Take your career the long way

March is coming to a close, and for many college seniors, the idea of graduation can be quite daunting. In just under seven weeks, we will turn in our final class essays or project assignments online, and log out of D2L for the last time. 

For many of us, we’ve been in school our whole lives, from diapers to diplomas. School is all we’ve ever known, apart from the odd summer break job or after-school gig to pay home the bills and bring home the bacon (figuratively and literally.)

But for the first time (unless you’re going back to school for a Master’s Degree – good for you!) we will no longer be full-time students. Our years and years of schooling will be over, and it will finally be time for us to put on our big boy pants and go out into the world.

The application process is long, and grueling. Entry-level jobs require years, plural, of experience. But in order for students to get adequate work experience, you need a job; a job that won’t hire you if you don’t have prior experience. Schrödinger’s job search.

There is a stigma surrounding post-graduation plans in the professional field. Many believe that after graduating from college, you’re obligated to find a full-time position at a major corporation, working 40 hours a week in a cubicle at minimum wage plus benefits. If you settle for anything less, you aren’t reaping the fullest benefits from your degree you worked so hard and paid so much for.

We as students, and we as future employees need to realize that it’s okay to take the slow road toward your career. We have the rest of our lives to work. Assuming you’re graduating in your 20s, and retiring in your 60s, that’s four decades of working to do. Sure, you could walk right out of graduation and into a top-ranked, high-paying spot, but if you’re already at the metaphorical ceiling, you can’t go any further up, unless you like the taste of fiberglass insulation.

We as students need to normalize internships after graduation. They offer just as much insight as a full-time position and require less experience than a full-time position. Opting for an internship first, rather than launching right into a full-time spot could help you secure connections that can help you for your professional future.

Although it may sound sad, we spend most of our lives working. That being said, it’s important to make the most of it and do what works for you, rather than what society says is best. 

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