Like most of my fellow High Point University graduates, I like to think of myself as an enterprising individual. We’re all students of Dr. Nido Qubein, after all, and if our University President has taught us anything, it’s that opportunity is everywhere. The only real obstacles are how hard you’re willing to search and, once you’ve found it, how hard you’re willing to work. Now, this may take the form of anything from networking to capital investment to (more often than I expect, but less often than I’d like) good old fashioned skill and perseverence.
I believe the most common commitment in pursuit of each of our American dreams, however, is time. We spend our time to get things done. You chose to spend some of your time reading this article, and I cannot thank you enough for that.
As a young man fresh out of college, I will be the first to admit I probably have some very large, if common goals for the next five years. You know the drill: fulfilling job, comfortable salary, nice car, a wife and kids (maybe), The usual American dream. I’ll also concede that, as someone fresh out of school with little job experience, not a lot of people will want to hear what I have to say or commit their resources to make my dreams a reality.
I don’t mean to say no one will value my opinion, nor do I mean that the working world is set unfairly for a recent college grad. What I do mean is that, since I have nothing more than a college degree to my name, recruiters, businesses, and investors will see me as one or more of the following:
- An unknown quantity, who hiring or investing in would be a gamble
- A kid who just needs a job so he can get his feet wet, get used to the working world, and start making his own way
- A naïve upstart who has no idea how the world works or what he’s getting himself into and just needs to be ignored until he quiets down
Most likely, people will not see me as a thought leader, a smart choice, or an avant-garde, forward-thinking innovator whose time is important. And to an extent, I understand. After all, I can easily see myself thinking the same thing if I had a position of power. It's still a problem for all of us. I want people to listen when I speak, and I'm sure you want the same. That may not happen at first.
I see a solution to this problem. The solution, put simply, is to act like a leader and innovator, despite what people initially say. I've found, in my experiences as a leader in clubs and student government, that if you make decisions with confidence and act like you know what you're doing, two things happen.
- You will, pretty easily, convince others you know what you're doing.
- You will, very quickly, actually start to know what's going on.
This is Your Time, Too
Your time is just as valuable as mine. Yes, you. The grad student trying to get himself noticed. The fellow CS major intimidated by how much better at everything everyone else is – just like me, I’m just as scared as you. The thirty-something-year-old man who thinks he’ll be stuck where he is for the rest of his career. Your time is valuable. We are the next generation of American leaders in and out of our fields, and what we believe will become what America believes very soon.
I beseech you, fellow bright-eyed dreamers in way over your heads, remember this. We only get so much time, and I don’t want any of us to waste a single second of it. Walk tall and do what you want. You love what you're doing, so you know what you're doing. Poeple will latch onto that, and your dreams will very quickly manifest. Good luck, I’m rooting for you!