After years of studying hard and pulling all-nighters, it’s finally the day you’ve been waiting for: commencement. As you walk up to receive your diploma, you take a quick glance at your parents up in the stands and realize how fast time has past since the days of them dropping you off at school. While there are a select few that have an exact plan for their next steps, most people find themselves sitting alone in their rooms wondering, “now what?”
Before you start to freak out and begin your quarter-life crisis, here are fifteen lessons that will aid you as you choose your next path in life.
No one cares what you did in high school.
Unless you invented a cure for cancer, nothing you did or accomplished in high school means anything on your resume. You’re basically screaming that you didn’t do anything meaningful during your college years and are compensating by putting stuff you did a long time ago. Just don’t do it, it makes you look stupid.
There is no easy formula.
Parents and society have driven us to belief that there is an easy formula for “success:” good grades + good college + high level degree = comfortable life. While this might’ve work back when the job market was booming, it doesn’t fly in today’s world. If you want to stand out, you need to think creatively. Everyone is out to get that job you want, how will you separate yourself from the rest of the people who have the exact same degree and skills as you?
Give a shit.
Your goal after college should never be to simply just get a job. This is now the time to experiment and pursue the things you want to do as a career. Don’t just mass send untailored resumes out to random companies just to see who will respond to you. Make sure you actually research on the company you’re applying for and change up your resume and cover letter to target their needs. Trust me, as someone who has reviewed tons of resumes in the past, a quick glance will tell us all we need to know on whether you actually care for this job, or if you’re just playing the numbers game hoping someone calls you back.
You don’t have to start a business now.
Don’t let all the success stories that you hear in the media of young successful entrepreneurs make you feel the urgency to start on now. Don’t rush it! You start a business because you discover a product you’re passionate in building, not because everyone else is doing it. Startup life sucks and unlike the stuff you see in the media, it’s anything but glamorous. As Rap Genius founder Mahbod Moghadam once said:
“…I don’t think anyone should be an aspiring entrepreneur; I am a firm believer that if there is something to do, you stumble onto it, so I think the best thing is to put yourself in positions where you can meet a lot of other people who are [alike]…”
What you can accomplish matters more than your skills.
One of the biggest mistakes fresh grads make on their resumes is to put a laundry list of duties from their former jobs and way too many skills that sometimes have no relation to the job they’re being considered for. A company wants to know what you can bring to the table that benefits the company. With that being said, opt for putting the things you’ve accomplished in your pior jobs aside from simply listing what your duties were. Remember, a basketball coach cares more about wins than simply the fact that you can play ball.
You’re not better than doing bitch work.
Everyone has to start somewhere and pay their dues. If you’re not willing to start from the bottom, then you’re basically refusing to attempt the climb to the top. When you’re fresh into the job market after graduation, you deserve and are entitled to nothing but what you make for yourself.
Kissing ass can go a long way.
Good asskissers simply mean they are good at dealing with people and winning them over. This is a crucial skill when it comes to business, whether it’s closing a sale, getting that promotion, or raising funding from an investor. For anyone that ever complains or labels you as an “asskisser,” they’re simply just jealous that they don’t have the same ability as you.
No one cares how hardworking or nice you are.
When you’re in school, studying hard and answering questions right will put you up top. In the business world, the only thing that matters is how you can help yourself or the company you’re working for grow bigger and make money. No one gives a shit how hard you work or how hard you try. If you can’t contribute anything that helps with growth, get the f*ck out.
Stop depending on your parents.
Your parents have done their job of raising you and providing you whatever they can to help you succeed. It’s just purely embarrassing if you still need to fall back on them after you graduate, this is even if you’re in a mountain of debt. There are always ways around it. Find a way to work hard, make money, hustle, live below your means and you’ll eventually figure it out. Even better, people are known to do better when they know they have no options but either to fail or succeed. Don’t be afraid to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Don’t compare yourself to others.
There will always be someone who is more “successful” or “richer” than you. This is a fact that you’ll have to face. The more you let this bother you, the more you’ll be setting yourself up to be on a path of unfulfillment. To paraphrase Kobe Bryant, “I don’t care about being better than Michael Jordan, I care about being the best I am capable of being.”
Stop going to music festivals so much.
Yes, everyone and their moms go to these things and you don’t want to suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out). But, you have to remember one thing, the more you do things ordinary people are doing, the more likely that’s what you’ll become. EDC and Coachella are not going anywhere, you don’t need to attend every year and spend all your time prepping for it. Instead, take more time figuring out the problems you want to solve and what you want to offer back to the world. If that doesn’t convince you, how many successful people do you know spend their time getting ready for events everyone goes to?
Don’t see a future with your significant other? Dump Him/Her.
It’s frustrating for me to see couples stay together out of comfort even though it’s clear they aren’t right for each other. Being in these types of relationships is not only a waste of time, but holds you back from becoming successful. While some believe that all young success seekers should stay single, the billionaires in the world have reached a consensus saying that the best way to become a billionaire is to have a good partner (meaning a significant other). So, take this time to let go of your toxic relationships and find the person you want to be with. In the end, the right person will help you succeed.
Are your friends not on the same page as you? Dump them too.
“You are the average of the five people you hang out with.” While, it’s not bad to catch up with old friends, you have to associate yourself with people that will put you in the mindset of attaining success. Constantly hanging out with people who hold you back will only put up roadblocks on your path to success.
What you do NOW affects your tomorrow.
What happens tomorrow depends on what you do today. So if you want to lose weight, hit the gym now! If you want to get a good job position, work your way up now! If you have a company you want to start, grab a pen and jot down your ideas and start planning. As the saying goes, “Yesterday you said tomorrow. Just do it.”
The last of the best years of your life are about to start, enjoy it.
There’s no doubt that these will be the toughest years of your life. Unless you’re one of the lucky ones with rich parents to fall back on, everything from here on out is going to be a huge grind if you want to succeed. However, enjoy each and every tough moment you go through because in the end when all is said and done, the most memorable thing will not be crossing the finish line, it’s remembering how much you enjoyed the thrill of the race to get there.