Senior Steps

Kelly Eastland

In just a few short months, many aspects of life will change for the senior class. The Senior Steps Committee surveyed a handful of recent graduates and asked them for some advice. Here’s what they had to say…

What is one thing you wish you would have known before entering the “real world?”

“How strong the Villanova alumni network is. I am certain that if I had not made use of the alumni network I would not have found the dream job that I now have. I knew that there was an established network, etc … but I didn’t realize how powerful those connections can be at helping you get your foot in the door for an interview. Even alums that I never met were willing to help out. I think that is one of the lasting advantages of attending college at a school like ‘Nova.”

“I always thought that when I graduated, people would be begging me to work for them. That hasn’t been the case. You have to work hard to find a good job and put a lot of time and effort into it. Start your job search early (during your senior year) and things will be a lot easier. I wish I would have followed this advice.”

“It wasn’t that I did not know it, but I wish I had believed the difficulty that independence really can bring sometimes. There can be more stifling than independence. By around June, just after graduation, it became abundantly clear to me that my life was definitely my life now, for better or worse. It was about that time, I recall having one of my many Shawshank Redemption moments: ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying.'”

“One thing I wish I had known before entering the real world is: Regardless of how well-dressed you were at Villanova, you will have to buy a ton of new clothes for your full time job. Oh, and no one (but myself) knows how to use PowerPoint.”

“That the federal government really actually expects me to pay pack all those student loans. They are not joking around.”

“Just because you have a college degree doesn’t mean people won’t still expect you to do menial things like photocopying, filing, or other boring administrative tasks!”

“There are so many things! I wish I had been more prepared to deal with my finances. Credit cards can be so dangerous. I am just now getting to the point where I pay them off each month. I didn’t always do that and I certainly paid the price. It is so important to set a monthly budget and stick to it!”

“How hard it is to trust anyone … even though you may be part of a team, it often seems as if everyone has an ulterior motive and that everyone is looking out for themselves.”

“It’s never as good as when you’re at Villanova … as far as having all of your friends right there and getting together and going out all the time. I would have gone out every single night of senior year if I had realized that!”

“It was an adjustment getting used to the notion that summer and holiday breaks were a thing of the past. My job required me to be on the road quite often in the beginning, so I had to get used to altering my personal life quite often.”

“Before I started working, I wish that I had realized that I shouldn’t be surprised or down-hearted that I, like many, would start out on the bottom rung of the corporate ladder. So many people have bachelor’s degrees these days and you really go from being a big fish in a small pond at school to a small fish in a huge pond out here. You really have to work hard at what you’re doing and people will take notice of that and appreciate you. The only way to move up the ladder is by doing every task (no matter how small) as best as you can.”

“How valued my people skills were in a business environment. I thought I would be at a disadvantage because I did not feel confident in my more technical skills (like working with finances/budgets, industry knowledge, computer stuff, etc.), but what I found was that by networking internally (amongst my leaders and peers at work), I was able to develop a large network of resources . . . and that is what has made the difference in my career path.”