By Danny Sellers
Grad season is upon us: every year, 20-30 somethings are thrown into the working world. First, congratulations to everyone who has earned Bachelors, Masters, JD, PhD, and MD degrees, and beyond.
We can all argue that there has been a shift in how higher education is perceived over the past decade or so. The job market is forever changing, and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon.
The Days Before
I graduated from Elon University in May 2014. My graduation days before were almost an out-of-body experience. Regardless of what you personally have going on, I think graduating from college is an overwhelming experience. For me, I had just stopped playing football for the first time in my life. My practice, training, and game schedule soon became my job search schedule.
To me, the scariest thing about finding a job was that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be good at anything. I was never a great student - C+ average was my lane. From first grade to now a college senior, I had barely been interested or motivated in school. We were told that we go to school to get a job, so my unknowing mind assumed that the two will have similar effects on my life.
When I first met with the career counselor in the business school at Elon, she asked what did I NOT want to do. I said, “Something like sell insurance.”
My first job was selling insurance.
I got offered a position a few months before graduation in Charlotte. While I was trying to turn up and enjoy my last months of college, I also had to study for my life and health insurance certification exams.
Days before graduation, my friends and I tried our best to soak up as many experiences as possible: traveling, hanging and reminiscing were a constant.
Graduation day was a blur. I just remember waking up in a room of half packed boxes and a graduation robe hanging on my closet door. I feel like my roommate and I barely said anything to each other. We got ready and took the short drive to campus. I felt like it was a movie. Suddenly every monument on campus stuck out. Of course, in true Elon fashion, it was a perfect sunny day under the oaks. A few kids ran late after enjoying their last night of college a little too much. I remember looking around the waiting room, shocked that a few people were actually getting diplomas. I don’t even remember the commencement speaker to be honest. But I do remember the expression and hug I gave my mom after I got off the stage. Tears rolled down her eyes immediately after holding me tighter than ever. Reality really set in at this point. We did it.
I graduated on a Saturday, and that Tuesday I sat at a desk at my new job. I found a place to crash before my apartment was ready in July. I dropped off a couple bins weeks before, but the day after graduation, I loaded all I could into my Tacoma truck and drove 2 hours to Charlotte to start Adulting.
My Graduation was typical. Typical in a sense that it was scary. It was unchartered. It was too fast. If I could do it all again, I would have taken time for me, and not jumped into something just because it was the “right” thing to do. While my first job was a great experience, It wasn’t the right thing for me. I would have had a clean break to make sure the first move was in my best interest.
My advice: Take time to find your “You”. Get your money, stay happy and do meaningful work.
Photo Credit: Danny Sellers