May is graduation season. As Chris Thilk so eloquently described it last week, that means another flock of graduates who “wrestled away from the safety and comfort of college life and expelled into the vast nothingness that’s known colloquially as ‘the real world’”.
We can all remember those days, when the bright-eyed enthusiasm about what the future may hold found a way to mix with the realities of questionable job prospects and looming bills to yield that weird feeling of, “well, I guess I’m an adult now.”
We can all probably also think about any number of nuggets of wisdom that that we wished we knew at that time of uncertainty, confusion and excitement. In fact, that’s exactly what we asked a group of Vocians. Here’s what they had to say:
Clint Gordy, Associate Client Executive
I wish I knew the importance of a good night’s sleep. In college, we are taught that all-nighters for studying and inconsistent sleep cycles are the norm. However, we are not taught that our bodies needs about 7-8 hours of sleep to function efficiently the next day. When I came into the workforce, I thought a 5 hour sleep cycle would be enough to consistently get me through an 8 hour workday, and lets just say I learned very quickly that’s not sustainable. Remember: we spend an average of about a third of our lives sleeping, so it’s important to treat that time right so the other two thirds of our lives are to the fullest!
Elysia Nazareth, Supervisor
“What I wish I knew most after (and really during and before) college is that you can’t please everyone – and that’s OK. As hard as you might try, not everyone’s going to like you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s true not only in social settings, but also in academic and professional arenas. Having spent countless hours wracking my brain, wondering ‘why?’ and dwelling on the basic principles of right, wrong and what’s ‘fair,’ I can honestly say that investing that time back into doing work that you’re proud of is much more gratifying. Shortly after I had that realization, I opened up a fortune cookie to find the quote below. Now, a solid 80 percent of the time, fortune cookies offer pretty terrible advice like, ‘A change of careers could be good for you.’ But this is one piece of advice I took to heart.”
Andie Rodriguez, Senior Client Executive
While I only graduated from college three years ago, I still feel like I wish I new a lot of things before joining the workforce. One of the hardest parts about starting a job immediately after graduating is that for a while, you will be youngest person in the office. I wish I knew that despite the fact I was barely the legal drinking age, I was empowered to own projects, communicate directly with my clients, and provide important counsel. It turned out, in the “real world,” age is just a number! Don’t ever feel like you’re too young to accomplish something.
Molly Wade, Supervisor
I wish I had known that I could be grateful for the opportunities I was getting at work while also taking ownership of my career path. Fresh out of school, I was thrilled that anyone would give me a job, not to mention a job where I had opportunities to own projects completely independently. I wanted to be appropriately grateful for the trust my boss put in me so early in my career. But being a young person in business, not to mention a young woman in business, I was terrified to speak up for myself. I waited way too long to ask for a promotion and to talk openly about what I did and did not want to do moving forward. I wish I had known you can do both – appreciate the chances you’re given while also taking the reigns of your career from Day One.