Dear Class of 2019,
As we enter graduation season, I’ve been reflecting on all the life lessons and things I’ve learned since I graduated from high school. There’s not a single thing I would change- because every choice has lead me to where I am today. But there are some things I wish I would have known.
Here is a compilation of my personal thoughts and advice from friends and family who have also been in your shoes.
-Work the summer before college to save up money for housing and extra things you need or want.
-Get to know your advisor.
-Choose your own path. This is a really hard thing to do at 18-years-old when you are heavily influenced by what your family, peers and teachers THINK you should do. Other people THINK they know what’s best for you. Only you know. Take their opinions into consideration, as they only want the best for you! But know that it’s okay to choose your own path and if anyone gets upset or disappointed, remember that it’s YOUR life.
-It’s okay to change your course and change your passion. I’m not passionate about the things I was as a high school senior. The one thing that is the same is that I love communicating and writing. But that took time for me to see and I took breaks from writing because I wasn’t sure. Being unsure and change is okay and NORMAL.
-Roll with the punches. You probably won’t have the absolute best roommate ever. You probably will make mistakes and fall flat on your face. You will probably fail a test that you should have been more prepared for. You will probably trust people you shouldn’t. Roll with those gut punches and know that this is not way things will end. I’m still rolling with the punches and I’m by no means perfect. I’ve just learned to accept that things happen!
-Keep your resume up-to-date. As you have jobs and internships, add them. Keeping your resume updated makes applying for internships and jobs super easy!
-If you’re going to school- remember why you are there. Your purpose for being at school is to get an education or a trade so that you can get a job. It’s easy to be tempted by drinking and partying- but remember your purpose when tempted.
-Introduce yourself to your professor and TAs. It’s super easy to sit in the back of a lecture hall and try to blend in. Go out of your comfort zone and get to know your professors. If you ever miss a class, fail a test or need extra credit, a professor is much more likely to be willing to help you out if they know you!
-Join study groups.
-Make a friend in each class and exchange phone numbers so you can reach out if you are sick or have questions on assignments and preparing for exams.
-Sometimes 4.0 students become 3.0 students and that’s okay.
-Having freedom from your family doesn’t mean you should forget about them.
-No one expects you to be perfect.
-Get involved! There are hundreds of organizations and clubs to be involved in.
While a lot of these tips and suggestions are geared toward a trade school or 4-year school, those are certainly NOT the only options! You may choose to start working right after high school graduation. With the amount of information that is available online, I personally believe entering the workforce right after graduation is a great choice!
If you are entering the workforce right after graduating, here are a few tips specifically for you!
-Live with your parents/family for as long as possible. Nothing beats free or cheap rent! Even if you’re going to school and are able to live at home and commute- this is such a great option.
-Build up your savings. Save up so you have money when you want or need to get your own place. The future is unpredictable, so saving money and being prepared is key.
-Join your work’s retirement plan or create your own fund.
-Learn from your coworkers, soak up as much as possible.
-Work hard now, so you can play later.
Congrats to the class of 2019! Do you agree with this advice? Leave your best advice for new grads below!