Welcome to Adulthood: The Transition from College Student to Professional

Posted on Monday, Feb 25, 2019

I never really thought of myself as an adult. I mean college students aren’t ‘real adults’ right? Some of us can’t even make doctor appointments for ourselves without the assistance of our Mom for crying out loud! Needless to say transitioning from the world of over caffeinated young adults that still haven’t quite figured it out, to business attire, corporate world, 9 to 5 daily job, ‘real adults’ was intimidating nonetheless. I had this expectation that the Texas Legislature would be filled with staffers that were older adults, that somehow had managed to have their life figured out. Much to my surprise when I completed my first couple of days within my internship, I realized the amount of staffers that were under the age of 30, was the majority of people there, aside from the members themselves. Within the first month of my internship, I realized that there are a lot differences between being a full time student and being a full time intern or employee.

1. A schedule outside of the office is crucial : Sticking to schedule isn’t anything new, as a class
schedule for a full time student is usually dominating. However, when you’re working a full time job from 8am to 6pm, in order to maximize the amount of time you have out of the office, you need a schedule. Through working as the scheduler of the Representative in my office, I have learned the importance of utilizing a digital calendar and setting reminders on your phone. Maximizing your time is everything, through the tool of time management and scheduling.

2. You’re never too young to have an opinion: This is a huge change from being a college student in
my opinion. As a student, you’re there to learn how to formulate your opinion and given resources to do
so. There’s usually a stigma attached to your age, where the older you are in seniority, grade and age,
the more knowledge you have accumulated. As an intern or employee, when asked for your opinion,
the recipient genuinely wants to know, despite your age. Don’t ever let your youth, doubt your ability to
give your opinion and back it up with facts.

3. Trust everyone, but verify: If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this phrase while interning, I may be able to afford Starbucks again! Seriously though, with the amount of lobbyists that traffic into the office, this is so key. In politics in general, this is key. Always do your own background research on everyone that you come in contact with.

4. Remember names: This is huge. As a full time student, I always thought I was great with names, until I became an intern. As an intern, you are at the advantage because you get to meet everyone that comes in. Although this is beneficial, with the amount of traffic that comes in the office at times, the names and faces start to blur together. My advice is to write them down, along with their title. You never know when you’ll see them again, and remembering names leads to possible connections, which is where networking begins!

Since I just recently graduated in December, this internship has been such a good way for me to transition into this world of adulthood. Sometimes I still don’t feel like an adult, but being immersed in a world of young staffers, has helped me realize that I’m never too young to make a difference. The time is now, and I’m ready to transition from student, to employee and hopefully one day employer.

Samantha Mares
Office of State Representative Craig Goldman
Austin, Texas | spring 2019