Great Places to Study on PUC’s Campus

When I was in college here at PUC, my favorite place to study was at the Campus Center coffee shop, The Grind. I enjoyed having background sound and people milling around. (For more about how much I love the college’s Campus Center, read my blog post “PUC’s Campus Center Will Be There For You”!) But not everyone is like me, which is what is so great about being at PUC. The campus offers a variety of study spaces for both group and solo studying. From the library to individual department study spaces, you’ll never have far to go to find a great spot to crack open your books.

Below are photos of just a few places here on campus that are ideal for studying. There are also plenty of other spaces available to students, including lounges in the departments of music, English, and visual arts.

The student lounge for the department of history in Irwin Hall.

The student lounge for the department of world languages & cultures in Irwin Hall.

The library has a lot of study spaces for students.

More study spaces in the library.

Outside the library is a great place to hang out too!

The Campus Center is always packed full of students studying or enjoying a coffee break.

It’s a good idea to bring your headphones to the Campus Center if you’re trying to study!

There are plenty of places in Fisher Hall, home to the department of visual arts, for students to study, including the art studios, shown here.

How to Get a Student Job at PUC

Having a job while in college can help defray the costs of obtaining a degree, and equip you with some of the necessary skills needed to enter the workforce post-graduation. (There are a lot of benefits to working while in college; for more reasons, read “Working On-Campus Has Its Perks”.)

In 2017-18 there were approximately 500 students working on-campus at PUC. If you’re thinking of getting a job while you’re a student here, this blog is for you!

Ready to get started?

Check the Student Employment page for posted jobs
The Student Employment page is your go-to resource for looking to see what jobs are open and have been posted. It also lists off-campus jobs from organizations that have contacted PUC and are interested in potentially hiring PUC students. The closer it gets to school starting in September, the more jobs will likely be posted as departments evaluate their needs for the coming year.

Complete a PUC Employment Application
The PUC Employment Application is required of all students to complete when applying for a job on-campus. This 4-page PDF asks basic information regarding your employment history and education.

Complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form
Along with some form of identification (such as your passport, driver’s license, or Social Security card), you will also need to submit the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form.

Have your resume up-to-date, just in case
It’s a good idea to have your resume ready to go to submit along with the PUC Employment Application and the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form. Depending on where you’re applying, they may want to check your references as well, so let your people know they might be getting a call or email from your potential employer.

Need help?
If you have any questions about the process, contact the Payroll Office at (707)965-7300 (ext. 7300 on campus) or email stuemployment@puc.edu.  

For more ideas of on-campus places you can contact for jobs, check the Departments On-Campus that Frequently Employ Students PDF.

Explore Outside the Classroom

By Kaleb Zenk

So, you’re the type of person who is excited to finally graduate from high school and escape the tight-knit rule your parents have had over you since the dawning of time. You’re excited for the possibilities of beginning a new life abroad, forging new relationships and learning communities, and ready to adapt to that inner self-reliance. You’re ready to own the next four years and have fun!

Or

You’re the opposite of excited for what lies beyond high school. Your parents have been your best friends your entire life, and living in a comfortable space, totally and completely content of the decisions made on your behalf, give you sense of consistency and routine. Inherently, you want to learn, have fun, and enjoy new relationships, but the steps to get to a place of comfortability in a new environment gives you anxiety!  

Rest assured

No matter how you react to the big leap from high school to college, the beauty of this transition lies not only in what you learn in the classroom, but what you can learn beyond it. No matter the style of personality you have when stepping onto campus for the first time, there is assuredly a place for you anywhere and anytime that you can feel comfortable in, making college a home away from home.

Photo courtesy of RecRadio.org

Intramurals

Although staying inside and playing League of Legends on your PC is a great community-building activity, playing sports is also a fantastic way to get outside and meet other people. Here at PUC, we have several intramural sports teams, ranging from badminton to flag football. We’re passionate about our small and diverse community, and it’s truly an amazing opportunity to learn from the multifaceted backgrounds you’ll encounter here. As such, sports can help anyone integrate. But the arena of physical activity and coordination may not be your thing, and that’s totally fine! There are other fantastic opportunities waiting for you once you arrive here.

Internships

Feel free to scroll past this next one if you’re pursuing a pre-professional program—or don’t!

Like myself and a few others here at PUC who happen to not be enrolled in a pre-professional program, landing an internship is quintessential for getting the ball rolling immediately after, or before your college experience ends. It’s also a fantastic way to develop your skills outside the classroom and meet thought leaders in your respective field of study.

If you haven’t perused Craigslist, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn in search of an internship opportunity, give it a try! LinkedIn in particular will become your best friend as you search for that perfect opportunity that aligns with your skill sets. You can follow thought leaders in your field, apply to job descriptions that are screaming your name, or just learn a bit more about the professional environment!

Explore places you’ve never been before!

PUC’s location is prime for several reasons—we’re nestled atop a mountain far, far away, sure …  but we’re a short 1.5-hour drive to the beautiful and illustrious city of San Francisco. Pier 39, Mission Dolores Park, Market Street, eateries galore, etc. You’ll never run out of things to do in SF, as there are attractions for everyone!

A fun fact: As of recently, various startups in the Bay Area such as Lime or Bird have provided the city with electric scooters to those who want to adventure, but don’t want to spend their money on Uber or Lyft. Simply download the app, enter your payment information, and you’re good to go!

Scooters cost an initial $1 to unlock, and a subsequent .15 cents per mile thereafter. Ride down the Embarcadero to grab a coffee or latte at Blue Bottle and a delicious tacro— taco croissant— from Vive La Tarte at the Ferry Building!

If you’re interested in events and meeting new people, check out SF fun cheap or SF Station. They’re great resources with a list of upcoming events if you’re into music, comedy, theater, etc.

No matter what …

There are so many opportunities at PUC to get involved, whether locally or right here on campus. Feel free to reach out to upperclassmen or anyone who knows the area, because they’d be glad to provide you with some hints and tips for making the most out of living in the Napa Valley. Most importantly, college is an extremely exciting time of your life, and the opportunities to stay busy and have fun are endless! It may take a bit of networking, researching, and putting your best foot forward, but you can truly make your time at PUC one of the best experiences of your life.

Tips For a Healthy Lifestyle in College

Running in PUC’s back 40 is a great way to get out of your dorm room and get some exercise!

By Faith Williams

We all know being in college comes with a lot of things to handle. From studying for classes, hanging out with friends, or going to that job you hate. There are many things that happen in our daily college lives, but there is one thing we sometimes tend to neglect. We all try to do this and let’s be honest, we never really follow through with it completely, and that is trying to live a healthier life. I know this is hard, especially when you are on the go 24/7, but sometimes we have to do what is best for ourselves. Here are some easy things you can do to be on the path to healthy living.

Diet

I know it is hard to always eat healthy foods in college, it can become time-consuming and inconvenient, but make it convenient to eat right. Stocking up your dorm room with healthy foods makes it easier for you to grab what you want when you want, and then go about your day. You can even meal prep and have your foods ready to go for the next week. Also, something that comes hand in hand with this is portion size. You want to make sure that you are not overeating, but instead eating just the right amount for that meal. Remember, we do not eat to get full, but to feel satisfied.

Exercise

This is one of the hardest things for us to implement in our lives for various reasons. One thing you can do for exercise is, instead of driving your car to class, try walking or riding your bike. If you do not have time to go to the gym, go online and find a quick home workout you can do in your dorm room. Many people think exercising is something to dread, but you can make it fun by getting your friends involved and having a good time. It is very important we try to find time to stay active even with our busy schedules.

Sleep

When you find some extra time to yourself, take a nap. Even if that means missing out on hanging with your friends, you will thank yourself later for the much-needed rest. Ten to 15-minute naps may not sound like a lot of time, but it can do wonders for your energy levels. Just make sure you do not nap too close to bedtime, for you will have a hard time going to sleep for the night. Another thing is to avoid all-nighters. You may think you need to study all night, but not getting enough sleep could stop you from doing well the next day regardless of how much you studied.

Mental Health

This is a big thing that tends to get overlooked a lot. Your mental health is so important. With that being said, do not be afraid to ask for help or talk to someone when you feel a certain way. Many people feel embarrassed or ashamed to speak up because they feel like they don’t want to bother others with their problems. There are counselors on campus who are there to listen to you and help you in any way possible. Also, keep in touch with your family and friends. They should be your support system and if you are ever feeling homesick, just pick up the phone and start a conversation.

Half-Price Tuition and Housing: PUC Offers Summer Classes

By Becky St. Clair

Half-price tuition.

Half-price housing.

Over two dozen areas of study to choose from.

Hours and hours of NorCal sun.

If even one of those things sounds good, you need to register for summer classes at PUC, stat! Headed home for the summer? Good news–we’ve got 17 online courses for you to choose from, too. Of course, online means no “hours and hours of NorCal sun,” but no matter what floats your boat this summer, we’ve got you covered!

Summer classes last only 2-3 weeks, including full-year sequences for pre-med and pre-dent courses such as Biological Foundations and General Chemistry. Pre-nursing courses such as Human Anatomy and General Microbiology are also available during the summer.

PUC already offers smaller class sizes, even during the regular school year, but during the summer, those class sizes shrink even more, offering students even better access to their teachers and more room for open dialogue and class discussions.

“Rigorous” is definitely the name of the game in summer classes, but there are rewards to be had (besides getting course credits out of the way). Student Activities provides recreation options throughout the summer, such as weekly free food, Six Flags tickets, a San Francisco Giants game, and a pool party. Not to mention other local events such as the weekly farmer’s market in St. Helena, concerts in the park, sunrise fitness classes, Independence Day fireworks, the fair in Calistoga, artist and author meet-n-greets, the Flynn Creek Circus, Napa Porchfest, and more. Or, create your own adventure in the Back 40, San Francisco, the coast, or anywhere in-between.

Whether you choose to stay home or join us on campus, we look forward to spending our summer with you.

For details and to register, visit puc.edu/summer-classes or email enroll@puc.edu.

Business, Communication, and Visual Arts Alumni Share Their Wisdom

From left to right: Will Yoshimura, Amanda Granados, and Jackson Boren.

By Becky St. Clair

On Thursday, April 19, the departments of business, communication, and visual arts at Pacific Union College held a joint colloquium. It was a panel discussion on the topic of “Successful Alumni,” and each department had alumni representing.

Panelists were: Jackson Boren, 2008 graduate of the department of communication, currently the alumni director for the Loma Linda University School of Nursing; Amanda Granados, 2010 graduate of the department of business, owner of Granados | Hillman, an accounting firm; and Will Yoshimura, 2015 graduate of the department of visual arts, currently employed as a graphic designer at Facebook.

Michelle Rai, chair of the department of communication, moderated the panel discussion.

What are the top three skills you utilize every day in your work?

Jackson Boren: People skills are extremely important, in both large and small groups. Public speaking is also something I do often.

Amanda Granados: As an accountant, I clearly use my numbers skills regularly, but critical thinking and people skills are right up there, too. Which is something a lot of people don’t realize about accountants—we do actually need to know how to interact well with others.

Will Yoshimura: Well, obviously graphic design. But also critical thinking.

Name a class in which you wish you would have paid more attention.

JB: I wish there had been the project management class PUC offers now when I was in school, because that would have been extremely helpful.

AG: Real estate. It’s something that affects everyone, and I wish I would have put more effort into that class.

WY: Statistics, for sure. Also, I wish I would have taken a philosophy class. I honestly think it would benefit anyone in any field.

What would you tell your freshman self?

WY: Actually try at college. I didn’t take it seriously until the end of my sophomore year. I would tell myself to take classes I was interested in and see what fits; see what I want to do with my life.

What’s your secret to success? What gets you up in the morning and keeps you going?

JB: Honestly, it’s about identifying an internal need and finding the path to fulfill it. In my current job, my personal philosophy is that the foundation of alumni identity is their experience as a student. If I can connect them with the best part of that experience and build on it now that they’re alumni, I’m succeeding at what I do. That’s what keeps me going.

AG: Helping people. When I can help my clients see something they hadn’t noticed before, or save them from having to pay thousands of dollars somewhere down the road, it makes me feel good. It’s definitely awesome motivation to get out of bed and go to work in the morning!

WY: Being obsessed with what I do. I mean, not to a harmful degree, but if you’re really interested in the work you do, you’re going to work harder and learn more about it than those who aren’t so obsessed, and it gives you a leg up on others. You’ll get better and better and what you do won’t feel like work.

There’s a lot of talk these days about how Millennials are changing the workplace. What advice can you give to the students here as they prepare to be those Millennials?

JB: People don’t stay in one job for 30-40 years anymore. We change jobs a lot more. So take the experience you get from all of those jobs and apply the lessons to your current work. It’s a different workplace scenario than it was in past generations.

AG: Communicate what you need and want to those you work for and with. If you want to come in later in the morning, talk to your boss about it. They will likely be understanding and work with you within reason. But they won’t if they don’t know what you want.

WY: It depends on what field you’re in, but honestly, as long as you show up, work hard, and get the stuff done, you’ll be fine.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you face in your work?

JB: Sometimes you have to say no. And that’s hard and it doesn’t make people happy. One of the hardest things to learn is how to say no without actually saying it, even if that’s really what you’re saying.

AG: Admitting when I’m wrong. And yes, I’ve been wrong on someone’s taxes before. It’s so hard to admit failure, but it’s so important. Then I pick myself up, learn from it, and get right back to work.

WY: Being a politician. When you work with a lot of people, you have to be really diplomatic.

When things get tough, what do you do to stay on track?

JB: Someone once told me, “Don’t let the details destroy you.” Keeping a big picture perspective at all times helps in those moments, because I can take a step back and see where I am and where I need to be.

AG: Take a break and call a friend. Talking about the problem aloud really helps me work through it and often helps me find a solution.

WY: Take a walk.

What’s important to keep in mind when negotiating a salary?

JB: Definitely research industry standards. If you can get an internship before you graduate, take it seriously because it can translate into a job when you graduate. Don’t just think about salary and benefits, but also consider your quality of life. I once had a job where I was commuting quite a ways every day, and I negotiated with my employer to cover all of my tolls for the commute and incorporate that cost into my salary.

AG: When you get to negotiate it’s your one opportunity to make a difference in your compensation. Don’t miss the chance! Ask for what you want and the worst that will happen is that they will say no. Always ask.

WY: Like Jackson said, do your research. Glassdoor can be really helpful in this area. Also keep in mind that your total compensation includes equity in the company—stock. So think that through and ask for more if you want it. Statistics say that 90% of employers won’t rescind their job offer because you asked for more money or benefits, so just ask.

What advice would you give the scared seniors who have no idea how to get started after graduation?

JB: Find an internship where you want to work. It may not be paid, but you get face time with the company, you get experience working there, and you make connections. Also don’t overlook the line in the job description that reads, “Other duties as assigned.” Do those things well. It will show your character and work ethic, and might reveal skills you didn’t know you had. Become familiar with the process at the company where you’re working, and the different players you work with. Become familiar with their roles so you can respect and appreciate them, and that respect and appreciation will be reciprocated.

AG: Look for ways you can apply everything you’ve experienced and learned in college to the jobs you want and are applying for. You may think you’re starting with nothing, but everything in college can be a benefit to you in your career. So keep a positive attitude and stay confident.

WY: Apply to a bunch of places. You won’t hear back from a lot, and you’ll be rejected a lot, and you may want to just finish your homework and go to a dark place to cry, and that’s okay! But in all seriousness, stay positive and know that eventually, your hard work will pay off. And use LinkedIn! It’s how you get recruited.

Amanda, tell us about transitioning from the traditional “work for someone else” situation into owning your own business.

AG: It was a hard decision to make, to be honest. There’s usually some loyalty involved between you and your boss, and you wonder if leaving is the right thing to do. The clincher for me was stepping back to look at the big picture: What would my life look like if I were to make this change? It would eliminate my commute, making me more flexible, able to spend more time with my family, and take my office anywhere I want to. I also keep more of the money I make working for myself, which is a big deal! It takes confidence to do something like this, and that was my biggest obstacle. I had to convince myself that enough people believed in me, and I believed in me, and I could do it.

How do you maintain your creative side while doing what someone else wants you to?

WY: I’m not going to lie—at some point you’re likely going to be doing work you don’t like and don’t want to do. It’s a fact. So I recommend you keep doing side projects. Also, keep in mind that working with what other people want involves compromise. Keeping the balance between introducing your own vision and also accepting theirs. You walk through problems together as a team.

How did your experience at PUC impact your career?

JB: I’m a better communicator because of PUC. I saw the power of good communication in a professional setting and learned the value of recognizing and learning from my mistakes. I learned not to be afraid of failure, but to learn from it and allow it to direct me toward progress.

AG: The best things I took away from PUC were positive relationships and solidified ethics.

WY: PUC gave me the thing I love most now—design.

Meet Sydney Johnson, PUC’s Career Counselor

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” “What are your plans after graduation?”

We hear these typical life questions focused on the future even from a very young age. The first, asked of young children, typically produces something predictable—firefighter, teacher, mommy, police officer, doctor. However, many times the second, asked of college students, produces anxiety, fear, trepidation, or hesitation. Or perhaps all of the above.

Being able to say with certainty what one’s plans are for the future is a gift few people are given as they enter their college years, despite it being one of life’s most important decisions. Or, perhaps, because of that.

Fortunately for PUC students, help is mere steps away. The college’s Career & Counseling Center provides an experienced career counselor, armed with training, career inventory assessments, personality tests, and plenty of brochures and information about potential employers and graduate schools. And in the thick of it all, happy to help students figure out their futures, is Sydney Johnston.

Name: Sydney Johnston
Title: Career counselor
Education: B.A. in liberal studies, California State University-San Bernardino; M.S. in counseling, Oregon State University
Certifications/Specializations: National certified counselor; California associate professional clinical counselor
Email: sjohnston@puc.edu
Employee since: 2013, but in the Career Center since 2016

What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend 75 percent of my time doing career counseling and the other 25 percent doing mental health counseling. As the only career counselor, I have a unique opportunity to ease students’ fears and answer the unknowns.

How did you get into this line of work?
During grad school, I completed an internship at two nonprofit organizations for women in transition who were going back to college or needed to find work to support their family after a divorce or coming out of a domestic abuse history. After grad school, I worked as career services director at Pioneer Pacific College in Portland, Ore. These experiences really showed me that helping people figure out their futures was a real joy for me.

When you’re not in this comfy office counseling students, where can we find you?
Oh boy, I’m out and about regularly, as I coordinate several major student events on campus throughout the year.  I’m in charge of the grad fair, the career fair, internship and job fair, and weekly workshops/clinics throughout the quarter.

Tell us about these events. They sound awesome!
They actually are pretty well-attended and we generally get positive feedback from students who participate. The grad school fair is pretty straight-forward: Various schools send representatives with information about their plethora of graduate programs.  

The career fair allows us to partner with department chairs to invite individuals who represent careers in every field we train for here at PUC. Many are alumni who want to share with current students their experience and success, and talk about how they got to where they are, to motivate the students. It helps students who are looking to explore other fields and are considering changing majors. For example, someone who’s not sure physical therapy is for them may discover during this event that occupational therapy makes more sense for them.

The internship and job fair brings recruiters from a variety of businesses to interview students. It opens doors that might not otherwise be apparent to students, and also gives them experience interviewing for jobs.  

The weekly workshops and clinics cover a myriad of topics, such as resume writing and editing, interview prep, how to begin and pursue a job search, how to create a LinkedIn account and how to use it, how to apply for federal jobs, and life after graduation. That last one is usually coordinated with the senior class and offers information on basic adult life skills not taught in college, such as employment, budgeting, credit, debt management, banking, housing, car leasing vs. buying, insurance, retirement accounts, and taxes. It’s geared toward students who are looking to move out on their own.

What do you love about your job?
Working with college students as they plan their future is fun, uplifting, and forward-focused. I love to help students relate personality and interests to possible careers, and I love walking students through this process of determining what it is they truly want, and what they’re willing to do to get it.

What’s the most challenging part of your work?
The hard part is when students come to me contemplating a change of major. They thought what they started doing was what they wanted but now they’re not sure. Sometimes students feel torn between what their parents want for them and what they’re realizing they want for themselves, and not doing what their parents want or expect can make them feel like a failure. I help students navigate all of this to figure out what it is they want to do and can do well. We look at where they can find jobs, how much more school, training, and time it will take to get there, and how much money they can make at that career. Those are the things that assure not only the student of which choice is the best one, but also reassures their parents.

So is what you do something that’s only helpful to college students?
Actually, no; I also use what I do as a recruiting tool. I sometimes go with enrollment to visit academies and do the Strong Interest Inventory assessment test with the high school students. I explain what it is and what to expect, then administer the assessment, then we talk about the results. I explain why certain fields come up a lot, and what traits the student might exhibit that gave them the results it did. Then they meet with one of our PUC recruiters, who talks about what PUC has to offer that can provide a path to those careers.

How do you keep up with everything that’s out there?
Something that gives me a unique benefit in this job is the three years I spent as the tutoring coordinator in the college’s Teaching & Learning Center. In that role, you know every professor, every program, every class. You know when classes are offered and know the catalog inside and out. It helps students with the projection of their future at PUC: How much time will it take if I change from A to B? Is it worth it? Do I want to be here another year?  

Also, during the grad fair I make it a point to connect with the program representatives and gather materials they bring for students, so I can at least know the basics of what’s out there and what will be expected in various areas of study.

Since we have a lot of students who continue on to Loma Linda University, it is helpful to attend their every-other-year training, where each LLU school presents on changes to their program.

What’s the most common question students ask you?
Probably the biggest one is “How do I find a job?” We help them begin that process and follow through on leads. Some students have resumes already but they need some additional work. That’s what we’re here for. I worked in business management for 15 years and I’ve hired and fired many people over that time. I know what employers look for and I know what they don’t want. I know what makes potential employees stand out, and I help the students who come to me learn those skills, too. Students need to know how to look professional when they apply for jobs. Cover letters, for example, are essential. Not everyone who writes a cover letter gets the job, but pretty much everyone who gets the job wrote a cover letter. Learning to be prepared for interviews and looking better on paper is what we do here.

If you could offer one piece of advice to college seniors, what would it be?
I know it feels like it, but you’re not the only one not getting a job. You’re not the only one getting rejection letters. It takes time, and it takes patience and it takes knowing what you’re doing. Knowing all the right stuff and doing all the right things doesn’t always lead to a job, but it does make it much more likely to happen. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

So, what are some fields students can focus on that have a higher likelihood of available positions?
Anything with the word healthcare, medical, computer, and engineering in the title or job description.

What about students who want to start working after an associate’s or bachelor’s degree instead of going on to a master’s or doctoral program? What kinds of careers should they look for?
We sometimes believe to be successful in certain careers and professions, that a person needs to get a master’s or a doctorate degree. This simply isn’t true. Maybe your strength is hands-on. Maybe your passion is doing the physical work, rather than analyzing and reporting it. There are plenty of jobs out there in a variety of fields such as, healthcare, medicine, communication, business, fine art, design, and so many others. The pay is good, and graduates can make a living wage. We need those people.