Dear Soon-To-Be Graduate,
Hi, my name is Fitz Villafuerte.
I’m sure you don’t know me because most of my readers are OFWs and young urban professionals – so I’d like to welcome you here, to my blog.
I’m an entrepreneur, an investor and a personal finance advocate. This blog, which I’ve been writing in for eight years now, is where I teach people about money; and occasionally, it’s where I talk about life and share the lessons I’ve learned.
Today, I’m doing the latter part.
Your last semester
You are now on your last semester, and probably stressed about your exams and thesis, or anxious about your board exam or job applications.
And then there’s that everyday, bittersweet feeling that you’re spending your last days with your college friends – I know because I felt it too, back then.
Which brings me to the first lesson I’d like to share: Treasure your college friends because they are the dearest bunch of people you’ll ever meet in your life.
Don’t be sad that you’re parting ways, because life will always have a way to bring you together – if not physically, then virtually – and in most cases, THAT IS ENOUGH.
A nagging voice
Beyond the stress and anxiety that normally comes with graduating, there’s probably a nagging voice in your head that’s asking:
“Am I ready to graduate? Am I ready to work? Am I ready?”
I’m telling you now that you are NOT ready, and you’ll never, ever going to be ready; so just take comfort in the fact that at least, you are not alone.
Isn’t it ironic to think that college is supposed to prepare you for the world of work; and yet, here you are feeling uncertain about your future?
Here’s the thing… it’s okay to feel that way, because IT WILL BE OKAY – trust me.
It’s not meant to be that way
The things you’ve learned in college will never be enough to survive the “real world” because it’s not meant to be that way. The sooner you realize and accept this, the sooner you’ll be okay.
So what’s the point of going to college? Did you just waste four or five years of your life? Of course not!
Your academic lessons will always have an important part in your career. But what’s more essential, and what you should have learned by now, is a deep appreciation on the PROCESS of learning.
And that is my second lesson: Learn to love learning and never stop learning.
Do that and I guarantee – you will be okay.
No better time to aspire
The world is your oyster – and there’s no better time to aspire than now. Your idealism is your greatest weapon, but you’ll have to learn how to wield it.
Start with your desire to make a positive difference, and make it your mission to change the world.
Be realistically optimistic. Take stock of what you have, work within the market realities, and pursue what’s within reach.
But never stop when you reach it, and continue to aspire further.
This means you should never settle for a job that’s just enough to help yourself and your family – a job that simply allows you to buy the things you want.
Instead, find MEANINGFUL work that inspires you to help others – because that’s how you find a lasting and successful career.
Opportunities are everywhere
Have an abundant mindset and never doubt the fact that opportunities are everywhere – but realize that all opportunities are attached to a person.
You cannot seize an opportunity without talking to someone, without connecting to a person, without asking somebody for help.
Which means when you are looking for opportunities, you are essentially just looking for a person or a group of people.
So PROACTIVELY grow your network because the relationships you build will be your key to life’s opportunities.
People are everywhere, and thus opportunities are everywhere, makes sense?
The first job offer
It’s tempting to play it safe and take the first job offer you’ll get.
DO NOT – because your first job will almost always, dictate where your career will go for the next few years.
So choose your path carefully, and learn to take intelligent risks because this is how learning happens after college.
But how do you choose which risks to take and which to avoid?
If the worst case scenario means losing time and money, or downgrading your lifestyle – this should be a risk you’re willing to take.
If the worst case scenario means tarnishing your reputation, or dishonoring your family – then don’t take that risk.
That is how you decide.
In college, success comes when you make the least mistakes. But in life, success comes when you simply make progress every single day.
If there’s one lesson I want you to take away from this letter, this would be it: Progression not perfection.
Take risks, learn by doing and never be afraid to make mistakes because after all, you’re not being graded by your professor anymore.
Forget what your English teacher taught you and learn now that the opposite of success is not failure, but INACTION.
Failing is part of success, and those who refuse to take action are the ones who never succeed.
In any endeavor and aspiration, progression is the most important. Do whatever you can to always move forward towards your goals.
Your first mountain
Congratulations on your academic education, you’ve conquered your first mountain. And in a few months, another climb will begin for you.
Treasure your college friends. Never stop learning. Grow your network. Take intelligent risks. Always move forward.
From here on, until the start of your career, and beyond the many years ahead – make each day an opportunity to learn more, do more and be more.
This is your last semester, but you’re not done learning.
You are and will always be, a work in progress.
We all are – works in progress.
All the best,