This post goes out to all of the readers who are about to graduate from college (and from high school, for that matter) and are wondering what comes next (hopefully, you already know and have a plan for it, but if you do, you’re in the minority).
A few days ago, a college student I know was talking about his upcoming graduation. His plans mostly revolved around getting a good paying job, but he also talked about how he might go back to school some day and study a particular branch of philosophy that he truly loved studying and reading about.
I asked him why he was choosing to put a good paying job over a path that he was deeply personally passioante about that might not necessarily earn a great deal in the near future. He pretty much exploded, offering up a rant about how the world revolves around money and the only way he would ever be able to chase the dreams he has is if he has lots of income.
I couldn’t disagree more. Let me explain why.
First, the need for money in the bank comes down to what you’re responsible for. If you’re fresh out of college with nothing to your name but a car, you really don’t have that much that you’re responsible for. You don’t have a house. You don’t have a partner. You don’t have children. You don’t have an established career to protect.
You just have you, your dreams, your skills, and your potential. Nothing else.
Second, you don’t actually have a lot of day-to-day financial need, either. It’s perfectly normal and acceptable for a new graduate to live in a small apartment or a room in a house. Why? The rent is cheap. You can eat really cheap, too – just stock up on whatever fresh produce is on sale at the grocery store.
The big money that many people often believe they need is for stuff that they actually merely want, and it’s those wants that stand in the way of taking a leap towards a dream.
Thus, your income requirements are very low. You’re responsible for yourself. Just you. All you really need is a place to lay your head at night and food in your belly.
If you can’t find a job doing what you want to do, take on an internship. If you can’t find an internship, ask for one directly from the place you dream of working. If that doesn’t work, just start doing and sharing. Whatever it is you dream of doing, there’s an avenue out there to explore it and throw yourself in with your whole heart.
Since you don’t need much income, get a job sitting behind a counter at a gas station at night. Earn minimum wage and sit there with your notebook open, collecting your ideas and thoughts about whatever it is you want to do. Spend your mental and physical energy building the life you want.
There is no better time in your life to just throw caution to the wind and see where your passion will carry you than when you’re young and free of many responsiblities. If it doesn’t work, you’re not out anything much – maybe a few years, at worst. If it does work, you’ve opened the door to a lifetime of doing what you want to do.
What do you really have to lose? Not much. What do you have to gain? The life you dream of.