From College to Work: When Reality Strikes

Published on March 16, 2016 in PECO Culture
Allison Lembright
Allison Lembright
Graphic Designer

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When you start college, you think you’ve made it. You’re on your own; your parents aren’t watching your every move; you get to choose what you want to do. While all of those things are true, college students are still kids, just a bit more mature than they were in high school. Sure you’ve reached a new level of freedom that you may have never experienced before, but the transition from college to career is quite different. I think grown ups like to call it - a Reality Check.

Yes, the dreaded Reality Check. By the time you’re a senior, you realize real life is about to smack you right in the face. You start to question if you’ve made the right degree choice or you start panicking that you are somehow behind in the resume/cover letter process. A moment of comfort finally washes over you when you hear the most joyous words, “You’re hired!” The first day of work comes along and you hope college, your family and your professors have given you enough advice and guidance for you to lead yourself into the next chapter of your life. 

I was one of the lucky ones. I found a great internship right after I graduated from college and three months later, I was hired as a full-time designer. Being hired full-time meant I had to make the permanent move to Cincinnati, which came with brand new questions – Where do the young professionals live? How high is rent? How long is too long of a commute? Which medical system is the best?!

My new reality check pushed me to grow up; I didn’t have a comfort blanket anymore. My designs for work meant they’d be seen all over the country, not just to turn in at the end of the week for a classroom critique. I had a more set schedule of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I had to move to a new city and find a reasonably priced apartment, which needed to feel like my new home. I was seen as an independent adult, given the option to join my company’s health insurance plan and the 401k plans. How grown up is that?!

Two years have gone by since I adjusted my graduation cap tassel from right to left. I must admit life has been pretty great since then. I’ve grown accustomed to working all day, everyday and I’ve managed to keep myself afloat. My apartment is nice and cozy and my cube at work shows my personality (in a professional way, of course). I had that moment of panic when I was a college senior of how my life would pan out after graduation but when my parents said it would all work out with time, I really should have believed them more.

Allison Lembright
Allison Lembright
Graphic Designer