I love fall in New England. I know it may be a clique due to the hoards of vacationers coming just to visit the leaves in the place I live, but something about the leaves is truly magical. This weekend I was driving through Connecticut just admiring the rich golds and reds in the trees. The colors in fact are a result of the chlorophyll in the leaves draining and resulting in the fall pigments of red, yellow, orange and eventually brown. Fall is one of my favorite seasons simply because the temperature is perfect for a long sleeve shirt and pants, but no large jacket and gloves just yet. Winter is almost here but I can enjoy jacket less weather while I can because I know it will not last.



I read about 2-3 books a week and live at the library despite my busy schedule. I mostly only have time to read in the evenings before bed and have recently uncovered a gem that I look forward to reading every night.

My new book theme is books that concern Asian and Middle East cultures, particularly the women in those cultures. Many books in the last decade have been written about the culture of Afghanistan, I country I did not know anything about before September of 2001.

Kabul Beauty School recounts the true story of an American hairdresser that leaves her Michigan home to teach at a beauty school in the heart of Kabul post 9-11. I have only read about 100 pages of the book so far, but Deb the hairdresser’s story has interrupted my sleep patterns already. Particularly her descriptions of the Afghan wedding practices and differences in the ideas of what is “beautiful” in any culture

Check out Kabul Beauty School, published in 2007 at your local library. Happy reading!

I have been lacking in blog posts, I know. However, what I have been lacking in blog posts I have made up in life experiences, collecting them along the way post college. So today, I am going to tell you what I learned from living in the so-called “real world” of adults, checkbooks, taxes, and bills, bills, bills.

The first lesson that I learned involved happiness. I took the first job offered to me out of college, a huge mistake. At an unnamed company I found myself hating what I did for work and found that quitting was the best option for me. So I got my first job and then learned how to quit my first job.

I found the job that I love in August and continue to go to work each day with a smile and a bit of sunshine. At the job….dunndunndunnn I WRITE! I write about one article a week for a local publication, and actually finally get to see my name in a byline. What is more is that I get to tell the stories of the people in the community around me and sometimes tell my own stories. I am learning that sometimes it is better to take a job that you love instead of one that provides security. After all, how do you ever know that you will have a job forever? In the days of old, people expected to have the same job for a lifetime as opposed to considering everything temporary and a learning tool.

At almost 22 my life is starting to take shape and I am loving every minute of it.

I never want to leave Rhode Island, it’s true. Many people will bash the smallest state in the entirety of the United States of America, but for me it will always be home and the place I will always return.

Last weekend, I took an overnight trip to Boston, MA and found that the one thing that gives me the most comfort in the entire world is seeing the “Welcome to Rhode Island: The Ocean State” on the Pawtucket/Attleboro line on I-95. If you have never lived in the state or think it’s part of New York I will give you a short briefing on my favorite place in the world.

To begin with, I should probably say that Rhode Island is a tiny state, only 37 miles wide and 48 miles long. It is sandwiched between Massachusetts and Connecticut and boasts a long Atlantic coastline and some of the best beaches on the East Coast. The colony of Rhode Island was founded by religious leader Roger Williams in 1636, when he was banished from nearby Massachusetts Bay Colony for heresy. He wished to create a colony of religious freedom, and today many diverse religions survive along with their colonial meeting places.

Rhode Island became the 13th state of the Union in 1790 and ratified the Constitution. It boasts a rich colonial history including the American Revolution battle of the burning of the Gaspee ship in Warwick. Rhode Island went on to become famous for its jewelry manufacturing center in Providence and its mill town of Pawtucket. In addition, Rhode Island has historically been in national news for a history of political corruption and scandal.

1. The Ocean

My favorite part of my state is the waterfront. I never have to drive more than 5-10 minutes to see the beautiful coastline. I live near East Greenwich Bay and grew up on the water. Not being able to see the water is not breathing in my state.

2. Everyone reads the same newspaper

No matter where you go in Rhode Island, everyone reads the same newspaper, The Providence Journal. Since 1829 when it was first published, everyone has a opinion on the Journal. Some love it and others love to hate it, but everyone talks about it. No other state has a paper that covers every activity in every city and town, even if it may be completely slanted one way or the other. Just bring up a Journal article in conversation and see what happens…

3. Snow Freak Outs

Since the Blizzard of 1978 (a decade before my birth), everyone in Rhode Island freaks out about snow. Five snowflakes can fall, and every single private, public, catholic and charter school will close as well as 75% of businesses and state offices. Snow freaks people out more than global warming or tornadoes or any other more threatening natural disaster.

4. The People (Most Importantly My Family and Friends)

Almost everyone I know lives in my state and I never want to leave. I grew up here and will always live here unless something truly life shattering happens.

Tomorrow is the first day of my first i’m-out-of-college-and-a-big-girl-now job in the real corporate world.

I am very nervous.

I have prepared for this day essentially since the day I stepped foot on a college campus to get the degree that would propel me into the world. Back then I had no idea where I would work, what I would do, or even know what I wanted to accomplish in my life.

Tomorrow I will enter my unnamed workplace and begin a job that will probably be mine for the next 1-5-10 years depending on how it goes.

I even bought my own lunch box. It’s black and white and contains multiple containers for various sizes of foods. The little things get me, down to the new daily organizer and colored sticky notes.

I don’t even know what type of desk I will have or if it will have enough room for one of those amazing nameplate things that I have always wanted. I have the framed diploma, but I may save that until I have an office with a window and a door. I have my outfit laid out like the first day of school circa fourth grade, although pumps and a pencil skirt are a far cry from jumpers and stirrup leggings. After all, it isn’t 1998 anymore.

So tomorrow think of me in my pumps and pencil skirt, navigating a new environment, making new contacts and trying my very best to be good at my new job.

Any first day advice would be appreciated!

Allison Smith on Using Social Media to Land First Job

See: http://bit.ly/bhKnR6

Last week as I got my first job offer, I thought back to everything that had got me there and decided to write a list for future entry job seekers.

I am also being interviewed by a blog called Do You Buzz this week on my job searching skills, be sure to check it out!

1. Ask for Advice

At school, I was fortunate enough to have an excellent career counselor in my career development office, who was my ultimate cheerleader and friend throughout my search. Find one at your college by contacting the career office and if you can, go and meet with this person. I went to career development once a week for months trying to gleam any advice or help that I could from an experienced professional. We did resume development, mock interviews, job fair tutorials and a lot of venting!

2. Use social media to its full advantage

For my job search, I used the social media sites Twitter and LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a social networking tool for business professionals to connect and share advice as well as look for jobs. Building a profile on LinkedIn is easy and free. I recommend reading the article How to Rank Higher On LinkedIn by Lewis Howes for tips on building a better profile. Joining and participating in groups is also key to finding mentors in your targeted industry.

Twitter is an excellent way to be noticed online. You can “tweet” your job preferences and use the hash tag feature so that you can be searchable to employers. I also recommend using #HireFriday, because people will help tweet your resume and preferences. Hire Friday is a great community and I am grateful to them.

3. The Right Resume

Ask everyone you know to review your resume! I have had about 20 people critique mine and everyone has something different to add to the discussion. I recommend having your peers as well as HR professionals and industry veterans take a look. I also have an online resume at Do You Buzz, which includes the feed from this blog.

4. Interview Etiquette

Learn how to interview by reading articles, watching videos and asking advice from HR professionals. Also, when in doubt always dress up, not down.

5. Not All Job Postings Are Equal

Try a vast amount of job sites in your job search. Do not limit yourself to one or two, but rather put your resume out there to all sorts of postings. I do not recommend Monster or Career Builder, but I love LinkedIn posting and Simply Hired, which takes job postings from various sites and makes them searchable by area or keywords. Also, do not rule out a credible Craig list posting, because some small companies who do not have funds to post on a pay per post job site often advertise there.

Great Job Advice Accounts on Twitter
@HRMargo, @BrazenCareerist, @CAREERREALISM, @WSJCareers, @doyoubuzz, @MsCareerGirl, @newgradlife

Do you agree/disagree with my advice? Have you had luck with social media and job searching? Let me know!