One Year Out

Yui+Company’s Toyin Akinwande working behind the scenes at Fund for Education Abroad’s annual Fall Gala

Yui+Company’s Toyin Akinwande working behind the scenes at Fund for Education Abroad’s annual Fall Gala

One year ago, I replaced writing papers on bridging 18thcentury literature with post-modernist texts for a Big-Girl career in Public Relations. Turning over my tassel to begin a new chapter where essentially I am more in charge of my own life, has been a huge undertaking as I discover my passion and purpose, and how to communicate that in my career.

Just as high school is nothing like college, neither is college like 9 to 5. Each level of life brings new challenges. Your career is a lifelong journey with no set steps to reaching a destination. What you studied in college does not dictate where you must land and stick to forever, but instead lays a foundation of skills and knowledge that are transferable in many fields. Being able to communicate your goals, vision, and abilities will help you reach your destination through each small step, while adding value along the way.

The transition from student to working-woman was a sudden one. Just 48 hours after graduation, I was in the office absorbing as much information as I could about our clients and the company within the traditional 8-hour work day. The information seemed overwhelming, and I was nervous that I would not be able to grasp it all to become a good communicator for them or add any value to the company. But as weeks and months passed, I saw the areas where help was needed and how I could meet them with my skills. I learned the importance of vocalizing what you are a beginner or proficient at doing, and working towards building those skills up at your job. You will not only benefit yourself as you grow with practice on the job, but your company will also benefit from the end product of your work. I was able to share my love for videography and creativity, even developing and editing a series of video interviews that captured the passion and commitment of donors and volunteers for a nonprofit client that help communicate their impact on underserved students in the study abroad space. Our client expressed a need, and we created a strategy that allowed me to use the skills I already had to deliver to them.

Communications play a big role in our lives. We need to be able to communicate who we are and what we value, and how that can be transferred into the workplace. When we are trying to land a job, build meaningful relationships, or learn a new skill, we are selling ourselves to show how capable we are. Being rooted in who you are as an individual also involves communication abilities in order to properly share yourself with others. People can tell when you are not confident, or don’t have much knowledge in a specific area just by watching you communicate. Having your core values and knowing them helps you build the confidence to share yourself with others and grow.  

The greatest thing I’ve learned one year later is learning is never-ending. Becoming a good communicator is learned through constant interactions with others. The way in which we communicate changes with the birth of new social media apps and its constant updated features. Just as we learn new ways to communicate through multiple platforms, we must also learn how to communicate who we are as we continue to grow and gain new experiences. 

Toyin Akinwande