To the Class of 2013,
Many of you are just days away from taking your final walk down the aisles of your respective schools, and crossing the stage to receive that piece of paper you’ve worked so hard for over the last four years. As you prepare for your future careers in business, entertainment, education, politics and the like, you will be faced with many challenges, but nothing that you won’t be able to handle. You’ll fall down, have a couple moments where you’ll feel like you’re stuck and even fail— but trust me, it is (and will be) quite all right. Like I penned to the Class of 2012, I love this time of year because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on the time I’ve spent out of college. While I am only approaching the second anniversary of my college graduation, I want to offer you three pieces of advice that will hopefully aid you in the first steps of your post-graduate journey.
You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. This may seem impossible to fathom, but it is the absolute truth. So most of your friends are going off to live in big cities and work for Fortune 500 companies or traveling the world for a year– and that’s great! Unlike them, you may be taking an internship in the city and commuting to and from home daily. Regardless the scenario, everyone wins! Sure, everyone wants to live their lives to be like an episode of “Sex and The City”, but you haven’t gotten there yet. The next year will consist of getting into the groove of real life, so don’t feel as though you need to have “made it” by the time Homecoming rolls around in October. Take the next six months to a year to build connections, try new things, save money and appreciate your new found independence. More importantly, get to know yourself. You’ll quickly notice that life is vastly different outside of the bubble you’ve lived in for the last four years. Embrace it in all of its newness and take as many notes as you can.
You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way. If there’s one thing I’ve learned since graduating from college is that I cannot be afraid to try. There were number of instances in which I didn’t go after something I wanted because I was holding myself back. I second guessed and doubted myself, and even blocked a few of my own half-court shots. But it took me having those “D’OH!” moments to wise up and realize there’s no room for doubt. If there’s something you want don’t hesitate, JUST DO IT. The longer you wait for a “sign”, the more likely that opportunity will pass you by. It’s important to be strategic in the moves you make, and understand that there are people that want you to win. So be proactive, take the risk and be confident that you are more than capable of making your dreams come true.
You need to celebrate your own life, no matter how you are feeling. While you will be on the “I just graduated” high from now until the end of the summer (maybe until the end of the year), you will encounter those days when you’ll simply feel BLAH. Maybe things at the office aren’t going well, you’re feeling a little homesick or the distance between you and the bestie is putting a damper on your friendship. It’s so easy to fall into a funk and let it stink up everything around you, but you can’t let those external things consume your thoughts and feelings. You have to remember that you have accomplished so much up to this point, and you have so much more to achieve. “Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”, so always take a moment to pause and reflect on your small successes. Reward yourself and be proud of the progress you have made. You may be your worst critic at times, but you have to remember to be your biggest motivator too.
And that’s it! Class of 2013, it’s been a joy to watch you grow over the last few years, and I wish you all nothing but success in your future endeavors. Trust yourself, never be afraid to dream, don’t be afraid to ask for help and most importantly, always find a way to give back. Now go out there and take over the world!