You’re a senior on the brink of graduation feeling apprehensive about what comes next.
Or maybe you’re a junior who has made significant progress in your degree plan, but you’re lacking real-world experience.
Are you a sophomore who is interested in communication but unsure of what focus area to pursue?
Or are you freshman feeling overwhelmed about what lies ahead of you in the next four years?
Whether you feel you have it all together or you’re bursting into tears each time you log into Moodle, you could use a pep talk. With Midterm Week on the horizon, here are a couple of reminders to combat your academic and occupational stress:
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
It’s a trap. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with learning a thing or two from your peers and admiring their work ethic. It’s encouraged, even. However, when you’re lurking on their LinkedIn profiles and begin to feel inadequate because of their five internship experiences and glowing endorsements from Michelle Obama and Olivia Pope, there’s a problem.
Your path is your own, so work at your own pace. While the communication field is extremely competitive, you can’t control the actions of your classmates and the accomplishments they add to their resumes. Comparing yourself to them and consequently feeling down on yourself is only distracting you from your mission to achieve your goals.
Want to know whose actions you can’t control? I’ll give you a hint: It’s the person with the same W number as you.
- Stop selling yourself short.
You know more than you think, and what you don’t know, you can learn. To learn, you have to be open-minded to different opportunities. For example, you hear through the grapevine that a PR agency in Hammond is looking for a summer intern. You want the experience, but you’re afraid that you won’t know how to do everything the job requires.
My advice? Apply anyway! Learning is achieved by doing. Interns, college graduates, and even seasoned professionals make mistakes, but those mistakes help you growth. We like to see growth, don’t we?
Welcome constructive criticism and feedback, for that’s how you learn the ropes. Dive into new experiences and pat yourself on the back when you conquer new challenges. Also, don’t shy away from failure. If you’re unsuccessful the first time, you now know what not to do the second and third time.
- Exhaust your resources
The Communication Advising Office is open from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Thursday every week. Your advisors are not only responsible for helping you coordinate your schedule for upcoming semesters. We can talk to you about your major, too, and inform you of more resources available to you in the Department. Dr. Madere, the Internship Coordinator, is available to talk to you about internships in your area.
Network with your professors. Visit them outside of the classroom or chat with them via email. Respectfully, of course. They have backgrounds in the fields you want to enter once you graduate. Has it ever occurred to you that they may know somebody who knows somebody WHO KNOWS SOMEBODY?
Go the extra mile. Your revelation about what you want to do with your life is not going to just come to you if you don’t do the work. Join a campus organization (NOCA, Press Club, PRSSA, BEA), attend a professional conference, or capitalize on the fact that Google, as well as numerous resources on social media, is free. Once you discover your interests, you can begin building the skills that will only accentuate your versatility and make you a better job candidate.
You misread 100% of the AP Style books you don’t buy, or whatever Wayne Gretzky said. You may not be responsible for every circumstance of your life, and some circumstances are definitely not easy to overcome. Yet, you are responsible for how you choose to respond, and the Comm Department wants to ensure that you are informed about your studies and the career implications of the degree you’re pursuing.
We’re rooting for you, Comm Lion. We’re all rooting for you.