Someone on Twitter asked recently what you need to tell your college-bound kid about how to be an adult besides taking responsibility. I decided to break down some of my ideas for college-age kids into simple rule-of-thumb type answers.
If you don’t know what job you want from your degree, don’t get it.
A degree is no longer a guarantee of a job, a paycheck, or even an upper-middle-class lifestyle. If you can’t pinpoint what you want this degree to help you do, don’t waste money on it. Many degrees are still worth the time and money but you have to be dedicated to getting them and know how to best leverage them once you have them.
You are young and have time to explore. This is different than having time to waste.
Don’t rush into things. You should move with purpose and curiosity. You are young. You have the time to explore your interests, those things that spark your creativity. Trying new things, taking weird completely unrelated classes, getting a job that doesn’t seem to make sense, and traveling are all things you have time for. Drinking so much beer every weekend that you can’t remember them isn’t on that list.
There is no path, no map, and no destination handed to you anymore.
From when you started school everyone always told you a degree was the end goal. You knew where you were headed and the way to get there. Now you get to decide where you want to go but that also means you have to draw your own map and come up with your own plan. This is great. But realize you will probably feel lost a lot.
Time passes no matter how you spend it.
Going to school to be a doctor can seem like a wasting a decade in school. But understand that those 10 years WILL pass, and you WILL be 10 years older. You have to decide when looking back on those years if you did something that made it worth it. If being a doctor was what you wanted and you decided not to because of the time, did you spend the time doing something better?
Your relationship’s success or failure is always your fault.
Accept the responsibility that a relationship is something you have to work to be good at. Understand that there is always something you could do better. And realize that you need to make smart choices regarding who you allow that deeply into your life.
There is no shame in quitting as long as there is no fear and no regret.
You have to be willing to walk away sometimes. The key to quitting is knowing when. If you can stop and feel no regret over it, that means the outcome was solid enough for you to feel confident that you gave it your all. The other check is to make sure you aren’t quitting out of fear. Fear should never be the reason to stop. If neither of those feelings is present, quit without guilt.
You are on your own.
You don’t get to hide behind your parents, being a kid, or lack of knowledge to protect you anymore. You are an adult and you need to understand and accept the consequences of your actions.
Health means mental and physical.
Going to the gym is great and you need to put time into keeping yourself fit. Still, having a 6-pack and punching holes in walls from unresolved anger issues does not make you healthy. Therapy isn’t just for folks having breakdowns. It is to help you at being a good human. Own up. Everyone needs therapy for something.
The hardest part is realizing what you want.
You can’t get where you are going if you don’t know where you want to end up. Moving forward is great but you will always feel empty until you start doing the work of figuring out what it is that makes you excited to wake up every morning. Once you know this, getting it is just a matter of putting in the work. The hard part is figuring it out.
Make time to make memories.
Using your youth to your advantage is huge. You should always be looking for ways to get ahead and set yourself up so that later in life you have it easier. But don’t hustle so hard that you don’t have anything to look back on and remember.
Make yourself into someone confident.
Confidence doesn’t come easy. You have to work for years sometimes to gain it. That is because confidence is a result of knowing who you are and how much value you can bring. Feel confident in how you look. Go to the gym and dress well. Be confident in how you connect with people. Learn to listen and be friendly and polite. Be confident in the work you do. Have skills that you have practiced and always deliver the best. Do the work to create a you that is confident.
Say things simply, honestly, and often.
Communication is the most important part of any personal or work relationship. As humans, if we don’t know something we will make guesses and assumptions. Don’t let that happen in relationships that are important to you. Do not leave room for guesses.
Thanks for reading Y’all