The Undergrad’s Journey from Diploma to Data Entry

By: Daniela Restrepo

For the first part of your life, there’s one very concrete thing you know: school.  If you go to this magical place, they claim you’ll be successful and happy and that all of your dreams will come true. A couple of years pass by in a blur of childhood, strange adolescence, and coming of age until they finally decide to stick a black cap on your head and tell you to go and do something with your life. The “school” thing flies out the window and you’re left alone with your thoughts, aspirations, and a very flimsy piece of paper.

What’s next?

Maybe you’re a go-getter and had your future planned out from day one. You’re going to study and get a Master’s – I’m giving that a few years because, at least for me, the exams and late nights can wait.  Some ran off to backpack the world and mountains and find themselves (sounds great to everyone involved but my wallet).IMG_1222

As someone who never plans ahead, my next step could only be to:

Find a job.

Sounds easy enough, a college graduate with four years of education under her belt, a dashing personality and young fervor for success making her way in the world…right?

Weeks pass, applications start to collect dust all around Tallahassee and the fear of failure (my biggest, let me just say) strikes.

  • Am I not a good candidate?
  • Is my resume terrible? Denny’s isn’t a good representation of customer service skills?
  • How do I get experience if I can’t get hired?
  • What do I even want to do with my life?

And then, just as quickly as I was doing nothing but scrolling through LinkedIn and considering what I could come up with to get my old, mind-numbing job as a hostess back, a call comes in.

The Interview

95% of the time: You laugh a little, smiles fill the room, and the world seems to get brighter.

5% of the time: Your face begins to burn, the smiles drop, eye brows are raised and the world turns grayer than this office already was/is/will forever be.

Now, 6 months later, I’m here typing away about how weird, exhausting, and confusing working the ‘ol 8:00am-5:00pm job actually is. No one prepares you for this before you graduate. They don’t tell you how hard it is to go from having a few classes and MAYBE a part-time job, to sitting at a desk with a phone, a desktop, and your thoughts for eight very scheduled hours a day.

It wasn’t easy; I could never say that it was. But Partners has been the best place to experience all of this post-graduate angst. These gray walls have become my second home. The smiles I met on my first day now have a name (that I remember) and shining personalities that make the office feel warmer when the AC is too cold. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life but I’m happy to say that my first step on that “What’s Next?” is here.

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