My advice to university students

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[vimeo id="79780131"] They say that hindsight is always 20/20. Unfortunately, that’s not a comforting thought when you’re in the middle of a difficult decision.

College is one of the most formative times when it comes to making decisions that have the potential to shape the rest of your life. The major you choose determines what type of job you will get. The first job you take potentially determines your career path for the next 10 years. The relationships you start could potentially lead to marriage.

Is it possible to find clarity about a decision without having to wait on hindsight? I think it is. Some time ago, I ran across this powerful video where people share the advice they would give to their college selves:

As I watched the video, I thought to myself, “Why can’t college students take this same idea and use it today?” Why do they have to wait five years to give advice to their college selves?

As a college student who doesn’t want to wait for hindsight to provide clarity about a decision, here’s my advice to you:

·      Ask the right questions. The only way you’re going to find the right answer is by asking the right questions. Don’t try to make a decision by asking questions that will affect you in the moment. Think long term. Ask yourself, “In light of where I want to go in life, what’s the best decision to make?”

·      Don’t believe the lies. There are lies that most college students, and even some older adults, tend to believe. Despite what you may think, you’re probably not the only one wrestling through your situation. You’re not a failure and you do have what it takes. When you stop believing the lies, you’ll be able to find more clarity in your decision.

·      Find someone who can help provide that 20/20 hindsight. Mentors can become an invaluable resource when it comes to making tough decisions. If you can, find two mentors. These people have been where you are and can help provide the kind of clarity that comes from hindsight. If you’re struggling with asking the right questions or believing the lies, a mentor can also help you overcome those challenges.

A note to older leaders:

Let me also challenge you. There are probably things you wish you could go back and tell your college self. Whatever that advice may be, don’t keep it in your head. Look for ways to use it to help college students during this crucial time in their lives. Find a college student who’s studying in the field you work and buy them coffee. Identify a group of college students at your church and invite them over for a home-cooked meal and get to know them. Part of leaving a legacy is helping others navigate through their current phase of life with the wisdom you’ve gained from being in their shoes.

College students: What’s one piece of advice you would have given yourself a year ago based on where you are now?

Older leaders: What advice would you give your college-self?