Industry Slump

So I am going to bring up a topic that hits pretty close to home, and hopefully this can help people avoid trouble in the future.

Industry slump happens when a student goes from a co-op or internship into college classes and struggles to come to balance with school life. I have known many students who have gone from work into school and have struggled with reentry into academic life. Personally, I have experienced this feeling after both of my co-op experiences. In industry or most internships, students go from basic understudy or a person with a questionable future, to a main player on a team where actual products, money, and credit are on the line. On the job a person learns constantly, faces new challenges, and if they’re lucky or talented enough to land a dream job, is working at a dream company that they went to school for.

Going from real work to classes, especially general education or free electives, can be surprisingly depressing/ draining. In industry students get to work on a single project, preferably on a talent or field they are incredibly interested in and devoted to learning about. The person’s life is job, then home, there is almost always a point where everything is cut off. While in school students can have anywhere between two and eight classes, one to three jobs, extracurricular activities/ clubs/ organizations, and of course the stresses of college themselves, all of which can happen seven days a week. Most of which, might have nothing to do with what a person be doing in industry. I am not saying other classes are not important, all classes are incredibly important and are a huge bonus especially if they are outside a person’s comfort zone.

When I came back from working as a programmer at Disney, I was taking three English classes at once to complete RIT’s immersion/perspective requirement. The first month of school was an incredibly difficult transition for me, one second I was working as a programmer on a team actually shipping a game, and the next second I was sitting in classes where many of the students encountered obstacles with writing in general. I overcame the slump by diving into projects with my friends that constantly pushed the boundaries of what I knew. I strove to incorporate everything I learned from the real world into my work ethic and abilities. The world outside of college is demanding, but it also has a lot to offer. You should work incredibly hard and study as much as you can so that you can have great opportunities in the world.

The point I want to get across is this: no one else matters but yourself, so take care of yourself. This world and this industry are going to demand more from you than anything you can possibly imagine, so give it your everything. Don’t worry about other people’s stories, don’t worry about other people’s complaints and gripes. You are your own person and there are going to be times when you’re going to question why you are at a place when it frustrates you. You are going to question why you talk to people when they just make you exasperated and frustrated. Industry slump sucks, it drains you, but it’s also a great reminder that there are places that you can go. So work incredibly hard, don’t be a student trying to get a job, be a developer, be a designer, and just make professional things.