Networking for Internationals (and Non-Internationals, too)

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Two People Coffee Notebook

A few weeks ago I went to an interesting workshop for International Students where I learn a lot about NETWORKING. I know that many of us do not like networking…. Who likes to talk to a bunch of people they haven’t met in their life? No one. But the true is that NETWORKING is the way most people (in this case students) might find a job or at least can make a good connection. You never know, you can find a mentor or a friend, as well as good ideas and new perspectives about life and careers. The fact is that even though networking can be tough, it can be fun too.

I would like to share with you a few tips that I learn from Joselin Mane, a Social Media Strategist and Networking Guru. In his workshop Networking 2.0, I learned new things I never imagined would work to get to know new people.

First of all, we should start working with our Personal Brand. Create an original business card. Using a picture might be informal but it will make people remember you. Think about it, if you were at an event with 50 different business cards in your hand, you would really want to remember peoples’ faces. On the other hand, we should create a website (just a short bio is enough). Many of us have LinkedIn accounts, of course, but remember that recruiters will Google you, and the more information they find, the better. You can use free websites such as www.about.me or another websites builder such as www.wix.com

Other useful things:

  1. When meeting people, use something that won’t make them forget you. Example: flower in hair, special pin, etc. Use something colorful. Have you been to a career fair? Everyone is dressed in black and white! Its time to differentiate ourselves.
  2. Take pictures or selfies. Take this advice with precaution. Do it when you feel is right because the idea is making a good impression.
  3. Send those pictures in the follow up e-mail. Send a follow up email immediately. Don’t let them forget you.
  4. Practice your elevator speech as much as you can. Try to be natural and fluent.
  5. If you need to use a name tag, use it in your left side. They will see it better.
  6. If you engaged in a conversation remember people’s name. Everyone loves to be called by their names.
  7. Connect with people before the event when possible. Use social media.
  8. Reactivate your Twitter account (if it is a professional one), and put it on you name tag.
  9. Google yourself. Let’s see what the internet says about you.
  10. Join professional groups.

The idea of Networking is meeting new people to create a relationship that might benefit both of them. We just need to be ourselves acting naturally. We are not born to be liked by everyone, so don’t panic if someone ignores you.

If you want to know more about Networking, please visit Joselin Mane website http://bostontweetup.com/


Maria Martin is pursuing a Master in Project Management at Northeastern University. She is passionate about helping others in their personal and professional life. She is currently doing a full time paid co-op at Eversource in the Marketing and Sales Department. You can contact her at mariajesusmartin13@gmail.com

5 Alums, 5 Years Later: Charles Leach

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Class of 2010_Charles Leach

I am one of those people whose life is dictated by a well-organized calendar, complete with color codes and a series of notifications – if only I was the one maintaining the calendar.  I was the last class to graduate from the College of Criminal Justice August 2010. Shortly thereafter, I commissioned as a Marine Corps Officer, got engaged, and went off on a 4 year life changing adventure in the Marine Corps.  My intention was to depart the military, utilizing my co-op connections and proud service and apply for a position in a federal agency.  But my calendar notifications said otherwise.  With a child on the way, I was done moving around, working weekends, being away all week, or far away for 8 months at a time. I decided to depart the Marine Corps, move back home (North Shore area) and began a soul searching endeavor for a job – no, a profession, in which I could obtain the same emotional gratification that comes with service to one’s country.  As a lifelong people-person, I discovered I have a passion for sales, and have found a profession I love at a leading cybersecurity company. I also have decided to stay in the USMC Reserve to balance out the moral scale. If you have graduation in your sights, keep this in mind:

Have a plan and tenaciously pursue it – then change the plan when necessary. You can’t fake passion. You can get by having a work ethic, trying really hard, showing up early, staying late because it’s the right thing to do, but if you aren’t passionate about what you find yourself doing, move on.  It’s like a bad relationship. If you’re at the suitor stage, and you’re not going to marry this person, why waste each other’s time?

Short-term, mid-term, and long term goals are no joke, write them down – a recent manager of mine would refer to these as dreams and not goals.  Dream and keep dreaming because success stories are built upon people’s crazy ideas.

Be mindful of how you appear on social media and the interwebs – the old adage don’t put it online if you wouldn’t want it on the front page of the Boston Globe holds true.

Spend money and live life like your grandparents (if they were thrifty) – if you pack a lunch and make your own coffee in the morning and then go out on the weekend and blow a hundred bucks on 8 dollar beers, well that just doesn’t make sense – stop doing that.

I will close with a valuable lesson that has continually been reinforced for me recently.  You know better what’s for you than anyone else.  The idea of needing an adult’s opinion; well that’s you now.  No one really knows the magic formula and if they say they do, they are just pretending to know all the answers. Just google it and come up with your own way. If you don’t like what you are doing in life, just change it.

And remember, if you don’t like the job you’ll get soon, you can always go back to Northeastern for a Masters!


Charles Leach currently works at Bit9 + Carbon Black in Waltham, MA and lives with his family in the North Shore. He is open to and would welcome any networking conversation or casual chat.  Feel free to reach out to him via Linkedin or leach.charles@gmail.com.

Spring into a Stress Free Zone

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(Source: www.arinite.co.uk)

Who coined the phrase “I love stress!”? That’s right—no one ever. Now here in the spring semester, it’s time to identify, shed away, and prevent future stressors in your professional life.

Even if in love with your job, everyone has felt some level of stress in the workplace. Stress is common, and even beneficial in spurts or small doses, however chronic stress can be debilitating to your physical and psychological health. Common sources of stress in the workplace include:

  • Lack of social support or respect
  • Lack of professional development and growth
  • Overwhelming job-related tasks or deadlines
  • Unclear expectations of performance
  • Unsatisfactory salary/wages

Below are just a few of the potential effects of chronic stress. Hint: none of them are good!

  • Headache
  • Short temper
  • Difficulty sleeping/waking
  • Lack of concentration
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakened immune system
  • Depression

It’s important to identify the above symptoms as warning signs of chronic stress levels. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies to manage stress, both by prevention and treatment. Here are just a few:

  • Develop healthy habits. Surprise—exercise is good! Thankfully, you don’t need a gym to lead a fit, healthy lifestyle. Anything from yoga, to moderate walks, to regular stretching in the office or home can make a difference in keeping stress levels down. Eat a healthy, protein/fiber-rich breakfast in the morning. Even if it means waking up an extra 20 minutes earlier, it will be more beneficial to your health, focusing your mind and body on the tasks of the day. Lacking a hobby? Find or create one! Whether it’s making time to pick up a favorite novel, or going to casual social gatherings, it’s a great way to relax and take your mind off work.
  • Recharge—even while at work. Staring at a computer or phone for hours at a time, multiple days a week can have serious consequences for your stress level, even if you don’t realize it immediately. Find time during your office hours to briefly leave the desk. Have a conversation with a coworker, take an actual lunch or water break, or whatever helps you de-stress. Your to-do list will survive the short period that you’re away.
  • Make stress your best friend (no, that’s not a typo). Most of us have had that all-important paper or project due the next morning—with nothing done the night before. Many of us still have been tasked with delivering a presentation in front of 20, 30, even 100+ audience members, about a topic we don’t even fully understand ourselves. Sound familiar? Sweating by just reading this? You’re not alone. However, we know that increased levels of stress can light a light a fire under us, providing the burst of energy needed to get the job done. While this should not be the go-to method for every work-related task, stress can aid us in a pinch in times such as this.
  • Communicate with others. Everyone handles stress differently, that’s just a fact. However, we all have friends and colleagues who hold onto stress for far too long without talking it out with others. If you are one of those people, few things can help you manage stress better than communicating with others, whether it be your supervisor, colleagues, or a career counselor (Northeastern’s Office of Career Development can help with this!). If bringing up job-related stressors with your supervisor, keep in mind that the purpose is not to unload a laundry list of complaints; instead, it should be to mutually come up with a plan to effectively manage the stressors you’re dealing with. Tip: most supervisors and managers can connect the dots between healthy, productive employees and effective work product. Have the conversation—you might be relieved to how quickly a solution arises!

Don’t forget that the Office of Career Development can help you manage certain aspects of your stress levels. For instance, stressing over the idea of choosing a career path or switching majors? Having difficulties preparing for the eventual post-graduation lifestyle? Struggling with the process of finding a summer internship? Stop by the Stearns Center for a brief 15 minute walk in, or set up an hour-long appointment with a career counselor to have a conversation on how to meet your career goals!

This guest post was written by Jabril Robinson, a Career Devel­op­ment intern and grad­uate stu­dent in the Col­lege Stu­dent Devel­op­ment and Coun­seling pro­gram here at NU.

Networking Isn’t Just For LinkedIn

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Two CoffeesEveryone will pound into your head one thing as you begin your career journey — network. Okay, we get it, but how exactly do I network? Surprisingly, it’s more than clicking a few buttons on LinkedIn.

Put yourself out there and ask your coworker out for a midday coffee. Maybe strike up a conversation with the guy on the other side of the office from you that you bump into on the elevator. Do something more than the one time hello followed up by the instant LinkedIn request. Your network should exist outside of a computer screen and truly be your support both inside and outside of the workplace.

While large crowds at corporate networking events may not be your thing, the value of making face-to-face connections should always be in mind. By getting to know someone and forming that relationship can be a powerful tool. Sure, they could search their LinkedIn contacts for someone with experience in X, Y, or Z… Or you could be the person that jumps to their mind because of a conversation you had over lunch one day. Which seems like the more powerful connection?

So, put your smartphone down and make some time to truly develop a connection with someone. When it comes to your network, it should be quality over quantity.

Tatum Hartwig is a 4th year Communication Studies major with minors in Business Administration and Media & Screen Studies. Tatum brings experience and knowledge in the world of marketing and public relations from her two co-ops at Wayfair and New Balance. Her passion revolves around growing businesses via social media, brand development, and innovation. You can connect with Tatum on Twitter @tatumrosy and LinkedIn.

 

 

Resume “Power Verbs,” And Why You Need Them

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resume pic

A resume is said to be a representation of your entire professional being, however, employers are now looking at your resume to see what you are actually capable of in the workplace, and what you could be capable of doing in the future. Convincing an employer you are the right person for the job all starts with the right words. Every word on your resume should be there for a reason- if the word serves no greater purpose, get rid of it! I believe that the most important words on a resume should be verbs, which I like to call power verbs. Every verb used to describe a work, volunteer, academic or personal experience should be meaningful, and show both your power and potential in one way or another.

Here are a few of my favorite power verbs, and why you should consider including them in your next resume revision:

Collaborate

In a recent article from Forbes titled “The 10 Skills Employers Most Want In 2015 Graduates,” the ability to work in a team structure was listed as the number one skill employers seek in their future employees. And this skill is not limited to any one field- no matter where you are planning on applying for a job, odds are pretty high that you will be working with others. With all this said, it is important that you show your ability to be a team player on your resume with a power verb. I love the word collaborate, because it implies an ability to both give and receive from a group.

Oversee

Management and facilitation skills are especially impressive to employers (with no surprise, an ability to make decisions and solve problems was number two on the Forbes list), and you can imply you have both with “oversee.” Consider using the word oversee with regard to any leadership positions you have held, whether that be on campus or professionally.

Develop/Design

The verbs develop and design show professional creativity, and prove that you can come up with new ideas and ways to solve problems in the workplace. Both of these verbs are great if you want to show off your creative and innovative experience.

Improve

It seems obvious, but employers want to hire someone who will make their workplace better. They want someone who will make their systems better, their work environment better, and their lives easier. The power verb that shows you are the person for this is “improve.” You can improve just about anything, meaning you can use this verb to describe basically any experience you have on your resume.

Click here to read the full Forbes article.

 

Daniella is a sophomore at Northeastern with a combined major in Human Services and International Affairs, and a minor in Spanish. She is currently on her first co-op working for a youth development nonprofit organization in Cape Town, South Africa. Daniella is passionate about social change, travel, and good food- and can’t wait to see what Africa has to offer her both professionally and personally. Email her at emami.d@husky.neu.edu. Look for Daniella’s posts every other Tuesday. 

5 Alums, 5 Years Later: Elizabeth Tashash

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Class of 2010_Elizabeth Tashash

While it’s hard for me to believe that almost a decade has passed since I moved into my freshman-year dorm room in Speare Hall, these past ten years have flown by because they have been full. I’m not sure whether my eighteen-year-old self would have believed me if I told her that she would be an attorney in just ten short years, but I am sure that my five-year journey as a Husky laid the foundation for my current career path. I have had the pleasure, and the pain, of five years of personal and professional growth since graduating from Northeastern, during which several lessons have come into focus. They have helped me navigate the often-tricky and ever-changing process of becoming a professional, and I share them here with the hope that they help you, the newly graduated or soon-to-be graduated Husky.

Be patient with yourself. It’s ok to not have everything precisely figured out on graduation day (or five years later, for that matter). Active investigation into and investment in figuring out your professional persona may take trial and error, it may take more time than you thought, and it may take you down an unanticipated path, but it will make your professional life more rewarding. While my classroom and co-op experiences directed me toward the law, I took time after graduation to work in the field. That time proved to be invaluable because it gave me the space to gain perspective on my prospective career path, to synthesize the lessons I learned in my undergraduate courses with my new life beyond college, and to contextualize the lessons I was about to learn during law school. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time you need to examine and vet your proposed next steps after graduation.

Setbacks and discomfort are ok; in fact, if you’re growing, they’re inevitable. These past five years have taught me a lot about how I deal with my imperfections, with negative feedback, and with situations where I felt uncomfortable and inadequate. Setbacks and uncomfortable situations highlight our insecurities, are often unexpected, and are almost always painful; however, they also go hand-in-hand with change, growth, and self-awareness. Setbacks have stretched me to become a better practitioner, professional, and person because they highlighted the skills I needed to gain and hone, and they gave me insight into how my profession functions. Likewise, throwing myself into situations where I had no idea what I was doing revealed that I am capable of more than I expect and showed me that measured risk-taking reduces regret, regardless of the outcome, and paves the way for future successes.

Maintain relationships with your mentors. I have had the great fortune of having several mentors who have generously given their advice and invested their time for the benefit of my career. They have met me for coffee, have written letters of recommendation on my behalf, and have believed in my abilities. These relationships have not only helped me get that first job, but they have helped me get subsequent—and unexpected—jobs down the road. Find someone who does what you want to do, does something that interests you, or is willing to help you assess your professional skills and goals. Then, maintain that relationship. Mentor relationships can help bridge the gap between your undergraduate life and your professional life, and it’s a great feeling to have someone in your corner.

Congratulations on reaching this milestone, and good luck with the many milestones to come!

 

Liz Tashash graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2010 and graduated from Suffolk University Law School with a Juris Doctor in 2014. She is a member of the Massachusetts Bar and is currently working as a judicial law clerk for the Connecticut Superior Court. Prior to beginning her clerkship, she taught for a semester as an adjunct professor in the Communication Studies Department with the help of her mentor, Dr. Greg Goodale, Associate Dean for Academic and Faculty Affairs and Associate Professor. She thanks Greg for his long-standing mentorship. Liz can be reached at e.tashash@gmail.com.

Life as an ‘Expat’

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Chulalongkorn University – Bangkok, Thailand

Chulalongkorn University – Bangkok, Thailand

Expatriate. Expat. American. Foreigner…or, more specifically in Bangkok and the rest of Thailand – farang.

Keep in mind, none of these are offensive terms, (at least in the way they are used here) just ways of categorizing a non-Thai national. I’m proud of my upbringing, my country, my town, and my city, much like any other American. However, when I stepped onto campus at Chula, (as local students and professors call it, short for Chulalongkorn University) I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider.

Sometimes, it was quite nice. During the first few weeks of my co-op with the Faculty of Public Health, and even now still, everyday was and is an exciting breath of fresh air. Each day in the lab or in the seminars, there were new faces to greet, hands to shake, and names to remember. Everyone drew themselves towards you, peppered you with questions, welcomed your every move, and guided you along new and unchartered waters.

At the university, I’ve met some outstanding scholars and academics from countries all over the world: Switzerland, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Indonesia to name a few. I’m the young gun, a sheep amongst lions. Many of these men and women are tried and true professionals in their fields, some even working in public health for longer than I’ve been on this planet.

It’s intimidating; especially when a major capstone of public health research is to generate new knowledge. New knowledge. This was something I struggled most with. In an age where information and data is translated and transmitted in the matter of seconds, my first and most immediate contention to this concept of generating new knowledge was, what more do I need to know? What contributions could I make? Today, we have access to a world of resources, a matrix of professionals, and with a little bit of ingenuity, 4G LTE cellphone service, and Googling skills, it’s quite easy to find the answers to everyday questions.

My supervisor, a dean at the school, put the facilities, budget, and libraries at my disposal. No 9 to 5, no need to clock-in or clock-out, and no deadlines other than presentations and meetings. It was a blessing. I was elated at the flexibility she was allowing for. However, I mistakenly became complacent with these offerings. I wandered in and out of the offices during the first few weeks, with no direction, and more dangerously, no purpose.

Complacency was a real working theme that had invaded my life. I remained a stranger to my colleagues, quietly and bashfully offering small talk to them before and after each seminar, failing to establish any legitimate linkages. I was okay with this. Part of me expected them to carry their first-day enthusiasm in our interactions, rather selfishly. After all, didn’t they know that I was empty handed? Didn’t they know I was in search of a research project? I expected them to share their insights and their expertise, unprompted. Another part of me was simply afraid. Was there any real way I could articulately voice my interests that wouldn’t make me seem naïve, young, or foolish?

This approach to my co-op experience however, was just those things, naïve, young, and foolish. I was estranging myself from a party of renowned experts and dedicated, lifelong learners. I was an outsider. I quickly became dissatisfied with my responses to these opportunities and realized that I was very much taking them for granted. I was cheating myself of a profound chance to be a part of a faculty of doctors, leaders, and politicians. Isn’t that what I came here for?

I’m an expatriate, expat, American, foreigner, farang…whatever you want to call it. Ways of life here in Bangkok are different. They’re new. They’re intimidating. At the faculty, the research, the rigor, the population, it’s different. It’s new. It’s intimidating. For too long, I found it acceptable to keep those things that way. So, what’s next?

 

John is a 4th year health sciences student at The Bouvé College of Health Sciences. With a nose for exploration and travel, John will be writing from Southeast Asia about his experiences on co-op in Surin and Bangkok, Thailand. There, he’ll be volunteering in community clinics, in addition to conducting public health research at Chulalongkorn University. Follow his adventures on Instagram: johnsirisuth.

How to End Your Co-op Strong

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DeathtoStock_Wired2

The time has come where students are starting to end their co-ops. If you’re on a four month co-op, like I am, you might only have a few weeks left before you say goodbye to your coworkers and head back to school. So how do you end your co-op strong and make the most of your last few weeks or months?

Don’t slack off.

Just because you’re almost done doesn’t mean it’s time to stop doing your job. In fact, this is the time to really step up your game and get the most out of the end of your experience. You want to make sure you don’t leave with any regrets. Ask to attend those meetings you’ve been nervous to attend so far. After four months on the job, you know a lot about your work culture and how your organization runs. If it’s appropriate, your supervisor will be glad you’re showing initiative and you’ll get to learn that much more about your workplace.

Make sure you finish out all your work.

Before you leave your co-op, make sure that your supervisor knows the status of all your projects. You don’t want to be that person who leaves with all their work half-finished. Not only will this leave your office in a state of limbo, but it will also leave them with a bad impression of you.

Finish networking with your co-workers.

Is there that one person you’ve wanted to meet all semester and haven’t had a chance to yet? Reach out to them in your last few weeks! Take full advantage of the resources your co-workers can give you before you leave. Even though you can always get in touch with them once your co-op is over, it makes things a lot easier when your cubicles are down the hall from each other! And don’t forget to get the contact information of your supervisor and other colleagues in case you need a reference in the future. Make sure they’re okay with being a reference and know of your plans once you go back to school so calls from future employers don’t startle them later on.

Lastly, don’t be sad you’re leaving – be glad you were able to spend such a long time in a great position!

You’ve successfully finished another co-op and definitely learned some valuable skills! Whether your co-op helped you solidify your career path (as mine did!) or helped you decide what you don’t want to do in the future, you surely learned a lot about yourself and the industry you worked in. Soak in that knowledge and let it guide you as you decide what your next step is. And make sure you say thank you to everyone you worked with along the way (and handing out handwritten thank you cards on your last day never hurts)!

 

Rose Leopold is a third-year political science major currently on international co-op with the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Quito, Ecuador. Prior to this experience, Rose spent her first co-op in the office of Senator Elizabeth Warren in Washington, D.C. Follow Rose’s adventures through her blog justsittingontopoftheworld.wordpress.com and on Instagram.

Why Should I Do an Internship?

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Source: http://byuinternships.org

Source: http://byuinternships.org

This guest post was written by Tricia Dowd, a Career Development Assistant at NU Career Development, and a recent graduate from Northeastern’s Higher Education Administration program where she earned her Master’s degree this past September.

As Northeastern students, the value of experiential learning and work experience before graduation is probably already something you’re well aware of. Most of you will probably go on at least one co-op during your time here. So why do an internship?

Actually, one of the best reasons to do an internship is co-op. As co-ops are becoming more popular, they are also becoming more competitive. This is especially true for students who are applying for their first co-op. Having an internship experience already on your resume not only makes you more competitive, it also makes you more prepared. You will already have work experience in your field, and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when the first day of co-op rolls around.

Using an internship experience to get ahead for co-op is great if you already know what you want to do, but it is also great if you don’t know what you want to do! Instead of waiting to pick a major (or decide to stay in one) to get work experience through co-op, getting work experience through an internship is an easy way to try out a major or a career without committing to a program or a company for a full six months. Not sure you want to be a Policy Analyst? Try a summer internship to explore the field before committing yourself to it for six months and potentially using one of your co-ops for something you aren’t sure you want to do. We recommend finding an internship the summer after your first year, but it’s never too late to get more work experience or explore a different field.

Internships are also a great way for students who are unable to go on co-op to get work experience. The primary differences between an internship and a co-op are that internships are (usually) unpaid and (usually) shorter in length and more flexible. Therefore, if you’re not able to take a semester off from your major, an internship is a way to get work experience around your schedule, or for a shorter time during the summer when you don’t have other commitments. As someone who regularly meets with students in the middle of a job search, I can honestly tell you that work experience is one of the most important things you could leave college with. I have yet to meet a student who told me that she or he regretted going on an internship!

Finally, internships can also be a way for you to get your foot in the door at a company that does not currently offer a co-op position. Instead of waiting until after graduation to try to break into one of these companies, why not apply for an internship now? Give your dream company a chance to see how hard of a worker you can be! The connections and institutional knowledge you’ll get out of the experience will be a huge asset to a future application at that company.

So how exactly do you find an internship? Check out my previous post for a summary of the top three methods, attend some of our workshops on the topic, or hop right on HuskyCareerLink.

Tricia Dowd is a Career Development Assistant at NEU Career Development, and graduated from Northeastern with a Master’s in Higher Education Administration in September. She is interested in helping students gain practical experiences to complement what they’re learning in the classroom. You can reach her at p.dowd@neu.edu

5 Alums, 5 Years Later: Mary Ann Georgantopoulos

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Class of 2010 (1)

It wasn’t until I was asked to write this post that I really reflected on my time since graduating Northeastern in 2010. I can’t help but smile when thinking back to life on Huntington Avenue – long nights at The Huntington News newsroom, early mornings at my Boston Globe co-op, and countless trivia nights at The Squealing Pig. As you prepare to leave Northeastern, hold on and cherish the amazing memories you’ve made because time flies after college and looking back, I realize a lot can happen in five years.

I set out to write this post hoping to avoid all possible clichés such as “the world is your oyster” and referring to post-college life as “the real world,” but they’re expressions for a reason so I’ll use them – I can picture my journalism professors cringing at this.

Go the extra mile. The world is your oyster but you have to work hard to reach your goals. Your first job might not be your dream job – mine certainly wasn’t – but don’t let that deter you. It took me four and a half years after Northeastern and a Masters degree to get to BuzzFeed, a job I wake up every morning happy to go to. So be patient and know results and accomplishments take time.

Comparison is the death of joy: Most of my friends from Northeastern – and even now, five years later – are fellow journalists. It’s so wonderful to have friends that share the same profession but for the sake if your own sanity, don’t compare yourself to others. Your friends might get jobs, promotions and raises before you do and that’s okay. Don’t compare any life goals or achievements to others – we’re all on separate paths.

This is not goodbye: I have very fond memories from Northeastern. I made so many wonderful friends, worked for the Huntington News and learned from the best in the business. Keep in touch with your classmates, professors, mentors, co-op supervisors and anyone that helped shape your education and your career. Many of you will leave Boston and won’t be able to swing by campus to say ‘hi’ to your favorite professor. The journalism department was quite small and I luckily was able to get to know my professors. Two years after graduating Northeastern, I felt comfortable enough to ask some of them for recommendation letters for graduate school. I am so thankful they wrote them. To this day, I still keep in touch with professors and it makes me feel closer connected to NU.

Let your hair down: The next few years are integral in shaping who you are as a person – you will grow so much in a short period of time, but don’t forget to have fun in the process. Northeastern teaches hard work and professionalism, but at the end of the day you’re in your early 20s, so enjoy it and don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, set up at retirement fund, but you should also take that trip to Europe with your friends.

The “real” world can be intimidating and uncertain, but trust me it’s also a lot of fun. Class of 2015: Congratulations. I’m sure you will all do great things.

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a news reporter at BuzzFeed. She majored in journalism and was on staff at The Huntington News. You can reach her at maryann.g@buzzfeed.com and on Twitter @marygeorgant.