By Tyler Yin
For the past three years, I’ve used Future Grads as a catalyst to join the workplace during my high school summers. This program is a great tool for any young adult trying to gain “real-world” experience, while also making an impact on their local community. For many, this is an outlet to learn the ins and outs of a workplace from quality first-hand experience, and I hope the program continues to serve my generation of young adults.
My three years with the program have resulted in three significantly different experiences. My first year, I worked alongside Jawbone (now Jawbone Health), where I did product testing and online organization work for the PR department. Last year, I worked at the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, collaborating closely with TEF Design on local hospital facilities. Though my time at each organization had its bright spots, the most eye-opening work is what I find myself doing today.
This year, I was paired with Techtonica, a fiscally-sponsored non-profit organization that offers job placement and living stipends to local women and non-binary individuals with low incomes. Here, I have been working alongside Techtonica Founder and CEO Michelle Glauser, who has grown to be an inspiration for the way I’d like to represent myself in the workplace. For Techtonica, I managed social media and digital advertising campaigns, wrote countless grant and donation requests, planned and promoted events, and communicated with a completely new network of influential Bay Area individuals. By being here, I definitely solidified my college major, Business Administration and Marketing, and gained other notable skills important to my future success.
Wisdom for future Future Grads
Based on my experiences, I could give a significant amount of advice to new Future Grads applicants. I’d like to start by saying that everyone is human, and just because someone is your boss or another intern, doesn’t mean the conversation is any different. Sometimes walking into a new workplace seems intimidating, but I’ve found that the “real world” isn’t so different from any school you’d attend, or any social environment you’ve already found yourself in. With that in mind, I would really like to emphasize that any work opportunity is a chance to network and market yourself. I’ve learned this more and more over the past few years, and this year, I started to realize that no matter the situation, you are representing your own brand, and you need to be aware of that no matter who is on the other side of conversation.
The differences across my three years have shown me that all work experience is good work experience. Whether or not I liked every company, I took away work- and self-related reflections that I have applied to my everyday life. I think if my generation is able to see both good and bad experiences under the light of ultimate benefit, we will be able to cultivate a world that has unlimited potential for growth.
All things considered, I thank the Future Grads program for helping me understand the workplace. I hope the program will be able to assist one of you, as it has done for myself.
Tyler is a rising senior at Drew school and three-time Future Grads participant.