Life advice for first-years

Life advice for first-years

Quo Vadis is an annual — international at this point — conference for students and young professionals with Polish ties, be it ancestry or interest. This year it is taking place in Connecticut, in Australia, and, as I write this, in Montreal. My good friends Kacper and Tom were invited to present something to the 200-odd crowd of 20-30-somethings collected to connect. I Skyped in from Vancouver to add my two cents, as did Paula all the way from Korea. I have a copy of the presentation and can email it out if needed, but this post will just cover my contribution.

The presentation was titled Growing a Cool Community. It centred on that, self development, and travel, replete with ways to circumvent the traditional “I don’t have time/money” excuse. Here were my tips and tricks for hacking life:

1. Have a personal website & document all your activity. A picture speaks a thousand words. You never know when a picture (or video) of you being active in community or leading an event can be the difference between getting that job or staying with your current stagnant gig another six months.

2. Be active! Especially do SLP, if only to join their wicked alumni network. Being active you’ll meet others doing the same; together, you can propel each other to even greater heights!

3. Enjoy life but with direction. Experiment, sure, but start a constructive, upward-winding path sooner than later. You don’t want to wake up at 35 one day still operating a ski lift, feeling that now would be a good time for a job with benefits and ample vacation time. Same goes for planning a family! Watch Meg Jay’s TED talk, “Why 30 is not the new 20”:

4. Travel. It changes you in ways you can’t possibly imagine. Pack light, adapt. Follow Chris Myden and use rome2rio. Use credit cards for insurance purposes and to get free stuff. RBC has an awesome WestJet MasterCard.

5. Begging forgiveness is better than asking permission. Done is better than perfect! Watch Nardwuar’s TED talk, “Do It Yourself!”:

6. Be loud, be proud, and be yourself. Like-minded souls will accumulate:

“Masks” by Shel Silverstein, 2011

7. This:

The sooner you learn this, the quicker you’ll get to where you’re going

Seriously. That ↑.

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