16 Things We Wish We Knew When We Graduated

Posted on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 by
In Culture, tagged in
affinis graduates

With summer in full-swing, many new grads are trading finals and term papers for cubicles. We asked 16 co-workers to share what they wish they knew when they graduated. Here’s what they had to say:

  1. “I wish I had learned more about writing and public speaking. I had to learn both on the job,” Rick Worrel, President, B.S. Civil Engineering, 1983.
  2. “A lot of the knowledge you gain is from hands on work experience. Having a great mentor is crucial to a new hire. It contributes to how well they adjust and ultimately, stay with a company. Ask questions and learn from your mistakes. Who you work with each day and the company’s values/attitudes is 99 percent of job satisfaction. You can love what you do, but if you don’t enjoy your co-workers/supervisors, then ultimately, a person will leave a company. So, look for companies with your values, and during the interview process, make sure you feel comfortable with the people you would be working with. Work hard and stay focused at work, but make sure to have personal time as well. A balance of work/home life is crucial to long term satisfaction in your career,” Kathy Minnick, Controller, Masters of Business Administration, 1989.
  3. “I wish I would have known that there is a lot more to engineering than crunching numbers,” Ryan Stobaugh, Field Engineer and Construction Observer, B.S. Civil Engineering, 2011.
  4. “I wish I had known you weren’t supposed to know everything once you graduated. It is OK to not know how to do things. College is just the start of your learning,” Linda Rottinghaus, Senior Project Engineer, B.S. Civil Engineering, 1986.
  5. “I wish I’d realized an MBA would be more beneficial than the masters degree I obtained,” Mike McKenna, Principal, Masters in Engineering Management, 1999.
  6. “Corporate culture is as strong a reason to take a job as the day-to-day tasks you’ll be performing.” Peggy Amor, Marketing Manager, B.A. Communications, 2005.
  7. “Book smart and business smart are two completely different things, and the latter will likely serve you better than the former,” Cindy Martens, Manager of Recruiting and Retention, B.S. Business Administration, 1979.
  8. “I wish I had known more licensed land surveyors and colleagues outside of my workplace that I could have collaborated with and learned from. In post-graduation years, I became more involved with professional land surveying societies and came to know somebody from about every county in both Kansas and Missouri. It was fun to see how other professionals work,” Robert Ubben, Principal, AAS Land Surveying, 2001.
  9. “As engineers, we tend to focus on technical aptitude and accuracy. In school, I wish we had been required to take course work for written and oral communication. It is important to know how to convey your thoughts/ideas/project in technical and non-technical terms. Know your audience. Know your message,” Kristen Leathers, Project Manager, B.S. Civil Engineering, 1990.
  10. “I wish I knew more design programs such as Civil 3D and how to properly utilize some of the more specialized tools within the programs. Learning more civil design techniques on various programs before graduation could save time for not just the recent graduate, but also for the technicians helping them learn once they are in the work force. After working internships and from a senior design project, I knew the basics and felt fairly familiar with most design programs, but during my time at UMKC, the only CAD class available to engineering students was constructed to teach mechanical engineering design basics only. (Example: Knowing how to set up alignments, profiles and corridors for roadway design would have been helpful.), Levi Cole, Intern, B.S. Civil Engineering, 2017.
  11. “I wish I would have started/finished my Master’s degree earlier, before life became so ‘busy’ with work, family, and the Army. My advice to younger engineers is this, if you plan to obtain your Masters, take the initiative to finish it earlier,” Jason Davis, Vice President of Federal Services, Masters in Geological Engineering, 2016.
  12. “When I graduated, I wish I knew how important it is to have a good mentor,” Kellan Gregory, Professional Land Surveyor and Utility Coordinator, AAS Land Surveying, 2004.
  13. “I wish I’d have known how much easier it would have been to stay in school,” Jason Fine, Design Technician, Associates of Science, 2005.
  14. “I wished I would have had a better understanding for the business of engineering. That would have helped me have a clearer picture of which area to focus on in regards to career development,” Cliff Speegle, Project Engineer, B.S. Civil Engineering, 2004.
  15. “2010 was a rough time to graduate. Finding a job in the advertising world was nearly impossible. However, there are a lot of different forms of marketing, and you will probably be doing something you didn’t know existed,” Kristen Kocen, Office Coordinator, B.S. Journalism, 2010.
  16. “Even though you’ve graduated, it doesn’t mean you will stop learning. Find a company who offers professional enrichment and supports continued education,” John Spell, B.S. Civil Engineering, 2015.

What do you wish you knew when you graduated? Share your ideas with #AffinisGraduation16.

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