Archives For millennials

Every spring brings a flood of new graduates to the world.

During my college years, I received a range of advice from people. Most of it felt sincere and wise while some seemed outlandish. Everyone has their opinions on what to do after college just like the ever-quotable ‘plastics” scene from The Graduate. I have compiled some of the best pieces of advice given to me when I graduated from college.

These are the five pieces of advice that stuck and have helped me most.

the-graduate-plastics1. Never stop learning (but time to start giving)

I was never much of a reader but I came from a family of readers, in particular my mother and grandmother. School always seemed to wear me out and the last thing I wanted to do was read for pleasure. When I graduated from college it dawned on me that I could now read whatever I like and my adult education began. It continued through reading 30-45 books a year, reading and re-reading Classics, history books, modern fiction, and even some other genres I did not study in college. I also have traveled more in some ways after college because when you read more, you develop a desire to visit the places you read about. By continuing your education, you gain a better understanding of the world and how to use your talents to help it. That is where the joy comes in a real education; you apply what you have learned to help others.

2. You will be judged not by test scores but by your head, your heart, and how hard you work.

I don’t miss testing in school and when I entered the work world I discovered that people were more interested in my thought process and work ethic more than what my GPA was in college. It was freeing because I felt I could work hard and be myself as opposed to fitting into a standard education system. For me, endless days caddying on the golf course in the summer showed me the value of hard work and relationships developed by talking with so many seasoned professionals. We are in a world where people serve other people and it is important to remember that people want to know who you are, not what you are.

Practically, my father encouraged me be curious. Take people out to coffee or lunch to learn about what they do. It shows you have initiative but it is also incredibly helpful to develop relationships for the sake of networking. The days are about over where you simply apply for a position and get it without some sort of personal connection.

3. Adventures don’t have to stop

I had a wonderful experience in college but I yearned for something more that was completely out of the ordinary.

In an internship, my boss told me to take time over a week to compile the top 100 things I wanted to do in life. It has become a ‘Bucket List’ more or less and without making it a simple checklist, it has become more of an exercise about dreaming and setting goals. I’ve learned that my goals and desires have changed as I’ve aged but what is underneath is a passion to live an adventure, accomplish things, and make a difference. That takes some serious thought, prayer, and work. It even takes acknowledging that a lot of these on the list can only be completed with the help of others. It even motivated me to graduate early from college and move to Scotland to work and learn about a different culture.

4. Be prepared for some setback

It is part of life. The greats of history (Churchill, Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Lincoln) all had setbacks. Their secret? They got back on their feet and kept moving. I have written about Churchill and Lincoln’s stories of failure and how they responded.

5. Embrace the unknown

It is okay to not know what to do. This is what happens on a true journey. Practically, you can test on your strengths (Strengthsfinder 2.0) and evaluate your personality (Myers Briggs)  to get a feel for what you want to do. In fact, as I took many of these assessments, they helped me figure out more what I did not want to do. The predictable life is boring, anyway. Pray, explore, and ask for guidance from those more experienced.

Last, I encourage you to watch David McCullough’s commencement speech to Wellesley High school titled “You Are Not Special.”  While the title gives you a double look, it is spot on to understand that we are ultimately part of a much bigger adventure. You are special in God’s eyes no doubt but on earth, the message is clear; humility, hard work, and taking joy in what you do is what will make the biggest difference for you in your journey.

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding:
in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
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Cast your burden on the Lordand He will sustain you;
He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. – Psalm 55:22
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What about you? What is the best advice you received when you graduated from college (or moving into your career)? 

This summer, our team at work has had the pleasure of working with a handful of interns. They are all 20-22 year olds and eager to gain experience before they head out into ‘real world.’ This generation is known as “Generation Y” or referred to as “Millennials.”

It’s hard not to read the internet or watch the news and hear negative things about this generation. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met some very entitled people from this group. I’ve also met those people from older generations, especially my own, Generation X.

Here are five things interns have impressed me with this summer:

  • Their willingness to learn.
  • Their humility in recognizing that they don’t have the knowledge or wisdom (yet) to do certain things
  • Their tech-savvyness rivals all of us
  • They seem confident about themselves in a positive way
  • They grew up on change so interruptions don’t bother them.

Buzzfeed recently published a great quiz about quotes referring to specific generations. http://www.buzzfeed.com/chelseamarshall/youths

For fun, here is a sampling of it so guess which generation these quotes come from (don’t cheat, answers are at the bottom of the post).

Does each quote come from Generation Y or “another generation”?

1.  “They are lazy, entitled, narcissists”

2.  “The youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority.”  

3.  “They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike the Himalayas than climb the corporate ladder.”

4.  “a period that will become known as the “Me” Decade.” 

5.  “A generation of effeminate, self-admiring, emaciated dribbles.”

generation

Each generation has the opportunity to rise up to answer the call to the time. By that, they leave a unique mark on history. I look at Generation Y and realize that I’m witnessing history. I’m proud of these people and am committed to helping them to be as successful as they want to be.

This generation doesn’t need critics.

It needs someone to believe in them.

The words from some of the most admired people of the past 60 years resonates best in how we should view and help our youngest generations.

“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.” – John F. Kennedy
“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” – Ronald Reagan
“Each generation faces different issues and challenges, but our standard must always be measured by God’s word.” – Billy Graham

In scripture, Jesus wanted the children to come to him. He wanted this because he knew their faith was stronger than the older generations around them. They were full of hope and a willingness to worship him and serve with gladness.

That is my hope for this generation. 

 

 

 

 

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Key:

1. Joel Stein, from 2013 TIME Magazine piece on “The Me Me Me Generation”

2. Socrates

3. 1990 issue of TIME Magazine

4. Tom Wolfe from his 1976 book The ‘Me’ decade and the Third Great Awakening”

5. 1771 description of the “hipsters” of the day.