You have just made it through what you thought was the most brutal time in your life; all-nighters cramming for exams, 20-page papers, and a roommate that never cleaned his or her half of the room. When the time came for me to graduate “Real life here I come”, were the only words streaming through my mind as I walked across the stage to receive my diploma. I was on top of the world and I believed I was talented enough to start at the top. I was wrong!

I remember my first “real job” at a variable data mail house; I made $23,000 a year and I didn’t have a clue about life in general. I drove an hour and a half to work one way. I lived in a tiny apartment and was very skilled at creating meals using Ramen noodles and frozen vegetables. One month in, I was ready to go back to college, but I didn’t.

Starting at the bottom of the totem pole taught me so much about myself and what was required to be a good employee. I learned to be resourceful, to ask questions but to also “figure it out”. This article published in Inc. Magazine, by Nicolas Cole, illustrates the brutal truth: “real life” is a little, well, brutal. Transitioning from a student to an employee will be challenging, but, you are given the opportunity to learn new skills not available in a classroom, build confidence in yourself, overcome obstacles, and accomplish tasks you never would have believed you were capable.

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