Graduating from a 4-year university is no easy task and requires a massive amount of effort. From perseverance to creating study habits, there are a lot of things you learn in college including finance, business, and your specific electives. But there is something college doesn’t prepare you for, and that is “growth.” Most graduates go to school expecting their formal education to be there for them when they come out and be the reason why they achieve success. It is true that this may have been the case many years ago, and the world that awaited a graduate enabled them to be successful if they came out with a great degree from a great school. However, times have changed, and so have the economics and business landscape that today’s new graduates come out to. While I never had the opportunity to attend college, I have achieved a level of success far above that of ordinary people and have spoken at many schools across the country about the 4 critical things students can do to make sure they leave college with a higher chance of reaching financial success.
- Don’t wait to seek self-education. The point of a degree isn’t to prepare you to make millions when getting out of school. On the contrary, the point is to help you fit in and survive with a specific qualification. Too often do students wait until one phase of their life is over to get started on the next, and that is a critical mistake. Do not wait until you are in a comfortable job or have graduated to invest in furthering your education. It doesn’t have to be a paid program, and it doesn’t have to have a degree attached to it. Learn more for the sake of learning, rather than just because you want a job. Be curious about things that interest you so that you will eventually want to discover how they work. Do not wait to further your life education until the day you are forced to, or I can guarantee that you will already be behind.
- Do not reject failure, but embrace it. Many students complain that the job market has no openings, or the jobs they want are not being given to those without experience. No one owes you anything in life, and every time you are facing an obstacle is an important opportunity to not simply find a solution but to improve yourself first. If there are no jobs, then ask yourself if you presented yourself well, showcased your skills appropriately, spent time researching the job and those you presented to, or did you just simply send a resume. It is easy to have expectations of others, but it is much more important to be critical of what is in your control. This is a key skill that will help you prosper in life for the years to come if you learn to master it early.
- Invest your money on yourself. The biggest question I get from students wanting to be rich is “I want my money to work for me, where should I invest?” and I often tell them they are lazy. I answer, “Why would you ever want your money to work for you, when you haven’t yet learned to work to make money?” While thinking ahead of investing is great, don’t be afraid to do the work. Your younger years are the most experimental since most students do not have children, are not married, and are often not financially obligated to many things. Invest money in starting a business, furthering your skills, and learning new industries. Don’t just expect a mere $10,000 to be a life changing investment other than the one you make in yourself.
- Be aggressive, but patient. While the world around us seems to be moving faster and faster everyday, there is a need to be aggressive and going after the things you want quickly. There is a saying I use in business quite a bit: “there is no substitute for time,” meaning that great things don’t happen overnight even when you work your hardest. It is very common for people to assume that because their efforts are maximized, their results will also be maximized based on their expectations. It is true that working hard and pushing the envelope is the key to prosperity, but it is also true that no matter how hard you push, some things just need time. It’s no different than a bamboo tree. When watered more, it will not push or develop the bamboo any faster. When watered well, it will guarantee its growth for the long term.
Remember that graduating isn’t the end, but the beginning of the journey. The time to work is during the first ten years after you graduate, so that you can truly enjoy the rest of your life when it counts the most. Don’t fall victim to the mentality that you may lose your youth if you are always working in your 20’s, as you will certainly regret doing that by your 30’s. It’s never too late to start, but it definitely is never early enough.