Grad to the Bone: Girlboss Does Graduation

 

Graduation season is here again, and that means two things: All that hard work you put in at school is finally paying off! But also it's the start of a weird (and definitely a little scary!) new chapter in your life. With grad season here, we decided we'd get some advice from Girlbosses at the Nasty Gal HQ and throw back to their own graduation experiences.

Alexis
Social Media Assistant

From where / When did you graduate?
California State University Northridge in 2012. I studied Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations.

How did it feel?
Kind of boring now that I think about it, haha. I did a year abroad in the south of France my junior year so most of my friends/classmates had already graduated/left me behind. But it was nice to finally be done with it!

What did you do in the first few months after graduation?
I thought I had it pretty easy as my favorite professor/mentor set me up with a job as a personal assistant for an executive producer. So I moved into a cute apartment in Brentwood with my best friend at the time. I basically did the opposite of what anyone told me I shouldn't do. Long story short my boss ended up going back to the UK—he did some time in prison for tax fraud, but he also sent me a LinkedIn request a few months back, so I think he's fine now. Or in a really nice prison? 
After that I struggled to find a job for about a year. I had to move back home and even got a car repo'd. It felt like the longest year of my life but I'm really thankful for it—I got to watch a lot of Dog the Bounty Hunter and Criminal Minds, and I also got tons of interview experience under my belt too. I'm not sure there's a place in LA County I didn't go to for an interview. 

What was the scariest part about being thrust out into the world? How did you handle it?
I started school two years early, so I was only 20 when I graduated—the first scary thing I had to deal with was convincing my sister to let me use her ID so I could celebrate with my classmates at Saddle Ranch on Sunset (I know.) The second scariest thing about the adulthood was the fact that I actually got a hangover from the celebratory Saddle Ranch drinks. Other than that, I didn't actually feel too scared or nervous—I was certain I had it all figured out. Everyone is when they're 20 though. 

What's your biggest piece of career advice for grads?
Don't settle. Chill the fuck out. Everything takes time. And I know everyone says that, and it's super obnoxious to hear—especially when you're finally graduating and become what you think is considered an "adult." But trust me—you don't know shit. You'll figure this out on your own eventually, but I thought I'd give you a heads up. And your mom knows everything. Like literally everything. Call her up and test it out. Seriously—call your mom. She's probably the only person that will tell you that your start-up idea (that you pieced together out of sheer unemployment desperation) is the dumbest idea ever. 
 

Sam
Executive Assistant to the CEO

From where / When did you graduate?
I graduated high school in Fresno, CA in 2007. I tried college a couple of times and used it to move to LA, but then dropped out when I got the opportunity to work for a clothing company. 

How did it feel?
Graduating from high school was exciting! Adult life had finally begun and I was so eager to get the hell out of Fresno and be on my own. 

What did you do in the first few months after graduation?
I went to Mexico with some friends, worked at a local boutique for the rest of the summer, and then enrolled in community college for a few semesters, eventually moving to LA within the year. If I were to go back in time, I would have skipped community college and gone traveling abroad instead. 

What was the scariest part about being thrust out into the world? How did you handle it?
Figuring out what I was going to do with my life. I knew it involved moving to LA, so I kept my eye on the prize and I didn't let anything stop me. My dad tried to talk me out of it a few times, but boy am I glad I didn't listen. 

What's your biggest piece of career advice for grads?
Don't let fear get in your way, work really hard and have a good attitude. 
 

Tori
Administrative Assistant

From where / When did you graduate?
I graduated from University of Chicago just last year! I majored in "Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities" which basically means I was really indecisive and opted for a make-your-own major type thing with Cinema & Media Studies, English, and American History.

How did it feel?
Not completely real? The graduation ceremony just felt like a big, weird team building exercise, and that we were still gonna go back to class on Monday anyway. It definitely took, like, several weeks for it to sink in.

What did you do in the first few months after graduation?
I had minored in German at college, so my gift to myself was that I had saved up to travel to Germany and Austria for three weeks in the summer. I went alone, so I tried as best as I could to blend in and speak the language without tipping people off that I was actually a dumb tourist. Once I got back, I spent a couple more weeks chilling in Chicago with my friends and then packed everything up and moved to Los Angeles. I figured out that Virgin Airlines will let you check up to 10 bags for $25 bucks each, which is a really great and affordable way to move across the country if you're alright with looking like a complete asshole when you check in at the airport. 

What was the scariest part about being thrust out into the world? How did you handle it?
Applying for my first real job and not knowing if I was ever going to find something. I moved to LA without anything lined up, but just knew it was where I wanted to live. It took me two weeks to find a job—which is not that long in the grand scheme of things—but it was the scariest and longest two weeks of my life. I sat in front of my computer from morning 'til night and sent out applications—somewhere in the ballpark of 60 applications, and I only heard back from maybe five. ...I definitely cried a lot. I just knew I had to tough it out and tried to remind myself that I'd come out of it alright eventually.

What's your biggest piece of career advice for grads?
Just do you and push yourself to take worthwhile risks. If you have the opportunity and the means to do something scary, but something that you know will ultimately make you happy, go for it.