I feel that this article comes in a bit late. I graduated back in November 2016 so three years ago. Maybe the lessons taught by those six years of studying came to me just now as I grew and matured. Sometimes results are not a short term things. They take longer to be seen. And taking a step back, I am realizing only now what I accomplished through those years at university.
1. You’re capable of more than you think
It’s in human nature to compare and to think that the grass is greener elsewhere. I wrote a whole post about it. Thinking that whatever others did, it is better than my own accomplishments. It worsened a bit when things did not go as planned after graduation and I was seeing my friends succeeding much better. And now, I am realizing that, in spite of a rocky start to my career, what I did through university, very few people did. I moved to New Zealand, the other side of the world, miles and miles away from home, while barely speaking English. I was all on my own there. Then I moved to Italy, with a poor level of the local language. Then back to France, then finding in internship in London, getting into the university of Edinburgh, getting an internship during the spring of the same year and starting my career after. Looking back, most of it was pretty bold and not everyone would have been able to jump into the unknown like I did. And when I first started university, I did not think I would have been capable of this.
2. Listening to one self is important
This can apply to any part of your life really. University, work, relationships, friendships, mental health. We live in a world where we compete with everybody. Our generations is the most educated. Most of us went to university and got out with a degree. That makes a lot of us qualified people but not as many jobs. It makes it all about competition. Which makes it all about stress, being better, improving, doing more, going above and beyond, fearing to not perform, never taking a day off. But you know what? If you’ve tried for an hour to study and you could not focus, then give up for the time being. Do something else. Read a book, watch a movie, play Mario Kart. Have a break. And go back to studying later. Same at work. Do not chastise yourself because one day you are less productive than usual. That’s life, it happens. You are allowed to be tired, to take breaks and days off. Your body has amazing ways of telling something is wrong. And when it tells you so, listen to it. It knows better.
3. It’s okay to loving your degree without wanting to make a job out of it
Some people know really early on what they want to do. And so they pick a degree that specifically allow them to get into their dream job. Medicine, biology, engineering, etc. For some others, it is harder. We don’t always know what we want to do after school so for now, we pick a degree that we will like. When you do something you love, you are more likely to do it very well. And it is also fine loving something while not wishing to make it half your life. I studied languages and business, which is very helpful in today’s world. For some reasons, I ended up in marketing, of which I had just one class over the course of those six years. And it was very superficial, just touching the surface. I loved my studies but ended up not working in that particular field. Even though I do use things I studied in my job.
4. It’s never too late to change life direction
I guess this goes in the same direction as my previous point. You can study something you love and then work in a complete different field. The most important is your willingness to learn. The skills you get, you mostly get them on the job. You learn a lot while doing. And it is almost fine to grow bored or tired of something. You can work five or ten years in a particular field and then decide you want to try something else. You can even change your mind even after a few months. What matters most if how you feel, your well-being and your happiness. If started a grad job in finance after graduating but the experience did not work out as I thought it would and I moved onto marketing. Which I am still doing now. And as my career grows, so will my interests so I may just decide to change from marketing to brand, or something else who knows.
5. There is always a silver lining
This is a lesson that I took longer to learn. Because when something bad happen, when you go through a lot of sh*t, you are not really able to see the positive. There is always a lesson, something to help you move on, that you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. But yes, when it happens, it hard to be positive. After my grade scheme did not work out, I got a job at a big famous fashion retailer. The job started well but it ended up quite badly and I really felt it that this bad experience would follow me everywhere and make it hard for me to get a job. But it also did teach me a few things: how to see red flags, how to talk about them, what sort of people I want to work with, a few really good skills, a good name on my resume, many good ideas to use in the future. And I found a job not even two months later. Sh*t does happen. It’s bad but that’s life. You can either learn from it and move on or focus and made it worse. Positive brings positive and it may hard sometimes to see it, but it’s always worth it.
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That makes five lessons for six years at university. There probably were more but those five were the first to come in mind. Good lessons they are and they also helped in standing my ground. That’s important too.
What about you? How long have you been a student? What did you study? What lessons did you take from all those years in school? The most important one to you? Do you agree with any of mine?
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See you soon,