This past Thursday I attended PRSSA’s event at Montante Cultural Center. The way the event worked was first we arrived and mingled with each other as people came in, then there were two presentations by Communication Professionals that are Canisius alums that are each extremely successful in their fields, and then there was time to “Speed Network” with the two speakers and three other professionals.

It just so happened that the table my friend and I had chosen to sit at was where one of the professionals¬†Erin Grajek – who is the Director of Marketing at Buffalo’s Botanical Gardens, was stationed at. We began to chat, and for the first time since I arrived at the event, I was completely at ease. Erin was entirely down to earth and willing to answer any questions that we had. As she talked about her job, it was obvious she really loves what she does, and is in a position that is made for someone of her personality type. After talking for a bit we asked for advice while interviewing and she said something that stuck with me. “Don’t be afraid to be yourself in an interview”. It seems silly, but I thought a lot about this comment after I left the event because I think that it is incredibly important. I think that sometimes when we’re stressed and we’re starting a new chapter in our lives (like when we’re job searching 3 weeks before we graduate college) we forget that staying true to ourselves is important. We think that there is some specific image that we need to uphold when we interview and work and if we don’t fit that certain mold, we won’t succeed. And as a result of this, people go into interviews nervous and trying to act in a way that isn’t natural for them. She reminded me that this isn’t ¬†true though, it’s okay to be yourself and it is important to let who you are shine through during an interview. Because in the end, if it’s not working out for some reason – it probably would have not been the best placement for you anyway.

After talking to Erin, we moved to the rest of the tables and talked to really interesting people with incredible stories of how they got where they are today. Another thing that stood out to me about each of them is how much they stressed being happy and working in an environment that you think you are going to like. Again, we get so caught up with money and trying to find a job just to have a job after graduation, that we forget that happiness is a huge factor that we should be considering. Not to say that we should be picky necessarily, however Thursday’s event reminded me that I want to find a job that I’m passionate about. And although I’m still trying to figure out what exactly I want to do after I walk across the stage, I do know I want to be happy and I don’t want to settle for less than that.