Two Years After College: What I’ve Learned

Two Years After College: What I’ve Learned

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Tomorrow marks exactly two years since I walked across the stage at Texas Christian University to accept my diploma for a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication. It’s crazy to think that two years have already passed, but at the same time, college seems like ages ago.

As I was reflecting on the past two years, I realized living life outside of college comes with many challenges, and that it takes a lot of effort to have a happy, successful life outside of the college bubble. Though I am in no way an expert in any of the following areas, here are the top three challenges I’ve encountered since graduating, and how I have learned to put in the effort to navigate them.

1. You Have to Make an Effort to Have a Social Life

As I wrote in this blog post, college was a magical time where all of your friends were within walking distance, and for the most part, nobody had busy schedules apart from going to class and studying. When you graduate, you suddenly realize everyone has their own life and their own social schedule, and you have to try harder to see your friends. Not to mention, most of your college friends live in other places now, so making new friends is essential.

However, as long as you make an effort to make plans with people, while also remembering that everyone is as busy as you are, you can maintain a social life that is just as rich as it was in college. I feel very fortunate to have a lot of amazing friends in my life right now, from old friends I have kept in contact with over the course of many years, to new friends who weren’t even in my life this time last year.

2. You Have to Make an Effort to Continue Learning

As I mentioned in this post, it’s been a bigger adjustment than I had anticipated to get used to not having regular classes. When you graduate, you have to actively seek out ways to continue learning, whether that is by reading, listening to podcasts, attending webinars or networking events with panels and speakers, or some other method.

For me, my preferred methods of education have been a mix of some of the above. I got really into podcasts over the last couple of years, and have also been attending regular networking events with my coworkers. And as you all know, I am a big fan of reading books as well. Though it can be harder to find ways to actively learn in your post grad life, it is definitely doable if you put your mind to it (no pun intended).

3. You Have to Make an Effort to Have Hobbies Outside of Work

One topic I haven’t covered in a blog post yet (but that I definitely can if any of you would like me to expand on it) is the difference between having hobbies in college and having hobbies in the “real world.” In college, you are exposed to hundreds of different clubs and organizations, and though you still have to make an effort to join them, it’s relatively easy to do so. I joined a sorority the first week on campus, started working at the school newspaper the next semester, and tried out various other clubs throughout my four years. And for the most part, I found it easy to join them and was often encouraged to join by classmates and friends.

I struggled for a while after I graduated with finding interests and hobbies outside of work. But I finally got into the swing of things a little over a years ago. As you all know, I joined an improv class for about eight months which was a great experience. After I stopped taking the class, I dove into my blog and started organizing a Meetup group for bloggers in Austin. These activities, along with just spending time with friends and family and trying to exercise regularly, have kept me plenty busy and made me feel more fulfilled in my life.

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What are some of the pitfalls of post-grad life you’ve experienced, and how have you helped yourself move past them? Or, if you’re still in college, what are you most nervous about tackling once you leave and enter the “real world”? Let me know in the comments!

College Grad Ramblings: No More Classes

College Grad Ramblings: No More Classes

It’s been almost 14 months since I graduated college, and somehow it took me this long to realize something. I miss learning. I miss going to classes five days a week. I’m sure that seems weird to some who are still in college and are so happy to be on summer break right now, but it’s true. College is a very unique time when you have all of this knowledge handed to you.

Now, that’s not to say that I don’t learn new things now. I am learning new things every day at my job, in my free time when I listen to podcasts, and even just chatting with friends and family. I believe that we never stop learning. But there is something so special about sitting in a classroom and learning from a professor that I really do miss.

How did I make this realization about missing classes, you might be wondering? Well, my sister and I attended a seminar/workshop thing last week that opened my eyes to a lot, including the fact that I miss learning. The event was called Quantum Leap for Young Adults, and it gave participants the chance to sit and listen to a presentation by Gary Keller. He covered everything from setting goals, to managing finances. I took notes the whole time and really felt like I was back in the classroom again. It was awesome.

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It made me think a lot, not just about the topics he covered (which I could probably write a whole blog about if you all would be interested), but about why exactly that type of learning feels so different than everyday learning. What I mean by that is, why do I miss sitting in a classroom and having a professor lecture to me, when I am getting so much “real world” experience now that I am out of college? I haven’t quite figured it out yet, honestly. There’s just something distinctly different about the two types of learning.

It’s made me think that I want to try to emulate going to class more in my life, whether that is by going to networking events, attending webinars, or something else. I haven’t decided how it will play out yet, but all I know is that I miss being taught, and I love learning.

Let me know in the comments if any of you have experienced similar feelings since graduating college, and if you’ve managed to keep the element of taking classes in your life somehow. I’d also love to hear from current college or even high school students; what do you love about your classes?

College Grad Ramblings: Social Life

College Grad Ramblings: Social Life

I have officially been a college graduate for one year (and three weeks), so I thought I would start a little series where I share some of the big lessons I learned this year.

For the first post, I want to talk about my social life since graduating. Hopefully some of you can relate to this, and those of you who are still in college can get an idea of what to expect.

College is so great because you have all of your friends in one place; you can walk to each other’s dorms, meet up in the cafeteria, or say hi to each other on the way to class. After freshman year you will probably even live with your friends. Hanging out is an effortless task.

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My sophomore roommates and me, the day we moved in
Post-college life is much different. Not only are you most likely not living in the same city as your college friends anymore, but you’re working a full time job. Finding time to see your friends, much less meeting new friends, can seem almost impossible. I was lucky in that I moved back to my hometown and already had a lot of friends here. But I still had to learn to push myself to invite them to hang out, and also had to get outside my comfort zone to meet new friends. I found that with the stress of starting a new job, I often felt too tired or too busy to hang out with friends, even though I knew I should.

If you read my New Years Resolutions blog, you know that one of my resolutions was to make more time for friends. Though I haven’t always lived up to my goal of seeing friends three times a week, I have definitely been pushing myself to jump on any opportunity to be social, no matter how much I feel like just staying home and watching Netflix. A secret I learned is to just say “yes” to any opportunity to go out with friends, before you have time to second guess it or convince yourself you don’t want to go.

I have also been making an effort to meet new friends, which I think is extremely important for anyone who is newly graduated. My improv class has been my main way of making new friends, and I would highly recommend finding a hobby or activity outside of work where you can meet new people. Growing up I always enjoyed having multiple different groups of friends, so this has been a great way for me to find a new group to spend time with.

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My awesome improve class
All in all I think I’ve done a pretty good job of adjusting to my new social life after college, but it is always a work in progress. I still have those days where I don’t feel like being social, and I still feel anxious about meeting new people every now and then. Reminding myself that I will never regret spending time with friends is my main motivation.

Let me know in the comments if you experienced any of these things when you graduated! Also, I’d love to hear ideas for other ramblings I should do about post-grad life.

Exciting Life Update!

Exciting Life Update!

I have some great news to share with everyone! For those of you who have read this blog post from a few months back, you know that I have been searching for a full time job since my graduation in May, and was beginning to feel a bit defeated that I hadn’t gotten one yet. Well….drumroll please…I GOT A JOB!

So here’s how it happened: a few weeks ago a woman from a social media marketing agency that I interned for over the summer of 2013 emailed me to let me know they had a job opening, and wondering if I would like to meet for coffee to catch up and discuss the opportunity. Of course I said yes! It seemed like a great position and I had always raved about the agency to my friends and family and frequently referred to my experience there as “my favorite internship I’ve ever had” (I’ve had four total). We met and discussed the position, what I’ve been up to since we last spoke, and what I’m looking for in a job.

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I felt the conversation went well, but was slightly worried I didn’t have quite enough  experience for the job. Still, I was optimistic and couldn’t help daydreaming about what a great time I would have working there again. Flash forward to this past Friday, I get an email from the woman I had met with and she tells me they are offering me a position! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I got so used to hearing “no” that I almost couldn’t believe it when I finally got a “yes”, which is a little bit sad but anyone who has ever gone through the struggle of job hunting will relate I’m sure.

I am still smiling about it and can’t wait to get started on Monday! I’m excited to meet the new faces and say hi to the old ones, I’m excited to have a routine and schedule every day, I’m excited to learn new skills and use old ones, and mostly I’m excited to be a part of a team! I love the feeling of being part of a community, whether the community is my theater friends in high school, my sorority sisters, or now my coworkers!

The word ‘community’ is also relevant because it will be in my job title! I will be a Community Manager, which includes tasks like creating content for social media platforms, analyzing the engagement of audiences on the platforms, responding to customers online, and even writing blog articles! For anyone who knows me, all of this is right up my alley and is similar to what I have done at most of my internships.

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Thanks so much to everyone who wrote kind words on my blog post about not having a job. I hope this post brings hope to anyone out there who is still looking. Your perfect job will present itself before you know it, and all of the waiting will be worth it! If you’d like to keep up to date on my daily life and hear how my new job is going, follow my blog and follow me on social media! Since I’ll be working at a social media agency, I will have no choice but to keep up my personal accounts.

Twitter and Instagram: @shellycrossland