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Sinclair Advice Column: Maneuvering the Post- College Void

By May 25, 2021No Comments

It’s that time of the year again- caps and gowns are dawned, pictures are taken, and congratulations are given and received. College graduation is an exciting milestone, but it is often one without direction. Up until this point, your life has been paved for you. School is structured- filled with requirements, boxes to check and peers to measure yourself against. And suddenly- this neatly paved path becomes a vast unknown. 

Our team here at Sinclair PA gets this because we were just in your shoes. Our current staff is unique in that it is made up of mostly recent college grads- communication students turned professionals. We have maneuvered the field, faced all the hard questions and have come out of the post-college void safe and successful- and are here to impart the wisdom that got us here (and to hopefully ease some nervous minds.) 

Kailey – Account Director 

Change, maneuvering the unknown and making decisions were not my strong suit in college. This made my impending college graduation extra daunting, as I wasn’t sure where I would end up, what exactly I wanted to pursue, or if I was even on the right career path. 

Luckily, as the inevitable was inching closer, I stumbled across an open communications internship position at Sinclair PA- posted by none other than Ure Loop, an old college friend of mine. For once, the job description was right up my alley- emphasizing writing and design skills, with a chance to pursue my newfound interest in the crisis communications realm. I applied, got the position, and felt the stars align for me as I joined the team full time upon my graduation from Appalachian State. 

Despite the hardships of starting an industry position during the beginnings of COVID-19, while simultaneously finishing my degree from my kitchen table, I learned more about myself and my work ethic than ever before. 

My unique entry into the communications field taught me three invaluable lessons. Lessons that I often heard throughout my college career, but never really took to heart. They are as follows: 

  1. Networking is everything. Although I was completely qualified, I never would have stumbled across this position had I not known Ure. I was able to contact her with questions about the position without reservation, and she was able to vouch for my character and work ethic when it came down to the decision process. My portfolio and application project ultimately got me the job, but my existing connections opened this door for me. Don’t be afraid to befriend those in your program, build connections with your professors, or reach out to those in your aspiring industry- they just might be the reason you land your dream job. 
  1. Industry experience is key. For me, my one year of hands-on, real world experience taught me more about the communications industry than four years and a degree. Even if your program doesn’t require an internship to graduate, I highly recommend doing one anyway. It’s important to have an idea of the kind of work environment you prefer and deserve, especially coming in as an entry level employee. Not only will you learn about your job, but how to communicate with your colleagues and advocate for yourself professionally.  
  1. Live. And lastly, prioritize a healthy work life balance. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that people should work to live, not live to work. Invest in your mental and physical health through hobbies, down time, and life outside of your 9-5. 

Ure – Director of Digital 

If you are anything like I was in college, when I started my first job after undergrad I had more free time than I had ever had. In high school I had practice, work and homework after school, and in college I was incredibly involved on campus and worked three jobs. I had absolutely no idea what to do with my evenings and weekends when I first started a regular 9-5. I thought I spent all my time in college figuring out what I was passionate about but I soon realized that work and other obligations weren’t necessarily “hobbies”. 

My advice to anybody just starting out at their first job, is to intentionally set aside some time to get to know yourself when you’re not busy. I have discovered my passion for reading, yoga, hiking and podcasting- all things I thought I would never have time to do. I have a travel bucket list (coming from a girl who spent every spring break since she was 16 working) and realizing what goals I had in life that weren’t necessarily career-related. I spent so much time focusing on where I wanted to end up after college, I never thought about what I could be doing right now. I love my job- but it’s not the only thing in my life anymore, like school always was. The best piece of advice I was given was, 

“Your life isn’t just what happens 9-5 Monday through Friday.”

Sarah- Student & Part Time Account Coordinator 

The majority of my college career has been nothing like I could have imagined. But, in the midst of quarantine I landed at Sinclair PA as a Public Affairs Intern. As Summer 2020 came to a close, and the school year (virtually) started once again, I was graciously offered to continue my internship at Sinclair. As Ure previously said, I could sum up my college experience as packing my schedule, courseload and personal time to the brim, with the hopes that one day all the hard work will pay off. 

Having worked at Sinclair, I have gotten a unique glimpse of what life after college might look like- and I couldn’t be more excited. As our founder, Chris Sinclair, often says “college can’t teach you this stuff”, and he’s exactly right. The number one lesson that my brief time in the work world has taught me, is that your value as an employee isn’t always based on how much you might have learned in college. So, my advice to any recent college graduate is to be confident in yourself and your abilities and lastly, to start conversations with leaders in your industry of interest- the worst they can do is say no.

Kailey McSwain

Author Kailey McSwain

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