At one point or another every graduate looks back and thinks about what they wish they knew when they were first starting out as a young professional and how they could have benefitted from that knowledge. Here is some advice I wish I received when I graduated college:
Do Not To Worry So Much
When you graduate you are full of energy and optimism, ready to pursue your goals, which ultimately prove to take a lot more work and time than you anticipated. Doubt can creep in. This is normal, and you are far from alone. You will make mistakes, big and small, and you will have failures, big and small, but it is all going to be OK. Life does not have to be taken so seriously. Try not to worry, focus your energy on producing good work, making meaningful relationships in your field and not giving up. Worrying is physically and mentally draining, and it is an unproductive way to use energy. Try to find other ways to channel it more productively such as exercising, spending time with loved ones, spending more time on hobbies, etc.
Your Relationships Will Change And That’s OK
When you are in college you are constantly surrounded by friends: in class, during projects, doing homework, etc. In many ways your friends become your family for those four years. But when you graduate, and you all scatter and start your jobs, it becomes harder to make time to see each other, to remain close and to maintain the relationships you had in college or high school. Some friendships will change with distance and time, others will evolve with individual growth and change, but sometimes the change is sad and hurtful and that is part of life and growing up. Not all relationships are meant to last forever, some are only meant for a certain time in your life.
Build And Maintain Good Habits
One of the best things you can do when you’re just out of school is to start developing good habits: exercising regularly, cooking, eating well, improving your focus, refining your work ethic, etc. It is a tough routine transition from a student to a working professional, but if you develop good health. communication and work habits, they will carry you through difficult times when you are struggling, and will prevent you from floundering for too long. In contrast, when you are on a good path, good habits are easily built on, enabling self-improvement. Good habits are the foundation excellence is built on.
Learn And Develop Skills Early On
Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Hone in on your strengths, develop them and improve your weaknesses. Evaluate which strengths and weaknesses will serve you well at your job, so you prioritize accordingly. Improving your strengths and weaknesses and learning how to leverage them will serve you well over the course of your career.
Don’t Compare Yourself
Comparison is not only the thief of joy but of inner-strength, self-confidence, pride and anything else that helps you believe in yourself. There will always be someone with a more important job, a higher-paying job, a job with better perks. Do not compare you career trajectory with others, it only distracts you from your goals. Focus on yourself and your own goals, you should be your only competition. Just try to be better than you were yesterday, last week or last month.
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