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Thread: What to do DURING graduate school?

  1. #1
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    What to do DURING graduate school?

    I'm about to start my masters program in Urban Planning at the University of New Orleans in a couple weeks and I wanted to ask about what I should be doing outside of school to make sure I get a good job after I graduate. I just finished a summer internship at a local non-profit affordable housing development group. I wanted to know if I should go out of my way to secure another planning-related job for Fall, paid or not, or is it okay to just find some work to make money for my books and what not. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian beach_bum's avatar
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    Build your network

    Being a student gives you a perfect excuse to start building your network through your local or state APA chapter. Conference rates for students are very affordable. Since you are going to school in a bigger city, learn all you can through experience, go to presentations, speakers, events with like-minded professionals. Join planning related groups that have chapters in your area. Present a poster of your latest research paper, become the student rep for you school to the start apa if that position exists. Make lifelong bonds with your classmates, we are a small profession...who you know counts! Best of luck with school!
    "Never invest in any idea you can't illustrate with a crayon." ~Peter Lynch

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    Start assembling a portfolio (design or non-design) which you will carry through your career. Don't wait until you graduate to do this. When you start working on the larger semester-long projects (and internships) start cataloging your work and put together a master job list of completed projects that describe what you have done.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all the advice. Here's to hoping my student loans are worth it!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Is federal work-study funding available? If it is, you can use it (if you qualify) to work for an office around the city or for a professor in the department. It might not be as rewarding (financially or otherwise) as an assistantship, but it can put you in touch with people outside the program, or get you in good with someone within the program.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Oh, it also will reduce the amount of your student loans, since you'll be getting paid that much money in wages through the semester.

  7. #7
    Work as much as you are able, and build your network. Remember, your network includes your graduating class, so build good relationships with everyone. They might be the ones to get you a job somewhere down the line. It's happened to me.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chocolatechip View post
    Work as much as you are able, and build your network. Remember, your network includes your graduating class, so build good relationships with everyone. They might be the ones to get you a job somewhere down the line. It's happened to me.
    [emphasis added]

    You should also practice what you will likely be doing after graduation: bartending, stocking shelves, selling insurance...But if you want a better chance at actually planning, network. And network some more. Killing yourself for good grades isn't as important as networking. And then networking.
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Right. Go track down Crescent City Shapers and all the APA connections they have and see what they have as far as people to hobnob with. We have some resources for that problem. I don't track them all that well, since my interests are academic, but they're there.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Get pictures of Bobby Jindal doing stuff he is not supposed to.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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