Feeling overwhelmed with life as a college student? Or maybe you are a recent graduate, still adjusting to life on your own. Chances are you have been or are currently at a crossroad in your life. Which path do I choose? This may include: major choice, career, relationships, finances, etc.
Twenty-somethings commonly struggle with expectations and ideas of life after graduation.
The truth is: you don’t need to know what your entire life will look like five, ten, or twenty years from now. You will grow immensely as an individual in your twenties, since it is a time for reflection and personal growth. You may change career paths four or five times to see what fits, and that is normal. It is all part of the learning process.
“You’re supposed to have moments of uncertainty about which path to take, because the twenties are full of crossroads.”- Lisa Kudrow’s Commencement Speech at Vassar College in May 2010, a humorous take on life in the twenties.
Recommended Reading- Kenneth Jedding’s Higher Education: On Life, Landing a Job, and Everything Else They Didn’t Teach You in College
This book addresses topics such as:
Marketing yourself after graduation in a tough economy, no matter your major.
On October 5, 2011, Apple co-founder and chairperson Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. Since then, many people are re-visiting the commencement speech Jobs delivered at Stanford University in 2005. Packed with general life lessons, the speech also has valuable tips for finding meaningful work and sustaining a fulfilling career. Here are some of the highlights:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
“The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”
There are many variables in life, known and unknown. For Jobs, one of his “unknowns” was pancreatic cancer. However, he was able to live his days with fulfillment and happiness by deciding what was in his control and following his passions. Let this be a good reminder to each of us to “stay hungry, stay foolish.”
(For a written transcript of Jobs’ speech, click here.)
How would you describe what you do on a typical day to someone who is unfamiliar with your field? Account executives at Nike are responsible for optimizing Nike product sales with a specific account base. Since I work directly with an account, developing and maintaining relationships with key personnel at all levels is critical. I also analyze weekly sales data to help in preparing and planning future seasons’ merchandising & product strategies.
What advice do you have for students searching for jobs or internships in your field? Internships are a great way to get your foot in the door and see if the company is a good match. Use this time to show management what value you can add to the team, but to also ensure it’s the right fit for you. I interned at Saks Fifth Avenue, and while the buying offices were not exactly right for me, it gave me visibility to aspects of the wholesale/retail industry that helped lead me to Nike.
What three words would describe your work environment? Energizing, Innovating, Connected
What motivates you to go to work every day for this organization? Nike motivates me to stay athletic, stay focused, work hard and play hard. We have a dynamic team of people in my office, it’s competitive, but it drives you to succeed.
Tell us about your path to this position. Did you expect to hold this job when you were a college student? I really didn’t know what I wanted to do after graduation. I started going through possible internship opportunities at the career center and just sending out my resume to any/all that sounded somewhat interesting to me. Within a month I was in NYC interviewing for the Saks Fifth Avenue Buying program. Now, 11 years later, I’m still here, and still in the retail industry. I feel extremely fortunate that my choices led me to Nike.
If you’re interested in seeing all our World of Work profiles, click here. If you are a UVM alumnus and would like to be featured, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in contacting a featured alum, check out the Career Connection alumni database or contact us.
Are you interested in creating a life with meaning while making a difference? You are in good company! Students in Global and Regional Studies 95 (Fall 2010) explored Right Livelihood, personal missions and putting their values into action on a daily basis. Here are some actions and resources that inspired them into living by their beliefs and convictions.
Right Livelihood is a Buddhist concept of earning a living in an ethical, values-based manner. In other words, using your values as a lens for making decisions about your work and actions in the world.
Putting that into play, GRS95 came up with principles of Right Livelihood at UVM :
LOVE: Combine Passion and Love – what matters most to you
POSITIVE: Offer contagious positivity
RESPECT: Create respectful relations with others and the earth
COMMITMENT Take a stand for something you believe in, leading by example
COMMUNITY: Prioritize community & face-to-face relationships
CHALLENGE: Accept the challenge of overcoming adversities, not letting fear get in your way
Out In The World
Living by our convictions has a ripple effect that spreads beyond our own lives. And sometimes we need to look beyond our doorstep for inspiration and camaraderie. Here are some connections from the world at large:
Life doesn’t begin once you graduate. Clarifying who you are, what matters to you and putting it into action each day is important. With so much information coming at us each day and so many demands on our time and attention, it is important to be thoughtful about where we put our energy. Developing a vision and taking action can assist you in navigating and creating a life you want to live. Here are some steps: