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My Advice for Graduating Millennials

Written by Savannah Marie, Community Blogger | May 9, 2014 8:50 AM

It’s around this time of year that I turn into a sentimental fool over being a college graduate. After all, last year during this time I was listening to the Dalai Lama speak words of wisdom to my graduating class at the superdome in New Orleans. It was one of the most profound and surreal moments of my life. Truly nothing compares to a Mardi Gras-style graduation complete with beads, umbrellas, and fireworks. Dr. John and Allen Toussiant, two Grammy Award-winning jazz musicians, performed the city’s beloved Jazz tunes during the ceremony. Needless to say, Tulane University knows how to throw a party.  

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You didn't have fireworks at your graduation ceremony?

Enough about me – this is about you! Congratulations, folks. You’ve busted your chops, and you’re finally being rewarded. Surely there’s a whirlwind of emotions running through you as you inch closer and closer to graduation. Excitement, stress, fear and even anger – it’s only natural to have these feelings.

You’re excited to be done with exams, papers and presentations. You’re scared and stressed thinking that you might not fare well in the vast and scary Real World. You’re angry that everyone is suddenly curious about your future plans, which may or may not have developed yet. Don’t worry; this is all common and manageable.

As someone who has graduated college – and survived in the real world thus far – I will bestow upon you some tips to move forward in elegant College Grad fashion. 

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Speaking of fashion, check out my graduation cap!

Put Yourself Out There

In order to get a job or move away, you’ll need to take some action. The opportunities won’t just come knocking at your door, so be proactive and put yourself out there. Scour the Internet for jobs you find interesting. Chat with someone who’s landed your dream job. Submit applications, network fearlessly and put what you’ve learned to use. 

As hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretsky wisely said, “You’ll miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” If you don’t take a shot, you’ll never make a goal. Sure, sometimes you’ll miss the net, and that won’t feel so great. But risk and rejection are parts of life that need to be faced in order to get anywhere. So take control of your situation; start taking shots.

Overcome Self-Doubt

As you head out into the world of careers, traveling or whatever it is you decide to do, you’ll likely face a fair amount of uncertainty. You’ll come across new challenges and you’ll encounter people who make you feel inadequate. Despite any self-doubt you experience, it’s important to keep moving forward. Keep your goals in mind and worry about yourself. Learn from the challenges and the sophisticated individuals around you. Stop comparing your journey to the journey of those on your News feed. 

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Balance Your Time

Unless your parents are totally loaded and generous, you’ll need to find some sort of employment. You’ll soon find that landing a job is a timely process. It takes time to seek out opportunities and submit applications. It takes time to tailor your resume and cover letter. It takes time to prepare and attend interviews. Take the time to do these things, and do them well, but also find some time for leisure activities. Finding a balance between work and play will keep you energetic, and ready to continue trucking forward.

 

Maintain Your Relationships

Having a strong support system will help you as you transition into the real world. In this weird time, you’ll want to keep friends and family close – and by “close” I simply mean communicate with them. Staying close doesn't mean it's appropriate to move back in with mom and dad. Your bonds can continue to be strong even if you move away or decide to travel, but it’s your responsibility to put forth an effort to stay connected.  

Also remember that not all friends you make in college will stay your friends, but savor the ones that are important to you. If you really want to stay in touch with someone, you can and you will.

 

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Take Care of Yourself

Tame your amped up emotions by taking the time to care for yourself, both physically and mentally. Treat yourself to new clothes or some cheap wayfarer sunglasses. Exercise, eat healthy foods and practice some stress relievers to stay sane.  

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, too. Actually, that's what your parents are going to tell you. My advice is the opposite! Stay up all night and cram your brain full of knowledge; roll into your test with mismatched socks and wrinkly pajamas; cry tears of relief the moment it's over, go take a shower and celebrate the beginning of a new life with your best friends. It's completely worth it, trust me. 

Live for Now

Finally, it’s important to remember that, while you should be finding your first shiny new job and thinking about how you're going to support your iTunes addiction, you need to live in the present. These are days you’ll never have again, and they just might be the best days of your life for a while. Enjoy every single solitary second. That's an order!

 

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