When Lorey Giblin entered her first semester of college, she rocked pink hair, Converse designed a la Sharpie, and some low-hanging chains. Everyone else wore a suit at C.U.N.Y. Baruch, a school that prides itself on its business program and ambitious managerial-type students. Giblin was the first in her family to seek a college degree and, without any guidance on how to navigate the environment, the Queens native quickly lost her way.

After six years in school and four different majors, she’s finally figured it out. Now, sitting at a bar in New York City’s East Village on a brisk November night, Giblin, 24, looks poised, confident, and ready to take on the business world in a new entrepreneurial conquest. She graduated this past summer with a degree in English and a minor in Communications and, unlike many of her friends, experienced a stroke of magic from the employment fairy. Her self-made millionaire uncle was venturing into his third start-up and asked Giblin to come on board. The business is a dry salt therapy spa called Breathe Easy and in five years, she expects to be running the company.

“Not many people can say that they’re going to run and own a company,” says Giblin. “I’m kind of given this opportunity and it’s up to me to earn it, but I’m working from the ground up.” Her official title at Breathe Easy is “manager,” but as with any fledgling business, Giblin explains, titles are merely a formality; she also handles their P.R., communications, customer relations, and occasional chauffeuring. And with 11 percent of recent college grads (class of 2011-2013) currently unemployed in the United States, Giblin knows that even the occasional 14-hour workdays are a blessing. “My G.P.A. was not the best, and I’m and English major, and there are no jobs,” she admits, a New York accent rolling off her tongue. “I don’t know what I was going to do if this opportunity didn’t come, so I got kind of lucky.”

More than luck, Giblin seems different from the college student she described herself as—queen of the local bar and never one to kick it with the kids who studied. “I’ve never been responsible, I’ve always been reckless, I’ve always lived in the moment,” says Giblin. Now the pink hair, along with the devil-may-care attitude, is a thing of the past; Giblin instead wears her natural blond locks in a long slick ponytail—assertive hair for an assertive young woman. She speaks loudly, as if in combat with the bar music, but clearly winning the fight. Three months into her new career, Giblin has paid off her credit card debt, planned out a budget, and even started leasing a car.

Instead of partying the weekend away, she stays in to catch up on work and brainstorm marketing ideas for Breathe Easy. A good deal of her time is spent putting together media lists, writing blog posts, updating social media, and getting the word out about salt therapy: “an effective way to naturally treat all kinds of health conditions, from skin problems to upper and lower respiratory conditions,” according to Breathe Easy’s website.

Although Giblin is quick to dismiss her business capabilities (“I did not do well in a single business class,” she says. “I was terrible.”), she had been building what psychologist and millennial expert Meg Jay calls “identity capital” since the tender age of 16, when Giblin got her first retail job at Mandee’s. In a TED talk from early 2013, Jay defined this idea by imploring young adults to “do something that adds capital to who [they] are,” and an “investment on who [they] want to be.” Giblin always wanted to work in a social sphere. After her three-year stint at the preteen clothing store, Giblin worked at Pier 1 Imports for five years; two of those were spent as a manager. “When I was a sophomore in college, it was a little hard,” says Giblin. “I had to be at work at four in the morning— to go there, to unload the truck of merchandise, to allocate where it goes, and who’s doing what. Then I would leave and go to school until nine at night.”

In congruence with Jay’s theory, Giblin ended up gaining not only administrative skills, but also invaluable communication skills. “She’s learned to be very good with people based on her previous work experience,” says Giblin’s uncle, and boss, Gary Patrick. “Just because you go to college, doesn’t mean you come out and you’re going to be a vice president of some company because you really haven’t done anything in college— it’s camp; it’s party town.” Patrick, 58, has founded three start-up companies, and says he knows potential when he sees it, and that identity capital was part of the reason “why [he] gave Lorey a chance.”

According to Giblin, talking to clients about salt therapy is her favorite part of the job. Unfortunately, a regular day for Giblin in the current stages of the company’s development means not leaving her bedroom—which doubles as an office. She currently lives—and works— at home with her parents and younger sister (an aspiring math teacher, Giblin mentions proudly), which can become irritating. “My mom talks to me and I can’t focus and I’m in my room, then I’m lonely, then I’m not leaving my house for days, then I’m like, I gotta get out and I’m freaking out,” says Giblin. But the workload has become more familiar since she was first hired in September of 2013. “I’m getting through it, it’s less overwhelming.”

Still, Giblin’s current situation feels surreal because she admits that her “dream” had always involved music. “When I was two I wanted to be a singer, but if I sang for you, you’d understand why I’m not,” says Giblin with a laugh and a wave of her hand.  Then, more realistically, “I wanted to be a music journalist, that’s what I wanted to do. ‘Almost Famous’ was my favorite movie of all time and I was convinced I was going to be a music journalist.” Giblin still goes to shows whenever she can, whether the band is ultra-famous or obscure, is irrelevant. “I don’t care,” she says. “I just like it.”

She’s learned to love her job, too. “I didn’t even know it was something that I wanted,” says Giblin. “But the more that I went into it, the more I learned about it, the more I see myself wanting this, believing in this.” To Giblin, the company mission keeps her going: helping people with asthma, allergies, and skin problems live their life free of doctors, pills, and allergy shots.

Even Giblin’s uncle has noticed a huge change in her focus. “When you find something that you like doing or you love doing, you have a passion, it’s more than work, it’s fun,” says Patrick. “You have successes every day, you feel good about yourself, you gain more self-esteem and with self-esteem you can face all of life’s problems.” And though Giblin still gets the urge to party, those reckless college nights are behind her. “We have to be responsible,” she says. “We have to grow up.”