Graduation jitters: how to remain calm while graduating from college

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PharmD Graduation 2017

As a recent grad of pharmacy school (representing class of 2017), I can definitely sympathize with those who are graduating this season. My younger brother is actually the one who suggested I write on this topic as he is graduating in a few weeks. I instantly jumped on writing this post because I believe that it can help put things in perspective for upcoming graduates. I think the main issues that affect prospective graduates are the following: job search stress, independence stress, and anxiety of what they could have done differently in school. Therefore, I’ll break down this post in those three categories. Let’s begin.

 

Job Search Stress: I think this is one of the greatest stresses that one can experience at any point in their life but especially after graduating. Most of us are taught, if you have good grades you won’t have trouble finding a job. This is not completely true as connections end up being the greatest resource in finding a job. I personally didn’t apply for jobs until I was done with my pharmacy board exams because I didn’t want to be rushed to work while studying. Once I started applying 2 out of the job offers I got were due to having a connection who already worked for said company. I actually didn’t end up working for those two companies because I got a better offer but that’s a story for another time. The main takeaway point is that connections aren’t absolutely necessary but they do help. As such, try to network as much as you can during your final semester and even after you graduate (LinkedIn is a great place to start). The greatest advice is to keep calm and carry on. If you’re stressing, then you won’t be relaxed at your interviews which will lead to you not performing well. Take time to do things that make you happy so you’re not obsessing over finding a job. Eventually you will get one because the law of probability will be in your favor, the more you apply. If you need job interview tips, please refer to my previous post on this topic.

Independence stress: When we’re about to graduate, it is common to dream about making lots of money, having a fabulous apartment, car, clothes, etc. However, the reality is most of us don’t have enough money saved up or might not get a million-dollar salary to live that lifestyle. So it’s okay to stay in your lane until you can work yourself up to that lifestyle. It’s okay to move back in with your parents (not spending more time with family is something a lot of people regret). I currently live with my parents which I enjoy because I lived away from them for 6 years in pharmacy school. This also allows me to save money so that I’ll be more capable to live the lifestyle I want when I eventually move out. Before I got a job, I was depending on my parents for the most part and that is okay to do because starving yourself is not an option. I will say that I do have parents who are strict and would limit your independence significantly so I can totally understand not living with your parents as well. I am pretty fortunate that my parents aren’t the typical iron fist type of African parents.

Anxiety: I definitely had anxiety during my undergraduate graduation. First of all, I started picking apart every move that I made in college. I convinced myself that I didn’t do enough even though I was in a rigorous pharmacy program. I started signing up for almost every event during my last semester in efforts to make up for lost time. I ended up being very worn out because of that and was not in good health emotionally, mentally, and physically (my parents literally kept forcing to me eat when I came home that summer). The take away point is if you live in the past, you’ll become depressed. If you live in the future, you’ll become anxious. So the solution is to live in the present and do the best that you can for yourself now. Your dream life isn’t built in a day let alone in your 4 , 5, 6, or 8 years of college, be patient and build it slowly. And to be very philosophical, if you are always grateful for what you have in the moment then you’ll always be living your dream life.

Congrats class of 2018! May you prosper and take your life by its reins. 🙂 ❤

All the best!

Sincerely,

Mercy Rodah

Job application, interview, and working tips

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Bachelors Graduation 2016

The biggest months for hiring in the U.S.A are January and February (according to Google and general knowledge). I personally just started a new job in January and I can attest to this. After going through many interviews and receiving a handful of offers, I feel as though I can provide a bit of insight on this process. So I will breakup this post into three parts: resume, interview and job training tips.

Resume:

  • Use more active than passive verbs in describing your experiences i.e. “coordinated” sounds better than “assisted”
  • Don’t make it too long. A good way to fine tune it is to remove experiences that don’t relate to the job. For example my first job was as a waitress at a smoothie café but I never include that in my resumes now cause I have way more relevant experience for my field.
  • Include some cool stuff that differentiates you like scholarships or awards you may have won. If you do any volunteering, it can be nice to include that so the interviewer or hiring manager can get to know you better.
  • Most important: get someone else to read it for grammatical errors because typos are a no-no. If you don’t have someone, you can use online platforms like Ziprecruiter, which not only helps you find jobs but also give you resume tips that are specific to you.

Interview:

  • Make sure to read the job description!!!!! If you know exactly what the job expects and is looking for then you’ll be able to come up with very good questions to ask at the interview. You’ll also seem very aware of what the job is asking for and interviewers get very excited about that.
  • Get some Intel from someone who already works there or at a similar job. You’ll be able to learn some of the lingo from them and also learn about the work culture of the place so you can make a more informed decision about whether you want the job or not.
  • Try to remember the names of everyone who interviews you so you can send a thank you email for the interview that mentions the names of those who interviewed you.
  • Know your resume very well so if they ask you a question about your experience, you can expound on the points you put on your resume.
  • Also, don’t assume the interviewers will print copies of your resume so plan to bring at least 3 copies of your resume with you to the interview.

Job Training:

  • Bring a small note pad and a pen at all times so that you can write stuff down that you’ll probably not remember otherwise.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to ask them during job training than to ask them later and look like you weren’t paying attention when you were being trained.
  • Try to learn everyone’s names. I am so bad at names; I had to write them all down in my notepad during my first week at my job.
  • Dress to impress. Don’t participate in casual Friday until you’ve worked there for a while so you don’t go overboard. Also this is a time you’re getting introduced to a lot of people, so you always want to look professional.

Thank you for reading. I hope all these tips help you in your job search or starting process. Good luck! J ❤