It happened in the dentist’s office on July 19th, 2016. I had graduated from Fordham University less than two months ago, and suddenly I recognized the area code popping up on my FitBit (gotta love those call alerts, am I right?): Indianapolis, Indiana. Headquarters of the Institute for Study Abroad – Butler University, and of the position of Student Outreach Coordinator for which I had had my second interview only 24 hours prior. I lunged for my phone, not thinking that it probably wasn’t a good idea to be taking a professional call during a cleaning (as I was informed that evening), and answered it tentatively.
“Hi, Katherine, this is X from IFSA-Butler, and I’m calling to offer you the job of Student Outreach Coordinator.”
I was in complete shock, but I managed a coherent and ecstatic thank you, with the promise that I would call back tomorrow with my final decision.
I had a job. I had a JOB!
Senior year was tough – ten thousand rounds of seeing classmates and friends post their amazing post-grad plans on Facebook, of sending resumes and cover letters left and right, of never hearing back from about 90% of those hire contacts, of trying to hold it together as my push into the real world that was May 21st, 2016 loomed closer.
Opportunity is a strange thing, because of my most incredible opportunities have come from the most unexpected places. I had applied to Fordham on a complete whim from a free application in the mail, for example, and it had turned into one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had spent the past year pursuing a career as a boarding school teacher after the most amazing experience as a teaching intern the previous summer…but with no results. At all.
I had also spent the past year as a Global Ambassador for the Institute for Study Abroad, a study abroad provider who had sent me to the London School of Economics for my junior year. In this position, I created a digital presentation detailing my experience with IFSA using Microsoft’s Sway, taken over IFSA’s Pinterest account to make it accessible to incoming and returning students, and had run two information sessions for the freshmen I lived with. I had done it purely for kicks, because I had an incredible experience with IFSA during my year abroad and couldn’t wait to spread the word about what their model can do for the study abroad student…and because a little stipend can go a long way to a college student.
At the end of the year, my ambassador coordinator reached out to the lot of us letting us know that there were opportunities to continue our work with IFSA and to please reach out to her. I had graduated a few days prior and sent her a quick email as I changed for yoga. A few days later, she got back to me, saying that there was a full-time position she thought I would be perfect for, so I wrote a cover letter and sent off my resume without thinking too much about it (I was still a bit stung that my teaching plans weren’t coming to fruition).
Two interviews, overnighted thank you notes to my interviewers, and a phone call later, and I had a job. Not just a job, but a job that reflected who I am. Traveling around the country to colleges to talk to students about studying abroad, helping students find a program, guiding them through the application process, and tracking student trends; it was perfect. I love college students, mentoring, and studying abroad, and this combined all three. I was on top of the world. Two days later, exactly two months after I graduated, I made a phone call and accepted my offer.
Here’s the flip side, though. They asked me to be in the office on August 8th for our regional meeting, less than three weeks away. Long story short, I found an apartment, packed up my life, moved halfway across the country, and was at the meeting on the 8th. I basically went from zero to full-on adult in three weeks. I think I still have whiplash. I’m also still working on the “adult” part…
That’s where this series, The Entry-Level Chronicles, comes in.
There are so many things to consider when you start living in the real world – jobs, apartments, bills, professional skills, and so much more – that it can all seem rather overwhelming. How can you be expected to all of a sudden take care of your own life? I’m going to take you on my journey as I navigate the adult world for the first time. While I am by no means an expert (hence the “entry-level” title), I think it’s comforting to hear from someone who doesn’t have it all figured out and is making it up as they go.
I’ll be writing about how I keep track of all of my bills and expenses, how I found an apartment, how I maintain said apartment, how I navigate office life, how I stay healthy, and how I stay sane in the midst of all of this adulting. It’s a journal of my first foray into entry-level life, and I want to share it with you. I’m also open to any and all suggestions, so please please please feel free to comment with any of your tips and I’ll definitely work on incorporating them into my life!
Your companion in adulting,