The advice of a crazy college kid

This is me standing at the Arch at the University of Georgia after my graduation in December 2012.

This is me standing at the Arch at the University of Georgia after my graduation in December 2012.

Ever since I began at the University of Georgia in August 2009, my younger siblings (I have three of them) have called me a “crazy college kid.”

It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t crazy in the least. The title stuck. In fact, my siblings, especially my sister, still call me a crazy college kid. (I graduated almost a year ago, by the way.)

I revisited my days as a crazy college kid (oh, all those Willy’s burritos I scarfed down) by speaking to a class of nearly-graduated seniors on Thursday. My former professor Cynthia Tucker invited me to talk to her class about finding employment and what I do at my job as associate editor of an aviation trade magazine in Atlanta. Since many fellow UGA journalism grads and I adore her, it was an honor to speak.

So a year later, in the same classroom where I fretted over how I would find employment, I gave a talk on my job. It’s an eerie but satisfying feeling. I know from recently finding myself in the same position as those students I talked to — worried about post-grad life and whether I have appropriate interview clothes — that what they want is encouragement.

So I told them the truth: It’s not so bad out there. The job hunt is a confidence-buster and those grads I spoke with will receive lots of rejection emails, but staying positive is key. When I was looking for a job, I applied for 100 openings, and 99 of them didn’t work out. And that’s OK. I only needed one job.

I also talked about the aspects of post-grad life no one seems to mention: how to make new friends, how to avoid vegging out on the couch every night, etc.

After I said my piece, people had questions for me, including:

  • What were my favorite stories that I had written at work? Two of them are here and here.
  • What clips did I use to apply for writing jobs? For me, that changed depending on the job, but I usually stuck with investigative pieces.

I’m glad people were focused on what I had to say and not just the pizza. And I hope this crazy college kid had at least one crumb of wisdom to impart to the nearly-graduated seniors. I think of college students as much younger than me. (18-year-old freshmen? They’re four years younger!) But as Professor Tucker pointed out between amused laughs, I was in their position just a short while ago.

I know how it feels to graduate and be thrown into the job hunt. Just hang in there, guys.

 

You can also see what happened when I spoke at my old high school back in April.

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