Hello Young Professionals!
My name is Nicole Miller, and I am the NCRPA Fellow. I am excited to share the first installment of the NCRPA Young Professionals Network Blog with you! This blog will feature a new post from a different young professional each month, and topics will include all things relevant to being a young professional in the field of parks and recreation.
This post will cover a topic that is currently very relevant for me: the transition from being a full-time student to being a full-time professional. Trading in your cap and gown for a suit and tie is a big change, one that personally took me several months to fully accept. Even though I graduated in May, it was not until August when reality really struck me. I was heading into my first day of work while students were heading back to campus for another year of school. There was no denying it; I was officially a young professional.
I have been working with NCRPA for about two months now, and as you can see from the picture, not much seems to have changed. However, the following are aspects of this transition that I have found the most noteworthy.
You are no longer the big man on campus (or in the workplace). You are now the newest employee in your office and have a lot to learn, both about your position and the office environment. Act accordingly, be respectful, and do not be afraid to ask for help from a veteran employee if you need it.
There is no syllabus. In school, every assignment and project had specific instructions and guidelines to follow. However, as a professional, you will often be assigned a project that does not have every little detail laid out for you. This is your opportunity to prove yourself and show your employer that they made the right decision hiring you.
Your performance is no longer just a reflection of yourself. If you do not complete a project, you do not just run the risk of receiving a bad grade or failing, rather you run the risk of being let go. At school, poor performance only hurt you, but on the job, your poor performance can harm the organization. Your actions and behaviors are a direct reflection of your organization.
It is up to you to make the most of the opportunities provided to you. This is one of the main similarities between professional life and academic life. You are given countless opportunities to get more involved, network with peers, take on new roles. However, it was not your professor’s job to make you take advantage of these opportunities, just like it is not your boss’s job. Put yourself out there; it can only make you better.
Your life outside of the office makes a difference. Take time for yourself outside of work. Exercise, relax, enjoy life. Learn how to focus on yourself in the real world.
Overall, with a few simple changes in my mindset (and several more substantial changes to my sleep schedule), the transition has gone smoothly, and I am settling into work here at NCRPA. I am excited to continue my journey as a professional and to continue learning along the way!
Be sure to be on the lookout for the November edition of the Young Professionals Network Blog! If you’re interested in being a guest blogger or just have a great topic idea, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for more young professionals to contribute to the blog.
Don’t forget to check NCRPA YPN webpage for all of the latest YPN events and information!