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www.jesscampbell.weeblyAsked to do this. I NOPED the heck out of there.
So you have an essay that’s due (hopefully) a week from now. Let’s face it, though. It’s probably due tomorrow.

It doesn’t matter how much time you have left. These three actions are the best way to get an A on your essay (not considering the actual content you write).

This is the foundation I use for all my essays, whether it’s creative fiction or academic essays, and why I’ve won awards for them.

This is a list of the best blogs I read.

Well, not the best. I can't quantify that and choose the absolute best blog in the world. But I can give you reasons on why I keep returning to these blogs, subscribe to their newsletters, and generally fangirl when I see a new post.

Awareness Weeks are just that: raising awareness so more people hear about your organization and you're not stuck in obscurity.

Has your organization ever held a weeklong event targeted at raising awareness for your organization on campus? If not, here are some ways to incorporate them in your organization:

(See what I did there? Being… being? XD)

You dread going to your organization meetings. That time comes and your stomach knots because it’s useless. Your organization is useless. Your role is useless. Or too much. You have too much weight on your back and no one to share the load with.

Or so you think.

Being an officer is more than attending boring meetings where nothing is decided, listening to guest speakers, and collecting dues. Being a good officer means more than working yourself to death and encouraging reluctant members to do their volunteer work.

Being a good officer requires more than being a star in your organization. It requires finding ways to reduce your workload, submit awesome work, and finding ways to contribute—even a little—outside your duties.

That’s how your organization withstands low enrollment, paltry teamwork, and disorganized members.

Here are 5 tips for stepping up your game and creating that great organization that you can be proud of having on your resume. 

Here is my review for Give and Take by Adam Grant.

So far, it's one of my best reads this year. It really solidifies my idea that I can be a giver and not be a doormat. This is a common problem for most people, especially if that person goes into Sales. You'll hear many people--friends--ask them in disbelief how they're ever going to do that, they're too nice!

You don't have to be a dominator to be in Sales, nor in any field. Adam Grant gives us a lesson in how to spot a giver vs. a taker, and also shows us how that giver will not only outperform the taker, but have a larger network willing to do anything to help the giver.

So here we go, here's my (short) review. There's a link at the end to buy, so please do! It will honestly make your life better and brighter! Rare to find in a non-fiction book :)
Disappointment requires you to become vulnerable.  In relationships, when someone acts selfishly or antagonistically, you have opened yourself up to disappointment. You studied for weeks before a big exam and still made a mediocre (or failing) grade, you’ve made yourself vulnerable. You apply for a big position, interviewed, and were rejected. Disappointment.

Disappointment is a harsh and sometimes shameful emotion. It eliminates the joy from your day and makes events you would normally gloomier. If you’re like me, it affects how you do things in the future. I try to make myself as invulnerable as possible by not applying to new projects, by not working harder, by going with lazy instead of grit.

But life teaches us that disappointment isn’t forever. I read a study a while back that said that people who had suddenly become disabled and people who had won the lottery were likely to be at the same happiness level. Of course, this includes a spike where they were deliriously happy or suicidal and sad, but eventually these two groups were indistinguishable from one another.

Disappointment is crushing, but you can bounce back from it. You can even avoid it entirely. Here's how:

1.     Write out your feelings.

In a quiet place, whether it’s your bedroom or the library, write down exactly what has disappointed you.

If a friend has wronged you in a way, write: Friend G disappointed me by not inviting me to go to a party with her when she invited Friend H, and Friend H lives with me. I thought we were closer than this.

If an exam has you hanging your head, write: I didn’t understand the core concepts of Accounting 967 so I didn’t study the right things and got an F.

If a work has done you wrong, write: I blew my interview by not preparing enough.

This makes you write it out, in detail, what has gone wrong in your life and made you disappointed in yourself or others.

Now you’re thinking about it again. Damn.

2.     Explain to yourself how the disappointment happened.

To take the example of the work disappointment further, here is what I would write (and this is personal experience):

I didn’t practice questions they would ask me with my S.O. or with myself. I was unprepared when they asked me questions because of this. They also asked easy questions that are in all typical interviews and I had mediocre to poor answers. This makes it even more disappointing, because I could have easily prevented it.

Pinpoint exactly what went wrong and where.

If you’re like me and just finished writing that, you probably feel silly and still disappointed.

3.     Reflect

Now that you have pinpointed exactly where things went wrong, hopefully with your actions, then go for a walk and think about these things. Don’t restrain your thoughts, don’t limit yourself. If you stop thinking about the disappointment and start focusing on something else, do that for a little and then bring yourself back around to the disappointment.

Ponder how you feel. Wonder about where you went wrong beforehand, during, and after. Recreate the situation in your mind and decide what the best action would have been.  Think about the future and how likely it is to come up again.

Think about your feelings for this company or any people involved. If forgiveness doesn’t come easy, don’t try to forgive. If you decide something while you’re walking, you’re free to change that decision later. Nothing is solid here. It’s all in your head.

This process may take a few days, so you may feel better by the end of it. It may feel like a release and you may not think about it again at all. Great!

You may make a decision you don’t feel good about. You may still feel terrible. These things happen, but this time has given you a few hours or days to distance yourself from the situation. Life happens even while you’re disappointed.

4.     Action Steps

This is the time for you to make a decision or let go.  For me, this included:

  • Applying for an opportunity I really wanted (which I got!)
  • Redoing my resume.
  • Search for opportunities to make a difference or work in teams, so I can have more teamwork-related answers when those questions are put to me again.
  • Review the answers I provided in the interview that were great questions, and write down how I could make my answers better the next time.

This not only takes your mind off your disappointment, but provides you with a great opportunity to refine yourself (whether in your head or on paper) and put those steps into action. From this, I picked up a law school book from the library and felt better because the interview was for a company that I didn’t necessarily want to work for. Just think, I saved them money and saved myself from feeling like I owed them something if I had received the internship, because that wasn’t my career goal at all.

This will work in all situations. Use creativity. If you have to confront people and tell them their actions hurt you, do it in a way that helps your friendship. If you made a bad grade, this helps you make a schedule so that it won’t happen again. Since you took that first exam, you now know what the professor looks for in an answer. 

I can't tell you that you'll feel better. I can't tell you that your problems will magically disappear, especially if it's a reoccurring one. 

What I can tell you is that it gets better. In a few weeks or months, you will feel better. It will be less of a trauma and more of a guiding experience that will allow you to problem solve easier in the future.

Open yourself up to being disappointed. Be vulnerable in all things you do, because that's when amazing opportunities come around the corner and punch you in the gut.
PictureUTM's Pumpkin Party before we unloaded them
As Side Events Chair for St. Jude Up Til Dawn, I’ve gotten into some predicaments. My goal is to help the teams participating in St Jude raise the $100 minumum to get into the finale event.

It goes like this:

Person A signs up into Team AwesomeSauce for Kids

Person A raises $100 dollars.

Team AwesomeSauce for Kids raises in $100/member for $600 total.

Finale event and Team AwesomeSauce for Kids dominates and stays up for good.

Now, the idea behind Side Events Chair is not to glibly raise money for St. Jude. You are responsible for Person A through Person Z raising their $100, for Team AwesomeSauce for Kids to Team Zebrahead Unite having $600.

So if you’re raising money and the end goal of that money is not going to an individual, then you’re not doing your job. So, that makes things a little tougher, but it does give you great options of personalizing things for your school.

First, find a way to personalize the idea to your school. If there’s a time-honored tradition of bake sales, so a bake sale with goods contributed from teams.

If you can get a hold of your school’s mascot and have him take pictures with teams, this spreads awareness but doesn’t raise teams money.

Also, don’t do it in the regular places. If your University Center is always full of organizations begging for money, don’t do it there. Go to the coffee shop or a college building that has an active lobby area. Ours is Gooch Hall where there’s benches and couches for people and a small food stand, so people are more likely to linger.

Second, don’t talk at people while fundraising. Talk to people. There’s a big difference.

When we were raising money through people donating to who they wanted to see get their head shaved, we didn’t ask passerby to “donate to who you want to get their head shaved!” We said, “Hey, which one of these people do you think will get their head shaved?”

Yeah, some people ignored us like they’ll ignore anyone, but a majority of people started stopping and guessing. Then, if their guy/gal didn’t look too hot with donations, they would drop a dollar in. One guy dropped one $10 in, then when I said “Hey, you know all this goes to St. Jude,” to his buddy, he dropped another $10 in.

For the best results, start a conversation. Don’t ask for money. If they ask, “What’s all this for?” You tell them, and show them how that money will be spent. For us, it’s about never allowing a family to pay a bill from St. Jude. For your organization, it may be different.

Start a conversation. No demands or pleas. If they don’t want to donate now, talk to them later when you’re outside of the role of fundraising and say, “Hey, I appreciate you stopping to talk to me anyway, even if you don’t donate. Everyone needs to know about St. Jude.”

Third, find unique ways to fundraise. Not only that, think of things that makes it easier for teams and individuals to participate. We’re giving away pumpkins for our teams to sell this week.  We did all the hard work of finding farms willing to donate them to St. Jude, then loading them up (my job Sunday! That was fun!), unloading them, and then offering it to the teams.

We’ve received a great response so far and it’s something I’m looking forward to doing next October now. It’s simple, easy, and doesn’t require a ton of scheduling.

Also, give your teams license to do outside-of-the-box fundraisers.

One team has booked a table in the University Center and is doing “Cutest Pet Contest.” It’s not the same old bake sale, that’s for sure!

Fourth, either do something tremendously easy—like giving away pumpkins to sell—or a one-day event. Our first event was a Best [legs/arms/etc] contest. It was excruciating. We had twelve buckets, signs, and fliers that we had to trek every day to the University Center. Then trek them back home, then pick them up from whatever person, then do it all over again. And people decided to extend it another week.

So uncool. That next week, I wised up. I sent one category (we had four) a day, so then there were three buckets, one sign, and no fliers (we had given them all away). When we had twelve buckets, we raised an average of $25.00 a day. The second week—and we didn’t get to do Thursday because of complications—our average was $40 a day.

Not a big difference, but it was to the individuals and teams who had signed up who made more money. One guy raised his $75 of his $100 in those two weeks.

In total, to make your fundraising successful if you have a similar strategy as Up Til Dawn, you:

1.     Personalize the idea during Homecoming/big event/etc.
2.     Talk to people, not at them. If I hear you yelling across a crowded room about donating, I will stalk you and kick you in the shin. It won’t be hard. I’ll just follow the sound of your voice.
3.     Don’t do a bake sale over and over. Do a contest, find sponsors to donate things you can sell, do a dance-off.
4.     Do something either tremendously hands-off (teams sell pumpkins for you) OR do a big event in one day.

If I had to start this school year all over again, I would have followed those four principles and would’ve had it a heck of lot easier.

So, as most college kids know, you have to be well-rounded when you graduate so companies will even look at you. You “have” to be president of fifteen organizations, participate in intramurals, and be a greek.

That sucks. Frickin sucks.

I can’t spend a minute picking my nose, much less have a dozen organizations under my belt.

This doesn’t include the rule of thumb colleges throw out about spending at least two hours studying for every one hour in class. That’s 36 hours studying, on top of my 12 hours at ECOS and 12+ hours at the residence hall desk. 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

That’s 124 hours a week with my 18 hours included.

There’s only 168 hours in a week.

That’s 44 hours during Monday through Sunday I have free to eat, shower, watch a movie, walk to class, call my mom, etc.

An organization takes at least an hour a week for meetings. An hour for emails everyday. An hour for planning, idea-making, and marketing. Another hour for finding a dress to wear to the big event or picking up the balloons. Not to mention all the time texting on your phone during/between classes so you and your team members are on the same page. Don't even mention technical glitches or miscommunications - that's three hours talking about it right there.

So where oh where will I get the hours I’d need to be president of every organization ever so I can eventually get a job?

Yeah, not looking good unless I rent the TARDIS.

Sure, 44 hours looks like a lot: that’s almost a weekend! But spread out over a week, it’s only just enough that I have time to watch an episode of Kitchen Nightmares and text my mom.

However, since I don’t spend two hours for every hour I’m in class studying, I can find meaningful ways to enrich myself without the need to join every organization ever.

I’m in one organization now. One. This means I have very little on my resume. 

But it doesn’t bother me.

How come?

Because I’m a member of St. Jude Up Til Dawn. My one organization helps thousands of kids every year and never sends a bill to the families. I’m not knocking other organizations, but UTD is pretty damn sweet. We raise money for cancer research that will help not just the patients at St Jude, but global cancer patients.

So yeah, I’m not knocking organizations, because they’re great tools as long as you’re committed to achieving the goals the team has set. It can be very impressive when you tell recruiters that you raised $45,000 in one semester for St. Jude. Then you can tell them exactly what YOU did to achieve that.

But spreading yourself out with more than five clubs is just crazy. It’s weakening your efforts to the point where all you’ll say to that recruiter was, “Yeah, I had fun in my clubs. Totes great people!” 

You may have done a ton of things for those organizations, but unless they include specific action points you helped with then it ain't nothing. Hear that twang? Nothing. Your organization is a tool for you to network, to increase the likely hood that you will gain a job, to learn valuable skills in communicating during a crises and logistics. If you don't go to every single meeting of your club because you're not devoted to it, it's not helping you, it's not exciting you, then drop it like it's hot. 

Because it ain't doing you a damn bit of good.

So if you’re joining a club for the resume booster, don’t. If you’re not interested in the concept behind it, then it’s not for you. If the thought of spending time with a bunch of other accounting majors makes you queasy, don’t do it. I understand completely.

We have limited hours in the day. Spend your extra ones doing something you enjoy and the results you produce from that will more than make up for having one organization on your resume.

In short, do what you love, not what others do.

So, most people don't understand what entrepreneurship and accounting have to do with one another. 

Accounting is:
  • following GAAP language and rules
  • enforcing GAAP

I'm kidding. Sort of. Accounting is a subject that deals strictly with logic. No marketing plans, no thinking about the next project or service to increase the profit margin. Just plain logic that fits neatly into journal entries. It has no concept of risk or fear. No idea what additional services can be provided. It's a very basic, intricate, time-consuming, still basic thing. 

However, entrepreneurship is all about risk. It's about tolerance and defying logic to start something new. Entrepreneurship is the desire to create something, to provide something entirely new. On the surface, Accounting and Entrepreneurship are super dissimilar. Accounting has a solid footing in logic and practical duties while Entrepreneurship is the crazy person in the corner yelling things about a new tool to trade pennystocks.

In my accounting classes, I'm learning things like sales funnels and manufacturing statements, along with really interesting new ideas on the financial statements that makes everything more complex and puzzling. In my entrepreneurship classes, I'm learning ethics, how to estimate ALL THE THINGS in a business plan, how to consciously think about what product to sell.

In accounting, we don't really care about the product/service itself. In entrepreneurship, the product/service is the main subject.

This makes sense to me, because a business cannot be based all on numbers or all on the product. It has to have a combo so that you always know where you are related to the other one. Product bigger than the price, you have a problem. Vice versa and it's still a problem.

So know your profit margin. It's the easiest way to get ONE number you need for your business. With this one number, you know how many you need to sell to cover your fixed costs.

Profit Margin/unit = 
Selling Price - Variable Cost to make one unit

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    October 2013


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