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Your message to youth? (my own meme)

As I was sitting in the main cafeteria for lunch with all of the "kids". It is a bit odd to be sitting there eating surrounded by all of these college students and I'm technically old enough to be their father--that's scary. I started to think about things that I know now and what I wish I knew then. We all know we thought we knew it all back in college. Then we look back on that and realize we were totally clueless.

So, my own meme is born with this topic. If college student came up to you and asked for advice on life as they go through college and prepare for the real working world, what 5 tips of advice would you give them? Below are my 5 tips:

1. If you're gay, get the hell out of the closet now. I didn't even come out until I was 26 (damn, out for 12 years now). I hate to see people (my age) that are STILL in the closet and still too scared to come out and actually LIVE their lives.

2. Love your job, love your friends and family more. Find a job that you enjoy doing, but don't get so buried in it that you forget your family and friends. I think most people (as I did) thought it was the right thing to do to work 60-80 hours/week on a regular basis to make it in their career. That was definitely not the right balance for me and I was very much alone during the first year or two after college.

3. Get involved in social and professional organizations while still in college. Students need to do more than just study the books. They have to interact with people and get involved with organizations. These teach you valuable skills everyone needs to get into the working world (how to organize a function, how to organize meeting, managing resources, etc.).

4. Stay physical. It's so easy to fall into that trap after college of not doing anything physical (depending on your job). Find friends who like to get out even if it's to just go walking 20 minutes a few times per week. It doesn't mean you have to go the gym and endure pain.

5. Don't have debt coming out of college and live within your budget. I racked up some debt coming out of college as I liked computers and having other things back then. It just makes it that much harder to get things going when you get a new apartment, new house, etc. I've also learned the hard way that it's easy to live beyond my income. I've been fortunate to have a excellent credit history and it means so much down the road.

So, what would be your 5 things? Make it 2, make 10, I don't care. They can be shorter or longer than what I have here. What lessons of life have your learned that you wish you knew when you were in college (or about 20 y/o)?



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 10th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Interesting to read over your list & see the overlaps, give or take, with my own reflections.

I had no concept of financial management back then, and no impulse to exercise, and I'm going to be undoing the damage from both for decades to come. In turn, I realize I had no role models at home to learn from. I did learn about networking from friends, & that proved to be a huge boon in life, not just professionally but especially in terms of making and keeping good friends. I came out far earlier - slowly, from ages 17 to 20, but I was totally out by 20. It was, however, all intellectual - I had no dating life, no sex life back then, even though I was out. I'm not sure what I could tell someone in my shoes on that count. But I'd have to try to tell them something.
Sep. 11th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)
I have to say the whole network of friends did not really evolve until I met bearcubbnc here on LJ about 18 months ago. From there I've met a lot of wonderful people and explored more of the "bear" part of me that I identify with mostly.
Sep. 11th, 2007 01:01 pm (UTC)
Somewhere along the way, back in college, I was fortunate enough to start making friends that I've been able to keep for 15 years and more now. At the same time, I've also been fortuante enough to keep making new friends, & that range of friends has been the greatest blessing in my life. That said, it's still relatively new - the last four years - that I've actively explored the bear world, & LJ has been the lynchpin of that amazing network of friends that I've developed. Glad that you're part of that now!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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