College to Career: A Soon-to-be-Grad’s Perspective

Transitioning from a college atmosphere to a steady career feels like being blindfolded and thrown off a cliff. You aren’t really sure where you’re going, but you’re going. You don’t have a choice and you don’t usually have a plan. It just happens.

Most people would believe that four years of college is the exact amount of time needed to earn a degree and kickstart one’s professional life. However, The New York Times states that, “At most public universities, only 19 percent of full-time students earn a bachelor’s degree in four years. Even at state flagship universities — selective, research-intensive institutions — only 36 percent of full-time students complete their bachelor’s degree on time”. To me, it seems as if students spend more time trying to figure out their future than completing the course work that will actually get them there. Then, after students do choose the field of study they’d like to make a profession, they’re thrown into an even harder task; finding a job.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 20.2 million students attended an American college or university in the 2015 fall semester. That means, at least 4 million students will graduate this year and try to enter the workforce. Of those 4 million, only 14% of those students will obtain a steady, career-like job immediately after graduation.

Finding a job post-graduation is difficult, but moving from one environment to the next can be the real struggle. One of the tallest hurdles tends to be adapting to a new schedule. Many students are able to create their own class schedule, picking and choosing the times that lend to becoming their most productive selfs. While it can certainly be helpful, this practice also creates the bad habit of going by your own schedule only, and avoiding early hours. As a result, jumping from the life a night owl into a 9-5 job can be a challenge. The Huffington Post suggests that soon-to-be-graduates wean out partying in the week, to help begin to adjust to more appropriate hours, and improve overall health. My suggestion: skip the twisted Tuesday and only go to thirsty Thursday every other week. By slowing down a bit, you’ll create a sense of consistency focus on future goals.

Personally, I think a major problem that college students face when entering postgrad life is the separation anxiety of leaving friends. When you start college, it’s your first step into any legitimate responsibility. Therefore, over the duration of time you spend in school, your peers become a kind of support system to depend on. When that support system is taken away, it can be difficult to figure out what to do in stressful moments, especially when you feel that you’re on your own again. When a new job becomes demanding or asks a difficult task, it can be hard to figure out what to do by yourself. I suggest you put the phone down and log off social media sites for a bit. Start spending a little time with yourself and create a sense of personal confidence. If you have confidence in yourself, you’re much more likely to be able to face any situation thrown your way, instead of just panicking. I’m not saying to abandon all of your relationships; just cherish them while learning to walk on your own.

Optimized-DU0O1PCIMHWhen it does come to landing that first job after graduation, students should stop putting so much emphasis on the idea that the only job for a recent graduate is “entry level.” While it is indeed entry level, truthfully, the connotation can feel quite negative. But why? All soon-to-be-graduates are seniors, and naturally they have a sense of seniority. They’ve spent the last four or five years working up from the ground level of freshman status, and there’s a lot of self gratitude that comes from that. It can be difficult to accept the fact that you’ll be starting from the bottom once again. So remember, as you approach your graduation date, no job offer is beneath you; it’s just a new starting place.

Time matters, your appearance matters and your behavior is crucial! I think it’s fair to assume that almost every student has walked into class while wearing sweats or fighting last night’s hangover. The professor will usually give an awkward smile and that’s that. But, that can’t happen in the real world. Understanding how to conduct yourself in front of fellow employees or managers is essential to keeping your job. Unfortunately, a lot students can’t bridge the ideology that they’re the ones paying to be in school, while in the workforce, the business pays you. It’s simple. If they like you, they pay you. If they don’t, you’re gone. Understanding that there will be new responsibilities and added expectations once you leave college is absolutely necessary for success.

Sure, college can be extremely stressful, but pushing yourself to make the most of your years in preparation for the next chapter of your life can be incredibly rewarding. For example:

In 2013, median earnings for full-time year-round working young adults, aged 25–34 with a bachelor’s degree, were $48,500, while the median was $23,900 for those without a high school diploma or its equivalent, $30,000 for those with a high school diploma or its equivalent, and $37,500 for those with an associate’s degree. In other words, young adults with a bachelor’s degree earned more than twice as much as those without a high school diploma or its equivalent (103 percent more) and 62 percent more than young adult high school graduates (NCES).

Transitioning into any new environment is difficult. But, when you can expect specific changes to take place, you can start to prepare for the future. Starting from the bottom once again can be all that’s needed to initiate the momentum to carry you to top of your industry. Understanding the stress of moving from college to a career, and finding ways to over come that stress, can be the perfect start to kickstart a successful future.

One For One | TOMS Shoes, Social Responsibility & Branding Success

It’s very simple.

You purchase a pair of shoes for yourself and a pair of shoes goes to a child in need. A pair of tortoise shell sunglasses could provide sight-saving surgery for the visually impaired. You purchase a product that you want, and by doing so you may give something so needed that it changes the life of its recipient forever.

Buy one. Give one. That’s the TOMS mission.

Blake Mycoskie and his socially good company TOMS are no strangers to giving. Founded in 2006, TOMS has been devoted to helping the global community by providing much desired footwear to children in need. Aware that many children in developing countries lack the proper footwear for healthy living, the company personally delivers a pair of shoes to a less fortunate child for every pair of TOMS shoes purchased. One for One.

Consumers, especially young, socially conscious consumers, are drawn to the idea that TOMS is providing a quality product as well as a service that helps those in need. The One for One movement allows customers to feel that they themselves are making a difference. Rather than donating a percentage of sales, like many “socially responsible” brands, TOMS goes the extra mile. Putting a foot ahead of the others (see what I did there), TOMS is giving the very same thing that you are buying.

For every purchase you make, you are providing a brand new pair of shoes to a child in Guatemala, or outfitting an orphanage in Haiti. The giving aspect of TOMS has become such an essential part of their brand that the company often holds a contest for their supporters to take part in Giving Trips.

TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie.

When it comes to branding the One for One movement, TOMS marketing clearly targets forward thinking customers. Specialty fashion shows, clubs on university campuses, social media campaigns and global events like One Day Without Shoes (a day set aside where TOMS supporters go shoeless in an attempt to better connect with, and bring light to the problem they’re addressing) attract a kind of young audience that fuels corporate and social responsibility and lives to make a change. To meet the needs of their consumers, TOMS products have even been created to fit different environmental ideals and adhere to vegan restrictions. This, however, never outshines the brand’s true mission: One for One.

The brand’s strong marketing of One for One has gained the attention of millions of devoted followers. Since 2006, TOMS has sold over 35 million pairs of shoes and, as promised, delivered 35 million pairs to 70 countries across the globe.

The impressive sales figures show that the success of TOMS has increased exponentially as more and more socially responsible consumers join the One for One movement. To shed some light, the company sold over 1 million shoes in 2012, 140,000 shoes sold in 2009 and just 50,000 in 2007. Fashionable products and a knack for helping out are earning TOMS the corporate image gold medal that it deserves. Who doesn’t want to support an awesome brand and make a difference too?

Having gone strong for nearly nine years, TOMS is showing no signs of slowing down their efforts to leave the world a better place than before. Joining the success of TOMS shoes, the brand has introduced a line of summer eyewear, coffee, bags, etc. In typical TOMS fashion, each purchase of these products improves the lives of people in need.

The success of TOMS has also opened the door for an array of other One for One oriented businesses. Companies along the lines of FIGS, a recent startup that prides itself on providing clean scrubs to international medical providers for every set of FIGS scrubs purchased; and KUTOA Health Bars, a brand of granola bars giving vital nutrition packs to children in third world countries. TOMS has painstakingly carved a market niche for these, and future, givers to enjoy.