Dear College Students

Whether you are a current student or recent grad, your campus experiences and professional next steps have been impacted by COVID-19 in more ways than one.

You were hit hard with premature campus departures, virtual classes, financial strains, food and housing insecurity…Layered with canceled sporting events, commencement ceremonies and internships.

No matter what you’ve felt impacted by the most, you likely have a lot of questions, and you may even be hanging on to some fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of missing out. Fear of launching into a crippled economy.

I want to address your future.

As someone who graduated in 2008, amid The Great Recession, I know a thing or two about starting a professional journey from the depths of a crippled economy. Is it a great place to start? No. But can you still create opportunity for yourself, and not become a statistic of these economic circumstances? Absolutely!

I also know a thing or two about taking initiative, securing professional opportunities and climbing the corporate ladder. I hustled and climbed fast out of the economic disaster that I graduated into. And while I did experience success, I also experienced extreme burnout. My story of burnout is something I’ve shared before. Burnout is the reason I took some time to pause and reflect a few years ago, before turning my attention to launching The Intern Hustle.

As you prepare to launch and navigate next steps, here are some truths I’ve learned along the way. Think of these truths as an inspirational playlist of sorts to get you through the tough days. The days when you may be doubting yourself or your future. No matter when those days hit — in crazy 2020, or sometime years from now when you hit an identity crisis (I’ve been there!) — I hope you come back to this post and pull words of encouragement from it when you need to.

These truths are lessons that I’ve picked up and come to know as true over the years. Many of them, I wish I would have realized much earlier (like 10 + years ago, earlier). Let them sink in, and really think about what impact these truths can have when you apply them to your own life.

>>> If you’re worried that you haven’t identified your passion yet. Know that you can be great at a lot of different things.

>>> Learn to recalibrate your mind so that you don’t live in fear of what other people think.

>>> Embrace your creativity, don’t shy away from it.

>>> People pay attention to people who have overcome adversity. Use this chapter of adversity in your life to create a narrative that inspires.

>>> Focus delivers results. Time and money are your resources, spend them wisely.

>>> Discomfort = growth. If you’re always comfortable, you’re doing it wrong.

>>> A strong network can open doors that you didn’t even know existed. Surround yourself with people who are a complement to your strengths, who are smarter than you, and who have been where you want to be.

>>> Pivots are positive. They may not always seem that way at first, but look for the silver linings when life throws you a curveball.

>>> You are your personal brand — Not an elevator pitch that you memorized, or a social media bio that you carefully curated.

>>> Grant yourself permission to move forward and take action. Don’t wait for someone else to tell you that you can.

Let that last one sink in.

Be your own biggest advocate for your success.

Do the work. Always be learning. Lead with integrity. 

Climb your own ladder. (Not just the corporate one.)

Yes, you are experiencing a lot of disruption to your life plans right now — The whole world is! But that doesn’t mean you should stop going after what you want.

Keep climbing. Take control of your future.