College is stressful enough. Leaving home for the first time, surrounded by smart peers, missing your family and friends. Just typing this is practically causing me to hyperventilate from the memories. On top of all of that is the worry about money. Money before, during and after. So when Regions Bank approached me to write this article, I was thrilled to discuss the money matters I wish I’d known back when I was a broke college student.
The syllabus and course outline are passed out at every student orientation or first class, but there’s almost no discussion about budgets and hidden costs. Everything I knew I picked up in the hallways like some sort of illicit conversation. Regions Bank has you covered with advice so that you don’t find yourself relying on the equally clueless in your classes. Here’s an outline for students out there:
1. Make a budget. Seems basic, but how many of us actually wrote out a budget before college? Sure we learned Excel spreadsheets, but I thought of those as a way to keep track of my outfit options and as a way to keep track of who was coming to parties and what everyone was bringing.
As simple as it sounds, add up all the money that will be coming in and subtract the money that will be going out. Regions Bank helps you consider all the bits and bobs you have going in and out so that you can see if you’ll be able to afford it all, or if you’ll need to textbook-share with someone. There are so many hidden or lesser-known costs (because how often do you first go off to college? It’s like when you’re expected to budget for a wedding and you think “how should I know?”) but Regions has your back. And don’t forget if you want to join a fraternity or sorority. It’s an amazing experience, but it’s comes at an additional cost.
2. Get creative when it comes to vacations. Welcome to college and the real world where getting creative is more than learning Adobe and Instagram filters. For example, Regions Bank is always looking for great ways to help with finances and even has some really interesting thoughts on low budget vacation ideas. Hostels are traditional, but there’s also Couchsurfing.com and staying with your new college friends. Facebook is a great way to look for friends of friends who might let you stay with them for a short while. I have a friend who recently travelled across the United States, just by reaching out via Facebook to see who had a friend in the next town that she could crash with. It doesn’t cost anything (except a small thank-you gift to your host(s)) and you meet new people.
3. Look for scholarships. You’d be surprised by how many random, narrow-focused scholarships there are out there that few people know or qualify for. I’ll bet there’s even one for left-handed, red-headed, ferret-loving women under 5’. My cousin applied for and got so many scholarships that he ended up making money during college. And don’t just look for scholarships your first year, keep looking. Sometimes a student drops out and their scholarship opens up, and some are just for sophomores or juniors. No need to stop looking for free money.
4. Get into habits you’ll maintain the rest of your life. And no, I don’t mean “beer on Fridays.” I mean learn to:
Save. Even if you only have $50 at the end of each month, put it away in a savings account. In 20 years you could have $14,000 there with interest earned. And all you did was pass up Starbucks a few times a week. Regions has an interactive calculator to help you estimate how much your savings will be worth.
Get a credit card but use it judiciously. It’s great to start building credit, but don’t spend more than you literally have, cash-wise, or else you risk running up a debt that goes above your possible tuition debt.
I’d love to hear anyone else’s tips – I’m sure I could still use some, and I know college kids who should be all ears. Regions Bank has more ideas than the above and you can find them all on their site here.
Now I’ve gotten to thinking about all the other things I wish I’d known before college. Such as how to get coffee stains out of denim, the best alarm clock, how to deal with obnoxious housemates, when fabric softener goes in the laundry, and am I ever going to use what I learned in “Introduction To Gothic Literature.”
The Ambitionista is proud to feature Bianca Torres Wong, Assistant Vice President and Legal Executive at Nestle Philippines by Day, Vinyasa Yoga Teacher at Bliss Yoga Manila by Night.
Know what it’s like to pursue your passion and career simultaneously through Bianca’s life as a corporate lawyer and a certified yoga teacher.
Describe who you are and what you do in 1- 2 sentences
“I’m half a corporate lawyer and half a wandering yogini. 🙂 I worked full time as a corporate lawyer for around 5 years before deciding I needed to do something more with my life, so I took time off and signed up for a 200 hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training. Now I happily get to practice both law (for the leading nutrition, health and wellness company in the world, Nestle) and yoga in my soul space, Bliss Yoga Manila.”
What do you do when you first wake up?
“I reach over to look for my husband. 🙂 I just recently got married, so it’s still a bit surreal.”
What’s one activity that you do everyday without fail?
“I try to meditate a few minutes everyday. Sitting at my desk, or in traffic, or walking to work – sneaking in a few seconds of mindfulness always lifts my mood.”
If you are not working you would be … ?
“Practicing more yoga. I absolutely love that deliriously happy post-yoga high. I’m always in a good mood after I practice.”
What’s your favorite vacation spot?
“The Philippines is known for its notoriously beautiful beaches so I would still have to choose Boracay, because it’s also where I met my hubby. 🙂 “
If you really want to dress to impress, what do you do?
“The combination of a classic DVF wrap dress with a good pair of heels has always worked well for me in power meetings. It’s pretty quick to put together too, vs. a full suit and less high-maintenance. If it’s a more formal event, I’d complete the look with a sharp blazer and some accessories.”
What’s your favorite everyday beauty brands/products?
“MAC Mineralize SkinFinish and MAC Velvet Teddy Matte Lipstick, I just recently discovered this and I used up an entire stick in 2 months 🙂 “
Do you exercice? If yes, what type and how often?
“I like to mix it up. I make sure I practice yoga regularly but I try to sneak in a few Barre3 classes and some cardio at the Gym.”
How do you stay sane and on top of it?
“I surround myself with good and positive energy. Years of yoga practice have taught me that energy is contagious. You can always choose the space around you, the people you surround yourself with and the battles you need to face. I now know I can take a step back, to extract myself from anything or anyone that doesn’t serve me. In this way, I guard my peace and I don’t drain myself. I devote my time tending to situations and engaging with people in my life who are worth it.”
What do you splurge on? Fashion / Beauty / Travel :
“I’m a guilty shopaholic with a bad case of wanderlust. Shopping is so much more fun when you’re on vacation! I love travelling to different places, or visiting a few favourite places over and over again.”
Which women do you admire in your life?
“I’ve always gravitated towards strong and independent women. Feminine strength is subtle and sexy.”
If you could meet a younger you from 10 years ago, what would you have told her?
“Trust the universe. Be patient. Everything beautiful unfolds in God’s good time.”
Favorite Quote: Dream like a Bohemian, Work like a Boss.
Photos c/o Kip Aguirre
The Ambitionista is proud to feature Shirley Yang, Vice President of Social Strategy at StyleHaul Founder of SOFFICI, a fashion for philanthropy brand among our #SuccessInStilettos Series. Get some insights on a day in the life of a certified girl boss, pursuing her passions with her new line of luxury bag accessories while running strategy for one of the leading Style networks.
What Is Your Work Wear Go To?
“I like to wear dresses, a form fitting dress, preferably black. The material is key. Winter time I add a fur vest, summer time I wear a light blazer outside of the dress.”
How do you stay sane and on top of it?
“Deep breaths and good bedtime reading.”
Which women do you admire in your life?
“Too many. I admire women who are brave, kind, and authentic.”
What are your Everyday Favorite Beauty Products?
“My regular routine is good moisturizer. I also LOVE jojoba oil for good hair.”
What do you splurge on?
“Good shoes and good food.”
What did you want to do when you grow up?
“Inspire as many people as I can. Leave the world a better place – that’s the Millennial in me talking.”
What was the biggest obstacle you have faced that in the end helped you?
“I’ve had people try to put me down in the past, it definitely made me stronger. It is very true what they say, I want to look back and thank them.”
What does success mean to you?
Success means balancing the Science of Achievement and the Art of Fulfilment. It’s when I do things larger than self and and inspire others to also be successful.”
If you could meet a younger you from 10 years ago, what would you have told her?
“Don’t worry so much, get more sleep.”
What Is One Activity That You do Everyday without fail?
“Hug and kiss my little chihuahua.”
What Is Your Favorite Quote?
“Chance favors the prepared mind, the more you practice, the luckier you become”
– Richard Branson
When someone hears the words “unpaid” and “work” in the same sentence, the first reaction is usually to turn the other way. Foregoing a paycheck, for an internship, may not fit everyones budget (considering living expenses, car payments, etc). However, sometimes the opportunity presented seems to good to pass up. The company might be one where having their name on your resume is enough to trump a paycheck- for a period of time, of course. It can be a daunting dilemma to decide if taking an unpaid internship is worth it. So to make a clear decision, lets consider pros and cons on taking an unpaid internship.
Gaining Experience & Networking
There are seemingly few benefits to taking an unpaid internship. However, they are still important ones. The experience you gain from interning at any particular company is great to put on your resume. The work is completely valid, whether paid or not. Another positive aspect to an unpaid internship is that you will be able to network and make connections that can later be used as references. Although both can be said for a paid internship, an unpaid internship is the next best option if you’re more focused on getting experience vs. payment.
Working For Free
This is probably the biggest disliked aspect to an internship that doesn’t pay. You work, a job, without the benefit of getting paid for your work. Many people feel that this is completely unfair, considering that companies are benefiting from free labor and that they essentially exploit unpaid interns to get free work.
No Employee Protection
Another downside to unpaid internships is that they don’t offer protection against employee discrimination or sexual harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees, however, does not have protective provisions for unpaid interns or “trainees” in regards to discrimination and harassment. This is a big aspect to consider before diving into any unpaid position. You want to always take into consideration your safety and protection. If you feel that you are (or would be) unsafe, discriminated against or harassed, its best to remove yourself from that situation.
Unpaid Internships Are Often Illegal
Yes, you read that right; Illegal. In June 2013, concerning a case of two interns working on the film, ‘Black Swan’, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that the interns were classified as employees rather than “trainees” according to the Fair Labor Standards Act. For an intern to be classified as a “trainee”, their relationship with the employer adhere to the criteria of a six-part test, which explains the nature of an approved intern-employer relationship.
The unfortunate thing about an unpaid internship is that is can be very easy to be taken advantage of in that situation. However, if the opportunity of a paid internship does not present itself and if willing to take the risk, there are benefits that can help you gain the experience needed to help fuel the advancement of your career.
Interviews can be an exciting, yet anxiety-inducing event. After all, those 20-45 minutes can determine whether you are embarking on a new venture within your career or whether you continue your search for the perfect position. The last thing you want to do is go into an interview blindly. It is crucial that you cross all your I’s and dot all your T’s before entering, as well as after, an interview. Meaning? Well, there are essential steps to take before and after the interview process to show you are the best choice for the position. Master the following essential tips to nail your interview!
1. Research The Company
Do thorough on the company you are interviewing for. Become familiar with company, its inspiration, values and history. Absorb this knowledge and use it in your interview. Expressing your interest/ knowledge about the companies values will show the interviewer how much interest you really have in the position and the company as a whole.
2. Prepare Beforehand
A few days before your interview, review your resume and have a mock interview (with someone else or solo). Act as if you are at your interview and answering questions that the interviewer would inquire about. Practicing beforehand will help you relax and develop a smooth delivery in your actual interview.
3. Dress Thoughtfully
Be wise about what your wear in an interview. Wear dress pants or skirt that is knee-length or longer. Wear a simple blouse and dress shoes (not too high). Keep your makeup simple, your hair neat and wear minimal jewelry.
4. The One Question You Must Nail
“Why are you the right candidate for this position?” This question may seem daunting but its actually the perfect setup to sell yourself and your skills to the interviewer/ hiring manager. When answering this question you want to include 4 things: that you can a) effectively accomplish the work, b) you will deliver excellent results, c) that you’ll really fit in with the team and d) that you’re a better hire than any of the other candidates.
5. Answering The Weakness Question
“What Would You Say Is Your Greatness Weakness?” The worst answer you can give to this question is, “I have no weaknesses”. The answer you give will tell the interviewer a lot about your character. They want to know that you are aware that you make mistakes. Managers know that no one is perfect. They want to know what your weakness is and how you overcome it to get the job done. They also want to know how you’ve handled obstacles in the past and how you will handle them in the future.
6. Body Language
Your body language says a lot about you and it will give insight to the interviewer, as well. Show confidence by having good posture. Sit up, high and straight in your chair. Give good eye contact. Not too much to where you’re staring them down but just enough to show you’re focused and interested in the interview. Lean in when listening to the interviewer. This is shows that you are engaged in the conversation. Lastly, smile and show enthusiasm- give the impression that there is nowhere else you’d rather be.
7. Follow-up Promptly
Before you leave the interview, ask the interviewer what happens next, this way you’ll know the appropriate time to follow up. If the interviewer says they’ll be contacting candidates within a week, you should follow up a few days after that. You don’t want to be annoying or pushy, but you want to be on the interviewers mind and show them you’re continual interest in the position.
After following these tips on nailing your interview, get ready to take on your new dream job!