Whether you’re facing the prospects of entering a competitive job market or spending more money on grad school, moving onto the “real world” upon graduation can be very stressful for any college student.
You can’t blame college students for expecting the worst when they’ve been fed nothing but grim news about the current job market. However, hearing first-hand success stories and advice from recent graduates shines a positive light on those otherwise negative outlooks.
I had the opportunity to interview Ohio State graduate Aurora Stromberg (class of 2015), who had a wealth of positive experiences and advice to give.
Stromberg still works for the company that hired her back in 2015.
“I currently work in Marketing at Victoria’s Secret. It has been an amazing post-grad opportunity in a place where I feel I have really been able to grow and learn in a city that is constantly growing.”
When reflecting on the transition from college to working an actual job, Stromberg said, “It’s definitely exciting, but also terrifying. When you first start, there’s a lot of adjusting to being around people of all ages and education levels, but after a year you can’t imagine anything else. You settle into ‘being an adult’ and it’s kind of fun not being a broke college student anymore!”
Stromberg lives and works in Columbus – the same city that helped prepare her for this new chapter after college.
“I love that I am still in Columbus, because it allows me the opportunity to pay forward the mentorship I had in college from professionals in the area who were so willing to help me in my journey.” She added, “My education was definitely a huge part of my success in finding a career after graduation, but I feel like my extracurriculars helped me to really stand out from other candidates. Between the faculty and the multiple student orgs on campus, I felt thoroughly prepared and supported to enter the real world when I graduated. I feel like OSU does a great job of connecting students to alumni as mentors, but not a lot of students take advantage of this.”
“PRSSA was amazing, as it give me a huge network of professionals in the area who were willing to help me grow and learn, which I appreciated so much,” said Stromberg. “Her Campus helped me to strengthen my writing and interpersonal skills and was such a fun experience, as I was working with like-minded women every day towards the same goal, similar to my job now!”
She advised, “Any extra experience that you can get that directly relates back to what you are studying shows a passion and hunger that employers look for versus just getting the degree without going the extra mile. Plus, the additional experience gives you knowledge of the real world that you can’t always get in your classes!”
As someone who graduated with student debt – like many other students today – Stromberg had this to say: “It’s all about budgeting and living within your means. Just because you have adult money doesn’t mean you should go crazy! Manage your spending and get ahead of your debt as much as you can —you’ll thank yourself later!”
Stromberg offered some uplifting words of advice for those upcoming graduates.
“Be a sponge and get coffee with anyone and everyone you meet in your industry. Grow your network so you have a solid group of people to vouch for you and connect you when you are on the job hunt.”
She added, “Find balance. Don’t burn yourself out in undergrad before you hit the real world. It’s tough out there, as well, so keep yourself passionate and never stop learning!”
After finishing four years of undergraduate education, it’s overwhelming to think you have to jump into the job hunt or grad school application process. But trust your education, your involvements, your internships — all that experience has helped you grow into the capable, strong, and knowledgeable person graduating this year.
Hopefully, like Aurora Stromberg, you’ll look back in a couple of years with the same positive outlook.
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