I recently answered a media query asking for a college graduate's experience in their first post-graduate job for The Washington Post, and I am grateful to report that I was quoted! Reading the finished product: Gen Z workers demand flexibility, don’t want to be stuffed in a cubicle, had me reminiscing about my road from college student to PR Associate at The Key.
Graduating college always felt like a daunting, but monumental life event for me. I envisioned caps and tassels soaring in the air, celebrations left and right, and an overly dramatic send-off as I made the transition into the adult world. But as a graduate of the Class of 2021, that was not the case. I was a junior in college when COVID-19 hit, sending me and all of my friends home to continue the rest of the school year on Zoom. The last year and a half of my college education existed in cyberspace with a hybrid class or two sprinkled in the last semester. When my university announced our graduation ceremony was going to be in-person it was like we had just won the lottery, despite the fact that just two years before, graduation – in any form – was never in question.
Even amid the chaos, graduating college was a liberating experience. I had made it and the world was my oyster! Or so I thought. After graduation, the job market was more complex than I expected. The normalization of working remotely meant there were endless job possibilities all over the world at the tip of my fingers, but simultaneously it felt impossible to actually land an interview. I mean entry-level jobs that require 1-2 years of experience? That’s ludicrous.
I remember when I first interviewed at The Key, and I thought there was no way I would actually get a job in tech PR. I was not exactly a “tech connoisseur”. But it was one of those companies that seemed too good to be true, so I figured there’s no harm in trying.
Fast forward a month, and I was offered the Apprentice position. A job at a chic tech PR firm in San Francisco? Say less, I’m in. I was finally ready for my big send-off – but the transition from college to the working world was little to none.
Starting my apprenticeship completely remote felt one and the same from my college classes. And I’ll tell you this much - working from my parents' basement was not the lavish new life I was expecting post-graduation. But despite the uncontrollable circumstances of the pandemic, I was eager to learn.
When I started, I was probably the least informed person about tech. I knew nothing about how the corporate world worked, the lingo, the structures and processes, overall oblivious and inexperienced. But I’ve had so many amazing opportunities for growth and worked with clients that have helped me fully immerse myself in the tech industry. My confidence is continuing to grow as I’m leading client calls (something I never imagined I would do), trusting my recommendations, and diving into in-depth writing opportunities. Every day, I work with such intelligent, sharp, confident coworkers and clients. I feel like the luckiest post-grad out there.
Reflecting back on it all, It’s crazy to see how far I’ve grown in such a short amount of time. I’ve loved every second of it. Being able to see my coworkers in person and work with people who truly want to make the world a better place. Sure, my transition to the working world wasn’t what I imagined it would be, but I am grateful it happened because it led me here. I am only a year into my professional career, so I am just getting started, but I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.