I honestly can’t fathom the fact that it’s been seven years since I walked across that University of South Carolina stage and took hold of my degree. Time moves so quickly and seems to speed up even faster as each day passes. This week marks a milestone for me, seven years since starting my career at Wireside (!), and with that, it only seems appropriate to reflect upon the lessons learned in these post-college years. Looking back, here are some takeaways I have for my 22-year-old self.
Priorities will shift. Right now, you’re straight out of the college gates, ready to tackle the world. Slow down. Focus. Take time to explore your passions. Many of the things that motivate you today will be mere memories in the days of tomorrow. You don’t need to craft a game plan for the rest of your life, but you must make choices now that will keep you on the path you inevitably want to follow. Connect with mentors that can guide you and watch you grow along the way.
Chances should be taken. This one is tough for you, a person that feels most at ease in a safety net of the familiar. But regret is a strong force, one that will serve up a constant reminder of moves you did not make. Taking a leap of faith, no matter how difficult it may be, can turn out to be the best decision you’ve ever made. Go against your internal grain and force yourself out of the comfort zone.
You’re unknowingly taking those you love for granted. Although you’ve lost friends and family members, you still don’t fully grasp the true impact of loss. As you grow, times will come when those close to you are no longer a part of your life here on earth. And the stories of lives taken too soon, even those you don’t know personally, will touch you on a deeper level and help you to realize that not a moment in life should be taken for granted. Every hug, every conversation, could be your last so embrace tightly and connect deeply.
Friendships will fade. Not all of them. Some will pass the test of time. But others, the bonds you thought could never be broken, will prove to have been held together by a Velcro that slowly loses cohesiveness over time. This will be a harsh realization, but it’s often a shift where no one is at fault. Life will take you to different places and accelerate at different moments; you may not always be able to keep up with one another. As you grow, you’ll learn that certain people were a part of your life at a certain time because that’s when you needed them, and they needed you, most. They played a role in making you into the person you’re becoming and it is okay if they’re not by your side to see the final product. You’ll carry a piece of them with you, always. A friendship, even one that once seemed so strong but is now visible only in a stack of old photos, will still be an important friendship when you look back at your journey through life.
You’re in for an amazing adventure filled with limitless opportunities, unwavering love from those around you and unwritten storylines. Just don’t sit back and enjoy the ride because you’re the one in the driver’s seat.