Working While a Student

I have had experience working as both a high school and a college student, and I have also had experience with both high school and college without a job. So, which is better? I think it depends on the person, who you are and what your schedule is like can have a big impact on how well you would do as a student and an employee. For me, it depends on my schedule for the semester, but I prefer having no job if I can. In my situation, I am a music student, which music in itself is a job, but school and practicing music requires time that could be taken away from me if I had a job. I got my first job as a high school senior. I was a part time student and a family friend asked me to stop by in the middle of the day to check on their dog while they were away at work. It was that school year that I got another job (my first real job, you could say). This job was as an employee for a quick service restaurant. Quick service means you order and pay at the counter and the employees bring the food to the table; there may or may not be a drive thru. This job was good, not the greatest, but I was working with good people. In the months leading up to me quitting, I did not enjoy going to work really at all. As I would get ready for work, I yearned for the moment that I would stand in that spot taking my work clothes off. That has got to be a bad sign. I decided to quit at about the time that I was gearing up to transfer from a community college to a four-year university. I would still be living at home (although I later transferred to another university in a different area), but I ended up having three upper level courses, two of which were honors. I could have managed a job, but I would have had to sacrifice time in some other area, be it music, sleep, or my personal sanity. As nice as it is to have money, a job takes time. At that job, I usually worked Friday evenings from 5-10. That’s not a bad schedule, except it involved me driving out to a busy area right at rush hour and then working on my feet, in a busy drive thru, alone, for five hours, often without any breaks, even though I was scheduled for one. It was a five hour shift that took up more than six hours of my night. I decided at that point that I would rather work on building up a business that could be done from home. So, I quit, and while I’d be lying if I said I never looked back, when I do wish that I still had that job, I remind myself of how miserable it made me.

Have you worked as a student? Did you enjoy it or did it make you go crazy? Tell me in the comments or on Twitter!
Thanks for reading!

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Tips for College Visits

Today’s post is for the high school junior, the senior who has been putting it off, and the person who plans to go back to college. Tips for visit day! I have a few common tips that you have probably heard, but I also have some tips that you might not have heard of before. All tips are from my experience, and I hope you can learn a little something from them.

Tip #1: Learn about the school before you visit.
Take a look at the university’s website and look at what the college has to offer. You can also look online to see if the college you will be visiting has a video tour or something similar on their website. You don’t have to become an expert, but knowing a little bit will help you ask the right questions. ou don’t want to be asking a school without a music program about their choir or band.
Tip #2: See if you can speak with someone from a department of interest.
If at all possible, try and schedule an appointment with someone from the major or majors you are considering. Speaking with someone directly can give you a good idea of the program(s) you are looking at. You can also schedule an appointment with someone from a sport or activity of interest.
Tip #3: Get to the college early.
You never know what the parking will be like, especially during the week or on special visit days. Sometimes you might get a visitors permit, but you might also have to park a ways away in a metered lot or on the street. Getting there with plenty of time will help keep your stress levels low.
Tip #4: Write down any questions you have before and throughout your visit.
If you have any questions about the college before your visit, be sure to write them down so you don’t forget. If any questions come to mind while you are there, write them down if it is not an appropriate time to speak up and ask them. You can always ask the question later in the day or through email.
Tip #5: Walk around campus on your own.
Whether you do this on your first visit or you wait until you have narrowed down your top colleges, take a walk around campus without an official tour guide so that you can get a feel for where things are in a way that is different to the official tour. The tours are usually one route of campus, and it includes all of the buildings. If you take your own time to walk around, you can focus on the buildings and paths that are relevant to you.
Tip #6: See the town/city if you can.
After your visit, take a walk down a popular area close to campus. Do they have any of your favorite restaurants or shops? Look at the local stuff to see what the town is all about. If you are visiting a college in your area, check out what is next to campus, specifically.
Tip #7: Visit a variety of colleges.
If it’s possible, visit a few colleges of different a sizes, public vs private, and different specializations. This way you can get an idea as to what makes you comfortable and what you like best. Don’t just tick to visiting big public research universities or small liberal arts schools. Pick schools that are different, at least to start. Once you have settled on the factors most important to you, then you can start looking at different schools of your preferred size, location, price range, etc.
Tip #8: Visit during the school week.
Some universities offer Saturday visits, and while this can be tempting so you don’t have to miss school and your parents don’t have to miss work, you won’t get the full experience of what the campus looks and feels like during the week. Visit when classes are in session so that you can see how busy (or not) the campus is.
Tip #9: Don’t be afraid to visit schools more than once.
Once you have narrowed down your list of colleges, schedule another, visit at the ones of most interest to you. Some of the information will seem repetitive, but you will be able to get a different view of the school having learned more about it, and you will probably have a more ironed out list of questions.
Tip #10: Utalize specialized visit days.
Whether there is a day specific to freshman, transfer students (if you will be transferring), or a specific program, try to attend that event. Last spring, I went to the event that was scheduled specifically for incoming and prospective music students. I was transferring from another university, but that didn’t matter. On that day, I got to sit in on a couple of classes, meet my future studio teachers, and that was also another opportunity for me to explore campus and the surrounding area.
So those are my top tips for when you visit a college or university. For all of the high school juniors out there, this year can be stressful, but you will get through it. Take advantage of your winter break and other days off. For the seniors, you are almost there! I will soon be putting up a post of my tips for applying to college. I don’t have as many tips for that as for visiting, but I have a few. For those going back to school, congratulations on making the choice to continue your education!
Thanks for reading!

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Do You Have to Go to College?

This is a big question that most people will ask themselves at least once. I have asked myself the question “Do I need a degree?” multiple times. It is September and it is that crazy time where high school seniors are starting the application process, juniors are starting to visit colleges, and adults considering going back are beginning to look at their options. If you came here looking for a straightforward answer to the necessity of a degree, prepare to be disappointed, because I don’t think there is a straightforward answer for everyone. I have broken down some key categories worth looking into to help you decide if you should continue your education, but the decision ultimately will fall on you, and possibly your family members.

Career Aspirations
What is your dream job? If you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, you most definitely need higher education. If you want to become a public school teacher, you need a degree. There are some career fields where getting a degree might be waste of precious time and money. If you plan on starting your own business, you can benefit a lot from a business degree, but you could also spend a little time on Google to learn the ropes of running a business for a much lower price tag. If you want to work in the entertainment industry, a college degree is worth considering, but-depending on the person-if might not be necessary. My cousin works as a dancer and he decided against attending college. Some career fields only require a certificate. Careers like certified nursing assistant and cosmetologist only require a certificate in order to work. The point of this is to look at your options and what you see yourself doing everyday for a wage. It might require a degree, it might not.
Current Training/Experience
This relates to me, especially, because of my dreams of being a flutist, private teacher, and composer. I could do any of those jobs without a college degree, but since I started playing the flute in high school, I didn’t have the necessary experience to work right after I graduated. I am currently in a bachelors degree program that will help me gain the skills and knowledge to further my career options. College is also a good option if you are dreaming of a performance career, because it can be a great tool for networking with professionals and other students. As a music major, I also will have a ton of performance experience to put on my resume when I graduate. If you think that a college degree can train you to be better at your job, look into a degree-even if it’s an associates.
As I have already stated, college is a big deal and choosing to (or not to) get a degree is a big decision. There are more things I could go into regarding this topic, but this is already longer than the average entry in “Thoughtworthy”. So, take these tips and thoughts into consideration when you make your decisions this fall.
Thanks for reading!

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A Day in the Life: College Music Major

Now that I am a few weeks into the semester, I have been able to settle into a routine. Today, I am showing you what a typical Monday looks like for me. I have quite a few classes, so I will go through those I have on Mondays. Today is Labor Day, so I don’t have classes, but here is how my Mondays are right now.

7:00am Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast in my dorm
8:00am Go to music building to practice for lessons, ensembles, etc.
10:00am Music History I class
11:00am Music Theory III
12:00pm Break-lunch and a bit of chill time alone
1:00pm Earth Science Lecture for 80 minutes
2:30pm Get ready for marching band (change into athletic shorts, put on sunscreen)
3:00pm Marching band Rehearsal
5:00pm Shower after rehearsal
5:30pm Dinner with some of my floor mates
7:00pm Homework/more practice time/chill time in the dorm
10:00pm Bedtime routine
Mondays are hard for everyone, but I am doing music, something that I love. That makes things a little easier. Over the course of the rest of the semester, I might do more days in my life for other days of the week, because no two days are the same for me. (Well, Monday and Wednesday are pretty similar, but that’s beside the point.)
Also, at the middle of the semester, my Monday and Wednesday afternoons will be a little different as I will have concert band from 3-4 and marching from 4-5.
Thanks for reading!

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The Tipping Custom

If you are from the United States, you have probably been a tipping customer at a restaurant. If you are not from the United States, you might not have heard of this custom. I don’t really like the fact that when I go to a sit-down, order-your-food-at-the-table restaurant, I am expected to cover the waiter’s paycheck. This might just be me speaking as a broke college student, but I find it ridiculous how these restaurants already charge quite a bit, but they can’t seem to pay their employees a living wage. They put that burden on their customers. I don’t go to these types of places that often; I would rather pop into Chipotle or Jimmy Johns-both restaurants where you pay at the counter and where you aren’t expected to pay a tip. I am just flustered by this custom of American culture. I think that everyone should be paid a living wage, and no one should have to rely on the luck that comes with a tipped position. There will always be those people who tip generously, but there will also be the people who don’t care, or are broke-which is another topic all its own.

What are your thoughts on the custom of tipping in restaurants? Do you support it or find it absurd? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading!

My Sheet Music
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My Youtube (I am not currently posting videos, but I would love to sometime in the future).