If you’re in college or if you’re soon going to enroll in a college, you’re at the right place at the right time. I’m soon going to graduate and I wish someone had told me the things that I’m going to tell you.
1. Detach yourself from your grades
At first, my level of happiness was directly proportional to my grades. From A+ to C, I’ve received all kinds of grades.
I’ve understood that 10, 5 or even 1 year from now, I will never care about any of my grades. They don’t mean anything in the realm of real life.
In fact, the time, effort and energy you will spend in trying to get an A from B can be used for more important things in life.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t care about your career. But bare in mind that grades are not your career. The only things that you want to attach yourself are the skills and knowledge you gain. Follow your curiosity. Do what excites you and keep learning.
2. Focus on personal growth
You’ve been gifted with a mind and a body. It’s your responsibility to take care of it. No one else will do it for you.
College is the ultimate opportunity to develop life skills. For example, emotional intelligence, living a healthy lifestyle, clear thinking, stress management, time management, personal finance, leadership, friendship and relationship skills are the skills that are far more important than your grades.
Personal growth is the path that will help you live a fulfilled life.
3. Dare to be different
For your own sake, stop looking for approval. College life is the stage when so many people fall into the trap of looking ‘cool’ and being accepted by others. They lose themselves and they have no idea who they want to be.
Once I took the 16 personality type quiz. The results said that my personality type was INFJ-A which is less than 1% of the population. I’m so glad to know that I’m unique.
Don’t be afraid of not doing something that majority of the people are doing.
Don’t be afraid of doing something that majority of the people are not doing.
We are social creatures and we all are looking to be part of a tribe. So, we look for people’s approval. While it’s normal to be part of a community, it doesn’t mean that you need everyone’s acceptance. You only need a few like minded people to be your friends.
Instead of making 1000 friends, make 2-5 close friends who have similar values or character traits as you. You could also have friends from different backgrounds. It will keep your mind open and you’ll be able to see things from different perspectives.
4. Know/find/create yourself
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-awareness is a topic that deserves a separate post. So I’ll keep it short here.
It’s easy to get lost in the world that is filled with people who are already lost. Don’t exist and wait for death. Live until you have the opportunity to create yourself.
Define who you want to be and what you want in life. Your values and desires may change over time so keep moving towards them and change when you need to.
Embrace the change and the everlasting journey of self-awareness.
5. Plant seeds for future
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb
95% of the college students don’t realize the value of their time. If you have a clear vision of what you want or who you want to be, then don’t waste a second. Work towards your future desires. You will thank yourself later in life.
The seeds can be in the form of learning, creating, practicing, etc. Develop 2 or 3 skills or knowledge about a topic. Then combine them and you will be better than 99% of the population on Earth.
6. Know the difference between job, career, and vocation
Jobs are roles that you take and you get paid to do that. Career is a series of jobs that lead to growth in your field.
Vocation, on the other hand, is a passion or a calling. But sadly due to stereotypes, society’s expectations, or our own excuses, most of us don’t pursue them.
It’s possible to have all three in one situation but for most of us, it takes some time and effort to reach there. If jobs can help you to eventually pursue your vocation then have patience and a clear vision of your vocation.
7. Fail, make mistakes and get rejected
Life is not always rainbows and sunshine. We all face adversity and there will be times when you’ll feel down. Practice the art of managing your emotions when you feel that way.
Failures and mistakes are not the opposite of success. They are part of success. As long as you keep learning and reflecting, you’re on the right track.
Rejection is also a phase that we need to practice. We need to realize that rejection is okay. It’s normal to feel bad after getting rejected, but don’t let it break your confidence.
Keep getting up and keep moving forward.
8. Stay present and enjoy
College is once in a lifetime experience. You don’t have as many responsibilities compared to an adult. Don’t stress out too much about your future. Stay in the present as you enjoy planting seeds for future and your personal growth journey.
Be grateful. Live fully. Laugh freely.