Life After Undergrad: Knock on every closed door

When you leave college and shed your student security blanket it can be hard to find other opportunities that give you the same challenge that college used to. For me college was something I became good at– and very proud of. When I came back to school after a hiatus I put my all into being a good student, staying organized and having a good GPA. When undergrad came to a close I kind of mourned my student status because I had put so much effort into making it great. I realized though that I could put the same amount of effort and time into my professional status to build that up just as high.

A professional network is much wider and much more vast than my student one. Recently, my regional boss came to visit my office and to my surprise it went well. In fact it went better than I could have imagined, after my days long panic over the visit. I was so focused on making sure I didn’t screw up that I didn’t stop and think that I should be marketing myself. Not market in a cheesy way but instead showcase my abilities and competence in my job role. After going over the Ps and Qs of my job we actually had a conversation and I shared some of my marketing and social media ideas with himРand he liked it! I was even given permission to start a hashtag campaign for my office, I was stoked!

My point here is not to leave any stone unturnedРgo out there and make it happen. When you’re confident other people take notice and they gravitate to you. After that office visit the regional manager told my boss that he was impressed with meРsomething that I’d never imagined could happen. Sometimes I think I sell myself short and forget that I’m no longer a 22-year-old with little experience. I’m considered an industry professional with nearly a decade of experienceРand I need to be darn proud of it!

Should Dressing for Success in School depend on Preference, Profession, or Professionalism?

cartoon people in suits

Image by Kaz via CC* license

Are you someone who wakes up and just throw something on when heading to class? Maybe you like to show your creative side when finding new fabrics to wear. Or maybe you perceive your place of education like a job interview. Is there an unsaid dress-code when going to school?

During my 5, not so sequential, years at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), and while attending several success-seminars outside of school, I noticed everyone has different views on how to accessorize oneself. This can be due to many factors: how we are raised; environmental influences; and personal preference. However, at this age in our lives, I blame it on timing (whether someone may be rushing, or not), preference and attitude.

First, I will tell you how I choose what to wear where. OR, should I say the types of clothing I have? I guess it doesn’t matter. Okay, Here goes. ¬†Depending on the impression I want to make, usually a great one, I will dress accordingly, including while attending school! I shall say this: ONLY WEAR SWEATS AND SPANDEX IF AT A GYM OR WORKING OUT! I will dress business-casual when seeing clients. ¬†I will dress upscale when around certain sponsors. I will dress fashionable & “Beat for the Gawds” at certain social events. I will wear pajama pants only at home! I know many of you reading this my find comfort in wearing them outside…. AND OF COURSE, when I go to a class I will dress comfortable and casual, yet well kempt. Sometimes, even dressing in business attire. I guess at a Tech Production for “Falling Sparrow,” I may put on light makeup to have less impurities on film. Aside: If I am coming from, or going to, work or another engagement, my attire may vary.

a young woman in professional attire

Amoni B by Love&Fashion

Now lets analyze the hallways. Out of the several student inside of college only about 5% will wear slacks, pant suits, suit jackets and work clothes. Other than that, if one¬†were to see the clothing of others in a descriptive¬†light, they¬†would describe some of the art as: the¬†staying-with-the-fads-of-urban-hiphop¬†wear, seemingly-uncaring-dark-colored-sweats/spandex, the i-woke-up-too-late-to-iron, going-to-a-rock-concert attire, the want-to-be-on-a-fashion-runway model get-tup, and the I’m-supper-creative-so-my-clothes-have-to-be-so-unique-that-its-border-line-outrageous items.

male models in bright colors

Image by Slava Zaitsev via CC license

I believe everyone should express themselves, especially if its how they should look in their career path, but professionalism is a must. School should be treated like a job interview in a business-casual setting. You should dress to IMPRESS, not look as you are in a state of DISTRESS. Formal education will open doors to internships, employment, and entrepreneurship. No one wants to work with unprofessional people. Even athletes dress in “suit and tie” on certain functions. American football players¬†don’t have to wear helmets to show how athletic they are. Imagine you needed an entertainment attorney help you with a contract. Would you hire someone in a funky, in-style parachute-pant suit with purple hair or someone in appropriate business attire¬†that may have color attributes? Not the one with the hammer pants and the funky get up, I am sure of it.

                 an illustration of parachute pants                                 an illustration of a suit jacket and tie          Image by Anne Lee Dabney via CC license              Image by Nemo via CC license.

QUESTIONS TO THE PUBLIC: So the next time you come to class how will you dress? Do you believe your major calls for a certain attire? Are you in a program that has a dresscode that you have to adhere to, what are the penalties for not following it? Comment you suggestions or feedback.

*CC: Creative Commons.