12 Things to Have by Graduation
Written from Brienz, Switzerland
Having recently graduated college, I have an incredibly clear hindsight of what was worth my time and investment over the last four years. Here are twelve things that I have found to be invaluable in making a clean transition.
1. A Board of Mentors
You might as well admit it - you don't know everything. College was an incredibly small percentage of your life and came at an incredibly young age (relatively speaking). Now that you're graduated, you will have a lot of life-changing decisions to make. Despite your wealth of experience, it would behoove you to have two or three older, wiser people who love you and who's life choices you generally respect that can act as guides in your life.
2. An Impressive List of Failures
I'm not talking about how you started playing football and then quit halfway through the season because it got to be too tough on you. I mean those failures where you took on a task that perhaps was a little too big for your britches and despite a valiant effort, you didn't succeed. Failures that showed you mustered up courage, battled the odds and shot for the big dreams not the small ones.
3. A More Impressive List of Successes
Okay, so you tried a lot and failed. We can applaud you for trying. But if your record is 0/10, we can't take you too seriously. Tell of your successes, your victories, your triumphs! Let us know of those stories where you persevered and it paid off.
4. A Portfolio/Resume
In part, yes, you need a traditional paper resume. But perhaps more importantly, you need a resume of experiences that exist outside of the workplace, pushed you to your limits, and define who you really are. Be bold and be vibrant!
5. A Responsible Sleep Schedule / Morning Routine
Don't underestimate its power. It helps keep your body healthy, your stress levels down, your day productive and your mind rested. Don't burn yourself out due to poor habits.
6. A Desire and Ability to Learn on Your Own
Learning doesn't stop at graduation! The great part is that now you have the ability to choose what you learn.
7. A Legacy Project
Everyone needs a project that they are passionate about because of its virtue. Something that will last and continue giving for generations.
8. A Solid Book List
Reading might be one of the most important things you can do. Hopefully, by the time you graduate, you will have read a good bit other than school textbooks and The Hunger Games. (Here's my list)
9. A Rough 3-Year Plan
Anything more detailed or long-term restricts your ability to be spontaneous and grasp opportunities as they present themselves.
If you aren't sure of which direction you should head in, pick one that interests you and go for it! You can always change direction later but don't waste your life hunched over an undecipherable map and compass.
10. A Good Work Ethic and Self-Motivation
If you aren't willing to get dirty, crank out quality, take responsibility for failure, show up early, stay late and generally work hard, you are going nowhere. On top of that, you must be internally motivated. Rather than move under the threat of a whip, push forward toward excellence and victory for you.
11. A Personalized System to Budget, Spend and Track Your Money/Debts
You're an adult now - it's time to take responsibility for your money. Earn an income, pay off your debts, begin saving and be smart with your spending.
12. Personal Dreams and Goals
A person without dreams and goals is merely a cog in the wheel. It's okay to dream and dream big, for that matter! You have a lifetime - if you have to, build a mountain and climb it to get the view you want.
13. An Enthusiasm for Living Vibrantly
If you're going to read from a script society hands you, don't whine when you're asked to play the part of the fool. However, those who choose to construct their lives around meaningful experiences write a new script and craft their own character.