Things I wish I knew when I left College

As so many of my friends have now graduated college, I want to say congratulations. Your accomplishment of getting the degree that you spent many hours studying and test taking has finally come to a close. You are now about to experience the jump. The “real world,” as they call is now your home.

I left college at the age of 20 to pursuit a business venture that ultimately wasn’t my calling. School wasn’t my calling either so I’ve spent 3 years out of college, in the marketplace, working my tail off to make a name for myself. There’s a few things that I learned that I wish I knew coming out:

It’s much colder than college and it’s freaking Antarctica compared to high school.

The days of extra credit, curved tests, and tutors are gone. Nobody is actively going to go out of their way to help you become successful. Nobody gives a fuck about you. Teachers are replaced with bosses, principals with CEOs, and homework with project deadlines and bills. The world demands more and the marketplace definitely does not baby you if something doesn’t go correctly.

Get ready for some hardcore ME- time.

When you’re out of school, nobody is right down the hallway. You’re going to be working all week, and your friends will have their jobs; hanging out on week nights is almost not an option. Waking up at 10 doesn’t happen in the real world, unless your unemployed, where in that case you should probably be up at 8am job searching.

Money matters.

For the first time in your life you’re going to have a sizable income. And what else comes with a full time salary? BILLS! yay! It’s the moment your parents have been waiting for. You will have to pay for your own cell phone, car insurance, registration, possibly a car bill, rent, food, internet, cable, and extra curricular activities that you choose. Who knew life was so expensive? You definitely didn’t. Learn to budget, and fast! I recommend picking up anything by Dave Ramsey. You can find his materials here: www. Daveramsey.com

Learn to Sell.

Whether or not you’re in sales, you must; I repeat, you MUST learn how to sell. Job interview? More like selling yourself. Project presentation? More like pitching the success of your project to a boardroom. Teacher? You must sell your students on why their education is important. Engineer? Sell your project ideas. Personal Trainer? Sell your clients on working out everyday. Long story short, no matter the field; in this competitive of a marketplace we are all salesmen/women.

Failing is good.

The world is no longer black and white. There are no true and false questions. Perfect scores do not exist and I promise you the last scantron you’ll ever see was at your last final. You’re going to mess up- a lot. And it’s OK, if you learn from it. If you don’t, then real damage occurs. Be ready for trial by error, or as one of my managers put it “baptism by fire.” Life hits, hard, and it will hurt until you figure out how to avoid the punches.

Board the SHIPS!

Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue in the year 1492, with his three ships; the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria. To cross the wild, uncertain, sometimes brutal, and exciting years ahead you’re going to need 3 ships: relationships, memberships, and partnerships.

Relationships; Your network is your net-worth; who are your friends? Who are you dating? What do you and your friends do outside of work? Are you making new friends? Who can help move you forward in your career?

Memberships; what clubs are you a part of? You better have a gym membership- health is wealth. Book clubs, free club cards in stores, you name it, there’s probably a membership for it. With memberships come benefits. Do what you can to catch a leg up. 10% off here, points added up over there, it all adds up!

Partnerships; what is your work place environment like? Who do you work well with? Who are you helping? Who is helping you? Ever hear of the saying two minds work better than one? It’s true. Think of your life like a group project: you can’t do everything yourself so learn to partner up with people and tackle it together. Gym partner. Project partner. Business partner. Combine your strengths with others and your successes will multiply.

Attitude is everything.

Life isn’t easy. The marketplace isn’t friendly. Nobody knows you. You’re a ghost. Unfortunately sometimes even the degree doesn’t mean anything, a bachelors these days is the equivalent to a high school diploma in most companies. You must keep your head up and stay positive. No matter the challenge it’s all possible.

Remember that you’re in the real school now, the school of life; and the lessons you will learn will be the advice you pass to your kids and grandkids.

No one ever sat their grandchild down on their lap to teach them grammar or math. It’s what life teaches you that will determine your legacy. To sum it all up:

Fail. Fail often. Live. Love yourself. Drink. Smile at strangers. Hold the door open for old women. Be happy. Pay your bills. Read. Better yourself. Eat healthy. Make friends. Make enemies. Love your lovers and respect your haters. Take revenge only through personal success. Forgive. Don’t talk shit. Exercise. Fight for what you want. Think big. Act bigger. Follow through. Have faith in yourself. Hug your friends. Kiss your parents. Tell the truth even if it sucks. Don’t burn bridges, just stop crossing them as much. Party. Travel. Walk in the woods and leave your phone at home. Mediate. Stretch. Give. Give more. Give some more. When you have nothing left, give it all; because that’s the only true way to Get in this world.

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