I’ve been re-reading The Defining Decade as I️ venture into the post-grad unknown. I want to take some time to stop, reevaluate, and get a feel for where my life is headed, what next steps are, and just what exactly it is I️ want to do with, and get out of, this life.
If there is one silver lining to a global pandemic hitting the year you graduate college, it has to be this forced reevaluation. Everyone I know has had their post-grad plans altered in one way or another. People can say what they want about Gen Z, but for the Class of 2020, you can certainly count on our skills in resiliency, adaptability, and perseverance.
So, how will I be spending this tumultuous transition? Actively NOT letting this time bring me down or stop me from growing, learning, and continuing to pursue my personal and professional goals. I️ will continue building my “Identity Capital”, as Meg Jay would say.
So, what am I️ learning professionally?
- How to work remotely. 👩🏼💻 For my previous job, and now my current pursuits, I️ have had to learn to work from the little desk squeezed in the corner of my undergrad room. The chair is anything but ergonomic, and I organize my notebooks and papers in stacks on the floor. I️ improvise 🤷♀️. I️ am also learning to prioritize and communicate early, effectively and often with teammates so nothing gets lost in the new virtual space between us. I’m feeling grateful that we live in a time where we can stay connected even when we’re apart.
- Project Management. I️ recently competed in (and won! 😆) a two-week campaign competition created by Indoor Recess for our client, Color of Change. I️ fell in love with my role as Project Manager, organizing multicolored spreadsheets to track our meetings, digital assets, and project timeline, communicating and coordinating with our mentors, and delivering the logistics of our innovative idea to be sure we pitched a campaign that was on-budget, on-brand, and on time. Color of Change asked us to highlight the rise in racial hate crimes on college campuses. We demanded change from universities by saying #ShameOnU. Winner of 3 out of 5 awards, including Best Creative, Recess Monitor’s Pick, and Overall Winning Campaign (judge’s pick), find our full pitch deck here. (*Note: This is a spec campaign created for the competition)
- Google Analytics. I️ wind down in the evening with a glass of red wine and my Google Analytics for Beginners course. Although I’ve already been using the tool for a couple of years in different internships and jobs, I’m finally officially certified and excited to begin working through the next advanced course! (Maybe this time with a Pinot Grigio 🥂)
- PR Council Agency Ready Certificate. I️ have absolutely LOVED working my way through this program! Because so many internships and job opportunities have been paused or canceled due to COVID-19, the Agency Ready Certificate program allows young professionals, like me, to continue learning, networking, and preparing for our careers post-pandemic. The course consists of webinars on topics ranging from pitch presentations, strategic counsel, client service, persuasive writing, applying data, social media strategy, crisis communications, etc. We also get to hear from a diverse group of agency leaders to better understand career paths available to us and office cultures at different agencies. The program runs through July 31st, 2020.
- 🚨 Still to come 🚨: Advanced Google Analytics certification, Moz Pro’s The Beginner’s Guide to SEO, Google Ads course, and Fundamentals of Digital Marketing certification. Feel free to send me any other recommendations for courses or certifications you like! (If you can’t tell, I️ like to stay busy.)
What I️ am learning personally?
- I’m a “Doer”. I️ didn’t realize just how goal-oriented I️ was until I️ suddenly didn’t have any specific goals I️ was working towards. I️ graduated college on lockdown in the midst of a global pandemic, and all of a sudden my days felt long and meaningless. At the end of the day, I️ want to flop down on my bed tired and happy from a full day of laughing, learning, adventuring, growing, or personally progressing in some way. So, I sat down and filled in my Google Calendar. Not just with new courses, certifications, and projects, but also with drinks to grab with old friends, travel to plan for the future, and passion projects I️ finally have time to get to (Hello Mamma Mia skirt sewing project!) Oh yeah, and lots and lots of job applications…
- About people’s generosity. So many of the professional learning opportunities I mentioned earlier would not be possible without people and organizations coming together to offer help despite their own busy schedules. I️ think I️ can speak for the Class of 2020 in saying thank you to those groups who want to support us through such a tricky transition. Another organization I’ve loved connecting with is FLIK – Female Laboratory of Innovative Knowledge. This is a community of phenomenal females who support one another’s career goals through curated apprenticeships. If you identify as female and are looking to get connected to some other inspiring womxn, definitely check them out!
- Indulgence. For one more silver lining, this quarantine has helped me learn to slow down. Living a slower life, I’m indulge a little more in each moment. I notice things I didn’t before. I️ walk more than I️ ever have before. (I️ actually hope this is one aspect of quarantine that sticks around – my Fitbit is loving it!). We simply have nowhere to go in any particular rush. I’m not worried about making it to all the destinations that fill up my life, so I️ can enjoy the journey. I️ walk and think, I️ walk and listen to Women Who Travel, I️ walk and call my mom, I️ walk with friends, or sometimes I️ just walk to walk. I️ want to remember this way of living with indulgence when life inevitably gets back to its usual rush.
So there you go. The identity capital I’m working to build professionally and personally. If your twenties are a time of great change under normal circumstances, we twenty-somethings are really in for a ride the rest of 2020. Here’s to building the plane as we fly! 🥂
(*A note on privilege: I️ acknowledge that for many, these feelings may not be shared due to medical, financial, or other burdens. I️ am very privileged to be in a position where I️ have institutions, social structures, and family that support me. I️ have and will continue to educate myself on my own privilege, ways to give back, and strategies for creating a more equal and just society. It is a personal goal of mine to pay it forward as so many have done for me.)