All over the country, college students are graduating, and today my younger brother, Thomas, is one of them. I can hardly believe that this day is already here; it seems like just yesterday that we were moving him into his dorm for the first time.
The other night, we sat through one of the first of many graduation events and heard the stories of promising futures for this year’s graduating class. But, all I could think about while I sat there was the advice I wish I had known when I was their age.
At twenty-two, graduating from college felt like a huge accomplishment, and it was. But, I knew absolutely nothing about the world. Still, I was ready to take it on, and felt that my life was just beginning. I was ready to rush everything, because I thought that’s what life after college was like.
What I quickly found out was that my views on life were completely off. Which is why, even though I do not have it all figured out, I do have some advice for those who are graduating this week.
See the World
While you think you may know it all holding that college degree in your hand, the world has plenty to still teach you. I’ve learned more about myself, history, people, cultures, politics, and religion on the road than I ever would have learned from any books I could have read. As an educator myself, I still think that the world is the best classroom.
Don’t Rush Life.
There’s a tendency at twenty-two to feel the need to rush adult life; you feel that you need to buy a house, settle down, and grow up. I went through the same thought process. However, you have plenty of time for this, let it happen naturally and enjoy every second of your twenties.
There’s no point in dreaming small. What do you want to accomplish in life? Is your goal realistic? If it is, attempt it. It may not be the easy route to go, but if there’s something you want out of life, go out there and make it happen. Set up goals and research how to reach them; do anything you can to get to where you need to be.
Everything is going to be okay. Maybe, you still don’t have a job, while all of your friends are all set to start theirs. The perfect job for you will appear when you least expect it. It may not be what you expect, but it could lead you to a better path than you could have ever imagined.
This is the time to take a few leaps of faith. Take a gap year to travel. Move to another country or state. Go after your dreams. Going the safe route is fine, but if there’s something in your life that you want to do, that requires some risk, go after it. You won’t regret it.
The next few years of your life are going to be exciting and confusing, and while you may not think they’ll ever be as great as your college years, you may eventually find that some of them are even better.
For now, enjoy the last few moments of college life and celebrations. Congratulations, Thomas and the Class of 2013! Go out there and make all of your dreams come true!