In honor of graduation season, Twitter users are sharing their wisdom using the viral hashtag #GraduationAdviceInFiveWords — and they're reminding me that, in my case, going from college to the real world was like being thrown off of a cruise ship into deep water and told to swim to shore.
For four blissful years at one of the top liberal arts schools in America, I was challenged and encouraged. Inside and out of the classroom, I met bright, curious people who helped me grow as a person. I learned, as the cliche goes, how to think.
But I did not learn how to earn money, choose the right job or, even in any rudimentary way, get by in the real world.
After graduating, I stumbled through two jobs and a bout of unemployment before I finally made real progress in my career. And though none of that is the fault of my college, my failures were not unrelated to my educational experiences.
I had been led to believe the workplace would be something like my campus, where, for the most part, students and teachers alike treated each other with a baseline respect, engaged in thoughtful dialogue and, when they fought, fought fair. It was not.
Instead of requiring that I pass a swimming test, it would have been far more useful if my school, before giving me my diploma, had insisted that I sit down and watch the 1992 David Mamet film about stressed-out salesmen who are forced to sink or swim, "Glengarry Glen Ross."