Guest blogger Marie-Therese Yokum currently serves as a Consultant for Protiviti, an Internal Audit and Consulting Firm in Dallas. She graduated from the Manship School of Mass Communication in December 2014 with a concentration in public relations and a double major in finance. To learn more about Yokum or connect with her, please click here.

Marie-Therese Yokum 2014 Manship School of Mass Communication Graduate

You are graduating this year – and job applications are at the top of your list. You practically live in the Journalism Building because of the endless events and classes and meetings. And as much as you love your colleagues; they are the ones pushing you to remain competitive, learn another language, or focus on getting that next internship. It was Intro to Mass Communications or the Mass Communications Residential Hall that you quickly taught you to step your game up to stay relevant while making lifelong friends in the process.

The majority of lessons you pick up on from college tend not to be processed until it’s over because you have more time to sleep. But also because you have more time to think rationally—should you choose to do so. I say all these things and speak in third person because I usually learn things after the fact. While everyone learns in their own way, hopefully my suggestions can direct you to a better place towards your graduation journey.

Top 3 Things to Marinate on Before You Graduate:

  1. Is immediately working after graduation a necessary, or is it what everyone around you seems to be doing?

Here’s a secret: you are not going to keep your first job out of college forever. You also will be working for the next 50 years of your life. We’re a generation of fast-movers and upward thinkers, which are good traits. Do not be afraid to try different things out after college even if they are not defined by exactly what you learned in the classroom. Go back to the classroom, get in front of the classroom, buy the classroom, build the classroom or write materials for the classroom. And that’s only one chapter of opportunities that you can consider with a clear mind that isn’t hurried to find a job straight out of college. It’s also okay to dive in with a job like I did too. 

  1. What pieces are missing from your dream job, and do you have the steps in place to get there?

You are likely in your early twenties and (unless you are secretly wealthy,) starting in your dream job will not be right away.  If you spent four years working towards your content-job, get back to the drawing board and brew some coffee. It’s time to stop avoiding and ask the hard questions.

  1. How is your self-care looking? Being in college is not an excuse; do you have good circles of people to communicate with?

PR kids have a bad reputation for being perfectionists, and we would not accept anything less. However, self-care can sometimes take a backseat and I would recommend doing a personal self-assessment before you crash near graduation or immediately after. Mentors, counselors and advisors come in all shapes, ages and locations. Networking is more than for getting jobs and hoping for potential jobs. Use and help the people in your circles, and don’t stop relationships just because they moved back to their home state. Remember that the best version of you produces the best work with the least amount of energy exerted.