Life after the Cap and Gown: Thoughts from a Working Millennial
This is Part One in a series.
From the time high school students walk off the graduation stage, they are bombarded with the question, “What do you plan on studying and doing with your life?” We come up with a different answer every time to please our parents and adults giving us graduation money toward a “worthy” cause. But the real answer is, “I don’t know and stop asking me.” Even today at 23 years old, when I am asked this question, my answer changes every time because I change constantly along with my ideas, interests, and hobbies. Going into college, I was dead set on studying fashion merchandising to one day be a buyer for a large department store like Macy’s or Nordstrom. I got into my top school of choice to study what I dreamed of, but a couple of months in I realized how much more of a nightmare than a dream this was. I had convinced everyone and myself that fashion was the only industry I ever wanted to work in, but I couldn’t keep lying to them and myself so I decided to transfer schools and pursue a degree in marketing.
Much like many college freshmen, I changed my mind. To know what I wanted to do, I needed to know what I didn’t want to do. Through this process, I learned more about myself than at any other time in my life thus far. Some students know from the day they enter high school what they eventually want to study. For others, it takes time. The beauty of taking time is that we learn more about ourselves each minute and become more confident in our choices and actions. When I stumbled upon Vector Talent Resources, I shrugged it off because I didn’t want to pursue recruiting—it wasn’t what my major was in. But for most college students, our majors are not even relevant to our first job. I didn’t want to keep working retail, so an internship at Vector was my best option.
Some students apply to internships through their college board; for others it’s all about who you know. Even in college, it’s important to attend job fairs because many companies look for student interns to hire. These internships could lead to a potential job after graduation, so it’s important to stay in contact with whoever you intern for. Many internships also count for class credit. Many students (including myself) enjoy and learn much more in their internships than in class; for me, this was because the work I was doing had a purpose that contributed to the company. Many classes are based on theoretical concepts, so the knowledge isn’t necessarily going to be applicable to the real world. That’s why it’s vital to intern early in your college career, so you can add real-life examples to the concepts you’re being taught in college. Learning then becomes so much more valuable.