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Professional Confessional

A blog providing tips and resources for life after college


Tracking Your Spending Habits

Tracking your spending habits may seem like a daunting task. However, it is the first step in knowing where and how much you are spending daily, weekly and monthly. I challenge you to experiment for a week. You will be surprised on what and how much you spend your money. It is important to track every purchase even the small ones such as a pack of gum.

Here are 3 simple steps to follow:

1.  Save it. Keep your receipts. They will help you remember what you purchased from day to day. They will be useful references when tracking your purchases. Place the receipts into a folder, envelope or shoebox.

2.  Track it. Write down your purchases in a journal or log. Do not include your fixed expenses such as rent. If you prefer, input your expenses into a spreadsheet or online worksheet. Try Wells Fargo’s My Money Journal as a guide. Create your own using Excel.

3.  Calculate it. You want to review what you have spent each day. It is important to calculate your expenses. Total your expenditures at the end of  each day and week for a 7-day total.

What next? Come back on Thursday for budgeting tips and take the quiz for “dessert on us” from Brynn’s.


Celebrating National Financial Literacy Month

Are you fiscally fit? Do you know how much money you spend each week or month? Are you aware of your budget? Do you have a budget? How are you going to repay student loans?

It is wise to start thinking about tracking spending, creating a budget, and preparing for student loan repayment now. You may be surprised by how you easily could save or pay off debt with the money you’re spending.

Be frugal. It doesn’t mean you have to be tight with your money. Be intentional with your spending. Do you really need that Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte (my favorite) from Starbucks? Probably not.

Be creative. Can you recreate your favorite coffees or teas at home for a fraction of the cost? You will save approximately 80% of your money. Instead of spending >$5.00 for a beverage, save $4 and spend only $1. Small purchases add up to a lot saved.

Experiment for a week. Track everything you purchase. Yes, even write down the pack of gum bought at the convenience store. You will find that you may be spending money freely without giving it much thought. Once you start tracking, you’ll notice a shift in how you make decisions on purchases. You will start asking yourself, “Do I really need that pack of gum?”

Don’t know where to start? Luckily, WFU offers CashCourse, a free and unbiased reallife money guide. Get started now, register for a free account. Plus, participate in the weekly finacial literacy quizzes to test your knowledge and a chance to win “dessert on us” with a Brynn’s gift card!  At the end of april you will be entered to win a $25 VISA gift card.

How to participate:

1. Register at http://www.cashcourse.org/. 

2. Participate in the quiz of the week.  Quizzes are located at the bottom of the home page under Resources.  Quiz schedule: 

April 4-10:  What’s Your Budgeting IQ? 

April 11-17: Test Your Student Loan IQ 

April 18-24:  Save or Splurge? 

April 25-May 1:  What’s Your Credit Score IQ?

Here’s what you get with CashCourse:

  • A Budget Wizard to build your own monthly budget with your real income and expenses
  • Videos offering quick lessons on financial basics
  • Calculators to help you demystify your debt or set a savings goal
  • Worksheets to help you organize your life, build a budget, and master your student aid
  • Articles on real issues you’re dealing with now, as well as topics to prepare for your future
  • A Financial Experts Wall, where you can submit questions to CashCourse experts
  • Quizzes and courses to test what you know and show you where to go for more information

Want more? Follow the blog for tips on how to become more fiscally fit and build your financial muscle.

Test Your Dining Etiquette Knowledge!

Do you know which direction bread, butter, and salad dressing should be passed? How about where you should place your napkin when you’re done eating?

Don’t rely on Google to answer these questions, come to Dining Etiquette 101, on Feb. 25 at 5:45pm, to ensure you are prepared for your next formal dining experience. During this hands-on workshop, you won’t only get a great meal, but learn how a BMW will help your dining etiquette and why working from the outside in doesn’t only apply to eating your food.

header photo

Now let’s finish testing your dining etiquette knowledge:


  1. Which direction should bread, butter and salad dressing be passed?
    1. Clockwise
    2. Counter clockwise
    3. Directly to that person
    4. Doesn’t matter
  2. Where should you place your napkin when you are finished with your meal?
    1. Always in your lap
    2. To the left of your plate
    3. To the right of your plate
    4. On top of your plate
  3. Used silverware should not be placed on the table.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. The water glass you drink from is to your left.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. What should be done with your utensils when you finish eating?
    1. Wrap them in your napkin
    2. Place them on your plate
    3. Place them on the table
    4. Hand them to your server

Register for Dining Etiquette 101 on Handshake! A gold swipe is required. Don’t miss this interactive workshop on Thursday, Feb. 25 in the Magnolia Room, from 5:45pm – 7:30pm. 

Answers: 1. B, 2. C, 3. A, 4. B, 5. B

BMW= Bread. Meal. Water (bread/butter on the left, meal in the middle, water on the right), Working from the outside in (Use utensils starting from the outermost left and right, example salad fork is the outermost left)

STEM Slam Student Q&A

The Compass - SPR 16


Meet Wake Forest seniors Kyle Pinheiro and Nick Ladd. Both students attended last year’s inaugural STEM Slam, a networking and career exploration event for students interested in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and healthcare. We asked Kyle and Nick to reflect on their experiences and share some insights for students wanting to know more about the event.

STEM Slam will take place Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 6pm – 8pm in Farrell Hall – Broyhill Auditorium. Students can register to attend via Handshake.

 What advice/tips do have for students attending STEM Slam year?

NICK: It is always a good idea to research the companies beforehand to get a good idea of what interests you and what does not. This way you can prioritize who you want to talk to during the breakout sessions. It will also allow you to come prepared with specific questions that you may have about certain companies.

How can students make the most out of attending the STEM Slam?

NICK: Listen to all the speakers, even if you are not interested in their company, because they will provide strong advice or lessons that you may not have heard of before that you can apply to your personal career aspirations.

KYLE: I think doing a little research and asking questions goes a long way. If students show up knowing who they want to talk to and a little bit about those companies, it’s a lot easier to connect to the company representatives, and it allows them to learn more.

What do you wish you knew before attending the event last year?

KYLE: The company representatives are there because they want to talk to us, Wake Forest students. They think Wake students make great employees. Realizing that I didn’t have to convince them I was worth talking to would have eased my nerves going in.

What would you like to confess about attending the STEM Slam?

NICK: I was amazed that I had never heard of the alumni who gave the keynote speech – Joseph Sciarrino. He was working at a very interesting company in Silicon Valley, and he had many pieces of good advice to give.

KYLE: I didn’t know going in exactly what to expect, and was definitely a little nervous. Fortunately, actually participating in the event was a confidence-giving experience. Spending time with professionals from various STEM areas and talking with them about the potential jobs/internships and careers open to us was really powerful because it created a realization for me of what paths my education was preparing me for.

Would you do anything differently? Did you make any mistakes last year? If so, what?

KYLE: I would have paid a little more attention to how much time there was in the event. I found it was easy to reach the end of a round and realize I hadn’t spoken to one of the companies that I was interested in.

Did you consider the event a success for you? Why or why not?

NICK: I do consider the event a success for me because I was able to reach out to the keynote speaker afterwards to have a one-on-one chat about his career path to Silicon Valley from Wake Forest. He gave a lot of good points as well as advice for reaching out to companies in the technology world.

KYLE: I certainly consider the event a success for me. I was able to connect with a representative from the company I interned for last summer and which I am joining full-time after graduation this summer. Furthermore, I got a sense of some of the tech careers that are out there, and what some of the companies around Winston-Salem and North Carolina are trying to accomplish.

Meet the Street Team 2015-2016

Meet the amazing group of Wake Forest students serving as Street Team members for the upcoming NYC and San Francisco Career Treks. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram to see an inside student perspective of what career treks are all about!

The New York City Career Trek is Dec. 15 – 16. The San Francisco Career Trek is Jan. 5-7.











You Can Pit Sit with Your Friends Any Day

3 Reasons why you should go to that noon Alumni Panel you skimmed over in your email

arts panel1.) Oh the Places You’ll Go

You never know who you might meet at an alumni event that can advance you 10 colorful squares forward on your Wake-tastic path toward “real life.” When I found out about the Deacs Speak: Media, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations Panel, I dropped my lunch plans and snagged a spot at the event via Handshake. I knew that this would be a worthwhile networking opportunity for my post-grad future. As luck would have it, I made some fabulous new contacts in my area of interest! Which brings me to reason number two…

2.) If You Dream it… Speak it

Once you’re at the event, never be afraid to voice your passions or dream career plans. Often times there will be at least one alum in the room with a connection or story of someone they know doing exactly what you dream of doing! One of the panelists I met at Deacs Speak works for a beauty PR company and was able to connect with me with two of her contacts: one works in media relations for MTV and the other works at NBC News. These are two companies I am very interested in working for one day. Had I not expressed my passion for television news and entertainment, I may never have discovered two new connections.

3.) Adventure is Out There

Post grad life is a glistening pool of new experiences and possibilities just waiting for you to dive in head first; however, training starts now. From industry panels and career education courses to career fairs and career treks, Wake Forest and the OPCD are here to help you tap into these possibilities. The office encourages you to try new things and discover new interests. I encourage all students to take advantage of the resources that Wake offers. They are right at your fingertips. Find your adventure. Be present on campus. Attend talks, panels, and workshops. Don’t wait until after graduation to make a splash in your dream industry. Start now by making the most of what’s offered on campus and beyond. You never know the difference one event can make!

Real World Reality Bites – Your Senior Year

Entering your last year in college can be exciting, sad, and daunting.  It’s also a time to take advantage of what Wake Forest has to offer you – one last time.  Perhaps, it’s rolling the Quad after a big win, running in Hit the Bricks, or dancing for Shag on the Mag.  These nostalgic events are important.  To ease some of the anxiety, the OPCD’s WFU alums want to share their advice for soaking up what Wake Forest (and North Carolina) has to offer you before leaving the familiarity of college and starting this thing called life after college.

Here are their bites of reality:

LBLauren Beam (’07, Communication and Religion), Assistant Director, Mentoring Resource Center and Alumni Personal and Professional Development

Free Time.

Enjoy all of the free time you have while you’re in college (yes, you heard me right – you have free time!). I often hear Wake Forest students say that they are “so busy” and I know that they have a lot on their plates. However, you will never have more free time during the day in your life than you do while you’re in college. Take advantage of those hour long breaks in the mornings or afternoons between classes and other activities – go on a walk with a friend, invest in meaningful relationships, stop by a professor’s office hours just to chat, take a nap, read a book for fun! Once you get into the “real world,” you’ll find that you’re at work from 8:00am in the morning until 5:00 or 6:00pm in the evening. If you get married, have kids, and/or own a house, those responsibilities quickly take up all of your evening time after work. Before you know it, it’s 9:00pm, you finally have a few moments to yourself and you’re exhausted. You’ll look back on college and say “that was so easy! I miss all that free time!” Take advantage of your current situation and enjoy it!


Patrick SullivanPatrick Sullivan (‘93, Politics), Associate Director, Career Education and Coaching

Take a Chance. 

Take a chance. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go skydiving. Or maybe you’ve been thinking about taking studio art class despite not having formal art training in the past. Maybe it’s something simple like trying some kind of new cuisine, or exploring Winston-Salem in a way that takes you out of your comfort zone. Regardless of how you do it, take a chance.

Jana FritzJana Frtiz (‘15, Communication), Presidential Fellow for the OPCD

Take Advantage.

As a Wake Forest undergraduate, you have had the unique opportunity to be completely surrounded by bright, exciting, and talented young people, professors, and administrators.  This opportunity may only happen once or twice in a lifetime…so take advantage of it! Go to lectures in Wait Chapel; take that one class that sparks your attention; create a meaningful relationship with a professor or mentor.  Don’t look at senior year as a year of “lasts”, but rather your chance to take with you all of the life lessons this place has taught you.  You may be leaving campus in May, but remember that you can create your own little Wake Forest wherever you go.  This community stays with you for life!


Jessica LongJessica Long (‘05, Communication), Assistant Director, Career Education and Coaching

Enjoy Wake Forest.

Enjoy your senior year. It’s your last year in college and you’ll be entering the real world soon. Take time to enjoy Wake Forest and all it has to offer. Check out the events calendar and do something on campus or in the Winston Salem community that you’ve never done before. Spend time with your friends and take time out of your busy schedule to do things you like doing. You’ll look back and be thankful for the memories you made during your last year of college.


DeeDe Pinckney (’09, Communication), Assistant Director, Marketing and Communication

Explore Beyond the Bubble.

Escape the bubble! Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Charlotte, Raleigh, Asheville and much of NC has lots to offer. Don’t define your entire college experience by only what’s on campus. Plan a day trip or two and experience the world beyond Wake right in your own backyard. Why wait for post exams to roadtrip with friends? You can never have too many fun memories with your college besties. Graduation may take you all in different directions and the memories you create now will make for great stories in the future.

7 Things Every Intern Needs to Know Besides Coffee Orders

Contributed by Bryson Brewer, a senior Sociology major at Wake Forest University. Bryson recently interned in NYC with Macy’s as a Private Brand Intern in Men’s Shoes and Accessories.

1. The low man or woman on the totem pole holds great power

In a competitive job market companies know they need to attract the best talent. This means employers go to great lengths to create a positive internship experience. Take advantage of this. Reach out for informational interviews with those who would normally be hard to access.

Macy's 12. The days of being surrounded by people your age are over

Diversity is a good thing! In the world of work, you’ll encounter people of varying degrees of experience and expertise. Learning how to navigate these differences socially and professionally is vital. Do the necessary research on those around you and show interests in their work. You may just learn something new.

3. Avoid using your desk as a place to nap

If you find yourself with free time, be productive. Seek to improve projects you have worked on or take the initiative and develop ideas for new projects.

4. Only turn in work you wouldn’t mind the CEO seeing

As an intern your ideas are fresh and innovative. That simple project you turned in could actually be implemented. Don’t let typos or grammatical errors discount your work.

5. Have Uber ready to use

Professionalism is important. Simple things such as arriving on time and dressing the part may help save you from making the wrong impression on the first day. Plan ahead. No, you won’t know in advance if your car breaks down or the subway is delayed. But building in time to your routine to ensure you are on time and ready to go will help.

Macy's 26. What happens at happy hour stays at happy hour …sometimes

Treat out-of-office events as in-office events. These activities provide a way for senior management to get to know you better. I know it’s challenging, but hold off on any questionable activities while in the presence of coworkers.

7. Have Fun

Your internship may only last for 8-10 weeks. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not very long. Balance being the best intern possible while having fun. Get to know new people, explore the city your living in, and take risks, by trying something new. You never know what doors a single opportunity can open.

TIP: Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Don’t miss the opportunity to highlight the skills you developed during your summer internship! Before you get too far removed from your internship, you’ll want to update your resume by highlighting the new skills developed and projects accomplished during the experience. A resume plays an important role in the hiring process for internships and jobs. Often, the resume is the first impression an employer receives on you. So, you want to market your professional brand and skills to potential employers. If you kept a journal, review it for specific skills and tasks completed on key projects. It will help guide what you want emphasize on your resume. Remember, you want to highlight skills relevant to the internship or job to which you are applying. A position’s job description is another great reference when updating your resume. Review the job description for sought-after skills and highlight the skills you possess on your resume. It is not uncommon to have a few different resumes to match each position you wish to receive an interview. You want to be the qualified person employers are searching for in a candidate.

Similar to your resume, your LinkedIn profile can be a first impression of you. Did you know that when you Google your name your LinkedIn profile is one of the top ten links found on you? Use your resume to update your LinkedIn profile with the skills and projects obtained during your internship. This will ensure your profile matches your resume. LinkedIn is not only your online resume, but a resource for connecting and networking with alumni and employers. If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, learn more by viewing the video below.

For assistance, come by the Office of Personal and Career Development during resume review hours to receive tips and advice on your resume and LinkedIn profile. Review hours are: Monday through Thursday 1 – 4 p.m. Exceptions: extended hours 1 – 5 p.m. on September 17; and no reviews on September 2 and November 27-28. The last day of reviews for the semester will be December 5.

Visit the Career Development website for additional information and tips on resumes and LinkedIn.

TIP: Telling Your Story: Market Your Skills

Learn how to easily communicate your value to interviewers, using work, academic, and personal examples.

Watch the video to learn more about how to articulate your internship experience in an interview.

Stumped about how to communicate your potential value to an interviewer? A key to interviewing effectively is articulating how your skills relate to the specific job, and sharing stories of times you’ve demonstrated them. You see, to a potential employer, the best evidence of how you will perform on their job is how you’ve performed in the past. Providing specific examples will help them “see” you in their job and can sell them on hiring YOU. Start by reviewing the job/internship description, noting the skills and abilities required. Then, use the STAR formula for creating and telling your stories:

S or T : Situation or task you faced

A: Action(s) you took

R: Positive results of your actions (quantify when possible here)

Prepare for the interview by telling your stories to friends, OPCD counselors, and anyone else that will listen, until you feel comfortable sharing them in everyday conversation. Give enough detail so that your listeners fully comprehend the circumstances you were in, but limit your story to three minutes or less. Ask for feedback on your content and delivery, as well as the abilities evident in your story. I promise, you’ll be amazed at all the skills others see.

Make your preparation for future interviews easier, by beginning a STAR journal to record your experiences and important projects.