A week before my graduation from Washington & Lee University, I met with two of my politics professors at a coffee shop right off campus. We spent nearly four hours discussing possible career paths—and the daunting reality that I would not be following most of my peers into the world of finance and banking.
They told me that if I had the hunger to pursue a career I felt had meaning and purpose, then I should. They encouraged me to find people with similar passions and reach out to them, stick with them, and learn how they got where they are today.
It’s advice we’ve likely all heard before. But it only began to resonate with me after hearing it from two professors I knew and admired.
I asked a few other recent grads at EAB about the best advice they received from faculty, advisors, or professors before graduating. Their responses range from general career guidance to life advice from respected mentors. Read my favorite picks below.
“Apply yourself, regardless of circumstance”
Gus Passov, Research AnalystAlma Mater: Washington University in St. Louis, 2017
A psychology professor I’m very close with told me it didn’t matter that I don’t know what I want to do after graduation. He stressed being open to new experiences and applying 100% of myself to them no matter the circumstance. It’s intuitive advice, but it meant a lot coming from him.
“Don’t burn any bridges”
Lorenz Cruz, Business AnalystAlma Mater: University of Maryland, College Park, 2016
I was told that once you’re off campus, it can be hard to maintain relationships. But it’s important to never burn any bridges. You never know if a former classmate or roommate can help you through the door to future opportunities. Likewise, if you someone reaches out to you for help, lend a hand!
Hunter Rogers, Analyst Alma Mater: University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016
My Graph and Network Theory professor constantly used the connectedness of graphs as an analogy for staying connected with a professional network. Although it was in a joking manner, a lot of it was true and still resonates with me in how I approach professional relations.
Brittany Schrager, Member Success AssociateAlma Mater: Franklin and Marshall College, 2017
I was told to be persistent in finding the right job. With so many choices and opportunities, leaving college can seem daunting. But it’s important that you continue to apply to different jobs, and really find what interests or excites you. Ultimately, try to find a career that will create a fire inside of you. It will be a part of you for a long time, and you’ll only excel at it if you enjoy it.
“You don’t need to know all the answers; you just need to be resourceful enough to find them.”
Gloria Lodge, Academic and Career Advisor at Keene State CollegeAlma Mater: University of New Hampshire, 1981
“I was graduating with a BA in Social Work at a time when there were no jobs and the ones out there didn’t pay well. I felt that anyone who hired me would be disappointed because I felt under prepared for the workplace. I did have excellent transferable skills and my advisor saw my ability to figure things out. I have been employed 38 years and I still don’t have all the answers, but I have figured out how to get them when I need them.”