To Juniors: Graduating liao? So? What’s next?

graduation cap and diplomaFor the past few days, my Facebook was filled with various declaration of triumph: “Graduate loh! Last presentation loh! Last class loh!”

Many of you will be graduating with crazy internship stints, various positions in CCAs and ex-co, or even with crazy GPA and think that your future is secure. Some of you who are less fortunate may have simply floated through those 4 bitter years and have insurmountable fear for your future.

Let me tell you this: It doesn’t fucking matter.

The way I see it, the years immediately after graduation are the ones that matter. Those are the years which will shape your future. Just like the start of a marathon, if you spend the first 1km running leisurely fucking confident that you have got awesome GPA and credentials and that you can win the race, you will probably lose. And for those with shorter legs – you just got to run a little faster.

Or, you can decide to get out of the race altogether.

You have probably spent 80% of your life concerned with numbers and alphabets by now. Why continue that with salary, bonuses and increments?

This is also a good time for you to take stock of yourself and all the decisions you made and will make. Are Pandora bracelets the “in” thing “just because”? Why is everyone signing up gym memberships and dance classes? Is that really the only way to stay healthy? And wow, OT suddenly seems like a cool thing, and if your cubicle has a view of the CBD sky line, by all means, carry on posting a photo of yourselves slaving away with stone buildings and bright lights in the backdrop.

Can you, for that one time in your life, take a break, think about what you really want?

Graduating juniors, don’t fall into the trap of compliance and conformation. Make up your own damn mind. You are an unique individual, not a fucking bee in a fucking hive. What is your 5-year plan? What should you do now so that you can reach there? Focus on that, and don’t look back. Don’t be afraid of failures. Every failure made is a useful lesson learnt. And these lessons have an uncanny way of being relevant in later stages of your career or ventures.

While you celebrate closure to a chapter, don’t forget a more important one is just beginning.

Just less than a year ago, I was on Facebook, proudly proclaiming about my last presentation in SMU.

In less than 365 days, I’ve saved up enough for a decent sized rock and wedding ceremony. I’ve proposed to my girlfriend of 9 years. I’ve gotten my flat. I’ve passed my driving exam (yup, that took me long enough to get started). I’ve started a second company and it had become profitable. My first company had found a better direction and things are getting exciting. I’ve became an F&B IT Consultant – an area that gels my love for food and technology. I’ve also won some crazy national-level IT and leadership awards; awards that I never thought I could win.

May not seem like much, but give chance la, I’m trying my best. I’m sure you, my dear juniors, can do better.

Ya, so you are graduating. Congrats. Now get over it and let’s make magic happen in whichever path you chose.

Onward.


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