I found some papers from college the other day when I was doing some long-overdue cleaning. Just glancing at the papers took me back to my college days and to one class in particular – Shakespeare Literature 101.It was a class that changed my life. Not only did the professor teach those of us in the class about Shakespeare – he taught us to appreciate great literature.
Whether it’s one class or the entire experience, college is life-changing for most students. But for that experience to have any meaning, it must be an opportunity for further growth. Here are three things all recent college graduates should be doing now:
- Keep learning. When you’re finished with college, it’s tempting to sell or throw away all your textbooks in a symbolic “that’s the end of that!” gesture. In reality, the end of college is just the beginning. It’s now time to use what you learned in college to continue your intellectual growth. What you learned in college sets the stage for you to learn more. Whether you get rid or your textbooks or not, seek out opportunities to grow by continuing to read, pursue hobbies, or apply what you’ve learned.
- Take charge of your life. Whether you’ve been taking care of everything for a few years or you’ve had someone else taking care of things like finances or paperwork (Mom? Dad?), now’s the time to handle these things for yourself. Establish a habit of filing important paperwork, like insurance, taxes, etc. If the filing system is electronic, make sure it is secure and you have a backup copy. And while you’re at it, establish a budget and plan for all upcoming expenses, like rent, food, and student loan payments.
- Be grateful.If you’ve graduated, you may feel you’ve paid your dues. But even if you worked hard and/or paid for your own college education, there are still people who helped you out along the way. Take time to write personal thank you notes to relatives, friends, or professors who helped you. As you move into your career, keep up the habit of writing thank you notes to show your appreciation to anyone who has helped you.
College is a coming of age experience in many ways. With that experience, we come to understand that there is always more to learn; good habits will serve us well; and others have helped us achieve our accomplishments.
I didn’t learn everything about Shakespeare in that college class. Instead the professor inspired his students to seek out more Shakespeare and to be open to new opportunities to grow in understanding.
That’s something I’ll treasure all my life.