Dear fresh graduate, has anyone told you this?

What you need to know:

A decade ago (wow, feels like a century), I wore that graduation gown, and Cap, red high-heels, and joined a group of other Mass Communication alumni to celebrate a similar milestone

Social media sites have provided platforms for most people to share their achievements with the world beyond immediate families and friends.

For instance, apps like Twitter(X), LinkedIn, and Facebook are always awash with photographs of graduates from all walks of life sharing with us their academic milestones including grade point average (GPAs), class of Awards, and majors.

It is an exhilarating moment that many can’t keep calm, or stop themselves from sharing with the world, who wouldn’t be excited anyway?

Every time I see such pictures, they bring back beautiful memories.

A decade ago (wow, feels like a century), I wore that graduation gown, and Cap, red high-heels, and joined a group of other Mass Communication alumni to celebrate a similar milestone.

We took a group picture of a famous pose (where graduates hold capes in their hands, and at the count of 1-3, they jump while throwing their capes into the air, and the photographer clicks the camera flash, capturing the unforgettable moment).

Dear new kids on the block, as you join the world of work, keep this in mind. 

After you leave the university gates, and the graduation parties’ pomp is over, the world believes you are an adult, capable of making sound, independent decisions, and no one to control you with a bit and bridle, so, it is up to you to make the right ones as you start in your career.

Since you allow us to see your academic achievements in the public domain, as public advisers, I hope we are also allowed to sneak into your lives and share unsolicited advice on how to maneuver and succeed in the world of work.

First, write a strategic plan. This is a plan that clearly shows what you intend to do and achieve in a specified period. It can be in two, five, or ten years. For instance, if you graduated in 2024, what do you plan to achieve in the next five years (2029) or 10 years (2034)?

A strategic plan acts as a guiding compass to where you are going, how to get there, and what you want to achieve. It encompasses all aspects of our lives- career, family, relationships, community, spirituality, etc. Don’t just start working with excitement, and forget to plan well, otherwise, you may regret it years later. Remember the old saying- failure to plan is planning to fail.

Second, get a mentor(s). No one succeeds in life alone. We all need people to walk with us on this journey called life, people who will guide and advise us. Intentionally look out for mentors who will guide you to succeed not only in your career but in all other aspects of life so that you live a fulfilling and meaningful life. 

Third, deliberately create meaningful networks. Regardless of the fields you are in, networks are paramount. Whether you are into buying and selling goods and services, your networks will support you directly, or recommend others to you.

For those who intend to advance their education, it is through your networks that you will find fully funded opportunities such as scholarships, fellowships, and seminars, and they will support you to ensure you get such opportunities.

Lastly, if saving is not your cup of tea, start learning now. You may not have much to save at the beginning, but saving even a little makes a difference. Because, one, you learn the art of saving, and two, you stop relying on your parents/guardians for everything including small things like data, body lotion, and stockings, and when you want to leave your parents’ safe nest, your savings will come in handy. 

As I conclude, allow me to ask, as a fresh graduate, where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years from today? Do you have a strategic plan for your life, or do you want life to just happen to you? Don’t have a blind start in life, plan, take action, and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Vivian Agaba Journalist, consultant writer.