, put some thought into it!
So, there you have it. Remember, interview skills are like muscles--the more you work on them, the stronger they'll get. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Summer Stress (And How to Kick Its Butt)

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

It’s that time of the year again in Chicago: the snow that was once a novelty has become a relentlessly depressing visual fixture, midterms have been generously sprinkled into all of our schedules, and spring seems to be eons away. But it’s not! And neither is summer.

That’s why I’m blogging today about summer opportunities, the mere thought of which may be stressing you out right now (don't worry, I still have no idea what I'm going to do either). But that doesn't mean that you should become a ball of misery. Instead...

  1. Come to the Summer Opportunities Info Session Thursday February 10! The Facebook invitation informs that the purpose of this program is to “Learn how to find and apply for internships, jobs, volunteer work, research experiences and College-sponsored programs at this presentation for undergraduate students”...and the 195 people who have RSVP'd as "attending" tells us that there are at least 195 people in the same boat. The good news is, there are still plenty of internships and other opportunities out there, so come to CAPS tomorrow and learn about them! And if you somehow miss this one (which you shouldn’t), come to the “Available Metcalf Opportunities Info Session” on Thursday, March 3rd from 5-6:30 pm and /or “Finding a Summer Opportunity over Spring Break” on Monday, March 7th from 4-5:30 pm.

  2. I have also been advised by my college adviser and CAPS career counselor to look for internships and jobs for the summer in a wide variety of places. My adviser recommended Idealist, a website that's great if you’re interested in non-profit organizations and humanitarian efforts. My career counselor recommended that I actually call local organizations and businesses in my hometown (or in Chicago, if you want to be here for the summer) and just ask if they have any positions/internships available for college students.

  3. Finally, another option is to get a job over the summer so you can make some bank/stay busy while also volunteering on the side. There are always worthy organizations that need your help—and this is a chance for you to explore future career opportunities and feel good about it too! Both the job and the volunteering will contribute strongly to your résumé, and you won’t have to go through long internship applications.

If you have questions about summer opportunities or need help starting/restarting your search, the folks at CAPS are always willing to help, so don't be shy--come see us! Have a happy College Break Day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Don’t Stress!

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

My stress levels were at an all-time high last night. Perhaps it was the amount of homework due for today, or the fact that there is a direct relationship between levels of stress and time passed into the night, but I went to sleep knowing that things had better be better when I woke up (because they weren't very good when I went to sleep!). And they were—because here I am sitting at CAPS writing a blog post, having survived Honors Calc and a double dose of Spanish.

As you probably know, college is stressful, especially when, now that fourth week is here, midterms are looming (or have already begun). Add to that thoughts about what to do this next quarter/this summer/for the rest of your life, and you may well feel overwhelmed. So allow me to share some of my favorite stress buster activities, many of which are unique to the University of Chicago.

Running down 57th Street to the Lakefront—Watch the bluish-gray palette of the waves in winter as you take a breather, and see if you can spot the Lake Michigan iceberg (it exists). Then run back past Powell’s Bookstore and take a look in the free box of books. I picked up On Being Happy and The Shining last time I went.

Cleaning your room—This is mindless domestic work, which is exactly what one needs sometimes. Whenever I clean, I also find lots of stuff that I've lost, so that makes me feel good too.

Going to a basketball game—This is very UChicago in the sense that it’s not. Oh, the irony?

Heading out to Hallowed Grounds (or whatever your favorite campus coffee shop is) with enough money to buy a cup of coffee, and nothing else—Stay and sit for a while. Bring a friend, watch people play pool or just soak in stuff that’s not inherently school-related.

Taking a moment to just breathe—Then organizing and prioritizing. Sometimes the best way to de-stress is just to get all the small pesky things that you need to do out of the way--like e-mailing someone back, paying a credit card bill, or doing laundry.

So, to quote the ever-inspiring J-Mac (Jesse McCartney): “Don’t stress, don’t stress, don’t stress. Girl, you deserve nothing but the best!” And by "girl," he means stressed out UChicago students. Enjoy your week!

What are your favorite stress release activities? Leave a comment below!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

True or False?

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

As we all settle into our winter quarter schedules, I’d like to play a little game of “True or False”—CAPS style. I would say CAPS is pretty well-known around campus--but in my experience, not everyone knows just how convenient or helpful their services are. So, play along by reading the following statements and guessing if they are true or false. (Also, you might want to cover up the part of the computer screen that says true or false.)

  1. CAPS is a super long trek from campus.

    This is false. I live in Max P, and it usually takes 7-8 minutes to walk over here. It’s a pretty scenic walk too, with passing by Rockefeller Chapel and all of the lovely Gothic architecture. But if you can't get over here (you're studying abroad, you broke your leg playing broomball, etc.), CAPS does phone appointments too, so go ahead and call us at (773) 702-7040.

  2. You need to dress super nicely when you come to any of our meetings, events, or to our offices in general.

    False (ish). First of all, dressing nicely is always fun—-why else would they have Full Suit Friday? (It’s a real thing, I promise.) Second, most of our events don’t require you to dress up. As long as you’re wearing something that’s weather appropriate (for your sake), feel free to stop by any of our events and meetings! But if you are attending an employer information session (especially with a financial or consulting firm) or coming for an interview, then it's time to don your professional wear. If you're even in doubt about what to wear to an event, feel free to call for advice! (And if you want more advice about what to wear and when to where it, check out this past blog post.)

  3. Making an appointment with CAPS is intimidating.

    This is false—I promise! I work here, and even I felt a little apprehensive going into my first career exploration meeting (which I had last week). I mean, I only had my high school resume in hand, and I NO idea what I was going to do with my summer, much less my future. But that’s totally okay because I came out of my 30-minute meeting with a more professional resume and a better idea of what my summer may look like. I also got activated for On-Campus Recruiting (OCR) during the meeting, which means that I can apply for tons of great internships and externships.

  4. Ida Noyes is a neat building.

    True! The exterior is very cool and detail oriented—I often see student photographers lurking around taking pictures of the stone cherubs or the cobblestones. They also have brass monkey door handles and other monkey-related details around the building (which is honestly a little creepy, but hey, they’re kind of growing on me. Not literally.)

I hope you had a fun—-and educational—-time playing! If you have more questions about CAPS, feel free to leave them in the comment box. Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Hit the Ground Running

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

"Happy New Year" seems to be the greeting of choice around the CAPS office this week—and with good reason, of course, as it is the first week of 2011—so Happy New Year to all of our readers out there as well! I hope you all had a great break/New Years/Holiday Season. I did a lot of shopping, sleeping and reading in my three week break, and now I’m back to class and ready to hit the ground running.

Coincidentally, that is also our theme today, and I’d like to show you how you too can hit the ground running in terms of getting ready for the future—whether that means this summer or further down the road. So read on to find out more about all of the great programs CAPS is offering to help you start the New Year off right.

Coming up this week…

  • Wednesday January 5, 12 p.m.: How to Dress to Impress for Interviews. Get a free lunch while learning important interview skills to help you make the right impression.

  • Thursday January 6, 12-4pm: Super Walk-Ins: Half Day. CAPS staff will be reviewing resumes, activating students for Chicago Career Connection and answering career fair, Metcalf and ABG questions. So bring your resume and get your behind in here!

  • Thursday January 6, 4-4:30pm: How to Work the Winter Career Fair. Learn how to make the most of the few minutes you have to talk to recruiters at the Winter Career Fair.

  • Friday January 7, 12-4pm: Winter Career Fair. Come peruse potential future employers’ booths—they have a wealth of information and, more importantly, freebies! This is a great way to explore and learn more about what you want to do.

All of these events will be held in Ida Noyes Hall.

Important Events in the Near Future

  • Wednesday January 12, 5pm and 7pm: Venture2Adventure—this is ONLY open to first years. I’m pretty sure we got a cute little blue flyer along with a luggage tag before we left for break about it—but in case you don’t know, Venture2Adventure is a great event for first years to learn about summer opportunities and resume writing, and catch up with friends over dinner. This will be held in Bartlett Dining Commons.

  • Wednesday January 12, 6pm: Summer Opportunities Fair—Open to all students. Come meet representatives from local organizations as well as University-sponsored organizations and learn about all the cool things you could this summer. This event will be in the Quadrangle Club, which is across from Reynolds Club (1155 E. 57th Street).

You can find out everything you need to know about all the CAPS Winter Quarter events on the CAPS calendar. And don't forget to join the Career Advising and Planning Services group on Facebook to get invites and updates!