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3 Keys to Transitioning from College to Agency Life

Published: October 2, 2015

Author: Winnie Tsai

There is a substantial learning curve in making the transition from full-time student to full-time big kid. It’s a completely new environment with different responsibilities and expectations. The key to making it work? A very patient manager (shout out to my manager, Ed), lots of coffee, and being flexible with the changes that come with having a job.

Adopt a Teamwork Mentality

Other than the fairly obvious change in schedule, environment, etc., one of my biggest challenges is the change in mindset that comes with joining an agency. As a college student with newfound independence, you realize that you are solely responsible for your choices and the subsequent consequences. I applied this logic to everything, especially my schoolwork. Alternatively, joining an agency and becoming a part of a team, you begin to realize that your individual success equates to the larger success of the team.
Initially, when people congratulated me on the team’s success, I would always be sure to let them know that as a new hire, I didn’t contribute much and it was mostly my team members. Almost immediately, I would get rebuffed that it was a team effort and no matter how little my contribution, I still contributed. This team mentality resonates in every aspect, whether it’s helping to clean up the office or celebrating the agency’s and coworkers’ successes.

Shift Your Hours of Productivity

As a college student, I unabashedly did some of my best work late into the night until the early-morning hours, fueled by caffeine and a sense of urgency in order to meet my early-morning deadline. Procrastination was ingrained into my work habits and daily routine. However, joining an agency means that this is no longer an option; I need to be able to accurately complete my work during business hours and thus adjust my level of productivity from late night to daytime in order to ensure a happy client. Not only is the client waiting for my work, but I could also be delaying the team’s progress as a whole.

Appreciate the Application of Real Skills

Another aspect of working at the agency that I enjoy is the application of real-life skills. In college, you’re required to learn a variety of concepts and skills, many of which you may not end up using in your everyday life post-graduation. To this day, I still have not been placed in a situation where it was necessary for me to calculate if Bob bought 3,000 bananas and Mary bought 400 apples, how many shovels Jessica would have.  However, working at a company, especially in addition to the provided training, allows the opportunity to learn pertinent skills necessary to succeed in the field. Concepts are much more applicable due to their relevancy to everyday work. Personally, I enjoy this hands-on way of learning more and am able to apply what I learn more effectively compared to theory-based education.
It’s been quite the drastic change from college to an agency, but to say that I’ve learned a lot is an understatement. More adventures await me on my journey to becoming a digital marketing master!

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