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Grad Guide 2015: So you’re graduating, now here’s what to do with your life

Let’s get existential (and probably a bit too literal with some clichés). You’re graduating, but there is no moment of clarity. You may know what you’re doing next year or you may not. One thing’s for sure: Some seem to be always right, landing the perfect job. The stars are aligning for them. I’d say it’s mostly luck and confidence. Raw skill and intellectual strength are only part of the success equation. Plus, clairvoyance isn’t guaranteed with a degree.

Most of us grope in the dark, unaware of where we’re going, making choices from nebulous information with cascading consequences of good and bad. After graduating, there’s career and hopefully love, happiness and the rest of it, and getting the best out of life requires difficult decision making. There’s no rulebook either, so we go at it freestyle.

But, there are some truths as far as I’m concerned. In the game of life, it’s all right to know your weaknesses yet stick to your guns about what compels you. And though you may not know what’s next for you, here’s a bit of advice about how to handle the next steps in life:

I don’t know what the purpose of life is, but find your purpose and stick to it. Are we here for a reason? I don’t know. What I do know is that a life without a purpose sounds pretty awful. What gets you going? Find that thing and dedicate yourself to it. Does it help others? Even better.

Work as hard as you can. Thought college was as hard as it gets? Nope. Now’s the time to put in those mega-hours at your new gig and push yourself as hard as possible. Hard work — actual hard work, not “OMG I’ve got so much homework” hard work — begets success and respect.

Exercise regularly and eat well. This is my wildcard, but it’s solid advice. Studies have shown that adults who exercise 30 minutes a day are 40 percent less likely to die prematurely. And eating well can help you feel well. Don’t eat anything your great grandma wouldn’t recognize (e.g. very processed foods) and you’ll be golden.

Stay in touch. College is the ultimate time of propinquity. Deliberately stay in touch with the people you like and let them know that you want to keep being friends. The best thing to do? Call a friend on the phone and talk for hours.




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Gordon Friedman

Gordon Friedman

Gordon Friedman is a Crime Reporter for The Daily Emerald. He is also writes feature stories and is the Editor in Chief of Ethos magazine.