"Who do you want to become?"
September 18, 2015
I’m old. And getting old sucks. Having a couple beers takes planning. Tiredness is perpetual. You’ll wonder why your back hurts when you literally did nothing yesterday. And you reach a point when you’re responsible for more than just yourself. But with age comes wonderful benefits too. I don’t think we should call it age. Instead, getting old should be dubbed “experienced.” You’re not 21 years old; you have 21 years of life experience.
I oversee this incredible free career advice website. Moving forward this semester you will see an occasional blog post with ramblings from me about…something. So, I apologize in advance.
Through Jobipedia, you have the chance to ask someone whose job it is to hire people your most pressing and personal questions about internships and the job hunt. It’s like if your roommate’s sister was an early career recruiter for a Fortune 500 company and your roommate said, “Do you want to talk to her and get some job advice?” Of course you would! Or at least I hope as a college student you would jump at the chance and not shy away from the opportunity.
So, with that said, this semester I challenge you to be fearless and acknowledge you’re going to make mistakes. Give it a try for a month. If you don’t like it, then you can revert back to your old self.
I’m not saying to be thoughtless or brash; rather, dive into every situation you can right now. In college you can do so many things. And while we know something might be a good experience for us, we can quickly talk ourselves out of participating. Excuses are often either “I’m too busy” or “I know I won’t be good at that so why try.”
Don’t be afraid of failure. With each failure you’ll inevitably learn something that will remain with you forever. You learn more from your mess-ups than you do from your successes.
So, if you’re majoring in Kinesiology but want to write an article for your student newspaper, then do it. What’s the worst that could happen? The school newspaper editor turns down your story. Okay, you tried and learned what didn’t make for a good newspaper article. What is more likely to happen, however, is the newspaper's student editor or faculty advisor will help you develop your article into something that will be published. But, you won’t know until you try.
If you want to take that chemistry class that has nothing to do with your Political Science major, then do it. Worst case scenario? You realize after two classes you don’t like chemistry (even though Walter White made it seem so damn interesting) and you drop the class. Well, now you know chemistry isn’t for you.
Adulthood is a mangle mess of chaos that we pretend is in order. We all have our own special way of handling our busy lives. I schedule every one of my days, and I constantly update my personal and professional to-do lists. But when that chaos willfully pushes itself into our peripheral, we briefly escape into something that will calm us. For some that’s checking Instagram to see if any of the Kardashian Queens have posted something spicy; for others it’s checking if our fantasy trade was accepted.
Fear can cripple us. When we’re just getting started, as many of you reading this are, we fear messing up. There’s this mentality that a decision in college might destroy our lives forever. Well, unless that decision is to give heroin a try or drive drunk, your decisions right now will most likely only help shape who you become.
Will your first conversation with a corporate recruiter at a career fair go well? It might, but then you may become overconfident and really mess up your third and fourth conversations. Are you going to do great in your first job interview? Probably not. But the more you prepare and the more interviews you do, you’ll get better. You’re learning about yourself and how to better control your own, unique intricacies.
Early on, I would beat myself up over my mistakes and failures. I then realized that these failures helped me better understand who I was, what my capabilities were and basic human nature. I decided not to let failure bind me, and instead I learned how to react more intelligently to mistakes.
Unsolicited Advice For You, College Student
Take some chances this semester. You’re going to make mistakes, but understand those mistakes will help you grow. Some failures make the best stories. If they don’t make good stories, those mistakes will undoubtedly teach you something.
So try something different this semester. If you mess up, don’t blame someone else, or curl up in a ball on your bed, or drink too much. Take a few minutes to control your thoughts and identify the lesson. Learning to harness that control will make all the difference as you walk into true adulthood, possibly shielded by a thin veil of to-do lists.
Mike McGuiness | Executive Director, Jobipedia