Unlike most college kids, when the spring semester ended earlier this year, I didn't head back to my hometown or high school friends. Instead, I head to Charleston, South Carolina, the place that was once my family's vacation spot, but over the pandemic, my parents finally decided to pull the trigger and move us officially down to Charleston.
Don't get me wrong, I love Charleston; it's my favorite city in the world, and where I seriously see myself living when I get older. However, even though I love Charleston, at the beginning of this summer I had never spent more than three weeks consecutively in the city, so that being said, I barely had any friends.
At first, you don't think it's a big deal because of how easy it is to make friends in college. But if there is one thing this summer showed me, it’s a sneak peek at what it's like as a college postgraduate trying to make friends.
So let me start by telling you that the first week I was in Charleston, I basically just hung out with my parents and dog and tried to avoid thinking of my non-existent social life. So in order to fill my time this summer and hopefully make some friends, I decided to get not one, but two summer jobs. I worked at a high-end skincare boutique on Historic King Street and at a fresh, new, upscale pizza restaurant as a host. It was in these two jobs that I learned one of the most crucial factors about making friends outside of school and your normal circle is to observe the energy of the potential workplace.
I know you probably think I'm crazy for saying this because a job is a job, and trust me, I know I shouldn't judge a job by its aesthetic and vibe, especially in Charleston where the job market is so competitive. But when I went through all the interviews for the jobs I applied for I made sure to observe the energy the business gave off. For this exact reason, I chose the upscale pizza restaurant because from the moment I walked in, I felt like I was transported to Brooklyn in New York City and automatically felt like I belonged. The restaurant radiated a cool, modern and abundant energy, whereas the high-end boutique I worked at radiated the exact opposite; it had a very poised and stiff energy.
I bet you can guess where this is heading, but which one of the jobs do you think I will meet my first ever official work friend at? Yep, you're right, I made my first ever official work friend at the upscale pizza restaurant and overall enjoyed the people I worked with more at the pizza place over the boutique. So this peek into postgraduate life already taught me my first lesson: showing me how truly important the place you choose to work is, and how the people and the energy are the direct cause of having a good workplace situation, because if I hadn't made these observations during my interviews and chosen the pizza place, my summer wouldn't have had so many amazing memories and experiences... but that's a story for another time.