The writer dedicates this article to those who just recently graduated. Here’s the story of Alda Prawitera, a Melbourne graduate and the 3 major challenges that she faced right after graduation, how she faced those challenges and the one experience that she found life-changing.
My experience in securing my next path after graduating from university was completely different from that of high school. After highschool, I had my parents to choose which university to go to. In contrary, after graduating from university, my career choice was completely up to me. I remember struggling in job hunting including getting demotivated after sending dozens of resumes without responses. Hence, I tried leveraging what I love to do that is networking. It ended up being way more fruitful since I gained a deeper understanding in industries, functions and geographies that I would have never gotten if I were to just send resumes online. For instance, simply reconnecting to an HR representative in an Asian bank whom I met in Melbourne on my second last year in university secured me a marketing internship in the bank. Also, it was a highschool friend’s boyfriend whom I was informally introduced to who encouraged me to apply to the company I currently work for. In between, I also remember connecting with 3 strangers in Singapore via LinkedIn just to know more about the advertising industry – which I plan to enter in a couple of years time. Even if you’re not getting called for a formal interview, create that opportunity on your own by informally reconnecting with key people. Do not underestimate the power of gaining this kind of knowledge through LinkedIn.
Maintaining work-life balance
My university days in Melbourne were probably the best times of my life as I could literally say ‘yes’ to anything and everything. I remember going to class in the morning, attending extracurricular actvities in the afternoon, working part-time in the evening, going to either dance or capoeira classes at night and hung out with friends throughout the entire weekend while still having quality airtime with the family. After entering the workforce, ‘tough’ is an understatement when it comes to trying to balance everything. My first year at work was pretty much about saying ‘goodbye’ to exercising and social life, and ‘hello’ to work during weekdays and family during weekends. It was not until my second year that I realize work-life balance is not a myth. The secret? Make time and be selective. Exercise-wise, instead of trying to suit my schedule to the gym’s classes’, I flip it and have a personal trainer suit mine. Social-life wise, I realize that not all friends are good friends. This may sound harsh, but I felt so much better after cutting out toxic relationships and nurture the genuinely caring ones. Remember what they say about you being the average of the five friends you hang out most with? You do not have to hang out with everyone. Also, why not combine both? I have gone to sport activities held by a friend’s company where I got to make new inspiring friends. All in all, it can be done. Just be aware of the need to maximize your free time by choosing actvities wisely.
Back in university, my self-esteem was pretty high as I knew of one simple rule: “Study or work hard equals to good grades or rewards”. When joining the workforce, there will be times where your self-esteem will be challenged, not because you are underperforming but because of certain aspects that you cannot control such as no vacancy, horrible bosses who are condescending, you name it. Basically, you will face situations where no matter how hard you try, the results do not match your expectation. For me, this happened when this company I had applied for was not ready to give me the position that I wanted, despite the crazy preparation that I had done (trust me I do not think I have ever studied that hard even in university). For over a year, I felt most insecure about myself, asking myself if I was good enough. It was not until the year after that I realized that everything happened for a reason. In my case, if I had gotten that position I wanted back then, I would probably not have experienced the expriences I am most thankful for in my current role, including doing only projects that I know I will love and travelling to places for work that really inspired me. What was most important for me is the self-realization that the failure did not happen because I was not good enough. Maybe it just was not my time yet and that everything happens for a reason. Self-doubt kills. However, if you train your mind to see the underlying reason behind everything and believing in yourself even just a little bit, it is usually much easier not only to get back up but to have even more self confidence that you ever thought you had in you.
Attracting positive outcomes into your life
I would like to end this with the one method that assisted me in overcoming challenges and led me to humbly achieve the many milestones in my personal life, that is the law of attraction. I believe that ‘thoughts become things’. You will attract positive outcomes in your life by implementing the following strategies; 1. Being grateful for what you have and what you have achieved 2. Visualizing the goals you want to happen in your life. I practice this with a 10-minutes daily meditation while looking at my gratitude board and dreamboard. Consequentially, I can reflect on what has happened in the past, be grateful and look forward to stay motivated. It may be cheesy but honestly, this exercise has made me the person I am today and I am always grateful for that.
When life is tough, be tougher. Train your mind to look at events in a different light.
Alda obtained a Master of Commerce in Marketing degree from Melbourne Business School. After graduating with the Dean’s Award of Leadership and Excellence, she now resides in Jakarta where she has completed an internship at DBS Bank before joining McKinsey & Company as an analyst. She now aspires to become a global marketing consultant, while keeping work-life balance.