When graduates walk across the stage and turn the tassels on their caps from right to left, many alumni from far and wide think about the direction their lives took after experiencing the landmark ceremony that thrusts teens into adulthood.
For some, the trip down memory lane is a fun-filled adventure, but for others, it’s a long and painful journey riddled with lots of hard lessons. For me, there were lessons I wouldn’t wish on anybody and then there were some moments of absolute bliss.
But the road into adulthood doesn’t need to be paved with the white noise of reality, so here is some advice that I wish someone would’ve given me back then:
Learn From Your Mistakes
Don’t spend time dwelling on your mistakes because you’re going to make more than one — everybody does — but learning how to cope with the struggles of life and continuing to work hard to get through them will pay off. Take the good with the bad, and focus on making a speedy recovery because nothing lasts forever.
Gain Education Through Experience
There are some lessons that you just can’t learn from a textbook or a classroom. I encourage you to travel no matter what it takes.
Go learn how people outside of this community and this country eat, work and play — even if it means struggling to make ends meet. Life on the road is a lesson in itself, and that journey will alter every perception you have outside of the world.
Striving to achieve a certificate, diploma or degree isn’t for everybody — and it’s OK to find an alternate route to a routine that makes you feel happy.
Be Flexible About Where You Live
It’s important to be willing to relocate if it means you’re going to gain experience as an intern or at an entry level job while chasing your dream.
Going to university doesn’t mean you’re going to walk out the campus doors and directly into a position like a boss. You’re going to need to put the time in to perfect those new skills you’ve learned. You’re going to need to take temporary jobs and be willing to move to get experience. You’re going to need to take constructive criticism.
It’s important that, in order to change, you’re willing to grow. In the end, it can pay off.
Creativity and Compassion
Plastic storage bins can be used to make decent furniture — if you even need it — when you’re living on a budget.
Taking night classes at college means you can sleep in, and avoid paying for parking on campus in a major city.
But nothing is more rewarding in life than kindness. Be kind to yourself, and be compassionate to others. Find life hacks to make your world exactly what you want it to be.
Be True To Yourself
The sky isn’t falling. Your parents don’t always know what’s best for you — and neither does your best friend.
It’s important to do some soul searching before making any big decisions because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who is going to live with them.
Don’t pigeonhole yourself into a career based on your formal education, don’t get into debt and don’t do a degree in a field that you haven’t worked in. Simply volunteer to get your feet wet, and see what you think.
Focus on finding the path that is best suited to you, and accomplish your goals.
Remember to push yourself everyday and adjust your goals if it brings them closer to becoming a reality.