After three years of hard work, occasional tears and many challenging (but rewarding) projects I am proud to say that I graduated with my B.S. Business Marketing from the University of Northern Colorado. I took this journey on full-force because I knew it was going to make me into the person I wanted to be.
You find your passion, you learn as much as you can and you keep working at it, day in and day out.
I graduated not very long ago, so what can I share with you? What did I learn that can help you?
I learned many things throughout my undergraduate career and I am going to share them with you. These are things that if I would have known them sooner would have made life a little easier, but going through the tough times to learn these lessons has given me the knowledge, experience and strength to be better at what I do.
Lesson 1: Find your people.
Picture this: Your professor (or boss) tells you that you will be working in a group on a new project. You are really excited about the project because you know that you’ve got what it takes to make it amazing. Then you meet your fellow group members and you sink a little inside because you’ve worked with two of them before and had a bad experience. Maybe they didn’t pull their weight, or maybe they like to wait until the very last minute to get things done even though you have pressures to get it done early.
What do you do?
You can’t change group members and you can’t just quit the project. You find your people. You know who these people are, most likely because you’ve worked with them before. Ask for their help throughout the project, get their insight on things and keep their outside perspective close.
These are the people who will pull through for you, who will answer your questions and offer up their well-meaning advice. Take it all, and don’t forget to say thank you.
This street goes both ways, folks. They are your people, so you better be theirs. When they need help or they come to you, be there for them. Give them your advice, answer their questions and help them wherever you can. It’s about collaboration and partnerships.
Lesson 2: Make time for what matters.
This is one of those lessons that we all know, but won’t really do until we see the real results. So what am I talking about?
I’m talking about staying up the extra hour to get more work done instead of going to bed. I’m talking about using 15 minutes between tasks to do something productive. I’m talking about saying no to the concert on Saturday night to get ahead on work for the week.
What I’m not saying is to not live life, or have fun or make some awesome memories.
It’s about making the tough choices that define you as a hustler and the success story.
Hard work pays off in big ways, and I learned that through the experiences I made myself have but not want to have.
It’s hard to be at school for 10 hours working on projects, meeting with groups and studying. It’s even harder to stay for 11 or 12 when all you want to do is go home and sleep, telling yourself that you’ll wake up early and do it in the morning. But once you tell yourself you’ll push it off and it will be fine you’ve lost. Push through the work for just a little bit longer, don’t go to bed with work hanging over your head.
I know it’s hard to make time for work when you already dedicate so much already, but trust me when I say it is always, always worth it.
Lesson 3: Use your planner.
I don’t care if your planner is on your phone, on a different sticky-note everyday or in a traditional planner. It doesn’t matter how you choose to plan, it just matters that you actively do.
Life and work comes at you all of the time, and there are so many things going on that you’re bound to forget some of them. This is there the handy dandy planner comes in. Now I know, I know, you’ve been told to use a planner since 4th grade, but I’m telling you again!
Getting all of your work down in one place allows you to visualize what you have to do, how much you have to do, and how it all fits in a time frame. Deadlines can creep up on you, so writing everything down and seeing where work falls can help you plan how to tackle it most efficiently and effectively. You can even use a planner for social media, which you can read about here.
Use your planner, that’s all.
My undergraduate career taught me many things, and the few I shared with you today are things I will carry with me into the next chapter of my life. Learning from experiences and developing skills that enhance our work is an important part of going through life.
What are some important life lessons you have learned that make you better? Leave a comment below or Tweet me @akannakeefe with the hashtag #mymktgstory with your lessons!