Advice For The Class Of 2012
Commencement ceremonies take place at college campuses all over the country in May as the “future leaders of America” are released into the wilderness or that mythical concept we all know as the real world.
In the continued effort to show that this blog is about more than football and 1980s pro wrestling references, we attempt to help college graduates with a few bits of advice.
1. Stop reading your imaginary press clippings - One thing I’ve learned by working with 18-22 year olds: everyone is great and is the next big thing. The biggest disservice one can do to his/herself is live in a false sense of security. By assuming your lame, ordinary effort is good enough to get it done on a daily basis just because Ma and Pa say so doesn’t mean it’s true. Desire to always keep improving at wherever your main focus lies.
2. Find a mentor - Whatever field you choose for a career path, attempt to find a mentor. This might be a shocking concept but there are people out there that know a thing or two about a thing or two.
3. Create goals…challenging but realistic goals: If you want to become the President of the United States, that is wonderful. It is also steeped in disillusion. To me, there is a difference between a goal and a dream. POTUS is a dream. Becoming a politician is a goal. Making dreams come true can’t happen unless goals are established.
4. Read - You can’t learn about the world by devoting 25 hours per week to Xbox 360. Crack open a book or use your iPad to read something.
5. Learn how to play an instrument - This is the biggest mistake I made in my teen/young adult years. Although, I didn’t fully understand this at the time, developing as many skills as possible is key. Learning how to play a guitar, harmonica, or some other random instrument is pretty cool. It impresses the ladies too when properly done.
6. Get to know your local gym. - Put down that bacon double cheeseburger. Ok, if you don’t want to fork over money for a gym membership, at least invest in Insanity or try running at a local park. Stay in shape…or become Betty Draper Francis. She is very hateful these days.
7. Stop trying to act like someone else…be yourself - As long as you’re not an egomaniac or sociopath, just do you.
8. Don’t follow the herd – Here is the most formula many follow upon graduating:
- Begin job search.
- Complain about how the world is out to get you after not finding job.
- Get a job.
- Get married.
- Buy a house.
- Have kid(s).
- Become woefully out of shape.
- Tear your Achilles or suffer another calamitous injury.
- Become miserable about life and how you never lived out your dreams, get a divorce, or both.
That seems to be the formula. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to be different. Many people appear to be reading from the same life playbook. Unlike the NFL, it’s ok to go to the line of scrimmage and call an audible.
Sometimes the safe route, isn’t always the best.
9. Career first, relationships second - I feel for those parents who essentially paid in some cases well over $100,000 for their child’s college education, only for their greatest life achievement to be lavishly spending money on a wedding.
Develop yourself first professionally, then worry about getting married…if that’s what you really want.
10. Don’t waste your time making videos spoofing a Carly Rae Jepsen song: Really guys?
11. Save your money – Do you really need to go on that vacation to Amsterdam immediately after you graduate?…on second thought, bad example. Do you need to go on that five-night, six-day vacation to Las Vegas right away? Meh, not really. Save it for something useful…like moving out and getting your own place.
12. Avoid debt like the plague – If possible, try to avoid debt as much as possible. Unfortunately, it appears a generation of students will be swamped with college debts.
13. Find your comfort zone and leave it - Believe it or not, there is something that exists out there beyond the friends you’ve had since you were in elementary school. This extends beyond social trappings. You can’t learn without trying and different thoughts, concepts, and ideals. Again, staying in your comfort zone may not lead to long-term happiness.
14. Don’t be afraid of failure – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I keep applying for jobs and no one is hiring me.” Well, guess what? You’re not the only person on the planet that wants a job in television. Keep grinding. Those who quit consistently never accomplish anything.
15. Spend more time improving yourself and less time on social media – I don’t care about your trip to the flea market on Saturday morning or that you had your first bowl of cereal since 1998 today. Also, I’m pretty sure I’m not into your song lyrics from bad alternative rock bands. Now, Teddy Pendergrass? That’s a far different beast.
Best of luck gang.