Letters from the real world: Real world mythological; students already there

After a long day of classes, students huddle over beers in the corner of a bar, tentatively speculating on it in low, solemn voices. As the semester's end nears, computer labs overflow with those feverishly pounding out resumes, eyes wild with their fear of it. Suddenly, the person sitting next to you in class is wearing a painfully crisp new suit, garb obviously necessitated by an interview to enter it.

The mysterious, intimidating "it" looming just ahead is known as the real world. Some might wish to linger in the happy limbo of a college campus, enjoying the privileges of adulthood without many of the responsibilities. Graduating from college can seem like the end of fun and freedom and the beginning of trudging to work every day for the next 40 years.

The secret of triumphantly entering the dreaded "real world" is simply realizing you're already there. There is no finish line; there is no magical doorway into another realm. What you are doing right now, today, counts. Tomorrow becomes yesterday with ever-increasing speed, and the things you learn and experience today can become valuable assets in the future. It can mean the difference between a job and "the job."

As a student I spent many hours working at the very newspaper you are reading, the Daily News, and other student publications, as well as part-time jobs on campus. That experience helped me get an internship, which turned into a job, which gave me the experience I needed to land my next job in California. I have no doubt that if I had done nothing but attend classes, I would not have gotten my career off the ground so quickly.

Another benefit of experience is that often it is indeed about who you know, and the more people you know, the better. The more you participate in campus organizations and jobs, the more you'll be able to share ideas with and learn from others. Those relationships can be valuable long after you leave campus. As part of my job, I often hire freelance writers. The first people I call are those I worked with in college, whose skill and professionalism I know firsthand.

Higher education is a long and difficult path to a career. Ideally, the choice to make the additional effort pays off in the form of more job options and higher earning potential. Just having that diploma has its benefits; however, you should know I've never been asked about my grades during a job interview. What matter most are the experiences and accomplishments listed on my resume, and those are the things I got outside the classroom - out there in the real world.

Write to Kara at LAeditor77@yahoo.com


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