Illustration by A.J. Garces
Genius may count in school, but in the real world, the ingredients for success are hard work, perseverance, and integrity. Of course, genius never hurts, but the working world requires discipline and stamina. Yvonne Siu ’03 Center for Global Development Washington, D.C.
Get used to a time schedule. Work is not so liberal as the college schedule. Greg Lynch ’04 Assistant director of residential life Colby College
I recommend that people take grad-school admissions tests while they’re still at Colby. Studying while you are still in the habit of being a student, I think, is extremely beneficial to your scores. Additionally, most scores are good for 3-4 years. Justin Hedge ’03 Law student Catholic University Washington, D.C.
First, as much as I loved Colby, I had no idea how great and unique it was when I was there. In the real world, I think you realize that your grades are not as important as how well you can think and analyze, and that a lot of jobs don’t even care about your transcripts but whether or not you completed interesting course work, did a thesis, or had a great relationship with a professor. Catherine Benson ’02 Graduate student Yale University New Haven, Conn.
Every grad should know that, unless you’re going on to grad school, the first year out of college is one of the toughest you’ll face. Someone told me at my graduation party that it’s the hardest of your life. I’m not sure it made it easier, but when things were challenging, at least I knew it was normal. Why is it so hard? It’s something to do with having no structure and having infinite choice when you’ve spent the previous 18 years in an academic structure with many fewer choices. Kimberly Schneider ’01 Master’s degree candidate, Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard University Cambridge, Mass.
Involve yourself in as many different internships as you can. Make and sustain relationships while at your internships because these relationships can help you get a job after graduation.Megan Williams '04Executive director, Hardy Girls Healthy WomenWaterville, Maine
No one really ever impressed upon me the importance of an internship; I really thought it was optional, and that after graduating I would simply get an "entry-level" job. Apparently, however, entry-level positions no longer exist, and even administrative positions require 1-2 years of experience. I am looking in the international relations field, specifically international conflict resolution, and have probably applied to about 25-30 jobs, all with tailored resumes and cover letters, only received a call for an interview from one, and at that interview was told my background seemed "too intellectual." How a person can be too intellectual to work at a think tank, I will never know. . . . I will probably wind up fulfilling a cliche and continuing on to graduate school, although, ironically, most graduate schools also require work experience.Liz Brown '05Woodbury, N.Y.
Internships are extremely important for any publishing field. I am the internship coordinator for our department and, even when looking for interns, prior experience helps enormously. . . . I also think an impeccable resume is extremely important, sometimes more so than a cover letter. Cover letters show your personality and interests, but a resume represents your professional life. And I don't just mean what's written on the resume. I also mean typos, structure--it should be very easy to read through.Danielle O'Steen '03Assistant editor Art & Auction magazineNew York, N.Y.