Nine months ago I walked across a stage, was handed my diploma and made the transition from student to graduate. In my cap and gown, standing by some of my best friends, we looked at each other and knew everything was going to be different. We were being thrown out of our comfort zones full of Thursday night study sessions and monthly group dinners. No more sitting around tables at student org meetings or finishing the day over a few drinks and laughs.
Some of us had jobs already secured while others were still searching for the perfect one. Some packed up their lives for new adventures while others took a chance and put everything on the line. Although we were all in different places – some hating the jobs they had, others hating not having a job – we all had one thing in common: we missed our comfort zones. The feeling of knowing everyone and everything and the sense of security that came with it.
Nine months out, a lot has changed for all of us. Some have grown within their jobs, others have landed new ones. And while it hasn’t even been a full year and even though we don’t always get it right – we’re finding comfort in the new directions life has taken all of us.
This is why I was beyond excited to speak in front of a PR class full of seniors and be invited to participate in Temple PRSSA’s Young Alumni Panel with four other alums (and friends) who are all doing great things.
I joined PRSSA as a freshman and by senior year I was on the e-board co-chairing the public relations committee. Every year I attended the alumni panel and listened eagerly in the audience as they would talk about the successes each of them found after graduation. I’d soak up every piece of advice they would have to offer about finding mentors or searching for jobs or obtaining the perfect internship. I scribbled it all down in notebook after notebook, hoping that by the time I graduated I would be able to return one day and pay it forward.
As the five of us sat there in front of a packed room full of eager, bright-eyed students, much like myself only a year ago, it was a surreal feeling of both pride and gratitude. We all talked about our involvement while we were at Temple, where our post-graduate journeys have taken us and offered advice on getting involved and making the most out of your college years. I was now the alum sharing her stories of success and hard work, hoping that I would serve as some sort of inspiration to those before me, much like past alumni were for me.
The experience solidified two things: that while my friends and I joke about being pseudo-adults and not having it all together, we don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for everything we have accomplished these past nine months and how much we’ve all grown in such a short period of time. And two, that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to an organization that has given so much to you over the years – from networking opportunities, hands-on experience to most importantly – the friendships you create and memories you make.