Grad School vs Real World Experience – Part 2

On September 1st, 2008 my parents and I packed up my Dad’s minivan and drove from the Midwest to East Coast. Over the summer I had connected with 3 other incoming Emerson grad students from across the country to live with , flown up to Boston for a weekend to find an apartment and worked out all the kinks with the landlord. Move-in day was a mess. The door was locked and the landlord was MIA. We finally got inside and the place was a mess and full of nasty old furniture that we ended throwing over the balcony. I finally settled in and began grad school a week later.

I found a part-time job in October. I was hired by a Newbury St salon to be a receptionist/event planner/whatever they need type. The pay was shockingly low but I figured it provided the flexibility I needed as a full-time grad student. I got through my first year of grad school with no major problems and enjoyed the summer in Boston. The next year I applied for a job at W Boston, which was opening in October. After months of interviewing I was hired to work at the welcome desk. I started working full-time and taking two classes at Emerson that October. The hours I spent at work and school usually totaled around 65-70, more while I was doing research for my capstone paper. I  finished the program and graduated in front of my family and friends in May of 2010.

I started looking for positions in April and was mostly using the apply on-line approach. My phone was silent and I really didn’t have any idea where to turn. I sought advice from the career center at Emerson. The counselor shed some light on my situation, saying that a job search needs to be thought of as a strategic plan. Lay out your steps and execute. Sounds easy enough right?

In August I was told I would be working overnights. I literally lost an entire month of my life working overnight and sleeping during the day. I felt like a zombie and probably looked like one too. My job search fell even further behind and I saw myself being stuck in hospitality forever, missing holidays and working bizarre hours. This is when I talked to my Dad and he gave me the best advice I think I’ve ever gotten. He said “Come home”. He and my Mom offered to put me up at home while I dedicated my time to finding the right job. So I packed up my stuff, found a subleaser and put in my two weeks at work.

So here I am, 3 months later and back in Cincinnati. I have my reasons for both sides of the Grad School vs. Real World Experience debate and next post I’ll explain why I stand where I do.

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