5 Things I wished I knew When I Finished High School

Dear high school graduate, before we go into the content of this article, I would like to congratulate you for holding on this long. It certainly must not have been the easiest journey. The missed assignments that you could not get in on time sometimes, the tests and exams you had to maybe pull all nighters for, some classes you might have literally had to cram, the teachers and tutors who might have just been difficult for absolutely no reason, and the list goes on. But here you are today, looking at high school in terms of just memories — memories that you would appreciate for a very long time. A lot started with you, but not too many could hold on till the end and let us tell ourselves the truth, school can be daunting for most of us.

When I finished high school many years ago, I asked myself “what next?” you know, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the victory of completing this stage of your life that you leave very little room for thoughts of the morrow. But this, is the direct opposite of what you should be doing and looking back in time, now I can actually think of 5 things I should have known before moving forward and making a decision that would change the trajectory of my world in the years to come.

Below is a list of 5 things I wished I knew before taking the bold step to move forward.

· Yes, life continues after High School, But This New Phase Would Require a Lot More Intentionality:

Most of you can not wait to get into college and chase the degree of your dreams and finally get into the corporate world. News Flash! You would need a strategy and a plan. As they say, ‘the dream is free. The hustle is sold separately’. I can not think of any world that depicts that saying as well enough as university or college life depicts it. This new phase of your life would require a psychological and mental preparedness. If you thought high school was demanding, well, I am glad to inform you that university life is a lot more demanding. The decision must be made that no matter what, you would pay the price and you would pay it to the finish. This psychological preparation and mental awareness is important because it keeps you going when and if you ever get to the dip. The dip is that daunting part of college life where you begin to reconsider your life’s decisions. You might break down in the dip, it is okay to rest. You might almost lose hope in the dip, but you must hold on like never before. But then again, you might be lucky to be in the 30% that never really get to have a taste of the dip.

· Have an Accurate Assessment of Your Strengths and Weaknesses:

When I was done with high school, I am ashamed to say this, but I was one of those who chose a university degree plan based on ‘where the money resides’. I believed in the greener pastures in taking up an engineering degree which was very far from my strengths. Let us face it; we all have some kind of ambition we carry in our heart, but unfortunately for most people the vision is vague. A vague vision is something like this “ I want to be financial successful by the age of 30”. Now, as fantastic as that goal is, it fails to tell you how to be financially successful, hence many fall for the 40/60 trap. The 40/60 trap is a concept I put together, which simply states that 40% of the dream comes from within and 60% comes from without, but the problem here is this, you are only certain of what comes from within as external factors are largely uncontrollable. So how does this 40/60 trap fit into the above example of a vague vision? The 40% dream is the wanting to be successful at age 30, and the 60% is what society tells us makes people successful. So, the average person takes the vague dream and tries to follow the path of the outside voices with the hopes that it would lead them to the final destination of success. But unfortunately, this method of navigation rarely leads to a desired destination. Remember, THE GRASS IS GREENER WHERE YOU WATER IT. So instead of taking an outside 60% and forcing yourself into it, it is important to listen to your strengths regardless of what is societally acceptable, for this would be better for your mental health and self esteem in the days to come. In order words, let the entire 100% come from within and let anything coming from the outside simple be a resource to help you further navigate. So instead of having a random, vague dream, you are concise, something like this “these are my strengths, and these are my possible career paths based on my strengths and how far I know I can push myself, therefore this is an appropriate degree plan for me” and as you give in your 100, you would definitely have a greater chance at success long term.

· The World Creates Room for He That Knows Where He is Going:

Regardless of what you might have heard prior to reading this piece, I want you to know that in the race of destiny, only those who are true to themselves become masters in their field and only the masters of the field would be entitled to green lands. Whatever it is you decide to venture into moving forward, propose in your heart that you would never be anything short of excellence. Listen friend, average is everywhere. In a world where most are average at best, dare to be the excellent. Dare to outdo yourself. In a field where many are unsuccessful decide in your heart that you would be the exception. Decide that you would be the 1% and live your life daily, faithfully contending for the vision.

· You Can be Whatever You Want:

Your first day on the university grounds is a fresh slate. It is a blank check. You can begin to write a new story. You can be everything you have always wanted to be and more. You can become a student leader, an exemplary student, or the same old same old. You can literally be anything. The ball is in your court. Make a decision for an amazing life.

· There Are no Late Comers:

It might interest you to know that in the game of life, there are no late comers. Everyone has a different path and a different journey to their unique destinies. No two humans are running the same race. I mean, yeah two people could have a lot in common but at the end of the day, no two humans are running the same race, trying to get to the same destination. Knowing this will save you a lot of headache and heartaches. While one might need to jump right into college, another may need some time to get themselves ready for the next phase of life. If the latter is you, fret not, for as long as you have your vision before you and you are gradually taking steps in its direction, your destiny would not elude you.

In summary, the world post high school is a great big world. But more importantly it is a blank page that comes with some crayons. You can color your world however you want. You can rewrite your story and can be all you have always wanted and more. Carefully make the decisions that lay before you for every step counts and every decision either brings you closer or pushes you further from your goals.

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