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May 11, 2012
Transitioning into a Career
 
The transition from the college world to the real world can be a culture shock for many of us new to the scene. I didn't realize how spoiled I was during my years in college. I slept when I wanted, studied when I wanted, and pretty much did whatever I wanted. Time just wasn't an issue during my college days. Of course, deadlines for assignments still existed, but those were the only deadlines I lived by.

One of the best things about college life was the freedom. Suddenly, everyone stops telling you what to do and assumes that since you made it to college you must be responsible. I enjoyed the freedom to make my own schedule, maybe even took it for granted. As graduation approached I knew the days of setting my own schedule were numbered, but I didn't give it too much thought. I figured I would just cross that bridge when I came to it. That was probably not the wisest decision to make.

A couple of months after graduation I secured a position in my field. I was stoked about landing my first job as a public relations specialist with a small company. The hours were Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Finally, I found a job without mandatory weekends. I didn't know what to be more excited about; the weekends off or landing the job. Shortly after accepting the position, it hit me that I wouldn’t be on my own schedule anymore. I was inevitably going to be stripped of my time-altering super power, and would soon be on someone else's time.

The first day of my new position arrived in a blink of an eye without any time to adjust to the new lifestyle as a professional. It was definitely a drastic change when compared to life as a college student. After a month or so, I noticed that the long hours started to catch up with me. I was suddenly tired all the time, and out of energy. The newly found career that was supposed to be so rewarding was bringing me down. Working at a desk for eight hours a day doesn't seem like hard work, but it can get exhausting over time if you're not used to it. There even came a time where I was thinking that I just wasn't happy with my job. It was then that I realized I had to take action.

I knew I had to do something, but I didn’t know what would be the best course of action. Out of all the things I had to do when I was preparing for graduation, this is one thing that wasn’t on the list. We learn how to write a resume and proper interview etiquette, but they didn’t offer any advice on how to transition into the professional work environment. It takes some time to adjust to the new environment. It wasn't until I read an article one day about transitioning from college to your career that I realized what it was I was feeling. A couple minor adjustments to my life, like changing my sleeping habits and prioritizing my schedule to get important things completed first, have helped with the transition by eliminating some stress and fatigue. I suggest taking a look at your schedule and adjusting it according to what you need.

A lot of different things happen in the professional world that we have yet to experience, and it can become overwhelming in the beginning. It’s all a learning experience that you will grow from if you work hard and pay attention. You have to earn your respect. Nothing is going to be handed to you, but over time it’s possible to work your way up any ladder. Take advantage of learning everything you can. One last hint: find a mentor to guide you and lend advice about things that can help in your career path. 

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Acenna Martin is a recent graduate of Webster University with a B.A. in Public Relations. She currently holds a PR/Marketing position at a small company. In her limited spare time, she maintains a review blog on the latest gadgets and helps promote local events. The review blog is a new project, but she hopes it will grow into something that can help deliver accurate information to her readers. As for her future, she's working on that!
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