For the last 18 years, I have been a student.
For each of these years, I have been preparing for the “future” everyone has been talking about – the education, the job and the responsibility of being on my own.
As I started my last semester of college in January, I wasn’t finishing up in a traditional way. While all of my friends stayed on campus to live up their senior years, I moved home to start an internship. I was thrilled to finally have some real-world experience, especially at a PR firm, something I had dreamed about since I started at Western. The thought of finding a full-time position hovered over my head the entire semester but my goal was to make a smooth transition between being a student and being employed.
As my internship ended, I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time position at Sabo PR. Since making the switch on June 1, I have been trying to find my own routine and balance between work and free time.
There are a few things that stuck with me from my transition as a student to full-time employee.
- Deadlines – Expectations are high, just like they were in school. Projects are expected to show progress and be polished when a client sees them.
- Balance – Taking 16 credits and working as a student left me little free time. Work is the same; I spend the bulk of my day in the office but continue to make time for myself.
- Prioritizing – Some things just have to come first while others can wait. This is something I continue to think about as I manage clients and projects.
- Be flexible – One minute we can be working on a crisis, and the next we’re designing a newsletter. Every hour is different and keeps me on my toes. Being flexible takes patience; jumping from one thing to another can be a challenge but the skill is valuable to any workplace.
- Ask questions – If there’s one thing I didn’t love doing in school, it was this. I have never been one to show others I didn’t know the answer, ever since I was a child. Once I got to college, there was no chance I was raising my hand in front of hundreds of people to ask a question. The only way to learn and produce quality work, though, is to ask questions. In the long run, it’s worth it.
- Smile – Work isn’t always fun, colleagues aren’t always going to be happy and sometimes a smile can encourage you and others around you to have a better day. School could put me in a bad mood instantly: the group projects, a bad grade or hard exam – it was easy to forget to smile. During my internship, I learned that sometimes you don’t realize how happy your work is making other people. Smiles are contagious, and I try to come to work with one on my face every day.
I was lucky to join a team who care about each other, value their work and are always willing to help. It’s scary being the “newbie” but they continue to support me and help me learn new things as I enter the often crazy, always exhilarating world of PR.