Transitions: Because You Are Always Evolving

Author name
Sandra Martinez-Zuniga, Assistant Director, Duke Career Center

It is when we encounter change and challenges that we grow and learn the most. Transitions can be scary but they also provide amazing opportunities. Think of your transition into elementary school - well, you might not remember back that far - but think about the skill it took you to adapt to a whole new world: teachers, recess, new friends, new interactions. You learned how to play together, how to share, how to ask for help. Maybe you remember better your transitions into middle school or high school. All the new routines, the new friends, the new social expectations. You learned so much, socially and academically. You learned to be a student. You learned how to manage a social schedule alongside your academic studies and homework.

College is a transitional time and as such it can be challenging as well, maybe sometimes to the extreme. You are learning to live on your own and to fend for yourself. You may be challenging yourself by being far from your loved ones, your family, your support systems. Maybe you moved from the country to the city. Maybe you moved from the North to the South. Maybe you came from a place where everyone was similar to you to a place filled with diversity. Maybe you came from abroad and had to learn about living in a new culture and new system in addition to all the other new ideas at college. But you are surviving and thriving; most importantly you are learning about yourself as an individual in this world, learning about your values and your identity, learning which are more challenging for you and how you respond.

Transitioning out of college and into the workforce is just another transition and another opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways. You'll learn to meet work expectations and to resolve conflicts with your colleagues at work. You'll learn how to apply the theory you studied in college to the practical realities of the workplace. You'll learn how to pay bills, balance a budget, and buy car insurance. It will be scary at times, as it was when you went to college, to high school, or to a new place. But you will undoubtedly learn and grow and embrace the new chapter in your life.

As you start thinking about this new chapter in your life, here are some ideas to assist in your preparation for that next transition.

Reflect on what matters to you. Is it your values? The location where you'll be? Being close to loved ones? The good you can do in the community? Compensation?

Whatever it is, let your gut be your compass as you search for your next step. Get started with these Nine Domains to Find Your Fit.

Connect with alumni in the organizations or companies you are interested in. Request informational interviews  to better understand the trends and internal culture of the company or industry you'll be transitioning into. Learn more about connecting and search for alumni with help from the Duke Alumni Association and the Alumni Directory.

By the way, the winter break is the perfect opportunity to do some reflecting and connecting--perhaps over some hot chocolate.

Happy winter break⛄!

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