As I read through the blogs left by fellow classmates and the responses left by the undergrads I tried teleporting myself back to my final months of college, the good ole days. I thoroughly enjoyed college, the knowledge gained, the new experiences, the new friends acquired; I lived it all to the max. However by my last semester I was MORE than ready to graduate and begin the next stage of my life; I was ready to become and adult!! With a mix of excitement and nervousness of the unknown I set out into the “real” world to blaze my path, which is where all of you will soon be at. So as I sit here now and think of how transparency would have helped me when I was in your shoes I thought of a mistake I made, and that was not being transparent with MYSELF.
My generation was the first generation born here in the United States and I was the first one in my rather large family to go to college. I was also kind of a knucklehead when I was younger so there were members of my family who didn’t expect much out of me. I was determined to prove my detractors wrong and my supporter’s right. With this “me against the world” mentality I returned home like a conquering general to get a great job and start my amazing career. Except that when I came home, the “real” world was NOTHING like I expected it to be.
I expected to come out of college with my degree and just have a job waiting for me, all of the Tampa Bay area would be throwing themselves at me!! I couldn’t have been more wrong. Although the job market wasn’t as challenging as it is now, good jobs were in short supply and I didn’t even really know where to look for these good jobs!!
Embarrassed and feeling like somewhat of a failure I hid all of these feelings from the world and went along like everything was working out how I planned it. I didn’t reach out to others for help, I didn’t ask questions, I tried ignoring the big pink elephant in the room. As I blindly fumbled around I came across a sales job that I took just to take something. I lasted 3 months there before I quit to take another sales job where I only lasted 6 months before quitting. At this point I didn’t know what to do, where I was going, or how to get there. So I decided to try something different, I was going to be honest with myself and with those around me, I was going to knock down the walls I built around myself!! I began talking to EVERYONE about the difficulties I was going through, about how I was feeling, about where I thought I wanted to go and how I thought I could get there. It was AMAZING how things started opening up!!
I started getting advice from those around me, I started getting new ideas about what I wanted to do and how to get there, and all of a sudden I had an army out there helping me look for a job. One day at a dinner one of my mother’s friends came to me and said “I heard you’re looking for a job, we have some openings at my bank, you should give me a call.” Two months later I had the job I wanted, after a year of fumbling around by myself I finally had the career I had been looking for!!
I know a lot of you may be worried about what lies ahead of you and how you’re going to fit into the real world. My advice to you would be this, don’t try doing it alone. Be open with others about how you feel, what you like, what you don’t like, and what you hope for in the future. You’ll be amazed at the feedback you’ll get and the new ideas that you can generate from that feedback. Don’t be embarrassed if things don’t start off how you expected or change for the worse. Continue working hard towards your goals, stay positive, and NEVER shut yourself down to the world. Always have open communication with yourself and your network and you’ll be just fine.