Wait, What Comes After College?

51R5PWciJjL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_Aside from The Craft of Research, I have also been assigned to read through Getting from College to Career by Lindsey Pollak. The uncertainty of where I will be after this semester has been quietly eating away at me inside but what I have read of this book so far has really helped me with seeing that I am not the only one who feels this way.  Pollak writes in a way that anyone can relate to and take something away from what they read. Here are some pieces of advice that I thought were insightful and would be helpful to others in my situation:

 

“You can never have too many people checking your résumé, cover letters, and any other professional correspondence. If your parents have good grammar and spelling abilities, ask them to check some of your career-related writing” (25).

This is definitely something that I plan on doing when I start to write my résumé and apply to “adult” jobs.  I know that no matter how many times I read over something like an essay I have to hand in for a grade, I usually miss one or two mistakes. It is always better to have someone look over anything that is being handed in professionally or academically because what looks right to you might not come across as clear to someone else. Plus, my parents already have plenty of experience when it comes to getting a job; they have already gone through the process of looking for their first professional job and so they have an idea of what things employers might be looking for on résumés more than others.

 

“ . . . you don’t need a title or company or a fax number or even a street address to have a business card. All you need is your name, a phone number (which can be a cell phone), and [a] professional e-mail address . . . If you’re a student, it’s nice to include your university and year of graduation . . . “ (35-36).

It never really occurred to me to get a business card, probably because I thought I only needed one if I had an actual job that people cared about. According to Pollak, that is not the case. It is definitely easier and more professional to hand out a business card rather than say “hold on, let me write it down” and search frantically for something to write your information on other than a stained napkin or ripped piece of paper. I will definitely be following this piece of advice and purchasing myself some business cards so that when I start to attend events where networking is a possibility, I will be prepared.

 

“Create a profile on LinkedIn . . . LinkedIn has become the clear leader in professional social networking around the world . . . LinkedIn invites you to create a profile, but this one is 100 percent professional . . .” (42).

I can’t tell you how many times I heard my mom tell me to create a LinkedIn profile over winter break. Now it’s clear: I should create a LinkedIn profile for myself. I feel like since the internet and social media are used so frequently, it only makes sense that I would probably be able to connect with more employers with the addition of a LinkedIn account rather than without one. Honestly, it can only help and so once I have my résumé completed and finalized, I will be making a LinkedIn profile so that I can start networking successfully.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Check out the insanely useful book Getting from College to Career here!

Pollak, Lindsey. Getting from College to Career. Revised ed. New York: HarperCollins, 2012. Print.

Image: Amazon.com

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Exploring the Sources of Knowledge

Hi and welcome back! I am here yet again to impart some more wisdom upon you from Booth, Colomb, and Williams’ book The Craft of Research. I read more of this book over this past weekend and I have to say, it has definitely helped me lose some of the fears and worries that I have had since first hearing the words “senior capstone paper.” Here are some more quotes from Craft that I think are worth sharing with those of you who have experienced this already or who are in the same boat as me.

 

“Get control over your topic by writing about it along the way. Don’t just retype or photocopy sources: write summaries, critiques, questions, responses to your sources” (66).

This is definitely a great piece of advice. I know from experience that photocopying sources when they are a million pages long (but actually, more like 20) or copying and pasting sections of it into a word document is easier and less time consuming but honestly, none of the information is retained and no new discoveries can be made by the person researching. Since I am on the research stage of my paper, I have been actively taking notes and finding patterns, and by doing that, my topic is starting to evolve from an interest to a worthwhile research opportunity.

 

“ You can’t learn the ropes of research if you don’t know where they are, and you won’t find where they are if you don’t ask . . . The only embarrassing question is the one you failed to ask but should have” (71).

I have a feeling that I am not the only person who does not like to ask for help with anything, especially when it is about to encroach on the carefully constructed façade of independence that you have worked so hard on to maintain. Well, tough; researching is all about asking for guidance when you need it to complete the tasks you are assigned in a timely manner. For my capstone paper, I have a limited amount of time to do research before I have to complete my final paper; by asking my faculty mentor or librarians for help finding a particular source sooner rather than later, I won’t have to stress as much when it comes to the final stages of putting everything together.

 

“When you start looking for sources, you’ll find more than you can use, so you must quickly evaluate their usefulness; use two criteria: relevance and reliability” (76).

It is easy to find hundreds of sources that can apply your research topic but most of the time, only a small percentage will actually have something valuable to contribute to your research. I think that it is important to get through this step as early in your research as you can; the faster this happens, the more time you have to focus on the paper itself. Reputable databases are always a plus and by asking a librarian or faculty mentor, those sources are easier to find.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

In case you haven’t looked at The Craft of Research after my first post about it, check it out using the information below!

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

Mistakes Make Masters

In the article “Sharing the Tacit Rhetorical Knowledge of the Literary Scholar,” Laura Wilder and Joanna Wolfe explain a study that they conducted on college undergraduates by providing them with the tools that professionals use in the field and observing the results of their teaching. But, before they get to the results, they discuss the various arguments for supporting this cause as well as arguments against this idea. While the positive arguments do make a great case for the allowance of this teaching method, the arguments against are just as strong, if not stronger. One is that it is believed that by teaching undergraduates the tools used by professionals, they will cut corners by just restating what is told to them and not immersing themselves directly in the information in order to learn for themselves and to make mistakes. It is always important for a person to learn on their own because everyone has different experiences in the workplace, at school, etc. Another reason against this teaching method is that it would almost sterilize the students’ minds, encouraging them to be disconnected from the readings that they do.

After reading the article and looking at the final results of the study, I believe that there are both positive and negative outcomes of this teaching method. I think that in order for this to be successful, the information would need to be carefully sifted through and given to students gradually, only after they have had a run-in with a situation that could have been helped by that piece of information so that they can have their own experiences and form their own opinions.

 

When I was assigned the task of reading this article in order to apply the ideas to my capstone paper, I had zero idea that it would actually have something that I could take away from it. I thought that there was no way this topic could be related to anything that I would need to know. But, in regards to writing, Wilder and Wolfe emphasized the importance of thinking like a professional when finally putting pen to paper (or in my case, hand to keyboard). Professionals have their own language and their own understandings of how things should work; this is because that they have already gone through what I am about to undertake as well as other situations that have gotten them to where they are now. While I might not know the right way or the easier way to accomplish my goal, I will be able to figure it out by trial and error, keeping the idea of how a professional would think in the back of my mind.

 

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

Check out the article here!

Wilder, Laura, and Joanna Wolfe. “Sharing the Tacit Rhetorical Knowledge of the Literary Scholar: The Effects of Making Disciplinary Conventions Explicit in Undergraduate Writing about Literature Courses.” Research in the Teaching of English 44.2 (2009): 170-209. Web. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/27784356>

Tidbits for the Thinking Mind

Hello and welcome to my blog! Whether you have stumbled here by accident or the Google gods thought that my writing would interest you, welcome!

9780226065663I am currently in my last semester of college and am preparing to embark on a research journey that will eventually culminate in my senior capstone paper. In order to help me on this exploration, I have been reading The Craft of Research by Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams. Even though I have only read a few chapters, I wanted to share some quotes from the book with you in the hopes that they will speak to you about the trials and tribulations of researching as much as they spoke to me.

 

“Even experienced researchers feel anxious when they tackle a new kind of project for a new audience. So whatever anxiety you feel, most researchers have felt it too” (5).

Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side; those that are professionals in their field are thought to have it easier in every facet of their expertise by those who are taking a stab at that field for the first time. But, did they not have to go through the same thing as those who are new at something in order to get to where they are? This statement made by Booth, Colomb, and Williams really opened my eyes to the fact that I am not alone when it comes to feeling overwhelmed and unsure about taking on such a huge task; all of those professors and doctors and authors that have research on the topic that I will be reading in order to fuel my own research about that very same topic have probably felt the same way as I do now when writing their articles.

 

“. . . the most important reason for learning to report research in ways readers expect is that when you write for others, you demand more of yourself than when you write for yourself alone” (13).

This is absolutely 100% accurate. When you are writing for yourself, you really do not put much effort in to explaining every detail because in your mind, you already know it and do not have to explain it to anyone but yourself. But people reading whatever you put out into the world do not know your thought process or how you got from one place to another. So you as the writer have to take the reader on a journey through your thoughts and ideas, and this journey can only be taken in the form of written research.

 

“If you can work on any topic, we offer only a cliché: start with what most interests you. Nothing contributes to the quality of your work more than your commitment to it” (36).

Nothing resonated with me more in the few sections that I have read than this quote did. For my capstone paper, I chose to work with a topic that interested me and did not really care about what fancy or out of the box idea that I could come up with. I knew for a fact that if I did the latter, then I would not be as committed to or excited about doing research than if I went with the topic that interested me. I think that Booth, Colomb, and Williams hit the nail on the head with this one and honestly, written works are more readable and interesting when the reader can tell that the writer actually enjoyed doing the work.

 

That is it for now, but check back soon because I will be posting more about my research journey as well as other tidbits of knowledge that are helping me on my quest to completing the biggest paper of my life.

Until next time.

EMC

explore. muse. create.

 

 

If you want to check out The Craft of Research, here is the information you will need!

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research. Third ed. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.

Image: The University of Chicago Press Books