Adulthood – Pretending to be an adult

Recently, I had the opportunity to go and chat with a group of students at my alma mater about how the university shaped my career and where I am today. It was an interesting experience because, as I sat in front of these 35 business students, I had to pretend that I had all of my life figured out. They were looking to the panelists of alumni to talk about how we got to where we are and provide them tips and tricks on how to be an adult, find a job, handle stress, etc. I walked out of there feeling like… well feeling like I wasn’t sure I was the right person to be sharing tips and tricks with soon to be graduates because I am so far from having my life figured out.

It was actually interesting sitting there and talking about my previous experience because of the three of us, I was the only who had actually changed jobs multiple times. The other two members of the panel have been working at the same career and company since they graduated college. Sitting there and chatting with the students made me feel almost like I was an imposter because I was talking about the challenges and the risks that I’ve taken as if I knew what I was talking about. Little do they all know that I have and will always fly by the seat of my pants.

That being said, here are the tips that I gave the students.  I want to have them written down because looking back, I want to remember these things. I felt calm and in a good place when I was talking to these students and I want to make sure I follow my own advice.

  • Self care is key. When times are hard, whether in your personal life or in work, self care is absolutely necessary to make sure you are ready to take on the world. I find that most of the times that I am feeling like things are stressful, it is because I feel like I have no sense of control or I am losing control. Self care is where I can regain that level of control and it’s been amazing. This includes doing yoga, writing, sitting in silence, meditation, drinking water, eating right, exercising, and doing all the things that I enjoy doing when it comes to pampering myself.
  • One of the hardest decisions to make is knowing when to leave. I think that this something I need to keep remembering. It is up to me to make my experience a good one and it is up to me to decide where I am going in my life. No one else will determine that for me. When things are tough, if I am not able to handle it then it is up to me to fix it or get out.
  • Getting fulfillment out of your job doesn’t necessarily mean doing something that you love. I know that this one sounds weird but one of the best pieces of advice that I ever got was, “don’t live to work, work to live.” This was by far, one of the best pieces of advice that I have ever gotten. My mentor once told me that I just need a job that I can tolerate and am happy/satisfy with to pay the bills that allows me to do what I love outside of work. If someone is able to find a job that they love and are 100% fulfilled by, I need them to tell me how they got there.
  • The worst thing someone can say is no. We had to give advice on applying for jobs, internships and leadership positions. And I think that is one of the hardest things that I have had to remember and overcome. Sometimes the fear of rejection is the reason why I haven’t applied for a job or gone for something that I’ve wanted. But what I need to keep remembering is that the worst thing someone can say to me is no. I have to keep telling myself this over and over again. Even after applying to multiple jobs and being an adult, I still cannot quite get used to this idea but eventually I will be able to.
  • Your network and your friends are amazing. I have been so lucky to meet some amazing people and honestly, I probably would not be where I am at this point in time if it hadn’t been for my friends and my network. One thing that I love is that I will always help out friends and acquaintances the best that I can. I honestly wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today if it hadn’t been for my friends and my network.

What’s funny is that when I write these down and share them with the students, it feels normal and obvious. They seem like the easiest things to do in the entire world and it all makes sense. But in practice, it is significantly more difficult. I know that I’m a few days late on the whole new year thing, but I want to make sure I remember these all the time as one of my new goals. If my current situation isn’t the right situation, I don’t have an obligation to stay. I have an obligation to myself to take care of myself and move on when I need to.


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