Nobody gives you all of the answers in life. Even if they did, we still wouldn’t listen.
So the title of this article may indicate that I wish I had known these things before I graduated from college, the reality is that I might not have acted on this advice. Let’s be perfectly honest here. We hate being told what to do.
With that being said, I hope that someone reading this can relate and at least pick up one piece of advice.
I’ll start off by listing the things I’m proud of. These are the things that I was most proud of for accomplishing by the time graduation day rolled around.
- Graduated debt free.
- Invested in a property.
- Went out a ton and sort-of developed social skills (this can be debated).
- Started Studenomics.
- Passed my classes somehow.
What are five things I wish I knew before I graduated college?
1. Nothing is guaranteed.
There are no guarantees. Well aside from taxes and death, right?
There really are no guarantees. You’re not guaranteed a dream job with a degree. You’re not guaranteed to get married just because you’re in your mid-20s. You don’t have to buy a place just because it’s the next logical step. Some people even feel that they don’t have to move out.
The world doesn’t owe you any favors. Your job doesn’t owe you. They compensate you for your time with a thing called a paycheck. A promotion is not a given. A raise is also not a guarantee.
Long story short: nothing is guaranteed. You have to work for everything and jump at every opportunity that comes your way.
On that note…
2. Not everyone will be on the same journey.
You can’t expect your friends or your classmates to be on the same journey. There are different directions that your life can head after college. Some examples that I’ve seen of different journeys are:
- More education. Some of my friends are still in school, working on similar programs or new credentials altogether. Academia isn’t for everyone.
- Traveling. I haven’t seen some friends because they haven’t returned home yet!
- Straight to work. This has been the most common route. Straight to working 40 hours a week and hating life.
- Complete career change. Not everyone is content with their field of study. Some will completely change directions and try something new. Totally cool! You don’t have to spend the rest of your life in a job that you hate.
- Time off to recharge. Relax, recharge, and see what’s next. Why not?
- Get wasted. I think some of my friends are still wasted from graduation night!
What’s your journey going to be like?
If you want to be on a similar journey, you can easily start your own online business. It’s easier than ever to start an online business. If you don’t want to be online, you can join folks like my good friend Vince or my brother Adrian, that are pursuing non-online business interests.
3. You’ll regret the things that you don’t do.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain
Yes, I posted the same quote again. I unapologetically love it and love taking chances. You can check out the importance of taking risks and growing balls.
I won’t repeat the same motivational rhetoric that you see everywhere else because you already know this. Take some risks and do things that scare you. I pretty much knew this when I graduated, but I haven’t always acted on it.
4. You need to get off the Titanic.
You can’t become a slave to your own machine. You need to jump off that ship. Don’t be the captain that sticks around. You don’t have any obligations. You can jump off whenever you please.
Where am I going with this? What does this apply to?
- Crappy jobs. Your first job doesn’t have to be your only job. You can move on. You’re never stuck. Even when you’re in debt.
- Toxic relationships. You don’t have to stick around in a crappy relationship. You can move on and be happier.
- Friends that bring you down. The only person that can bring you down is you. Nobody else.
- A failed business concept. If your business idea sucks and you aren’t making any money, you need to jump off this Titanic. Don’t stick around and waste precious time.
On a side note, I firmly believe that if I was on the Titanic, the iceberg would have sunk! Okay, that sounded funnier in my mind.
5. Those groups and connections aren’t a waste of time.
I worked way too much in college. I always wrote about joining groups, clubs, and organizations, yet I rarely did so myself. I chose to work, train, hang out with my girlfriend at the time, or blog. I didn’t attend enough group events. My brother Pat plays for like a dozen sporting teams and goes to all sorts of events. I’m jealous.
If you’re in college, please try to join a group. If you absolutely have no time or just don’t want to loiter around campus 24/7, you absolutely need to look into Toast Masters or anything that has to do with public speaking. Speaking well is a talent. It pays very handsomely and will pay dividends in your social life alone.
Long story short: learn how to speak!
That’s what I wish I knew before I graduated college.
Anything to add? What do you wish that you knew at graduation time?