The first day you go to college, everything changes.

You realize that your last "free" summer is likely gone. No longer will anyone make sure you go to your classes and turn in your assignments. There's lots of freedom, but there's also a lot of responsibility.

Here are 4 life lessons you'd do well to learn quickly...

ONE: Be Bold and Take Initiative

One of the hardest realizations as an adult is that you must fight for what you want. If you are passive, if you just wait for opportunities to come your way, they may never happen.

So... Is there a class that you want to get into, but it's totally booked? Get in touch with the professor! You never know if they might be able to squeeze one more person in.

Are you interested in someone in your class? Go introduce yourself to them. Is there a certain job you want? Take your resume in and follow up with a phone call.

Are you starting to get the idea? If you want something to happen, you have to learn to go out and make it happen.

TWO: Know When to Let Go

It's easy to get comfortable in life, and this becomes a problem when we're in less-than-ideal situations.

For example, maybe there's a person or a group you're trying to connect with, but it's harder than it should be. You invite them to hang out, but they're unresponsive or always "busy". Or you do hang out with them, but they don't engage with you in the way you'd like. Or, they'll only spend time with you when you put in all the effort. They don't really value you as a friend.

Or maybe you're in a toxic work environment. You're putting in lots of work, but no one is taking the time to appreciate the value you bring to the team. You’re getting unfairly overlooked for promotions, even when you’re taking lots of initiative.

In cases like this, it can be easy to keep trying to prove ourselves to our own detriment. But if someone doesn’t value you, then they aren’t worth your time.

Sometimes, you have to just let go so that you can move forward in life. Don’t pursue that relationship any longer. Look for a new job and leave as soon as you can.

Change can be a great thing—so try something new! The longer you stay in a bad situation just because it’s what you know, the more time and energy you’ll waste, and the more opportunities you’ll miss.

THREE: Don’t Just Follow Your Passion

Society and entertainment culture has conditioned some people to think that, if they are passionate about something (e.g. sports), they should do that for a living.

The problem is, if everyone did what they enjoyed doing, who would do the jobs that everyone hates?

There’s a lot of value in following your passions—it’s also good to be realistic! Since you’re spending so much money on your college degree, how is that money best spent? Does it align with your career goals to major in a liberal arts degree, or would it be more beneficial for you to major in a more “practical” field?

(Believe it or not, there isn’t always one right answer! If you want to become a mental health counselor, for example, it may not matter what you major in as an undergrad. So you potentially could get your Bachelor’s in Creative Writing and then go on to get your Master’s in Counseling.)

Generally, a good rule of thumb is: Passion + Opportunity = Rewarding Career.

In other words, your dream of being a best-selling author might take some time, but perhaps you could take your writing skills into advertising or journalism! Your dream of being a famous musician might not surface right away – but there are plenty of opportunities to teach music!

But what if you’re passionate about something that doesn’t have any clear job opportunities? Think about other values that are important to you (e.g. working from home, having flexibility, making a certain income) and look for a job that provides those benefits, that you can see yourself doing well at.

You might just find yourself becoming passionate about an unexpected career path!

FOUR: You Will Fail… And That’s Okay

Most people are afraid of failure, but it’s unavoidable.

If you’re trying something new, chances are that you will fail a lot. So don’t get in the way of failure but embrace it. Learn from it.

Whether you’re…

-Struggling in class…
-Not hearing back from potential employers…
-Getting rejected by relationship prospects…
-Not succeeding at a certain skill…

Remember, it’s all part of the game. Without these failures, you’ll never learn what it takes to succeed. So don’t put your personal worth in your success or failure! Allow yourself the space to learn and grow.

If you need help finding the best career path or developing the right skills, get in touch with us!