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Want a job? Look for real world experience

In almost three weeks to the day this paper is published, my entire life will be up in the air.

I don’t have a job secured. I know where I want to be, New York City, but I am unsure if or how I will get there. The only thing that is for sure is my strong defiance to move back into my parents’ house for more than a few weeks. It’s in Arkansas,  so cut me some slack.

I could sit here and reminiscence about my time at school and all the exciting memories I have from all those awesome times with my friends. But no one wants to read that. Hell, I don’t want to write that. 

Instead, I’ll muse on academically. 

As nerdy as it may be, I hope what I have (and have not) done can make you more equipped than I am now because as I near the end of my academic career, I have only one question left to ask, and the answer scares me. 

Has college properly prepared me for the real world?

At this point, I am reluctant to say yes.  While I have certainly learned from and enjoyed some of the classes I have taken, none quite have a realistic feel to them.

I’m sure all those lecture classes I sat through have some relevance to something somewhere, probably to a researcher, and I am very aware I am too narrow-sighted right now.  And yes, to me, writing as much as possible is beneficial, so all those 10 and 20 page papers have some benefit.

But what I needed – and I know I’m not the only one – was to have strict deadlines, to be thrown into the world with a pen and paper and have to find a story on a consistent basis.

While these examples are pertinent only to journalism students, change the tools and you can encompass any major.

 As students, we need to know how to actually do the things we are taught, put all those vocabulary words to use.

Did I get that type of hands-on education in some classes? Yes. But the majority? No. Simply hearing about what things are like outside of a college classroom is not experiencing it.

I have been lucky enough to have my job at the Scout. I’ve also had other internships at media organizations and cross my fingers that the experience I have will help me find a job in an industry at a crossroads. 

Here’s my advice to underclassmen: get out there. Get jobs. Get as far into the real world as you can before you actually have to enter it. 

If you do, I guarantee it will make your post-grad life easier. 

Sentimental time: whether or not I feel prepared, I will cherish my Bradley University experience for better or worse. And while I’m not certain if I’m properly equipped for it, I’m ready and excited for the next chapter of my life to begin.

Assuming it’s not in my parents’ house for the next six years.

Erin Henneberger is a senior journalism major from Livonia, Mich, but her heart is in Arkansas. She was the Voice editor.

Direct comments, questions and other responses to ehenneberger@mail.bradley.edu.