Submitted by Michelle Preston, Class of 2012
Fall 2009: I was going to graduate college in three and a half years. I was to go to grad school in that open semester, and graduate with my Master’s a semester early. That was the plan. There’s always a plan in the fall of your freshman year, but life never works out exactly like you planned. I am proud to say that I graduated last month, December 2012, with my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; never changed my major, never struggled to graduate early. Perfect. Check. Grad school? We shall see.
Graduating before my friends in the Class of 2013, yet after the Class of 2012, put me in a position that made me very independent. I became “real-life stressed” just as the seniors last year were finding out about their post-grad jobs and graduate school applications, and long before my friends who are seniors now began thinking about life after college. I thought I had to figure out my whole life in my last semester, while balancing massive extracurriculars, a full-time course load, constant “We have to go (insert location here) before you graduate!”, a part time job, and a volunteer position at the Florida Hospital for Children.
The answer I found as to what I’m going to do with my life? I still don’t know, but I did learn that that’s okay. As a recent grad with a psychology degree, I’m trying to answer the extremely popular question of–to go to grad school, or not? With the help of my family and some wonderful mentors, I am figuring this out. In looking at the largest companies in Central Florida, I realized that I had managed to put myself in two of the big ones: The Walt Disney World Company, and the Florida Hospital. I am currently keeping my part-time role at Disney in order to network and use the internal hiring system, as well as the fact that I get paid to be a pirate, play with kids, and advise people about where they should eat dinner in EPCOT. Who could ask for better interim position?
I have found, while doing extensive job research, that my love of people and my knack for reading them may be leading me towards human resources and recruiting work. Resulting from friends and professional connections, I have a meet and greet scheduled with a Casting Agent at Disney to learn how she ended up in recruiting, to find out more about the profession, and to do a little networking, of course. There are many internships in human resources- some paid, some unpaid, but hey- I graduated early. Isn’t right now the perfect time to be figuring this out?
I have never been the type of person to make a five year plan and stick to it as if it were my only hope. I honestly have no idea what the next five years hold for me. What do I know? I know that I love people, and I will probably fit in wherever I end up. I have a pretty awesome resume thanks to my experiences at Rollins, research experience from the Psych Department, great professor and staff connections, and a college degree from a school very highly respected by companies. I even have a pretty comprehensive “Linked In” page, complete with a personal statement! I’m not sure if the world actually is my oyster, but it certainly feels like it.
As I said to my first-year mentees all semester, “In the end, you have to follow your own path- live your dreams, and other people will support you for it.” I suppose it’s time to listen to my own advice.
Submitted by Chelsea Dygan, Class of 2010
I don’t mean to imply that satisfied employees are ones that find romantic love at work (although that probably keeps things interesting for a while).
After nearly two whole years in the world of work (Wow, get this girl a pension!), I’ve come to suspect that the best way to earn a living, and perhaps the only way to contribute meaningfully to society, is to surround yourself with people you like. And, more importantly, to be someone likeable.
My boss probably won’t read this (unless she Googles me), but I’ll say it anyway: Jen is a damn good boss. She labors hard for our company, but models a healthy balance between life and work. She shows genuine interest in my day-to-day activities, but trusts me to accomplish things independently. Perhaps most importantly, she champions a clear vision for the future of our organization, but is open to new ideas and different ways of operating. It’s important that my supervisees would say the same nice things about me.
We’re all busy. Our generation has an IPhone in our ear, a Frappuccino in one hand, and we’re typing with the other–while driving. And, I would venture that most of us have this sneaking feeling that if we put any of that stuff down, we’ll be fired and homeless. But at least once a day, I seek to recondition my behavior. I sit gadget-free across from Beverly and listen to a story about her granddaughter. I write a note to Lourdes because she’s a talented teacher. Just yesterday, I spent some time jamming to Christmas carols with Lee, who has impressively decorated his office. I try to look at people almost as much as I look at computers, if only to prevent eye disorders. But mostly because I want us to be friends.
My field is outreach, prevention and development for a local non-profit. My “clients” range from people seeking counseling services, to Chamber of Commerce members who might attend the January fundraiser. I learned early on that I spout nonsense and slowly lose my mind if I choose to behave differently depending on the audience. My solution has been to behave like “myself” in most situations, unless that situation requires me to be real quiet. I seek authenticity in my interactions, and I’m never confused.
During the holiday season, you might expect a lovey-dovey blog post, but I mean it. My work wisdom is this – find people who will take care of you, and take fiercely good care of them in return.