What are some good pieces of advice for a recent college graduate?

Answer by Nan Waldman:

  1. Acquire credentials through increasing mastery of skills, online degrees, certificates, and licenses. You will want to be exposed to many real life experiences — and nothing improves your access to the working world like credentials when you lack experience. Credentials open doors.
  2. Locate yourself in a geographical area where you want to live. You will find as you get older and more entrenched in your career and life that it gets increasingly difficult to change everything and move. Be where you want to be. If you don't know, travel and work for awhile and find out.
  3. Surround yourself with people who add value to your life, and to whose lives you actively want to add value. If you are considering the importance of another human being to your own life, if the answer is not YES, it is no. Seek out positive experiences.
  4. Watch your inputs: what goes into you is what makes you, you. As a corollary to (3) above, choose your inputs. Garbage in –> garbage out. Don't watch base or demeaning media. Don't fill your mind with pornography or combat video games unless that is your chosen career. Keep your inputs positive and helpful and inspiring. Read biographies of great individuals and learn from them: what did they do and how did they do it? Find information and media that enlightens you, educates you, and connects you with those who similarly inspire you.
  5. Keep up good habits: Eat nutritious foods. Sleep regular hours consistently each night. Get up at the same time. Exercise. Mediate or sit quietly for at least ten minutes every morning. If you don't use it, you lose it.
  6. Spend time investing in yourself. Limit your online activities so that you spend 'me time' every day, doing work which improves your life as in (1) above.
  7. Get a library card and regularly on the calendar get a good haircut. See What set of services (together costing less than $100/month) would most improve my quality of life?
  8. Make choices based on who you are now. Go towards what attracts you and move away from what does not interest you. One thing generally leads to another. If it turns out you don't like what you're doing, move on to doing something else. Steve Jobs is said to have looked in the mirror every morning (a form of his meditation?) and asked himself: Am I happy? If the answer for too many days was not Yes, he knew it was time to change and do something else. Not saying to give up, but to admit when something is a bad fit for you. Example: One recent college graduate found himself in a job where he was crunching numbers and inputting data into a spreadsheet all day long. He was a social creature, more inclined toward sales and customer service and starting up something new. He quit that job and found one he actually enjoys. It will lead him on to new opportunities. It was a good choice. Your choices are not sealed in concrete: if something doesn't work out, choose something else.
  9. There are no really bad choices: there are only opportunities taken and opportunities missed.
  10. Have pleasure in life. Dance. Move. Play.

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