Vocate Blog

Hey College Students! The Professional World is Closer Than You Think

Amasha Lyons-Clark

Philosophy Major, SFSU

This article is written by Amasha Lyons-Clark. She is a third-year Philosophy major at San Francisco State University, minoring in African American Studies. She enjoys live music shows, art galleries, dancing, and observing and participating in stand up comedy. She’s also an aspiring comedic scriptwriter and avid BART rider! You can keep up with her on Twitter: @ejahye!

You’d think being broke in college is a part of the ‘Social Contract’ seeing how normalized it is nowadays. It’s a part of the natural order! A broke college student is just as typical as a soccer mom who drives a minivan or a McDonald’s ice cream machine that’s broken. That’s just the way things are, right?

I mean all you have to do is log onto Twitter to see this idea reinforced. Frustrations with loans, textbooks, and everything else that comes with being a student is the subject matter of some of the top tweets. In fact, one Twitter extraordinaire is so sick of it, he’s willing to welcome impending doom rather than deal with his current circumstances.

(Jaboouki Young White @jaboukie)

So if the broke college student archetype is ingrained within society, is there any way to fix it?

Forbes Magazine seems to think that our lack of affluence may not be so innate. According to their article, the problem with us “millennials” is actually within the jobs we have (or should I say don’t have) and not within our nature. It’s writer, Larry Alton, cites our “overconfidence and expectations” and “misplaced education” as just a couple of the things wrong with our resumes.

But regardless if it’s natural or not, it shouldn’t have to be this way. It’s 2017! Isn’t this the year of structural change? As a (broke) Philosophy major myself, I’m just about ready to do away with this outdated archetype and rewrite the narrative. Let’s introduce a new character: The professional, employed, fiscally responsible student, who orders that extra guacamole at Chipotle every single time.

HOW DOES IT HAPPEN?

So what does the transition from a broke college student actually look like? How does a student do the impossible and land a good job? I’m no millionaire but hopefully my own experience will provide some guidance.

Cut to the summer after my freshman year in college, I had no major, no job, and was on my way to a 3 month long Netflix binge-watching session. Yes, I was lazy, but that’s besides the point. The most pressing thing was my huge fear of the professional world. In fact, I avoided it at all costs. I steered clear of all campus job fairs, tuned out during every seminar on ‘professionalism,’ and committed perhaps the deadliest of all sins…I never opened up a LinkedIn account.

I believed Forbes Magazine, alongside all the other stigmas about young people getting good jobs and felt that an 18-year-old like me had no place in the professional world.
But then everything changed one fateful day. My card declined after attempting to buy a 35 cent scantron and I established that since things couldn’t get any worse, why not take a risk?

THE SHIFT IN MINDSET

Like any epistemic transformation, my entry into the professional world did not happen overnight. It took 12 months in fact. (Vocate can get yours down to 5 minutes). But with resisting brokenness as my focal point, I set out to forget all past thoughts on professionalism and become an employed woman.

I had to first realize that while I may be young and learning the ropes of the real world, I do in fact have a lot to offer. Fresh perspectives, ideas, passion, and a whole lot of time. I had to realize that while yes the local fast food joint would love to have me, so would my local non-profit. I had to stop selling myself short.

I also had to stop obsessing over the wrong things like what to wear. Professionalism is not rooted in a specific dress code, but actually within the mindset of those who are ready to activate this world and build connections. Passion comes first, and while still important, the things we wear are just accessories. I had to remind myself that even in the professional world, we all put on our pants one pant suit leg at a time.

GO FOR IT

2017 is all about revolution, why should the state of our modern college student be exempt? Sure you may be a millennial who’s addicted to your phone, netflix, and daydreaming but you’re also extremely valuable! You don’t have to wait until post graduation to enter the job world. Activate your opportunities and get that money now!

And believe me, if I can have this turn around, anyone can. Plus, with Vocate’s amazing job matching technique you’ll be employed faster than you can make a bowl of Top Ramen.

Amasha Lyons-Clark

Amasha Lyons-Clark is a third-year Philosophy major at San Francisco State University, minoring in African American Studies. She enjoys live music shows, art galleries, dancing, and observing and participating in stand up comedy. She's also an aspiring comedic scriptwriter and avid BART rider! You can keep up with her on Twitter: @ejahye!

1 comment

  • Loved this article, sometimes as college students we don’t fully understand our potential out of fear that, because we still are students we aren’t as capable as those in the professional world who may be ahead of us academically. Feeling inspired to just go out and do it like Amasha says. I will be taking ‘wait for the apocalypse’ off my to-do list.