Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Advice to an 18-year old student: "take the career path less traveled" via Leo Babauta

Following on from my post yesterday about "From graduation to emigration", I read with interest an article today by blogger Leo Babauta on his advice to an 18-year old student who wanted to be "different", and who asked him for "advice on choosing a career without enough life and work experience to make an intelligent decision". The student asked:

"Should I take the road less traveled, which may be risky and fearful, or choose a college course that interests me to some degree and see where that leads to. I suppose I don’t want to end up as the typical everyday-joe at the office from 9-5. I want to be different from the masses, to make an impact on this world, to be fulfilled. How do I get the best start into adulthood?"

Babauta responds with advice to "take the career path less traveled" even if this means overcoming loneliness and fear while most other "18-year-olds just take the safe route". However, he also advises the student to do other many things including:
  • Learn about who you are
  • Teach yourself stuff
  • Help others
  • Explore the world
  • Get really good at something

Me in 1977 (age 18) - they don't do style like this anymore!
I would have loved to have been given this advice when I was 18 years old back in style-challenged 1977. The advice would have applied to any student then as it does now. Most of us are conditioned to the path of going straight from secondary school to College, but maybe a gap year or two might be a good thing. I don't believe military service, as they have in some countries, would work in Ireland. A student who has started out on a career path "less travelled" may actually find College a better experience afterwards - there is no law that states you have to go to College after school, yet thousands do it every year.

Finally, the best piece (for me) of advice from Leo Babauta is as follows: "Learn to be a good person. Show up on time. Try your best to meet deadlines. Be honest. Learn compassion. Keep your word. Especially to yourself". Now that's advice for all!

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