During one of our normal, deep lunch discussions, we asked our newest Collegiate Account Manager, Ariana, how her transition from full-time student to full-time career has been…because many of us are too old to remember what that was like.
What was your most difficult adjustment?
College may prepare you for the duties and tasks required in the workforce, but no one talks about how you must adjust your daily life according to these new responsibilities. For many of us, adjusting to the whole “9-5” lifestyle was the most difficult part of the onboarding experience. Every weekday I am expected to work a full day, utilizing my time to build up my client base, research new products, and analyze sales reports with my team to better serve our customers. The first couple weeks I wasn’t accustomed to the long, consistent hours and it was an adjustment to wake up at the same time every day for work – especially when you’re used to waking up at random times based on your class schedule. Now that I’m three months in, I can honestly say I love it!
Did you have any unexpected “Real World” surprises after graduating?
Life is exponentially less stressful now that I am finished with school and have a structured workday and established goals to work toward. I no longer have to worry about getting to and from classes that are on opposite ends of campus in less than fifteen minutes. I don’t have to wonder when I’ll have time to make myself a homemade meal rather than pick up Barberitos or Papa Johns for dinner. Best of all, my weekends belong to me rather than to the library writing theses or to cramming for an exam. Once I walk out the door at 5-ish, I can leave all work-related worries on my desk and not think twice about it. My life is my own again and it’s a wonderful feeling.
What skill have you found most valuable?
Time management! Time management is key to staying afloat; I am a firm believer in that. I'm thankful that I’ve always been that person who color-codes classes and organizes notes by date because it’s helped me stay on top of all my orders. Generally, I write myself a “to-do” list in the morning of tasks I need to accomplish and jot down additional things I’d like to complete by 5pm. This helps me stay on track and not “pinball” my day away (bounce from request to request) and forget about other tasks. It’s easy to forget minor details when you have a constant flow of emails coming in, so it’s important to have a tangible list to refer back to.
Do you think that college prepared you well for the workforce?
In college, we were tasked with finding solutions to fabricated scenarios and fictitious problems. Everything we did was a simulation of real-life. But the second you finished your presentation or submitted your proposal, you never had to deal with the consequences thereafter the way you have to deal with repercussions at your job. Conversely, there is no final project or final exam to judge your knowledge in your career – it is real life, with real money at stake. Instead of focusing attention on one project per semester, you are juggling multiple accounts at the same time with no set timeline to guide you along.
Any advice for those about to graduate?
The best advice I can give any new college graduates applying for their first big-kid job is to treat every happenstance – good or bad – as a learning opportunity. You’re going to make mistakes from time to time, but it’s ultimately how you respond to these setbacks that will foster your personal and professional growth. The work-world is what you make of it, and if you view it as an opportunity to better yourself, you’ve already set yourself apart from the rest. May the odds be ever in your favor!