Gemrick’s Guide: Life after graduation

The last semester of one’s senior year just might be the hardest. No, it’s not necessarily the upper-level class load or the high demands from a job or internship; it’s a combination of being tired and the stress that comes with an imminent graduation.

There’s no room for senioritis because this is when one should begin the job search. The thought of having to get a “real-world job” might be enough to send one begging for a victory lap.

The journey to beginning one’s career starts at home — at UH. So I sat down and had power lunches with a few of my professors.

Sometimes we forget they’re experts, rich with advice. If you’ve taken the same professors for multiple classes, they should know who you are by now. If they don’t know who you are, introduce yourself.

Professors can’t help you if they don’t know you need it. As students, we get the luxury of being able to ask questions and receive candid answers. Sometimes, the most difficult part of job searching is figuring out where to start.

I started my public relations concentration in 2012, and one of the assignments at the end of the introductory class was to write a career-planning essay. There were no right or wrong answers, and the only guideline was to connect our essay with what we learned over the semester.

The assignment was meant to be inspiring and provide ourselves a few goals and milestones to reach as students before joining the real world. Reading the same essay over two years later, I find myself shocked at how accurate this “blow-off” assignment was. The surprise came from how little my goals have changed, but also at how far I’ve come as a student. I said I wanted to intern at PaperCity Magazine before I graduate — I did that.

I said I wanted to write for The Cougar — I did that. I also said I wanted to become more involved with the Public Relations Student Society of America, and as the Chapter President at UH, I can say, “I did that.”

What can I do now? Aside from putting together a strong, data-driven resume and portfolio, I need to research who I want to work for.

If you aren’t one of the lucky few with a job lined up upon graduation, just know that it requires effort, time and planning; however, give yourself some well deserved credit for making it this far. No one said job hunting was easy.

Don’t dive in head first and expect results right away. It doesn’t matter what your major is or what industry you’re trying to get into.

Following the recent layoffs in the oil and gas industry, people were given a grim reminder that job security just doesn’t exist like it used to. It wouldn’t hurt to keep an open mind and have some options available.

It’s intimidating, but the sooner one gets over this fear, the more one will be prepared for life after graduation.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected].

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