Enter Adulthood with Diana Antholis

Diana Antholis is the founder of Enter: Adulthood, an online guide for young adults that shares advice and tips on career, relationship, and personal life choices to transition into the “real world.” Enter: Adulthood’s mission is to help young adults become independent, self-directed individuals with a balanced life of work, relationships, purpose, and fun.

What inspired you to start Enter: Adulthood?
My younger brother. He graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in May 2010 with a degree in Computer Animation. He had won numerous awards and was recognized internationally for his 2D video thesis. Instead of staying in NYC though to work, he packed his stuff into a car and drove cross-country to Los Angeles to live and look for a job. Finding work was easy for him, freelance and salaried, but once he started going through the motions of “adulthood” he became lost. He often called my parents and myself asking about apartment rentals, health insurance, and negotiation (for income and mattress purchasing). As I gave advice, I started thinking that others needed it too, especially those in creative schools who were not familiar with business. That’s when the idea for Enter: Adulthood was born.

What are Enter: Adulthood’s goals?
Enter: Adulthood’s mission is to help young adults become independent, self-directed individuals with a balanced life of work, relationships, purpose, and fun. My goal is to guide young adults into the “new” adulthood we are entering. Being an adult isn’t what it used to be years ago. Society defines it as getting a job, getting married, having children, and saving for retirement. Researchers are coining terms such as “emerging adulthood” and “pre-adulthood” to define 20somethings. Yes, we are waiting longer to be the adults society defines us as, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t adults. That doesn’t mean we don’t think about our futures. That doesn’t mean we are lazy and unproductive. We are ready to work and live life as much as anyone else, but we want to do it on our own terms. That’s the new adulthood. I’m here to show young adults that they aren’t alone.

What advice do you have for students looking for internships?
Find an internship that will provide you with knowledge of the industry you want to work in and access to as many people in that company as possible. Learning the ins and outs of a company will build your knowledge base but also teach you how organizations work. Organizations are complex systems and every single one has differences and similarities. Learning from the people in that organization is invaluable. Look for positions that you can shadow leaders and managers to understand their thought processes. Ask if you will be involved in major projects – even just being involved in the meetings is a great learning experience. Collecting data and spending your days on Excel won’t be as much of a learning experience versus hands-on activities.

What do you wish you knew when you were in college?
I wish I knew how to work. It’s one thing to know the tangible skills to do a job, but it is quite another to learn the soft skills. I wish I had a course on the people side of management and leadership. It would have been greatly beneficial to learn how to deal with managers as well as how to be one. I didn’t see enough training in my jobs for this either. That’s why I went back to graduate school and studied Organizational Management to really learn how organizations and people work.

Another thing I wish I knew was how to manage work and my personal life. It is easy to get sucked into working long hours. Avoiding burnout is key to maintaining a healthy and happy life. All of these issues are what we discuss and consult people on at Performance Advantage Inc. I wanted to make sure people have somewhere to go to learn how to work smarter and feel better about work.

What kind of advice do young adults ask for the most?
The main concern most young adults have now is about their careers. I’ve found that many graduate college, work a few years, and then realize they are unhappy and want to make a change. The problem is that they don’t know how to make that change. Being a career change survivor myself, I developed consulting sessions to navigate these people down the right road. It is really hard to turn around once you have been walking down one road for a while, but completely doable. I also offer a comprehensive e-Guide named “Conquer Your Career” that covers four topics to get you back in control of your career: develop yourself, enhance your image, get hired, and manage your future. Changing your career isn’t as scary if you have a path to follow.

What is the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is connecting with individuals out there who I never would have known if it wasn’t for social media. Having this job allows me to hear stories from young adults all over the world who are dealing with their own “quarter-life crises.” It is my pleasure to guide them into a lifestyle they are truly happy with.

Marny Smith is the Community Manager for NY Creative Interns. You can find her on TumblrTwitter and LinkedIn.

About the Author

Marny Smith was the VP and Director of Community of FindSpark for 2.5 years. She is a FindSpark Advisor, Certified Professional Resume Writer, Diversity Advocate, and Employment Specialist connecting young adults with developmental disabilities with supportive employers. Interested in learning more about hiring individuals with disabilities? Feel free to reach out: msmith@jccmanhattan.org

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