Transitioning from a college student to a young professional can be tough. Suddenly, sleeping in on a used mattress you bought for $100 and marathon watching your favorite TV show before your first class on Monday at 3:00 pm seems unorthodox. So you go, you buy a new mattress (probably for the better), and instead of Netflix – you’re building IKEA furniture Monday morning. While that is a good start, here are 5 of what I consider to be top tips geared toward helping recent graduates adjust to the “real world,” as they join the ISDR Program!

  1. Be flexible and open-minded

As you know, the ISDR Program is a rotational program where each ISDR is able to experience four unique departments for 6 months at a time. Now, unless you have seen every department of UPMC’s Information Services Division, there is a good chance you will experience some unfamiliarity. That’s okay! That is truly the biggest advantage of the ISDR Program in my opinion – the ability to see so much in only two years. Make sure you are open-minded and willing to learn in whatever scenario you are placed. Be flexible when it comes to departmental procedures, commutes, hours and dress code, because it is likely they will differ wherever you go.  

  1. Be courteous

A smile really goes a long way. Don’t be afraid to smile or say “Hi!” to co-workers in your rotation when you’re passing them. These are people you will be working with for at least 6 months, if not in some way-shape-form, your entire career at UPMC. It is important for them to feel comfortable around you and for you to foster a sense of community with those you are working with by treating them with dignity and respect. It will only benefit you in the long run!

  1. You guessed it… Network!

Building from Tip 2, networking is a huge benefit of the rotation program. During your two years you will meet a lot of people – many directors and executives – whom you could be working with/for at some point. With that being said, it doesn’t hurt to throw your arm out for a handshake and introduce yourself. You never know where or in what setting you may see them again.

  1. Make sure you’re prepared

With the new job comes new responsibilities. Suddenly you have meeting invites flying into your inbox, projects to tackle, presentations to give, etc. It is a lot all at once, so it is important to be prepared. Make sure you set reminders for appointments, take notes at meetings and practice thoroughly before presentations. It will help you to catch details you might otherwise miss and also help you apply the proper amount of TLC to any project and presentation you might have.

  1. Be involved

One of the perks associated with the ISDR program is the fact that you have a class of peers whose experiences are relatable to yours! If you can attend them, take part in the service events that you are invited to, meet up for social gatherings outside of work, get to know your peers, and join one of the ISDR committees. It’s important to be involved and give back to the community, and more fun and easy to do so when your peers become friends.

Good luck!

Linda Cheung, Systems Analyst