Daily she asks, “Are you there God? It’s me Shannon” as she does her to-do list for the day. Shannon Wilson is 22 years old and making her way in the world. Wilson graduated from Florida State University in May of 2020 with a criminology degree. Now, she demonstrates that you do not have to go into a field that has to do with your degree. Currently, Wilson works as a legislative aid in the Florida House of Representatives.
Wilson’s best advice to those who recently graduated is to take your first step towards creating your life. She says you just have to start trying.
“You do not have to know what you are doing but you have to do something. Take one step at least. I would prefer the step to push you forward, but there is no harm in flopping a little,” said Wilson about how to get started.
Wilson, like many, chose graduate school as one of her first steps after undergrad. She is working on getting a master’s degree from Florida State University in American politics and public policy. She has an overall goal to take her passion for social justice and apply it contextually to the Florida state government and beyond. When asked for tips on applying to graduate programs, her best tip was to go for it but apply for financial aid first.
“You never know if you will love grad school until you try. Go ahead and apply. It is a great way to narrow down your interests and fine-tune your skills,” said Wilson. “My best tip is to look for scholarships and tuition waivers first, though, because it can be expensive.”
One of Wilson’s other first steps toward creating her future is her job as a legislative aid. Her tips for those looking for a job include networking and putting yourself out on the job market. She got her job through a mutual friend she met while she was in a Panhellenic sorority. Her friend worked in the office that she now works in. When on the job hunt, she let her know she was interested in a job in the government and the networking paid off.
“Let your connections know you are looking for a job. The job search is a lot easier when other people are willing to help make connections for you.”
The last tip Wilson has for those who are about to start their adult lives is about creating a social life. She says the key to a thriving social life is cultivating the friendships that you made in undergrad. Graduate school, for many, can be lonely and less social. However, Wilson has combatted this through making friends with her classmates, people she works with and creating a Bumble BFF account.
“Reach out to people you know. There is a high chance that people you know are in the same situation as you,” said Wilson. “They probably feel the way you’re feeling. Do not be afraid to foster the connection.”
Wilson is still finding her way in the world. At 22 years old, no one knows anything for certain. However, her parting words are this:
“No one else has it figured out, so why should I?”