2017 was a year of immense growth and planning for me. A season of rebirth and re-imaging of the future. A ton of contemplation and thought went into my past experiences, and the steps I need to take to reach my future goals. In looking back, I believe we can find invaluable lessons which should inform our future decisions. So, here are a few of the things I now know, but wish I knew during undergrad.
a bachelor’s degree does not guarantee anything
Education is great, but just being able to regurgitate facts is not enough to survive in the world. Education in our society is quite a paradoxical one because you need a bachelor’s degree to get even a secretary position, but having one doesn’t guarantee you an okay livelihood. As the years pass by, we have more and more graduates joining the workforce so the bachelor’s degree – being lower on the ladder of higher education – becomes trivial. It’s sad because so many people struggle and fight to stay afloat in college to graduate with their degree to be met with a hard slap in the face from the working world as they settle for low-paying jobs or unpaid internships. Cheers to the lucky ones, and good luck to everyone else. It’s important to have a plan, even just an outline, that you stick to and change as your desires change so you won’t be left as lost and confused as you would be without one.
build credit from the beginning
Another gripe I have with the education system is the lack of knowledge provided to students about finances and basic ‘adulting’. Most schools provide very little guidance to students to ensure they understand how the real world works. Students, especially high school seniors, need to be taught about credit and how to improve it, renting an apartment, loans and their long-term effect, how to plan for the future and other such topics. It’s important to have a credit card and know how to use it efficiently to build credit without accruing debt. Better credit brings lower interest rates, and a better chance of getting a loan in the first place. Great credit will make life a whole lot easier in the future with regards to buying a car or a home so we need to teach our teenagers how to make responsible credit decisions.
form strong relationships with professors and network
Almost as important as getting good grades is making good impressions on your professors. You don’t have to become best friends, but being able to have professors who can vouch for your strengths and ambition is crucial for applying to graduate school and getting in to some internships and jobs. Go to office hours, participate in class and try to get good grades. Pro-tip: Try to reach out to professors who are currently in the field you want to pursue.
save like crazy
Life is expensive; as you get older, even more so! Applications, textbooks, food and treats all cost money. It’s a good idea to have at least a 3 month survival stash after you graduate. If you can find time to get a part time job, do it! Having a job really gives a sense of independence and allows you to pay for anything you want. It’s nice to spend money, but better to know that you have money saved so you’ll be okay during any unforeseen situations.
Bruh, life is hard, so use the lessons of others to your advantage. I hope these tips help! Stay strong, and try to learn a new thing everyday!
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day! Go forth and be a beacon for equality and equity.