Mari w mortar board

Thoughts for Recent and Soon-to-be College Grads

Holy mortar boards, Batman! I cannot believe that it has been a year since graduation. In light of that mystifying fact, I thought that it might be fun to share a few of the things that the class of 2014 can expect of life after graduation.


1) Free Time

You don’t have hours of homework anymore. You don’t have to go to varsity sport practice every day. You don’t have student senate meetings or newspaper layout or what have you. Even if you start a full-time job right out of school and volunteer or join a club sports team, you are still most likely going to have way more free time than you did in college. It will feel strange at first. You might experience phantom homework syndrome–that indefinable task that must be completed, but doesn’t actually exist, nagging at the back of your mind. However, after a while, you will embrace the freedom to read books for fun and hang out at bars for long lengths of time. No guilt necessary.

2) It Takes More Effort to Get Involved

Student activities, impromptu frisbee games, free concerts no longer wait just outside your door. You have to go out and find them. Friends and classmates scatter to the wind. Some might stick around, but work schedules will differ. It takes more logistical effort to round people up for a game of Cards Against Humanity or find like-minded people to advocate for coal divestment with. Plenty of opportunities for community involvement exist, but they aren’t going to float your way on the breeze.

3) Money

Oh, that. Yeah. Unfortunately, rent and water and Wi Fi and student loan payments and hard cider all require funding. So maybe try to make some money, preferably in some legal manner. And be careful about going crazy with spending after college. Traveling took a good chunk out of my savings, and if I had not been lucky enough to find a job soon after I started looking, I would have been living with my mom for a lot longer.

4) People Want to Help You

This isn’t something that changes after graduation. In college, you have professors encouraging your studies and extracurricular pursuits. After college, you can still get in touch with your old professors. You can also look to your employers as mentors, to fellow alumni, to other professionals in your field, and your peers. If you have the courage to ask for help and advice, it will usually be willingly and happily provided. Don’t worry. You don’t have to strike out on adulthood alone.

(Side note: Every job that I have been offered since graduating has resulted from asking alumni and previous employers for help.)

5) New Endeavors Pay Off

When I graduated, I had no clue what I was going to do with my double-major in East Asian Studies and Studio Art. At some point I decided it might be fun to try graphic design, so I taught myself how to use vector graphic software. Then, I posted on LinkedIn that I was looking for freelance work. Three Lewis & Clark alumni responded, and I wound up doing graphic design work for all of them. In some roundabout way, that led to me pursuing freelance social media consulting as well, which led to the job that I am starting next week: Communications Coordinator at Northwest Health Foundation. I’m certain that this job will lead to even bigger and better opportunities.

(Shameless plug: If you like the Facebook page I am working on for one LC alum, you will have access to all of the cute videos, interesting facts, and pictures of artwork that I post on the page. And, I will say thank you.)


p.s. If you have any questions about info interviews or job searching or are looking for someone to connect with in your field, I would be happy to share my resources and year of insight in the process, for what it is worth.


My Love/Hate Relationship with Social Media

People like to argue that social media gets in the way of real, face-to-face human interaction. I don’t place much store in this argument. As a bonafide introvert, if it were possible to use social media to avoid human interaction, I would. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked so far. (I’m joking. Mostly.)

My greatest objection to social media is the never ending glut of information that spills out of it. Social media does not stick to business hours. There is no down time. I looked away from my computer screen the other day, and when I looked back a couple of minutes later, 65 new tweets had been tweeted. It is impossible to catch up, because users post content faster than anyone could ever hope to consume it all. Then, of course, there is the pressure to add to that content. And, furthermore, the pressure to add content that will stand out from the rest of the content.

I have found that the best thing to do is step back and limit my exposure. Were fewer things happening before social media? No. Celebrities still died. Protests still happened. Oil still spilled. Cats still looked grumpy. However, our exposure was limited to print, radio, and television. Fewer people could share their opinions and pets with a large-scale audience. The best thing to do is admit that it can’t all be consumed, and it doesn’t need to be. Before social media, we wouldn’t have had access to it all in the first place.

What I love about social media is also the never ending spout of information. I like reading tweets about people, organizations, and activities that I otherwise would have never known existed. I have found volunteer opportunities this way and discovered new favorite artists. I have often heard about news items through social media before articles have been published about them in The New York Times.

Furthermore, I love the collaboration and connection that social media fosters. Through social media, I chatted with an Acquisitions Editor for a publishing company based on the East Coast. I “attended” a bus tour of historical Portland by following the tweets of those who were actually on the tour. I’ve consumed more art, lectures, and music, than I ever could have accessed before social media.

As with all technological advancements, there are reasons to fight against and avoid social media. However, like many technological advancements, there are also ways that social media can improve communication and quality of life.