You've Just Graduated! Here's Some Advice
Congratulations to the high school graduating classes of 2023 all over the world! You've officially completed a saga of your life, and it's a feat worthy to be proud of no matter where you think you stand in terms of accomplishments and prestige. If there's anything I've learned coming from a family of blue-collar workers, it's the importance of an education. Many of my family members didn't finish high school, and they always remind me how they wish they would've graduated to pursue a more enjoyable life working with the mind instead of the hands. I know you've spent the past few months thinking about college, but I think it's beneficial to stop and appreciate the fact that you've completed this part of your life. Take a moment, reflect, and give yourself a pat on the back. I think graduating high school might be glossed over in today's world, but don't take it for granted!
So, you're on the cusp of taking the world by the horns; you've got all these intricate, detailed plans, and you're ready. The world is your oyster (insert whatever cliché saying you want)! If you're anything like me, as soon you graduate, you might rest for about half a day before you start researching things about your college, career advice, and even internships before you even start college! I know how the high achieving mind works. However, I want to tell you something I wish I'd been told once I graduated high school. You can come up with the most highly detailed and sophisticated plan for what your college journey will look like in the next few years. You might even be mapping out what your life will look like after college. Perhaps you're looking into research opportunities for the college you're pursuing. I certainly admire the focus and determination, but…
I challenge you to embrace the "unknowing" aspect of this phase of your life. Now, I'll be the first to say that this stage isn't easy – I like to ensure I've got everything planned out and nothing unexpected could change my trajectory. That's where Dartmouth came into play for me big time. I spoke with a professor during my first week on campus about getting involved in his research. He gave me the subtle advice to explore what Dartmouth has to offer and develop my interests before I latch onto something too quickly. Of course, I was adamant about getting involved in the research, and I've only recently learned to embrace the advice he gave me – instead of trying to navigate the rushing rapids of life, just let them take you where they want for a bit. If you find yourself in a place where you're not happy or satisfied, then you can steer the boat on a different trajectory. But, attempting to steer yourself down the exact path you've envisioned is futile.
The point of this post is to shine a little light on my experiences so you can use them in your larger plan for life in college. I hope that you can embrace the uncertainty over the next few years instead of trying to map out every last detail. In the process, I truly believe you will learn to introspect, learn more about yourself and what you want out of a future career. Take time to see what makes you happy. I think we've overused the term "find your passion" in today's world. This advice is so abstract and unclear, and what happens if you don't find your "passion?" Then it's easy to feel like you've failed at something if you don't. Instead, focus on the things in life that fill your battery and give you a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. If you're patient and open enough to notice the subtle hints life throws at you, I'm confident that you will find the path you are meant to be on!