It’s hard to believe it’s already been 3 years since I graduated college. It still feels like yesterday. I remember what it felt like to not know what was next. I remember what it felt like to say goodbye or see you later to some of your closest friends. I remember what it felt like to start thinking about the next 40 years of my life. I remember the sorrow of getting rejected from my first interview. I remember the excitement of landing my first job. The past three years have flown by but the amount of experiences and knowledge I’ve gained has been paramount. I thought I’d share some with whomever wants to listen.
Here’s some advice on how to approach the next few years:
- Choose your employer based on culture fit and what you want to learn from them. Landing that first job can be difficult. (here’s a mindset that might help with that). So difficult that it’s easy to be satisfied once you finally get your first offer. My advice is to realize that money will not solve all your problems and often leads to more problems. That job that pays $5000 more will not beat the satisfaction of the type of work you’d enjoy more with people you enjoy being around. Take positions with the purpose of learning and growing. Don’t rush into thinking about checking the boxes of being an adult. Appreciate the job you get, earn money, explore yourself and explore the world around you.
- Study all you can about personal finance. Chances are you will be handling more money than you ever have before. Use the internet and talk money with friends who seem to handle it well. Some key things to remember: Automate your finances, stay away from debt unless using it to build skills/knowledge, stop comparing yourself to others who came from different financial backgrounds or attained higher paying employment, and lastly spend more money on experiences than things. You won’t remember those shoes as much as that trip with your best friends.
- Consciously build healthy habits. Its easy to forget that you stayed as fit as you were in college due to the incredibly distances you covered between classes and the naturally active college lifestyle. Now you’ll need to actually learn to eat well and you’ll have the money to do it! You will also need to learn to build exercise into those sometimes grueling 9-5 workdays.
- Dream big. You most likely don’t have all of the financial responsibilities you will have in the future, like a house, cars, family, kids, etc. Use your age and naivety to your advantage. Start thinking about what you want to do in the long-term, now is the time to start setting goals and taking steps towards them. Think back to what you enjoyed studying the most, what you would do for free, what you enjoyed as a child and see if you can find a career that fits within those. Find people to support your dream and. Find people who grow your mind.
- Building a Strong Network will help you figure out what you would actually enjoy doing everyday. Go find people to interview and ask them if they are actually happy in their jobs/lives. Ask questions about what you need to know to be successful. Find mentors to guide you. Start building positive habits. Part of being an adult is analyzing your life and seeing what is working and making you grown and what retracting. Consume knowledge like a fiend. Learn from every situation and everyone you meet.
- Now is the time to really start learning. Don’t get complacent because you got a degree. Start educating yourself on the things that truly interest you. Don’t start grad school just to postpone working – do it because you know what profession it will lead to and that you really want that profession. You don’t need the extra debt. If you want to study something for interest then there’s many ways to do it without 100k if debt.
- Keep in touch with family and your best friends – it’ll take more work to maintain and enhance these relationships but it’s worth it because these people have your back more than anyone else in the world does and will give you the most support when down. It’s a lot easier to maintain existing friendships than to bring a completely new person up to speed with your entire life, which is a prerequisite for true long-term support and advice. That being said, not every friendship and relationship is meant to last forever. Surround yourself with friends who want to be successful in life and distance yourself from detractors. The knowledge you share among your successful friends will be invaluable.
Shout out to my little sister who just graduated:
I wish you all the success in the world and that you find work that inspires you to greatness. You can be successful in anything you put your mind to, you just need to work to be the best at it. Let’s GO be great!