Graduation season is upon us. Folks around the country are graduating from college and high school. But what is the best advice these new grads could get? We asked our favorite Raging Feminists to chime in and drop some knowledge.
What would you have liked to have known when you graduated?
“It’s OK to change your mind. You don’t have to spend the next 30 years of your life on a career path because you spent four (maybe more…) years on it in undergrad. When your true path reveals itself to you, give yourself the time and space to figure out how to pursue your passion. Don’t let fear, precedent or complacency keep you in a role that is drying out your soul daily.” — Minda Honey
“The thing I happened upon, fortuitously, was having an amazing mentor through work in my first longtime job. I always suggest to graduates (college, but really, honestly high school in terms of how to take on next challenges — school, gap year, life) to seek mentorship. A place where people work, even a café, for years, might just mean the leadership is really wonderful and that the connections will help you as you progress to the next thing and the next. I guess I’m saying it’s all about relationships.” — Sarah Buttenwieser
“Three things: 1) If I’d known when I graduated that nonprofits can be as brutally misogynist, mismanaged and discriminatory as corporations — just with WAY less compensation — I’d have been able to avoid my first social justice job, where I made $16K per year before taxes for the honor of being aggressively harassed by the E.D. every single day; 2) I wish someone had explained how important a financial side hustle was, to circumvent the lifelong brokettybrokeness of being a well-respected journalist in a climate that no longer pays journalists; 3) WHY DID NO ONE EXPLAIN THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-CARE in the late ’90s?” — Jennifer Pozner
“I wish I’d known that it takes everyone about 10 years post graduation to figure their life out. I thought I had to have it together on day one. Also, I really wish I’d known that humans are made of water. I ended up in the hospital with dehydration after delivering my graduation speech. Don’t do that. Drink water. Go get some right now.” — Ashley Black
“This one’s from my dad: You’re not going to college to learn what to be. Your degree will rarely, except in a few instances of particularly driven or boring people, define the rest of your life. Learn all there is to learn, but more importantly, learn HOW to learn. Learn how to think, how to question, how to challenge yourself and others. But don’t panic yourself trying to chart the rest of your life, because no matter what, it won’t turn out that way.” — Rowan Beckett Grigsby
“Before I graduated, I wish I would’ve known I am far more competent to potential employers than I thought. I had a lot of job-related anxiety. I was applying to everything and ready to accept anyone that wanted to hire me. However, now I realize that my résumé and application look highly desirable to employers. For instance, if I decided to quit or happened to be fired from my current position, I am confident that I could get a job (maybe not one I wanted) fairly quickly. Another thing: You can get paid to write sooner than you think.” — Danielle Corcione
“I really wish I had learned personal finance skills in high school. Becoming a young adult with no personal finance skills led to a LOT of very hard years and lessons, well into adulthood. It baffles me that it’s not a mandatory class or set of classes in public school. Just like students spend a semester learning about civics, and then [economics], it seems like it would be logical to offer personal finance and personal financial management to better equip young adults for their future.” — Jill McKenna Reed
“I would have liked to know, actually KNOW, that there’s no right way to grow up. I felt so insecure in my choices after college — like everyone else had an actual career plan, and I was the only one who found REAL LIFE terrifying and was just making it up as I went along. It’s my 20-year reunion this year, and I’m still making it up as I go along, and I have had so many interesting adventures. The journey is the destination!” — Miller Murray Susen
“Taking a year off between high school and college doesn’t mean you are a slacker. Give yourself time to reflect and contemplate how you want to move forward. Pushing pause is sometimes necessary.” — Rudri Bhatt Patel
“For those heading to college, no matter what you major in, get a women’s studies minor. It will help you better understand a lot of the madness in the world. Double down by also adding an ethnic studies (Asian-American studies, Latino studies, African-American studies) minor to better understand even more madness, including within feminism.” — Veronica Arreola, Bio major, WS minor
“Keep track of what you want to remember. Write it down, or read through your notes and texts once in a while. When life gets busy and other facts need the brain space, you will find yourself forgetting things you would swear right now will never leave your memory.” — Kat Tanaka Okopnik
“It’s OK not to know. Anything.” — Sara Habein