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Five Years Experience

By: Peyton Benge

For the past few months I have seen a large portion of job applications that have presented a common theme a little discouraging for college graduates like myself. After asking for my information and portfolio, the career forms all listed an interestingly new requirement: 5 years prior experience. The ambiguity of this requirement is beautiful. Truthfully, I have many years of "experience," but I'm unsure if my experiences are exactly what these applications are implying.


For two years I have had the pleasure of learning the Spanish language. I am not perfect, I am still learning y aprendizaje para siempre. One aspect I enjoy the most about learning Spanish is the window it created to the Spanish world. With the two years of experience learning the language came two years of learning more deeply about Spanish and Latin American cultures. These two years also taught me more about my own country's history and its interactions with the Spanish world. Before these two years, these particular tales of two separate cultural histories had never been taught to me. 


For four years I have attended the University of Oklahoma. I began my studies by spending two years taking a variety of general education classes to attempt to find a subject of personal interest. Two years I entered each class with an open mind. I felt that if it was required to learn in order to receive a diploma, then maybe I might excel in one of these required courses and continue on from there. Interestingly enough, my requirement to take at least three semesters of a foreign language to graduate is what lead me to minoring in Spanish.


For three years I have focused my education on the advertising industry. Many people still consider it unnecessary for the world and many others don't even consider it an "industry." I can confidently say that through our current political and economic structure that advertising is most certainly a qualified and necessary industry. These three years also introduced me to the legal issues that advertisers face. All the court cases and studies we read and analyzed in my classes guided me to an interesting conclusion: brands that are conscious and socially aware of their possible disturbances of our lives will succeed...or maybe I'm just a hopeful Millennial. 


For two years I have been writing for both my university and a student-ran advertising agency. During these two years I have discovered the current state of my ever-changing voice. I was tested to think critically by Dr. Fred Beard and write creatively by former McCann-Erickson Executive Creative Director, Dave Tutin. I learned that every time I write, I need to possess a mission, a strategy and a purpose that supports both. 


For all these years and many others, I have been experiencing wonderfully unique perspectives. For many years I have maintained my faith in a world that each day, more and more declares as nonsense. For years I have experienced the difficulties of being steadfast in a culture of hypocritical and ignorant discrimination. However, I am yet still concerned.


My life has far more than five years of experience, however I do not currently have 5 years professional experience in one industry. I guess you could say that's why I'm seeking more new experiences. I understand that my education does not guarantee a future occupation, but to reject me and a large proportion of other college graduates for a lack of experience is a conclusion that is up for interpretation. 

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