Nnenna Ndiya, B.S.
I’m baccckkkk! So I took yet another break from the blogging life to focus on school and I am proud to say that this past May I graduated from college! Yes I am completely done with the undergrad life and now I am in the real world. Is it okay for me to shed a tear or two now? Although I was excited and ready to graduate I wasn’t quite ready to enter into this world yet. For the longest I didn’t know what I was going to do with myself after I walked across the stage. I watched as some of my fellow classmate panic and worry about their after college plans that everyone seemed so intrigued about. (FYI, stop asking college seniors what they plan to do after graduation because for those like myself who aren’t quite sure, that question can be very intimidating.) Even myself for a quick second was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to do after graduation but continue working as a server at the job that I really couldn’t stand. When I tell you the establishment I worked for was so messy, chillllllllleeee every day brought a new mess. I knew I didn’t want to work there full time and be that girl with a degree but still working in a restaurant. So this lead me to seek out other options. I began to consider applying for programs such as Teach for America (TFA) and the Southern Teachers Agency (STA) thinking at least I can get a job teaching. I love teaching other people and serving as a teacher’s assistant for the chemistry department three out of the four years I was in college made me realize that being able to explain things was something I was good at. As I began applying for these positions and even getting called for an interview I realized that yes I love teaching, but I do not like teaching children and I much rather teach an adult. I started to reevaluate the reason that I was even applying to these programs. My friends were doing it and I felt like I needed to say something when people asked me what I planned on doing afterwards. I soon realized that I was blocking my blessings. What if I do commit to these programs that I didn’t really care much for and I neglect an opportunity of a life time? In the middle of my application process I stopped everything and told myself that I will wait for God to take me where he wants me to be. So when people asked me that dreaded question of what my post grad plans were I learned to confidently say I do not know.
There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what you plan on doing afterwards. I knew that my college had instilled in me great skills and that my resume spoke for itself so why should I be out here settling for mediocracy. Of course I planned on furthering my education but I knew I wanted to take a break and experience working in my industry before jumping on the Ph.D wagon. Attaining a Ph.D in the sciences is no joke and so I wanted to be prepared for that when that time comes. So graduation came around and the next thing I know I was moving out of my apartment at school and moving back in with my parents. I was still working as a server but decided not to change my availability. During the school year I worked only on the weekends due to my schedule on the weekdays being so spread out. In the extra time I had I began to work on my professional profile. I updated my LinkedIn account and redesigned my resume. I started to get emails from LinkedIn showing companies that were looking for someone that matched my resume so I began to apply for jobs via LinkedIn. I didn’t think much would come out of it especially when I saw that all of the companies were looking for someone with at least five years of experience in the field. That didn’t too much phase me though, I saw the starting salary and I said hey might as well try and so I sent in my resume. One morning I woke up to a voicemail from a biorefinery company that I had applied for. According to their LinkedIn job post there were looking for an analytical chemist with experience, but they contacted me. I was in shock because on LinkedIn they show how many people saw the ad and sent in resumes and there were 100+ resumes sent in. I was immediately asked to come in for an interview which I did and I was able to impress the analytical team lead, the plant manager, and the president of the company. In two day I was asked to provide references and the next day I was made an offer. God works in mysterious way! I had no experience in the industry besides the summer research and lab courses that I took, I wasn’t too familiar with the instrumentation that they used, and I was freshly out of college. The analytical team lead told me that things such as instrumentation and basic analysis were teachable and that attitude, the ability to interact with others and grasp information was something a lot of people lacked that I had. So I went from the girl with no post college plans to a girl with a full time position at a company that continues to grow by the day. God is good! He knew he had something in store for me and I feel like although I didn’t recognize it at the moment he spoke to me twice; the first time telling me not to change my availability at my old job although I needed the extra money, and he told me to put my plans on pause and let him handle it when I was looking at programs such as TFA and STA. Who would have thought that by me updating a LinkedIn account I’ve had for years and never used would be the source of my job now? That’s one of my advice to college students; we love to update our facebook, instagram, twitter but when it comes to professional sites such as LinkedIn we neglect it. Now I am obsessed with LinkedIn and making connections. It is hard out here for college graduates. Everyone sees us as just so young and clueless and not capable of working yet in big companies. Well to employers, some times new grads are better than people that have been in the industry for years and have learned bad habits that are hard to break. You can mold a new college grad to what you want for the company, but with old heads you first have to break bad habits and then hear them compare their new job to their old job which is so annoying.
So the whole point of this long post was to say to all my college seniors that it’s okay to be unsure of what you will be doing post graduation, have faith that God will make a way but this doesn’t mean believe in God and do absolutely nothing. I knew I wanted a job in my career field so I applied to multiple places and looked at multiple sites. Also, this life isn’t a race. It may take you longer to get where you want to be but that’s just okay. For a minute I felt as though I needed to go back to school immediately then I realized I’m 22. It’s okay to take a break just don’t forget your long term goals, and it’s okay if those goals change as you change. Lastly, make sure to live your life for you and not for anyone else. Have fun and good luck out there!