The Awkward Girl's Guide to Networking

As a self-proclaimed awkward person and a newbie in the professional world, networking is definitely not my cup of tea. Even though I do consider myself to be a people person, talking to people in order to develop connections and "build my professional brand" can feel difficult - after all, I find talking to people in general exhausting, even more so when I have to introduce myself.

Still, it is a valuable skill and fairly necessary in today's day and age; the saying "It's not what you know, but who you know" is a true one, even if it doesn't feel honest sometimes. Still, as much as I hate to say it, networking has enabled me to really develop meaningful conversations with great people, and I have gotten some of the best advice from sitting down for a one-on-one, even if I was terrified to start.

Although networking is not my favorite thing in the world, over the past two years I've acquired a little bit of knowledge from peers and mentors on the importance of networking and how to make it successful in spite of my awkward tendencies. I'm here to drop that knowledge on you friends, and I hope you'll share some of your tips & tricks in the comments too - us awkward people have to stick together!!!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when navigating the scary sea that is networking:

Life Updates Pt. 2

Oh hi - did you miss me?

I know I haven't been consistent in posting on here, and I know I keep making excuses and I'm sorry about it. This blog is still important to me & something I hope to be proud of, but this summer has somehow simultaneously been everything I've hoped for and nothing I've expected all rolled into one.

This past month I have kind of let working full-time and the newness of living on my own 55 miles away from my family (it might not seem like a lot to you, but it feels like a whole lot to me!) engulf my life, which yes, I know is not good, but I think the time was necessary to devote. Living alone is still proving to be difficult in its own way, but I am working through it, and I know that it's an experience that I'll be able to use in the future. If you have any tips on beating homesickness while living alone, let a girl know. ;)

The four weeks since my last post have included a few changes, and I am finally ready to share them with you all.

May Favorites (+ Blog Update!)

I'm telling you, this year is going by way too fast for my liking. As of Thursday we will officially be halfway done with 2017, and I honestly can't believe it.

Things have changed quite a bit since my last life updates post, even though it has really been only a month. I completed my sophomore year of college, I moved back home for the rest of the month, and I started my summer internship. Life has been hectic to say the absolute least, which is why I am making the decision to only post once a week from now on, or at least until I can get my bearings and into the groove of working 40-hour work weeks. I really want to ensure that all of my blog posts are written to be as best as they possibly can be, and I don't think I am capable of providing that kind of content twice a week right now. I'm super bummed about it, but I also think it's the best decision for Yours Truly, Katrina at the moment.

Anyway, here are a few things that I've been absolutely adoring during the month of May - you know that these are my favorite blog posts to write, and I hope that you enjoy them too!

5 Internship Tips for Your First Day!

We all know what time it is - summer internship season! A chance for all of us budding young professionals to really experience what it's like in the "real world" and put our skills to the test. Yesterday was my first day at my new internship, and it was nerve-wracking to say the least. There was so much to see and learn and do that I felt seriously overwhelmed!

Even though the first day of a new job can be stressful, I made it through the day alive, and I know that you can too. Here are a few things I would recommend so that you have the best first day possible - and if you've had your first day already, make sure to leave your own tips in the comments section below.

5 Ways to Have a Productive Summer

WE DID IT! Summer is finally here - no more exams, no more 8:30am classes, and no more staying up until the break of dawn finishing Differential Equations homework (...or was that just me?).

Even though I am always thankful for the mental break that comes with the summer, I always fear that I will feel totally unprepared when school comes around again. It's very easy to fall into a routine of laziness what with the heat and the lack of work - however, while lounging by the pool for three whole months sounds fantastic, the summer is also a chance to work on improving and challenging yourself.

Here are a few things you can do this summer to stay productive (while still having fun!) -

Harry Styles Album Track-by-Track Review

Fun fact: when the idea of starting a blog first popped into my mind all those years ago, I thought that it definitely would be a music blog. As a fourteen year old, music was everything to me - I decorated all of my notebooks with song lyrics and I pored over TigerBeat Magazines for new posters to put up on my walls.

Among those posters was, of course, One Direction. I "discovered" them just before their first single "What Makes You Beautiful" dropped in the UK, and I was thoroughly obsessed. After all, what teenage girl wouldn't be in love with five boys from another part of the world who sang about looking past my insecurities? Definitely not me, that's for sure.

Fast forward to the present, and while my high-key obsession with One Direction faded long ago (one concert, five albums, and a whole lot of emotions later), I am still guilty of keeping tabs on the 1D boys, most specifically Harry and Niall. The songs they wrote were most closely aligned with the kind of music I have come to identify as "my type", and I always had hopes that they would release their own music.

That's why when Harry Styles dropped his first ever full-length, I was pretty stoked. After listening to it straight through a couple of times, I knew that I had to talk about this record, even if it means diverging slightly from my regularly scheduled "college blogger !!" programming.

I love this album - it has great lyrical content, a nostalgic feel, and it simply sounds beautiful. (Also, can we talk about the cover art??? Wow.)

However, I don't think this album was totally without fault; there are some songs that I love more than others, and if you're interested in a track-by-track review, read on!

6 Things I Learned from Sophomore Year

On Tuesday night, I took the last final of my sophomore year of college, and I have not quite yet wrapped my head around the idea that in two years' time I will be anxiously waiting to don a cap and gown and graduate with a Bachelor's degree. I might be looking a little far ahead into the future, but it is a reality that I have to come to terms with soon.

Looking back on my sophomore year, I've realized that so much has changed in a short period of time, and I have grown immensely since I began in September. I made a lot of mistakes, but I also made some remarkable triumphs, and I'm proud of everything that I've experienced and learned.

Here are five lessons that really stuck with me from my sophomore year -

April Favorites

If I could pick a word to describe the month of April, it would definitely be "weird". It's pretty weird to think that the conclusion of April is also the conclusion of the first half of my college experience, and that I only have four more semesters left before I graduate. The amount of work that I've had to juggle has also been weirdly (or not weirdly, depending on how you look at it) overwhelming, and April was basically my month to just catch up and feel like myself again. You can read about everything that's going on in my life here in my latest post.

Regardless, I could not neglect my monthly favorites post, as it's one of my favorite (lol) to write every month. Here are a bunch of things I've been loving lately; I hope you enjoy!

Life Updates

Hello friends - did you forget about me?

I'm so sorry for being MIA for the past two weeks. As you all probably know, being the busy, wonderful people you are, life can get in the way sometimes, and I've just been slowly piecing everything back together to feel like myself again. I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, and I can finally feel myself pulling out of the deep funk that I wrote about back in March.

Since I came back from Arizona, everything has kind of hit me like a ton of bricks, which is no excuse, but is the main reason I have been scrambling to catch up. It has been a lot of late nights, a lot of laughter, and a LOT of coffee.

So much has happened in the past two weeks, and I am excited to share it all with you - both the good and the bad.

How to Survive Tag-a-long Travel

My family is always traveling. You see, my sister is very active in both dance and soccer, and when the weekend rolls around most of the time they will be packing up their suitcases, gearing up for another dance convention or soccer tournament.

As a result, before I went to college I always found myself being dragged along on these trips. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not ungrateful for the opportunities I've had to travel, but early morning sports games, sitting in the hot sun, or having to just go along with whatever your sibling/family member wants to do can be draining.

However, even if you do find yourself tagging along on a trip, there are ways to make the most of your little adventure. After all, you are traveling - because of dance & soccer, I've been able to visit Boston multiple times, see the Hollywood sign, eat ice cream under the LINQ in Las Vegas, and even visit Arizona, where I'm currently blogging from today!

Here are a few ways to survive "tag-a-long" travel and still make the most of a trip, even if it isn't meant to be a vacation:

March Favorites

I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't happy March was over - truthfully, it was a pretty rough month for me, and I am so looking forward to what April has to offer. (A trip to Arizona! The Tribeca Film Festival! Almost the end of the school year!)

However, there were a few things in March that I have to say I am a fan of, and in typical blogger tradition, I am here to share them with you today.

Here are my March favorites - I hope you enjoy!

On What to Do When You're Feeling Burnt Out

Have you ever liked a song so much that you just kept playing it on repeat every single day until you were absolutely so tired of it that you couldn’t even stand to listen to the first note? That’s quite literally how I feel right now, except it isn’t for a song, but rather for many things that typically make me happy – writing, dance, my extracurricular activities. In other words, I feel pretty burnt out. 

What to Consider When Choosing a College

To all of you high school seniors out there - hello! Congratulations on your impending graduation; I know you've worked super hard to get to where you are, and we are all very proud of you. You've submitted all of the applications, received them back with answers (hopefully all yes's!), and are looking at all of your options now, pondering where you're going to spend the next four years of your life. Am I right?

May 1st is quickly approaching, and between scholarships, college rankings, campus tours, and accepted students day events, having so many different options thrown at you is enough to keep your head spinning for a long time. I was in your shoes just two years ago, and I promise you that if you're feeling confused and overwhelmed you're not alone.

Even though I was incredibly stressed at the prospect of picking a school, now I can truthfully say that choosing my current institution was the best decision I've ever made thus far. Choosing your future college is a big deal, but with the right things in mind, you'll definitely be able to pick a school that's right for you.

Here are a few things you should consider (in no particular order) when picking a school:

3 Ways to Avoid the Mid-Semester Slump

We did it, guys! We made it halfway through the semester, and I can almost taste the fresh air and relaxation that is waiting at the end of finals week. However, since the end is so close and spring break has just finished, it's easy to find yourself lacking motivation to do literally anything at all. I know I've definitely caught this strange form of undergraduate "senioritis", and I am none too happy about it!

That's why I've compiled a list of things that will help to beat this mid-semester laziness so that we can all complete all of our goals for the semester and end strong. I hope you enjoy!

Make Your Next Advising Meeting a Success!

Ugh, advising meetings. Despite your advisor's best efforts to make it a good experience, not only do advising meetings signify the beginning of the end of the semester (Finals! Research papers! Moving out of your dorm!), but with course scheduling for the next semester they can be a hassle and a half in their own right.

Even though I did not enjoy my first advising experience, with more preparation and tweaks to my approach my most recent advising meeting was relaxed, productive, and (dare I say) enjoyable! I was able to plan out my next semester, get transfer courses approved, and ask about recommendations for electives. With that in mind, here are a few things that I adopted in my approach to advising meetings that will hopefully make your next meeting great:

#STEMBabes: Dealing with the Gender Gap and Sexism in Classes

Hi, and welcome back to the #STEMBabes series!

Each month, I will be featuring a woman doing cool things in her own STEM-related field in the hopes that they will be able to answer any questions you might have about navigating the world of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering as a female. There are so many girls succeeding and truly making a difference in their respective industries, and I hope getting to know some of them better will help/inspire/motivate girls out there who are getting ready to embark on a similar path.

This month, Caitlyn of College with Caitlyn has written on her experiences with the gender gap and sexism in classes as a Mathematics major and Computer Science minor, and how to handle being the only girl in a classroom full of boys. (According to recent statistics, gaps in higher education and the workforce do exist between men and women in the STEM fields)

I hope you enjoy Caitlyn's post on this subject - I know I did! 

5 Ways to a Self-Care Spring Break

For one week every Spring semester, hundreds of thousands of students take on adventures during their spring break, exploring a different place in the short period of time they have before school kicks into high gear. While many students will be jetting off to Disney World or volunteering in South America during spring break, many others will be taking a much needed staycation at home (including me!), and that's totally okay.

Even though they may not be out traveling and having a massive adventure, I personally feel that a week of pampering and self-care can be just as rewarding, as it can be used to recharge and prepare for the rest of the semester. It's easy to lose track of yourself with a full course load and extracurriculars to boot, and you definitely deserve some "me" time to make all of your stress worth it.

Here are a few things you can do in order to make your staycation of a spring break rewarding, rejuvenating, and still tons of fun!

February Favorites

Can you guys believe it's March already? I swear it was just yesterday that I was writing my January favorites post - now I'm halfway through the Spring semester and basically drowning from all of the work I have to do. Even though I do feel like I'm doing a lot, I have been pretty happy this past month, something that I talked about in one of my last blog posts.

Anyway, here are a few things that I've loved this February - enjoy!

My Experience at the SWE Region E Conference!

The Society of Women Engineers, or SWE for short, is an organization designed to provide a community and support to women engineers. They have nearly 30,000 members worldwide, and they host regional conferences in addition to one huge national conference featuring workshops and a career fair to provide opportunities to collegiate engineers and professional engineers within the organization.

This Saturday, I had the opportunity to go to the Society of Women Engineers Region E conference in Syracuse, NY with my school's chapter of the club. It was my first time ever attending a professional conference, and it was such a great experience!

On Being Busy and Loving Every Minute of It

"That's your schedule?" Whenever I pull up my Google calendar in class, that reaction is fairly common - my calendar is filled to the brim with color-coded blocks for every class, meeting, and practice I have. This school year I have undoubtedly been the busiest I have been in my whole life, but looking at my schedule draws a different reaction from me. When I look at my calendar, I'm always filled with a sense of purpose and happiness, even if I know it means a stressful day ahead. Call me weird or whatever, but I really just enjoy being busy.

How to Prepare for Your Interview (and Score that Internship!)

Now that you've met your potential employer at the Career Fair (*cough* after reading my Rock Your College Career Fair guide *cough*), you might just have an interview set up for the position! Interviews are equal parts terrifying and exciting - the idea of having this career opportunity rely solely on the way you carry yourself through an hour of questioning is not something to take lightheartedly, but the potential to score your dream job makes it totally worth it.

I don't know about you, but to me the worst feeling in the world is being unprepared! Lack of preparation can cause me to feel super stressed and nervous, causing me to never perform to my best ability, whether it is in an exam, a dance performance, or an interview. So much depends on an interview, and I have found that preparing both physically and mentally for my interviews has been essential in taking some of the nerves away, and leaving me with the best version of myself to present to my interviewer. Here are some tips I've picked up along the way that will hopefully help you prepare to be the best interview-ee in the game!

#STEMBabes: Meet Olivia Hadlaw, Electrical Engineering Major

Hello everyone, and welcome to the first post in the #STEMBabes series. 

Each month, I will be featuring a woman doing cool things in her own STEM-related field in the hopes that they will be able to answer any questions you might have about navigating the world of science, technology, mathematics, and engineering as a female. There are so many girls succeeding and truly making a difference in their respective industries, and I hope getting to know some of them better will help/inspire/motivate girls out there who are getting ready to embark on a similar path. 

This month I've asked my dear friend and roommate, Olivia Hadlaw (Class of 2019), to answer a few questions about her life and experiences as an Electrical Engineering major. I hope you enjoy!

1 Month of Blogging: Thoughts & Changes

I honestly can't believe it has been over a month since I started Yours Truly, Katrina - it feels like it was just yesterday I clicked "Publish" for the very first time. Since then, I've learned so much in a short period of time, and I'm also going to be making some tiny little changes within the next few days!

A Reflection on My First Internship: 5 Things I Learned

This past September, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be selected for one of two research intern spots! It would be my first-ever internship, and I was as nervous as nervous gets. I had so many questions & worries:

How will I manage my time? 
What will my co-workers be like? 
Can I handle all of this work? 
Will I enjoy what I am doing?

Now, five months after employment, I can truthfully say that taking the internship was the best decision I've made thus far in my college career. Although there were times I encountered some difficulties, the benefits far outnumbered the costs, and I feel that the experience empowered me to really dive headfirst into getting ready for my "real-world" career. Beyond learning how to conduct research and improve my writing skills, I've learned so many things about my field of study and internships in general. While I know it sounds cliché, I truly feel that the lessons I learned throughout my first internship experience will carry with me throughout my professional career. Here are just a few of the tidbits of information I've gathered over the past five months:

Rock Your College Career Fair - Do's, Don'ts, and How to Prepare

Job hunting season is upon us! Whether you are looking for a full time job, an internship, or to develop a network of recruiters, career fairs are a great way to get in touch with employers and shop around for your perfect job. To me, though, navigating a career fair can seem like searching for a needle in a haystack: it's overwhelming to have to visit hundreds of tables and talk to representatives in search of the opportunity of your dreams.

Going to my first career fair was super intimidating, but after a lot of research I was able to walk into the fair with (relative) confidence and excitement. Through the career fair, I was lucky enough to land an internship with the company of my dreams for this upcoming summer! Here are a few tips and tricks I picked up in my research and from my own experience, and hopefully they will help you make this your best career fair yet.

#STEMBabes: An Introduction

When getting ready for college, most people scour the internet for tips and advice for the next chapter of their lives, from college packing lists to how to deal with your first meeting with a professor. While all of these tips were wonderful to find (and SO many college bloggers are making amazing content specifically for this reason), many of the questions I had during the summer before my freshman year went unanswered.

As a girl majoring in Biomedical Engineering, I had so many questions, and my Google & Pinterest searches came to nothing.

Questions like:
How do I get a research position at college?

How do I study for a calculus exam?

Will there be other girls in my classes? How do I make friends?

What internships am I eligible for?

What's a technical interview? 

What do other girls in engineering do for fun? How do they balance everything?

When I started this blog, I felt a kind of duty to answer these questions for everyone who is searching in the same way I was, now that I've gained experience and a better understanding of what college is really like. Thus, #STEMBabes was born.

Bad Days (and How to Cope)

Have you guys ever just had a really bad week?

I'm not sure if it's just the influx of work I've experienced over the past two weeks (19 credits is a lot, guys. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!), the gloomy weather, or if it's just me, but out of the past fourteen days, I think I've only had one good day. From bouncing from class to work to dance practice to homework to the gym, it's really taken a toll on me. When you're stuck in a rut, it's easy to trick yourself into believing that everything is bad and the world is out to get you - the victim card is the first one you play, and that kind of thinking can put you in a perpetual circle of negative energy and sadness.

While it's never easy to pick up a fallen morale and carry on with the day when nothing has been going right, it's important to try your best to make the most of it and look past all of the negativity. Even though the last two weeks as a whole have been rough, I've been employing a couple of tactics over the past few days and they've really helped my psyche.

January Favorites

This month has been a whirlwind for sure - from New Year's Day to now, it feels as though I simply haven't stopped. Here's a recap of all of the amazing things I've loved this month, from products to music to experiences - I hope you enjoy!

Bullet Journal Setup - Spring 2017

As mentioned in an earlier post, I keep a Bullet Journal for organizing my life activities! It has truly changed my productivity, and it gives me something to look forward to during my busy day.

If you're new to the concept of Bullet Journaling, check out Ryder Carroll's post & YouTube video on the official Bullet Journal website - that should give you a basic idea of the system. I think it's absolutely amazing that so many people have adopted this method, creating a massive online community full of people that Bullet Journal. When I'm in need of inspo, my favorite blogs to look at are Boho Berry and Pretty Prints & Paper, as well as Caitlin's Corner!

Anywho, my Bullet Journal setup varies slightly from Ryder Carroll's original method - I like to make my setup a little more elaborate, 1. Because it's therapeutic to practice my handwriting and use colored pencils, and 2. Because it's way more fun to open up a plan for the day when I know I designed it. Designs for my weekly spreads and different pages are constantly changing, but this is the setup I've settled on for the rest of the semester. I love it, and I hope you will too!

On Being "Filipino Enough"

Last night, I watched the 10th Annual Ms. PI pageant held by Rutgers Newark, a celebration of modern Filipino-American culture featuring representatives from colleges in District III of FIND, Inc., an organization designed to spread Fil-Am culture throughout higher education institutions across America. My god-sister and longtime family friend was the representative for my own college, and as I watched all of the Ms. PI contestants perform and speak on their heritage, a familiar sinking kind of feeling took place inside my stomach. It was shame.

Professional & Polished Interview Makeup

Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links; I receive a small commission from Amazon for orders placed through those links, but this compensation does not affect the content of this post. All opinions are honest and 100% my own (for this post, and forever!) If you'd like to read more about my disclosure policy it can be found here

Interviews always give me the jitters - the idea of being judged by multiple potential employers is nerve-wrecking! In order to minimize the amount of impending nervousness that comes with an interview day, I like to plan everything out, even down to the makeup look I'll be doing for the day. Makeup makes me feel more confident and powerful every day, and interviews are no exception. I've developed an easy makeup look that gives me just enough confidence to carry myself through a long day of interviewing without giving me more to stress over.

There are a few keys to interview makeup that I think are essential to follow:

7 Things You Should Do During Syllabus Week

After a month at home with family and friends and no school, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things once classes start again. I know I've been having a hard time adjusting, and my classes don't even start until tomorrow! In an attempt to combat this "holiday hangover", I've made a list of 7 things that you can do the first week of the semester in order to get back into the groove (otherwise known as syllabus week).

My Go-To Beauty Products

Although I love makeup and the process of putting it on, I definitely love sleep a lot more. A LOT more. Therefore, I often find myself rushing through my daily makeup routine to get to my morning class or the office on time, and have come to trust a handful of beauty products to get a presentable makeup look in the shortest amount of time possible. These are the products that I swear by - if I am wearing makeup, you can guarantee that I'm wearing all of them!

Prepare for a New Semester!

Disclaimer: This post does contain affiliate links; I receive a small commission from Amazon for orders placed through those links, but this compensation does not affect the content of this post. All opinions are honest and 100% my own (for this post, and forever!) If you'd like to read more about my disclosure policy it can be found here

Even though it feels like the winter break has just started, it's going to be time to go back to school before we know it! To prevent being blindsided by the inevitable work that comes with a new semester, here are five things you can do to ensure your best semester yet:

How to (Efficiently) Read Journal Articles! + FREE Printable Worksheet

If we are being honest, I think getting through a research project is one of those #relatablecollegethings that Buzzfeed always forgets to mention in their articles. Research is a "necessary evil" in any major and in many classes, but after drowning in articles during the past semester, I've found that it can actually be kind of fun and incredibly eye opening.

So, you've done a Google Scholar/PubMed (if you're in the medical field)/Library Database search and collected all the articles you want to read. Now what?

Work-Appropriate Lipstick for Medium Skin Tones!

As a self-proclaimed makeup addict, I LOVE lipstick. There's just something about putting on a great lip color on that makes me feel empowered and beautiful! Although I love wearing a bold red or a deep purple, I am always in need of nude shades to wear to work, presentations, and networking events. They are definitely the most versatile shades in my collection, and I find myself gravitating towards them even when I'm getting ready for a non-professional event.

After a year-long search of the perfect nude lipstick, I have not yet found one that I can call my "holy grail", but these come pretty close. These are my favorite nudes (both shade & formula), and they are perfect for any occasion, from Girls' Night to a day at work!