Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

Alternatives to Jumping into the “Real World” After Graduation

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Hannah Hamner

Senior PR Student Hannah Hamner talks about alternatives to graduation

I’m a big advocate of doing as much as you can before settling down. I’m tired of hearing the term the “real world.” Your life is what you make it. Everything you do and find important is “real,” no matter what path you take.

We live in a society that pressures us to find a 9 to 5 job after graduation. Our parents, teachers and fellow students expect it from us. My question is: what happens if we don’t jump right into our field? Are we shunned from the business world because we decided to take some time for ourselves or do something not directly related to our degree?

The answer commonly, I have found, is “no.”

I’m planning on teaching English abroad for six months after graduation. Because this is a non-traditional approach to life after college, I’ve definitely had concerns about my future success, wondering if my hiatus will put me at a disadvantage when entering the workforce.

Half Obscured Sun Costa Rica

‘Half Obscured Sun
http://www.flickr.com/photos/95572727@N00/138007788
Found on flickrcc.net

I’ve been in contact with various professionals through networking events and Kent State courses. Of the professionals I’ve asked, no one has had a negative response. In fact, many of them encouraged me to go off the beaten path, saying they wish they had taken that cross-country road trip or joined that band.

However, professionals were quick to say that you’ll benefit most from your experience if you can apply it your future career, so don’t think of that time as a just vacation period.

Teaching English will help my communication and leadership skills.

I plan on promoting private English lessons by creating a website and social media accounts that reflect my personal brand in addition to hanging flyers and purchasing an ad in a local paper or two. This will be good practice for the public relations world.

The professionals also stressed that doing something out-of-the-box will make you stand out. Not many applicants can say they went to Central America for an extended period of time and founded an ESL company, no matter how small it is. It will also show your passion for new experiences and add a worldly perspective to any PR agency or communications department.

My advice is, if you have any doubts about finding a “normal” job, think of the alternatives. It could benefit you, not only immediately, but in the long run.

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Author: LukeArmour

Luke Armour is the Coordinator of Flash Communications, managing this bright student intern PR agency housed in Kent's University Communications & Marketing. He's also an Assistant Professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University.

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