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18 Things College Students Should Do Before Graduation

18 Things College Students Should Do Before Graduation

It’s over before you know it. Suddenly, the four (or more) years you spent as a college student have come to an end, and you have walked across that stage, picked up your diploma, packed up your things, and are leaving permanently.

Within the next few weeks or months, you will probably still long for that campus life, and you will come to have some regrets about the things you could have done but didn’t.

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If you are in college now, reduce that list of regrets by developing your own personal bucket list of the things you will definitely do before graduation.

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Focus on personal development

College is definitely a time for new experiences and experimentation, and it should be much more than just about classes, grades, and parties. At some point, you have to enter the adult world with some values and beliefs about yourself. Here are some ways to develop you:

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  1. Take the Gallup Strength Finder Test. It is online and not expensive. You will be asked to choose between pairs of descriptors, and your results will provide a list of five strengths. Typical results include whether you are a good communicator, whether you are a solid decision-maker, and whether you are short-term or long-term focused. This is good information to have as you think about your major and what areas you may still need to develop. Jullian Gordon, MBA graduate from Stanford, who left his career to become a work-life balance coach states that if he had “listened” to the results of this test, he would not have wasted the years he did pursuing money and work he disliked.
  2. Read at least four inspirational/personal development books. Check out such titles as: The Success Principles, The Greatest Salesman in the World, Rich Dad-Poor Dad; Fish; Stay Hungry-Stay Foolish, and Who Moved My Cheese?
  3. Go to a meeting or attend an event of a group that is very different from you. For example, one sponsored by Muslim or African students if you are a typical WASP American.
  4. Start a blog about an interest. Are you into physical fitness or diet? Are you an expert on ways to freelance and make money while in college? Pick your pleasure and just do it!
  5. Choose something you have never been able to do and master it. For me, of all silly things, it was juggling. I was such a klutz and never able to get the eye-hand coordination thing down. Once I mastered it, however, I felt like I could almost do anything if my will was strong enough!
  6. Sit in on a class just because it is interesting. There is an amazing freedom when you don’t have to take notes or study for a test–just sit and absorb. I sat in on an abnormal psychology class and was completely mesmerized by the professor and the content.

Start preparing for your intended career

  1. Join a club or two on campus and work to get a leadership position. This looks great on a resume, and you will learn a lot.
  2. Beg, beg, beg for an internship, even if it is only for a few hours a week and you are not doing it for any credit. Just getting the experience and being able to list it on your resume is worth it. I tried for a year to get a radio station to take me on. Finally, I volunteered to be their “go-for,” running little errands, getting coffee, taking lunch orders, etc. Eventually, I got to do some worthwhile things, and I learned a lot about the business.
  3. Start making notes about what you want on that resume, and develop a portfolio if it will be relevant to your job search.
  4. Think seriously about at least a semester abroad, even if you have to borrow to do it. This is a big plus when you begin a job search.

Have some fun

  1. Crash a party where you know no one and make at least one new friend.
  2. Abuse your student ID discounts as much as possible.
  3. Dance on a table somewhere, and make certain someone gets a picture!
  4. Cut classes the first really warm day of each year–-get some sun and your favorite beverages. Make it a tradition, and call it National F— Off Day.
  5. Sneak into someplace on campus that is restricted.
  6. Throw a party and give a prize to the person who can bring the most unique/crazy item.
  7. Dress in a costume even though it is not Halloween and attend classes.

Find a passion that does good

  1. Volunteer in some capacity. Do something that really tugs at your heart strings. Maybe it is working with abused animals or children; maybe it is building houses for Habitat for Humanity; perhaps it is tutoring inner-city kids or becoming a Big Brother or Sister. Experience that great feeling of making someone else’s life richer for you being in it.

This list is just a start. You will probably find many other things in each category to fill your bucket list. Go for it–every minute of it!

Featured photo credit: College of DuPage 2014 Commencement Ceremony 65/COD Newsroom via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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