Big Changes

Well friends, it has been while!

As of now, I am on the path to joining the real world as a full-blown adult in June! I know that you are officially an adult at age 18, but we all know that for most of us it doesn’t really happen until age 22 or so. In my head, being a full-blown adult means you

  1. Have a full-time job
  2. Pay all of your own bills

This year has been absolutely crazy for me, so let me get you up to speed on what has been going on with me.

January – The Beginning of the End

In January, I began my last semester of college. This was a very exciting yet scary realization. I would never have another first day of school, which sounds amazing, but in reality school is all I have ever done full time and I am really good at it, but after 17 years of school, I was itching to start something different.

February – The Proposal

In February, my beloved Jeremiah asked me to marry him under trees wrapped in twinkly lights and a poem he wrote for me. I said yes agreeing to spend the rest of my life with my best friend! This began the endless crazy that is wedding planning. I had hoped to tell you all about it, but it turns out that wedding planning is not as much fun as the movies make it seem.

March – The Fly-Over Month

Nothing monumental happened in March. You know how there are “fly-over states” that are interesting for those who live there, but to everyone else it is nothing special. That was kind of how March was… if you blinked, you missed it. I made my way through half of the semester without killing anyone, found my wedding dress, took engagement photos, and celebrated Jeremiah’s birthday.

April – The Taylor Swift Song

In April, I turned 22! It was officially my turn to post a cute photo exclaiming it was my birthday and I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22. What started as a horrible day turned into a very fun evening. I woke up to a job rejection and then had multiple friends cancel on my dinner – that was going to end with cheesecake and that I had planned a couple weeks in advance – so I was feeling pretty grim. The day continued to just hit me while I was already down. When I realized my birthday was probably going to only be me and Jeremiah (which wasn’t a huge deal, but I had hoped I could celebrate with my friends too), I asked my mom to come down and she turned me down too. In the end, 50% of my friends showed up to dinner and 75% made it to drinks afterward. It was a really fun birthday afterall!

May – The Graduate

In May, I graduated college! I said goodbye to The University of North Texas with a smile on face and a diploma in my hand. It was such a bittersweet moment, because as much as I was ready to leave, I had finally made some friends in my major and wasn’t quite ready to let them go. Not only did I graduate (on-time!), I also had a job lined up. The Monday after graduation, I woke up at 6am, sat in traffic for an hour, and started my big-girl salary job at 8am. I am now an associate project coordinator for a telecommunications company in North Texas. I accomplished two of my goals: graduate college and get a real job.

Because I accomplished these two goals, I can actually join the real world and support myself!

Last week, I got my own phone plan and signed up for health benefits. These are two of the most adult things I have ever done and I am so excited that I am going to be able to afford it all on my own. No longer will I have to rely on my parents to help me survive. It is such an exhilarating feeling knowing you are going to make it on your own! Bring on the adulting!

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Sometimes I Just Need An ‘Atta Girl’

It’s my senior year. It’s more than that though, it’s my senior year of college! And let me tell you how exciting, scary, and totally exhausting it is. It feels that there is always something to be done and I am feeling the pressure. Last week, I felt like my head might never stop aching from all the stress and pressure and complete exhaustion. All I want to do is graduate and transition into a job afterward, but sometimes it feels that that is impossible.

Well to add to the natural stress that comes with preparing to graduate and be on your own, is the mixed signals from my parents. My parents are two of my biggest supporters, but in the last month or so they have fallen down on the encouragement wagon. It has been a blessing to have their help in paying for college and rent during my time in school and have worked hard to focus on my education as well as holding one part-time job. A few months ago I had the opportunity to add another part-time job to my load, but my mom assured me that wasn’t necessary and that they just wanted me to really focus on my studies, so I let the offer pass. My current part-time job was supposed to end back in December, so I tried for a few weeks to replace it, but came up empty, but luckily my boss’s were able to find some more work for me that should keep me employed for the next few months. Yay! But my mom is still on me about finding another job and although I am grateful for all the help my parents give me adding on another job seems like a daunting task, because finding a job is a full-time job on top of school and the current job I already have. Sometimes I just need them to be excited that I am not jobless and that I make great grades in school.

I have also been super nervous about not having a job when I graduate. One of my worst fears is having to move back in with my parents, because I won’t be able to support myself. So with that in mind I have been trying to be diligent about keeping up with job ads and figuring out where I can actually get hired. But I was able to get in touch with my boss from my internship letting her know that I was very interested in coming back to that company and she emailed me back saying that they would love to have me. I interpreted this as fantastic news and it calmed my nerves a bit, but when I told my mom she seemed way less thrilled than I expected. This was a bit of a let down, because I would really like her to notice how much I am actually accomplishing as well as what I am actually capable of.

All I wish to get across is that encouragement goes a lot farther than expectation.

Five Tips for College Seniors: Securing a Job After Graduation

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For those of us who took the traditional track of continuing our education back to back to back, all we know is how to “school”. If you think about it, you realize that those of us who will be graduating college in May have been in school for the past seventeen years of our life! So when put in perspective, joining the real world can be really scary.

Daunting is the word I would use to describe how I feel about graduating, getting a job, starting my own life… and I will admit that my number one fear is not finding a job. Many of the people I look up to do not have advice for me in how to prepare, so that my fear does not come true, but earlier this week I had the opportunity to speak with Anna Benefiel, a new addition to the office I work in.

Anna is a graduate of MIT and John Hopkins University after studying Biotechnology intensively. Lucky for me, she has found herself at The University of North Texas’ Department of Economic Development. During a get-to-know-you lunch she and I shared, Anna learned my last name, my interests, and my concerns. Through this, she gave me some insight into ways to help land your first job, your dream job, or a job in the right direction.

  1. Update Your LinkedIn Account. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in the professional world. Many businesses and clients will search LinkedIn in order to find the type of employee they are looking for. If they don’t find you through LinkedIn, a potential employer may look you up to verify your resume or just poke around. If your LinkedIn is not up-to-date with your latest employee status or education level, you may be overlooked or surpassed for a position. Don’t know what LinkedIn is? Poke around or set up an account here.
  2. Network Through Career Fairs. Networking is one of the most important aspects of getting a job. Looking good on paper is only part of the battle, but getting your name out there is another. The more places you go, the more potential employers and companies you will meet. Most universities and larger surrounding cities host career fairs; take advantage! Career Fairs are just a bunch of companies that get together to look for future candidates they may want to hire. It is important to not only get your name and face out there, but to also figure out what kinds of companies are in your field and what they are looking for in an employee. Be sure to have your resume handy and dress in business attire when you attend.
  3. Practice Interviewing. Interviews can be frightening and intense, but the more practice you get, the more prepared you will be. Practice interviews can be as low-key as sitting at the kitchen table with your roommate or actually landing an interview for a job you don’t want or don’t need, but you go anyway. The more interviews you go to, the easier it will become to handle your stress and awkwardness. Go over possible questions and come up with bullet points on how to answer (not scripts) and remember to be personable and yourself.
  4. Find Your Tribe. This was probably the best piece of advice! Finding your tribe is all about finding the people who are where you want to be. They most likely share similar interests or backgrounds as you or maybe they are someone who inspires you. Your tribe is probably not as far as you think. If you want to be a comic book writer then attend Comic-Con; author, then go to book signings. Just find people who can help you get to where you want to be.
  5. Start Now. There is no time like the present to start attending career fairs, working on your resume, updating your LinkedIn account, and finding people in the industry you want to be in. Don’t think you have to wait till May to apply for positions or figure out what you need to do to get your name out there. Begin researching now!

I hope these tips are helpful and I would love to hear if you have any other tips or tricks that you think are important for college seniors to know before heading out into the real world to find their first job!