Adaeze Adams is soon to graduate here at UNC. She has spent the past few years studying for a degree in marketing and is working hard for her future career goals! Katie and Adaeze discuss her experience as a student, her marketing experience, the postgrad nerves, and how you can find answers to any of your graduation or career questions at the Career Readiness Center on campus. (Running time 14:07)
Katie: Hey everyone, welcome back to this week's episode of The Bear in Mind Podcast. I'm your host, Katie Nord, Let's get started. Here at UNC with finals just around the corner and fall graduation approaching for our 2023 graduates, students have been working around the clock to finish any last minute preparations for classes before finals begin. For a lot of us, graduation is in less than two months! After spending the past four or more years in higher education setting, it's pretty intimidating planning on what you want to do before you enter the workforce. I know that anxiety firsthand since I'll be graduating in May, so I thought it was important to talk about it today. We have the lovely Adaeze here to talk with us firsthand about her experiences as a marketing major, as well as her interests after college, and how our fellow bears can answer any of their post-grad questions on campus. Thanks for joining me today.
Katie: First off, I'm just going to have you introduce yourself real quick. We'd love to know what you're studying here at UNC, how long you've been in school, anything else you'd like us to know?
Adaeze: Hi everyone. My name is Adaeze Adams. My major is business marketing with a minor in media studies. And I've been here for about five years trying to navigate and grasp what it's like to be a college student. As a freshman coming in, I was a graphic design major, and then I decided that that wasn't the route to go, so I chose marketing.
Katie: Could you tell us a little bit about your college experience these past few years? What inspired you to choose this path of marketing?
Adaeze: Yeah, so my college experience, I didn't know what to expect coming in. The houses like Marcus Garvey, the Cesar Chavez Cultural Center really helped me to understand my place of being and try to help me from being homesick and everything like that. I chose the path of marketing because, as I mentioned, I was a graphic design major and I really liked the creativity that was behind art. I just didn't have that specific ground knowledge of how to draw things. I could picture them, I just couldn't draw specifically what was in my head. I decided that this kind of wasn't for me. I was more of a critiquer. I was more of the person that would give out feedback. I found my passion through marketing. My mom was a business major. She was in management. She has a certificate in project management and also a certificate in marketing. But I specifically chose marketing on my behalf because I like the creativity that's behind it.
Katie: Yeah, marketing is super influential with advertisements plastered everywhere. It's really important to decide what goes out into the public eye too. Maybe you could be an art director! Art directors have a huge say on what gets chosen to go out for the company, and it's really important what they do. But you don't have to execute it necessarily, right? That's why you have an art team.
Katie: So you've been working pretty hard with your marketing experience and adding that all to your resume. Do you have any advice on how to get your foot into the door with post-grad opportunities?
Adaeze: I feel like the best way to get your foot in the door is networking. To have that face-to-face interaction with someone. It may be nerve wracking at first and you may have a bit of anxiety, but that's just the normality of it. There are people just like how we're people. I feel like you should go into it knowing that they're your friend. I feel like if you know or you have that mindset of, oh, this is my friend, then the conversation will flow easy versus it being like, oh, they're high in corporation or they're a high in business. We're all human. So it'd be easier to just go into it firsthand as a friendship opportunity. You can exchange business cards and also keep it professional. Obviously we're not talking about slang terms when you're talking how you would to your bestie. We're talking about just how you would as an individual, as just a professional friend.
Katie: The hardest part about going into interviews you get so nervous. I have to make a good impression. I have to be respectful and also somehow charismatic enough to gain their attention. It is definitely really important to have those connections though. I will say things come easier when you know of a friend of a friend.
Adaeze: It is also a good thing to know your areas of growth as well within doing an interview or anything like that. It's good to know where you need growth. It's not always a bad thing to mention those, but also know your key strengths as well to back up those areas of growth that you may need.
Katie: Yeah, definitely shining a spotlight on your talents while also being honest with your capabilities. It's honorable.
Adaeze: UNC or even being in school has shaped me to understand that it's okay to have your areas of growth and strengths, and to realize those. When you do go into an interview or anything like that, you won't be as nervous because you know who you are as a person. And I think it's good to know your work ethic and where you stand and everything else. Exactly.
Katie: I know my worth. I know my abilities. Something that's also really useful is getting practice in person. So doing practicums. Internships are really useful too, to get that firsthand experience that you may not have gotten otherwise. I've done a few of those and they were a lot of fun. They were really useful, too.
Adaeze: Over at Kepner at the Montford Business College, they do do mock interviews. They prep you for resumes. Not so much the cover letter part, I don't believe. But I remember when I was a first year in the business, I had to do my interview or my mock resume, and then they prep you and give you feedback as to what you could have done better, how your resume could have been better as well if you ever need help.
Katie: Yeah, exactly. I've had a few times where I was going into an interview, and I was super nervous, and I made my friends practice with me, I Felt that was pretty useful too.
Katie: So I may have read your resume and it looks like you've got a lot under your belt, which is really impressive. You worked for Crocs too, which is super impressive. I may be a little biased because I have like seven pairs of Crocs, but that's beside the point. Could you tell us about your work experience and what's the most interesting thing about marketing in your job?
Adaeze: I have a Croc addiction to. I would most likely say I have a croc collection at this point. I probably have over, I don't know how many pairs. I lost count, but it's definitely passed two hands. So I'm a part time team lead at Crocs. I'm not so much in the marketing scene yet. I would like to be. I would like to have my foot in the door here soon after graduation to be in corporate. I never met a business so involved in their associates and make them feel so comfortable where it's like home. It just feels good to go into work knowing you have a good team, a good connection and friendship with them. The classic Croc boot is launched, so when that had came about, my manager grabbed balloons and we dressed up in cowboy gear to kind of get the momentum. Look at how cool this cowboy boot is. Have you ever seen a croc cowboy boot? I don't think you have. If you haven't seen the croc boot before, it's a fun looking shoe. I just haven't seen anything like that. So I would say the most interesting part is probably the enthusiasm that the team brings to a new product when we launch it, to get that marketing out there and have that thought in the back of the consumer's mind, like, oh yeah, like I remember the enthusiasm behind this product. It must have been a really fun or cool launch. Let me go check it out, or at least let me go see what it's like in store. Or maybe make a purchase.
Katie: I would love to see a cowboy wearing cowboy boot crocs on the back of a horse like Yeehaw! I got my Crocs.
Adaeze: Right. And it's so fun because they come with spurs and you can take off the Spurs if you want and they actually spin.
Katie: I love that I might have to get some cowboy boot Crocs.
Katie: With graduation coming up so quickly, what were some struggles of nerves you had with this big transition from being a full time student to going into a traditional 9 to 5 job?
Adaeze: I would say some of my anxieties after graduation is definitely trying to find, as I said, I want to go into corporate. By the looks of it, Crocs is moving very fast with how they're doing interviews or getting jobs applied for, so I'm afraid that there won't be a spot for me in the Crocs Corporation. So just taking that month of prep and then applying for jobs soon in January so that I can get into corporation, because I know it's going to take a couple of months to as I apply. So then that gives me more time to myself, but also to prep as well.
Katie: Yeah, I read a recent study from Washington University that it takes about an average of 3 to 6 months for a post grad student to find a job. It may be quicker for some people, it may be slower for others. I think there's just a lot of built in fear that what if I don't find a job I like? What if I don't find a job, period? What if I don't find a job that pays me enough? There's a need of validation for, well, I've worked five years in college. What if I don't find a job that makes it worth my time, you know?
Adaeze: Yeah, that is probably one of my key anxieties that I think so way ahead in the future that I don't really think about the present and what I'm doing now. And I feel like that is super important for us students to realize is that not everything has to be done right away, and you don't always have to have your future figured out, but you can have a short term plan where you think of the present now and then, a little bit of the future at a time, but not so much all at once, the future, and then not settle for what's in the present. I mean, that's why it's called a present, right? You got to live through it. And this is what's happening right now, in this very moment.
Katie: I am so guilty of being a chronic overthinker, especially when it comes to my future. I think there's a lot of fear built in to that, but focusing on yourself and where you're at now can benefit you in the future. It may not seem like it's helping. If you're not focusing 100% on where will I be in five years? What will I be doing in a decade? I don't want to think that far. That makes me more nervous.
Adaeze: Right. And I was going to say, too, it's a lot of emotions when it's your last year, I feel a lot of students who are about to graduate can understand, this is when you're a freshman, you're like, okay, this is really fun. Like, I'm having a fun time, okay, a couple of years go by and you're still saying to yourself like, oh my goodness, I can't wait to graduate. And then junior year hits and then you're exhausted. Then your grad year hits and you're like, wow, this is really happening. And then you graduate and you're like, well, I shouldn't have focused so much on me graduating. I should have just lived in the present, in that moment and taking in all the experiences that I'm feeling instead of worrying about, like, I can't wait to graduate, because then when you graduate, you're going to wish that you were back in college.
Katie: Yeah, I miss freshman year. I was so enthusiastic and I was so excited for the future. I still am, but now I'm just nervous,.
Adaeze: Right? Exactly.
Katie: When I was a freshman, I didn't think that graduation would come by so fast. And then I blinked. And I'm a semester away from graduating. You're like, what, two months away from graduating?
Adaeze: And it's crazy to think that it's a month because I can't believe I'm really here. When I chose UNC, I chose it because of the arts program, because I thought that was something I wanted to do. But as I continued, actually fought for my spot here because when I was in high school, I didn't really have the GPA that qualified, nor did I have the SAT score that qualified to be in college. So I had to write a letter of recommendation and get my teacher's approval letter in. And then finally, UNC accepted me as a bear and I'm really proud to be a bear. I'm really happy to be here, and it's just crazy to think about how far I've come to get here is really crazy.
Katie: Yeah, it takes a lot of self-improvement and putting time towards yourself. It's hard to prioritize yourself. A lot of the times you just want to focus on others around you and your work and not think about that. But it takes a lot of effort to show that you've put in that work, and you've taken the time to really prove yourself where you're at.
Adaeze: Yes. And I was going to say, for everyone who is a full time student and a full time employee, you would understand what you have to go through. I haven't been able to be a full time employee, but I've been able to be a full time student. And I must say, having that equal balance is very hard, but it's not impossible. You can definitely do it. I felt as though I couldn't do it because what about school? What about me being in Greek life because I'm part of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority, Inc. So I was trying to balance Greek life, work, school, and honestly, my grades have been been doing better than they recently have, to be honest. And that's because I give myself time to de-stress after homework, give myself breaks, and then also do what I like to because sometimes your life doesn't always revolve around school and work. You also have to take care of your well-being too.
Katie: Exactly. Let's put mental health first every once in a while guys.
Katie: Just to finish off, do you have any helpful advice you'd like to give any future graduates or students currently at UNC? I'll start. Please do your work on time. Don't procrastinate. Learn from my mistakes. If you procrastinate and put things off, it's going to bite you in the butt later on. It's reaping what you sow. I definitely have struggled with that and I got a hold of it after a while, but it catches up on you quick.
Adaeze: I'll be honest, I'll be straight forward. I'm a procrastinator. It hasn't helped me not one bit. If you're a professor is assigning you an assignment, get started on it as soon as you can prep for it, because then it'll give you less work in the future.
Katie: I would say also, it's really important to build up a resume. Adding tools under your belt will give you a lot of opportunity post grad to to say, hey, I have a certificate in marketing. I have experience working with Crocs, I have leadership skills I got from my sorority. All of these things, they may seem like little things throughout the year, but building up that resume does help a lot.
Adaeze: Yeah it does. And I was also going to add as well planning. Very important. So if you are more of an electronic learner, I would suggest getting Google Calendar. And then if you're more of a physical writer, I would get a physical planner and just write out what you can do or plan out your day, plan out your week, even plan out time for yourself. Time for your homework. Time you eat. Because sometimes I feel like us students forget to eat, especially breakfast. They say it's the most important meal of the day.
Katie: Exactly. You can't live off ramen all the time. Let's have some veggies. Some fruits.
Katie: Take care of ourselves. Drink some water, make sure you drink water. Guys, it's really important. Talking with you today was really reassuring for all of my worries. Taking that first step into this huge part of your life can be really challenging. It takes a lot of willpower and effort to really throw yourself into a new setting, especially when deciding what you want to do for a career is so important. As a student, there's a lot of pressure to prove that what we've been studying for these past few years has been beneficial. And once you graduate, you're kind of at a standstill. What do I do now? Just remember to take life one step at a time. Take a deep breath and keep your head held high. If you've ever felt unsure about your next steps, I definitely recommend asking your friends and family for advice. Also, if you're a student here at UNC, you can visit the Career Readiness Center for all of your post-grad concerns, which is a free and very useful resource. You can visit in person or find all of their contact information on the UNC website. You know, I might just head there after this recording session because I need all the help I can get. Hopefully everyone feels a little bit more confident with their future after college, or if anything, had some references for any help they may need. Thank you again for joining me today. And that finishes up this week's episode of the Bear in Mind podcast. I'm your host, Katie Nord signing off. I hope you enjoyed! Bye!