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"But, I'm Sick..."

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Let's start this post by giving U of M Twin Cities students a round of applause for finishing, or nearing the end of, midterms. We made it! Some easier than others, of course, but nonetheless they're over (for me at least!).

My midterms week didn't go as planned. I've been pretty sick all week and have made numerous trips back and forth to Boyton Health Services in hopes of feeling better. So far, no luck. I'm now back in my hometown, snuggled up on my parents' couch with Netflix and a hot cup of tea. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to share some tips about what college students should do if you wind up sick.

First, always email your professor stating that you'll be missing class. Nearly all professors will require you to show verification of your illness with a doctor's note. Boyton is a great place to go if you're feeling under the weather. It's right on campus and the staff is very friendly! Get examined, ask for a note for your classes, and further follow your doctor's instructions. Also, always keep your doctor's notes tucked away in a safe spot until the end of the semester just in case you need it in the future for additional verification of your absence. If you're sick during a week such as midterms, try your best to make it to your midterm. I promise you, it's much easier than going through the hassle of rescheduling your exam date and your professor will greatly appreciate it!

A few more obvious tips:
-- Take preventative measures (eat clean and exercise)
-- Drink a lot of water, hydration is key!
-- Sleep whenever you can
-- Call your parents or a close friend--sometimes hearing a comforting voice is all you really need :)

With all of this being said, stay healthy everyone!!

Stay tuned to my blog post within the coming weeks to see what this is all about:

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Style On,
Bethanie
Retail Merchandising

Work Hard, Play Hard

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Happy October, everyone!

The semester is back in full swing and I'm definitely feeling it! Though a lot of my time is consumed with going to class, doing homework, and studying, I do find plenty of time to do things that I love. Minneapolis has so much to offer for busy college students and I'm so glad that I have the opportunity to live here and take advantage of them. Here are a few of my favorite things to do around the city:

---Walk around the lakes. After all, we are the Land of 10,000 Lakes! My favorite lake to walk and rollerblade around is Lake Nokomis. It's a short bus ride from campus and it's a great way to get your exercise in for the day.
---Catch a show at the Varsity. The Varsity Theatre is a great place to spend your Friday or Saturday night with friends. If you're interested in seeing what kind of events the Varsity offers, click here.
---Have a night on campus at Coffman Memorial Union. Gather up all of your friends and head onto campus to enjoy a night with other students! There are always plenty of events happening at Coffman. Again, check out the Student Unions and Activities page to view events!

Always remember to find a balance between schoolwork and your personal life. This was something that was very hard for me to learn when I first started college, but the older I get, the more I see how important it is to also focus on bettering yourself as a person and taking time out of your day to do something that you enjoy and that makes you happy!

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Style On,
Bethanie
Retail Merchandising

Ringing in the New (school) Year!

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Hello, all!

I'm Bethanie and I look forward to allowing you to see into my world as I work through my junior year in the Retail Merchandising program in the College of Design at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities!

Before we dive into this exiting journey, I wanted to share a little information about myself!

-- I love fashion, photography, and makeup. One day I hope to combine these three interests of mine into a career where I can style photo shoots for magazine spreads.

-- Living in a big city is a must for me! I enjoy going to school at the U of M because I love being in the heart of Minneapolis. Minneapolis has a lot to offer, I never find myself bored!

-- I work at Primp Boutique as a Stylist. I get to express my creativity daily in addition to making women feel beautiful and confident in their clothes.

-- I love animals (especially cats) and I have a big heart for bettering my community. I enjoy volunteering both on and off of campus.

-- Traveling is my passion. Despite my fear of flying, I enjoy visiting new places and learning about different cultures. This past summer my Mom and I took a trip out to New York City. I would highly recommend visiting The Big Apple if you get the chance!

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Style On,
Bethanie
Retail Merchandising

Graduation!

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I can't believe I'm officially graduated from the University of Minnesota! It was such a surreal day. I'm so happy that I was able to share this special day with my wonderful family and friends!


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Farewell!

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It's pretty bittersweet to say that this will be my last blog for the College of Design. Graduation is less than two weeks away and needless to say, I have about a million different emotions running through me. First, I am so grateful for my time and the U and all of the experiences here that have become invaluable. I've made what I believe are true lifelong friends and have been able to grow and learn so much more about myself. I'm excited to be closing this chapter and to begin a new one in Seattle with my boyfriend and (hopefully) finding a job in the retail industry. I'm sad to be saying goodbye to friends, co-workers, classmates, and most of all my family as I move across the country.

As my last two weeks at the University of Minnesota comes to a close, I can't say enough how happy I am that I chose the U of M and feel that I have really made the most out of my time here. I really don't know if I would have had these same experiences somewhere else. For any of you who are in the beginning of your college career, the biggest advice I have is to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. I did that when I made the decision to study and do internships in NYC, and that has by far been one of my most impactful and valuable life experiences.

It has been such a pleasure writing this blog for all of you current or potential retail merchandising majors. I truly wish all of you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do!


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ps. this pic is me with my family on move in day freshman year!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Curveball

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So, I have some not-so-great news to share.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the merchandising internship with Nordstrom. Of course, I was super bummed and disappointed in myself. I made it to the final round interviews and had gone through the 3 month process for nothing (or so it felt like at the time). I'll admit, I spent about 1 day feeling discouraged and sorry for myself.

Then I started to think of all that I had accomplished since initially applying for the position back in December. I had networked with numerous current employees, had several meetings with our career counselors, had the opportunity to speak with actual buyers at Nordstrom, and was in a group of 80 out of 1,400 to make it to the final round. Well that doesn't sound so bad, right? I started to take inventory of all that I had done and began to realize that although I didn't come out of this with an internship, I had learned so much about the process, and also about myself. I realized that feeling sorry for myself would not get me a job, so I picked myself up and started right back in with my job search.

I learned (and am still learning) a valuable lesson through this disappointment. There are always going to be obstacles and road blocks, whether it's with classes, job searches, or just life, but what matters is the action we take after encountering those obstacles. Are we going to feel sorry for ourselves or be proactive and take a different approach to reach our goals? I'm definitely going to try to take the latter approach, and encourage you all, no matter what you encounter, to do the same :)

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Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Spring's Here to Stay! (crossing my fingers)

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With April 1st just around the corner and warmer temps, I'm hoping/praying that spring is finally here to stay! I don't know about you, but this extra freezing winter was really starting to put a serious dent in my motivation to study, or do anything that required me leaving my heating blanket, really.

Of course as a retail merchandising student, springtime for me means changing out my winter wardrobe for spring essentials, but it also means the semester is coming to an end. I have found in my last three years of college that this time of year is often when we lose our motivation and ability to really stay focused. Trust me, I've been there! I have found some great resources though for staying on track with classes to make sure I finish strong.

1. SMART Learning Commons
This is a great resource if you're looking for extra one on one help with classes. I've
used the SMART learning commons for my previous math and science classes and
the individual tutoring was so valuable.

2. Center for Writing
I have taken so many writing intensive classes during my time at the U, so this
resource has really come in handy! I visited the center for writing during my freshman
year and since have become more confident in my writing abilities. This is a great
place to go if you're looking for help with your writing, whether it's brainstorming
topics or editing.

Check out Onestop for other useful academic support resources.

We're approaching the home stretch...you can do it!!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Let Me Tell You About My Amazing Advisor...

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I can't say enough how lucky I am to have had the best academic advisor for the retail merchandising program here at the U! Katrina Thompson has been working with me ever since I transferred into the College of Design my Sophomore year. I didn't have that close of a connection with my previous advisor, so I wasn't even aware of how helpful and supportive academic advisors can be. Katrina has helped me so much throughout my college career with everything from planning my course load to helping me every step of the way with my study away experience in New York City. I really recommend taking the time to routinely meet with your advisor, even if it just to check in. I didn't even know about the U's program that would let me study in NYC and get credit for it until Katrina brought ti up in one of our meetings. Who knows, maybe your advisor knows about amazing opportunities for you and all it takes is one meeting! I really think that having an awesome advisor that has gone above and beyond for me and all of her students has helped make my time of the U the best experience.

ps. I hope you all are enjoying spring break! I'm in Arizona this week visiting my boyfriend during Spring Training. Here's a picture of him pitching!

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Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Interviewing Tips!

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So I have some news that I'm pretty darn excited about...

I know I had mentioned in previous blog posts how working for Nordstrom as a buyer is my DREAM, and I found out last week that I made it to the final round of interviews for their corporate buying/planning internship in Seattle, WA! While I'm trying to not get my hopes up too much about it, this would be the perfect opportunity since I'm already moving to Seattle after graduation and Nordstrom is my dream company to work for. The internship would run from June - August, and depending on if I get it and how it goes, it could lead to their merchant in training program and then to an assistant buyer position. Ah! But again that's if everything goes perfectly and exactly as I want it, which doesn't always happen. Regardless, I am just beyond excited for even the opportunity to interview and show the company how passionate I am!

Since Nordstrom is headquartered in Seattle, my interview will be via video conference with the hiring managers. Video interviews can be a little tricky, but the overall principles of what makes for a successful interview are the same.

I found an awesome post from Lauren Conrad's blog that gives ten tips for mastering an interview. Here are her top 5, but check out the full blog post here .

1. Research the company
2. Update your resume
3. Dress the part
4. Arrive on time
5. Give a solid, confident handshake

Also, if any of you have an upcoming interview, or just want to get ahead of the interviewing game, I really recommend that you visit Career and Internship services for all the information you'll need on successful interviewing!

ps. here are a couple more pictures from Align fashion show!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

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Align Fashion Show Recap

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Last night was so much fun! As I mentioned in my last blog, I modeled for my friend, Carissa Prieve, for the senior apparel design fashion show. I have to say, I was so impressed with the talent from all of the designers. The lines were so diverse, some ready to wear, some more conceptual, but I loved the creativity and passion that came from each collection. I might be a little biased, but I absolutely loved Carissa's designs. All four of us girls looked so put together head to toe, and we all got so many compliments after the shows about how much people loved her line. The best part was seeing all of Carissa's and the other designer's hard work come together and to celebrate their senior collections. I saw Carissa's work from the very beginning when it was just a couple of sketches, so to see the whole thing come together and walk down the runway beautifully was amazing. I wasn't sure what exactly to expect when I said yes to doing the show, but I am so happy that agreed to do it. The whole thing was so professional and organized, from the show's production to the runway coach teaching us how to strut our stuff.

It was such a busy day going from hair and makeup, to the photo shoot, to lining up backstage that I didn't get as many pictures as I'd liked to, but my cousin took some pictures from the balcony that I have to share! I'm hoping to get pictures back from the photo shoot and share later.

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

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Ready, Set, Network!

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First things first, I have a confession to make.

I am a big time nerd, and proud of it.

I made the dean's list for the second time in my college career this past semester and
could not be more excited about it. I took the most credits I've ever taken last semester, so I really am proud of my hard work.

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Okay okay, enough about me and the dean's list. On to something else I'm very excited about...the U of M Job and Internship Fair! This awesome networking opportunity is coming up on Friday, February 21st at the Minneapolis Convention Center. This really is a great opportunity for all U of M students of all majors to get connected with industry professionals. Whether you're looking for your first internship, or you're a senior like me looking for a job, the job and internship fair is a perfect place to start! Over 200 employers will be at the fair including big names like Apple, The Buckle, Kohl's, and Target.

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For more information on the Job and Internship Fair, check out http://jobfair.umn.edu/

Is it your first time attending at job and internship fair? Go to http://www.careerhelp.umn.edu/PDFs/Career%20Fair%20Tips.pdf for career fair tips!


Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Align Fashion Show 2014

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I don't know about you guys, but I am SO excited for the 2014 Align Fashion show on February 15th! For those of you who've never been to the show or haven't heard of it, the Align Fashion show is in it's 46th year of showcasing the senior lines of U of M apparel design students. The designers have been working all of semester to create their senior lines that will be showcased on February 15th at Rapson Hall. This year's collections include everything from bridal to children's wear and will not disappoint! I have had the privilege to be included in this year's show, and will be modeling a look from Carissa Prieve's senior collection. It has been so cool to see Carissa's look from pretty much the very beginning and to see how it has evolved and turned into something that I want in the closet ASAP!

The show is not only a great place to see the incredible design talent from the U of M's senior apparel students, but it's also a great opportunity for us retail merchandising students to get out there and network with industry professionals. The most important thing I've learned through my internships in New York City, and even now trying to find jobs out in Seattle, is that you have to network and really put yourself out there in your industry. So whether you're going for the amazing fashion, the networking opportunity (or maybe even both) I really encourage everyone to check out the Align Fashion show. I'm so excited to see everyone's work and to put my best Tyra Banks catwalk to work!

Here's the link for Align Fashion show for more info on the show:

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Greetings From Canada!

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I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season! I was home in Wisconsin
for Christmas for about 10 days before heading to Vancouver to ring in 2014
with my boyfriend. Between all of the meals, baking, and family game
nights, it feels like the holidays flew by, like they always seem to do.

My boyfriend and I start our trek from Vancouver to Laguna Beach, CA
tomorrow where I'll spend a week before heading back to Minneapolis.
It will take us about three days in the car before we reach sunny Laguna Beach.
I have my phone all charged up so I can be the DJ. (Beyonce on repeat).
I am mostly excited to lay on the beach, finally read "Mockingjay" and
enjoy the rest of break until classes start up.

I hope you're all enjoying time with family and friends!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Tis the Season!

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I can't believe Fall semester is almost over! It feels like I was just introducing myself to you all and writing my very first blog. I just have one more final left on Tuesday for Retail Buying and then I'm heading home to Wisconsin for the holidays. I'll be visiting my boyfriend in Vancouver for New Years and then road trippin' it down to Laguna Beach, CA for the rest of break. It's currently 3 degrees outside so a beach and sunshine sound perfect. I'll be sure to take some pictures to share with you!

Ending the fall semester and only having one more left before graduation has really got me feeling nostalgic about my time at the U. I've been thinking about how much I've grown and changed since I walked in as a Freshman, of the lifelong friendships I've made, and the invaluable experiences that I've had. My goal for my last semester of college is to make the absolute most of it, and to take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way, whether it's something my classes or joining an intramural basketball team (I'm no LeBron, but I like to think I'm decent haha).

What are your plans for winter break? I'd love to hear!

Happy Holidays,
Katie

Virtual Target Store

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My final project for Visual Merchandising is to design a virtual shop for Target's Mossimo Black brand. I can't believe my partner and I present to Target next Monday already! I feel like we've worked so hard and the time has flown right by. For this project, my partner and I had to learn to use a new program that Target actually uses to create their layouts and planograms called Visual Retailing. It took us a long time to learn how to use the program, but once we did, it was actually a lot of fun arranging all of the fixtures and merchandise. I especially liked this project because it pretty much gave us creative freedom in terms of designing the shop, as long as we could explain why we chose the design. So far, this project has been so beneficial to me as a retail merchandising student because we're using the program and technology that actual visual merchandisers use, and we also have the opportunity to present our ideas to real industry professionals and get feedback on our work.

My group will find out next week after we present if we've been chosen as finalists. Wish me luck!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie

Kickin' Career Planning into High Gear

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It's kind of sad to admit that it took me until my senior year of college to schedule a meeting with the College of Design Career and Internship services. I've been meaning to make an appointment ever since a representative came to one of my retail classes freshman year. As new students, you should make an appointment with this office your first semester on campus!

For those of you who don't know, Career and Internship services are here to help all of us with ANYTHING related to future career/internship planning, like reviewing resumes, conducting mock interviews, and providing great resources for job/internship hunts. I made my appointment with Heather to help me become connected with the Seattle area retail industry, since that's where I'll be moving post graduation. Heather was so helpful and was able to share some of her professional contacts with me, and help me get my Linkedin profile looking professional and ready to go. I can't believe I waited this long to make and appointment! I'm feeling so much better about my job search and much more prepared. I really encourage all of you to set up a meeting with Career and Internship services, no matter what year you are!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie
Retail Merchandising

Feeling Stressed? Visit the Rec!

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I can't believe it's already November! That means only 49 days left until the end of fall semester, which also means that finals time will be here before we know it. This usually is the time in the semester when group projects, papers, and exams are all coming at you, and it can definitely get a little stressful. Personally, I've found that one of the best ways to combat stress is with good, old fashion exercise. As U of M students, we're lucky enough to have an amazing recreation facility that's FREE with our U Card. Whether you like walking on the treadmill, doing push ups in boot camp, or breaking a sweat in Zumba, the Rec really has something for everyone. I've been going to the Rec since I was a freshman, and I can say that it's not only helped me stay healthy, but has also been a great outlet for when school seems a little overwhelming, and I know we've all been there before!

You don't have to be a fitness model, or even an athlete to use the Rec. Just grab a friend, check it out, and start relieving that stress. Check out the Rec's website for information on the facility and group fitness schedules and rates.

http://recwell.umn.edu/

Katie, Retail Merchandising

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Putting My Creative Skills to Work!

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This past week, my group for my Visual Merchandising class presented our window design for the Weisman Art Museum. We were challenged to create a window display for the WAM gift shop that reflected the image of the museum, was within a $150.00 budget, and could be easily implemented. It was also competition amongst all of my classmates, with one group being picked as the winner at the end. Doesn't sound too hard, right? Turns out, this project required a lot more work and creativity than expected!

While some people thrive in group projects, I've always preferred individual projects where I can work at my own pace and make sure it's not left for the last minute. It can also be challenging to coordinate times to meet with a group, since everyone has a busy schedule. I was very fortunate to be put in a group where each of us had different skill sets that contributed to our final result. One girl was super creative and visual, another girl was skilled in Photoshop, and I can produce a pretty good paper. In this case, the synergy from different skill sets of my group was much stronger than anything I could have done by myself, and we ended up being chosen as a finalist!

Sure, group projects can be a hassle sometimes, but I have found that they can also be the best learning experiences and the most rewarding in the end.


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ps. you can follow all of us CDES students on Instagram (@umndesign) and see what we're up to!

Stay Fabulous,
Katie, Retail Merchandising

My Semester in New York City!

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Never did I ever think that I would have the opportunity to intern for Nina Garcia, of Marie Claire, AND Kelly Cutrone, of People's Revolution, all in one semester! It all started with a routine advising appointment with my (seriously amazing) Retail Merchandising adviser, Katrina Thompson. I had mentioned that I always dreamed of living in New York City and would love to find a way to complete my required internship there. She told me about the U's partnership with Kent State University's NYC semester study program. I would be able to take classes and intern in New York and it would all count for credit at the U of M?! I was in.

After a lot of planning, paperwork, and long discussions with my parents, I decided that Kent State's program was the right fit and that I needed to take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity to live out my dream. I completed my classes and internships at Marie Claire and People's Revolution last spring semester and needless to say, it was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Yes, it was extremely challenging and yes, I did get homesick every now and then, but the personal growth I gained through that experience has been invaluable. This program is only one of the amazing opportunities that our Retail Merchandising program has to offer.

Top 3 "Pinch Me" Moments of my NYC Semester
1. Going to Nina Garcia's upper east side apartment to hand deliver dresses to her.
2. Being Kelly Cutrone's assistant for 1 day. ( I was holding my breath the entire time)
3. Working backstage with People's Revolution at New York Fashion Week.


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Be sure to leave any questions or comments about my semester in NYC below! I'd love to hear from you!

For more information on Kent State's NYC program, go to http://www.kent.edu/artscollege/fashion/studyAway/nycstudio/

Stay fabulous,
Katie

Lights, Camera...MN Fashion!

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This past Wednesday marked the kickoff of the MN Fashion Shows held at Twin Cities hotspot, ARIA. The fashion shows feature the latest collections of Twin Cities designers, including both veterans and emerging talent. This year's show lineup included a collection by Christopher Straub, Minneapolis native and competitor on the ultimate fashion television show; Project Runway.

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The MN Fashion shows are the perfect way for U of M students to get involved with the Twin Cities fashion scene! Want to experience live fashion from the audience? The College of Design Student and Alumni Board offered students discounted tickets and transportation to go see the shows. Students are also able to get involved behind the scenes and be a MN Fashion volunteer. If you're looking for a career in fashion, or just love the thrill of watching looks walk down the runway, MN Fashion is the place to be!

Check out their website mnfashion.org for all the details on MN Fashion, and http://www.design.umn.edu/dsab/ for info about CDES Student and Alumni Board!

Stay fabulous,
Katie

And So It Begins!

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Hi Everyone!

I'm Katie, and I'm so excited to be sharing my experience as a Retail Merchandising student at the U throughout the year with all of you!

Let me start off with some quick background info about myself.

Hometown: Eau Claire, WI (go packers)
Year in School: Senior
Job: Student worker at the College of Design Student Services
Career Goal: Working as a buyer for Nordstrom
Hobbies: Drinking coffee first thing in the morning, beating my dad in our daughter/father tennis showdowns, eating Buncha Crunch at the movies, major league baseball games, quality time with my amazing older sisters, and busting out my best Beyonce moves.
Why I chose the U of M: To experience the big city culture, work towards my dream of working in the fashion industry, and to push myself out of my personal comfort zone.


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Be sure to check back in with me throughout the year. I'll be blogging about internships, where to get the best burger on campus, making new friends, and everything in between!

p.s. this link makes it super easy to bookmark my blog! z.umn.edu/cdesblogs


Until next time,
Katie Sprick
Retail Merchandising

All Good Things Must Come To An End

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Well friends, as of last Saturday, I have become a college graduate! I, along with 300 of my fellow College of Design peers, took the stage at Mariucci Arena to accept our diplomas in front of our closest friends and family. The ceremony was great; we had four great speakers, three of which were students. I really enjoyed hearing from my fellow students as they shared about all of what they have experienced, learned, and overcome while studying at the University. It was also wonderful to hear and relate to their outlook on the future and everything they were looking foreword to!

grad.jpgIt's interesting to think that my career as a college student is now officially over and that a new chapter in my life must soon begin! I have had such a wonderful time in college here at the University of Minnesota, so many great memories and great times that I will deeply miss. However, I know that there are plenty of new and exciting memories that await me as I move foreword in life!

The end of college, sadly, also means the end of my student blog posts to you guys, as I no longer will be a student. I have enjoyed sharing and writing about my college experiences with all of you and hope that they have been of some help! I wish you all the best as you embark on your college careers!

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

The Value of a Good Advisor

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Something that I have been very thankful for these past four years is having a good advisor. My advisor, Katrina Thompson, has literally been best; she has helped me sort out class schedules, look through study abroad options, determine which Minor I should choose, and so much more. A good advisor is of great value because he or she can make your time in college so much easier and less stressful with his or her abundant knowledge of the University and all that it offers.

One of the many times my advisor has been a great help to me was last fall (2011) when I was considering and looking at potential study abroad options. I last minute decided that I wanted to consider the option of studying abroad and need to figure out if I could do without prolonging my college career. I met with Katrina and she provided me with an assortment of study abroad programs and options; she helped me sort through classes, found alternative class options, and helped organize my potential class schedules all so I could study abroad if I wanted to! Unfortunately, I was unable to study abroad because of another obligation, my cousin's wedding, that happened to coincide with the semester I was planning to go during. Regardless, that situation allowed me to realize the value of a good advisor and made me really appreciate my particular one!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

This week is...

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Hi friends! So this week is officially the last week of classes for me. EVER. But, just like the every other week of this past month, it is also quite a busy one. I have a final project for Screen Printing due tomorrow and my biggest final of the semester, in Marketing Research, is on Thursday. So with those classes on my brain, I thought I'd give you all a little update on each of them.

IMG_1309.jpgFor screen-printing I have been working with the design that I shared with you all in an earlier post and elaborating on it. Originally, when I printed that design on fabric, I only used one color. For this project, however, I printed the two design elements in two different colors; I also created an additional complementary design, which included some of my favorite verses. I then contrasted the fabric prints into pillows!

In Marketing Research, we just finished up our final group project and now it's crunch time for the final exam! I have been struggling in this class this whole semester and have been trying to study hard for this final because I know it's crucial for me to do well. And today, during our review session, I was able to confirm that I am actually starting to grasp it! Yay!

Well, that's my week: uneventful, but busy.

Sasenka -Retail Merchandising

At a Loss for Words

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This past week has been filled with many unforeseen obstacles, one of those weeks where everything just seems to being going wrong. There have been many hurdles that have come my way; however, I'm only going to tell you about one them, the one that really humbled me and showed me that sometimes things don't go as planned.

microphone.jpgLast Thursday, I had a group presentation for my Marketing Research final project. The day before, my group and I had split up our speaking roles; I took on one of the bigger roles, assuring my group that public speaking was one of my strengths. The next day during the presentation however, my nerves got the best of me and my mind went completely blank right as I was about speak! I have stumbled over words in speeches and presentations before, but never actually forgotten everything! I was a little embarrassed, but mostly, I felt bad because of what I had assured my group the day before.


After the class, I knew that I needed to apologize to my group members; they were all pretty understanding and assured me that nerves sometimes get the best of us. I understood this, but was worried that my group would get panelized for my little mishap. So when I got home, I e-mailed my professor immediately; I apologized for my inability to speak during the presentation and asked if there was anything I could do to redeem the situation. She too assured me that it wasn't as bad as I thought, but that if I wanted too, I could come in during her office hours and share what I originally intended to. I did.

This situation really humbled me and showed me that sometimes things don't always go as planned; but, that doesn't mean that the situation is un-redeemable. When things go wrong, we often want the quick solution or try to forgot the incident completely. However, what this situation taught me is that owning up your failures and taking initiative to move foreword can often be the first step in allowing a situation to be redeemed.

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Photo Credit: http://cdn.returnofkings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/microphone.jpg

Searching

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use.pngI have really been utilizing Career and Internship Services lately. Last week I went to have my resume critiqued and this week I had an appointment with a career advisor, Heather Fredrickson. I have been really behind in my job hunt due to my uncertainty of staying in Minneapolis next year or move to Los Angeles with a friend; I now have decided to stay here, in Minneapolis.

When I set up my career appointment last week, I was unsure what I wanted to discuss and talk about during the meeting; all I knew is that I desired guidance on how to find a job that would allow me to utilize my skills in retail, business, and design. During the appointment, Heather and I discussed my interests and job positions I was interested and not interested in. I told her that I wanted a career in business, but one that would allow me to exercise my creativity and design skills, something like product development or visual merchandising. After talking for a bit, she recommended that I do research on ten companies that hold positions that interest me. She then advised me to contact the people in these positions and set up informational interviews to learn about how they got to where they are. She informed me that making connections is the best way to find jobs openings because most job openings are not listed.

So, my next step is to use the sites, pictured on the right, and look into some companies and positions! Wish me luck!

Until next week!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Graduation is Nearing

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IMG_1235.jpgI have only one month left of being a college student and then it's "Hello, Real World!" I don't know how I feel about this, because I don't think I want to leave college quite yet! But nevertheless, graduation is nearing and as sad as I am to know that this chapter of my life is closing, it's exciting, as well as a little terrifying, to think of all the possibilities the future holds.

I've always been told that this stage of my life will be confusing and rather stressful; it's intimidating trying to figure out what path to take in life or what career path you truly desire to take. Should I stay in Minneapolis and try find a job with a large corporation like Target? Should I work for a smaller company? Should I even stay in Minneapolis? These have been the questions circling through my head; they have been paralyzing me. I think that somehow I got this idea in my head that if I choose the wrong career right off the bat, I would be stuck forever. Thankfully, this past month we've had some speaker come into one of my class and talk about their career paths and share about the many paths they all took to get to where they are at. That calmed me down a bit; it made me realize that I don't have to have my whole life out at twenty-two, but I do need to take some steps foreword and see where they take me.

I love how in the Retail Merchandising major we have so many professionals from the retailing field come and talk to us, sometimes to share about job and internship opportunities and sometimes to simply supplement and provide real examples of what we are learning. Ether way, it's a great opportunity to gain
perspective and even network!

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Computer Issues

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I have been having some computer issues over the past few weeks and it has made doing schoolwork, as well as many other tasks, nearly impossible. Applications, such as Microsoft Excel and Adobe Photoshop, were constantly freezing up and quitting on me, without any warning or advance. In addition, my computer completely stopped connecting to the Internet; this is quite the issue when you have an online class that requires you to take part in "online discussions" at a particular time each week. It is rather difficult to get by with a computer that is not working properly while in school, because so much is dependent on it.

Knowing that I had assignments to work on and deadlines to meet, I tried to plan out carefully when I would make my trip to the nearest Apple Store; I had been planning to go off campus to either Uptown or Roseville. But then I remembered that we have an Apple Authorized Service Center right in our very own bookstore! This realization brought me such relief; it saved me an unnecessary trip off campus and time!

computers.jpgSoon I made my trip to the Bookstore to get my computer checked out. While the having the computer overlooked, I got into a conversation with the technician who fixing the issues. We got into a conversation about Apple Service Centers and their relationship with different colleges across the United States. He informed me that these Apple Service Centers were not found in many colleges. This both surprised me and made me feel grateful for the service being at my very own campus here at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Luckily, my computer only needed a software update and it was good as new!

Also, in addition to having a rather conveniently located Apple Authorized Service Center, the University of Minnesota offers great technological service through the Tech Stop. They are a great service and help fix difficult computer issues on a variety of different computers and technological devices.

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Photo Credit: http://www.techwench.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/pc-versus-mac.jpg

Touring Target Headquarters

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This past Friday, some fellow Retail Merchandising students and I got a chance to go on a Target Corporation tour. The Design Student and Alumni Board, who sets up great opportunities and events for current College of Design Students year round, arranged the tour.

T.jpgThe tour kicked off with a panel of speakers who work in merchandising, buying, sourcing, and planning for Target Corporation; they spoke about their specific jobs within Target, their educational backgrounds, and the career paths they have taken get to where they are at now. It was very interesting to see how diverse their career backgrounds were; some started working for Target straight out of college, while others got their start at different companies. Educational backgrounds differed too, ranging from Psychology to Retail Merchandising majors. They also spoke to us about Target's Corporate Culture and what working for Target looks on a job-to-job and company basis. It was really interesting to learn more about the company and about the different career paths! I'd be lying if I said that it didn't make me desire to seek them out as a future employer!

The tour took place in the second portion of the event and was fairly brief because we ended up spending the majority of the event speaking with panel and learning about Target. The tour, regardless of being short, was still really interesting! We got to see a few different areas of the current building, as well as an additional section that has just recently been developed; it was really cool to see how Target establishes a balance between work/life even within their headquarters.

The event was really fun and also very resourceful, because we were given contact information to be able to network as well! I am just very thankful that the College of Design sets up events and opportunities like this for its students.

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Photo: Target Headquarters at night
Photo Credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/91/Target_Plaza_South.jpg/220px-Target_Plaza_South.jpg

The Semester Continues

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The semester is getting busy! Spring break was a nice pause to the semester, but now everything is in fast foreword. This weekend alone is super packed with projects to work on, assignments to finish, tests to study for, and activities to attend.

I have two big projects due at the end of April; both of which include doing research and analysis on companies and brands. These projects make-up a large percentage of my final grade for each, so procrastination on these projects is not an option. For one of the projects, my group and I are developing a survey questionnaire with in order to collect primary data; it's really interesting to take part in the process of research design and see how it works, but let me just say that it is very time consuming.

I also have quite a few assignments for my PSTL 1571 computer class to finish. Luckily, these assignments are a great preparation for the midterm I for the class this following Thursday; so working on them will be like killing two birds with one stone.

Lastly, I also have an interview to prepare for, with a company that contacted me through GoldPass, the UofM job database. In addition, I am also going on a tour of the Target Corporate Headquarters on Friday with other Retail Merchandising students; here we will not only get a tour, but also hear about possible job opportunities available.


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(Business Casual on left and Business Professional on the right. It's always important to know the typical dress code of a workplace and then dress one step above that for an interview.)

It's going to be one busy weekend, so wish me luck!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Photo credit:http://whatcanyoudowiththat.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/women-business-casual.png and http://www.models4tradeshows.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Trade-Show-Dress-Code-Business-Attire4-1024x778.jpg


Job Searches and Career Services

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It's hard for me to grasp the idea that I will be graduating in less than two months. Soon, I will be out in the real world, working; however, where I will be working has yet to be determined. Part of the reason I am so unsure, is due to the fact that I am uncertain if I will be staying in Minnesota after graduation. I am contemplating either staying here, in Minneapolis, or possibly moving out to California. Luckily, the University of Minnesota has great resources that can help me find a job around the area if I decide to stay, but can also set me on the right track, as far as job searching, if I plan to move away.

These are some of the UofM resources that I am currently using or have used in the past.

photo.PNGCareer and Internship Services: One of the best resources offered at the University of Minnesota. They help look over and improve resumes (as pictured on the right), offer mock interviews, help with the job searching processes, and much more. This is a resource that is offered not only to current students, but to alumni as well!

GoldPass: This University of Minnesota specific website lists job, internship, and volunteer openings. I have found so many great and interesting job listings and opportunities on the site for such companies as Target, Kohl's, and ShopNBC. Some
of these employers even hold interviews on campus and students are able to sign up
for timeslots on the website itself.

Career and Internship Fair: This resource is available to students twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Many employers gather at the Career and Internship Fair and students are able to talk and network with employers. I got my internship with Kohl's last year through networking at this Career Fair.

These are just some of the many resources offered to students and alumni by the University of Minnesota and I am very grateful for them; I will keep you all posted on how I use some of these resources on my current job search!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Embracing Challenging Classes

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This week is a busy one! And understandably so, considering that spring break is just around the corner and most professors want us to get our exams over and done with so that we can enjoy this coming week that we have off. And that joyous week off is exactly what I am looking forward to and keeping in mind as I study for two very large mid-terms that I have this coming Thursday.

The two exams will be for my two business classes that I am taking this semester: International Retail Markets and Marketing Research. International Retail Markets is a class that I can easily comprehend and understand the concepts in; I don't know how or why, but my brain just "gets" the subject matter. Marketing Research, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult for me, definitely not my strong suit. So when I first started studying for the Marketing Research mid-term, I became overwhelmed and impatient with myself, almost disappointed at how difficult it was for me to grasp. Going into the class, I deeply desired to quickly comprehend the subject matter and breeze through the class with ease; but currently, it is looking like this is not going to happen. This class is definitely going to take some extra time and effort to fully comprehend and I am starting to become okay with that.

Not every subject is going to come easily in fact many may be difficult. But, that's the beauty of it, because difficult classes grow us by challenging us to think in ways that we are not accustomed to. This growth is actually why I really enjoy my major, Retail Merchandising. The program offers a great mix of design and business classes that really encourage and teach students how to use both sides of the brain, giving them an advantage when looking for jobs in the "real world!"

Now, excuse me as I get back to my studies:)
Photo 2826.jpg

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Very Useful Knowledge

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Hi friends, so lately I have been using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop a lot, both for class projects and for personal projects. I greatly enjoy having an understanding of how to use these design-based computer applications, because the knowledge comes in handy more often than you would assume. I first learned the basics of these applications in a class called Design and Visual Presentation, DES 2101, which most Retail Merchandising students take during their sophomore year. At the time, I did not know how useful this knowledge would actually be; I soon discovered and was using the programs on a regular basis for projects, assignments, and even work related tasks.

The occasion where my knowledge of Photoshop and Illustrator was most beneficial to me was during my internship at Kohl's; this was because my internship was design based, in fact, it was a management internship, where an understanding of these programs was not at all required. However, I found a time in which they could be of use. At the end of the internship the interns were required to complete a final project; each intern had to define an objective within the store then research and implement a solution within their store. One of my ideas was not one that I could physically implement in the store, because I did not have the means; however, I knew that I still wanted to present the idea to the executive team. Luckily, my knowledge in Photoshop came in handy and I was able to create a visual aid that conveyed my idea for the store perfectly. So when I presented my project, both the executives and interns applauded my idea and effort; they even stated that they would like to see my idea put into action.

I would love to show you all my project and idea; however, I do not think that I am allowed to, because it may be considered a property of Kohl's since it was done in their store. But I will leave you with this pattern below, that I designed for my screen printing class, which I am taking complete my Design Minor.

motif.jpg

Lets do some Q and A

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The Dean's Reception was this past weekend and I had a lot of fun meeting and chatting with some of you! I definitely enjoyed it and I hope those of you who were able to come did too! I seriously loved talking to you guys and hearing about your future goals, dreams, ideas, interests, and the questions you had about the program and the University. So for today's post, I will answer some of the questions I was asked this past weekend and hopefully bring you some understanding concerning those areas.

Q: Why did you choose to study Retail Merchandising?

A: I had an interest in business and was involved with a student group, DECA, while in high school; but I also have always been interested in fashion. So for me this major was the perfect mix of my two interests.

Q: Why study Retail Merchandising at the University of Minnesota?

A: Minneapolis is the perfect location to study Retail Merchandising because there are so many corporate retailers that are housed in the area. They often come and speak in our classes; they even collaborate with a few classes on projects. This gives us better opportunities to network and find jobs after we graduate.Winners and Target-thumb-600x338-125294-thumb-600x338-125295.jpg(This is a photo of me, some of my classmates, and the target team for visual merchandising after a competition for designing a visual merchandising layout. Photo credit: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/design/designatmn/2012/05/working-with-target-corporatio.html)

Now, some basic questions that I was asked:

Q: What dorms should I live in my Freshmen year?

A: This is a question that I discussed in a previous post; you can find it by simply clicking here.

Q: How is it difficult to get around campus, particularly, from the St. Paul campus to the Minneapolis one?

A:I have also addressed this issue in a couple different posts, which you can find by clicking here and here.

New Plans

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Hey friends, hope your week is going well! This week I will talk about the new undergraduate plan for Retail Merchandising and Graphic Design that was announced just a few Fridays ago on February 8th. This new plan is one that gives students, within these two College of Design programs, the ability to graduate in three years rather than four. The three-year degree will be made available to those students enrolling in either Retail Merchandising or Graphic Design in the fall of 2014. You may be asking yourselves, how will I be able to finish a four years worth of credits in only three years? Well the answer to that is that students within those two majors, who choose to take on this new plan, will be able to take a full load of credits during the summer months. This new plan is only a pilot and will be used to determine whether there is really a need for students to complete a degree in three-years.

Photo 2798.jpgFor some more information, here are some news reports and articles that have reported on this new implementation.

- CBS Minnesota - Can you spot me in the video? hehe:)
- Startribune

Also a reminder for those of you who are going to the Dean's reception, it is this Saturday and I will be there! So please come say hi and chat with me! Because this is how excited I am to meet you! --- >


Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

International State of Mind

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Hey friends! Today, I think I'll talk about some of the things I am learning in my International Markets class. This class has been really great so far and is helping me realize that I have a real interest in how business functions, occurs, and change outside of the United States. The class will be touching on a lot of different bases, but currently our focus is on the cultural differences between counties or societies and how being aware these cultural differences can help a business succeed globally.

4815838-earth-globe-high-resolution-image.jpgThe class format for International Markets is a mix of online activities and in-class lectures, about half and half; some days we meet in class and other days we meet online to complete online activities, quizzes, or attend virtual group discussions. However, no matter the class setting, we are constantly being stretched and growing in knowledge. One of our recent assignments was to watch some videos on dominant religions and cultures within specific countries; we then discussed how these specific worldviews could affect both business-to-business transactions and business to consumer transactions.

The more time I spend in this class, the more I realize how important the information I am learning really is! The class is preparing me and making me aware what needs to occur for international business transactions to be successful, which I find to be valuable, especially when I think about the fact that I am graduating soon and may end up working for a company who handles business all around the world.

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Come and Chat at The Dean's Reception!

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mcneal.gifHey friends! I want to inform you all that The College of Design's Dean's Reception is coming up in about two weeks! The event will take place on Saturday, February 23rd. It will be held on the St. Paul Campus, in the McNeal Hall Atrium, for the students interested in Retail Merchandising, Housing Studies, Apparel, Interior, and Graphic Design. So to all you potential Retail Merchandising students, who have questions about the major and what it's all about, this is the place to be!

The event will host different information sessions where you will learn about the College of Design and the major of your interest. There will also be luncheon where you and you family will get to talk with faculty and current students about college life, classes, the city of Minneapolis, the major itself, and what ever else comes to mind!

I helped out at the Dean's Reception last year and will definitely be helping out again this year! The event is really casual, laid back, and a whole lot of fun! It is a great and safe place for questions you may have the school and major, and also any questions you may have regarding any of my Retail Merchandising blog topics; I love to chat and am always willing to help, so please feel free to come up to me and chat.

I hope to see you there!
Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Class Impressions

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Hi friends! This week I think I'll inform you on how my classes are looking so far and some of my first impressions. This semester I am taking four classes, a credit-load of fifteen credits. Fifteen or sixteen credits is about average student's credit-load, but some take more and some take less; it depends on the student and how he or she manages time and schoolwork. Within my four classes, three of them are four credit courses and one is three credits; four credits typically means a little bit of a larger work-load, but it's looking like my three credit one is going to be about the same. The classes I am taking are Computer Literacy (PSTL 1571), International Retail Markets (RM 4217), Marketing Research (MKTG 3010), and Surface Design: Color and Form (GDES 3312).

PSTL 1517 is looking like it's going to be pretty manageable and easily understood. The class is computer based so it is not a requirement to attend the class's designated timeslot, except on test days and whenever you want/need help from the professor, who seems very nice and willing to help. The only thing that I need to be concerned about in this class is being diligent in keeping up with my assignments, since it is not required to physically go to class.

IMG_8285.jpg

MKTG 3010 is looking to be my hardest class, mostly because statistics are a large part of Marketing Research and statistics was never my strong suit in math. However, the professor seems to be very willing to help. So it just looks like I'm going to need to put in a little extra effort in this course and be willing to go to the professor's office hours to get help on the things that I don't fully understand.

RM 4217 is a class that is both online based and classroom based. We have physical lectures some days and on other days we simply need to go online for live chats, discussions, and assignments. I had my first live chat class session today, it was very interesting and a bit chaotic trying to keep up with everyone, but luckily the professor figured out the issue and it will be sorted out by the next live chat. I am excited to see how this class format progresses.

GDES 3312 is the course I am taking to complete my Design Minor and is looking to be my most hands on and possibly most time consuming course; this is because it is studio based and if I have homework I will need to go to the studio itself to complete it. But the course is looking like it's going to be fun, so I'm excited.

-Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Chilly Days and Positive Thoughts

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Today was one of those cold days here at the University of Minnesota Campus that some people only hear about on the news; you know, one of those days where the temperature dips into the negatives and people are all bundled up and looking like marshmallows as they walk to class. Luckily, however, it looks like this cold wave will soon be over and the temperature will rise up to about thirty degrees towards the end of the week.

Cold weather is something that we definitely are used to here in Minnesota. And while we sometimes complain and whine about how chilly it can get, I can honestly say that sometimes I really enjoy it when it gets this cold. This is because the cold makes me really appreciate the warm when it comes. Also, there is seriously something so magical and wonderful about getting to experience all four seasons and seeing the changes that occur.

Another cool thing about having all four seasons present is that we (particularly us Retail Major's who are interested in apparel) get to experiment and play with so many different looks and fashions that are made for each season. This is not only fun, but actually somewhat beneficial I think. I mean no matter where we end up working or what company we end up working for, we will have knowledge on the apparel products that are specific to whatever climate area they serve, because we've experienced them all.

543857_10151189947276296_1316516864_n.jpg
(The cold can also be some fun. Today, I frosted my hair and eyelashes, simply by breathing on them (haha). It can kind of also gave me a glimpse of my future self; I am assuming that this is what I will look like at age 76, white hair and all...what do you guys think?)

Sasenka - Retail Merchandising

Ethical Responsibility

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As business majors we are put in place of responsibility to perform ethically within our future careers in retail. The retail industry is very fun and exciting, a career where it's employers are continuously interacting with new products and people. Working in an industry where the demands are constant and the competition is high, it is extremely easy to fall into unethical behaviors in order to meet people's wants and needs.

Sometimes the line between ethical and unethical is very clear and other times, it is blurred. Luckily, in our major, we are required to take a full class concerning ethics within the retail industry; it is called Fashion, Ethics, and Consumption (RM 1201). This class brings up the common ethical concerns like ethical hiring practices and treatment of employees. However, hardier topics are addressed as well; topics like sweatshops, unethical marketing, and the sale counterfeit products. These topics may seem to be black and white, however, you would be surprised at how often they do occur within the retail industry. For this reason, it is very important that we, as future retail professionals, be well informed and aware so that we can take initiative in being ethically responsible when we are in our future retail careers.

Sweatshops-05.jpg
(Unfortunately, many retailers use sweatshops; it is somewhat inevitable, mostly because the demand for low-costing products is growing larger, and in order to keep these costs down, retailers have outsource to countries where labor is cheaper. This is an example of how we as consumers, not only retail professionals, have to be ethically aware. Photo Credit: http://fashion.lilithezine.com/images/Nike-Sweatshops-05.jpg)

Until Next Week,
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Preparations for the Real World

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As the start of the spring semester approaches, the fact that I am graduating this year is becoming more of a reality. In addition to graduating this year, I will also need to start looking for a "big kid" job. Job searching can seem intimidating, especially if you are unprepared and unaware of what employers are looking for in job applications and interviews. Luckily, however, a class called RM 3201: Career and Internship is required so that Retail students can be well prepared as we step into the real world.

This single credit course goes into much depth about how to properly construct cover letters, resumes, and portfolios. However, we are not only taught how to create documents that professionals will respect, but we also learn how to conduct ourselves in job interviews and land the jobs we are looking for. All of our documents and interviews are critiqued and reviewed by the professor, who also provides very useful and personalized feedback on how to improve. In addition to building upon our job application and interviewing skills, we also set career objectives, take tests to determine our personal strengths via Strength Finder, and learn how to properly negotiate job contracts once we do land a job.

job.jpg

(Photo Credit: http://www.missonherown.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/moho-job-intv-pic.jpg)

This class is very useful and helpful, however, you can never be too prepared when it comes to finding a career; this is why we, the students, are offered the help of the Career and Internship Service center up to two years after graduation!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

A Glimpse at a Possible First Semester

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I remember entering my first year of college; it was very intimidating. I had to get used to a new city, new school, new friends, and a new and different class structure. The class structure was most intimidating for me however, because I had no idea what to expect; I didn't know what I would be learning and how I would be learning it. I soon discovered was that all classes are structured differently and it all depends on the subject matter and the instructor. But knowing that the unknown is intimidating, I figured that I would give you a small glimpse at what your first semester of classes might look like. Having taken these classes, I can share a bit of information on what they were like, but I can't guarantee that they will be the same. Some classes change year to year, and you may different professors than I or choose a different set of classes. But either way, here is a look at a potential possibility.

Comm 1101: Intro to public speaking
This was a very small class, very laid-back, with only about fifteen to twenty people. We did about four or five speeches, one of which was formal. I had the class twice a week and it was about ninety minutes long.

DES1111: Creative Problem Solving
This was a larger lecture class with a hundred people, however the discussion portion had only about fifteen. This class had very entertaining homework; every week we had to step out of our comfort zones and approach "typical" tasks in different ways; we then document, write about them, and present them in our discussions. The objective of the class is to get students thinking outside the box.
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(This was an assignment in which we had to "wear something different" to Creative Problem Solving discussion; I choose to wear my hair EXTREMELY messy, very out of my comfort zone.)

Econ 1101: Microeconomics
Most students take this class in the lecture format with about 400+ other students. When I took the class there were two exams and one cumulative final. I had this class three times a week for only fifty minutes, which I liked because it gave me time to process the content and understand it before moving on to new material.

Math 1021: College Algebra
When I took this class I felt as if it was done in a very similar format to my high school math classes; I had homework each week, three exams, and a final. I had this class twice a week for about two hours. College Algebra is the lowest math requirement needed to graduate with a Retail Merchandising Degree; so taking a higher math class also fills the requirement.

RM 1201: Fashion, Ethics, and Consumptions
This was an eighty-person class when I took it; it was held three times a week in fifty-minute increments. We had weekly quizzes concerning the content, which covered material like body image in fashion, ethical issues like sweatshops and counterfeit products, and many other hardy topics within the fashion world. I believe that I had two exams in the class, one final, and one paper as well.

Hope this was helpful!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Campus Fun

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Finals are over and winter break has started, so I think that in today's post I'll write about some of the fun, non-class related activities that the University of Minnesota offers to its students.

Most of these fun activities are part of Gopher's After Dark and are planned by the Student Unions & Activities committee. The entertainment and activities that occur at Gopher's After Dark take place at our student union, Coffman, on Friday and Saturday nights. Movies, music shows, entertainment artists, games, and many other fun and random activities take place during these weekend events. The movies that are shown during these nights are free and are movies that are freshly out of the theaters, but have yet to be released on DVD. The musical acts and shows typically occur at The Whole Music Club, which is located in the basement of Coffman, and showcase both local and nationally known artists. Occasionally, there are famous comedians, motivational speakers, and other well-known entertainers that come and perform for the students on these nights; one time I saw the comedic cast Chelsea Lately, it was pretty funny. There is also bowling and a game room, where students can simply socialize and have fun; these two activities, however, are also available during weekdays. Sometimes, events that are set up by other student groups that take place at Gophers After Dark as well. One event in particular that I recall is called "Scrubbed into Fashion;" it a fashion show set up by the Student group Fashion and Business.

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(Doing live-band karaoke at Gophers after Dark, photo curtsy of Student Union & Activities Committee)

As you can see, the UofM not only offers a great education to its students, but also great entertainment and fun as well!

Until Next Time Friends!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

What to Know for the Snow

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a.JPG This past Sunday a pretty big snowstorm hit Minneapolis and everyone on campus appeared to be pretty excited about it! Last year's winter was pretty mild and warm, with very little snow. So when the snow started falling this past weekend, everyone was excited to take part in fun snow festivities that we missed out on last year, festivities such as snowball fights with friends!

Snow is typically inevitable during the winter months in Minnesota and tends to change things up a little on campus, particularly in transportation via Campus Connector busses. During winter months, Campus Connectors tend to run a little slower than in the fall and spring months, usually about five minutes late or so. Not usually a big deal,however, as a Retail Merchandising student, I think that it is important to know about these little delays, especially before creating your class schedules.

Retail Merchandising students are continuously tranfering between the three different locations, St, Paul, East Bank, and West Bank, on the university. The connector rides between the different locations are typically quick and easy, lasting roughly about twenty minutes or so between opposite sides of campus. However, in the wintertime it can take a little longer, which can get a little tricky for us Retail students, especially if we scheduled less than a thirty minutes gap between the classes that are on opposite sides of campus.

Knowing about how things run in the winter time before you come to the university can be beneficial. So when it comes time for you, potential retail students, to create class schedules, make sure to leave at a forty minute gap between class that are on opposite sides of campus.

Until next week friends!
Sasenka-Retail Merchandising

Busy, Busy, Happy?

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So it's the week before finals week and I should be feeling stressed, especially looking at all that I have to have done by next Wednesday, which is a lot by the way! But oddly enough, I'm at peace and actually pretty excited to study for tests and work on projects, assignments, and papers, pretty crazy right? Well, part of the reason I'm feeling so optimistic and positive is because I've decided to start looking foreword to my assignments, getting excited about them! I feel like so much of the time we, college students, take advantage of school; we look at our assignments as something that we just have to finish and overcome, instead of appreciating and really learning form the opportunity that is set before us. So, I'm choosing to be grateful for schoolwork and studying, especially these assignments that are set before me during this crazy and stressful part of the semester! Deciding to approach this week, and hopefully the entire school year, with this positive attitude is actually giving me a heart to enjoy my schoolwork, which is allowing me to be more productive as well. And personally I need all the productivity available, especially if I'm going to be able to finish five papers, two final projects, and studying for tests/quizzes in a matter of a single week!

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(Planner full and still smiling!)

I don't know, maybe it's the season, maybe it's because I know the end of the semester is so near; either way, I hope that this mindset lasts the entire school year because I definitely prefer being happy and productive rather than stressful and overwhelmed.

Until next week friends!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Keeping Focus

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The holidays are among us, making it very difficult for us students to focus on school! Luckily, I have a lot of interesting classes that make these last few weeks of the semester go by a little faster. One of these classes is my Fashion, Design, and Global Industries class (ADES 4218). I think I've probably talked about this class a little bit in previous posts, but I think I'll go a little bit more in depth about what it's all about in this post.

This class is an online course where the students, within the class, are split into different discussion groups. Each week we make posts in these discussion sections; the posts pertain to the topics we're learning and readings about in that particular week. These discussion groups exist so that we as students can learn from and with our peers even though we are not in a physical classroom setting. The topics of posts vary and can be anything from 'What makes a specific city (e.g. London, Paris, Tokyo) a Fashion Capitol' to this week's discussion topic of "Qipao" influences in Western design.

Quizzes are also a weekly occurrence in the class; but, unlike previous quizzes that I've taken for online classes, the quizzes in Fashion, Design, and Global Industries are essay/short answer and not timed. We actually have a full week, from Thursday to Thursday, to work on them. I find this really nice, because we get time to think and process through the answers, rather than just rushing to get them all done and answered. Of course, in addition to the discussions and quizzes, we occasionally also have group projects or video reports to work on; these assignments are pretty rare though, I believe maybe only one group project and two reports all semester.

The collage below is one I made for a discussion post earlier in the semester; discussion topic was about the different shopping centers found in the LA area and how they appeal to different target markets.

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Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

A Look into My Classes

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Today was the first day of registration for spring semester classes and might I say that I am already looking foreword to the classes I will be taking! It looks like I have a pretty nice mix; I've got quite the variety lined up for my last semester of school. I am taking four classes, equivalent to fifteen credits; three of the classes are requirements for my major and one is an elective for my minor in design. The three major related classes I am taking are Marketing Research, Computer Literacy, and International Retail Markets; the design minor elective is Color and Form in Surface Design.

In Marketing Research (RM 4217), I will be learning how to collect, analyze, and display data for marketing projects; for example, projects that involve research and statistics to find and determine the target market for a specific product.
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For International Retail Markets (MKTG 3010), I will be getting the opportunity to learn how the retail, and business world in general, functions outside the US. Discussion and lessons will take place on how and in what way social cultures, conflict between countries, and trade impact the retailing world.

Computer Literacy (PSTL 1571) is a class that I have unintentionally put off until this year and is the class, out of this list, that you will likely take within your first or second year of college. In this class you learn about using Microsoft processes, such as XL and PowerPoint, successfully.

Lastly, my design minor elective, Color and Form in Surface Design (GDES 3312), I will be doing a lot more hand on, design work in this class. I will be learning how to screen print designs on paper, fabrics, and other mediums.

All of my classes are look super interesting and fun! And it's making me get a little ahead of and has me already so excited for the coming semester!

Until Next Time!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Approaching Registration

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Class registrations are coming up, which means that I am about to register for my last semester of classes! Scary! But very exciting at the same time! When it comes to registering, there are a few ways of approach; each person approaches it a little differently, some plan a month or more ahead of time and others figure it out the day of. You will eventually be in this position; so, I thought I'd share my approach with you and hopefully show you some tricks that make it a lot easier and manageable.

The first thing I do, when I know that registration is coming up, is look at my APAS report; this report shows me what courses and requirements I have completed and which ones I have left to do. After analyzing my APAS, I go to the class search in OneStop and look up the specific times that my classes of interest are offered. Then, after I have made a list of possible class selections, I go on schedulizer.com. This site is really amazing and allows you to input your possible class choices; it then compiles a variety of different schedules for you to choose from. It is so helpful! You then have the option of selection the schedule that best suits you and your time. Now, once I have solidified my idea of set classes, I take note of the five-digit class number, which is displayed on the left-hand side of the class during the class search; this number is important to note because it spears you the time needed to search for particular classes during your actual time of registration.

Picture 5.png (This was the schedule I was able to construct for this semester, lets hope this coming semester's will be as open!)

Something else that I have done in the past, in preparation for registering, is talk with my academic advisor. I did this to make sure that I was on track and to double check if I had anything missing that may be vital to both my major and semester; This meeting proved to be very helpful, so I highly recommend talking with your advisor about what within your schedule, because he or she will be very helpful and get you on track!

Next week I'll let you all know what my next semester classes are looking like, but until then! Have a good week!

Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Working Together

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I have done a variety of different assignments for my classes in the Retail Merchandising Program: written projects, design work, and presentations, to name a few. Some of these projects where done in groups, which is actually what I want to discuss with you in this weeks post. Group projects are practically inevitable in Retail Merchandising; I have at least one each semester, if not more. These projects can be fun and enlightening, and sometimes frustrating too. The process and approach to group projects is different within every group, but there are definitely certain things that are handy to know and completely applicable to every group approach.

First things first, the number one priority when entering a group project is to exchange information with your group members. Being able to stay in contact with your group through e-mails, texts, and phone calls is essential. Even if you think that you can do this later and have plenty of time before your assignment due, exchange your information immediately, it is crucial and can keep you on an organized and on a timely track.

Once you have exchanged e-mails and information, I suggest taking leadership and not hesitating in sending out the first group message. If you anticipate someone else taking the lead, you may end up off on a late start and cramming the project work in at last minute.

Once in communication, discuss they ways you want to approach the project and how you want divide up the work. Everyone has something valuable to contribute, remember this. Take everyone's skills and opinions in to consideration, including your own, and divvy up the work accordingly.

Lastly, make sure to stay in continual contact with your group members, through the duration of the project. By doing this you can make sure everyone is doing their share and be able to address problems and issues immediately as they occur. Plus, this way you will also be able to help each other out and make sure you are being cohesive with your work.

(Here's a screenshot of the communication that occurs during group projects; we are using Google Docs to assemble a written group report and communicating how to effectively put it together and proofread it)
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Until Next Time!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

Don't Write it Off

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I am currently taking a class on professional writing; the class is a requirement and I am most certainly starting to see way. Written communication skills are greatly needed in almost every career field and I didn't think I realize this until I took this class. Believing that writing was mostly important in scholastic context, I thought that it would not play such a big of a role in my life once school was over; boy, was I wrong! I am finding out that writing is essential in almost every career field and the role that it plays is quite large.

For an assignment in my Professional Writing class, we were asked to interview two professionals, in a career field of interest, and ask them about the role of writing in their particular careers. I interviewed a business owner/design manager and a co-founder of a multimedia non-profit. After conducting the interviews I was shocked to hear about how large of role writing played in both careers; at minimum, writing was at least fifty percent of their workload. Whether writing e-mails to employees, preparing design briefs, making presentations, or writing policies, writing was continually taking place in both of their everyday work lives. After hearing this first hand from the professionals, and also from the interviews my classmates conducted and shared, I realized that writing was going to be a constant part of my life and career. Effective writing skills are expected in the workforce and play an essential role in almost every career.Photo 2771.jpg

(This is a snippet of the paper I wrote for the interviews I conducted)

Until Next Time Friends!
Sasenka- Retail Merchandising

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