Principles for Getting the Most Out of Your Young Adult Years
While you are free to do whatever you want with your young adult years, there are a few principles that will make this time as productive as possible. Following these principles will set you up for success no matter your pursuit:
- Discover yourself
- Build your skills
- Network/build relationships
Not everybody is born with a clear sense of where they want to go and what they want to be (in fact, hardly anybody is). Now that you have more autonomy, you need to learn about yourself! Try new things, get a wide variety of experience — become a student of life no matter what you do. Year by year, you’ll learn things about yourself that you didn’t know in high school, and it will give you a strong sense of direction as you move forward in life.
Build Your Skills
Even if you aren’t in school, be a student. Learn career skills, get experience, and increase your ability to make a valuable impact on the world. Note that this doesn’t just mean being valuable to a future employer — if you want to volunteer or to start your own business or organization, you can acquire the set of skills that will make you valuable to others and to yourself. YOU are your greatest asset, and during the years after high school you should be about investing in yourself, no matter how you choose to do that.
Network and Build Relationships
Networking gets talked about a lot. You’ll hear “the value of networking” and statistics that show its importance in getting a good job — but what is it exactly? High school teachers might say it involves business cards and handshakes, but when it comes down to it, networking is just another word for relationship-building. When you’re looking at options besides college, networking takes on a new level of importance.
For example, if you want to work for yourself, networking is just as (probably more) important. Finding funding for a business, good partners to run it with you, employees, sales deals, business clients — every single one of these crucial business activities has its roots in networking.
Regardless of college attendance, make sure you are meeting new people and developing relationships. Aim to meet the people who are doing what you want to do or connected to things you are interested in. This network of friends and acquaintances can do as much for your career as a degree can.