Welcome to day three of “A dozen things I wish someone had told me.” Today’s topic is, appropriately, about being in school. (Of course, as always, this applies to those of us who graduated long, long ago.)
1) Your taste will change. Several times. Enjoy that evolution and stay open-minded. (And don’t get stuck in a rut.) Look back upon these changes with appreciation and humbleness of knowing that one day, you’ll look back upon your opinions today with quaint affection.
2) Don’t get preoccupied with what you think others want you to do with your work. At least, not in school. Obsessing about what others want only takes your attention from meaningful progress. There will be plenty of time to worry about the opinion of others (client, boss, partner, focus groups, etc. etc. etc.) down the road.
3) It takes a while to find your voice and get into a groove. It’s a frustrating process until that happens. It requires work and time.
4) You will learn more in your first couple of jobs than you did in school.
5) Trying to recreate yourself in only a few months of school is like trying to go to med school in one year. It take a long time to learn, attempt, and produce. If you shortchange the process you shortchange the result.
6) Classmates are, literally and figuratively, your future co-workers. Treat them accordingly.
7) If you want to change your focus or style during school, do it.
8) Actually in reference to #7, the same can be said of ANY time in your career. It’s okay to change. It’s crucial, in fact. I’ve changed my career direction half a dozen times.
9) Every step along the way is cumulative learning, and every step builds upon the last.
8) Be certain that your resume (or final portfolio) accurately represents the type of work you want to do, because it will determine where you’re hired.
10) Being in school is a window of opportunity to recreate yourself. Use it wisely. Use every possible resource, conversation, teacher. Fail within this safety net.
11) Surpass your school’s expectations. Surpass your parents’ expectations. Surpass your own.
12) In the future, when you’re the boss, meet with ten students for every one person who meets with you now.
…Okay, so, what about you? What do you wish someone had told you while you were in school?
Oh, and for those of you who didn’t learn what a “beer bong” is in college… now’s your chance.