<![CDATA[Forward Motion 411 - Getting Ahead]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 02:11:45 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[How to Ace Your College Finals]]>Sun, 29 Dec 2013 18:35:16 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/how-to-ace-your-college-finalsAce College Finals with Study Strategies
Finals are over for Fall Semester and you’re on to bigger and better things. Christmas celebrations were awesome – well what you remember of them. A lot of this holiday season was a hazy because finals really take it out of you.  Post – finals  activities included celebrating on the night of the last test – and then the big crash. You sleep, you eat, you sleep some more…you’re pretty much a zombie.  Reading week just doesn’t contain enough hours to fit in all of the studying to be done and papers to be written. You scoff when you read about how important it is to sleep the night before a test. Who has time to sleep with all of that studying waiting to be done?  Your doctor gives you Adderall, your mother gives you grief, your professors give you no slack – nothing seems to be enough (and you really wish you’d done the required reading before, well, now).

We’re going to give you one more thing – a study strategy that works. One that will spread the required learning over the semester; leaving you calm, cool, and relatively rested for finals week in the Spring. If you follow this strategy, we guarantee your grades will be higher, you will experience less FFFW (i.e., Fatigue Fraught Finals Week), and you’ll have more time to play.

  1. Do assigned reading before you attend class. Buy the books early and show up to class ready to be exposed to the material for a second time. This leaves you at an advantage. Learning theories all show that repeated exposure to materials will allow you to learn more. Reading before class allows you to think about what you have read, ask questions, and absorb more material than your fellow students. At the end of class you’ve engaged a multitude of learning strategies: reading, listening to the lecture, writing or typing your lecture notes, and engaging in discussion. 
  2. Keep all of your notes in the same place.  Keeping all your notes on your laptop can really help.  Make a brief outline of your reading as you read and add the page numbers. Note any questions that arise so you can ask them in class.  As your professor lectures, add your lecture notes to the reading outline in a different color. At the end of class, you have all of your study notes in one place – which will make life easier when it comes time to study for your mid-term and final.
  3. Create a to-do list during class.  It’s easy to remember you need to make some flash cards or re-read a section of a book while you’re sitting in class. The minute you leave, though, you’ll forget something. Create a running to-do list for your study time. When you sit down to study, your list will direct your activities and you won’t waste time trying to remember what needs to be done.
  4. Study in the library every night.  Set aside time for studying every night – including nights when you don’t have anything due next for the next class.  The library is a great place to study because your dorm room is filled with distractions, fun times, your bed, and food. Protect this time and protect the place. Don’t allow your study area to become social or you won’t study.
  5. Study!  Let your to-do list guide your studying.  To study, you: a) review all past notes from the class; b) read in advance of the next lecture; c) complete items on your to-do list; d) make/review flashcards (www.quizlet.com is great for creating flashcards); and e) made note of any questions you encounter during your study session. As the semester progresses, you’ll also be researching and writing course papers that are due. By studying every night after class and reviewing all of your notes each time you study for a particular class, you won’t find yourself up cramming for exams all night or trying to hook up with someone who sells Adderall because you have to write an 8 page paper that’s due the next day.  Repeat: Adderall is bad; sleep is good. 
  6. Schedule pre-test study time a few days before the test.  By all means, get a study group together but don’t invite the scrubs!  The purpose of your study group is to discuss the material and ensure it’s firmly anchored in your brain. Inviting friends who haven’t studied will slow you down, don’t do it! The study group should meet a day or two before the test so you have time to ask the professor any questions that come up
  7. Review your notes the day before the test.  You won’t need to cram for the exam because you already really know the material. If you used quizlet.com, you can simply review using your quizzes to ensure you know the material. Life is so much more simple when you don’t have to cram!
  8. Sleep the night before your exams.  This is the secret that will compound your success. Every study ever conducted indicates your grades will be higher if you actually got adequate sleep the night before your test. In fact the most recent research indicates your glymphatic system literally cleans the amyloid-beta from your brain during the sleep process. You have to sleep to let your brain clear out the information you don't need so you can think clearly for the test. In the researchers' words, "You can think of it like having a house party. You can either entertain guests or clean up the house, but you can't really do both at the same time."  

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<![CDATA[Big Law - How to Get Hired]]>Wed, 19 Jun 2013 16:44:54 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/big-law-how-to-get-hiredPicture
Regardless of the law school you attend, biglaw will be discussed. Biglaw firms are mega-firms that generally have offices on several continents, bill US$750 per hour or higher, and have a high ratio of support staff per attorney. Snagging one of these elite positions will assure you prestige, a large paycheck, and an 80+ hour work week. Theoretically, everyone has a chance to play but in real life Big Law opportunities tend to go to the students attending national law schools. Many law schools are regional – meaning the school should do a great job of preparing you to practice law in a handful of states.  While law students in regional law schools will be scanned for superstars, Biglaw typically passes these students up to hire those attending national law schools.  

If you aren’t sure which schools are considered to be national, look no further.  Here is how it works. The  T14 schools are considered to be national. The training you receive in these law schools will be more theoretical in order to train you to practice the law wherever you please. The higher on the US News and World Report rankings your school lies, the more likely you are attending a national school. 

What’s the typical path to a biglaw career? Typically, you will be recruited as a summer associate during On Campus Interviewing (OCI) which occurs during the fall of your 2L year.  Most biglaw summer associates will be attending a national law school, in the top 10% of their 1L class rankings, and demonstrate malleability and good manners during their interviews. Biglaw hirers are looking for people who understand professional behavior and are willing to learn despite their already proven ability to perform. 

The Biglaw firm will evaluate your performance, as well as your ability to learn and follow directions, during your summer gig. At the end of the summer (if your work is satisfactory and the firm is projecting a need for new associates) you will be offered a job with the firm upon successful passage of your bar exam.  The current job market does not leave all firms with the ability to hire you even if you give a stellar performance. Some of this comes down to having the luck to land in a firm that plans to hire; but you may not know their hiring capacity until they offer (or don’t offer) you a future position with the firm. So, basically, you may know where you’ll be working before you even start your 3L year if you’re going to wind up in a biglaw firm.  

If you aren’t selected into Big Law as a summer associate, don’t despair. There are a few other paths that might work for you. You can repeat the OCI selection process after your 2L year. Also, some Big Law firms are allegedly requiring a lateral transfer from another law firm after you have gained some experience and shown your stuff at that firm. 

If you are contemplating a career in Big Law, be very careful in your selection of law schools, have a killer 1L year, don’t be a douche, and hope for some luck when it comes to position availability. 


~Want help with choosing the right law school for you? We can do that!  Contact us.

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<![CDATA[Internships: You Are Not Alone]]>Sun, 02 Jun 2013 20:24:00 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/internships-you-are-not-alonePicture
For most college students, the summer dreams of traveling the world and rekindling friendships are now unattainable goals. Internships are the new dream of undergraduate and graduate students alike. Nearly all career fields, even those which require advanced degrees, now expect students to spend their summers as interns for companies which may (or may not) hire them in the future.  Approximately  63% of students who worked at least one paid internship will have a job offer by the time they graduate. The number may seem dismally small but it is far more than the 40% of students who will have a job offer at graduation who did not complete an internship experience during college. The internship industry, in its current incarnation, is far from perfect or fair; particularly regarding the gender imbalance in awarded internships.  As more and more college students seek out internships, the industry will hopefully begin to formulate some general rules to promote equity. Regardless, students everywhere will continue to seek out summer internships to increase their chances of future employment in the real world.

Summer internships can be time consuming but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend some time this summer recharging your batteries. You should! School is just around the corner after all. There is always a lot to do during the summer in the cities where you are interning. Here are some tips to find fun summer activities wherever you are :

1.       Start at the Top. City websites, such as New York City’s website, provide tons of information on free summer concerts, events in Central Park, and other city-wide activities. Wherever you are, your city website will likely have similar information for you. The website might also provide information regarding activities like film screenings, parades, and other outdoor events. Take advantage of it – it’s often free!

2.       Ask at Work.  Full-time employees, especially those who have lived in the area for a few years, will have insider information regarding the don’t-miss summer activities and weekend getaways. They will be valuable in helping you sort out which beaches are best, which bars are seedy, and where to go to find some fun.  This is also a fabulous way to get to know your co-workers and perhaps forge important friendships and connections.

3.       Attend Office Events. Many employers recognize that summer can be a drag without some extra-curricular involvement in the local area. They’ll often host parties, service activities, or networking events.  Don’t blow these invitations off. Go! You’ll have a lot of fun and will most likely meet some new friends - particularly if you‘re in a city with a lot of other interns.

4.       Take a Walk.  Not every city is a walking city, but getting to know your neighborhood is never a bad idea. It’s a good idea to grab a fellow intern for company.  Find out where local students or recent graduates like to go; chances are you’ll find like-minded interns in your neighborhood who are also looking for a good time and some company. If not, at least you’ll know where to not explore again!

Summer internships are a great way to increase your employment skills and your future employability. Just don’t forget to have a good time during the summer. The intern experience you’ll gain is important, but it’s just as important to not burn out before the next school year even begins!


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<![CDATA[Why Your Twenties Really Matter]]>Thu, 30 May 2013 13:56:47 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/why-your-twenties-really-matter
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<![CDATA[Considering Job Prospects As You Head to College?  Smart Move!]]>Thu, 18 Apr 2013 20:33:50 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/considering-job-prospects-as-you-head-to-college-smart-movePicture
Congratulations on your acceptance to the university (or universities) of your choice! This is an incredibly exciting time but also a busy one, as you plan the logistics of attending college. Factors such as packing, moving expenses, financing your tuition and fees, and finding part-time employment may be at the top of your to-do list as you begin this amazing adventure. However you shouldn't forget the big picture either; part of that is figuring out what you want to study while you're in college.

“What?” you're thinking “This is crazy! I have four years of college before I even have to think about a job.”  False.  As you'll soon discover, college flies by and before you know it you're a Junior desperately seeking internships; or a Senior in the midst of the pre-graduation job hunt. Given no advance thought, a large part of what you study will probably align with your current personal interests, influences, and location in life. However, a little up-front research might leave you surprised at what you decide to study.  Start by thinking about what you would like to do in the future for employment and whether there are any demands for your chosen occupation.

Getting a job after college is still a pretty tough job for the recently graduated. Nearly one in five adults aged 18-29 years is currently unemployed. A portion of that unemployment is due to ongoing economic factors that college graduates, as individuals, have very little power to change. But some of the problem is that they're unprepared to fill the jobs that are available in the market. With a little foresight and planning, you'll be ready to graduate with a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other.

It helps to know which college graduates have the worst employment prospects at the moment. Turns out, the least employable graduates right now are…architects! According to a recent study by the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University, architecture majors have found themselves at the top of the ranks of unemployed recent college graduates - 13.9% have been unable to obtain work. The next four are:
  • fine arts majors,
  • liberal arts majors,
  • social studies majors, and
  • recreation majors. 
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t pursue your dream of being an architect – you should; just take care to consider your options carefully and possibly have an alternative plan in place.

As if your future employability isn’t enough to worry about, you also need to consider how much money your chosen career will earn. A recently published article in Forbes, quoting the latest report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), reveals that the big money is going to the college graduates who have good quantitative skills (i.e., statistics) and are educated in engineering or computer sciences. Here are the NACE’s most current list of top paying jobs for newly minted college graduates:

College Major                                                                           Annual Salary

Computer Engineering                                                                    $70,400

Chemical Engineering                                                                      $66,400

Computer Science                                                                          $64,400

Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical Engineering                           $64,000

Mechanical Engineering                                                                   $62,900

Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering                   $62,300

Civil Engineering                                                                              $57,600

Finance                                                                                           $57,300

Construction Science/Management                                                 $56,600

Information Sciences and Systems                                                  $56,100

So, don’t forget to think about what you want to do post-graduation as you pack your toothbrush and dream about your dorm room. I wish someone had shared this with me when I first started college!


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<![CDATA[4 Tips for Successful Office Hours Visits]]>Tue, 02 Apr 2013 10:52:00 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/4-tips-for-successful-office-hours-visitsPicture
Everyone will advise you to attend office hours- they’re where you make connections with relatively powerful people and where you can make yourself more than just a name on a roll. The problem is no one tells you how to make your time count- here are some quick tips for a pain free and successful session with you soon to be favorite professor.

  1. Be on Time! Timing is everything- dig up that syllabus you stuffed somewhere and find their hours and email. Even if appointments aren’t necessary, send them an email asking them for a specific time to make sure they’ll be there. Put it in your calendar and show up on time! If you can, don’t schedule them around when a paper is due for the first time because everyone will be trying to meet with them then- try to go early so they don’t think you’re just worried about your grade.
  2. Don’t come empty headed. The biggest mistake most students make is coming to office hours expecting to socialize and get to know the professor right off the bat. What they don’t tell you is that before the professors start sharing their life story with you, you will need to have developed a relationship with them. Show up with a legitimate course-related question.  Even if you feel like you have nothing cogent to ask about the class, come with at least a few questions. It can be about a broad topic like “I just don’t really understand x concept, could we talk about it a little more?” Show that you put a little thought into it and your efforts will be rewarded.
  3. Wrong Time? Don’t Fret. Most of us have that one class that always schedules office hours at our worst time of the week. That doesn’t mean your grade should suffer for it. Shoot your professor a nice email explaining you have class/work/naptime during that time and request a different time to meet. Most professors are understanding and would rather make time to see you than have you flounder through their class.
  4. Be Appropriate. It’s very easy to forget etiquette in this modern world. Don’t talk about topics you wouldn’t talk about with your grandma. This means no sex, no personal friend drama, and no topic that makes you look unprofessional or irresponsible. The purpose of office hours is to build a relationship not to air your dirty laundry!

Good luck! The first visit is by far the most awkward but after that you may even enjoy your office hours visits. Are there any other tips that you wish you would have known before you went to your first office hours? 


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<![CDATA[5 Excuses to Skip Office Hours (And Why You Shouldn’t)]]>Sat, 09 Mar 2013 02:34:29 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/getting-ahead/5-excuses-to-skip-office-hours-and-why-you-shouldntPicture
The simplest way to get ahead in school is to simply do very well in school.  But how do you do that when everyone else is doing the same thing? Aside from doing the assigned reading before each class, participating in class without monopolizing, and making sure you get your work done on time, you also need to connect with your professor. That is the reason for office hours.

You’ll learn better and your professors will be more vested in your success if they get to know you a little. How do you make that happen? Office hours. A consistent, positive chat in the office can help you achieve optimal academic success. An added bonus will be those great letters of recommendation you’ll receive for grad school because the professors will know you very well! Office hours are important. 

Here are the top 5 reasons students give for not attending office hours:

1.      Professors are busy – I don’t want to annoy them. 
Professors hold office hours in hopes that students will come….okay, not really. They hold office hours because it’s required of them. But your professor doesn’t want to sit in that office for an extra hour all alone and bored. Think of this as a standing appointment set just for you and your classmates to keep the professor from being too lonely. 

2.      Someone might already be there for office hours. Awkward!
It’s okay if the professor is already talking to another student. If it sounds personal or angry, you may have to wait a minute, but it’s still worth it. Honestly, you’re more likely to be invited to come in and join the conversation. It’s amazingly fun to have a small discussion: you might learn a lot while making a new friend or two.

3.      Office hours don’t really affect anyone’s grades.
As much as professors and universities work to create objective grading systems, there is still a certain degree of subjectivity that goes into final grades. Even if they grade blind, a certain amount of calculating and rounding goes into the compiling of your final score. If your professor knows how passionate you are about the subject, or how hard you’ve struggled to learn the subject matter, your grade could be rounded more in your favor than if you are a nameless person on the third row. Also, talking about the coursework during office hours gives you more insight and the ability to craft a better educated answer.

4.      I don’t have any questions regarding the course material.
If you can’t think of a question about some material you don’t understand (which honestly, you should) it’s okay to ask for their expertise on something else.  If something really interests you about that class or there is a topic in the class you’d like to know more about, ask if they can recommend how you can find more information on it.  They may know about a course your university offers, a person in the industry you need to contact, or a book that will illuminate the subject. If someone else is there, sit back and let them ask the questions. You’ll be surprised at what you can learn. Office hours are not just about covering course material, they’re also about connecting with your professor and getting yourself known. Think of it as networking.

5.      I just don’t have the time to do office hours. I need to worry about getting into grad school.
Building good relationships with your professors will definitely help with obtaining stellar letters of recommendation for grad school. If your professor doesn’t really know you, you can’t expect a personable, glowing letter written all about you and your accomplishments. A professor can really get to know you during office hours; can assess your strengths, become vested in your future success, and can sometimes put in a good word for you in addition to that awesome letter of recommendation.

Remember to attend office hours, a professor who actually knows you and is vested in your success can be golden.  


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