This is the third in our May series of roundups from Vocians, sharing their best advice and tips that they wish could have told their younger selves. Stay tuned for the last post in the series coming next week.

Heather Brinckerhoff, Senior Client Executive

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I wish I would have known that once you leave college you are 100% responsible for your own career. There are no teachers waiting to give you an extra week on an assignment and no one is out looking for opportunities for you. It is crucial that you learn how to ask for what you want and do so with confidence. 80% of the great opportunities that I’ve gotten in my career thus far were given to me simply because I asked for them. Developing confidence in yourself and the work you provide also helps those around you recognize your value; sometimes passion trumps knowledge. People can be taught just about anything, but passion is instilled in you. Figure out what you’re passionate about and go after it! The only thing holding you back from achieving your dreams is that little voice in your head telling you that you can’t.. so don’t listen (:

Sean Lenehan, Senior Client Executive

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I wish I knew after college that while pluralism in thought, maintaining an open mind and being somewhat unsure of yourself is a really good thing, it shouldn’t come at the expense of confidence. Too many times in a college classroom, I heard fellow students (and myself) attach the phrase, ‘I don’t know’ to the beginning or end of their thoughts when they raised their hand or spoke up. It was an easy qualifier to add to protect yourself in case someone else thought you were wrong and that you and your idea could go wear a silly hat and sit alone facing the wall in the corner of the room. It’s true that some ideas are better than others, but those good ideas often start as one or more bad ideas. You should never be afraid to offer your thoughts – getting to something great is always an iterative process.

Ariel Rothbard, Client Executive

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When I first joined the working world after college, I wish brought with me an inherent understanding of how to maintain a work-life balance. Of course I always heard people talking about it, but I realized I didn’t fully comprehend what “work-life balance” meant it until I began working 8+ hour days (where attendance is mandatory… unlike some of my college classes). After graduation, entering the workforce can come as a huge shock. At first you feel like your days become consumed with work, while personal activities — from cooking dinner to exercising to hanging out with friends — are only scattered in between. That’s why it’s important to make a concerted effort to establish a healthy balance between time you spend working and time you allocate to your personal life. I’ve learned that a work-life balance is key to being a happy and motivated employee.