Real Life: College to Career – Christian

Name: Christian Connellimage002
Age: 24
College: LSU, May 2013 graduate
Company: Transwestern
Place of residence: Houston, TX
Hobbies and interests: Tennis, golf, hunting, fishing, music, travel, and anything outdoors. I am currently training for a half marathon that will take place in late April.

Q: Did you start college with a clear idea of what you wanted your major to be? If so, what did that look like and how did that change during your time in college?

A: I knew that I wanted to study business, but I did not have a clear idea of my major at first. I took a couple of trial and error classes to figure out what I truly enjoyed. I selected finance because of all the potential and varied job opportunities this major provides, and I thought it was the least boring of the business majors.

Q: Can you walk me through the detailed step-by-step process that you went through to get your first job out of college?

A: Where do I begin? I just remembered my parents calling me my senior year and telling me that I better have a job when I graduated or I would be mowing lawns at our landscaping business until I found one. That lit a fire under me and I started the hunt immediately. First it was job fairs at school, applying online, applying online again, meeting with friends of friends, and parent’s friends. I had a couple of interviews at the beginning, then some face to face, which meant for me driving to Houston or Austin.

I interviewed with about four different companies, and one asked for a second interview, then a third, and then a lunch. Finally, an offer came and I was working one month after I graduated.

I was told that one of the reasons I was hired was my ability to follow through, which consisted of emailing immediately after interviews, sending personalized thank you notes, following up every other day and asking for the status of the interviewing process, and letting potential employers know how interested I was in the position.

Q: What aspect of that process was most challenging or stressful for you? Looking back, what advice would you give to college students to make this aspect less challenging?

A: Interviewing was the most challenging for me. Looking back, it would have been helpful to have gone to a couple of mock interviews at school. There were plenty of opportunities but I never took the time to do which was a big mistake.

Q: What was the biggest adjustment or adjustments for you going from college to full-time employment?

A: Everything is a complete 180 flip. You have responsibilities, you have a little bit more money, which is great, but you have to be a really good steward of the paycheck.

A year has felt like a day.

My sleep schedule has probably been the biggest change; there is no more going to bed at 2:00 A.M. I have found a good rhythm now and am in bed at an early hour which I thought would never happen.

Q: Do you have any advice for coping with these adjustments?

A: It just takes time getting used to everything, after a while it just starts to feel normal. Also, being surrounded by other young professionals in the workplace helps you adjust.

Q: What are some of your current short-term goals?

A: I am currently working a plan to pay off my student loan within two years. Also, I think it is important to become involved in the community in which you live and give back no matter how small it may seem at first. It is a great way to meet people and help others, a true win-win.

I have also written out some professional and financial goals. Being specific and writing your goals and setting deadlines will really help with your achieving those goals.

Q: Is there anything else about your college and career experience that you would like to add?

A: You are going to mess up and that is life. It is far better to make a mistake in the beginning than five years from now. Get as many mistakes out of the way while you can still say you are new. There will be no excuses when you are a Senior VP and make a million dollar mistake.

I am very fortunate in that I really enjoy my job at Transwestern and am very grateful that I have wonderful mentors who want me to be successful. Honestly, going to work is a joy for me and I thoroughly enjoy every aspect about it.

Which part of Christian’s interview resonated most with you? Let us know in the comments below!

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