13 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Graduated College
"My first piece of advice is this. Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet: fight for a seat at the head of the table." -- Barack Obama
Congratulations! You are at the end of the tunnel and college graduation will be here before you know it. School since the age of 4 years old has been filled with homework, sports, and extra-curricular agendas.
I graduated from Full Sail University at the tender age of 24 years old. I remember walking across that stage and wondering, well what was my next step? For the last 5 years, I transferred between 3 colleges and changed my major twice before I finally settled on a path that was my bread and butter.
As I smiled to take a final picture with my school Dean, I was thinking, "Did I make the right decision?" and "How will Corporate America welcome me as this 'fresh' new talent?" Soon you will be walking across that stage wondering what to expect. Here's what I have to tell you:
1. Be fearless in what you ask for.
If you need help, ASK!
2. You are going to lose 80% of the friends you made in college, but that is okay!
Once you have crossed that stage, you will be so focused on getting started with your life and career that you just will not have the time to worry about what Sue and Sally are doing each weekend.
3. Take that vacation gateway.
Once you start working, you don't want to kick yourself for not taking time out to take care of your mental health.
4. Follow your passion.
“The creative adult is the child who survived” -- Ursula K. Le Guin
5. Find great mentors.
The most impactful personal development you can invest in yourself is having the one person who is willing to guide you, provide you with real feedback and help you grow into the professional you want to be.
6. It's okay to have no idea what you want to do with your life.
I am still to this day battling what I really want to do with my life. You will be just fine!
7. You have to put in the work to get recognition.
Do not expect a golden star for dressing in business attire and perfect attendance. That stuff is great, but it is about what is the 'value' you are contributing to your workplace. That's how you get recognition.
8. Have patience and be humble.
If you don't remember anything from this, remember this number.
9. "Work-Life" balance?
Forget about it. Save it for the weekend and vacation days only.
10. Your first job will be about gaining the experience and learning from your mistakes.
It will be about getting the opportunity to practice all the things you learned and the opportunity to work with great people for you to learn from.
11. Your future employer is not going to care if you have a 3.5 or 4.0 GPA. It's about CAN you do the work.
Revisit number 7.
12. You must have the grit to succeed.
"Grit is the stubborn refusal to quit" -- Jonah Lehrer
13. You get to choose what kind of person you want to be.
Ask yourself, how you want to carry yourself and how do you want the world to know you. Do you want them to know you as the person who plays it safe or the one who takes chances and risks?
Be proud of all the work you accomplished to get to this point in your life. The journey from this point on will be scary and there is no one out there with a 100% no-fault guide on succeeding. You must be ready to work your butt off to prove you have all that it takes.
Make sure to experience everything life has to offer, find the passion that drives the very best in you and immerses yourself in it. Success is defined by how much you are willing to engage both your mind and heart.