Avoiding the Sisyphus Trap
By Andrew Reeves, director, Columbia College Region C4 and Evening Program
The start of each session is a fitting time to not only reflect on past achievements, but identify our goals for the future. Here in the Evening program, we’re cheering you toward success, but also encourage you to think about what has prevented you from reaching goals in the past – what I refer to as the “Sisyphus Trap.”
For those of you who may not be familiar, Sisyphus was a character in Greek mythology condemned by the Greek gods to arduously roll a boulder to the top of a mountain, only to have that boulder return to the bottom each time. With each passing attempt, Sisyphus regains his strength in the hope that the boulder will remain at the top.
The dedication and resiliency of this story parallels what you may experience as a student. The hours spent studying for exams, writing papers and synthesizing data is like the mountain that Sisyphus must travel. If the terrain was flat, it would be easy. You will likely face several mountains in your quest for a college degree, but when accomplished, you can both climb and move mountains.
The key to achieving that success lies in working through your academic boulders to avoid past mistakes. To avoid the Sisyphus Trap, consider the following:
- Time management: Balancing work, family, school and having a social life is a skill. If you can orchestrate the menial tasks, you can negotiate the larger boulders.
- Be honest: Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, so be realistic and honest with yourself about your choices and goals.
- Stay the course: Life will throw you curves; plan on it. Remember that the path you take may not be the one you envisioned, but it is still part of your journey.
At the end of the day, at least you’re not Sisyphus. And if you need help moving some boulders, come see the staff here at the Evening program. We’re happy to help.
Is one résumé enough?
Often in the Career Center, a student will tell us they are applying to hundreds of jobs, but not getting any response. While this can happen for a number of reasons, one question we always ask is whether they are tailoring their résumé to fit the different jobs. One standard résumé often isn’t specific enough to the job to catch the attention of the recruiter – it’s always better to modify it to make sure the résumé speaks to the position. With that in mind, here are some quick tips to help you point your résumé in the right direction:
- Think about how your work translates to different industries. Let’s say you managed a restaurant for five years. If you are looking to go into Human Resources – your résumé can highlight the hiring, training, employee relations part of your job. But if you are looking to go into project management, you can de-emphasize the HR part of the job and instead focus on work that you did to make the restaurant more profitable or run more efficiently. You always want to angle your work so it reads to the industry and employer you are applying for. Generic and/or irrelevant points will just be skipped over and eats up valuable space.
- Remember that placement on the page is important. So sometimes it may not be a matter of rewriting aspects of your résumé, but rather placing it higher in the résumé so it’s more easily noticeable.
- When graduating, often times we add a “Relevant Coursework” category under your degree. Be sure to list courses that are relevant to the job – not to your major. This could include high level courses in your major, but also courses outside your major that will help you in the position.
- Use the job description as your guide. Typically in a good job description, they will use key words and talk through the qualities they need. You want to be sure you can demonstrate as many of those qualities as possible. Use your work and/or volunteer experiences to showcase the skills you have in response to what the employer is looking for.
Focus on the skills section. If you are going into marketing, list out the social media platforms you are interested in. But if it’s for a medical administration position, they may want to see a more expanded list of office software.
Tips and reminders for adult students
by Department of Marketing (go to top)
As an adult learner, we know you perform a balancing act managing work, family and household obligations while investing in your future by earning a degree.
We also know the New Year is a good time to remind yourself to breathe. You’ve got this! Remember why you started and celebrate how far you’ve come. In the meantime, we have a few suggestions to help you stay focused in 2019.
Make a weekly schedule that provides flexibility.
Making a weekly schedule helps you carve out time for your studies. Spread your assignments over several days to allow for unexpected circumstances. Multi-task when it makes sense. Read an assignment while waiting for laundry to finish, for instance. Or download the VitalSource Bookshelf mobile app to listen to it during your morning commute.
Enlist the help of family and friends.
Talking through a lesson with someone else has proven to be an effective way to make sure you have a working understanding of the material. So tell your kiddos, spouse, friend or mom about what you’re learning in class. And make sure they understand why you need time to focus on your studies. If you have children, this can be a great opportunity to stress the importance of education.
Take advantage of resources.
CougarTrack offers academic resources that are available 24/7. And you have access to e-books, articles and academic videos through Stafford Library’s online system. Of course, if you need additional academic support, contact your instructor or advisor. They will be happy to assist or point you to additional resources.
Reward yourself with a relaxing walk, some downtime in front of the TV or a special meal when you finish a difficult assignment or successfully complete a class.
Keep your eye on the prize.
We’re ready to celebrate commencement with you when you’ve finished your last session. And every eight weeks, you’re that much closer to having your degree.
Be proud of yourself. We are!
Thinking ahead to summer school?
by Department of Student Success and Money Stacks (go to top)
It may seem early to be thinking about summer courses but we are at a prime time to be planning! And while it does not fit in to everyone’s schedule, summer courses are a great way to help you finish your degree faster. If you have decided to take courses, the next step for a lot of students is to figure out how to pay for them. Setting up a payment plan and paying out of pocket is always an option, but you can also utilize federal financial aid. If you have not done so already, filling your 2018-19 FAFSA at fafsa.ed.gov is the first step.
One type of aid you might be eligible for is the Pell Grant if you have been awarded this for the academic year. Some students may be able to use up to 150% of their awarded Pell over the summer. Students may receive Pell for up to the equivalent of 12 semesters (about 6 semesters) or 600%. To be eligible for Pell funds in the summer, you may be required to be enrolled at a minimum of half-time or 6 credit hours for the semester. To check if you are awarded Pell Grant, log in to CougarTrack and review your Electronic Award Letter. You can also read about Pell Grant eligibility at studentaid.gov.
Another option in using federal aid for summer courses is to allocate some of your federal loans for summer use. You would need to stay within the annual and aggregate limits for federal loans, but you can move any unused funds from this academic year to help with the summer educational expenses. In order to utilize federal student loans you would need to be enrolled at least half-time for the semester. To reallocate your loans you can fill out the Stafford Loan Request Form found on CougarTrack.
If you have questions about whether you might be eligible to use your Pell Grant eligibility over the summer or reallocating your federal loans feel free to contact Financial Aid.
Select feature films available from Stafford Library
By Stafford Library (go to top)
Working with Online Education, Stafford Library has purchased streaming rights to 30 feature films used in online courses. The Swank portal allows access to most of the titles. However, due to restrictions from some production companies, not all titles are listed in the portal. All titles available through Swank can be found in the library’s catalog by searching for Swank Streaming Video. These videos include closed captions and are to be used only in the classroom.
The library also subscribes to Films on Demand: Master Academic Collection which includes more than 30,000 documentaries, archival films and newsreels. Films on Demand titles include closed captions and public performance rights.
Contact Stafford Library at 573-875-7381 or email@example.com for more information about these streaming video collections or other electronic resources.