My Advice to Matriculants

2014-01-06 11:51

As a Facebook friend said today, “Reality is scary”. She misspelled “scary”, so if you got that part right, then you’re well on your way to greatness. With every matriculant trying to not pull out every strand of hair, today is a tense one.

First things first, relax. You made it. If you didn’t do as well as you thought, that’s ok too. If you’re going to dwell on it, you’re missing out on some serious January time. The worst is behind you.

I’m pretty qualified to write this post. For one, I’m an advice junkie. If you’re willing to take it, I’m ready to give it.  As a twice drop out, who is now entering the working world, let me assure you, nothing is what it seems from your school desk. Everything will change. That’s the fun part. Whatever you’re going through, if you work hard enough, you will be fine.

If you are unsure of what to do, then don’t do it. Being pressurised by parents, friends and societal expectations in general was the best and worst things to happen to me. On the one hand, I got to mess up a lot and ended up where I am now. To wonder what might have been is silly. You, yes you, reading this, get to make up your own mind. Take your time in deciding where you want to go in life, and then dive in head first. This is the time when you get to make mistakes and when you’re 28, you can look back and laugh at what an idiot you were. Note: I am laughing a lot right now.

Now that you’re an adult you get to do fun things like grow a beard and swear and stuff. Ok, I’m overselling it. But seriously, now that you’re an adult, don’t be one. Most adults are terrible at being adults and forget what it means to be young. Hang on to that. You have plenty of time to be serious, but when you have to be serious, do it well. Does that make sense? Also, making sense - it won’t always happen. Those big people on TV are just really good at it.

Some of the best advice I give to younger people is the simplest: read more, be consistent and save your money. Even if you think that it won’t make a difference, trust me, it does. I wish that someone had told me that if I had studied for a minimum time of one hour a day, I would have aced all my subjects. Instead I focused on the subjects that I liked the most and scraped by on the others. This is called mediocrity and it’s a huge problem. People will claim this is laziness, but I think of it as fear of greatness. There’s a well-used quote about being powerful beyond measure that should be inserted here, but I’m too lazy to search for it.

To let a relationship define you is one of the stupidest things you can do. It is also, to many people, completely inevitable. We’re human! As long as you’re aware of it, and don’t let it come between you and greatness, then you’ll be ok.

Now that school is over, most people don’t really care about it. In my experience, it will get you into an institution, but thereafter you’re on your own. Just like when you leave that institution, those results won’t matter as much anymore. It’s mostly about the impact you made, and the experiences you had. Use your time wisely and work as hard as an employer that you would hire. If you wouldn’t hire yourself based on the work you have done, then re-evaluate and start again. This is, of course, not a reason for matriculants reading this to scream to the heavens and burn their schools down. Instead, it is a call to stay present and focus on doing the best you can, right now.

Good luck Matrics of 2013! Everything will happen as it should.

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