why you should apply for jobs you’re not qualified for

Taking on new challenges can be scary. Applying for ‘real life’ jobs and thinking about life after college is even scarier. Older, wiser people are always telling us to gain as much work and leadership experience as possible while we’re still in school — we might be tired of hearing it, but those older, wiser people are right.

The jobs that interest me almost always include qualification requirements that are well beyond my professional experience: 5+ years working in the field, 2-3 years of management experience, etc., etc., etc. Sound familiar? Your first thought might be to skip right past these highly-qualified positions, thinking that sending in your resume would almost be an insult to that company’s standards.

But if I can tell you one thing I’ve learned, it’s to do the opposite. Apply for that dream job. Do things before you’re ready. No one is an expert before starting something new — we’re all beginners at some point.

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backpack alternatives for the stylish college girl

For the last three years, my black Northface backpack was my best friend. I couldn’t be found on campus without it. My backpack carried all of my school, work, and life necessities, and it was easy to lug around when I had to walk around campus all day. I brought it from class, to the Daily Iowan newsroom, to Noodles for lunch, and even to reporting on the scene for a TV story.

A classic, black backpack will probably never go out of style on a college campus. I loved my Northface Jester because it made me look sporty, but at the same time studious. I never even thought of replacing it with a shoulder bag because 1) regular bags/totes can’t carry everything I need, and 2) everyone in college carries a backpack (if not, they carry a Longchamp, and I didn’t really want to do that, either). A backpack just made sense…

…until I found a new best friend, the Madewell Transport Tote.

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I had my eye on this beauty for only a week before giving in and buying it — personalized monogram and all. I haven’t looked back since. While I did love my backpack for a long time, and it held up great throughout my first three years of college, here is why I ultimately decided to replace it:

  1. A simple, yet elegant tote made me feel like I could dress up to class and look normal. With a backpack, I felt like I had to dress sporty or casual to match the large accessory on my back.
  2. It actually DOES carry all my necessities.
  3. I started going straight from class to the office of my new job. I wanted to feel more professional as I walked into the building. Since my co-workers are all older and sophisticated, I felt a little young and out of place strolling in with a backpack.
  4. I’m pretty sure lawyers don’t carry backpacks, so I thought I’d start adjusting to the legal life early.

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the college student’s guide to a productive day

Unlike a full-time, 9-5 job, a college student’s schedule is generally broken up with a few classes per day — meaning, there’s no obligation to stay in a certain place and work for eight hours. Unless students set up their courses to run back-to-back, many undergrads find themselves with at least an hour to kill before their next class. While the extra time between responsibilities seems great, it can also be a curse on productivity.

When you have a full schedule and an overloaded to-do list, take advantage of the breaks between class to get things done. There are plenty of ways to stay focused and productive during the week — here are some of my go-to strategies to keep myself on track every day.

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