Wise Words from College Senior: Embrace Continuous Learning & Build Your Network

 

By Heather Smyth

Senioritis. The loss of motivation a senior feels right before graduation when the main focus is on life’s next chapter. It can lead to decreased performance and the mentality that school is not a priority anymore. As a senior in college, your next focus is securing a job. The public relations industry is vast, yet it becomes easier to navigate with experience and relationships.

With the transition from the classroom to a work environment, there is a lot to learn. As a recent graduate (or soon to be), it is essential that you remain teachable. It can be intimidating but staying optimistic and being flexible will pay off. Connections are key as a young professional, which can include reaching out to superiors for guidance. Similarly, relationships can be built by being a good team player and learning from others.

Careers are established on solid foundations. That first position out of college will unlikely be permanent, but it can be a steppingstone for another job. The field of public relations is exciting and fast-paced, providing the opportunity to work with many different individuals within a big industry. The colleagues, clients and supervisors with whom you collaborate are your bridge. Whether it relates to a promotion or a new job, those professional relationships are invaluable.

Building positive connections maintain the bridge to future opportunities; don’t burn it. When the time comes to move on from a position, it can elicit those same feelings of senioritis. Although it’s exciting to look to the future, it’s important to end on a high note, because you never know with whom you’re going to reconnect. Meeting deadlines, producing your best work and maintaining relationships are imperative for success.

Once a bridge is burned, it can’t be easily rebuilt. Occasionally, the next application for a job requires a reference from a past employer. If your performance has deteriorated, the job-search process becomes more difficult.

Networking and establishing meaningful affiliations with everyone you encounter will benefit you in the long run. You’re not going to be friends with everybody, but you can be someone who is respected, positive and determined. The bridge of opportunity is only secure if past connections and relationships can advance to new ones. Don’t burn that bridge.

Heather Smyth is a writer and editor at Platform Magazine based at The University of Alabama. She will be a PR graduate in May and is eager to enter the industry. She is not a victim of senioritis. 

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