Compassion, Education and Sisterhood
February was a big month for KSM! We completed our Spring Rush, held Bid Day and pinned our newest class of Daisies! We also held an awesome outreach event for World Hijab Day and did some fun sister bonding at our Gal-entine's Event!
From Bid Day to Pinning
The sisters of KSM got together to celebrate each other and share some fun gal-entine's day activities! We exchanged Valentine's, had a fun potluck and celebrated the graduation of our fellow sister Kayla!
This month we are spotlighting our beautiful sister Kayla as she transitions from student to alumni. She wrote about her experiences preparing to graduate and offers some wonderful advice to others going through this exciting, but difficult time. We are so proud of her and wish her all the best in her future! Kayla, you will always stand out, but you will never stand alone.
You did it! Now what?
After almost five years at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), I can finally say that I’m graduating with my Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. It took a lot of time, hard work, and procrastinated lab reports to get here, but here I finally am.
I thought that everything would be cleanly laid out after graduating from college, just like it was when I graduated from high school, but I was so completely and utterly wrong. Graduating college is the education system’s way of tossing you out into the real world. If you don’t know how to navigate it, you’re going to need to learn and fast. In the last year, I’ve learned quite a bit about how to navigate through LinkedIn, how to find a job, and how to take a freaking chill pill.
Here are some of the most invaluable pieces of advice I wish someone would have given me sooner:
1.) Calm down, breathe, it’s not the end of the world
I’ve been in the job market for about five months now and I have been piling on added stressors that I didn’t need, and for no good reason. When you continuously get booted from an automated system for the jobs your applying for, it can be disheartening. When you’re told no, over and over again, it can be extremely disheartening. I’ve been so worried about trying to find a job, that I’ve lost track of the things that are important to me. I haven’t even begun to allow myself to get excited about graduation because I’ve been so stressed out about what comes afterwards. I’ve let this weight I’ve put upon myself take over my life and my mental health; I’ve let it effect my schooling and my job. And for no good reason. Life always has a way of working itself out, so don’t stress yourself out. Yes, look for jobs and be productive, but don’t let the stress take over your life. You are more than your career, and the right job will come along.
2.) Don’t just apply for a job, NETWORK
I feel like this one may be an obvious one to some people, but it definitely wasn’t for me. My first three months of my job search, I was constantly filling out online applications through LinkedIn, submitting them, and hoping for the best. As a person who works with automated systems, I should’ve known that one was going to boot me out of the running for some reason. I got automated rejection emails so many times I stopped reading them.
The one thing that has actually started to help in the last two months? NETWORKING! By not only applying for a job, but directly emailing the person who posted the job telling them how ~awesome~ I am, I got a lot more positive responses. I also reached out to recruiting companies so that a recruiter could do the work for me. In today’s world, there are a lot of helpful tools to new grads on how to get a job, but they just don’t seem obvious.
*Also, getting a contract job instead of a full time direct-hire position does not make you less. It’s a job, it’s a foot in the door, it’s all you need to get your career going.*
3.) Quit comparing your failures to other’s successes
Which brings me to my next point; just because the people around you are finding jobs, does not make you any less awesome, hirable, or worthy. It just means that they’re also awesome, hirable, and worthy. Graduating college is a huge accomplishment in life and one that you should be really proud of. Only 64% of MSOE students graduate. Of those 64%, 96% found a full-time job within 6 months of graduation making, on average, $65,428 annually (2018-19 statistics).
MSOE is not an easy school; STEM is not an easy area of study. But you’re doing it, and so is everyone else around you. I can promise you, you’re not the only one feeling discouraged. Instead of being jealous that someone else found a job, congratulate them! Your turn will come too.
4.) Don’t get your hopes up too soon
This is a tough one I’ve learned, but just because you’re interviewing for a job, doesn’t mean you’ll get it. I’ve been let down a few times, but in reality, none of them were the right fit for me. The people that you interview with at a company are smart people. The people you’re competing against for a position are also smart people. The job market is competitive now that more and more people are getting degrees. But it’s okay, you will find something.
5.) Don’t settle for less than what you deserve
Last, but certainly not least, don’t sell yourself short. You put in the work, you know what you’re doing, you know what you want to do. Don’t settle for less than you deserve just because you’re freaking out about finding a job. If a company lowballs you: ask for more money. The worst they can do is say no. Speak your mind, express your concerns, at the end of the day, its your career you’re taking care of.
Look, navigating graduating is difficult. It’s one of the biggest changes you’ll ever go through in life and as stressful it may be, it’s so exciting and such an accomplishment.
I graduate tomorrow, and I still don’t have a job lined up, and that’s okay.
Life has a way of working itself out