The graduations are over and now it is time for the next journey. I am sure that if you are a recent high school graduate you are thinking to yourself "I have waited so long for the day that I would be done with high school and now that it is here it feels anticlimactic." Good news for you there are new adventures waiting. In fact this summer you can get started preparing for the next chapter of your life. What I am about to share with you will not only help you in the future it will also help your bank account.
Get A Job
It is time for you to start working. That includes those of you who have been working, because it is time for you to kick it up a notch. This summer you should be trying to work as many hours as possible. The goal is to earn plenty of money to start you a nice "in case you are breathing fund." For those of you who will be going to college in the Fall I promise you that emergencies will come up and you are going to need money. There is going to be a textbook you need and you will need to have the $250 for that textbook to go from the bookstore to your book bag.
You may need transportation money because you thought going to a college five states away was a great idea until becoming homesick crept in. Even those of you who are not going to college you still need to be working. In fact it is very important that you find a stable job that pays you enough money so that you can save to have your own place. Also you need money to pay for the extras that come with that place like the water bill, light bill, cable bill, etc.
Get A Mentor
This is extremely important because none of us know everything. Mentors are people who fill in the gap. I tell every high school or college student that I speak in front of that they need a mentor or two. The mentor should be in a position that you want to be in the future. If you want to be an engineer find someone in the engineering field. Many students ask me how do they find a mentor? I tell them that they should start by looking to those around them. Is there someone at their church who is in their desired area of work? In their family? A friend's parent? If so they can just reach out to them and ask if they could be their mentor.
I also advise every student to get on LinkedIn because that widens their options. I had one student recently when I spoke in Idaho tell me that she lives in a small town and there is no one who is in the area she is interested in. My answer for her and many others is LinkedIn. High school students can do a simple search on LinkedIn and find hundreds of possible mentors. Once they find the mentor they have to make the commitment to be a valuable mentee. Mentors give of their time as well as their advice and in return you should be serious and take action on that advice.
Graduation Is The Point
For those of you who are going to college guess what? You are there to graduate. College is not cheap and so it should be taken seriously. You can definitely have fun during the two or four years you are there, but the point is to get across the graduation stage. As a first generation graduate I tell people all the time "I did not go to college to find myself, I went there to graduate so I could start a career and make money to help my mother." That was it.
I had fun all through college, but every step was calculated to graduate and if possible graduate early. The earlier I graduated the faster I was in position to make money. Many students enter college and forget why they are there because they get distracted by all the new shiny objects. You have to remember that those shiny objects can cause you to stay in college for five or six years. Or worse cause you to drop out. Any of those outcomes will mean that you have more student loan debt than you are supposed to and trust me that sucks! So take this summer to have fun (after you get off work) so that when you get to campus in August that you are ready to hit the ground running!
Before I spoke to 160 high school students in Idaho a couple of weeks ago, I stopped to see the Great Salt Lake. The video below I go more in depth about what I think high school students should be doing this summer!
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