Hey College Seniors: A Few Words of Wisdom from the Other Side
It’s approaching that time of the year when college seniors begin to think about their career path after graduation. For some, this is a simple choice—but for others, the thought may be daunting. As someone who’s recently been through this transition, I can testify to the fact that these students, who are about to embark on the next chapter of their lives, will encounter many surprising and exciting turns trying to find their paths.
I remember the pressure I felt applying to college—that feeling that I should already know exactly what I wanted to do when in reality, I had no clue. I must have changed my mind about five times on what I wanted to major in. I went from an interest in TV and film to convincing myself that I should study musical theater and be on Broadway. Needless to say, I was all over the place. I did, however, know what my strengths and passions were. I knew I was creative and so-called “right-brained,” so there was no doubt that my future path was going to lead me in this direction.
I always tell everyone that I have way too many hobbies—not that this is a bad problem to have, but I definitely love to have options and get my feet wet on various projects. I decided to major in Communication Studies for this reason. I knew that I could apply what I learned—public speaking, writing, creating visual content, etc.—to almost any industry. Yet, after my first two years in college, I still didn’t have that breakthrough moment. My friends were studying nursing, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy—they had their clear path—but the creative field doesn’t always allow for that clarity, which can be intimidating but also extremely exciting.
I should have known that studying abroad in a magical and inspiring city such as London would start giving me that clarity. One of the classes I took involved social media and blogging, learning the ins and outs of navigating this booming industry. Of course, being of generation Z, I had my Instagram and Facebook accounts, but I was really intrigued by the power that all of these networks have on a brand or company. It was then that I decided that I would start my own blog and see what it was all about.
I thought about what type of content I would be most passionate about posting. I’ve always loved fashion and it seemed to be the perfect city for this genre. My roommate was an amazing photographer, so we would go around London and the various countries in which we traveled, find interesting backgrounds, and photograph different outfits. I learned the importance of creating a personal brand through the content that I posted, and how different components such as color, negative space, and over aesthetic, directly affected the response that my accounts would generate. Once I gained more of a following, I started receiving requests from brands to create small campaigns to promote their products. What started as a fun way to share my travel with my friends and family started to turn into a potential business.
I ran my blog until I graduated college, but once it was time to find a job, I wouldn’t be able to give my account as much attention as it needed—it can be extremely tedious and time consuming, just networking and connecting with followers and users. I started an internship with a startup fashion and lifestyle magazine as a beauty editor. This was a perfect opportunity for me to translate my writing and communication skills that I learned in college as well as my love for fashion and media to run the beauty section of this online publication. I managed a group of writers, edited articles, wrote editorials, and produced photoshoots. I learned a lot about organization and creative directing while also immersing myself into the business side of how to run an online editorial magazine. It was a lot of trial and error, but I found that was when I learned the most.
After about six months, it was time to get my first “big girl job”. The opportunities for fashion media are scarce in Boston and I knew that I wanted to stay local. I started working as a stylist for a fashion company, where I worked with clients both online and in-person. This was a great opportunity for me to adapt my communication skills through various outlets. Aside from working with a large book of business, we were encouraged to produce visuals and content to engage our clients to want to come in and work with us. I loved this aspect of the business because it was similar to how I would approach my blog—create interesting layouts, storylines, etc.
Although I loved working directly with customers and remaining in the fashion industry, I knew that I wanted to be more involved with digital media. I recognized that my enthusiasm for fashion resulted in a development of skills across various outlets including photography, social media, writing, and client services. It wasn’t until I transitioned into a new industry, that I understood just how applicable these skills would be in almost any professional setting. That’s exactly what I’ve come to realize in my time at Three Rings. Of course, when I started college, I never would have imagined that I would end up working for a b2b marketing agency focused on technology—but that’s what keeps life exciting. Those unexpected turns and opportunities are what life is all about and what makes you realize where your true strengths and interests lie.
If I could give any advice to those students who are about to graduate and enter into the “real world,” I would tell them to relax and trust the process. If you follow your passions, curiosities, and intuitions, I guarantee that you will find yourself on the right path, and you will enjoy the ride.