Lessons Learned After College

Free advice from successful professionals on how to make the most of your college experience.

Jenn Lisak Golding
Founder and Owner: Sapphire Strategy, a specialized digital marketing agency in Indianapolis. Golding has a degree in marketing from Butler University, but she advanced her career by learning technology and social media on her own.

What surprised you about the transition from school to work?
Honestly, that I liked work more than school. School was great, but I was so ready to get into a work environment and use my skills. I really enjoy the work I do and how it impacts others.

What would you say to college students who are worried about choosing the right career?
Let go of insecurity and instead use constructive criticism or feedback to help you shape yourself into a better person and contributor to society. Growth is a beautiful thing; don’t waste the experience by focusing on personal insecurities. Life tends to fall into place, no matter what happens. As long as you are actively trying to figure out the best option, the universe tends to present opportunities and guide you in the right direction organically. Also, trust your gut. Your intuition is your friend. College is about exploring your options and finding out what makes up the best parts of you. Be honest with yourself. Don’t worry about landing your dream job right out of school. Your idea of a dream job might change.

Tynesha Smith
Energy Efficiency Representative for Vectren Corp., a utility/energy company serving parts of Indiana and Ohio. Smith has a degree in public health promotions from Purdue University and a Masters of Business Administration from Oakland City University.

How can college students set the stage for their careers?
Focus on building positive relationships with professors and other students. Don’t be afraid to meet/connect with individuals who don’t look like you or come from the same background as you…when we get out of our comfort zones, this allows us to grow and have diverse perspectives.

What would you say to students who are worried about choosing the right career?
First, learn yourself! There are so many career assessments out there that are helpful in determining career paths. Learn your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and what motivates you each and every day. Completing internships each year is also helpful in the learning/development process.

Nate Hahn
Director of Operations and Maintenance, Evansville Regional Airport, Hahn has a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation management from Purdue University and also worked his way up from agent to operations manager at Midland International Airport in Texas. 

What’s the best piece of advice you can give college students?
Take what makes you special and use that to put yourself above other people, not by putting them down, but by lifting yourself up. Talk about that thing that makes you unique when you’re interviewing. Sell yourself. If you’re funny, be funny, but if you’re not, don’t force it.

What’s one thing about your college career that you’d do differently?
I wish I had studied abroad.

What would you say to students who are worried about choosing the right career?
If you’re not sure exactly what you want, then try things and start over in a few years if you need to. You will NEVER be as free as you are right now. This is the time to take some risks.