Shout out to all the 4th year College / University students for pulling through these last few semesters. Congratulations, you made it. The year is not over yet, and with more work, comes more stress and a lot more to think about before the year is finished.
4th year is an important year in your College experience, not the most important but it is definitely up there. I am going to be real with you, just because you’re in your final year as a student does not mean you should be neglecting your studies to hang out at frat parties. The occasional night out is okay, and probably well needed, but do not get carried away. The truth is, from the first day of classes to your day of graduation, there is no time to slack off. You are in your last year of College and sh** is about to get real, make the most of it and plan accordingly.
I have suffered major setbacks and many late nights throughout University and 3 years ago I probably would have laughed in your face if you told me I would be in my 4th year. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to drop out, bruh I could pay my tuition, no problem. Despite what any adult will tell you, College is hard. Yes, a full time job is also stressful and a lot of work but once you clock out, you are done until the next day – typically with a full time job. In College when you go home all your work carries on with you and continues to pile up. Being in your 4th year is difficult and not only because of the course load, but a lot of extra stress is implemented on you to figure out your future. But do not let that discourage you.
In this post I am going to address common anxieties that arise in your 4th year, mostly from my own experience pushing through my last few semesters. This way, you do not have to feel like you are alone in all of this or if you are not in your 4th year just yet, then this will help get you prepared for what is to come and help you kill it in your final year.
Minimize your course load as much as possible:
You want to keep your grades up, and trying to confine all your subjects in one semester will only overwhelm you even more. I made this mistake this semester thinking that I will be able to graduate faster by doing so, but honestly it was not worth it. Luckily, I still managed to stay on top of my work and do well but I barely had time for myself. Going to school full time and working is especially difficult, so I recommend taking on what you can handle. Just because you’re in your 4th year, does not mean you need to graduate on time. Make your own schedule and do what works best for you.
Most deadlines to apply for graduation or further studies are due within the end of your first semester (This is based off of my school, make sure you check for updates and alerts at your own school!) Deadlines are another added anxiety to your 4th year because while you are finishing up assignments and studying for exams the last thing you want to be thinking about is your graduation photo form, but that does not mean you should neglect them until the due date. Schedule a meeting with your department manager at the beginning of the semester to discuss all the upcoming deadlines and opportunities available. This way you will know well in advance all your requirements to graduate.
“What are you doing next?”
This is probably the most stressful question any student will be asked in all their years of College. Want to hear a secret? “I don’t know” is an acceptable answer. Okay, you’re in your 4th year, yes, you should probably have a general idea of your future because you spent 4 years studying, but that does not mean you need to know exactly what you’re going to do after graduation. Do you know how many people change careers post-graduation? A lot. I do not know the exact number of people but trust me when I say it’s a lot. That being said, if somebody asks you this question and you do know, great! You’re doing better than most of us and I would love to hear your future plans because this is genuinely amazing news. But, if you are someone who freezes up when you hear this question, then instead of panicking, politely explain to the person that the 4 years you spent in College provided you with excellent learning experiences that you will be able to carry on with you forever. However, you’re still trying to find your muse.
So there you have it, 4th year College and University anxieties that will drive you crazy but make you miss being a student once you’re gone. These are not strictly limited to every student and are not all the anxieties you will acquire – everyone has a different experience. Congratulations people, you deserve recognition for making it this far, despite the fight it took to get here.
Anybody can wake up and start a company, but it takes dedication, time and commitment to make a business work and be successful. You do not need to be highly qualified or have attended prestigious schools (although these are great qualities to succeed). Sometimes your mistakes and failures lead you right to your destiny. What do I mean by this? If you lose your job or are rejected from a company, then this is probably a wakeup call to try something new or go into an entirely different direction, career wise. Joëlle Anello, a Toronto blogger turned her hobby, her blog La Petite Noob, into a full time career after an unfortunate shift in her work life. She took what seemed like an escape from reality, and made it her every day.
I had the chance to connect with Joëlle, who is an entrepreneur that inspires me to continue working for my dreams despite the obstacles I face. Read below for Joëlle’s experiences with becoming a blogger and her advice to aspiring young millennials looking for direction but are unsure of what to do.
Did you always want to become a blogger?
For me, blogging was a way to escape a workplace that I wasn’t 100% happy in. I needed a creative outlet, and my blog La Petite Noob definitely filled that void. As the years went by, and I started to gain more readers and traction, I finally started seeing myself as a ‘blogger’ and began to think that maybe this was something that I could do more than just a hobby.
Did you ever expect you would be your own boss and travel around the world?
Honestly, I never expected to be working for myself. I’m a pretty structured person, so I was always happy working as a part of a company. Because I view the blog as a piece of myself, I never really look at myself as a ‘boss.’ I’m just very grateful to be able to do what I love, to share myself with the world and to be able to support myself financially while doing so.
What you would you say is the hardest thing about being your own boss?
I think having to wear so many hats is definitely the hardest thing about being your own boss. In any given day, I’m my own copywriter, secretary, cleaning staff, travel agent, sales negotiator, etc. It can get to be quite tiring, and the job literally never stops, but because this is my passion it doesn’t bother me much!
Was there ever a time where you wanted give up? What kept you going?
Sometimes, one the busiest days, or where there are lots of little mistakes being made that are 100% my fault, I can get quite down. The passion I have for my blog always keeps me going so, while the hard days do weigh on me, I’ve never considered giving up.
What were some of the biggest lessons that have impacted the way you work?
I’ve learned to always believe and advocate for yourself. Never let anyone make you question your worth. If you want something, don’t be afraid to ask for it. And above all, always proof read your emails!
Did you have any mentors to help you get to where you are, now?
While I couldn’t pin-point a mentor, I’m constantly motivated and driven by the bloggers around me – especially in Toronto. The amount of passion, creativity and hustle in this industry is completely inspiring!
Do you have any advice for a blogger / young entrepreneur starting up?
My advice for a new blogger is to dive in head-first and always, always, always create out of passion. Become obsessed with content, and never stop trying to accumulate it. This industry has to be your passion, because all of the perks can take a long time to come – for example, I didn’t get my first paid project until I had been blogging for almost 2 years. Enjoy the ride!
I recently attended an event in Toronto, dedicated to young individuals who have undergone failures throughout their career but have bounced back and continue to fight any obstacle along the way. The hosts Paula Reid, and Anne Phitsanoukanh organized an evening full of inspirational speakers who, personally, left me thinking about how I can turn my failures into successes.
Shut up, Nobody Cares took place at the Gladstone Hotel on Thursday evening. The title was enough encouragement for me to attend the event because I wanted to understand the meaning behind the podcast. The definition of Shut Up, Nobody Cares revolves around this idea of not being afraid to admit when you make a mistake or have fallen on your face because realistically, nobody cares. Continue to work and succeed without the pressure to be perfect. Your mistakes lead you towards bigger and better opportunities, and by worrying about how many failures you have experienced, then you will never be able to move from those mishaps.
One speaker that really stood out to me was an individual who taught a mini physics lesson on the speed of light. At first, I was completely lost and honestly, uninterested in the topic, but this guy amazed me with how he tied in the theme of, Shut Up, Nobody Cares. After explaining the background on the speed of light, he concluded by pointing out the mistakes and failures that experts experienced when trying to discover the truth of the universe. He says, “Life is full of mistakes and setbacks, but our lives are the same. They make us who we are and we wouldn’t be here without them” this line made me realize the possibilities that are available and that there is no end goal. As young entrepreneurs working towards a career we may have always considered being successful as owning my own company. This speaker provides motivation to always keep going no matter what stage of my success I am at.
The night continued with plenty of individuals who shared their success stories and tips on how they overcame the tragedy of letting fear ruin their chances of success. The one thing I took away from this event was that failure is inevitable, but you should not allow your fear to take away your hope.
After speaking with Paula on why she decided to take Shut Up, Nobody Cares into a public space, she indicated that a lot of podcasts take place in the United States and she wanted to bring that aroma of positivity and encouragement to Toronto.
The event was a complete hit, and I was in awe with everyone’s stories, because they were real and unexpected. I say unexpected because every speaker contributed something different and unique that at least, made me feel like my story is not finished just yet.
So, you landed your dream job and now you have no idea what to wear? We have all been there, rummaging through your drawers and throwing all your clothes on to the bed hoping to find the perfect outfit. Take a deep breath because destroying your closet will not help. The first day of work is a lot like the first day of school, you want to give a great first impression since you will be seeing these people every day. Although figuring out what to wear may be overwhelming, and people will judge you no matter what, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Looking confident and comfortable is a key aspect to killing it on your first day on the job. Which is why I have listed the Dos and Donts from my personal experiences for your first day on the job.
Dress for YOUR position
When I started my internship at the beginning of summer I was extremely nervous about not fitting in and was not sure what was the appropriate style for this work environment. I dressed professionally with dress pants, a blouse and heels – this was my first time working in a professional setting, and I wanted to look the part, but I did not consider what part I played in this position. What I mean by this is, when I got hired to be an intern, I was 20 – years old, also known as the youngest employee in the company. I did not have to come in wearing pencil skirts and button ups, but I also needed to dress appropriately.
Do take into consideration that every company is different. Working at a branding company that atmosphere was loud and full of creativity and I felt more comfortable dressing professional but chic. Research the company and the people there, to grasp a better understanding about the working environment before you start your first day.
Bring a change of shoes
At my previous part time job as a sales associate for a clothing store I wore heels during my shift and regretted immediately once I sat in my car and had to drive home in pain. I am a petite woman so, wearing heels gave me the lift of confidence while in a work setting, but I would forgetfully not bring a change of comfortable shoes for before and after my shift begun. Lucky, my internship now, requires me to sit at a desk most of the day writing on my computer, which is why I can wear heels to work without getting sore feet, but comfort is important. You want your employers to know you are comfortable where you are and can adjust, you never know what errand or event you have to run off to at work. Bring an extra pair of runners and change into your work shoes before and after work, this is also a good idea if the weather is terrible and you do not want to dirty the office floors.
Don’t try too hard
Remember that the only person you should be impressing is yourself. Forget about the big name executives and clients and wear what makes you feel like a bad ass queen. Do not over do it by layering on the makeup and over spraying your perfume to make a statement. You want to be remembered for your work, not how you look, because you are worth so much more than your appearance.
I spent every day at work worried that I was being judged and criticized when all I wanted was to fit in. Turns out, I was never being judged on how I looked, but on what I can do, and it was not until the internship offered me a job that I realized it was my confidence in my work that helped me succeed. You do not have to wait until someone tells you, you are doing a good job to believe it, if you walk in and show that you are capable of succeeding people will believe it too.
Most of us have deadlines to worry about and if you are like me, you sometimes wait until the last minute to do whatever it is you were assigned. Well, I am here to tell you to stop delaying your responsibilities and plan ahead. Now, I know what you are thinking, why make your day even longer when you can deal with it at another time – trust me I have given myself the same pep talk multiple times, and you know where it has got me? Crying on my bedroom floor at 2 am. I always thought I was incapable of multitasking because I would get easily stressed out and constantly worry that I would fail or disappoint people. Turns out I just never organized my time properly and because I did everything last minute I spent more time focusing on getting it done on time, instead of focusing on the actual task.
By managing your time, you will be able to get a good night rest without stressing about if you did a good enough job because you will know you contributed 100% effort. Time management does not have to be limited to work, but managing your job, family and relationships are important too.
Personally, I am stuck in this limbo of wanting to work hard now but also, drop all responsibilities and sporadically travel the world. Before summer started I was set on traveling and convinced myself that I have all the time in the world to work, and then summer started and my decision changed. I realized that not working seemed delusional because I actually needed money to leave my house. So, I got three jobs hoping I could save up enough money for future travels. I became overwhelmed and spent most of my days complaining, but it did not occur to me that prioritizing my time. For now, I am not traveling the world, but I was able to manage my jobs so that, I was eating dinner with my family, and hanging out with my friends on the weekend. This may not be the greatest example, but my point is that you do not have to sacrifice what you love in order to be successful or happy. Below, I have listed some tips to help you manage your time properly.
1. Don’t be afraid to say “no”
Taking on too much can become overwhelming and although you may want to be helpful, you should work on what you can successfully manage. Working on overdrive will drain you out and you will not only finish on time, but your mental health may also be negatively affected from stress, exhaustion or worse.
2. Start early
The earlier you start the quicker you can finish whatever you are doing and have time to spare for your personal self. Beginning early also allows you to go at your own pace and not stress about finishing on time.
3. Turn tasks into habits
Once you get in to the groove of completing tasks before the assigned deadline then the work becomes second nature to your everyday schedule. Setting up specific times or days
to get your tasks done, or even to making a point to meet up with an old friend once in a while, your mind will acknowledge this as a habit and be your mental planner.
Put away the distractions, silence your phone, close all tabs and commit to the task or responsibility without being tempted to do something else. It takes an average person 23 minutes to refocus – this is valuable time, use it.
Everyone deals with situations and handles workloads differently – work at your own pace and begin by managing your time efficiently.