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6 Reasons to Travel When You Graduate

6 Reasons to Travel When You Graduate

Those of a certain age always have memories of times where things were simpler, but as a college or graduate student, those times can seem like less of a reality. The ability to do adventures, like travel, can seem like a “luxurious hobby” rather than something actionable. It may be hard to believe, but this is the perfect time for you to travel. A desire to see the world is all you need, and here are six reasons why you should consider going abroad sooner rather than later.

Traveling Young Offers More Opportunities

The thought of going to a foreign country may seem unthinkable, but the younger you are (especially after the age of 18), the more opportunities you are given to travel abroad for a lower cost or even for free.

The most common option is studying abroad. While the rules of studying abroad differ depending on the university you attend, it often involves studying for a short-term in a foreign university with English-speaking professors. You are given the time to explore and experience the country for the 4 – 8 months you’re there. There are various scholarships and grants available for those studying abroad as well, which makes it more economical.

Volunteering can make a summer, winter, or Gap Year break more worthwhile. Various organizations provide opportunities to help those underprivileged or just in need of assistance. From providing a hand on a sheep farm in Australia to helping kids in third world countries with Operation Smile, the opportunities available allow you to help others and experience the world at no or a low cost.

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Traveling Allows You to Discover Yourself

You’d be surprised how many individuals I’ve met while abroad who have mentioned how much travel influenced their life course. Helping out on a farm could expose you to the experiences that may want you to switch your major. Maybe that all-expenses-paid teaching job in South Korea pulled at your heartstrings and made you want to pursue a career in education. The experiences you are given through travel while young, can truly shape what you want to do when you’re age becomes more advanced.

Traveling Increase Your Confidence

Last month, I was about to leave a hotel and wanted to have a final look-around to ensure I didn’t forget anything. I did have everything, but one important item: my travel pack, which had my wallet and passport. I freaked inwardly but was in action mode outwardly.

When I finally recovered the pack in the nick of time, relief wasn’t the only thing that came over me. This experience, a little fifteen-minute sliver of my two-week trip, taught me lessons of independence and the ever-useful life lesson of thinking on your toes about how to handle a problem in a mature way.

It may seem like a small experience to those who haven’t traveled, but to a traveler, your wallet and passport are the two things that ensure you have a place to stay thousands of miles away from home and your symbol as an American traveler.

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As a traveler, you’ll experience situations when you have to think on your feet or be placed in an awkward, lost-in-translation experience. This is what creates confident individuals in the end, who have broken out of their shell. This is something that can only be experienced when you have the time and energy of a young adult.

Traveling Young Breaks the Tourist Mold

Extending on the point made above, traveling young is the perfect time to become a true traveler, not simply a tourist. A tourist is someone who fears the alternative path, opting for popular sightseeing before returning to his or her four-star hotel. A traveler doesn’t have a problem staying in a hostel or two-star hotel, and taking the path less traveled. These are the acts that allow a young traveler to experience what others may not.

While your friends, with their wives and kids, may have their best memories of their latest trip to Egypt riding the camels while viewing the pyramids, yours as a young traveler may be trying new delicacies before playing an impromptu game of soccer with your new Egyptian friends.

The difference between a tourist and a traveler isn’t always based on the places visited, but more on the experiences and connections taken from where you’ve been. This may not be possible with having two little travel companions and a spouse.

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Traveling Advances You Professionally

When exposed to a foreign language, the longer you find yourself abroad, the more of the language you absorb.

Those who haven’t traveled before may find it unimaginable how native English speakers can leave the United States with only basic conversational skills and come back in a couple of months with a professional level command of the language.

Going abroad puts you in situations when you learn words as you go along. When a traveler has a basic exposure to the language and its rules before leaving the states, they have a higher chance of coming back with a better command of it. This is by no means a useless feature of an employable adult.

Various companies, both in the private sector and in the government, are clamoring over young adults who can speak a second language. This could prove to your parents that your year abroad in Morocco could reap much larger rewards once you return home!

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Traveling Allows You to Put Myths to Rest

Finally, and best of all, traveling young when your worldview is still being molded can allow you to become an advocate against the myths and misconceptions that may be placed on the country you visited. You experience firsthand how the people in that country viewed you as an American, as a woman, or as a young adult.

Returning from such a country, you are able to either quash or provide a different perspective to myths about a country. Not all individuals are painted with the same brush stroke, and travel allows you to grow compassion and common ground with those who aren’t the same as you. This is by far the best lesson of a young traveler.

So what’s keeping you from traveling? Let us know in the comments below and let’s start a conversation.

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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