Advice for Recent College Graduates

Congratulations, 2017 college graduates! [and high school graduates and all the other graduates but this post is specifically for college grads] It’s been a long journey for all of you, and I know you just want to rest, and you might already have a dozen people lined up to give you advice. But if you don’t, here’s mine:

  1. Take a f^cking break. You probably gained 15 pounds since you turned 18 because you’ve been sitting on your ass writing shitty papers and teaching yourself advanced math for the past 4+ years. Get outside and remember the smell of strawberries, Mr. Frodo.
  2. Get a student job. Not a career job, not a job that requires 3 years of experience (which you won’t have) and willingness to stay at the company for at least one year (you won’t have this either). NO. Get a college student job. Like a barista or a waitress or take a job with a temp agency. Anything temporary that you don’t have to make a lasting commitment to because…
  3. You need to TRAVEL. Where are you, the USA? Take a trip to Canada or Mexico, whichever’s closest. Never been to NYC? Go there. Never been to NOLA? Go there. Are you in Auckland, New Zealand but haven’t been to the south island? GO THERE! Go somewhere you’ve never been before. I suggest traveling solo because you’ll learn a lot more about yourself and the world this way. You’ll find everything you need to know about travel at NomadicMatt.com.
  4. Avoid career traps. You know how one of your parents, or an aunt or uncle is trapped in their cubicle job? That’s going to be you. If you’re in the USA, you’re supposed to get a career job right out of college with a big company whose CEO has never heard of you. Or, you can run the other way into the arms of a small company who will watch you grow and help you achieve your ultimate goals. This is starting to sound like advice for myself…
  5. READ A BOOK because now you have time! Were you supposed to read Lord of the Flies by William Golding in high school but used spark notes instead? Read it now. Have you read all the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings books? No? The f*ck?!
  6. Learn more Spanish. Sorry, that one’s for me. But if you don’t know any Spanish and you live in the United States, you better hit up duolingo right now. I’m sure you already know 30 Spanish words, but learn 30 more. Take your new knowledge across the border. If you’re fluent in Spanish, learn Mandarin Chinese. If you’re fluent in Mandarin as well, you’re cooler than the rest of us so stop reading advice blogs.
  7. Finish that project. You know, THAT project.
  8. One more thing. Don’t spend all your free time seeking advice and taking dozens of personality quizzes online. You can’t know who you are by reading. You have to do something. Make something, go somewhere, put yourself in a position that requires decisions. You know enough about yourself In Theory. You need to know about yourself In Practice.
  9. That’s it. Leave me now, I must rest.

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