As spring graduation gets closer, reality may begin to set in for some students that the real world awaits outside of K-State’s limestone campus. Soon, they may searching for their “dream career,” adjusting to a full-time work schedule, or getting married and starting a family.
The reality, some K-State alumni said, is that most situations don’t go as smoothly as planned, and seniors should prepare themselves for bumps in the road.
“The reality is that it’s really competitive out there and a company has little reason to hire someone fresh out of school with little to no experience when there’s someone with five-plus years of experience who needs a job too, and is willing to take whatever he or she can get,” Melanie Thomas, 2013 K-State graduate of the A.Q. Miler School of Journalism and Mass Communications, said.
Thomas stressed the importance of weighing your options for the future while you are still in college. Most people don’t want the same things at 22-years-old that they wanted when they were 18 or 19, she said.
Thomas said she believes one of her biggest fears during college was failure.
“When I was still in
undergrad, I let fear of not meeting the qualifications or of not
knowing enough keep me from applying to some jobs I might have actually
had a shot at, as long as I could market myself,” Thomas said.
One of the biggest things Thomas said she did to prepare herself for life after college was practice professionalism, including emailing professors in a professional manor and taking her on-campus jobs seriously.
Some students nearing graduation may second guess their major choice, something she did, Thomas said.
“I think I had more fears than the average person because as I got closer to graduation, I realized that I didn’t really want to go into my field,” Thomas said.
Thomas encouraged students to try internships or get other “real world” experience before graduation so they are sure they want to go into the industry they are studying.
Sheila Ellis-Glasper, K-State alumna and news and digital media specialist for K-State, said her faith and passion was stronger than her fears of what was to come in the real world.
“I understood that journalism was my passion; it’s what I wanted to do and I was going to seek out,” Ellis-Glasper said. “I didn’t have time to think about the fear part.”
Ellis-Glasper said she was extremely involved during her time on campus. She completed three summer internships, which she said not only enhanced her time at K-State, but also helped her prepare and build solid connections for the future.
Ellis-Glasper stressed the idea of students “branding” themselves and using social media in a “mindful” way to promote themselves to a potential employer.
It is important not to let limits curb your job search, Ellis-Glasper said.
“Just because there is no advertisement for a job doesn’t mean there is no job,” Ellis-Glasper said.
Kerri Day Keller, director of Career and Employment Services, stressed that she wants students to take advantages of the services Career and Employment Services offers.
“We want to see students as freshmen and sophomores, because as seniors, we can help you with your resume,” Day Keller said, “but we can’t help you with the content you have on there.”
It is never too early to start preparing for post-college life by taking advantage of opportunities, Day Keller said.
“We really encourage students as a freshman and sophomore to be thinking about internships and student organizations and making informed decisions about their majors and minors,” Day Keller said.
Updated on March 5.