July 10, 2017
Hello, my name is Jessica Sizemore! I am a recent FSU grad and the newest addition to
the Current family. While I could not be more excited and grateful to begin this new chapter of
my life, I cannot help but feel a little nostalgic about the last one.
It has yet to fully sink in that I am truly moving on from my time as a college student.
Like many others, I did not know what I was going to do after graduation. As I began my senior
year, I had virtually no plan for the future; and prepared for the real-world was the last thing I
felt. Yet, as I look back on it now, I realize that I was not as behind as I thought. The thing about
college is that it seems like everyone around you knows exactly what is coming next, but the
truth is, no one else knows what they are doing either. I say all of this for those of you that are
currently students. I hope that you can take a little comfort in knowing that you are not alone and
just live in the moment, instead of spending your time worrying about what is to come.
What prepared me for the 'real world?'
As I look back on my time as a Nole, a few things stand out to me that I believe prepared me for life after college. One class in particular had a much larger impact than I originally expected, and it served as a wake-up call that I was behind in the professional world. Throughout college, I had almost solely focused on my GPA thinking that that would be enough to succeed and find a job after graduation. I was not taking advantage of resources and networking opportunities like I should have been. This class eventually lead me to an internship, which was one of the best experiences that I could have had in terms of preparing me for life after college. I would say that experience working in your field is one of the most valuable things you can obtain in college. And who knows? It may even turn into a full-job after you graduate. I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to grow with the newly rebranded Current Agency after my time as an intern came to a close.
Another thing that I believe prepared me for the ‘real-world’ was figuring out how to grow and learn on my own. Understanding what motivates you to learn and how to find the resources that are available to continue obtaining knowledge outside of the classroom is an invaluable skill that will allow you to succeed in the real-world. You will not always have the opportunity to gain knowledge in a structured setting in order to pursue the things that you are passionate about. I did not obtain a degree in graphic design, photography, or video production, yet my job includes all of these aspects, to some degree. You cannot always enroll in a course to learn a new skill, hobby, or career, but there will almost always be a YouTube tutorial, book, or article that you can seek out. Take advantage of the resources you are given while you are still in school, but figure out how to stay hungry for knowledge after you graduate. It will allow you to continually grow and reinvent yourself into a successful professional.
12 Tips for Incoming Freshmen
While I may not be the expert on college and all that it entails, there are a few things that I wish I would have known before I walked onto campus my freshman year. Navigating your way through your first few semesters can be pretty overwhelming. So, here are 12 things that I wish I would have known earlier in hopes that it may help some of you to make the most of your college experience.
1. Whatever you do, don’t buy textbooks before classes start or at the campus bookstore. Professors will sometimes tell you that you do not need books that were on the syllabus, so go to the first class before you spend $300 on a brand new book. Which brings me to buying brand new books at the campus book store. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Seriously, Chegg or Amazon will have that book for way less. Campus bookstore = last resort.
2. Avoid 8 am classes at all costs. Also, Friday classes. Trust me on this one. Unless you are truly a morning person or have no other option, in which case you will still probably regret the 8 am. If you are anything like me (see: the farthest thing from a morning person) you cannot even do a 9 am living within walking distance from the class. And let’s be honest, a 9:30 or 10 will inevitably mean sleeping past your alarm and showing up without makeup and possibly two different socks, but at least you have your coffee. Priorities people.
3. GPA is important, but it is not what you should be placing your sole focus on. I learned this later in my college career than I would have liked. Employers do not simply focus on your GPA. Your grades are important, but you should also get involved on campus and gain some experience; whether that be through volunteering, working, or interning. Definitely look for internships. They give you great experience, allow you to make sure that you really want to go into the field that you are studying, and provide an opportunity to get your foot in the door.
4. Go to class. You will be paying for it for the rest of your life, so you might as well learn something. You can take a nap later.
5. Coffee is your best friend (trust me on this, I am practically an honorary Gilmore). It will be there for you through all your late-night study sessions, early mornings, adventures, and creative moments. Plus, a coffee break is a good excuse for you to take a minute to just breathe and get your feet back under you during those stressful times.
6. Make time for the things you love. Do not work yourself so hard that you do not have time for your hobbies and passions. You will get burnt out quickly. Even if it is just a few minutes every day, take time out of your inevitably crazy schedule to do something you want to do.
7. Travel. Any opportunity you get, just go. Always say yes to adventure (unless it is finals week; say perhaps to adventure then). There will most likely never be another time in your life when you are this free to take spontaneous adventures. You will have to plan around others’ schedules, take time off, or be responsible about your finances. Crazy, I know. So, see as much of the world, or even as much of your college town as you can right now. This is your chance. Whether it be an adventure with friends at a place right down the road, or studying abroad: go. Seriously, just go. The memories alone are worth it.
8. You may not know what you want to do yet, but be sure to figure out what you absolutely want to avoid. Make a list of all the things you could not stand to do every day. It could help you recognize and eliminate the careers that are not suited for you.
9. Trust yourself. If you do not want to do something, don’t. If you do not feel safe somewhere, leave. If you do not think you can trust someone, there is probably a reason you feel this way. Trust your gut, more often than not it is right. Do not let other people tell you what you should be doing, whether it is attending a party that you do not want to go to or choosing your major. Trust your instincts.
10. Do not give up on a dream or opportunity because of the qualifications required. If your dream job requires a skill that you do not have, such as Photoshop or coding, teach yourself that skill instead of giving up on the position. One of the best things that I have learned is that sometimes you have to be self-taught. You will not have access to professors and courses for the rest of your life. And while you should definitely take advantage of those resources while you can, do not let that stop you from continuing to learn and grow on your own. There are so many resources you can use to teach yourself new skills, whether it be YouTube videos, how-to books, or even blog posts. One of the best resources that I have come across is Lynda.com and access is free with your FSU email. Motivation is the only thing keeping you from whatever you have deemed impossible. When you decided that you want it enough to teach yourself, you will be unstoppable.
11. Take time to be creative, even if you do not consider yourself an artist. It is good for the soul, and a great stress reliever.
12. Enjoy the time you have as a college student. The worry and stress that comes with thinking about post-grad plans will still be there when you return to it. Travel, try something new, get involved on campus, take time for yourself (binge watch that show on Netflix, you know you want to), and go support your Noles (while it is free). Just live in the moment. Do not waste the opportunities that you have in college, you do not get an unlimited amount. And seriously, take a minute to just breathe, go get some coffee. No one else knows what they are doing either. Even if they think they do, they don’t.
The Next Chapter
College graduation marks a huge milestone in our lives. Everyone always tells you that college is the best four years of your life, and that when you leave, your life will never be that way again. To some extent, I guess I do feel that sense of loss; but at the same time, it doesn’t feel that big at all. I am still the same person I was a few months ago. I still go on spontaneous adventures on weekends, binge watch Netflix, stay up too late, and have a diet that consists almost solely of pizza rolls, chicken nuggets, and excessive amounts of caffeine. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I know this enormous chapter of my life has closed, and that I will not get the same opportunities for the experiences that I had when I was fortunate enough to be a stressed-out college student at The Florida State University. Yet, somehow, this is both the best and worst thing that I could have realized.
College is amazing. It truly can be some of the best years of your life, but the reason that it is so great is because it does not last forever. Your time on campus is short, no matter how far away graduation feels when you are counting down from midterms. If it wasn’t, no one would tell you to cherish it; to try all the things that you think you may want to experience because there will never be another time in your life that you have so many open doors. But what they do not always tell you is that the next chapter of your life can be pretty amazing too.
I am happy to say that I am now a Graphic Designer at The Current Agency. This new chapter is incredible. My job includes everything from getting to design logos, social media graphics and snapchat filters to photographing events, editing pictures, and occasionally developing videos or content for our clients’ social media pages. Getting to do what I love every day is more than I could have hoped for, and I am incredibly grateful to Chirag and Savannah for believing in my abilities enough to bring me onto the team. I cannot wait to see what the future holds here at The Current Agency. I am so excited to be a part of the growth of not only our company, but to also walk with each of our clients through the expansion of their companies, as well. I look forward to this new journey, and strive to put my all into helping to turn on your businesses, one logo; status; and website at a time.