5 Tips For Writing a Cover Letter

I posted this before but I’m sharing again for anyone who needs cover letter help for the new year.

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1) Personalize your letter for each application- even if you’re applying for the same position at different companies, it is important that your cover letter is tailored for each company. For example, your application for a fashion magazine and a newspaper should each mention what you could bring to the specific company and position.

2) Try to stand out- Standard introductions are boring. Remember that the person reading your letter goes through several other cover letters as well. Try to stand out in your letter to get their attention. For example, instead of starting with “my name is x and I am applying for y”, start with something out of the box like a quote or motto that you believe in.

3) Do not write an essay- a cover letter that is succinct is more successful that a three – page – essay.  Ideally a cover letter should say who you are, what you can bring to the table and briefly list your experience or qualifications for the job.

4) Show what you can bring to the job- I’ve stated this before. This is just to emphasis it. The company has hundreds of applicants. Obviously everyone wants the job. Obviously they have something to offer. But what do you have? Stellar social media skills? Writing experience? Show that you stand out from others with your unique skills.

5) Stick to the format- a cover letter is just that a letter. So stick to the usual format of a letter. Don’t know the format? Google it! And remember to ensure that you have no typos. Nothing spells unprofessional easier than a badly-formatted, typo – riddled cover letter.

How to Find Time for Reading in College

Since this is a college lifestyle and book blog, it just made sense to combine the two in a blog post. Making time to read in college is difficult especially if your classes requires tons of reading for them. However I am stubborn and nothing, not even my education will stand in the way of me and another fictional universe. Here are my tips on making time for reading in college:

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1) Use reading as a reward for your boring work- I hate some of the books we have to do for English so I balance it out with a chapter of a novel that is interesting. I usually read much faster when I know that there’s a book I’ll actually enjoy, waiting for me.

2) Read in between classes- Carry a book with you to read in your free time. I never read in high school because I had no time but carrying a book a day to campus made reading so easy for me.

3) Buy an eReader- Some people have really strong opinions about eBooks but I find them quicker and easier to read than print books. College is also when my ereading began.

4) Read a chapter before bed- When college gets really stressful and I’m unable to read on campus at all, I read for a while before bed. Just make certain that it’s only one chapter and you don’t end up staying awake until just before your 8AM class.

How do you find time for reading in college?

Should You Change Your Major?

As I plod through my last semester of college (how’d we get here so soon???), it occurs to me that I’m not studying what I had originally planned on studying. In fact I had already changed my majors thrice by the time I finished my first year in college. This made me wonder how many other people question their choice of major. How do you know if you should change your major or not? Here are my tips on deciding:


DO change your major if:

1) It no longer makes you happy- People change and sometimes your may find that you no longer enjoy your major. I was totally miserable when I majored in Media. Literally every study session and class was accompanied by me crying. Dropping Media was the best thing I ever did.

2) Your major isn’t necessary for the field that you wish to go into- I was originally majoring in Media and English. When it became obvious that Media wasn’t going anywhere (there was a lack of funding that made being a Media student very difficult), I chose to simply to continue with English since usually experience instead of qualifications is required in Media. Or so claimed an article I read online.

3) You want to change your major- Sometimes the reason behind you changing your major is simply that you want to change your major. Do it. It’s your life and you’re the one who’s going to be stressing over the assignments for your major.

DON’T change your major if:

1) You’re having trouble with just one class- if you’re having trouble with a class, speak to your tutor or lecturer before making any final decisions. I went through a really difficult semester in English and considered dropping the class. What I didn’t know was that everyone else was also struggling with the module. Our tutor sat us down and had one-to-one sessions where he helped us through our workload. With his help we passed the module and it’s now just a distant memory.

2) You’re changing for someone else- I’ve had people judge me for majoring in English throughout my entire college career. It pisses me off but at the end of the day my major makes me happy. Don’t change your major if you’re simply trying to impress someone else. Like I mentioned before you’re the one who would have to struggle with the assignments and tests.

3) You don’t know what you want to do- This is just a personal preference for me but I don’t think you should change your major if you’re completely uncertain about your future. You may change majors over and over again and this may come with a fee. However you WILL change as a person and therefore your career choices will change so this is up to you.

Did you change your major or did you always know what you wanted to study? I’d love to know below. 

4 Reasons Why You Should Consider Applying for an Unpaid Internship

When it comes to internships, few people want to apply for a unpaid one. However an unpaid internship gives you the same experience you would gain from a paid internship. Just, you know…without the money. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider an unpaid internship:

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1) For the experience: Personally I feel the experience gained from an internship is priceless. (This is obviously because I’m not paying for gas or any kind of bills but anyway). Internships can teach you so much that you never thought you needed to learn. Whether paid or unpaid, experience learned from an internship is ALWAYS valuable.

2) To gain networking contacts: An internship is a great way to make networking contacts for the future. You never know if a person knows someone who may be able to help you in the future.

3) To expand your knowledge of the field: You can learn alot from an internship. For example, when I interned at a local magazine I learnt how magazines worked as well as websites and social media. There’s no predicting how much you may learn in an internship or when you will use this knowledge.

4) To decide whether or not you want to go into that specific field: Interning allows you to see if a certain industry is a good fit for you or not. Taking an active role in the industry is a great way to find out whether or not you want to be a part of it in the future.

Interning without being paid for it may not be your first choice but it has tons of perks that shouldn’t be ignored.

How to Avoid Burnout in College

The stress of college can all too easily lead to burnout. Here are a few tips to help you make it to the end of the semester with your sanity and energy levels intact.

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1) Plan Yourself Well- Failing to plan is planning to fail. Those words were drilled into my high school senior year Accounting class. Those words can also be my life motto. It’s difficult but always ensure that you have enough time to get an assignment done (possibly even extra time in case of any unexpected circumstances).

2) Have fun- I’ve been known to literally just sit around and read for hours or have a TV show marathon when I should be studying. Downtime is very very important to ensure you don’t overstress yourself. Take breaks and take them often.

3) Work smart not hard- Okay so this is going to make me sound so bad but I always work harder for the first assignment of each module. The reasoning behind this is that if I get a good enough mark for the first assignment, I don’t need to worry as much for the second one. If you kick ass at both assignments then you’re pretty much guaranteed a pass for the semester (depending on how your final mark is compiled).

4) Don’t compromise on your sleep- Sleep has health benefits and blah blah blah. Don’t give up on your sleep even if it’s for an all-nighter. Your body needs rest to recover from the day and prepare for the next one.

How do you avoid burnout in college?

How to Balance Your Blog with College

College is hard. Being a college student with a blog is infinitely harder. However with some handy tricks you can learn to balance your blog with college.

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1) Schedule everything- You might have noticed by now that I’m a huge fan of planners and to-do lists. Scheduling your commitments ensures you don’t forget them and are aware of them long before they occur. Write down both your college deadlines and important blog post dates. For me every Friday I write a Fiction Friday post so I write this in my diary.

2) Work in advance- Do things before they’re due. Write a few posts before they’re due to be published and queue them up. I usually write an entire week of post on the first day of the month and then work from there.

3) Delegate work- Ask for guest bloggers to post on your blog or ask a friend to help you study when college gets overwhelming.

4) Combine the two- Blog about your college experience. I especially like this option because anyone who is/has been in college can relate to the stress of it.

What are your tips for balancing college and a blog?

10 Signs You’re Meant to Be an English Major

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1) You enjoy reading
2) You enjoy writing
3) You’re good at both reading and writing
4) Your literary collection consists of more than just the latest bestsellers. You have the classics too.
5) You can write an essay in your sleep

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6)  You’ve written something that wasn’t for school (poems, short stories, fanfiction)
7) The idea of having to read and be rewarded for writing about what you read, excites you. Hello easy A
8) You’ve read a classic novel without it being compulsory for class.
9) You don’t mind putting in work for a module that most believe will only lead to you working at McDonalds or Starbucks.
10) Well you’re reading this so you obviously believe you’re meant to be an English major.

Tips on Preparing for Finals

It’s that time of the year again. Finals are upon us even though it feels like we JUST finished writing our last paper. Here are my tips to help you prepare for finals:

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1) Tailor your studying for the type of exam- I used to study for all my papers in the same way. Read the notes, read the textbook and hope for the best for exams. Don’t do that. It’s far more effective if you study depending on what the exam question is. Draft out essays or outlines of essays for an essay question. Test yourself for multiple-choice questions and practice answering “long questions” to the best of your ability.

2) Use Past Papers- Speak to your lecturer or tutor about papers that have been used previously. I overheard a conversation about our university papers being in the library- something I hadn’t known before.

3) Keep Calm- okay I’m not the best student out there but I’m pretty proud of my marks. I’m also pretty proud that I never crack under pressure. No matter how stressful exams are, be certain to always remain calm. Freaking out will only stress you out and cause you to forget what you’ve learnt.

4) Use more than one medium of learning- Learning the same thing over and over again is boring. Switch it up by changing the way you study. I usually write notes down but when I get bored I move on to typing them in my own words on my phone. I’ve also been known to sing but only when numbers are involved.

5) Ask for help when you need it- Whether you need extra revision with a tutor or you need to step away from some of your responsibilities, ask for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

What are your tips for finals?

How to Write an Essay

As an English major and a blogger, you’d assume that writing essays would come naturally to me. It doesn’t. There’s nothing I hate more than having to write an essay. Three years of college have made me create a strict no-fail routine when it comes to writing an essay. Here are my tips for writing an essay:

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1) Rewrite the essay question in your own words- Sometimes essay questions are worded in the most difficult way possible. Rewriting them helps you to understand precisely what it is that the question is asking. It also helps in writing your introduction.

2) Decide on your main points- I do this so that I know precisely what I’m going to include in my essay.

3) Write out your essay- the first two steps above should help you in writing your introduction. Your introduction should introduce the topic and discuss how you’re going to approach it.
Your body should consist of the main statements (and supporting statements) that prove the view you’re taking on the topic. Your conclusion should sum up everything you’ve said in the essay. The easiest way to remember this is: “Say what you’re going to say, how you’re going to say it (The introduction), say what you want to say (The body) and then say what you’ve said (The conclusion).

4) Edit- Be sure to edit your essay before you hand it in. I usually do a edit on my own before getting a member of the university to check my essay for me. Editing helps you to polish up your essay so you can get the best possible grade.

What’s your writing process when it comes to essays?

10 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Have to Attend Class

Sometimes, for whatever reason, we just can’t get to class. I don’t know about you but to me these are all totally valid excuses to not go to class.

15 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Have to Attend Classes

  1. It’s too hot
  2. It’s too cold
  3. You’re falling behind on your shows
  4. The lecturer sucks
  5. The class is too long
  6. The lecturer makes you drag your butt to class only to dismiss you after like two seconds. I did NOT leave my bed for this. Might as well just stay in bed anyway.
  7. You just need some ‘me’ time
  8. Attendance is compulsory
  9. You already did/are going to do the readings
  10. The class is too full
  11. The class is icky (this happens when you’re from South Africa and all of the cleaners go on strike).
  12. There is a strike
  13. There’s a possibility of a strike
  14. You feel like you should strike
  15. You just don’t want to go to class.