Graduating from college is a major milestone. The culmination of years of hard work. The late nights and early-onset ulcers have finally paid off. It's time to don a cap and gown and cross the stage to collect that $150,000 piece of paper. It’s time to come out of your comfort zones and put your steps in the real world. You have reason to feel proud. But here are a few things that you should know before you graduate.
1. Make sure you know where you want to go
“Cat: Where are you going?
Alice: Which way should I go?
Cat: That depends on where you are going.
Alice: I don’t know.
Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go” - Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
This is the problem with most of the people. Many people have no idea where their life is taking them. It’s like you are blindfolded in dark room trying to find the switch to turn on the lights. Knowing what you want to do should be a very intrinsic process of thoughts for an individual. Self-analysis and better insight about yourself is the best way to decide your path. Many people have a tendency to “move with the flow”, do what others are doing, and follow the trends. It’s a slow slog that won’t take you far.
“Psychologists have a term called sunk cost fallacy, which explains that people often make horrible decisions because they’ve already invested into a certain choice they think they will figure out some way along the line. Walk away. The further you continue the wrong direction, the longer it will take you to get back on your ideal path.” - Daniel Kahneman, 'Thinking fast and Slow'
2. Set your goals
Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. It gives us the ability to hone in on the exact actions we need to perform to achieve everything we desire in life. The most important benefit of setting a goal isn’t achieving your goal, it’s what you do and the person you become in order to achieve your goal. It is a tool to shape your dreams and a medium to bring it to reality. Define your dreams and goals clearly to yourself. Dreams and goals are two entirely different terms but go hand-in-hand with each other. Getting a job in XYZ company is your dream, working in steps every day to achieve your dream is your goal.
“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at” - Bruce Lee
3. Your friends are NOT your competitors, you are
Studying with same people in the same class, making good friends in college, partying together is fine but when it comes to proving yourself better, we see them as a competitor. Every friend suddenly becomes a potential candidate to steal your job. The sense of insecurity comes due to lack of self-confidence.
“Insecure people only eclipse your sun because they're jealous of your daylight and tired of their dark, starless nights” - Shannon Alder
Remember, if art, passion, authenticity, and innovation are the needed ingredients of the future, then you need to step away from comparing, competing, feeling insecure with other people. A true Innovator, passionate dreamer never compares and delves into uncharted territory. You are special. You simply need to know your own unique identity and dive into what makes you happy. Don't let fear or insecurity stop you from helping your friends.
“Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. - Brad Meltzer
And most importantly, be kind to others, even if you don't like them. Do good things and good things will come to you.
4. Learn from your mistakes
The FEAR of being nothing, achieving nothing and becoming nothing should be way bigger than the fear of making mistakes. Making a mistake is not wrong but not learning from it is a big mistake. A college is a place where you can make mistakes, fail, learn from it and prepare yourself for the next challenges. The more mistakes you make at the early age, the better person you become at the later phase of your life. Personally, whenever I hesitate to do something because of the fear of making mistakes, I imagine myself on my deathbed (I know, a bit too crazy but it works) looking back at my life on what I achieved. By doing so I realize that if I don’t take action NOW, I will have regrets.
“What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning – and some of them many times over – what do you find? That you can swim? Well – life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live!” - Alfred Adler
5. Life will throw unexpected googly, face it.
Life is not always a fairy tale. It will not be always the way you dreamed. There will be unexpected situations that will appear suddenly in your life and you must face it. Many times, you don’t know how to tackle the extreme situations, you might feel discouraged, depressed, disappointed, hopeless.DO NOT PANIC! Stay calm and think twice before you take any decision. The whole world out there is ready to help you. Taking advice and talking to your close friend, parents, mentors will help you in figuring out your path.
“Sometimes we let life guide us, and other times we take life by the horns. But one thing is for sure: no matter how organized we are, or how well we plan, we can always expect the unexpected, I call it the googly of life.” - Brandon Jenner
Things are going to be very interesting and more educational after you graduate. Stay tuned, stay focused and work hard to achieve things you want in your life. And always remember while going through all these phases take some time out for a couple of beers with your buddies. Cheers to all students graduating this year ;)
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