I am giving a talk to a bunch of high school seniors about personal productivity and life skills as they prepare to enter college next semester. I wanted to ask for some help.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself a few months before high school graduation?
Specifically I’m looking for productivity advice related to college and entering the work force.
Here are a few things I wish I had known:
- Don’t expect other people to keep records for you. Keep copies of your transcripts, employment agreements, paycheck stubs, homework grades, etc. It doesn’t matter if other people are supposed to keep those records or not, take responsibility for your own paper trail.
- Use a single calendar and keep it with you. When you get an assignment for work or school write it down immediately. Do not expect to remember.
- Study hard, but make friends. Most people under-estimate the value of college friendships and over-estimate the value of always getting an A.
- Be who you want to become. The habits you develop in college can be very difficult to break later in life. If you find yourself always being late, don’t expect to be able to break the habit later. Break it now. Don’t start destructive habits thinking you will just stop them later.
- Do some things that are hard. I remember taking a 3 hour US history course crammed into 5 days. It was intense and for years later, it was the most difficult class I had ever taken. It stretched me and whenever I thought something was hard, I’d think to myself “but it isn’t nearly as hard as that US history class I managed to pass”.
What suggestions do you have? Are there anythings you wish you had known, but didn’t? Are there any things you learned the hard way? Please leave your suggestions and stories in the comments.