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Ira Kortum:So you’re graduating – now what?

Spring term, for many of us, is the final term. Sort of a time to reflect. Was it worth it, the debt and/or the time spent?

For some, it’s been more than six years and over $50,000, so where are we now as compared with where we were when we started, and are we where we thought we would be?

Or maybe more importantly, as this final term begins its rolling descent toward the finish line, where do we go from here? Jobs, obviously – but where do we go as human beings from the point of graduation forward?

One would like to think that just because you finished college doesn’t mean that you finish growing as a person. But isn’t that kinda what happens? Entering the eight-hour workday world with little to no changes in the realm of new experiences. Take all the training and let routine and complacency take its course. Filling your own personal niche in society as best as you can for as long as you can until your warranty expires and you’re done.

So, what’s the alternative? Not many people are up for being career college or university students, so what’s the way out?

One thing to try to keep in mind is that life is a wonderful, dangerous, unpredictable, unplannable and all-too-short wild ride. That in a 100 years, chances are that no one’s going to remember your name or what you did, so don’t worry about what people are going to think of who you are, or about what the “right” decision is when a better question to be answering is what is the right decision for you?

You see, a new chapter in our lives is about to begin. As this old one draws to a close, the focus of where we’re at versus where we want to be needs to be partly based on who we are and what we enjoy, what we want out of life, and how we can get from here to that final chapter in our lives with as few regrets as possible.

So many times people go off and choose a lifestyle or a career based on what they think they should do because of what they think society or their family expects of them. They want to fit in so badly or be accepted so desperately that they are willing to spend their whole lives trying to please others or fit social expectations, never realizing they are even doing it.

That’s not the way to spend one’s life, and it happens time and time again. People graduate and then lose themselves.

So, be careful, be thoughtful, think about likes and dislikes, and how you want to spend the next 60 years of your life. Don’t be afraid to dream, but also don’t be afraid to act on that dream.

But this above all else and most importantly: be yourself.