5 things I wish my undergrad self knew

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?

  1. Everything will get done, but everything does not have to get done right this minute.
  2. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself. You are your best, and sometimes only, advocate.
  3. 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)
  4. Find cheerleaders and advocates and people who believe in you—friends, peers, advisors, professors, staff. Consult with them often.
  5. 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.
Congratulations, Carleton class of 2012!

image by laughlin


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