For many of you, the end of your college days are nearing and if you will be graduating this Spring, May will be here within a blink of an eye. As you are preparing to end life as you know it (studying, partying, group projects, and exams), it’s time to start mentally preparing yourself for your post-college journey. You are almost at the end of one of the most exciting and influential periods of your life (there is nothing like college), but the life ahead of you will bring about even greater moments and challenges. After you walk across that stage, do you think you will be prepared for the real world? Do you have your dream job lined up or admission into your desired graduate school? Or are you still trying to figure things out (if this is you, it’s okay; it is perfectly normal).
The Mogul Millennial recently reached out to a diverse group of successful HBCU alumni to share advice for students that are getting ready to move off the yard and into adulting.
Here is what they had to say:
Jamal Minor, Educator
Howard University Class of 2014, Radio, TV, & Film major with Telecommunications Management concentration
1.Find the beauty in every opportunity
My advice to the seniors getting ready to graduate is to expect the unexpected but to also enjoy the process. Things may not look how you envisioned them to be since entering college 4 years ago, but that’s the beautiful part about it. Stay motivated in case you don’t get the dream job you’ve always wished to have! It’s funny how God can show you the route that he has in store for you even when you’ve done 4 years of planning!
The most important piece of advice I have to give is to be prepared for taking responsibility and being in control of the life that you want – regardless of how it may look getting there. Dream BIG and live unconventional if you please, but be educated on how to manage your credit and being financially stable so that you won’t have to keep borrowing money! Student loans are real!
Tuskegee University Class of 2006, Management Science major
2.God, Family, Friends, & Career… In that order
My advice would be to never chase money when deciding on a job. Focus on developing your skill set and mastering your position in your field. Also, when you enter the workforce, treat the janitor with the same respect as the CEO. Speak to people, don’t treat them like they’re invisible. People always remember how your treated them and how you made them feel, so practicing the Golden Rule is important. Be sure to make good life choices. Trouble is easy to get into and hard to get out of! For most companies, a criminal record, DUI, or tax lien is a deal breaker for employing a person. If you make bad life choices, you are likely to make bad work choices, and you will struggle to find employment. Strive to make good life choices.
God, family, friends and career, in that order. I’m not saying your career is unimportant and shouldn’t be a focus. I am saying take note company is all about the company, and they don’t care about your student loans or your rent. Don’t be married to your job, strive to have a work life balance. Lastly, in all that you do, do your best anything you touch or do is a representation of you! Make your mark!
Amber Williams Chef/Owner of Le Rouge Cuisine Food Company
Grambling State University Class of 2011, Business Management, emphasis in Entrepreneurship
3.Finding a mentor is more important than you may think
Don’t just seek to find a job, identify your passions and make a career out of it. Jobs are meant to pass the time away, careers make every moment count. Search for someone older and more wise than you that is either excelling in the same field you desire to be in that you admire – ask them to be your mentor and keep that positive role model as an integral part of your journey.
To my fellow entrepreneurs, we are trendsetters, our businesses, talents and ideas are meant to make the world better and nobody is going to believe in your dreams more than you. If you don’t see an avenue to start your business, create it!
Johnson C. Smith University Class of 2011, Sports Management major
4.Utilize your connections
The best advice that I can offer is to STAY CONNECTED! The great benefit of attending an HBCU is the family atmosphere. In today’s job market, it can sometimes be tough to land that dream position; but you never know how your network (professors, college professionals, etc) can make the transition easier. Don’t hesitate to reach out to that former professor that you were cool with for advice, feedback, or even a possible lead.
Howard University Class of 2014, Public Relations major
5.Don’t Shy Away From Negotiating
Don’t downplay your internship experience — especially if you have a few good ones under your belt. Use that as leverage when negotiating your salary at your first job (which I learned the hard way that you should ALWAYS do). A lot of us are tempted to jump at the first offer we’re given because we so badly want a job, but it’s crucial to know your worth and speak up for what you deserve.