Interview Musings

Two weeks ago I bought my first suit.

I really hate it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s well made and I’ve been told that it looks good on me.

But I never in my entire life imagined that I would be the kind of person who needed a suit.

This is my last semester at Ball State, I’ll be graduating in a little over two months time. My professor, Cathy Day, decided to include a practice interview in our Literary Citizenship class. I’ve been on several interviews before but most of them were informal for students jobs that didn’t really hold the level of pressure that my future interviews did. Afterwards, Cathy asked us to blog about our experiences.

There is an insane amount of information out there about how to ace a job interview. And one of my biggest pet peeves is when an article or blog post promises me new tips but it’s really just the same ones with different wordings. So instead of giving out any ‘tips’ I’m going to tell you the one main thing I took away from the whole experience.

My degree is not useless.

There’s a lot of stuff behind this one little tidbit. I’ve been an avid reader and writer all my life, I wrote hundreds of pages of fanfiction in my teens and random bits and pieces here and there but I never really felt like any of it mattered. My parents encouraged me but I could tell they didn’t really know where I could go with writing at the same time. So when I got into college I faltered quite a bit, changed my major five times, and finally settled down with a Creative Writing major.

A lot of the time I feel like a kid finger painting compared to people with accounting or marketing degrees. I feel intimidated when people ask me what I’m writing (because right now I’m not really writing anything creative) and I feel embarrassed.

When I first got dressed and went into the interview I felt like a little kid dressed up in her mom’s pantsuit. But to my surprise that soon faded away and I found myself realizing that even though some people might have doubted the ‘validity’ of my degree it was mostly me who was putting that thought into my head.

There are thousands of written articles/blog posts/tweets/etc. published every single day. Every single one of them needs an author and I have the knowledge and the skills to be one of those authors. The only person holding me back from that this entire time was me.

So maybe this is one of those cliche pieces of advice that comes in every self help book or article about interviews but take it to heart. The worst enemy you have in that room is yourself and no one else.

 

Multi-Reading: Tips for reading multiple books at once

My lovely roommate Rianne offers 3 simple tricks to help you read multiple books at once.

White Pages

I have always struggled with reading more that one book at a time. I can do it, but I find my mind stretching to remember all the events, ideas, and themes of each novel/article/whatever.

And it matters because I want everything I read to make an impact. I want all of the novels I read for school or fun or just for knowledge to matter. To sink in. For that to happen, I need time to read them.

College doesn’t account for this very well. Or any part of school, for that matter. These are the books I have been/am continuing to read for the past 3 weeks of the semester.

Photo on 2-11-14 at 8.35 PM #4 The titles from right to left: THE CANTERBURY TALES, GERALD OF WALES, THE WOMAN IN WHITE, THE SLIPPERY ART OF BOOK REVIEWING, THE FOREST FOR THE TREES, and THE CELTS

It breaks my heart that I can’t read all…

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My 80/20 Rule

This is a really good idea about how to use social media for others vs yourself

Live to Write - Write to Live

pinterest2 I dove into Pinterest this past weekend. I’ve used it for a bit, but like many things social media, my first impulse was “this is fun, but what’s the point?”. And then a few friends talked me through it, and how they find it helpful. And one of the Sisters in Crime New England board members started a SinCNE site, and I tried to help. Turns out that half of the Wicked Cozy Authors already use Pinterest to engage readers with their series in different ways. So I started to poke around a bit. And I noticed that the sites I was most drawn to followed the 80/20 rule.

What, you may ask, is the 80/20 rule? It is simple. My definition in this context is that 80% of your social media use should be about other people (or organizations). 20% can be in service of yourself. Only 20%. 10%…

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Caine’s Arcade

Literary Citizenship isn’t just about books. It’s the creative community at large around you and learning how to use that community effectively.

Caine’s Arcade is a short film about a boy who spent his summer making an arcade in his father’s used auto parts store. You can view it here on Vimeo: Caine’s Arcade.

caines_arcade_smile

We’ve all seen kids do amazing things. I grew up in the age of the lemonade stand and the Beanie Baby palace (which was just our swing set but whatever). Kids did, and still do, amazing things every single day and through social media we have the ability to spread those ideas and make them known to the entire world.

Caine’s Arcade became famous through Reddit and Facebook. An entire community came out to support this little boy’s idea and his ingenuity and it brought an entire neighborhood together. A scholarship fund has been set up for Caine and all donations are being matched by the foundation. Donate or check out the website here.

The movie sparked a movement that led to the founding of the Imagination Foundation. Their goals focus on creating a community the values creativity as much as any other skill and instilling a sense of ‘social entrepreneurship’ into kids from a young age.

So the next time you see a kid do something amazing, foster it, encourage them, don’t limit them, and spread the word.