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When I realized I only had 34 credits left to take as a sophomore, I panicked. I was very lucky in the way my high school AP classes transferred to Penn State, but I didn’t want to leave school early.

 

Like many college students, taking on unnecessary student loans would have been silly. So I graduated college in less than three years. I was uncertain about where to go and had already renewed my apartment lease through what would have been my fourth official year of college. I decided to stay in State College and am currently interning for both Penn State Career Services and The Apartment Store.

 

This experience has taught me a lot both personally and professionally. Here is what I’ve learned from my postgraduate internships.

 

Work experience can teach you more than class time.

You’re not done learning after graduation. Working on marketing projects that get implemented, writing articles that get published and planning social media content that gets posted has been an awesome experience for me. If you focus on taking this as an opportunity to learn and grow, you will be able to apply these skills to a full-time position in your future.

 

Relationships are powerful.

Don’t underestimate the importance of connections! Having a network on LinkedIn can be very helpful during the job search. I recommend all recent graduates to use it. Penn State’s alumni network is one of the most powerful in the world, which has proven to be true for me as I look for a full-time job. Former classmates, professors and coworkers have been so supportive in this process.

 

It’s okay to take a break.

Many students feel the pressure to further their education or start a job immediately after graduation. It is estimated that gap years have a positive impact on over 60 percent of students’ career choices. Taking time to consider your options can give you a chance to think about what you really want your next step to be.

 

Confidence is the most valuable skill you can have.

You may be feeling like you aren’t ready for the ‘real world’ outside of college. It is intimidating when it feels like everyone has a plan. This is a reminder that nobody really knows what they’re doing! Be confident in yourself- even if you have to fake or force it. You are more than qualified for the real world.

 

As I make plans to move away from State College, I appreciate my time here more than ever. From football season to Friendsgiving to spring break, it’s been a wonderful year. I’ve traveled, visited friends, and spent time with my family. I’m so excited to see what the next chapter has in store!

 

by Bailey Weber

All Markets, Bloomsburg, State College

    

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