The First Day

keep-calmI’m ashamed to say that even after gruelling over the perfect cover letter, prepping for the interview and waiting for the call back that may never come- even after going through all of this and somehow succeeding- I have anxiety on the first day.

In my mind all my new coworkers will be academically gifted beyond measure as well as incredibly efficient and have all won Olympic medals. My new boss will hand me an assignment expecting me to be qualified except I don’t have a PhD in Neuroscience and previous experience at NASA. Those 10-15 hours a week will turn into a life consuming thread of emails, memos, and tightrope walking tasks that I must complete with a smile.

Needless to say, I get a bit nervous about making a good first impression. It’s understandable because I want to arrive and be able to say, “I got this job! I belong here!” but at the same time I don’t have a pattern to fall into yet.

  1. PREP: Start the job before you start the job. Review the rules, and guidelines of your position. Make sure you’ve got all the important names down and know how to dress and who to see when you arrive!
  2. BE PUNCTUAL: This seems obvious but sometimes when I’m nervous I get forgetful- make a game plan and try to figure out the easiest route to get to your new job.
  3. BE ACTIVE: Become the “go-to”, be eager to learn, and eager to start new assignments. Show them you’re ready for this (even when you’re a bit unsure, just remember that you got this position because you deserve it!).
  4. BE SOCIAL: Say “Hello”, “How are you?” and try to get to know the people around you. It’s important to be comfortable there and coworkers can be great!
  5. BREATHE: It’s probably a training session and you’re probably not expected to swim the English Channel.  Try and be positive because every experience is what you make it. It’s easy to talk about work like it’s a bore but this is something you went out for and achieved. It’s okay to get happy about it!

I can understand that some of these tips seem to go without saying but it’s an honest mistake to fall behind with school and a new job on the way. I’m just starting a Work Study experience and am going to have to manage it with assignments and readings just like everyone else but that doesn’t mean it isn’t bit of a transition into a new rhythm.

Good luck to all on your first days and every day after! Even if the first day isn’t the best day, be positive and you’ll be on top of it soon!


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