It’s our first AskSHE column by Guest Columnist Abby Lee Hood! Abby Lee picked three #collegelife questions for our SHEeducates series and gives advice on financial literacy, what to do when you aren’t sure your school is for you, and whether you should take that internship or try freelancing for a year (or more). Have a question that you want to #askAbbyLee? Email us at youngbosSHE@gmail.com with your question and first name and last initial and you could be featured in the next AskSHE column!
About the Author: Abby Lee Hood is a queer sci-fi/fantasy writer and full-time social media manager in Nashville, TN. She loves stories that make the hard days a little easier, whether it’s telling a joke while presenting a social media workshop, writing a short story or tweeting about a cause her client supports. Ask her about her love for Chicago and adopting senior dogs.
Q: I’m about to graduate college and have no financial literacy. Where in the world do I start?
A: Handling your finances right out of college can be difficult because you’ve probably never been totally in charge of them, and financial literacy isn’t really taught in high school or afterward. Your best best is to find a school of thought or group of resources you like and trust and start to build your knowledge base yourself. I personally follow the FIRE (it stands for financial independence, retire early) rules of living frugally and saving as much as I can. I really love listening to podcasts like Fire Drill, but it’s a whole movement so there are literally hundreds of resources. You could also try reading up on Dave Ramsey, as he’s another low-cost, debt-free teacher. Basically, you want to find ways to pay your bills, save as much as possible and start thinking about retirement. Yes, retirement! You can also check with your local bank, or if you haven’t graduated yet, your university, to see if they offer financial literacy
Q: What if I don’t think I‘m at the right college? Should I transfer?
A: Firstly I would ask how you know you’re not at the right college. Is it the coursework? Your friend group or lack thereof? Lack of opportunity or even night and social life? These can all be reason enough to think about transferring, and while it’s a big task to pull off, you can do it.
I would speak to a guidance counselor or trusted professor to get started. Yes, it can be awkward to tell them you want to leave their school, but if they have your best interest in mind they’ll understand and can help you make the right choice. Start to research schools that match your criteria for education, which may have changed since you first started classes. Next, you’ll want to start looking into which classes will transfer, and which you might have to take again, as well as making a financial aid plan.
At the end of the day, you know your heart and path better than anyone else. While a college degree doesn’t really condemn you to one career path forever, it is important, as is the four years you spend in a new place with new friends and new experiences. If you aren’t getting the experience you need and deserve, you still have time to make a
different choice. Don’t be scared, go for it!
Q: Should I take an internship or work part-time, or freelance?
A: In my opinion, there are a few things in life that you get out of what you put in. College and internships are just two of them. I actually never did an internship, and I think I did pretty well! I have a full time job with a marketing agency and live a life I’m proud of.
However, the experience I needed to get hired had to come from somewhere! I spent a year being self-employed in the exact same role as my current one, where I built the skill set and know-how to do my job. I understand that path isn’t for everyone, and you might prefer to build your skills another way, like an internship. Watch out though, because most don’t pay. One of the main reasons I never interned was because I simply couldn’t afford to; I had to work. I’m very proud to have worked three jobs in college, and no matter what anybody says, you can do it. Your main goal should be producing the income you need while gaining skills in a career field you want to go into. Sometimes that requires multiple positions at once, and while working I would often take on volunteer roles to beef up my resume.
One of the easiest ways to build a skill set without too much stress is freelancing (even remotely through a site like Fiverr). Having one or two clients in your field may not be a huge time commitment and it’ll pay off tenfold in what you learn, plus it might just pad your wallet, too. Good luck!
ICYMI: We dropped Episode 9 of SHEspeaks last month!