Looking Back: Things I Would Have Told Myself Before Graduation


In this season of graduations, if I could go back in time and give my graduating self some pieces of advice, I would have told him these:

Welcome to the real world: a world of tired, angry, frustrated people. In school, we’re taught respect and courtesy but the real world is devoid of it.  You see, most companies only show the benefits of working for them just to attract people like you. Once you’re already part of a company, most of the time, you don’t really have a right to complain about things are done because you don’t have the competencies to prove your worth yet. You have yet to earn a voice.

What can we do about this?

Endure. Persevere. Hope.  This is a transition that you’re going through, and a rough one at that.

Sense of Entitlement

Most graduates from our school have a sense of entitlement that we got from the ideals taught in class. We are often told that we are the best that this country has to offer and we somehow expect the best to be given to us. We expect to have a high-paying job, a doable workload, respect from other colleagues, offered the best spot in the office, and the list of “best’s” continue. That’s not supposed to be the case.

We need to know that we have roles and positions. One of the causes of disappointments for young people like you is that you feel that the world owes you some respect. Well, the fact is it doesn’t. The world can do whatever it wants with us because we have yet to prove ourselves. It’s a principle that young people should learn to live by. Accepting that principle won’t make you feel better but it will make work more bearable.

What will make things more difficult is the fact that you’re used to doing things in a certain way. We’re used to seeing the results of our efforts (through tests) quickly and are able to act accordingly. In the real world, that’s not how things work. In the real world, everything worthwhile takes time. In school, you have a definite time to make up for what you did wrong. In the real world, no matter how hard you work, success has its own time. This is when you will start to respect the power of time and virtue of patience. Just because you’re not successful in your first year or third year of working, doesn’t mean you’re incompetent. Just because you didn’t get into your dream job doesn’t mean you should stop dreaming. Just because things aren’t going your way doesn’t mean you should stop living. Things take time and the true test of character is how long you stuck with what you believed was worthwhile.

New Beginning

What helped me go through my year in Makati was that I realized I wasn’t ALL THAT. I was a no body. Although that was degrading, it was liberating as well. I realized that because I was a NOBDOY that meant I CAN BE SOMEBODY.

Taking the Pain That Comes With the Joy

You will go through more pain, more heartaches, more disillusions. But with every disappointment comes an opportunity to grow; with every pain, comes a chance to heal; with every disillusion, comes a new sense of self. I always believed that we can never be fulfilled if we never feared failure. Neither can we feel disappointed of we never expected to succeed.

What also helped me get through work was I lived all my experiences to the fullest. If I was hurt, I cried my heart out. If I was happy, I laughed my lungs out. By living in those extremes, I started to see how to strike the balance. It takes a lot of work but I guarantee you, it’s worth the try. And I can guarantee you that you’ll want to teach because you want to pass on something valuable to your students. At least that’s how it works for me.

One last thing: Happiness is a choice. Happiness cannot rely on mood or circumstance. Or else, it would be very shallow and not worth pursuing. Sometimes, there is happiness in pain. And in fact, some rejoice in pain because pain makes you want to live a better life. Pain reminds that things are not okay yet. Pain shows you that there is so much to done. But, in the end, despite the pain, we choose to be happy. And the wonderful thing about happiness is that we can PRACTICE it. In order to practice happiness, you can start by looking for things to be thankful for. At least that way we’re not preoccupied with what we don’t have but focus on what we do. What helps me get through the day is I ask myself, “What went right today?” and I have to name at least 3 things that went right. You might want to try it out.

These practices should be done today. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Don’t delay what’s good for you!

Life should be lived, not talked about. So stop talking and start living.

Image taken from: http://pinterest.com/pin/130252614192991088/