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.