It seems like just yesterday I was at freshman orientation ready to tackle the real world … or in others words, College. Little did I know how I was about to embark on the four most incredible, life changing years of my life. Now, fast forward four years, and I am a college senior about to tackle the next real world … post-grad life. As daunting as graduation may seem, I feel more and more ready for my first job after speaking with adults, professionals, mentors and friends. To hear that they, too, felt like I do now (unsure, confused, scared, anxious, etc) gives me comfort. Everyone has to graduate, and everyone gets a job – so at this point, I’m just ready to get everything started.

Today, I had my final evaluation with my supervisor of the CDI program, and I wanted to share with some advice she gave me.

  1. Build relationships with others. Trust in a team setting comes directly from knowing and believing in others and their work ethic. Relationships are not only useful now, but if cultivated and continued can aid in more ways than you can imagine.
  2. Recognize and thank others for their accomplishments and contributions. This directly relates to relationship building. Genuine, authentic recognition goes such a long way.
  3. Pursue unfamiliar things. If you don’t, you are limiting your ability to grow. Don’t be afraid of uncharted territory, jump in with full force.
  4. Ask questions. Needing help does not make you inferior. In fact, employers and supervisors would rather you ask how to do something instead of B.S. your way through it. Often times, you will be more successful if you ask instead of blindly complete the work and hope for the best.
  5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you are a detail oriented person like me, remember to look at the big picture. Figure out what’s important and go from there.
  6. Don’t forget the mundane and small tasks. Balance big projects and smaller, everyday tasks. You are the creator of your day. Make lists and keep track of what needs to be done.
  7. Have Fun!

Yes, leaving the confines of our University is intimidating. We (or at least most of us) will no longer be responsible for homework or tests. Our teachers won’t give us a syllabus on how to write a report or how it will be graded. We will be forced to take everything we’ve learned, both academic knowledge and leadership experiences from campus involvement, and apply it in a given industry and a given position. No matter how scary it is though, we can do it. Each of us has the ability to be successful in our careers, and learning from smart, positive role models is the best way to combat that learning curve. I hope all of you find mentors like I have found at UGA that change the perception of moving from college to the real world as one of excitement and uncharted territory.

See you on the other side!