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Chronicles of a Graduate: You Have to Start Somewhere

By Patty Marra, Series Guest Blogger

Monday morning I put on my meticulously selected outfit (a blue pencil skirt, a conservative cream top and a gray cardigan, if you were curious), hopped into my car and began the first of many long morning migrations up the highway.  While I’m not a fan of traffic, I can say that it does wonders for nerves.  There was not an ounce of nervousness left after sitting in my car for an hour and a half—in fact, it really enhanced the “let’s go get ‘em” attitude that makes functioning in the morning a little bit easier.

Being the entry level kid is a bit like being a freshman.  You’ve just come from being the top dog in school.  Now you’re at the bottom of the totem pole, fighting to find your way around unfamiliar territory and define your identity in a sea of faces. Now, I’m the new kid all over again.  During college, I was management—I led different organizations and delegated responsibility.  Now, I wait from orders from above while trying to memorize faces, names, cubicle numbers and pathways.

It's Hard

It’s not necessarily a bad thing.  There’s a lot for me to learn—about myself, and about the organization as a whole.  It’s only been days and already I’m shaping a more defined sense of what is important to me in a career.  However, it’s hard.  It’s hard to not have full control over my daily schedule.  It’s hard to wake up at 5 AM.  It’s hard not to stare wistfully at the freedom of childhood I had only a week before.  Yes, I would call it childhood.

Of all the ways in which my life is shifting, I think that is the most difficult.  Just a few weeks ago, if I wanted to hop on a train and hang around in downtown Chicago, I could.  Now I have to wade through the complications of PTO and holidays.  I have to ask someone else permission for how to spend my time.  It feels a little silly—after all, I’m the one who is physically controlling me, but I need someone else to give their stamp of approval before I can leave work a little bit early.  Yes, that’s life.

I’m standing at the brink of change, nervousness boiling up inside of me.  It takes a lot of courage to step beyond what’s familiar into the big question mark called the future.  However, I’ll grab my free coffee from the cafeteria and strap in.  The only available options are a) sink or b). swim.  I’d really rather swim.

About the Author

Patty MarraPatty Marra is a freshly graduated alumna of Marquette University, who is working on answering the question, “…what next?”  She is navigating the ever-evolving hiring maze of today’s business environment, and sharing the pieces of knowledge she learns along the way.  She loves social media, but appreciates a good face-to-face conversation.  Long-term, she is looking to establish a career in marketing project management, and help everyone she can along the way.  You can get in touch with her by email, or you can find more of her thoughts via her blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Does this sound familiar? Are you in the same situation?  Have you been here before -- what's your advice for Patty? Please comment below.

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