TAKE RISKS. Many of life’s greatest joys are discovered when we stray from the path we already know, from the path that is safe, from the path where we can expect what is coming next. Take risks to find new places, people, and circumstances. Take risks to discover vocation. Take risks in love and friendship. Take risks to discover your heart’s desires. The joys in learning, in loving, and in living, and worth many risks.
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The years right after graduation are incredibly exciting and yet fraught with fear and anxiety as well. I think a few ideas, pieces of advice, and viewpoints have helped me get to where I am, and I’ll share them here.
First, look at the world through an optimistic lens. Treat everyone you encounter as a potential friend, employer, neighbor, teammate – not as an annoyance or potential rival. The relationships you make will define you, and you never know who you might run into later on and what that relationship might become.
Luck is truly when preparation meets opportunity. You must be prepared to seize the moment, at any time.
Always have plans, but always be prepared for the unexpected. Life will inevitably throw you some curveballs, and it’s all about whether you can adjust your swing.
Treasure your friends and family, and be grateful for every moment you have with them.
You work to live, you don’t live to work. Love your work, but don’t let it define you. You will never regret having sacrificed a little work to have more time with loved ones. But you may well regret spending an extra hour in the office if it means missing a significant life event for someone you care about.
Take advantage of your newfound freedom. The responsibilities increase with every passing year. If there’s something you’ve dreamed of doing and you have the time and resources to do it, do it now.
Work before you go to graduate school. Give yourself some time to figure out who you are and what it is you really want to do.
Have 3, or 4, or 5 careers. There’s too much out there in the world to devote yourself to one job forever.
Finally, trust your heart. It’s right more often than you think.
Read newspapers every day. Subscribe to international, national, and local papers.
Then think about what you find there and decide to act. Write letters to your representatives, volunteer your time, march in protests, join a worship community, and pray for reconciliation and peace.
The world needs intelligent and active citizens who are grounded in faith. You may have already played parts of this role as a Boston College student. Now that you are about to graduate, you can look forward to the chance to explore new ways to strengthen your commitment to others.
At the same time, expect joy from your efforts. Studies show you will be happier when you pay attention to what is happening around you and when you contribute regularly to the common good.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I graduated from college. I didn’t even know it had a name. And that turned out okay. Even what I did in the meantime ended up being part of what led to work that is fulfilling and speaks to people and issues about which I care passionately.
So—for those who are like me and don’t know, at least know that its OK not to know! Relax, reflect, pay attention to your passion. Do something good to make a living in the meantime.
Many blessings as you celebrate your accomplishments here at Boston College and move into whatever’s next.
Life has taught me many lessons and most seem to come through adversity. I have observed that we all have different levels of confidence depending on what life has dealt us. It seems most of us stop short of many achievements because of fear. We stay in what we can handle, and we hold back where we feel sure to fail. We tend to rationalize our way out of doing something. I suggest you constantly ask yourself “what would you do if you weren’t afraid? “ Then go do it.
I have come to believe God calls each of us to a journey with Him. Most of us refuse the offer or don’t admit to the call. I wish I had responded earlier than I did. His journey is much better than the one we could design. “I have plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”
Jeremiah 29:11. You may never become all that you dream of, but you will never achieve anything that you don’t dream of. We cannot out-dream God.