Tag Archives | summer

Seven Things I Learned this Summer as a Law Office Intern

Image by Rob Bye, unsplash.com

I interned at a law office this summer in Fort Worth, Texas. Not just any law office, but one that represents people accused of crimes. That, in and of itself, made it interesting and exciting. Even though I didn’t get to do a lot of legal work (unless taking documents to the courthouse counts), it was a worthwhile experience. I tried to soak it all in and, in the process, hopefully took away some valuable life lessons. Here are seven eye-opening things I learned interning at a law office this summer.

  1. You have no idea what you are doing. No intern truly knows what to expect going into an internship. You don’t know if you will be someone’s assistant, if you will be aiding on an important project, or if you will just be getting coffee and making copies. You are venturing into completely new territory. The key is to go in with an open mind and a good attitude. The bulk of my time at the law firm of Varghese Summersett was actually spent working alongside the media relations director on various projects. An internship is all about learning, so even if you don’t know how to do something at first, by the end of the summer you’ll be surprised at the things you’ve accomplished. This summer I helped edit an e-book, worked on legal directory link building, and tried my hand at writing law blogs – including one about abuse of a corpse. Never saw that coming.
  2. Your bosses aren’t as scary as you think they are. I don’t know who started the stereotype that bosses are supposed to be mean, but 8 times out of 10, they aren’t. This is also true of attorneys. Contrary to what some people may think, bosses are not here to make your life miserable or to bark orders. They are here to guide you and to teach you and, hopefully, they get something in return. When you are an intern, you never feel like you completely fit in the office. You aren’t technically a real employee, but you still work in the office like everyone else. Being intimidated will get you nowhere and make your internship unpleasant. Everyone is there to help you learn the field you are working in and assist you in expanding your mind.
  3. Make friends with the other interns. No one wants to go to work for eight hours and not have a single person to talk to. Not only will making friends make the time more enjoyable, it will also be a useful tool to use throughout your internship. Fortunately, there were several other interns working at the law firm this summer. Several were in law school. Two, like me, were undergrads. One was a senior in high school. Rest assured, many of the other interns also have no idea what they are doing. You can use each other to help navigate through your work — maybe one of them knows how to do something you don’t? Now, I am not saying you’ve got to become best friends with them, but it helps to have someone to talk to during the slow parts of the day, someone to help you figure out what your boss just assigned you to do, someone to bounce ideas off of when you are totally lost, and someone to grab a quick lunch with when you need to get out of the office.
  4. Always check your email. Email is the main source of communication in a fast-paced office environment. People do not have time to get up from their desks and walk to the other side of the office when they need to ask a quick question. Your email is your life line. It is the thing that your boss will use 90 percent of the time to give you a task. So, if you don’t check it you could miss something — and that WILL make your boss scary.
  5. Dress appropriately. Depending on what type of business you are working for, there is a certain way you are expected to dress. It could be casual where you can wear jeans and a blouse, it could be business casual where you can wear a dress and flats, or it could be business professional where you must wear dress pants and a jacket. Since my internship was at a law office, the dress code was business attire. It is your responsibility to find out what kind of attire is expected BEFORE you start your internship. The two most important things I learned this summer when it comes to dressing for a job are:
    1. if you are wearing heels, always have a pair of flats in your bag
    2. it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
  6. Don’t be scared to ask questions. Most of the time you are going to be doing something completely new to you. It’s okay not to know how to do something. What’s not okay is if you mess it up because you were too afraid to ask for help. You cannot learn without asking questions. Also, don’t think you are bothering your supervisor by asking questions. They would rather be interrupted for five minutes for a question than spend two hours fixing something you did wrong. Everyone has to start somewhere.
  7. You get out what you put in. You are ultimately the one who decides if your internship was a waste of time or a valuable experience. If you come to work every day skating by doing the bare minimum, then what was the point of getting an internship in the first place? You aren’t only wasting your time but the time of the people who have tried to teach you and work with you. However, if you put forth the effort to step out of your comfort zone, your internship will be a great opportunity. The things you discover doing an internship can be very useful and insightful. Maybe you discover something you are passionate about and want to pursue, or maybe you find that this isn’t the right field for you. Both can be very beneficial in choosing your career path. No matter what you learn from your internship, the only way for you to make it a rewarding experience is to put forth the effort and give it all you’ve got.

This article was contributed by guest author Karlee Mansfield, a sophomore at the University of Mississippi, where she is majoring in finance. She interned this summer at Varghese Summersett PLLC, a criminal defense firm based in Fort Worth, Texas. She is interested in becoming a lawyer one day.

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Things to do in NYC during your summer internship

Image by rawpixel.com, unsplash.com

For a college student moving to the big city for a new internship, New York can be a little intimidating. There are so many people rushing around, and the subway system takes a minute to master. First, get the basics down such as how to get to your internship and where the best deli is nearby. Once you’re settled, check out this list of fun (and affordable) things to do:

Get your grub on at Smorgasburg. The largest open-air food market in America, The New York Times calls Smorgasburg “the Woodstock of eating.” The market launched in 2011 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and has since expanded to a weekend event that attracts up to 30,000 people. Try some delicious melted cheese at the Baked Cheese Haus, or churro ice cream sandwiches at Dulcinea Churros. Smorgasburg happens every Saturday in Williamsburg and Sunday in Prospect Park 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Combine art and music at the MoMA PS1 Warm Up concert series. The series is celebrating its 20th season this year, and it features the best live and electronic artists from around the globe. Headliners this year include A$AP Ferg, Jacques Greene and Laurel Halo. The concert series takes place under this year’s outdoor installation by Jenny Sabin, called “Lumen.” The installation features more than 1 million yards of digitally knitted and robotically woven fiber creating a cool canopy during the day and an amazing light show at night. Warm up takes place every weekend through September, and tickets are $18 on the day of the show for students with a valid ID.

Take a break at the New York Botanical Garden. Make sure to plan some time for the visit, as the garden is the largest in any city in the U.S. This summer features sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly. Called “CHIHULY,” the installation is the artist’s first major garden exhibition in 10 years. His work is easy to spot, with vibrant colors and unique shapes. There are also drawings and early works on display so people can see how his creativity evolved. Another must-see exhibit is the Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden. With summer as its peak season, there will be more than 650 varieties of roses in bloom.

Pack your beach bag and head to Coney Island.
The theme park at the island dates back to the late 1800s, but the rides have obviously been upgraded since then. Stop by Luna Park and ride the historic Cyclone Roller Coaster or The Mighty Thunderbolt. There are plenty of other activities on Coney Island, including the New York Aquarium and the boardwalk. Try Nathan’s Famous Hotdog, created by the hosts of the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest every Fourth of July. Fun fact: This year’s winners were Joey Chesnut and Miki Sudo. Chesnut broke a Coney Island record, eating a total of 72 hot dogs.

Stop by the High Line Park and gaze at the stars. Every Tuesday, the Amatuer Astonomers Association of New York brings their high-powered telescopes so everyone can get a close look at the night sky. The event is free, and the association invites stargazers to stay afterward for dinner and dessert. Look for far away stars or nearby bright planets such as Venus or Jupiter.

Get some exercise with a nice view of the city at Dumbo Boulders. According to the park, the climbing area is the largest outdoor bouldering facility in North America. Nestled right under the Manhattan Bridge, the bouldering walls are bright blue with 4886 square-feet of climbable surface area. The entire facility can fit about 250 climbers. The climbing area comes with a view of the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge. Be sure to let staff know if you are a first time climber, so they can give a quick orientation. A day pass for the bouldering walls is $9 and includes rental shoes.

Bounce, slide or rope-swing off a boat at Rockaway Water Park. Opening in August 2016, the water park is the first of its kind in the Rockaways. The main attraction is the Tarzan Boat, which is basically a water jungle gym. The boat has trampolines, diving boards and a short slide. The water park also offers jet ski rides and paddle boards. The water park is under the same ownership as the nearby Thai Rock, which serves Thai food and summer cocktails.

The only thing better than a concert is a free concert. Check out one of the Vans House Parties at the iconic footwear warehouse in Brooklyn. The shows are completely free to attend — all you have to do is RSVP. This year’s lineup includes Royal Headache and Descendants. The warehouse also features an immersive art experience by Los Angeles-based Nathan Bell. Using black and white as his medium, Bell’s work embodies the “Off the Wall” attitude behind Vans.

This article was contributed by guest author Jayson Goetz.

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10 Tips for Using the Summer Before First Year Wisely

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

Image by Hermann, pixabay.com

So you’re off for two months, and then university. What are you supposed to do in the meantime? Though it seems like a whole two months away, your summer will (sadly) fly by faster that you’d think. Here are 10 tips that can help you make the most of it and prepare for your first year at university!

1. Review your grade 11 and 12 material
Many programs, especially life sciences or engineering, are based heavily on prerequisites that you took in high school. Reviewing chemistry, physics and math will put you at an advantage when it comes to your first year classes.

2. Buy your textbooks
If you know your schedule, search around online for some old syllabi and start buying your textbooks. It’s better to buy used, as you save money and may get some notes out of it, so join university textbook exchange groups, look at the school’s bookstore for used copies, and start buying early! The later you wait, the harder it is to find students with copies of the books that you may need.

3. Scope out the campus
If you have some free time, take a trip down to your campus and take a tour! You can use this time to check out some good study spots, food places, gyms, as well as find out where your registrar is. This way you won’t be stressed out when finding where to go on your first day!

4. Layout your room
If you aren’t sure what you’ll need to take with you to university, try getting a layout of the dorm rooms, and plan out your space. Then make a list of the things that you’ll need and start shopping!

5. Find friends
Making friends in first year will define your first year experience. Try joining ‘accepted’ Facebook groups, keeping an eye out for those who are in your dormitory. Then strike up a conversation and meet up with them during Frosh week! This can also work when looking for study buddies – try posting your class schedule and finding those who are in your class. Now if you’re ever sick, you have someone to get notes from!

6. Research Resources
Most universities offer crazy amounts of resources for their students – whether they be workshops, skills training, or essay help, look into what your school offers so you know what to make use of in your first year. Knowing that you can get essay or math help for your classes can definitely help boost your grades!

7. Look up your profs
Searching for prof ratings before your classes can help give you a sense of how the class is going to be. Sites like www.ratemyprof.com give ratings about how much you’ll need your textbook, how much is weighted on lectures, etc., which can be helpful advice for your classes. If reviews are negative, fear not! If you find out ahead of time you can try and switch profs – or just learn what makes them tick. Once you find your profs, try emailing them to get to know them! Then during the year, they can put a face to a name, which can make it easier for you to ask questions and get help. This will definitely set you apart from other students in your program!

8. Join clubs
Getting involved in your school in first year is a must! It’ll help you get out there and experience what your university has in store for you. Look up some school clubs that you may like to join, and try emailing them if you have any questions. Clubs look great on your resume and will help give you a break from classes.

9. Search for jobs
Moving to a new town for university? You may want to consider looking at businesses in the area, or town or university specific job boards to find a position. You can even try emailing different professors asking if they have any research opportunities available. Finding a job will definitely help make sure you have money throughout the year, look great on a resume, and help you create a support system in your new home!

10. Find fun hotspots
University, if anything, should be a learning experience! Look up fun things that you would like to try with your friends, as well as any food places, clubs and festivals that take place in your university area. Always wanted to try kickboxing? See if a gym nearby offers it – then take your new friend from tip 5 to try it out!

Be safe, have fun and be prepared for your new year of university! 🙂

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How to Focus in Summer School

Image by Francisco Osorio on Flickr

Image by Francisco Osorio on Flickr

School can be tiresome. Exams, essays, assignments – none of it is ideal. However, no one needs to tell you that learning is beneficial to your future. It makes you more knowledgeable, enriches your life and helps you find a job. So in those gorgeous summer months, how does one focus in summer school?

All you have to do is make learning entertaining – and yes, there are many ways to do it. You can even put your own twist on it. Here are just some of the ways to make education fun:

  • Choose courses you’re interested in. If you can, try to choose courses that intrigue you. Summer is one of the hardest times to focus. The more interesting you find a course, the easier it will be for you to absorb facts, remember information and complete projects and assignments with gusto.
  • Listen to music when you’re studying. Studying can be tedious, but listening to music can make it fun. You may wish to do this when you’re completing assignments and essays as well. Keep in mind this can be distracting for some people, so our advice is to try it out once and see what effect it has on you.
  • Make friends. Approach people who you think you might share common interests with. Knowing you’ll see your friends will motivate you to wake up early in the morning for class. You may also wish to study with them, as it can make the process a little less stressful.
  • Explore the campus. Use your time in between classes to browse the shops, restaurants and bars available to you on campus. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and go for walks on your study breaks to clear your head.
  • Start an after school hangout routine. Once a week, arrange a spot to meet with your friends. You can grab a coffee, read over notes, go over textbook questions or simply enjoy yourselves.

Summer school is not that hard when you try to make it entertaining. Remember to choose courses that interest you, listen to music while completing tasks, make friends in your classes, arrange a weekly hangout with your classmates and make light of what the campus has to offer. This may even motivate you to wake up early in the morning and attend every class. Summer school doesn’t have to be a bore – you just have to make the most of it.

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The Internship Diaries – Entry #1

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

Image by COD Newsroom, Flickr

My name is Chelsea – I’m a fifth year student at the University of Toronto, and I just got an internship! Yay, right? Well, I sure am excited about it, but there are others who aren’t so thrilled (and they make some good points).

I should specify that this internship is unpaid. There’s a lot of debate over whether or not unpaid internships should be legal, but I will say that in my case I believe it is justified. This is because I’m interning for a tiny non-profit that raises money for mental health research and creates awareness. They only have 3 employees. They likely can’t afford to pay me.

I’m going to be posting about my experience throughout the summer, because so many students end up in internships or want one, but it’s difficult to know what it will be like until you’re there. My particular situation may be a little unusual but I hope that it can still shed some light on what you can expect (or at the very least, entertain you)!

First, the basics:

How I Got The Job

  • I was contacted by the executive director to be filmed for a video project they were doing. She reached out to me because she read an article I published in our student paper (you can read it here). Although you should never do something just because you feel like it will “look good”, sometimes your extracurriculars really can get you noticed!
  • I did not apply for anything. In fact, the position wasn’t even advertised. I asked about potential opportunities. They asked for my resume, I had a meeting with them, and that was it! Even if you don’t see an open position, it never hurts to ask!
  • Although I haven’t yet graduated or study in the mental health field, I demonstrated good leadership skills and good ideas. Every time I interacted with them I was enthusiastic, and I wasn’t just putting it on – I really am passionate about the cause and the work they do.

Why I Wanted The Job

  • I am NOT expecting it to lead to a paying job. If it does, that would be the best thing that could ever happen to me, but it would be unrealistic to expect that. No matter where you’re interning, even if it’s for a massive company, don’t do it just because you want a job there. Do it because you enjoy the work and want the experience!
  • I had opportunities to take a full time paying job this summer (even if it was just retail). I did this instead because I am passionate about it. I can get a full time job when I graduate! My parents disagree and we’ve had numerous arguments over it, but at the end of the day, I can still support myself, and what matters most is what you want, not what your parents want.
  • Mental health awareness is very important to me because I struggle with mental health issues and so does someone close to me. That’s why I’m willing to go to the lengths that I do in order to work here. I work 7 days a week most weeks. Typically, my schedule is that I work Monday-Thursday at my internship, and then I’ll work Thursday night, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at my (paying) part-time job. I have to do this in order to be able to support myself.

I hope that this is helpful, and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my experiences with you this summer! I’ll be back next month with entry #2. If there’s anything you’d like me to cover, let me know! If you have any questions or want to talk, you can tweet me.

Follow Chelsea on Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress.

Summer: To Study or Not to Study?

Image by Ervins Strauhmanis, Flickr

Image by Ervins Strauhmanis, Flickr

That is the question.

Summer courses are a great way to get ahead of your classes, or play catch-up if you took a lighter course load or failed a class. Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to studying throughout the summer.

If you decide to take summer courses: don’t panic! Summer courses are not necessarily more difficult (or any easier) than regular classes, but they do require a slightly different approach. Listed below are some things you should keep in mind when tackling summer courses:

Organization

Summer courses are condensed into three-month semesters. That means a two semester (full year) course retains all of the material but must be accomplished at twice the speed! Because of this, organization is vital to success. There is also no time for procrastination: you cannot miss classes or skip assignments. There just isn’t any room to fall behind because the workload is packed in so tightly.

Workload

The workload and expectations are on par with any other course you have taken. For this reason, it is imperative that you maintain good attendance, participate, and keep up. It is all manageable with good preparation, commitment, and organization. Remember: if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail!

Expectations

Professors mark the same, lecture the same, and expect the same output from their students during summer semesters as in any other semester. If you feel you’re unable to manage the intense course load, it is important to talk to your professor as soon as possible to discuss what you are struggling with and how to find a solution.

Now, I don’t want to scare you. We’ve covered what’s difficult about summer classes, so let’s have a look at what can be great about them:

Smaller Classes

Summer courses are great for a more personal approach to learning. Classes are often smaller and professors are often less busy. It’s important to take advantage of this situation: talk with your professors during office hours to build relationships, ask as many questions as you want during lectures, and take the opportunity to meet and learn from your peers.

Lighten Your Load: Stay Active

Taking summer courses is also a great way to ease your workload in September. Taking one less course in the winter may give you an opportunity to give more attention to other classes or activities. Also, it’s important to stay mentally stimulated over the summer – you’ll be much quicker off the blocks come September!

Balance

Image by winnifredxoxo, Flickr

Image by winnifredxoxo, Flickr

 
Remember that summer courses are an intense exercise in learning: classes are often five days a week. If you take more than one class per summer semester it’s even more important to stay organized and focused. If you do take a full course load during a summer semester, you should expect to work just as much as you would during the fall or winter.

 
 
 
One of the main disadvantages to summer courses is that it limits your opportunity to earn some money for September. If working and saving up during the summer is a priority, you should ultimately limit the number of summer courses you take.

Good luck!