UCI Graduate Gives Advice
I have to admit that in my last year of college, I felt old. I trained not just one but two of my replacements at a job I had worked at since my freshman year. Having to see them make mistakes that I had already made and learned from was difficult. I lived in a fraternity house, but when there was a party or event, I would quickly disappear into my room.
I convinced myself that it was my fault. I had decided to stay another year so I could figure out what I was meant to do, a year I wasn’t prepared to experience.
One of the only places where I found solace was the New University with my other friends who were also fifth-years; who were also 22-year-olds amongst a sea of 18-year-olds.
We understood what it meant to be “old.”
I technically “graduated” after winter quarter. I spent the first two months after graduation freelancing at the paper I had interned at, auditing a journalism class and looking for jobs. After a short amount of time, I found one.
At my new company, every morning we have a meeting where we discuss what we’d be working on that day and answer a silly question, along the lines of what we’d name our band or what nickname we’d wanted.
One of my first days there, the question was “What’s your perfect Sunday?” I probably answered something dumb that involved cycling, cooking and eating.
When the person next to me went, they thought for a moment before answering, “Sunday is daddy-daughter day.”
A few others agreed. I didn’t feel so old anymore.
College was strange for me. I started off as a physics major who didn’t attend class but still destroyed curves. My work ethic eventually caught up with me, and I spent a few years bouncing between psychology and women’s studies before finally settling on French (which doesn’t exist anymore, by the way).
Despite this, I found my passion in journalism.
The only real lesson I’ve learned and real advice I have to give is this:
Find what you love to do; not just something that you enjoy or something that will allow you to live comfortably, but something that supremely interests you. Don’t do something that you simply wouldn’t mind doing, but do something that you can’t help but study and master.
If you don’t think what you’re doing now offers you that, look for something that might. College is the easiest time to find the things you love.
After you find whatever it is you love, work your hardest to be your best. Time you spend not experimenting or improving is time someone else is spending being better than you. If you’re doing something you love, you should have no choice but to think of it always.
Don’t ever believe that you’re “old,” or that you know enough. There are always more things that you can accomplish, especially now.
Make the most of every opportunity you’re offered. Not in a corny, after-school special sort of way but in a sincere, I-want-to-master-my-craft sort of way. Looking back on my college career, my biggest regrets are not my broken hearts, black-out nights or times I stayed in when I should’ve gone out. My biggest regret is telling one of my professors that I was “too busy” to take advantage of an opportunity she had offered me.
If I had really tried, I could’ve made time, and who knows where I would be now.
If you’re offered a job, impress the person who hired you to the best of your ability.
Also, network. It is very important.
Many people will tell you that college is one of the best times of your life. They are completely right, but not because college students don’t have real responsibilities, don’t have to worry about real bills or anything of that sort. College is the best time of your life because you have the opportunity to explore everything. Make the most of it. Find where you belong.