Monday, November 15, 2010

A Career in Careers

by Lauren Fish, CAPS Event Liaison

My freshman year, I had no idea what CAPS was, or what the letters in the name even stood for. Now, entering the second quarter of my third year, CAPS has become a bigger part of my life than I ever would have expected. For me, CAPS is much more than just a place to work: it is an invaluable resource, one that has already given me a good deal of opportunities and insider information.

I snagged my job as an Event Liaison through networking: a friend on the rowing team who worked here last year e-mailed the team listhost to see if anyone would be interested in applying for a job that had just opened up at CAPS. I replied immediately, and after sending in my resume and cover letter, I landed an interview with the office. When I came in for my interview, I knew right away that I wanted to work here: the woman who interviewed me, my potential boss, was incredibly friendly and welcoming, the other student workers seemed cool and interesting, and the job sounded stimulating and fun. I was thrilled when I found out I had gotten the job.

Working as an Event Liaison is as challenging and interesting as I had hoped it would be. My responsibilities range from setting up the sign-in computers (we call them kiosks) that you type your ID number into when you come to an event to meeting with employers from companies all over the world to help make sure their presentations run smoothly. I’ve collaborated with recruiters from Teach for America, The Boston Consulting Group, Citi Bank Asia, and the Peace Corps, to name just a few. I’ve also gotten to know the other members of the CAPS staff, from the practice interviewers in the 3rd Floor Resource Center to the AV/Tech guys in their basement offices. I’ve gotten some really awesome career advice from the people I work with, who know about all kinds of internship and job opportunities. I’ve gotten to sit in on presentations from a wide variety of employers, broadening my knowledge of the kinds of careers available to students like me after graduation.

My job has allowed me to see, and participate in, all the things that CAPS does to benefit us, the students at this university. There are so many great things going on here at Ida Noyes and all over campus; CAPS really does everything it can to give us students every opportunity to excel during and after our time here. Honestly, it’s too bad it took me almost two years to realize this—but now that I know what CAPS has to offer me, I’m doing all I can to take advantage of this great resource while I can!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Several Seriously Spectacular Study Spots

by Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

In addition to all the alliteration, this blog will be awesome for two reasons. First, I’m seriously going to discuss my favorite places on (and off!) campus to get some of my dense Sosc/Hum reading done. Second, for this blog post, at least, you don't have to hear about daunting subjects like getting a job and the future because with midterms and essays upon us, I figure we all have enough to worry about. Plus, it does relate to the general theme of this CAPS blog because studying = good grades = graduation + job. Obviously.

  1. My first spot is the Reg, kind of. On the side facing Bartlett Quad, there are these cozy little niches underneath the Reg’s giant dripping gray concrete exterior. I understand that it’s outside and that it’s getting quite cold now (or trying to, anyway) but since the area is composed of large metal grates atop some component of the Reg's heating system, warm air actually blows up onto you, making for a very cozy, very unique studying experience.

  2. If you’re a snack-while-you-study kind of kid, I’d suggest going to Bartlett or your preferred dining hall. I guess this only works at non-peak hours, but the several times I’ve found myself hungry and with an hour or so of free time between classes and work, I’ve gone to Bartlett and parked myself at a smallish table toward the back. The din of Motown and dishwashing provides nice background noise, and when no one else is there, it’s a great, spacious, well-lit area to study. I’ve also been thinking about going up to the second floor of Bartlett (where students used to run laps back in the day when Bartlett was a gym) and parking myself up there. I’ll do that soon. Facebook me if you want to know how it goes.

  3. At the risk of sounding completely clichĂ©, I’m going to say Harper. Cue the Harry Potter comments, the “I fell in love with UChicago when I saw this library” squeal, and cue the fact that admissions uses its picture every time a prospie receives a postcard. The fact is, Harper really isn’t an accurate representation of ALL of UChicago, but it definitely is beautiful. And well-lit, studious and quiet. I know those who go to Harper often say that the Harper reading room is where it’s at, but I’d like to rep the Stuart reading room, which is around the corner from the Common Knowledge CafĂ©. I like Stuart during the day because there are always people napping on the super comfy chairs, and when there are sleeping students, you know it’s going to be good and quiet.

So, there you have some of my favorite places to study. What are yours? Leave a comment, and I’ll spread the word!

Note: “Studying” is what you make it to be. These areas also work well for napping, cuddling, eating ice cream and generally spacing out.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Getting, keeping and managing a job as a first-year student

By Sherry Cao, CAPS Marketing Assistant

Earlier this summer, I delved into all things college with gusto—changing my Facebook network, buying pink shower caddies, painting my nails a sparkling shade of maroon. Such collegiate gusto also included e-mailing University of Chicago employers to secure a job as soon as possible—a move that landed me with the marketing assistant job at CAPS. I’ve been coming to work Monday, Wednesday and Fridays ever since O-week ended, but lately, I’ve been getting a lot of “hey Sherry—hook me up with a sweet job.” So, now that my fellow first-years have apparently settled into their collegiate niches and are itching for some money, I’d like to offer some words of wisdom* for said first-years:

0. As a precursor to everything else, you have to realize that work actually means work. The concept of getting a job and working 5-10 hours a week sounds do-able, and it is, but it requires mental (or physical) work for those 5-10 hours.

1. If you really want a job, stop thinking about it, and start looking. The student employment site— has positions for work-study, non work-study and even off-campus jobs. Consequently, you should also know whether or not you have work-study (as I learned, apparently, term-time employment is not the same thing and does not qualify as work-study). If this still baffles you, call the Financial Aid office to clarify things.

2. Once you land your dream job (as a sandwich maker or some kind of assistant, perhaps), you should enjoy it. Like anything, approaching a job with a positive attitude will make the 5-10 hours of work you do a week much more enjoyable. Here at CAPS, I’ve met so many great people just doing my job—sitting at my desk, standing by the water cooler, working the student registration booth at our recent Career and Graduate and Professional School fairs. Be friendly and start conversations—work won’t even feel like work. Of course, it also helps if your job interests you in the first place.

3. But remember, you’re a student first. If you honestly overestimated your capability to balance a job and do well in school at the same time, don’t be afraid to talk to your employer and adviser about it. Especially on this campus, employers realize that student workers are students first and foremost, and they want you to do well in school. So, talking about changing around/cutting down on hours shouldn’t be stressful.

Even if it is a little big stressful, getting, keeping and managing a part-time job is definitely worth it. Having this job at CAPS has helped to give my personal schedule some structure, and it has also allowed me to do something enjoyable that I wouldn’t do in class (design cool posters). The paycheck at the end of the two weeks isn’t bad either.

*Not really. I’ve only been working for a month and a half, but I have learned a couple of things.

Have questions about getting a job during the school year? CAPS isn't just for those students looking for full-time positions! Make an appointment by calling (773) 702-7040.