Summer is almost in full swing, and you may have just graduated from high school or college. What should you expect? Are you looking for sage advice? Here are 5 things that Buzzfeed won’t tell you:
1) Take a spiritual inventory of your life.
Do you love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength? (Mark 12:30) College will test your faith, and you’ll either slip into woeful self-indulgence, or find it to be a time of deep maturing as you come to own your faith, or better yet—to have Jesus own you. Joining the work-force will do the same—you can either fit perfectly into whatever culture your workplace has established, or you can be a leader as you help give shape to healthy work spaces. But you have to be intentional about which direction you want to head, which means you have to decide ahead of time what kind of person you want to be.
2) Find and covenant with a local church.
There is no substitute for the local church (Hebrews 10:25). Coming of age means you get to choose who you’re accountable to and what community you give yourself over to, but make sure the church is one of them. Find a healthy church with some measure of diversity, and allow people from all walks of life to pour into you. If you need, take several months to find a fit that’s right for you. Just make sure that ultimately, it’s a place that loves the Bible, loves Jesus, and affords you the opportunity to both give and receive as you worship regularly.
3) Learn the power of networking.
Guess what matters more than your final GPA, your resume, volunteer hours, and experience serving on committees? Relationships. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to us, because God created us for community. Leaders would much rather give you a platform to possibly join their organization if you’ve made a strong first impression at some previous time. Seth Godin claims, “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.” Work this to your advantage, and jump on opportunities to meet people that can shower you with advice, offer critical feedback, and put you in touch with further contacts. Practice sharing your passion, unique skills, and your work in a succinct manner with people you meet for the first time.
4) Start thinking seriously and biblically about finances.
Prayerfully meditate on your spending, saving, and giving habits. Ditch credit card debt as quickly as you can, and resist all efforts to get you spending money you don’t have. Realize that college campuses are targets for credit card companies that want to take advantage of you. So, pick up Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace book and start living frugally. Also look into Gary Hoag’s ministry (The Generosity Monk) and his book The Sower. Furthermore, if your parents have attained financial success, don’t expect to enjoy their standard of living straight out of college—they worked for decades to earn their lifestyle. Maybe most importantly, develop a monthly budget and stick to it. Here are some tools to help you do this.
5) Cherish the people and relationships in your life.
When responsibilities increase in your life, you’ll quickly learn that something’s got to give in order for you to keep everything straight. Well, it shouldn’t typically be the people God has placed in your life, whether it be family or close friends. But, here are some good suggestions for what can give: binge-watching that TV series you feel you can’t live without, chasing after parties, the internet. Make a habit out of calling your family once a week, and do it around the same time. Send hand-written notes and cards out to unsuspecting friends—they’ll feel loved and appreciated.
6) Be strategic about your innermost circle.
Jim Rohn claims that we are the average of the 5 people with whom we spend the most time. There is proverbial wisdom in this. As a Christian, you’re called to invest in people who don’t share the same values as you, but do realize that relationships can be draining, and the formative influence will likely flow both ways. So choose your friends wisely, and be careful to avoid circles that become safe havens for negativity, or other destructive habits that will change who you are as a person.
Do you have any sage advice for your graduating class?