Tomorrow morning is Carleton’s graduation. There will be pomp and circumstance, about 1000% percent humidity, alternately cheering and teary parents (and faculty), and, of course, advice for the new graduates. Lots and lots of advice.
I won’t be giving any advice tomorrow—I’ll be too busy sweating in my heavy robes in the blazing sun. But since I just had a milestone birthday (ahem), I’ve spent some time reflecting back on my 22 year old self: graduating from a good school, headed off to grad school, full of bluster and confidence and thinking I knew everything. And reflecting on what I wish I knew then.
So if I had to give advice to my 22 year old self, what would it be?
- Everything will get done, but everything does not have to get done right this minute.
- Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. You are your best, and sometimes only, advocate.
- Life, unfortunately, is not a meritocracy. Network, meet people above and below and at your level, and connect with them. It’s not smarmy, it’s a way to let others get to know your fabulousness! (and get to know the fabulousness of others as well)
- Find cheerleaders and advocates and people who believe in you—friends, peers, advisors, professors, staff. Consult with them often.
- Don’t be afraid to fail, or to take risks. Failure teaches you how to succeed. Become a little fearless, or at least fake it until you feel it.
image by laughlin