Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Category: blog posts (page 2 of 3)

To Read or Not to Read: An Experiment in Intentionally Buying Books

I buy too many books.

I see a book that looks mildly interesting on Instagram and save it to my TBR Instagram Collection. I come across interesting articles on LitHub, enjoy the writing or subject, and save the author’s most recent book to my Amazon wish list. I realize that an author who wrote a book I liked has another book…or two…or three…so I buy more of his books for my collection, figuring that I’ll read it some day. I buy them because I write in books, so borrowing from a friend or a library would result in some annoyed friends or libraries.

But the problem is that at this rate, I’ll never read all the books I buy. Honestly, even if I stopped buying books today, I’d have years of new reading material on my shelves. I want to read more, in general, but I need to be more intentional about my choices, especially in which books I spend money on.

Continue reading

Reflections on the Personal Significance of 3 Ishiguro Novels

Japanese novelist Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature yesterday; although I am delighted he won such a prestigious award, his importance to me is of a more personal nature. You see, three of his novels played an integral role in the first year of my relationship with my husband, Sean. Readers are funny in this way. Despite the fact that I could study Ishiguro’s novels using my English major skills and write about his skill and genius as a storyteller, I find myself reflecting on the emotional significance of three of his novels upon my life. Continue reading

These Are a Few of My Favorite Banned Books

It’s Banned Books Week! Each year, we English majors and readers get excited to celebrate books—especially those that have been banned or challenged at some point. The goal is to talk about the importance of letting people read books, even if they’re full of “dangerous” ideas and content.

With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite banned books, why they were banned, and why I like them. Continue reading

My Thoughts on BookFest St. Louis

St. Louis just hosted its first annual book festival, BookFest St. Louis, in the Central West End. As a reader, writer, and editor, this event was a dream come true. We don’t get a lot of literary traffic down here in St. Louis, so to have this many authors and book-focused events in one space on one day was amazing.

It’s pointless to describe each event I attended—that would be boring to read. So instead, here are some observations about the various BookFest St. Louis performances and panels I attended. Continue reading

Why Studying Abroad Is Great for Your Future Career

If I’m being honest, classroom time was one of the least valuable experiences I had while studying abroad.

I know, I know; that’s a terrible thing to say, but it’s true: It’s the experiences that take you outside the classroom that make studying abroad…well, studying abroad. You can take classes anywhere in the world, but it’s going out and exploring new place that you’re in that makes studying abroad such a rewarding experience.

But that also means that the experiences you have outside the classroom while you’re studying abroad are hard to quantify. It’s easy to show how your internship or classes line up with specific skills employers are looking for, such as proofreading, implementing a nutrition plan or entering data into a spreadsheet. Figuring out how to include study abroad on your resume is harder because the skills you develop while studying abroad are soft skills. Continue reading

How to Include Study Abroad on Your Resume and Use It in Interviews

Studying abroad is a great way to develop soft skills that employers are looking for in entry-level candidates, such as adaptability, oral communication, and problem-solving. Although you improve these skills by studying and traveling abroad, it’s hard to know exactly how to include them on your resume or how to talk about them in job interviews.

You don’t want to oversell your experience and act like studying abroad was more important than any internships or previous work experience you’ve had. But you also don’t want to underplay the significance of your experience, because studying abroad does make you a more desirable job candidate and a better employee.  Here’s how to include study abroad on your resume and talk about it with potential employers. Continue reading

How to Get the Most Out of Your Sigma Tau Delta Social Media Takeover

sigma tau delta social media takeover

This is the face of someone who was emotionally unprepared to have her photo taken during a Sigma Tau Delta social media takeover. Read my blog post for tips on how to prepare your fellow members so they aren’t anxiety-ridden by thinking about photos being taken of them throughout your entire event.

Sigma Tau Delta offers an awesome opportunity for chapter members hosting chapter events—a social media takeover. I hosted a Sigma Tau Delta social media takeover for my chapter’s annual Christmas party in December 2016, and our chapter really enjoyed the opportunity. It was a great way to draw attention to the event, get followers and engagement on social media, spread the love for English language and literature, and interact with members worldwide.

So, if you have a chapter event coming up that you’d like to share with Sigma Tau Delta members, read more about my tips and tricks for running a successful Sigma Tau Delta social media takeover on my blog post on WORDY by Nature, the official blog of Sigma Tau Delta. Continue reading

7 Essential Elements Your Book Review Policy Must Have

So you’ve decided to be a book reviewer. You’re itching to get your hands on some advanced review copies for free. But how do you go about doing this?

The first thing you need to do is make sure your book review blog looks professional and represents the type of books you like and the type of reviewer you are. Then, you need to write some book reviews. Authors and publishers aren’t going to send you books if you haven’t proven that you are capable of reading a few books and writing reviews.

Once you’ve written several book reviews and posted them to your blog and elsewhere (Amazon, Goodreads, #bookstagram, etc.), you can start to position yourself as a reviewer worthy of receiving copies of books to review. Create a new page on your book blog titled “Book Review Policy,” put it in your menu, and include these seven elements in it: Continue reading

Your Career Column: Don’t Wish Away Your College Years

At this time last year, I slumped in my chair across from my wonderful advisor, Dr. Haley, complaining that I just wasn’t feeling college—I wanted to be in the workforce already. I didn’t like my classes, I didn’t like living on campus and I desperately wanted to start my career.

I had just come off of a semester abroad in Europe with a flexible schedule and plenty of time to wander, followed by a summer of four (four!!!) internships in publishing. I was used to getting up early, working in the office for one of my internships, going to a coffee shop to work on the other three internships and hanging out with my boyfriend nearly every day. I felt productive and professional over the summer; I dressed up for work, I worked on projects that I genuinely enjoyed and I ultimately chose which internships and opportunities to accept.

And then I was thrown back into my final year at Concordia.

Read more of my latest career advice column for The Sower about my regrettable case of senioritis and why I’m urging you not to wish wish away your college years.

Why I’m Starting a Career Advice Column for My Alma Mater’s Campus Newspaper

Now that I’ve graduated from Concordia and left my two-year run as an editor of its campus newspaper, The Sower, I’m going to end up writing more for it as an alumna than I ever did as a student worker.

I will write a twice-monthly career advice column for Concordia students. It’s an idea I toyed with while I was managing editor of The Sower last year—I wanted to share my strategies and stories of how I built up my resume and prepared to jump headfirst into a career postgraduation. But last year was crazy for me, mostly because I was doing too much to prepare for my career instead of enjoying my last year of college. I didn’t utilize my opportunity to write for The Sower beyond a heartfelt explanation of why The Sower exists and a few Buzzfeed-esque listicles. Continue reading

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