As a senior that was graduating and has recently graduated, I find myself in a position where juniors often approach for advice. Although I answer most of their queries on how to master STARS (a system for getting the mods they want in NTU), get the A for that particular mod, workload advice and other practical requirements, what I really want to tell them is this, “don’t hurry.”
More often than not, most of us are looking for the easiest mods to get that A, a way to squeeze in as much so there’s time for that extra (extra) internship you think is good for you, and that extra minor or leadership position that looks good on our resume. But are those the things you really want to do? I mean there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be the most employable fresh grad ever, but if it’s at the expense of having no time to do what you love, you are as good as dead.
You don’t have to rush to graduate or prove to the world just how capable you are. There will be a time for that. Instead, savor your years in university because you’ve earned it.
Do the things you love. Pick up a new skill or join a club because you like it. Take modules that interest you and not just because you think it’s good for you or will get you that A. Trust that if you do what you love you will eventually do well in it. Ok maybe that’s a little naive but even if you suck at it, at least you were happy doing it. But as Steve Jobs said during the 2005 Stanford Commencement Speech, “believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”
Experiment. At this age, we are probably still clueless about what we really want to do and who we want to become. Well most of us at least and I am definitely one of them. Compared to our parents, we are fortunate to be born in a generation where we have more choices. Although this can also be frightening, we shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting with them. Being in school gives you the perfect excuse to make mistakes. Don’t waste that right.
Make Friends. Go for orientation, go party, get to know people, get into a relationship, take part in social activities, travel and meet people. It is quite true when the older folks always say university is probably the last place where you can make real friends. Out in the workplace conflicts of interest often make it difficult for colleagues to become really close friends. Also, almost everything is more fun with some company.
I’m not asking you to be immature and irresponsible. I’m just asking you not to grow up too fast, to savor the present for you have the rest of your life to work (although if you are lucky enough, and you do what you love, you’ll never have to work).
Slow down, live the present, keep doing and carpe diem.
Also worth checking out: Thirty is not the new twenty