The countdown has begun to “commencement day” both at Curry College, where I teach full-time in the undergraduate Communication Department and oversee the Public Relations Concentration, and at Regis College, where I teach part-time in the graduate Organizational and Professional Communication area.
Students are beginning to look a little frazzled (as, I might add, are the teachers!). Attention spans are shrinking as “inmates” gaze wistfully out the classroom windows at the hints of spring that are beginning to appear.
And panic is starting to set in as some…not all…students calculate their final grades and realize that skipping class on Fridays probably wasn’t such a good idea after all!
“Yep,” I cheerily remind them all. “This is your last ‘last chance’ to show me you’ve been paying attention and have actually committed to memory some of my classroom ramblings.”
Graduation from college is, for most of us, an unsettling experience. It’s both an ending to our “childhood” and a beginning to the rest of our lives.
We all (or at least most of us) come into this period of our lives with wide-eyed innocence. We’re not sure where we want to…or should…go. We’re making new friends while, at the same time, we’re experiencing the gradual separation from those with whom we’ve shared a large part of our “growing up” years.
And now the cycle is starting again.
There’s no “trick” to the steps that come next. It’s a matter of slowing down to take stock of where you are at this point and to really try to get a focus on your future.
It’s not easy. But if you’ve been paying any attention at all to my musings over the past few years, you know you’re not in this alone.
You have people you can turn to at every single step of the way…starting, of course, with your professors and advisors, then your career services folks, then your friends, family, others who have graduated before you…the list goes on and on.
Use every one of them! Why? Because you never know who knows who. I remember so well meeting my University of Georgia roommate’s parents and learning, much to my surprise (given my roommate’s devotion to mind-boggling laziness), that his Father was a very successful businessman with some awesome connections. (If only I had known that, later in life, I would put my thoughts of teaching English Literature aside and would set my sights on business management!).
So, before the inertia of “summer vacation” sets in…before that first load of dirty laundry that you’ve been stockpiling since Easter finishes the rinse cycle…get started on your new beginning.
- Drop a quick note to those teachers who showed an interest in your plans for the future. Stay on their radar screens.
- Check to see what networking events are taking place in your area. Start (or continue) building your own network of contacts.
- Start setting up informational interviews with those contacts that you’ve made in the past year.
- Do some serious thinking about who you are and who you would like to be.
It’s a new beginning! Are you ready for it?!?