The Benefits of a Mindfulness Practice For Busy Students and Professionals

Do you ever feel like you’re always on the go, jumping from one activity to the next? Thinking about all the things you still need to check off your long to-do list? Maybe you’re more worried about capturing a great experience on video instead of enjoying it through your own eyes. If any of this sounds like you, you’re not alone.

Life can often feel hectic, even overwhelming, for busy students and business professionals. The increasing demands of this always-on, always-connected culture can make it challenging to slow down and be present in the moment. 

The practice of mindfulness has been growing in popularity because of its ability to help people better manage stress and distractions in a busy, noisy world.

a multigenerational team discussing a project

Working and Thriving on a Multigenerational Team

With people living longer and many working well past the traditional retirement age, there are currently five different generations working side-by-side in many companies today. 

When a team with a wide range of ages is put together, there will certainly be differences in styles, perspectives, and expectations. However, while they can sometimes create conflict, it is these differences that can make a team stronger, more creative, and more innovative. 

Learning to accept and embrace the differences of others can help you develop professionally and learn important lessons from more experienced colleagues. 

Work styles by generation

The five generations in today’s workforce include: 

  • Silent Generation: born 1928 – 1945
  • Baby Boomers: born 1946 – 1964
  • Gen X: born 1965 – 1980
  • Millennials: born 1981 – 1996
  • Gen Z: born 1997 or later

The Silent Generation

The Silent Generation only makes up about 1% of the workforce today, but that’s still over a million seniors working well into their 70s and beyond. 

Some employees in this generation work just to stay active in their golden years, while others still need to work to support themselves. They grew up during the Great Depression and World War II and built many of the thriving industries we have today. They’re known for their dependability and strong work ethic.

Baby boomers

Baby boomers make up about 23% of today’s workforce. The percentage of people aged 62-64 who are working or looking for work has actually increased over the past decade

Many boomers are choosing to delay retirement because they’re still motivated to work or need to work out of financial necessity. They also have a longer job tenure than their younger counterparts, at an average of seven years

Gen X

Gen X is sometimes referred to as the “middle child” generation, as they compete for attention between baby boomers and millennials. While millennials now outnumber Gen X in the workforce, there are still about 66 million Gen X workers today, and they account for 51% of leadership roles worldwide.

“Gen X is your bread and butter. They have worked through more recessions than their parents or grandparents ever did. Most often, they are executive leaders who are on the cusp of becoming the C-class,” said generational expert, Dr. Mary Donohue, in an article for the Huffington Post.


Millennials are the largest generation in today’s workforce. They’re known to have high expectations in their careers and have a tendency to change jobs more frequently than other generations. 

Millennials are known to be passionate about corporate responsibility and finding meaning in their work. One study by Cone Communications found that 75% of millennials would take a pay cut to work for a socially and environmentally responsible company.

Gen Z

While many Gen Zs are just entering the workforce, they’re showing some unique traits compared to their older colleagues. Gen Zs came of age during the Great Recession, and thus, tend to be more motivated by money and job security than millennials. They’re competitive and hardworking, with 75% willing to start at the bottom and work their way up. 

Promote age inclusion on your team

While more employers have begun recognizing the importance of diversity, most have a long way to go in the way of inclusion. Employees of all ages can only thrive professionally if they feel truly valued and are able to be their authentic selves at work. 

Employers have a responsibility to build more inclusive workplaces, but there are things we can all do as individuals to foster more age inclusion on our teams.

Throw out the generational stereotypes

Generational stereotypes continue to influence how people perceive colleagues that are younger or older than they are. Believing a baby boomer can’t understand new technology or a Gen Z is too young to be a leader is unfair and unfounded. 

In reality, studies show that age diversity can improve organizational performance and age-diverse teams perform better at making complex decisions.

See others’ differences as strengths 

Teams thrive when we embrace one another’s differences and capitalize on the skills different people bring to the table. Older generations can be great mentors to younger colleagues, and younger team members can bring fresh ideas and perspectives. 

To create a more age-inclusive team, shift focus from how old someone is to where it should be — their unique knowledge, abilities, skills, and experiences. 

Keep learning with AKPsi

Listen to the Business Edge Podcast to hear real stories and lessons learned from business professionals who have built successful careers while growing personally and professionally. 

All Alpha Kappa Psi members can also access professional development resources and online courses in the MyAKPsi Community

A woman sitting on the floor with a notebook, calculator, and laptop working on a personal budget

How to Create and Manage a Personal Budget

Budgeting is important for everyone, regardless of income level or life stage. But it’s especially important for college students and young professionals, as you begin managing your life and finances separate from your parents. 

Read on to learn more about the importance of fiscal responsibility and the steps to creating (and sticking to) a realistic personal budget.

Why a budget is so important

If you’ve ever heard it said that someone “lives beyond their means,” then you’re probably familiar with a common problem in today’s society. Too many people find themselves living in a home they can’t afford, drowning in credit card debt, or living paycheck to paycheck with no savings to fall back on. 

According to Investopedia, the average credit card debt per household reached $5,525 in 2021. That doesn’t even take into account the significant student loan debt many young people have when they’re starting out. 

Not all consumer debt is necessarily bad, as long as you’re using credit wisely and taking it into account as part of a well-planned budget. A budget can make it easier to pay your bills as you also increase your savings and plan for future purchases, like buying your first home. Following a budget can put you in a stronger financial position to build the kind of life you want for yourself.

7 steps to creating your budget

Building a budget isn’t that difficult, yet many people fail to put in the effort to create one. By looking at your financial situation and documenting your expenses, you’ll have a much better picture of what you truly can and cannot afford. A budget also helps you set more realistic goals, and tells you exactly how much you’ll need to earn and save in order to meet them. 

Here are seven steps to developing a smart, realistic budget that you can stick to:

Make a list of your total income

If you don’t know how much money you have coming in, it’s impossible to know how much you can actually afford to spend. 

Start by determining how much money you earn each month. This includes your salary, any income from freelance or gig work, alimony payments, etc. Any money you have coming in regularly should be accounted for.

2. Make a list of all your expenses

Keep track of all the bills you have coming in each month to ensure you have enough money budgeted to cover them. 

Some of those expenses will be clear and recurring, like rent and utilities, but don’t forget to include all the extra expenses, too, like groceries, meals, medical expenses, cell phone, subscriptions and memberships, etc. (Yes, Netflix is an expense — unless you’re currently “borrowing” your account from a friend.) Anything you can anticipate spending each month should be noted when developing your budget.

Here is a quick overview of expense categories and the most common types of expenses:

  • Fixed expenses: rent, insurance, utility bills, cell phone, subscriptions
  • Variable expenses: Gas, groceries, clothes, food and drinks, entertainment
  • One-time expenses: Car repairs, medical bills, travel expenses
  • Savings: Don’t forget to feed the pig! Put aside money each month for an emergency fund as well as long-term investments

3. Review your past 3-12 months of spending

Assessing your spending habits will help you understand where and how you typically spend your money. Before you start trying to cut your spending, spend some time tracking and evaluating all your expenses. You may notice some patterns and can categorize where most of your money is going. 

For example, if you’re getting Starbucks every morning on the way home from the gym and ordering takeout several times a week for lunch, you might find you’re spending a larger portion of your monthly income on food and drink than you realized.

By calculating how much money you’re actually spending and where it’s going, you can find easy ways to cut costs with just small changes — like making coffee at home or packing a lunch a few days a week.

4. Meet your basic needs first

Identify any recurring, fixed expenses that cannot be removed from your budget. (i.e., rent, car payment, utilities, insurance, phone, internet, etc.) These items need to be budgeted for before you start adding in nonessential expenses, like money for a personal trainer or weekly manicure. While you probably can’t eliminate most (or any) of your essential expenses, there are ways to reduce their cost, as we’ll touch on in step 6.

5. Move on to the variable items

Some expenses will vary and be more difficult to anticipate. As you look at your variable expenses, it may seem daunting to estimate how much you’ll end up spending. This is why it’s so important to look back at your previous spending. 

After analyzing past patterns, calculate an average amount to incorporate into your budget. So, if you look at your grocery bills over the last few months and find you’re spending between $250-$300 a month on food, set $300 as your grocery budget to start. 

Account for the higher amount in your budget, but remember you can always start shopping around for sales or using coupons to get that down to a lower amount. That’s what is so helpful about seeing the true amount of money you’re spending on something — it makes you think more carefully about your choices.

6. Categorize your spending and make smart cuts

Divide your spending into categories (e.g., housing, transportation, food, utilities, healthcare, personal, etc.). It can help to put it in a graph or chart, so you can visualize where most of your money is being spent.  

Consider areas where you can minimize or cut your spending. It might seem difficult to find ways to do this, but as you review the analysis of your spending habits, some areas will rise to the top. There may be opportunities to reduce some of your payments, even for essential expenses. 

Here are just a few examples:

  • See what other options are out there for your cell phone or internet package or if another carrier is offering a better deal if you switch. 
  • If you’re spending a lot of money on gas or Uber rides, see if there are some public transportation or carpool options you could take advantage of. 
  • Is your rent a little higher than you’re comfortable with? Consider downsizing to a smaller place, or getting a roommate to share costs.

7. Be honest with yourself — and your budget

When creating your budget, be honest and realistic about your spending, otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to fail. 

A budget is only helpful if you can make it as accurate as possible and follow through with the commitment. Start small and slowly taper your extra spending to develop a budget you’ll be able to stick with. Be realistic so you can meet your own expectations and set out on the road to a financially healthy future.

Learn more on MyAKPsi

Take a deeper dive into financial literacy in the MyAKPsi Community. Log in for more budgeting tips, career advice, and professional development resources to help you thrive in the working world. 

students at graduation with their caps on heading to grad school

Should I Head Straight to Grad School After College? Weighing the Pros and Cons

If you’re thinking about what comes next after college, you’ve probably at least considered the idea of continuing on to pursue a master’s degree. Graduate school can be a great investment in your future, but it’s not for everyone. 

The decision to remain a full-time student rather than enter the workforce can have professional and financial implications — both positive and negative. 

In this article, we’ll weigh some of the pros and cons of heading to grad school right after college, and share some research that might help you make this important decision.

A student is sitting at his laptop, doing work on continuous learning.

The Benefits of Being a Lifelong Learner 

Imagine you go to see your doctor about this headache you’ve been having, and he tells you some startling news: “You need brain surgery.” 

Your doctor refers you to the best brain surgeon in the country. This guy has an advanced degree, spent seven years in residency and another three years in post-doctoral fellowship training. He’s been board-certified in brain surgery for 20 years and has done hundreds of successful procedures. 

You’re understandably nervous (because well, brain surgery), but you’re confident in this surgeon, because with all his education and experience, he must know everything there is to know about brain surgery!  

The truth is, even the most experienced, qualified surgeons are always learning. They’re required to complete continuing education credits throughout their entire career just to stay licensed. And with all the advances in technology, they’re constantly being trained on new medical devices and innovations in their field.

The point is, no one is ever done learning — even the most brilliant, accomplished among us. The most successful people are lifelong learners, who know there are always more questions to ask and knowledge to gain. (Also, don’t worry, your brain is probably fine.)