The Awkward Post-Grad Transition No One Prepares You For

The transition from college to the working world is a challenge, especially when you trade in a life of routine and familiarity for one with new people and a new city. I began my internship at Wyecomm one month after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I had previous internship experience under my belt, but in my mind, this one was by far the biggest opportunity yet. I knew the stakes were high, especially after moving across the country to live in a small studio apartment and leaving behind my family and summer job in California. But deep down, I knew this is what I had to do to pursue my dream of working for a public relations agency in Chicago.

The first few weeks of my internship were set with the standard projects—taking call notes, building media lists and simply familiarizing myself with the way things worked within the agency. I believed this was how the rest of my summer was going to go—laying low at the surface and jumping in only when absolutely needed—especially since many people had told me being an intern meant drowning in the assignments no one else wants to do. Wrong! Nope. False. Not at Wyecomm…Flash forward a few weeks and there I am, supporting a crisis plan, conducting cumbersome research projects and thinking strategically on a client’s massive communications program. Needless to say, my time filled up quickly, so much so that even finding the time to write this blog post became a challenge.

At Wyecomm, everyone genuinely relies on one another to get the job done, regardless of their title or the project. If someone feels worried about meeting a deadline because something more urgent comes up, someone else will offer to take a project off their plate. There’s no reason to feel lost or hopeless because #workfriendsarerealfriends and no one wants to see you fail.

Out of all the lessons I’ve learned throughout this internship, learning to juggle the work-life balance has been the hardest. I’ve always prided myself on being able to handle anything—work, assignments, extracurriculars and a social life. Now, my biggest challenges include finishing all my work between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, racing home to make a quick (oftentimes unhealthy) dinner, getting to sleep early, and then repeating the process all over again the next day. I oftentimes forget that going on a walk to clear my head after work or going to catch a quick bite to eat with my friends on weeknights is OKAY. Eat-sleep-work-repeat doesn’t have to be my life motto, especially when Wyecomm CEO Erica Swerdlow manages to work harder than anyone I’ve ever seen while maintaining a great social life. The balance is out there, I just need to find what works for me.

With the new-found knowledge I’ve gained throughout this summer, and as a result of my rapid transition from college to the working world, I have a few pieces of advice for those of you in similar shoes:

  • If you know deep in your gut that an opportunity will further your career—go for it. Don’t let apprehension or the unknown keep you from chasing your dreams.
  • Know you can always rely on your friends and family (and new coworkers!) for advice and support – you’re not in this alone.
  • Make a weekly budget and stick to it despite how much you want to eat out.
  • If you’re ever feeling disheartened, remind yourself of the courage you had to take this chance and use that confidence to fuel your day.

As my internship with Wyecomm comes to an end, I can’t help but be grateful for all that I’ve learned throughout these past three months. While I won’t be returning to Madison this fall, I’m excited to continue my journey and start my career with Wyecomm as a full-time Account Coordinator. So, in closing, I’d like to leave this post with a virtual toast: here’s to the past twenty-two years of preparing for this adventure, and here’s to Wyecomm for letting me continue my PR journey with them into the future. Cheers!