I can't believe it's been a year since I took this picture. Today a whole new crop of grads will walk across the stage and enter the real world from my alma mater(TU!!!!) and many other college graduation ceremonies will be held this month. This past year has been one of the hardest years of my life and I want to share with you what I have learned.
There is no direct or defined route to success. Yes you can talk to your mentors or read stories of people who made it and try to follow their footsteps, but there is no defined way to success. You have to find your own way. People can help, but you must write your own story.
A degree does not equal entitlement. Ok sure. You have a pretty piece of paper that cost thousands of dollars. You work hard for 4,5, 6(maybe even 7) years to get here, so someone should be so willing to give you a job, right? WRONG! To be very blunt(and excuse my French), life don't owe you sh*t! You have to work to get what you in life. No one is going to give you anything just because you have a degree. Don't believe me? Ask the many Americans with Masters degrees and Ph.D.s working as waiters, bartenders, retail clerks, and other low-skilled jobs. You must sell yourself, brand yourself, and prove to people why you are so great.
Surround yourself with people who believe in you. Some days you will doubt whether you have what it takes to really make it. (This can happen whether you are employed or unemployed). Surround yourself with a core group of people that will encourage you when you are down and will keep you on track to achieving your goals. If you do not have people in your circle that truly believe in you, find a new group.
Make a life plan. Yes I know life doesn't always go according to plan. Everything I have tried in the past year has pretty much failed, but when that happens you go back to the drawing board and rewrite. Having a life plan helps you to stay focused and not lose sight of your goals. Make sure for each goal you have a purpose and an action plan to match it.
Always believe in your vision. Even when people cannot see it, always believe in your vision. You are destined to do something very special on this Earth that only YOU can do. People will call you are crazy because of your vision. Even your own family members will try to discourage you because they are scared you might fail. If you do fail, keep failing until you succeed. All successful people failed many times before they made it, but they never lost sight of their vision. Nothing worth having in this life comes easy.
Remember my new grads, life is what you make it. Letting obstacles knock you down will not get you to where you want to go. Always keep pushing even when you feel like giving up. Congratulations on your achievements and much success to you in the future! *cue "We've Only Just Begun."
Signed Your Struggling Yet Destined to Succeed 2010 graduate,