By Cassandra Sheppard
As I prepare to say goodbye to my undergrad college career, I can honestly say that college has been one of the best experiences of my life. I put in a lot of hard work but definitely had my fair share of “play” along the way. And now in a few short months it’s all going to be over, and it’ll be time to enter the real world. Am I scared yet? I sure am.
But as nervous as I am to begin my life as a working professional, I know I’m ready. During my undergrad career at Loyola University Chicago, I’ve gained crucial knowledge and skills that have prepared me to enter the world of suits, strong handshakes and 9–5 jobs (that is what this all leads up to, right?).
My time with IABC has helped immensely to prepare me for what comes next. Through my participation on the student chapter board and the variety of events I attended, I was able to become a stronger communicator, a better networker and a more confident person in general. As I move forward in life and look to begin a long and successful career, or at least just score that first job, these are the skills I feel I can use the most to get myself where I ultimately want to be.
Throughout college we are learning and growing as we go, constantly being exposed to new ideas, opinions and experiences. It can be a bumpy ride at times, but it’s important to make the most of the time you have.
So whether you’re a freshman just starting out, or a senior with graduation looming, remember that getting involved is the best way to stay on top of your game. By participating in a professional organization like IABC, you have the opportunity to meet and talk with multitudes of different people, and honestly, networking is the key to landing any job. The more you practice, the easier it will become, and you’ll soon feel comfortable and confident in any professional setting.
So get out there and get involved! I promise that new opportunities will present themselves in a matter of time. And remember, it never hurts to throw in a smile.
Cassandra Sheppard is graduating from Loyola University Chicago in May 2012 with a dual degree in advertising/public relations and visual communication. She has been a dedicated member of the IABC Loyola student chapter, serving on the executive board for the past two years as a co-president and public relations officer. Cassandra is looking to pursue a career in which she can combine her creativity and strong communication skills to inspire change. Connect with Cassandra on Twitter or LinkedIn.
This article originally appeared on the IABC/Loyola blog.