Lessons learned from Penn Relays and the Broad Street Run

Lauren Kemp, Administrative Assistant for the Graduate Students team

This weekend marks the annual return of two of Philadelphia’s most celebrated athletic spectacles, the Penn Relays and the Broad Street Run.  Running makes a great metaphor for life, and with so many of you starting new jobs and careers after graduation, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from these races.  Here are just a few to push you through those first few miles.

Prepare for foul weather

Unfortunately, the forecast for this weekend calls for rain.  This could be a bummer for the unprepared runner, but seasoned veterans are always on the lookout for race day surprises.  Take a page out of their book: know that there will be times when you’ll be faced with stormy skies, and there will be bumps in the road ahead.  Not every day will be rainbows and sunshine, but that’s okay: plan for the obstacles, move on from them, and be grateful for the beautiful moments.

Establish your cheer squad

Many of you will be relocating across the country and possibly around the world.  Even if you’re going to a familiar city, you may be exposed to a new schedule, a new social circle and new responsibilities: it’s important to have your own cheer squad to turn to during these unfamiliar stretches.  Life can get busy, but make sure you maintain those connections to family and friends back home: there’s nothing better than knowing there’s somebody in your corner rooting for your success.

Enjoy the sights along the way

Although there will be many times when you have to sprint (hello, 100m dash and project deadlines), life itself is much closer to a marathon.  And let’s face it: 26.2 miles can get overwhelming if you’re only focused on the asphalt beneath you.  With all that distance to cover, make sure you take some time for you.  Stop and smell the roses (literally).  Visit a new restaurant with friends.  Read a book.  Work-life balance is a great thing to have: give yourself the chance to enjoy special moments outside the office or school.









Sleep is Golden

As a Penn student, you’re probably asking, “what is sleep?”  Sleep may be low on your to-do list, but it really deserves more consideration.  The world’s best athletes, including former Penn Relays participant and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, make sleep a priority (Bolt himself aims for 8-10 hours of shuteye each night).  “Sleep is extremely important to me—I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body,” Bolt says.  Studies prove that sleep makes us healthier and happier: carve quality time out with your pillow each night.  Your body and mind will thank you.

Find your rabbit…

In running, a rabbit is the athlete who establishes a quick, speedy (yet smart) pace.  Identify your rabbit– a mentor or role model, somebody who inspires you– and turn to her for advice.

…But Set Your Own Pace

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen newbie runners sprint over the starting line at road races, trying to keep even with the pack leaders, until they crash and burn.  It’s great to find inspiration in your peers, and it’s fabulous to chase goals, but don’t feel like you have to match your friends and colleagues step for step.  Constantly comparing yourself to others does you no favors.  Recognize your own values and limits, and stay true to you.


You Won’t Always Meet Your Goal

True story: I once ran Broad Street with full-fledged bronchitis (PLEASE do not follow my example).  I was so focused on beating a time goal that I didn’t take my health into consideration.  Spoiler: I finished the race, but I did so several minutes slower than I had hoped.  One year later, I tried again, and guess what?  I still came up short.  Yes, I was bummed, but I knew that there were other things to celebrate that day (No bronchitis?  Yay!  Free pretzels at the finish line?  Could my stomach be any more thrilled?).  So try not to stress too much if you don’t make that promotion or sign that new client: you will always have a chance to try again.  And maybe your goal will change: that’s okay too.  Your worth is not measured in trophies or medals.


Need helping building your portfolio?

Mariel Kirschen, PennDesign ’16

Portfolios are a great way to show off all the skills and practice you’ve gained throughout your education and past work experience.  They also provide an opportunity to brand yourself and exhibit your unique design aesthetic.  Alongside your resume, sharing your portfolio provides potential employers with further insight into who you are as a candidate.

Where to start?  For help with building a strong portfolio, there are loads of online resources that can help.  To make things easier, Career Services has compiled a variety of these resources on their website to help guide students:

  1. Penn and Beyond Blog: Show Me Your Skills!  How to Create a Portfolio that Stands Out to Recruiters 
  2. PennDesign Portfolio Resources: Links to resources for building your portfolio, online publishing resources, and sample portfolios
  3. Design Sheets – A Quick Overview
  4. Sample Portfolios from PennDesign students: We’re adding new reference portfolios to our website from alumni and current students.  For tips on how to use these samples to get started on your own, check out How to Use Sample Resume and CVs
  5. Your Teaching Portfolio – Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching

As always, students can make appointments with a Career Services Advisor for advice and feedback on portfolios.  To make an appointment, call 215-898-7530.

Mariel Kirschen is the Design Graduate Assistant for University of Pennsylvania’s Career Services office and graduate student in the School of Design.

Check out the new LinkedIn Students App

Alyssa Perkins-Chatterton, Administrative Assistant for the College Team

Last week, LinkedIn launched its newest feature, the LinkedIn linkinStudents app. The app is geared specifically graduating seniors who are looking for help in their job search. The app helps you look for jobs that are a good fit based on your major, companies that recruit at your school and the career paths of alumni with similar degrees.*

LinkedIn wants students to look at this new tool as their “personal job exploration guide”. When accessing the app you are given 5 items to review: a career suggestion based on your school and major, an article to read on various career-related topics, a company that often recruits from your school, a list of job suggestions based on recent alumni from your school with a similar major, and lastly, the app provides an actual job posting that you might be interested in based on your major/school.** What is also helpful is the “extra credit” option that allows you to swipe through more of these suggestions and add even more information about yourself such as your interests, goals and careers you find interesting. This option allows you to have a more personalized experience. Keep in mind that the app does tend to use a student’s major as one of the main data points when making suggestions. As we know, your major does not firmly dictate a straight path to your career. We’ve had English majors go into Finance and Religious Studies majors join the FBI! Just check out our survey reports to see! While your major should certainly reflect your interests, your supplemental activities and internships also help you learn what career path is right for you. This is especially true for our liberal arts students who can often have a variety of experiences that contribute to their career goals. That being said, be sure to utilize the extra credit section and add in those extra details about your interests and goals in order to have a more tailored experience!

studentappIn general, LinkedIn has received positive feedback from student users. The most common trend being that students reported the app very easy to use and navigate.

This is a great first step and career exploration tool for graduating seniors to use when planning for those next steps. However, be sure to utilize our office and resources as well! Again, we have career plan survey reports that offer great data and insight into what our recent grads are doing post Penn. And as always, call us to make an appointment or stop by for walk-in hours! We are here for all of your career related needs.


CS Radio Episode 22 – “Making the Most of Your Summer Internship” (Season Finale!)

episode 22

It’s our last episode of the season!  Getting ready to start a new summer internship?  J. Michael DeAngelis and A. Mylène Kerschner review some “best practices” that will ensure you make a good impression at your workplace and create lasting value for your experience.  We also make a plea to current Penn students to fill out their career plans and/or summer surveys and run down the last of this semester’s programming.  Finally, and with a heavy heart, we bid goodbye  to our producer/editor/mixer, Ann Mollin, who is off to big and better things and we wish her the best!   We’ll be taking the summer off, but look forward to our second season in September.  Thank you for listening!


Keep Moving Forward…

Walt Disney once said, ““Around here…we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  (emphasis is mine)
I was introduced to this quote through a movie my children love, Meet the Robinsons.   If you haven’t seen it, and need some inspiration to keep putting one foot in front of the other – despite a setback, or while you’re studying, or in your job search….or just in your life – I highly recommend the film.    

The wonder of being able to let go of set-backs, to engage in the process of learning and to keep your mind future-focused is a gift you can give yourself.  By carving out some time for you, to feed your curiosity, or to explore what you really enjoy, or learn something new, you may experience a sense of renewal that can restore and energize your spirit. 

I like to “practice what I preach,” so to speak, so I am taking some online coursework in an area that I have interest in – data visualization.  I’ve been putting it off for a while….but I scheduled a whole afternoon to engage and really learned so much more than I thought I would.  Maybe my new skills will help me in my work….or maybe not – and that’s okay.   Not every passion or renewing activity in which you engage will be a resume builder.  But if you have a love of learning….or you did once upon a time….and you’ve not experienced the thrill of a new idea or building a skill recently, I warmly and wholeheartedly encourage you to carve out some time to do so.