Tag Archives: college

Relearning the ABC’s After College

S059QDGBOG

It is common knowledge that college is the time for learning. It is the time to explore your interests. It is the time to redefine your boundaries. In short, it is about learning about yourself and where you fit into the context of the wider world.

But once you walk across that stage in your cap and gown to get your diploma, learning does not stop. Learning is a life long process that continues even beyond college, even after you’ve landed that amazing job at a Fortune 500 company.

I can even argue that the six months after college graduation is even more vital than the entire four years put together. Yes, you are learning essential skills in college. But after college, when you are thrown out into the real world, you have to put those skills into practice.

You’ve probably landed an internship, a freelance gig, or an entry level position. This is the time when you have to not only use the skills that you’ve gained, but continue to build upon them. Knowledge is never stagnant. Knowledge will continue to build upon itself, in almost every field.

With that said, after college, you will find yourself going ‘back to basics.’ Essentially, you will relearn the ABCs:

Affirm your desires.

College was about figuring out what you wanted to major in. Post-college (and sometimes even before) is about figuring out how you want to use your degree. Once you know what you want to do, then go for it. Knowing what you want is the easiest part. Let the knowledge of what you want fill every bone in your body. Embody confidence that you will do well and that that will be your calling.

Brand yourself.

Whether you are prepping for that job interview or working on your social media presence, make sure that you are conveying your best self. Be honest and authentic. Be intelligent and creative. Add a little bit of spontaneity. Be professional and relatable in your communication style. Be truer than your best self.

Continue to enhance.

So, you might not be successful at that job interview. Perhaps it wasn’t a good fit. Whatever the reason, don’t give up. The six months after college are the most important months. Keep applying to jobs. Seek out assistance from the career office at your alma mater. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to connect with industry experts and get new job leads. Become an entrepreneur. Start a blog. Write. Create YouTube videos. Host Periscope videos. Become an expert in your field. Keep practicing your skills. Eventually, the right job will find you.

Where are you in your job search? Or, if you’ve landed that perfect job (kudos!), any words of advice that you’d like to share?

 

Life After College – Thoughts

college at stocksnap.io

College is a bubble. So, what happens after graduation? Well, that bubble bursts. Suddenly, that protected world that you’ve known for four years is no longer there. You are suddenly tossed out into the real world.

Twice in my life, I left college. And twice in my life, I was no longer in that college bubble, forced to live on the outside with no communal showers and surrounded by a random assortment of kids. But most importantly of all, both times, I was forced to face the reality of student loans, getting a job and adjusting to life after school.

Having been part of the thousands of kids who go to college right after high school, it is hard to envision a life in which the world of academia does not exist. I’ve been in school for nearly my entire life. However much I might complain about the unfairness of grading and classes and professors, at the end of the day, it is undeniable that I start to miss it.

I miss taking classes that may or may not have anything to do with my degree. I’ve taken Greek Mythology and Writing Poems even though I am not a Classical Studies or Creative Writing major. I’ve taken so many German courses that I’d like to say that I’m nearly fluent. I simply took those classes because I wanted to. College presented an opportunity to take those classes that my high school might not have offered due to limited budgets. And, I admit, once I got to college, I embraced it.

The same goes for extracurricular activities. At college, I could join the Yearbook Club or the LGBTQ club or whatever. At college, I could take  or do whatever I wanted to (as long as it was legal, of course). Indeed, what separates college from high school is the freedom to choose. The freedom to be independent. But, of course, with that freedom comes a certain responsibility. That responsibility is our first foray into adulthood. Some of us embrace it. While for the rest of us, it might take awhile…

But however long it takes, we all grow up in college. College is designed to test us. To test our strengths and weaknesses. To connect us with new people. To allow us to grow in a way that we never conceived of in high school.

But sooner than you think, college is soon over. You put on your graduation cap and gown and walk across that stage to get your diploma. But just because you receive your diploma does not mean that the growth has to stop. Instead, use college as a starting off point to continue learning and growing.

Getting your college diploma signifies that you accomplished four years of college education. It signifies that you have the discipline to study with no immediate gratification. After all, there is no guarantee that a college degree will get you rich.

But once you get your college diploma, you discover that the real work is yet to begin. You have to find a job. Hopefully, you find a lucrative opportunity in your industry. Hopefully, you will rise up within your company in the next ten years and become an industry thought leader.

Or, you might end up working as a barista at Starbucks or retail clerk for a few years working minimum wage, while relentlessly filling out job applications. You might have to work two jobs just to pay your rent, car payments and student loan payments.

But eventually, you will launch your career. It’s not going to be easy. I daresay that it might even be hard. But who said that life is easy? And those four years of all-nighters at college will be worth it.

But until then, we hope. Whatever we majored in, whatever experiences we had in college, we are all driven by the same ambition: to find a well-paying job and be a worthwhile member of this complex and intricate society.

I Like to Make Believe

writing from stocksnap.io

I’ve decided to begin my new year by looking into the past. Specifically, my childhood. And even more specifically, I’d like to explain why I enjoy writing and how it all began. After all, you can’t start or continue something without knowing the very root or essence of it.

I can’t exactly pinpoint the very first day when I decided that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. All I can say is that I was drawn to the very act of writing. Perhaps it is because I’ve always enjoyed reading books. I’ve always been fascinated by the very people who wrote the books that I was so enthralled by. While other kids were learning how to write cursive, I was dreaming about my name — my name— being on the front cover of a book, either as an author or an illustrator, although I’m not much of an artist. But I suppose that’s normal. I suppose that is instinctive for anyone who enjoys reading as much as I did do.

Why did I enjoy reading? It was entertaining. I could escape into another world, a world that often times was much more interesting than mine. It was fascinating to inhabit the mind of someone else or watch as someone went through life. It was even more fascinating when that person was as normal and average as you and I — just someone who’s trying to fit in and find their place in society.

Simply put, I like stories. I like things that have a nice beginning, middle and end. I like to be entertained. And I like to entertain. Even when I was a child, I liked to make-believe and make up stories. I liked to act out stories with my stuffed animals and dolls. I still remember the very first story that I ever wrote. It was called “The Little Boy” and it was about a boy who wanted a party.  I had an imagination, definitely. In fact, I still do.

I guess that’s why, in the end, I majored in Communications in college. But on my journey of getting there, in all of the courses that I took, I enjoyed telling stories. In high school and college, I enjoyed creative writing courses the best. I loved it when my history teacher had us write a creative writing piece about a fictional person who lived during the Bubonic Plague. And when I had to take standardized tests, 9 times out of 10 I chose to write a narrative essay. In college, I loved my PR and social media courses. I enjoyed writing feature stories and press releases and blog posts. Hey, what can I say, I like to tell a story.

And that is why my Communications degree led me to want to pursue a career in content marketing, social media and PR. I haven’t yet found that dream job in my chosen industry but I have hope that I will in 2016. I have hope that I will find work with an amazing company where I am allowed to thrive, learn, and most importantly, make believe.

But until then, I will continue blogging. I will continue writing, specifically working my Nanowrimo novel. I will read more and learn from experts in the writing industry. I will do all this because I have hope.

I have hope. And I will continue to make believe.

 

Looking Back in Order to Move Forward

To be honest, I don’t really like long titles. I prefer short ones. The ones that make you stop and go “Hey! What’s that?” and then start you on a long process of rumination. But, for some reason, this title seems fitting somewhat. And when I’m writing, I tend to go with my gut instinct, with whatever sounds just right.

And the title is absolutely right! I am looking back towards 2015, at all the great changes that have happened this year. Perhaps at 26 I would have liked for some of the changes to happen just a little bit earlier. But I keep reminding myself that life happens at its own pace. Some of us are destined to have our lives picture perfect before the age of 24, while the rest of us are still struggling to find our footing, to discover who we were meant to be all along.

And even though I don’t believe in God, or any higher being, I still cling on to fate. Yes, I believe in fate. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything that has happened to me at 26 (and prior to that) will be revealed in due time. I have to believe. Otherwise, how can I continue to have faith that everything will be okay in the end? And I do believe that everything will be okay. In the end.

At the beginning of the year, you know that I was in school. I was attending Southern New Hampshire University online. Well, I finally did it! I graduated! I can now say that I am a college graduate. I have a B.A. in Communications. It is honestly the proudest moment of my life. I’ve been working toward this moment since I was in high school, first filling out college applications and taking the new SAT (by the way, there’s going to be a new new SAT in 2016. Why??).

My eight year journey of college (2.5 years at Furman University in SC, .5 year in Berlin, Germany and then 1.5 years at SNHU) finally ended in 2015. It took so long because I took a leave of absence that soon became a four year leave of absence. But those four years weren’t a complete waste. I wasn’t sitting at home, watching TV and netflix all day. I was working retail and then during my off hours I was trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Well, now that I am a college graduate, I have narrowed it down to Marketing, PR, Social Media and Higher Education. Of course, I’m still holding on to my old childhood dream of becoming a published writer (hopefully next year in 2016!).

Even though I haven’t yet found my dream job, I’m hoping that that will happen next year, in 2016. In the meantime, I am picking continuing to pick up valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom. Specifically, I have went on a handful of interviews (face-to-face, virtual, phone) and had the extraordinary opportunity to connect with various recruiters and HR managers. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively, as well as persuasively, to get my point across (although that last part is really due to my Communications degree).

Some of these interviews went well, some not so well. Regardless of the outcome, I learned something new from every single one. For example, I learned about presenting my best self forward. I also learned about each of these companies from countless hours of research.

As with every year since 1999, Nanowrimo happened again this year. And this year, instead of just reaching 50,000 and stopping, no matter what. I finished my novel. I began the month of November with a good idea of how I want to begin, and end, my book. I planned out my characters and my plot, and then made sure that I had conflict.

And I finished. I finally finished a novel at just under 60K. Currently, I’m in the middle of editing my book (another first!) Maybe, just maybe, I will try to get my book published next in 2016.

As a result of Nanowrimo, I’ve also started to use to Twitter. More. Much, more more. And I’m finding that I’m really enjoying it. I love interacting with people on social media. I love participating in Tweet Chats. For example, there was a #MillennialTalk Tweet Chat that I attended this evening. I feel like I learn something new whenever I’m on Twitter. And I’m lovin’ it!

And then, on a more personal level, I found out that I’m expecting. Currently, I’m 30 weeks. It’s been pretty easy so far, and for that I’m grateful.

So, 2015. 2015 was a year of change… graduation, writing, soon-to-b new baby. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold for me. Stay tuned for my next post which will focus on 2016 and my New Year’s resolutions and goals. But in the meantime, tell me how 2015 has been for you!

 

A Dream Wrapped in Silver

When I first decided that I would go back to college after taking a four year leave of absence, I had to figure out what I wanted to study. Like most college students, I kept changing my major, going from English to Art History to Classical Studies and then, finally, to German.

I chose German then because I really enjoyed my German language courses. I loved speaking German. I loved to conjugate the verbs. I had all of my German prepositions memorized in song-form. I really, really liked German. After all, weren’t you supposed to choose a discipline that you were passionate about? I’ve always been interested in European history and culture, particularly Germany. I have a tiny, slightly unhealthy, obsession with Anne Frank. In fact, that’s why I wanted to learn German (and then, eventually, Dutch). I wanted to read her Diary in German. I wanted to get a feel for her Diary in that language. I thought that I would understand some of the phrases and cultural expressions better in the German (and Dutch) than in the English. Translated books are never as good as the original. I know that the German edition is translated too. But my college did not offer Dutch and I figured that I’ll learn German first, and then learn Dutch.

So, I learned German. I even studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. That was the best experience of my life. I loved living outside the U.S. I loved having the opportunity to speak German everyday in a different country. I relished in the opportunity to study and live in a different culture. I loved taking the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. I loved my host family. I loved the food (sauerkraut!) and the Weihnachten Markt in December. I loved everything about Germany.

So, why did I eventually change majors again?

Well, after four years of working retail, I’ve grown (not that I didn’t in college). Much as I loved German, I did not know what I wanted to do with it. And, not all colleges offer German as a major. I knew that when I went back to college, I would choose a major that was practical. But at the same time, deep down, I wasn’t sure if there was another so-called “dream major” for me.

I think researched colleges for a year. When I did so, I also scanned their list of majors and tried to find one that interested me. My first thought was English. Why not? English was my favorite subject in high school. I am a pretty good writer. At least, I think I am. At least, I’ve always enjoyed writing.

But, as much as I enjoy English and writing, I also know that I do not enjoy analyzing literature. I love how it is open to interpretation. And who doesn’t like getting to read fiction for homework? But I knew that I would not be happy staying up until four in the morning, working on a paper for Pride and Prejudice or some other book.

Eventually, I stumbled upon Communications. I used to always dismiss the subject. But the more I read about it, the more interested I became. When I discovered SNHU, I read through the Communications courses. They all looked interesting.

And they were. I’m nearly done with my undergrad degree and I’ve enjoyed every one of my courses. I loved learning about public relations, journalism, social media, Adobe Illustrator, technology and SEO. As someone who has so many different interests, communications seemed like the right one for me. I wanted something focused and yet broad enough to allow me to explore my interests. As a shy person, communications turned out to be my “soul mate” of majors.

When I first enrolled at SNHU, I not only knew what my major would be, I also thought that I wanted to become a copyeditor or an editor. But college changes people. I took on other roles. I became a Peer Leader for SNHU and found that I really enjoyed helping students. I love to connect with them via email and help them with an assignment. I love watching their minds grow and flourish. I would love to continue and develop this role further and hope that I would have an opportunity to do so in the future.

Recently, I started an internship with the Borgen Project, working as an editor. I edited a few articles and found that I really enjoyed it. I always knew that I have an eye for detail and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. What I mean to say is that becoming an editor is not on the back burner anymore. It is a possibility, a dream wrapped in silver that is starting to sparkle.

2015: Year of the Crazy

Life is crazy.

I bet you’ve heard that one before. One moment you think that you have life all planned and then the next something happens to change all that. Time and again, things have happened. And each time, I am reminded that what is important is how you face these obstacles.

So what if your Big Life Plan goes astray? As long as you learn something from it and move on with your Big Life Plan, then everything will work out for the best. I may not believe in God or  Allah or any higher being for that matter, but I do believe in fate. I believe that life happens for a reason. And every moment happens to test us, to teach us, to guide us to another moment in another place in time.

How else can I explain when I’m 26 and I’m just now completing my Bachelor’s degree? I went to college the traditional way when I was 18. I lived in the dorms (I hated it). I studied abroad (I loved it).

If things had worked out as planned, I would have graduated from college in 2011. It took me four years longer to get my Bachelor’s degree because I took a break. Which I needed. If you were to ask me if I regret it, I would have to say that I don’t. Because sometimes it is not about the end result but the journey that gets you there. I feel like earning my Bachelor’s degree at 26 is even more rewarding now than it would have been when I was 22. You know why? Because it was harder. Because I had to really work for it. Because a college education is not just a growing up ritual. Instead, it is something that is earned and it can never be taken away. It is the time to truly get to know yourself, to change and to let yourself be changed. It is the time to let education let you become the person that you were meant to be.

Now, that probably sounded corny and sappy. But it’s true.

Life is indeed crazy. Especially when you find out that you are pregnant. 2015 is a big year for me… the year of graduation and now pregnancy and starting a family with my long-term boyfriend and finding my dream job. Oh my, it really is the year of the crazy, isn’t it?

“Oops, I did it again”

I have a bad habit. I start a blog, post several posts in the beginning and then I stop. I stop.

Why do I do that?

Because this blog was once so new and exciting. It was like a shiny new toy. I was like an excited child on her first day of school after a long summer. I relished in the title, the URL, my followers, the WordPress community. I loved everything about this blog… until one day I didn’t.

But there’s another issue here. The reason why I stopped posting was because I had nothing new to post. I can’t write about how I wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, check my email, go to work, come home, do schoolwork, brush my teeth, go to bed and then start the whole process all over again. That would get boring.

Face it. As humans, we all live boring, incredibly mundane lives. We do the same things all over again. For many of us, we don’t have a choice. Bills need to get paid. We need to eat.

But there’s another thing. I’m almost done with college. I’m currently taking my last course. I’m applying to jobs like crazy hoping to find something that I will love. I have faith that I will find something. I know that I did not go to college for a total of five years since I was eighteen for nothing. College is an investment and I am determined to make sure that it was a good one for me.

This blog was born after I took a Social Media class at SNHU. I wanted to write about the college life. Books. And what it means to be an untraditional online student who started out college traditionally living in the dorms.

But now that I am almost done with my undergraduate education, I am changing. My life is changing. Something happened to me. I am terrified at the thought of the unknown. But I have hope.

Stay tuned for a new post. (I promise you won’t see another “oops I did it again” post from me).

And the title is a tribute to Brittany Spears. My childhood… oh, the nostalgia!