What I Learned From College Commencement

Binghamton University Commencement

I’d like to apologize for my lack of posts lately. Having just graduated, I’m in the midst of a storm comprised of both rapid change and activity. I’ve finished classes, graduated, moved out of my apartment, moved back home, re-packed, moved back to my college town, and am preparing to begin full-time work next week. It’s been pretty hectic; this is my first chance to have a few hours alone at a computer in quite some time. As I write this post, I’m also reviewing my bucket list to update a few items I just realized I’ve completed during my college years.

If you recall from my last post, I applied to be the student speaker at my college commencement ceremony (I didn’t get it). In the process of applying, I was asked to create a draft of the speech I would give and read it in front of a panel. So although I didn’t get the honor of speaking (the student chosen over me was very qualified and delivered an excellent speach), the process of aggregating the lessons I’d wish to impart unto other students was a very valuable process in of itself.

So instead of letting my thoughts go to waste, I decided to re-post the speech I would have given in the hopes that others may benefit from it. Although there is some humor and specifics referencing my particular school (Binghamton University), the main lessons are applicable to all students and I believe college seniors and recent graduates will find the advice relevant and actionable. Enjoy!
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The Top 5 Lessons I Wish I Knew as a Freshman in College

As my college graduation draws near, I thought it would be beneficial for me to summarize the lessons I’ve learned, in order to help those who are just beginning this priceless four years of their lives. This post will contain the five most valuable truths I’ve learned in my four years at school. I truly feel that it was because of these truths that I was able to take full advantage of what college had to offer me.

Let me just preface these lessons with one simple fact about college: it can be confusing, overwhelming, challenging, exciting, and crazy all at once. Nobody will have the “perfect” college experience because there is no such thing. The experience is different for everyone.

Furthermore, understand that mistakes, errors in judgment, and slip ups will occur along the way and this is perfectly normal, since growing as an individual requires lots of pushing beyond one’s comfort zone. Did I make lots of mistakes? Definitely. Do I wonder what my college experience what have been like if I had done certain things differently? Of course. So I don’t want these lessons to sound preachy. Rather, I wish that they will function as a helpful guide with a firm grounding in four years of experience.
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When is the Best Time for a College Student to Start Networking?

I’ll start this post by getting straight to the point and answering the question posed by the title. Ideally, a college student should start networking from DAY 1 of his/her freshman year, regardless of whether or not a major has been chosen. Practically speaking, every student should start NOW.

It is believed that roughly 20% of jobs available are ever advertised. This means that a whopping 80% of jobs are filled before the company decides to pay for a job ad. These positions are often filled by internal referrals. In other words, people who know individuals in a company get the opportunity to interview there long before a normal job hunter will even get to be aware of the position. And you better believe that the best jobs in the market are filled in this fashion.

So networking is important. But how do I do it right?

The key to networking is the same as creating and maintaining any friendship… Continue Reading…