Two weeks ago, I hosted Queens & Conversation, college edition at St. Genevieve. We talked about the importance of intentional networking, knowing your worth and negotiating pay, choosing faith over fear, prioritizing self-care and leaning on others and knowing that you don’t have to do it alone. As I get older, the power of sisterhood is something I appreciate more and more. I’m forever grateful to gather women and empower them to live a limitless life because we are so much stronger together! Thank you to these beautiful young women for joining me and sharing your passions and goals – God has so much in store for you and I can’t wait to witness it.
This brunch was very special because I didn’t have any knowledge of what life after college would look like for me. I didn’t have a mentor sharing advice, had no job or interviews setup, so I wanted to be sure to pay it forward and share my experiences with these women as they stepped out into the real world. I’ve been out of college for three years and there is so much I wish I had known about transitioning into adulthood. With graduation around the corner, I wanted to share my biggest lessons to hopefully help make your transition smoother and more intentional.
- Credit is key: Just because you’re making money, doesn’t mean you need to spend it. Believe me, I know how good it feels to secure your first full-time job, but try your best to create a financial plan that works for you and stick to it. My first two years after graduation I did freelance work which involved helping small businesses and local organizations with their pr, marketing and branding strategies, plus worked events as a brand ambassador. I roughly made $20K a year my first two years post college. I look back and have no idea how I made it through, but God made a way. It taught me the importance of saving and building my credit. Having good credit is essential for leasing a car, apartment, furniture, and so much more so protect it. I recently got a credit karma account to monitor my credit and it’s a huge help to get free access to my credit report and track my credit score.
- Network with a purpose: I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, it’s not what you know, but who you know. This is so true! I understand networking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and can be dreadful at times, but if you do it with a purpose you’ll find it to be more successful. It’s important to build a network of professionals you can learn from and grow with. Depending on where you live, there are several networking events, workshops and happy hours for young professionals, but remember you don’t have to be at every event. Use eventbrite and Facebook to find events that interest you and challenge yourself to attend one per week. Ask yourself what do you want to get out of this event? Who do you want to meet? Bring your business cards and encourage yourself to connect with at least 3 people. You never know who’s watching, assume everyone is. Own the room and be confident.
- Self-care is essential for your sanity: I never understood the importance of a morning routine or self-care for that matter, until I worked from home and my life had little to no structure. In order to protect my peace I quickly found that it was essential to set boundaries and be intentional with my time. Whether you choose to meditate, pray, stretch, go for a run/walk, or journal be sure to create a morning routine that sets the tone for your day. Self-care is truly how you take your power back. Even throughout the day when you feel overwhelmed or under pressure, pause, take a moment to go outside and take three 3 deep breaths to refocus. Remember, self-care doesn’t have to be an hour or cost money, but make it a priority to invest in yourself. You’re worth it.
- Know your worth and negotiate like a boss: Before any interview, research the company and the desired roles salary. Recognize your strengths and know the value you bring, regardless if you have direct work experience. Don’t undervalue your transferrable skills, there are many skills that are transferrable such as being a part of the student council, leading projects and volunteering. Don’t be afraid to ask for more, be confident, explain why you’re with it and watch what happens.
- You don’t have to do it alone: Even though, you’re capable of doing it all, you don’t have to. There are so many people that are rooting for you and willing to help if you ask. Reach out to your community, friends, family and co-workers if you’re needing support. Asking for help is a sign of strength. Get out of your own way and make room for others to join you a long your journey. Team work makes the dream work.
Congrats to all the college graduates and continue to lead with love in all that you do. Take life as it comes and embrace every shift because change is the only constant in life. Go at your own pace and honor the process.
Founder & CEO