Jenny Blake About Life During College

Daily inspiration and advice for the ambitious savvy young professional

Jenny Blake About Life During College

This blog was written by Marysa Miller the campus ambassador for California State University Long Beach.

Being an Intern Queen Ambassador has truly opened my eyes to an incredible industry and handful of role models that I would have never known existed otherwise.  Earlier this month, I got an email from The Intern Queen, Lauren about an event in Los Angeles that she needed someone locally to attend. Jenny Blake, the author of Life After College was making the last stop on her book tour.  I was shocked and honored when I was given the task of attending the event.  My mind was racing with questions! “What do I wear?” “Where will I sit?” “How should I introduce myself?”  I put on my lucky heels and began my adventure hoping to not get lost or stuck in Los Angeles traffic.

One of the main messages that Jenny spoke about that night was fear and how we may let it prevent us from achieving our goals.  I realized that this spoke loudly not only to myself but to other interns and college students.  After she handed me one of her books (and signed it!) I remembered how much fear I had before attending the event.  However, I went, networked and held my own in a room of industry professionals.  I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Jenny after the event. I think that many interns and students will be able to relate to her experiences and take something great from her message.  Enjoy!

When you were in college, how did you stay motivated towards finding internships, career opportunities, writing your book, etc?

I always had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted to do (even though that changed over the years). I was majoring in Communications and Political Science, and thought I wanted to work on a presidential campaign. I asked one of my professor&s if I could be her research assistant and that&s what led to me taking the job as the first employee at the political polling start-up. I stayed motivated by continuing to seek out interesting opportunities, and saying no to things I wasn&t passionate about (like quitting my job as a reporter for the Daily Bruin after only a year, even though I had been into journalism my whole life.) One of my favorite quotes is by John Maxwell who says, "Learn to say no to the good so that you can say yes to the great."

When a student or recent/post graduate is feeling overwhelmed, how should they handle the situation?

Start by making a list of everything that is overwhelming you. What are all of the questions, concerns and fears that you&re carrying around? Once you&ve gotten them out of your head and on to a piece of paper, you can get more creative about troubleshooting. How can you turn your biggest challenges into creative questions? For example: "I&m stressed about money" becomes "How can I make some additional income this month?"

In college, what is one thing you wish you knew at the time, but have since realized?

I wish I knew that it was okay to rest and play more -- I worked really, really hard, and while I don&t regret it at all, I also realize looking back that I could have squeezed in a few more vacations. Though the best thing I ever did for myself was scheduling all my classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I had four-day weekends every weekend!

Do you think it&s important to have a career role model and if so, why?

I think it&s important to have people you look up to, but it doesn&t need to be just one person. Create a "dream team" of people who are doing interesting things and whose mindset you respect. It&s likely that there will not be a set path exactly for you that one person has paved -- you&ll look to many for inspiration and support.

What would you say is the greatest advice someone gave you and how did it apply to your life?

The best advice anyone ever gave me was my dad, who said "Take great leaps!" He referenced an anonymous quote that "You can&t cross the Grand Canyon in two small leaps" which taught be the value of taking risks and living my life full-out -- to set big goals and stretch to go for them. It can be scary at times, but incredibly rewarding too.

Follow Jenny on Twitter: @Jenny_Blake or on her website: LifeAfterCollege.org