A note for recent grads

Mia Higgins is a 24 year old fashion forward college graduate from Western Kentucky University. It was there that she received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Design Merchandising and Textiles. Mia now works for a Fortune 500 company and has began developing her own clothing line, in which she showcased during New York Fashion Week.

22, resume jam packed with involvement and achievements, and a college degree in four years. Big girl job, I’M READY FOR YA!!! …or so I thought. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that after graduation, I was expecting my email to be overflowing with job offers. But little did not I know, it doesn’t always work that way.

During my time in undergrad, I always envisioned graduation to be a celebration and a new beginning in various aspects of my life. Though it was a celebration of accomplishments, my job search wasn’t the new beginning I longed for.

After graduation, even before, I was on an intense search for my first big job. Literally, applying for EVERYTHING. With nothing still set in stone, I packed up my college apartment, said my goodbyes and farewells to my college friends, and moved to Atlanta, GA. It was there that I my work ethic was challenged to the max. Working two retail jobs, sometimes both in one day, having overnight floor sets, and minimum wage wasn’t my idea of a dream job that I worked so hard to get while in college. I wanted more.

Fast forward through a lot of tears, long hours, and a long 6 months later and I find myself back at my alma mater for homecoming festivities. Throughout my collegiate experience, I had developed close relationships with two of my professors that truly helped mold me as a person, as well as my involvement at school. While one was away, I ventured up to the other’s office. I had been in her office various times seeking advice as to whether or not to go to graduate school, or go straight into my field. She suggested multiple times that I was ready to take on my career and the challenges that came along with it. She believed in me. So strongly that she highly recommended a career starter that would change my current circumstances. See, in college, the people you meet can become lifelong friends. But having a professor that you connect with and that genuinely will take the time out to help you only comes if YOU make the effort. It’s truly up to you to take the initiative, go to their offices and seek internship opportunities or other ways to advance your career while still in school. Being proactive and showing a eagerness to learn sets you apart from other students.

Long story short, I immediately left her office and went to an on the spot interview for a Fortune 500 company that I still currently work at. In a matter of hours, I had gone from struggling for months, to having a career right in front of me; all because I kept in contact with my professor.

If you don’t get anything else from this story, remember these two things: 1. Keep good, excellent, and just the overall best report with your professors both during and after college. 2. Trust your struggle. It doesn’t last. What does last is the strength, knowledge, and ambition you gain in pursuit to your dreams or reaching your goals.

24, resume enhanced with a reputable company, and not only a big job, but a career! If I can do it, you can too. Keep your head up and trust your struggle.

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