Helpful Advice for Recent College Graduates

One of the really difficult things about being a college teacher is that, after being back for a few years now and getting to know many students on a personal level, I’ve begun to have several students come to me and say “Dr. Rice, I’m graduating in a few weeks. What do I do now?” Many of them had their hearts set on law school, but their LSATs didn’t quite pan out the way they would’ve liked. Many just don’t have the financial wherewithal to go to grad school. Others just went to college because that was “what you’re supposed to do” and now that they’ve reached the finish line, they have no idea why they were ever in college, and have no clue what the hell to do next. It’s like a fairy tale, where you reach the Happily Ever After but don’t get to see how Cinderella and the Prince deal with finances, children and infidelity. Sure, you’ve accomplished this great thing – getting a degree – but how do you answer the “so what?” or “what do I do now?” question?

I’ll be writing a longer post on this soon (once the semester ends), but I wanted to share with you a few sources that I think might help those of you in this position make sense of things.

First, click through Garr Reynolds‘ slideshow outlining Dan Pink‘s recent Johnny Bunko book:

Then go out and pick up Johnny Bunko and absorb it. You will thank yourself later. You may also want to add the Johnny Bunko website into your feedreader (I did). This book is full of fantastic principles in designing a career for yourself, with a strong argument for rejecting the conventional wisdom on careers and career planning.

Second, I recommend you take a look at Steve Jobs 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University. Reynolds and Pink reference this, but you really need to see it in its entirety – and ABSORB IT – to understand the wisdom in Jobs’ words. This address moves me the way few other speeches have.

Graduation is a difficult, traumatic time. Meditate on these two sources, and think about their implications for your future. I’ll have my own thoughts about graduation up soon in a separate post.

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Filed under Presentation, Random Thoughts, Teaching

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