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I’ve seen a few posts being shared among college students who attend universities who have made the difficult decision to transition to online courses asking their schools for their money back. I totally get this, the rug has been pulled out and this is a completely understandable reaction. But I’d like to share what is has been like on the other side.

I have been teaching in higher education on and off for 15 years, and have been in a full time teaching position for almost seven years. I have not seen a group of people pull together and show so much camaraderie, compassion, and pure love since living in NYC on September 11th. It is truly amazing and something I hope I never forget. For the past 72 hours everyone around me has poured every ounce of energy they have to make this transition smooth and to ensure our students mental health and well-being is being addressed. They have completely rewritten courses, sat through many demos on how to use software new to them, worked tirelessly to figure out how to get those without a laptop access to one and so on and so on. They have factored in how to make sure to engage our international students who are now in a very different time zone, and how to accommodate those students with special accommodations needed. They’ve helped each other out and have overlooked program lines and department lines and college lines. …


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Me and my 2-year-old son napping on the beach

On this hump day, I am dreaming of Friday at 5 pm, actually who I am kidding, Friday at 9 pm and shutting down for a week-long beach vacation. To give you a clear picture of my beach vacation keep in mind this is with my partner, my 4-year-old–ocean obsessed–daughter, and my 2-year-old–on the go–son. So while I have a stack of books to read and fantasies of wine on the beach, it will more likely involve 50 trips a day to fill the bucket with water and countless meltdowns due to the lack of naps and a regular schedule. …


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Sample screens from the final prototype.

Establishing the Problem

Decoding the courses a college student must complete to graduate is challenging. In addition to university requirements, each program has its own course plan that students need to navigate and track. With student debt at an all-time high, taking the right courses in the right order can be what saves a student from spending an extra semester or even an extra full year in college. With the average cost of 1-year of tuition at a state school for an in-state resident being close to $10,000, the mistake of not taking the right courses can be very costly.

Being an Assistant Professor at Temple University, Tyler School of Art and Architecture I see this first hand. Students often want to take control of their studies and plan out their years in school, but the current digital tracking systems are archaic. Our advisors do an amazing job helping our students navigate this, but often the students lack follow through when it comes to following the advising plan. While working with my colleagues on updating our program’s curriculum I also took a dive into creating an app for students to navigate our new curriculum. …


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Graduating BFA students Ashlyne Quidley and Brittany Ramirez networking at Create, a job fair at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

I took my first job in New York in August of 2001, during the collapse of the dot com bubble. Jobs were hard to come by but I wanted to live and work in NYC, and I was willing to do whatever it took to get there. After three months of searching, I finally received an offer and said yes, even though I knew it wasn’t close to my dream job. I had to start somewhere, and the pros of being in NYC at a design studio outweighed the cons of working for what I considered to be a subpar shop. …


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Photo by Christina Branco on Unsplash

As an Assistant Professor, I am often asked if I can be used as a reference, I typically say yes. Then, there are the times I am not given the choice, my contact information is given out and I get a surprise call asking for a recommendation. As a job seeker, there are some useful steps to consider before you give out my number. Most importantly, how to ask past professors and past employers to be a professional reference.

Before you begin a job search reach out to those you want to use as a professional reference and ask them if they would be willing to give you a positive reference, then listen carefully. Everyone has their own perception of the world around them, while you might feel you had a positive experience as a student or an employee, your professional reference may not feel the same. By asking if someone would be able to give you a positive reference, you are giving them the opportunity to politely say, “it might be better to ask someone else.” Don’t let this deter you from asking, they will most likely say yes and you can move on to the next step. …


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Never underestimate the power of thanks!

It’s that time of year for our soon-to-be graduates to start the often-overwhelming task of finding their first full-time job. There are so many tips on finding the perfect first job that is industry-specific, but one very important step that any job-seeker can take, always say thank you. Not just a quick one sentence email, though those are ok to send too, a thoughtful, handwritten thank you note. Here are the tips I give to our students starting the job hunting process. These can also apply to those looking for internships.

1) Go to all interviews with a pile of thank you cards. Make sure they are pre-stamped. (Note: Just last week a student told me the thank you cards she sent after an interview were returned because she forgot to put a stamp on them, so this note is needed!) …

About

Abby Guido

Assistant Professor of Graphic and Interactive Design at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Founder of Abby Ryan Design, a graphic design studio in Philly.

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