When I was approached about writing a blog my first concept was to write something about “preparing for the adult world” for all the soon to be graduates or recently graduated professionals out there. Then I realized that I do not know if I am the ultimate authority on how to properly prepare for the transition. The brainstorming session did however make me reflect on the things that set me up for success in the first few months of my first corporate America role. Read more about what has helped me in my transition from college student to working professional at Celebrity Staff.
I have to thank the hospitality program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln for the internships that were a requirement to graduate. Throughout each one I had assignments that would make me think about all aspects of the internship and reflect on the experience I had. These internships gave me a taste of what it is like to work a full-time position and determine my likes and dislikes. Throughout my internships, I experienced what it was like to be on a regular schedule, how to interact with coworkers, who I should be reporting to, and how I should address situations in the workplace. These are not things I would have learned in my various summer jobs as a lifeguard or a nanny. There were many things I value about my internships but it’s the smaller things I noticed that made my transition into a regular full-time job a whole lot easier and slightly less intimidating.
Through my internships in college and my education, I also learned how to network and communicate with people I knew who were already in the corporate world. I reached out to several recruiters who were already in this industry to discover if this was the “right” opportunity for me and what I needed to do to get there. I was pleasantly surprised when I would get long responses with all kinds of information I was not expecting. So much of being a young professional is not even being aware of what you don’t know yet, so people being eager to volunteer information I had not even considered was important in forming my path.
Asking for Help
Being on the other side now, of course I would do that for anyone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone who is in the industry you are interested in. I am so thankful I created a LinkedIn account and was able to connect with companies and their employees; it was an easy tool to use and a great way to see my mutual connections. Without their insight and advice I can confidently say I would not be here. I was so stubborn about finding a job on my own and being able to say that I had accomplished the feat of establishing my own path without anyone’s help. Well, that was just a silly thought because without me going to the UNL career fair and networking with the C&A staff there and through LinkedIn, I would not be here today.
Embrace the Challenge
Most of all I want to talk about my experience with accepting challenges. I have found as I have gotten older that fear is a crazy powerful force in determining people’s actions. I think I may have heard this come from Khloe Kardashian once (but it is true) and there are many quotes out there about this. You have to accept the fear or challenge ahead of you as an opportunity to grow. You owe it to yourself. Once you come out on the other end of that challenge you will possess new knowledge and hopefully a new skill. Embracing the fear or the challenge ahead of me has helped me learn how to be confident in situations where I did not really know what I was doing (which was 95% of the time when I started my new job here).
Now you will be prepared to successfully start your career in corporate America. Just kidding! I wish it worked that way. This process can be different for everyone, not just college students. For me, learning to be confident in what I already know and who I have on my side propelled me to where I am today. What else can you share with the soon to be college graduates who are ready to take that next step in their professional careers?
Katie Kupka is a recent graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a degree in hospitality management and minors in leadership and business administration. She would like to go back to school to receive her master’s in human resources or business administration. Katie is a traveling enthusiast and loves exploring cities for culture and good eats. She enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and is in the midst of training for her first half marathon.