Happy Spring semester to my fellow readers who are still in college and perhaps, even finishing up the last semester of college…ever. You’ve probably been asked approximately 10000 times so far in the past few months as to what your game plan is for after college…and you may or may not have some anxiety about it.
I was in your shoes exactly a year ago. Gearing up for my last semester of college, but also looking forward to the “young adult” life, as they call it. I want to share with you about my not-so conventional approach and strategic thinking to my post-grad life and why I decided to think of it in that specific way.
If I am being extremely candid (which I try to be as much as possible), I didn’t put much emphasis or thinking into “what” I was going to be doing after college. In terms of my career, first job, how much money I would make, etc. etc. etc. Funny enough, isn’t that what they always talk about in school? Or just in general?
Personally, I believe that when college students think about what they will do (as a job), they get extremely stuck. For fuck sake, how does a 21 or 22 year old figure out “what to do” with their life? That’s probably one of the most anxious questions and thoughts that a lot of college students have.
The way I saw it, back in the day, was more about WHO I wanted to become. Since Junior year, I asked myself questions like, “how do you want someone to describe you in the first 30 seconds?” I thought about my VALUES and how I committed to never sacrificing those values for a short-term gain or something as simple as a job.
To answer the question of who I wanted to become, my answer has stayed the same since the first time I thought about it, around the age of 20: I want to become someone with strong character, who always acts with integrity and honesty, someone who is incredibly disciplined, but fulfilled in life with both my career and relationships. Someone who has the financial ability and career flexibility to travel to different metro cities, learn from fellow likeminded individuals, and speak at various conferences.
As you can see, I tie in a mix of things in that statement. I share my values, of the person I want to become and continue to improve on. I share my ideal lifestyle, of being able to travel with ease (not having to worry about that PTO), but to do so with a purpose, whether that is for work related events, or being able to meet and learn from similar individuals/colleagues.
Obviously, a lot of who we want to become, we will not achieve overnight. And that is THE POINT. Because that is where you can start–rather than the pointless question of, “What company should I start at? What kind of job do I want?” Those questions are hard because in a sense, it doesn’t have much to do with us…it has more to do with external validation (in my opinion).
I think ultimately, what has always helped me stay focused and have a “tunnel vision” over the last two years is simply keeping my eye on my long-term goals. As in, where do I want to be five years from now–personally, professionally, romantically, financially, physically, etc. It’s important to be self-aware about where you are currently at and how you can work towards closing the gap between where you are now and where you want to be a few years down the line.
Years fly by in a blink of an eye and what I know for sure is that I don’t want to look back when I’m 25 and wish I tried harder. Regret is not something I want to live with and I’m certain you wouldn’t want to either.