Stuck in a state of pre-grad purgatory

April 6, 2010 at 5:24 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Posted by: Rebecca

Six weeks from now, I’ll walk down the aisle.

No, I won’t be walking toward my prince charming in a fancy cathedral (although my boyfriend did try to pull an April Fool’s joke by changing his Facebook relationship status to “engaged.”  That’s a whole other story.)

I’ll be walking toward the stage at Kent State’s MAC Center, shaking hands with administration and taking hold of my college diploma.

As discussed in an earlier post, I am a self-proclaimed plan-a-holic.  I picked my college major when I was a junior in high school- and stuck with it.  I scribble to-do lists on Post-It notes.  I plan my schedule weeks in advance.  I create lists like it’s my job.  I make big plans for my life and the adventures ahead.

But here I am, six weeks away from my degree, stuck in a state of pre-graduation purgatory.  Planning is banned in this middle ground.  I know what I want to do and where I want to be: I’m just waiting for the right opportunity to come my way so I can move forward and plan the next step.

As I patiently wait to see what graduation will bring by exploring job and internship opportunities, I’ve participated in several informational interviews.  And although I haven’t landed a post-grad job quite yet, I’d like to share two lessons I’ve learned in this stressful, exciting journey:

Lesson No. 1: It’s a small word, after all.

A public relations professional once told me to never burn bridges, as “everyone knows everyone” in public relations.

I didn’t believe it at the time, but it’s so true.  I’ve met PR professionals in Columbus with varying careers and personal lives, yet they all seem to know each other.

This sense of “community” is a job seeker’s best asset.  I know the connections I’m making now will come in handy when the right position pops up.  I’m sure someone will know someone who knows I’m looking for a job in Columbus!

Lesson No. 2: Internships count.

If you’re an upper-division PR student who hasn’t completed an internship, go find one.

Now.

Internships give you a chance to prove yourself in the real world, make connections and gain the experience you’ll need to differentiate yourself from the competition.

I feel so blessed to say I completed three internships before my college graduation.  I love talking about my internship experiences with mentors and potential employers, and I am confident that these experiences will benefit my job search.  Sure: Internships made me miss many “college” experiences, like sleeping in until 11 a.m., enjoying lunch dates with friends and watching TV all day.  Waking up at 6 a.m. every day was difficult, but I know my early morning wake-up calls and 9-hour days will pay off in the long run.

If you’re also stuck in pre-graduation purgatory (aka searching for a job,) I’d love to chat.  What did you learn thus far?

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Rebecca’s Perspective: Where in the world am I going?

January 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 28 Comments
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In 2009, I escaped Ohio’s grey skies three times and experienced several climates and cultures the great U.S.A. offers.

In July, I enjoyed the hustle, bustle and deep-dish pizza of Chicago.  Toward the end of summer break, I headed down the East Coast to enjoy Virginia Beach’s sandy, relaxed atmosphere.  I traveled to San Diego in November, and the city’s abundant sunshine made me realize I could live in a box along the bay and be completely content with my life.

After visiting these cities, reality struck.

I’m four months away from my college graduation, and unless I’d like to live in my humble Kent abode until the end of time, I need to get serious about where I’d like to live.

So here’s the deal: My spontaneous side thinks it’s a fabulous idea to pack up my small-town Midwestern life on a whim and head to the West Coast.  However, my sensible side reminds me an average one-bedroom apartment price of $2,273 per month in San Francisco is not realistic for an unmarried, entry-level pro with college debt and a car payment.  It didn’t take me long to realize I’m going to have to make a compromise.

I found a plethora of lists comprising the best cities for fresh college grads, including these lists by Gradspot.com and The Wall Street Journal.  As I searched list after list, I noticed a trend among large cities like Boston, Washington, D.C., NYC, Chicago and Atlanta.

These cities are great, but I’m not sure if they’re a realistic match for my needs as a 21-year-old newbie.  I’m a public relations major- not an accounting or engineering major- and my first paycheck will reflect that.  I’d love to work in one of these cities at some point in my career, but I’d like to have solid work experience in my public relations tool belt before I pack up and head to the land of ridiculously priced studio apartments and budget-busting grocery bills.

So which growing city can I relocate to that boasts a reasonable driving distance back home, a vibrant social scene and opportunities to grow as a public relations professional?

Columbus, Ohio!

OSU football game

Looking at a sea of scarlet at my first OSU game. Love at first sight.

What’s not to love about Columbus?  The 15th largest city in the U.S. has everything I’m looking for (okay, minus the perfect weather): cute communities/suburbs like German Village and Worthington, delicious restaurants, entertainment, dainty coffee shops, affordable rent and fabulous career opportunities in health care, corporate and agency PR.  Did I mention OSU football, too?

Please note: I’m not eliminating job opportunities that may pop up throughout the country or in Northeast Ohio.  I’m impressed by the amazing PR/marketing professionals I’ve met in the Akron/Cleveland/Canton network, and I’d be honored to start my career here.  However, I’ve lived in “the 330” my entire life, and a part of me yearns to see what other areas of the state have to offer.

I’ve picked my city. Did you pick yours?

Soon to be grads: Where would you like to relocate and why?  New pros: Did you have to relocate?  If so, how did you choose to make your new home?

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