Man it feels like just yesterday that I graduated! Does it even sound real that I finished 16 years of school?! Like whaaaaaaaaat. You go doctors for being able to survive 8 more years on top of that. I was looking through some old pictures and came across this which rung a bell in my head saying HEY you need to write a blog post on this. What is “this” you ask? “This” is the memories that this photo gave me.
… Mostly the horrific memories of all nighters, horrible professors and absolute group work night mares. Holla if a sista and brotha can relate!
Haha I’m joking. Well not really, but to be fair there are great memories I have as well.
This photo represents to me … well, me holding my $35k paper with a kinda, sorta, genuine smile. I say that because it’s the truth. There’s always the popular saying “stay in school!”, because if you don’t, you’re considered not up to par with society’s standards of being “capable” and “smart”. In no way am I degrading education in ANY WAY. No, no honey don’t get it twisted. BUT this brings me to my first message:
Go to school for something that genuinely interests you. It doesn’t have to be University. It can be College. It can be getting a Certificate. It can be anything. As long as you are passionate about what you are learning and you have researched what the job market is like in that particular field. If you strongly feel that school isn’t needed for whatever it is you want to pursue, well, that is A. OKAY!
A lot of people make the mistake of going to school for something that will make them big bucks with doing ZERO research at all. Make sure you are 100% utilizing the school system to its FULLEST. Like come on, if you’re paying all that money – better make it worth it. Which means, research, research, research. I sure wish I did that! For example, I got a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Hospitality Management. Woah, so that means right out of school I can be a Food & Beverage manager? Banquet manager? Event manager? Yeah, no. Experience trumps everything. So many graduating students make the mistake of assuming their degree will land them a golden job with minimal experience. Doesn’t quite work like that.
I can’t emphasize this enough. Get your foot in the door. Get down and dirty. Get your hands in there! Which brings me to my next point.
WORK. WORK. INTERN. COOP. WORK. VOLUNTEER. WORK. WORK!
Get as much experience as you can possibly get! You will never know if you like your field or not if you do not go and experience it. You might even end up not even liking it and want to switch out of your program, which is amazing because now you are one step closer to finding what it is that you DO like. Despite if it is unpaid work (I know it totally sucks), but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to meet the right people at the right company. The best way to learn is to see and do. I don’t care if you’re not a hands on learner, you can’t learn without doing. Can you be a chef by watching people cook? Can you be a surgeon by watching people perform surgeries? Can you be a teacher by watching others teach? Point made. 🙂
Importantly, one crucial tip I have never gotten as a student before is be flexible. Don’t rely on one interest. Two passions are better than one.
We are in a dog eat dog job market with the person sitting next to you in class fighting for the same job you are. It is easy to be passionate about something, but you need to be realistic and ensure that you are able to monetize on it – simply – make sure you can bring in the dough. Therefore, if you are focused on one passion and it doesn’t work out… where is plan B?
Always be ready to change and adapt.
Jobs and careers will never wait for you.
I know a lot of people can relate to this who have graduated which genuinely makes me hope that high school graduates entering into their next stage in schooling are doing it the right way. Make sure that as much as you are absorbing everyone else’s advice at this time – your parents, siblings, friends, teachers, you need to listen to yourself and know what you want to do. Not what anyone else wants you to do. At this crucial point in your life, you will dig yourself a deep hole if you choose a career path to please someone else. You basically work for 3/4 of your life…. so if I were you I would want to enjoy it. BUT YEAH. Happy studying peeps – make google your bff. That’s how I got through it 😉