As I woke up at 8 a.m. to sign up for classes on Monday, it occurred to me this would be my last time ever registering for undergraduate classes.
Four years ago, I remember being nervous and anxious about college and what the future held for me, and now as I enter my last semester, I am even more nervous and anxious about what’s next.
For me, it is the inevitable question: graduate school or straight to the workforce?
I recently attended the New York Women in Communications career conference, which encourages women to pursue their dreams to enter the media communications field.
As I sat in an audience filled with young adults, all striving for the same glamorous future, I listened to some of the most powerful women in the field as they gave tips on making it in this field.
As this industry struggles, along with all industries, I learned there is a push for creativity and new, young innovative ideas. As we enter the workforce, we can not let the recession stand in our way.
Time will move forward, whether you want it to or not, and if you are stuck focusing on unemployment or competition, you will never be able to advance. Instead, I learned you need to practice new ways of seeing. Be prepared for crazy accidents, and take advantage of the unexpected. Although crises are inevitable, I find that with crisis comes opportunity. One way is to take the struggling industries as an opportunity to form new, innovative models.
I also learned that it truly doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. While the 2010 class prepares for graduation, some will have jobs right out of college and some will not. If you are focused on what everyone else is doing, you will miss your own opportunities. Everyone takes a different path. You need to look forward and push for the future, or look behind and learn from your past. If you look sideways at what everyone else is doing, you are going to miss what you need most: your own creative ideas.
At the NYWICI conference, and most other conferences, there is a push for networking.
Far too often I have heard that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. I think that while networking is great, when your work is truly the best, it will speak for itself. If you are the best at what you do, it won’t matter who you know or who you don’t. That said, clearly it is still helpful to get your foot in the door. When interning or when you are just starting in the work field, you need to be pleasent and be someone people want to work with. Creating a good rapport with the industry’s leaders combined with excellent work will inevitably lead to success.
As the conference came to an end, the panelists were asked to give some final words of advice. One, in particular, stuck with me. She said the key is to “decide what you want to be known for.”
I thought that was a perfect way to describe how your future should lay out. That is the hard part. If you can imagine what you want the next generation of young, innovative people to remember you by, the rest is simple strategic planning.
Take every point of engagement seriously and use every experience as an opportunity to learn. I do not think success is measured by profit, rather by experience and personal satisfaction. For me, the second I stop learning is when I am no longer successful.
So, as I prepare to graduate and enter a pivotal point in my career, I realize I need to take in every opportunity and make the most of it.
It does not matter what your friends do, what you wanted to do as a child or what your parents do. What matters is what you want to be known for and what you can make of every situation.