Evelyn’s note: Marabeth shared her post-college story with us, and I agree with her – this is a time of choices and freedom. We can do anything we set our minds to. Roadblocks in our way? Of course. Disproportionate ratio of haters to motivators? Probably. But we’re worth the hard work it takes to keep going.
Here, Marabeth provides some guidance to college students and those of us who’ve crossed the finish line. Be warned: all of this is spot on, in my experience.
IF YOU’RE STILL IN COLLEGE:
- Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your grades are top priority. Yes, they matter, but volunteering, internships, your social life, and traveling are just as important. You have to have some experiences to put on your resume besides “Summa cum laude”.
- If you’re unsure of your major, find a way to spend some time with someone who is employed in the job your degree leads toward. You may love your classes and then later find out that you hate the realities of the job.
- If you realize you are in the wrong degree, switch. Even if it’s just the difference between a BM in Music Ed. and a BA in Music. Don’t just suffer through it to graduate “on time”.
- College is expensive. Make sure you really want to invest your time and future hard-earned cash before you spend it. A gap year, or a break after finishing your basics can be a really good idea.
- Listen to your heart. Then tell it that college won’t last forever! Ask yourself what you do when you’re procrastinating – that’s probably the area of work you should make a career of.
IF YOU’RE OUT OF COLLEGE:
- Don’t give up on your dreams just because they are not immediate money-makers. If you need to get a temporary job, do it- but don’t let yourself forget that it’s temporary! Make time to build the skills you need to make your dream your future occupation.
- Life has changed in a big way. Admit it, then give yourself time to explore your options and your new reality, and to make friends. No one is telling you what to do next anymore, so you don’t have to have all the answers immediately.
- Use positive self-talk and don’t get stuck in the woulda-coulda-shoulda. It doesn’t do you or anyone else any good to berate yourself for past mistakes. They are in the past, you learned from them, and today is a new day to try things a new way.
- Search for opportunities and apply. Don’t remove yourself from the race before entering it. Sometimes you might see an opportunity and think, “There’s too much competition,” or “I’m not experienced enough,” and be tempted to just skip it, but you don’t really know until you try!
- Keep your chin up! Your best days are not behind you! They are still to come!
Pass this on to your friends, and use it to drop some knowledge on the ones just starting college as well! What do you know now that you wish you knew then? Share it with us!