This is year has not been anything for the record and I fear that I may have forgotten some of the most important things. In effort to change the fate of 2019 I am dedicating as much of it as possible to service. I don’t want to to overwhelm myself so I have identified 52 “simple service” opportunities so that I may complete one project for each week; in no particular order:
- Write letters to soldiers.
- Write letters to missionaries.
- Write the mail carrier a thank you card.
- Give birthday cards and gifts to people I barely know.
- Do something nice for a family member.
- Make birthday cards for foster kids.
- Adopt a grandfriend.
- Deliver meals to homebound individuals.
- Buy a stranger’s drink.
- Do something off someone else’s to-do list.
- Donate blood.
- Donate bone marrow.
- Complete a 5k for a good cause.
- Take treats to the fire station.
- Drop off a candy gram at the police station.
- Leave a gift for a neighbor.
- Place flowers on random cars.
- Hide eggs with affirmation notes around Easter time.
- Let someone go in front of me.
- Send flowers to someone.
- Make kind over matter Lolliflowers
- Take flowers to a nursing home.
- Make quilts or blankets to donate
- Make purses or jewelry from recycled material.
- Volunteer at the local pantry.
- Host a free resume workshop.
- Find a nonprofit to volunteer with. (not the same as pantry.
- Take photos at an event and donate them.
- Organize a community service project.
- Recognize veterans in the community.
- Make get well cards.
- Contact local rescue and sponsor an animal.
- Leave bottles of bubbles in random places.
- Pay for the order behind me.
- Scatter wildflower seeds.
- Write inspiring notes and leave them in random places.
- Tape microwave popcorn to media box.
- Tape money to a vending machine.
- Place coloring books and crayons in hospital waiting room.
- Make kindness rocks and leave in random places.
- Tape quarters to gum ball machine.
- Assemble homeless bags and distribute to those standing on corners.
- Play “Ding Dong Ditch” with DING DONGS!
- Take Get Well Balloons to the local hospital.
- Buy a gift card and give it to the person behind me.
- Leave husband love notes in random places around the house.
- Send out thinking of you cards.
- Put something on Craigslist for FREE!
- Buy two of something I love and give one away.
- Give someone a “heart attack.”
- Place flowers on an empty grave.
- Figure out one without a list!
I reserve the choice to change any of these and I will make my best effort to post my efforts. 🙂
I have recently moved to a new place and am finding it difficult to find my place and figure out what comes next for me. I know everyone’s journey is different and it seems like every time I turn around my journey changes. Some people look at my resume and see unorganized chaos but that is not the case at all. Everything I do is in an effort to find where I fit. Some run off to college knowing exactly what they want to do with their life, others know what they want or will be doing by the time they graduate; and then there are people like me, who thought they knew exactly what they would doing and be able to find the perfect job that they would be at forever! So why does it look like I am in a river of chaos?
I thought that by gaining my education first I would be able to step into a good starting point but that was not the right approach. If I had an opportunity to do it again I would have made more of an effort to gain experience while I was pursuing my education. By taking the small steps while studying I could have “burned the candle from both ends.”
What Employers Look For
When an employer is looking for new candidates they are looking for someone with both education and experience. The reality is that nothing can replace experience but education also shows your dedication to learning and seeking new skill building opportunities. Recruiters and employers look for individuals who have real world knowledge of the vacancies they have. In some cases a candidate with little education may gain favor over a candidate with an extensive education because the candidate has “real world experience.”
How to Gain Experience
To gain real world experience while pursuing an education does not require an individual to be a full-time student and hold a full-time job. Use those intern and part-time opportunities and work in your field in any way possible; even distantly. For example, I studied nonprofit management and leadership; if I would have worked in a nonprofit, even as a secretary, I would have been able to more successfully entered the market because I would have had “some” nonprofit WORK experience under my belt. If you are a student, consider part-time work; you will never regret it.
Overcome Career Challenge: No “Real World Experience”
The chances that you really do not have experience in an area that your are passionate about are probably slim. Many students graduate and end up working in a field outside their studies, like me! I got where I am because I was creative in my approach. I studied nonprofit management and leadership and earned a Ph.D. <–looks good on paper right? You would not believe the number of people who recommended that I delete the Ph.D. title from resume so that I could gain access into A work environment. I kept my head up and my title in place! Look at every option and get creative.
I struggled to find work because I was “over-qualified” and “under-qualified” at the same time so I turned to freelancing. In the beginning I took every assignment that I could to build my experience in the platform I was using. Once I built up my quality score I started concentrating on projects that were more specific to my desired career field. I took on grant writing projects, business plan development, and anything that had to do with the nonprofit sector.
After more than three years of working freelance I was able to gain a contract position (like freelance) for a marketing agency doing market research. How did that happen right? WELL a Ph.D. requires you to learn and do research and every job really requires research. Grant writers must research the market to understand what competition is out there, what those competitors are doing, if those efforts are better than organization the grant writer works for, and how to showcase the organization’s efforts; some serious research efforts. A similar process is used in business plan development; before a business plan can be written the writer has to have a clear understanding of the existing market. Starting any job, the employee has to research the job requirements, get to know the organization, and gain a clear understanding of what his or her responsibilities are.
I was able to work as a market researcher for two years but when we relocated to St. Louis I had to start over. It felt like I tried EVERYTHING I applied for little jobs, big job, went back to freelancing, and FINALLY after three months of applying I found work as a business analyst. My current position is a small portion of what I did as a market researcher but still allows me to continue to build my research/analysis skills so that I can continue down a solid career path. My hope is to gain full-time permanent employment within a year; it might be here…or not. The key is to stay positive and keep your eyes open.
I felt like I could have gotten where I am a lot faster if I would have avoided a few things:
1. Research what you want to do.
I loved the volunteer work that I was doing so much that I forgot to really research and discover the level of difficulty to gain access to employment within the nonprofit sector. Many corporate employees in the nonprofit sector were first successful in the for-profit sector. Those individuals took their talents they learned in the for-profit sector and applied them in the nonprofit world.
2. Getting frustrated over not getting what I wanted.
I was so concentrated on gaining access to the nonprofit sector I did not consider the for-profit sector in the beginning. If I would have taken a position in the for-profit world utilizing my skills I had gained in my educational journey I may have been able to gain access to the nonprofit sector in a more timely manner.
3. Never get comfortable.
Every job or project that I have taken on I loved because I wanted to contribute. I never took on a job that I had no desire to take on and I stayed away from position that I felt would clash on my resume. The problem was that I always got comfortable in my projects and thought I would be able to figure out a way to stay…so, when time was up or the project was done I fell back into the rut of NOW WHAT…
I am optimistic of what my future holds and I hope that some of these tips can help others. What comes next for me may be unknown but I hope you find what comes next for you!
501(c)3 is often thought of when the term nonprofit organization is mentioned; however, not every nonprofit is a 501(c)3 organization. The IRS lists 29 different types of nonprofit organizations; 501(c)3 organizations are one of only three types of nonprofits that qualify for any tax exemptions. To qualify as a 501(c)3 the organization must fall into a qualifying category:
Qualifying as a Nonprofit Organization
Does that mean a group can be organized and be labeled as a religious organization? No, each category has qualifications and standards that must be met. Writing a business plan defining the organization as a nonprofit is not enough to qualify for 501(c)3 tax exemption status. These organizations are audited by the IRS in the same manner as other businesses. The government requires 501(c)3 nonprofits to operate under a specific purpose:
“The exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) are charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals. The term charitable is used in its generally accepted legal sense and includes relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.”
Some nonprofit organizations may qualify for many benefits including, but not excluded to:
- Federal income tax exemption
- Federal unemployment tax exemption
- State income, sales, and employment tax exemption
- Tax-deductible contributions
- Postage discounts
- Tax-exempt Financing
Gaining 501(c)3 Approval
Categorizing an entity as a nonprofit organization does not automatically exempt it from paying taxes or receiving any 501(c)3 benefits. To gain access to these benefits an organization must receive acceptances as 501(c)3 status through the IRS. To apply for tax exemption status with the IRS the organization must:
Many tools are available to assist a nonprofit organization in developing the required elements of the application process. Hiring a consultant may be beneficial when filing for 501(c)3 status; when considering options be sure to verify credentials to avoid scams. Many new organizations realize their need for help but fail to ensure a contractor’s validity and integrity. Use trustworthy sources to recruit freelancers who are as passionate about the mission as the executive staff.
College stress includes students, instructors, staff members, and any third parties who associate with the school. Student stress does not stop at the student. Sometimes we forget about who all is affected by student stress and where that stress comes from.
Student College Stress
This semester has been an eye opener for me as a instructor. I had a student who was under so much stress it ozzed everywhere. It was so difficult knowing there was nothing I could do to help and I had to add to the existing stress. Stress comes from home, work, and school and sometimes explodes in the classroom. I surprised myself from how I handled the situation and was able to assist my student in passing my class.
Instructor College Stress
I felt like there was so much much for me to be stressed over, so much that could happen for me to look bad. I was the guilty party in forgetting where one’s stress comes from and who is affected by it. I was so happy when I graded my student’s final to see a passing grade. I don’t know that I could have made things easier or that I could apply the same method with future students. I am confident that I can continue to be the best instructor I know how to be and support my students the best way I know how.
Next Semester’s Goal
College stress does not have to be the focus of every semester. I truly believe that there is always room for improvement and I hope that I can can be a better instructor next semester. I hope my current students know how important much their success is to me. Most importantly, I hope I can positively touch the lives of more many students in the future.
A Written Dissertation… I didn’t really know how quickly I would make it to this point. I ordered my graduation ring last year with 2015 etched into the side. I don’t know if that put pressure on me or just put stress on me thinking that I may have to it fixed to read 2016. Here I am on October 1, 2015 with a mentor approved dissertation ready to submit to committee.
It doesn’t feel real. I feel like there is still so much more to do. It won’t be long and I will be opening up my package that has my degree placed inside. I will be able to wear the doctoral robes that I have been dreaming of. I will be able to apply for those online teaching positions that I have been dying to qualify for. I will be of the 2% of Americans who completed their Ph.D. program. Not only that, I will be a “Distinguished Graduate” because I am graduating with a 3.89 GPA. Me? A 3.89 GPA? Who would have thought?
It will be exciting to see what Heavenly Father has in store for me. For now, I will take my written dissertation and get past final defense.
First, if you plan to use NVivo I would highly suggest using it on a PC instead of a Mac. There are many more resources and how to videos available for PC use than Mac use. Though some of the same strategies work on the Mac, they don’t work as well. For example, on a PC you can drag and drop your text into nodes; on a Mac it is best to right click to purge them into the nodes.
Second, you should not be expecting NVivo to do the coding for you. NVivo is able to identify repeating words, not repeating thoughts or concepts. Your computer can not comprehend a thought, it can only execute commands. You still need to read and re-read your data to properly complete the data analysis process.
Now you may be wondering if NVivo does not actually analyze the data then what good is it, why should you purchase it right? NVivo is great for keeping everything organized without having to remember specific numerical codes. This is enough for me to use it. Remember, I only have the “Mac Experience” so it may work completely differently on a PC, which would explain why it is more expensive for the PC.
I like how you can transcribe an interview within the program and then export it to a word document for participants to review. Again, this command works differently on a Mac versus a PC.
After I transcribed my interviews I began reviewing the and placing them into nodes. Once I organized the interviews into broad categories I took and reviewed each node/category to identify subcategories. Once I completed the subcategory coding I went back into them and made a word document to group the subcategories into related topics to identify the re-occuring themes and how often they reoccured.
NVivo is a useful program for organization of analysis. The program cannot do a qualitative analysis automatically.
Being LDS is great! Today I had to drop off Kayrin.:( I cannot believe how quickly she is growing. She sent me a text as I was driving home that security had to inspect her scriptures. So I felt that there should be a “suggestion box” for what to do in these situations. This is what I came up with:
1. Look at the security person as seriously as possible and say “God is Good.”
2. When the guard grabs your scriptures case just loudly call out “Praise God Jesus!”
3. Start singing I Hope They Call Me On A Mission as loudly as possible. (My favorite)
I do have to say if this ever happens to me I hope that I remember these suggestions.
I have my pre-data collection coming up next Tuesday and I have to say, I don’t feel ready. Fortunately, I have also been asked to give a talk and teach a class on Sunday so I am hopeful that I will be able to build my confidence with that “practice. My mentor believes I am ready and she told me I did a great job on my first run through of the PowerPoint Presentation.
After I finish this call I will be ready to start collecting “data” by scheduling my interviews. I still have find another participant but I am still hopeful that I can blast this out. My 2015 graduation is starting to become a distant hope because I have had to play the waiting game so much. Trying to keep my spirits up and head high as I push forward.
This week/month has been difficult for me as I have been concerned about my abilities in general. I sometimes focus on the wrong things, the odds that I would have ever gotten to where I am. After reaching out to peers I remembered what I got me this far, the simple faith that I can. I can do anything I want do.
Earning a degree has nothing to do with your past or your background; it has everything to do with your faith in yourself and your determination. You need to stay focused and organized, keep your eye on the ball, and keep going!