A word of encouragement and advice for all the soon-to-be college graduates.
Yes, I know the job market is down, it’s tough to latch on, and earning power is lower.
The World Is In Your Grasp
What does matter are the opportunities and tools available to you to make a difference. Start a blog, volunteer, work part-time at a place you care about, travel the world, travel the USA, or spend a month in the woods.
You are Young, Capable, and Fearless
On the topic of fear, do not let it grab hold of you. All of fear’s little whisperings in your ear are not in your best interest. Fear wants to keep you in a place where you will not grow, experience, or risk failure.
This is not the type of fear that arises before you do something physically dangerous. This type of fear is the inner resistance keeping you locked up from feeling alive. You may not think you are strong enough or smart enough to go out on your own. You are.
Get Out of the House
Regarding your parents, I’m sure they’re wonderful, but please don’t move back in with them. Develop a self-reliant mentality. Find some roommates and rent a house. Find a flat and rent it yourself. It’s tough to feel independent when Mom still does your laundry. Learning to cook for yourself or gaining weight because you eat convenient fast food is a rite of passage. Get on with it.
To be honest, I didn’t do this right away. I lived at home while I completed an internship, and I know there are some good reasons out there. But too often this is used as an excuse. If you must, pay rent, take care of yourself, and put a timetable on your departure. Parents, you’re doing your kids a massive favor by accepting rent and giving them a deadline!
You Are Independent and Capable
Might you be poor? Yes. Might you have trouble finding your dream job? Yes (sidebar, you can create your dream job). I would humbly suggest that you move somewhere you’ve always wanted to live. Bring a friend, they’re nice to have.
Once you arrive, get a job, you are a college graduate after all! If you can’t get a job in your field right away, no worries, find part-time work doing something you care about. Freelance or do contract work on the side. Never stop contributing or creating. A job you care about will come along, or suddenly you may realize you’ve created a life outside of the traditional work model.
Is It Safe? Yes! and No…
As we spend too much of our time and mental energy wondering if a challenge is worth taking on, I think about this quote from the Hobbit.
Bilbo: Can you promise that I will come back?
Gandalf: No. But if you do, you will not be the same.
You are 22, and the world is in your grasp. Take a chance, fail mightily, and succeed with just as much vigor. You have the rest of your life to be safe and secure. Ask your parents when they grew the most, and I doubt they will say it’s when life was safe. We learn and grow in turmoil and challenge. Now is not the time for safety.
Now is the Time to Grow
I know I’m still growing in to many of these challenges, but I wouldn’t change that for anything. If you’re like me and several years out of college, what parts of this lesson still resonate with you? What was important when you were heading out on your own?