One of the most frequently asked questions a person throughout the ages of 5 to 24 years old will receive is the ever-so-dreaded, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For me, I always had one answer until I was about 16 years old – an archeologist living in Egypt who also happens to make millions of dollars writing music on the side (pretty realistic, right?). After discovering more about myself (and finally having some reality checks brutally slap me across the face), I had absolutely no idea what to pick for my college major or what type of career I should choose that would bring me fulfillment, stability, and a realistic income. I was lost. Are those three things even achievable at once?!
Then I decided to chill out and just enjoy college. After all, I was 18 years old – the world was mine! I focused on my studies, making friends, and trying to find boys who were worth dating. I finally decided on a major my sophomore year of college – Communication Studies. It was a broad degree that included many of my favorite things such as public speaking, writing, public relations, and marketing. I still didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, but hey, I had two more years until I would be a “grown up”.
Then senior year came. I still had some time to figure things out, right?
Then second semester of senior year came. Whelp. That went by quicker than I had anticipated.
Although 21 to 22 years old is supposed to be a prime time in one’s life, it can also be very stressful. You’re too old to act like a child, but too young to settle down and start full-on adulting (yes, that should become an official word soon). It’s confusing and frustrating and you‘re broke.
College has ended and no one is calling you back from that entry-level job you just applied for. In fact, no one has called you back for the last 15 entry –level jobs you applied for. You may start thinking, what was the point of college? At this point, it may be time to reflect. Are you only applying for a “dream job” or are you applying for roles that you are actually qualified for? Have you thought about an internship?
While the job that you may actually get called back for may not be the job of your dreams, these jobs are sometimes the most important part of your career. They are the start of your career; they are your door-openers.
So, you follow this advice and you accept a new job! Yay! But wait- why aren’t you joyously setting your alarm to 6 am and gleefully jumping out of bed in the morning for it? You may not feel the level of fulfillment that you originally dreamt your first “real” job would bring you. You most definitely won’t be making the money you always dreamt of, either. But, what you will actually be gaining should be even more satisfying. You are building your resume and creating a pathway for yourself to score the job that you want to be when you’re “grown up”. Every task you are assigned will create a new skill that will take you from those entry-level positions into associate-level positions, and then someday, executive-level positions.
Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to have an internship with a great company and a fun team that gave me some direction, and best of all, office experience. The biggest lesson that I have learned so far: It’s okay that I don’t have everything figured out. It’s okay that I haven’t discovered exactly what I want out of a career yet. I’m just out of college and this feeling is normal.
For those of you freshly created college graduates like me, I hope you keep applying and keep working your butt off until you get that dream job someday. Until then, *cheers* to still getting annoyed by the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Robyn started working at Aureus Group in August 2015 as an intern. She is now a full-time Staffing Assistant for the Accounting and Finance team. Robyn helps the team with reference interviews, pre-screening calls, and sourcing. She just earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In her free time, Robyn enjoys playing piano, reading, long walks on the beach, and blasting 70s music.