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Dear College Students

I am sorry you feel so much pressure- pressure with your GPA, pressure to know what you want to do for the rest of your life before your brain has finished developing (that happens at 25) and before you have been able to taste the many adult lifestyles on offer. And pressure to hit this stage of your life running as though life is a sprint. Do you feel like the world has been yelling at you, “More, better, now!”? Well, maybe, that’s because it has.

Let’s break this down really simply. When you are sprinting, you can’t really focus on anything except a small field of view- whatever is in front of your eyes that you are running towards. What’s happening on either side of you? You glance, but it’s a blur. You are thinking mostly about- where you are running to and everything is seen in that context. At what cost? Do you know what lifestyle your college degree will give you? Will there be openings in your field of study in the real world? Are you really seeing? If you have been a good student, you have probably learned to have a narrow-focus.

Yes- what I am getting at is that you can be too focused. Our culture steers you to be hyper-focused and hyper-specialized at this crucial time in your life. It steers you toward one approach. College now. Pick your major - now. Specialize - NOW! But ask yourself, does it make sense to learn about our current/near future economic state after getting a degree? That’s right. That's entirely backward. You need to know what the economy offers, and where it is likely headed, and then choose your study based on reality. Well, if you want to be employable…

The economic landscape is about to go through a massive shift. Look around- read a few headlines. It has already begun. Are you seeing words like de-globalization, de-population, & AI? These aren’t buzzwords that will go as quickly as they came. How do they impact you? The pitfalls of hyper-

specialization will be torn open in the years to come.

Are you paying attention?

Too many young people are graduating to find themselves confused and overwhelmed. Why isn’t my life working? Should it be this hard? Eventually, many of them have learned that their college experience didn’t prepare them to compete, to be relevant, and thus to have a spot in the job market. They’re upset. And they should be! There are a few giant steps we are skipping over. Though parents with students ready to enroll may not want to hear this, a healthy number of those on the other side wish they had.

If I could wave a magic wand and recreate the system of support, it would look like this: I would add in counselors who work with you all through high school in a very personalized way. They would help you get to know yourself better, and help you identify what lifestyle you truly want- not the one you think you want that involves a mansion and a fancy car. High school would include educating you on the economy and giving you the critical skills to think about future trends. High school would also teach psychology because there is no getting around it. Everything is explained through psychology- how we relate to ourselves, and how we understand ourselves. We should have a language to help us think more clearly about something we participate in knowingly or unknowingly all day, every day. This system of support would not rush children into college, but rather encourage them to be curious and to learn about adult life. Once they have an idea what it is to live on their own, pay bills, work hard for their dollars- then they can marry their fields of interest with the realities of adulthood. Then they are more prepared to make decisions about how to invest tuition and do real long-term planning. And the college counselors would be more available, with better tools to support these young people. They would encourage a broader scope of subjects, introducing them to more experiences. There would be more of a focus on Liberal Arts Degrees. A LAB prepares students for literally hundreds of positions.

The good news is that it is never too late to start seeing the larger puzzle. And it is never too early!

What does the future look like? How does that affect my field of study? Will I be satisfied in this field in practice? What will my day-to-day look like? What will give me the best chance to remain competitive and successful as the economy goes through this big shift? Am I nurturing that skill set?

Your business savvy needs to start now. Your tuition is your first huge business transaction. For most of you, it is the biggest business transaction you will ever make. Approaching your college education informed about the realities of the future and what this education does and doesn’t offer you, allows you to fill in the gaps and be ready to find a place at the grownup's table. (Degree holders end up employed outside of their specialization over 50% of the time!)

Colleges offer degrees in markets totally saturated, with no regard for how they’ll be used. Many recent graduates have a gross under-preparedness in the skills required to apply for a position and sit for an interview. I see an endless slew of resumes that are so bad I won’t read them, cover letters that have me hitting delete after reading the first poorly written sentence, and interviews where my jaw drops- from recent grads wondering why they aren’t being hired.

This is why I have developed this part of my coaching offering. My children will be in college soon. I never imagined they could graduate so utterly unprepared.

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