My experience in college

Shakira Morgan earned a BA in Communications with a specialization in Advertising/Public Relations from Rowan University in 1999. Although Shakira currently works as an Account Manager overseeing several OTC healthcare brands at a New Jersey advertising and marketing agency, she has an extensive background that involves consumer, retail, healthcare, pharmaceutical and multi-cultural marketing as well as Public Relations. Not wanting to stay within a confined box, Shakira also has a degree in Advanced Massage Therapy from Sanford Brown Institute in Trevose, PA. Priding herself on continuing to reinvent herself, Shakira also is a licensed Zumba® Instructor and Independent Consultant for Perfectly Posh. She looks forward to seeing what is next up for her.

I can’t believe it’s been 16 years since I graduated college (YIKES!) and I can tell you that during my 16 years post college, the most useful information and practical real world knowledge I gained from my tenure in college could not be found in a book. Nope, you read that right. Now, I am not saying that the courses themselves are not worth it but my reality is that books do no prepare students for after college. So what did prepare me for the so called “real world”? Well, let’s see, joining a college sorority proved an invaluable experience for me. Why do you ask? I had to work with all sorts of people and personalities; slackers, perfectionists, and even drama queens. I had to show up early for events, attend various sorority meetings—even those events, I didn’t want to attend. And I am telling you all of this to say, this is exactly how it works in the real world. You have the people in the company who never seem to hold their own weight, you have the boss who may not seem to give you a break or loves to micro manage, you have the mandatory 8am staff meeting that you rather not attend. And while there is no magic stick to make these situations go away, by joining organizations and other associations while in college, you can learn how to communicate and interact effectively with people. And whether you plan on sitting behind a desk working for a company or starting your own, learning how to work with people will prove the most beneficial result of your college experience.
Next, put down the book and gain some practical, real work experience in the field you desire or are curious about. BE WILLING TO GIVE UP YOUR SUMMER OR WEEKENDS to trial run the career you want. I don’t care how many degrees a person has under his or her belt, if you have never worked in the field and experienced it first hand, it means nothing (my honest opinion). Just so you know I talk the talk, I landed 3 paid summer internships during my years in college. My first internship was with Lucent Technologies, my second was with Panasonic and for my third internship I decided to actually try my hands in the field I was studying for at a small, advertising agency in Short Hills, NJ called Gianettino & Meredith. And although the first two were not remotely in my field, I enjoyed them and they prepared me to get up and go to work on a daily basis, how to use software programs and once again—YOU GOT IT, how to interact with others. As a result of my work ethic and the success of my performance the summer of my junior year, I landed my first job post college in the fielded I wanted, in an industry that most people would deem extremely difficult to break into (ADVERTISING) at the very advertising agency I interned it.
I am not saying this to brag but simply to state that to truly get the most out of college, you have to look beyond your courses, close the books and soak in the all the wonderful and not so wonderful experiences for they prepare you on how to handle life after college. And what better way to do that than in an environment where you get to interact with people of different races, ethnicities, nationalities, religions, causes and purposes all on one yard.

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