Winter break. A time when all college students want to do is catch up on hours of lost sleep after the stress of finals. A time when mom’s home cooking means the world after surviving months off Ramen noodles. A time when pajamas become your very best friend. Yes, lots of college students want to use the stress of the school year as an excuse to be completely inactive and blissfully lazy during our holiday break. However, as seniors we have to prioritize.
Admittedly, I did not get as far as I had originally intended in the Job Search last semester. I underestimated my class workload and didn’t think that an extra fifteen hours a week devoted to internship work would make a difference. I couldn’t have been more incorrect. On top of waking up at the crack of dawn each morning to train for my marathon, I spend the remainder of the day either in class or at my internship. Arriving home at 8 pm each night, all I usually want to do is crash. I’m not trying to evoke a sense of pity here, but rather explain why I didn’t get as far as I would have liked.
UW-Madison is competitive and the culture is sometimes exhausting. Students compete in every which way - who has the best internship, the better grade, the highest recognition on graduation day, etc. It’s an incredible school for a reason; the graduating students are some of the most hard-working and intelligent students in the country. I watched as fellow friends of mine went on to third interviews and received amazing job offers. Yes, I was envious. But not defeated.
After taking a much needed vacation to Hawaii with my family, I’ve spent nearly every day of this break researching and reaching out to those in the PR/advertising industry. My existing network is small and oftentimes I feel inferior making phone calls inquiring about entry-level job positions. This feeling is exactly what senior year is about. Putting yourself out there, shaking off feelings of nervousness and letting employers know what you are capable of. I am a detail-oriented, assiduous and enthusiastic person and I have to let employers know this. Even if I don’t land the interview or the job, at least I can say I tried.
The search isn’t easy. Interviews are not easy. Currently, I feel as if every move I make is a test of confidence. I’m practicing and learning and asking for advice left and right from those who have been in my shoes many years ago. I’m sending emails, making the calls, expanding my network of connections, drafting cover letters, putting together a portfolio, etc. This month is about preparation and diligence.
My hard work is starting to pay off - I’ve had a few informational interviews, set up job shadows, and have a final interview coming up. Right now, I cannot say what the future holds for me. I’m nervous and my stomach does flips at the thought of failure. What I do know is that if I keep at it, someone at some point will recognize my efforts and my professional career may just take off.