An Open Letter to a College Student
To the college student who just doesn’t know.
My path to a career was nothing short of rocky, irritating, and tiresome. I never thought I’d find my way. But, I did.
The C word:
College and I had a love-hate relationship. I knew I needed it, but I didn’t want it (in the beginning). I wanted to travel the world, get out of my home town, “find myself.” But, I also have expensive hobbies and knew I needed a degree to support myself. So, my journey began at Tri-County Technical College, which is located 37 miles from my parent’s home (not that I’m counting). I was a business major, turned psychology major, turned sociology major, turned transfer college student. After that, the move that made the most sense was to continue my education at Clemson and to go after a Bachelor’s.
I worked 2-3 part-time jobs while enrolled full-time throughout my college days, so social interaction was low, and stress was high. Not to say I didn’t have fun, because I did. Too much actually. But, not having a clear projection of my future kept me up at night, sometimes. Should I be a waitress forever? At least I know I’m good at this… I was jealous of my friends who knew they were going to be lawyers at age 2. “What is wrong with me?” and “Do I belong here?” were perpetual thoughts. Although on the outside, I looked like a joyous college student who loved “the experience.” On the inside, I was lost.
Internship? Sure, I’ll try it.
During my junior year, I was quickly approaching the “you’re 3 months shy of it not being okay that you don’t have your stuff together” moment, therefore I frantically looked for an opportunity that would buy me some time as a college student. I knew what internships were, and I’d heard a lot of great things about them. Like, they looked awesome on resumes. They built your network of professional contacts. They opened doors.
When I was offered a chance to interview for a co-op (which is a glorified internship) with a major manufacturing company, Bosch Rexroth, in Charlotte, NC, I was beside myself. So, you’re going to actually pay me, and give me a housing stipend, and allow me to work in one of the coolest cities? What? I got the job, worked 2 rotations (2 semesters), and was asked to come back for a third. Half of my time was spent in human resources, half was in manufacturing operations. I was working alongside some of the greatest talent I’ve ever seen. Learning things I thought I’d never have interest in learning. I was growing—in the best way possible.
Breathe. Submit your resume. Wait.
Sadly, my time ended, but I was actually… excited to go back to school. My time away, exploring a new city, pushing out my comfort zone, doing work I wasn’t familiar with, building awesome relationships, was the best thing to ever happen to me. It’s not that college and I broke up, we just needed some space. Which is FINE.
I didn’t want my adventures to end. So, before leaving for study abroad in Germany right after my co-op, I gave my resume to the recruiting company who worked with Bosch (HTI). I asked that they keep me in mind for administrative positions in the Greenville/Clemson area. When I returned from Germany, I received a phone call from an HTI recruiter, asking that I come in to interview for an internship position with HTI. I got the job, worked for one year as a Recruiting Coordinator Intern, and was offered a full-time position as a Professional Recruiter 2 months before graduation. I loved the people, the work, and the atmosphere. It was a no-brainer.
It all worked out.
I’m not saying that attending college, doing a co-op, and putting myself out there were the only methods of getting where I am today. But, it sure did help. Sometimes, not having a plan is good. Sometimes, waiting is smart. Sometimes, seizing the moment is okay.