As a recent college graduate, I look around at all the up and coming talent that's currently enrolled in higher education; quite honestly I see so much potential with what my fellow millennials have to bring to the table in the future.
With that being said, I'm going to need you all to GET IT TOGETHER and quickly. There are SO many opportunities for you while in college that will ultimately lead to your success later on in life, but I think so many of you are scared. Whether it be scared to start, scared to switch things up or just plain old scared to actually invest time into anything other than "enjoying college", you might just be missing out on some major key experiences.
So this post isn't to say you're doing a fantastic job by actually leveling up and going to college. You already know you're a scholar who's raising the bar by going for that degree. I'm here to tell you the candid truth about what else you should be thinking about while you're skipping class or running late for Chem Lab 102.
Today we're going to have a little chit chat about what you should incorporate into your life NOW instead of later. Why? Because I care, seriously. I mentioned before only 1% of millionaires are aged 35 or younger, and you could be in that percentage if you get it together.
So here's the tough love you'll be thanking me for later.
#1. Create A Side Hustle
Above you'll find a photo of 20 year old me in 2013...the year I began blogging. I started a blog that eventually evolved into this brand AND let to the development of my network, Black Bloggers United, Inc. in 2014. Both were subpar at the time (just being honest) but I started something back then that is now flourishing.
You know why all this is happening? It's because I started a side hustle without even knowing it. I created a foundation back in 2013, built on it, made mistakes, changed a few things and figured out to actually use what I'd established to be a source of income.
There's this common misconception that I started something and it didn't take off, so it's a failure. You're wrong. Starting something on the side in college is HUGE and you WILL be thankful you did it later.
I started both my blog and network for the low low, (because I know some people may not have that much money right now), and like I said, they weren't where they are today design AND following wise. But you know what...I started and I grew.
Start a side hustle in something that you thoroughly enjoy and use that foundation in college to build an empire later.
#2. Invest Your Coins (Yes, I Said Coins)
Before you tell me you don't understand stocks, bonds and all that jazz, just listen to what I have to say. By "invest", I'm not saying saying it always has to be large quantities of money nor does it HAVE to be in those larger entities.
I actually recently discovered this app called Stash that allows you to make investments a) with a few clicks on your phone and b) starting at just $5. (If you sign up through me you'll get $5 to start investing) Additionally, it's automatic. So you can set it up that simple $5 to come out on pay day without you even realizing it.
It may not seem like a lot, but making small investments here and there will add up long term! That $5 today can manifest and evolve over the next few months and years into a few thousand, so don't sleep. Like I said with the side hustle, start somewhere and go from there.
Additionally, when I say invest your coins I also mean find something that involves you investing into it and yielding an actual return on investment (ROI).
I've seen people invest a few hundred dollars into a camera and turn it into a full blown photography side hustle (shoutout to Ride The Wave). I've seen people invest in extra food to start cooking on the side for extra income.
What I'm saying is, if you're putting money out there try to get in the habit of doing so in a way that allows equal or MORE money to come back to you. Investing in short term items, products and services won't yield long term coins. So a word to the wise...break that habit now and start really investing the money you do have.
#3. Attend Every Conference, Study Abroad Opportunity and Mission Trip You Can
If you take nothing else away from this post, please take this one note...attend as many opportunities as you can while you're still in school. Looking back on my experience I did have great experiences with traveling for retreats and conferences; whether it was Washington, D.C. or closer in Orlando, I did travel quite a bit.
But I could've taken so many more opportunities that were given to me and it's now my biggest regret to date. Looking at traveling to conferences or for mission trips now, you're easily looking at a swift $500+ depending on where exactly it is. I surpassed so much knowledge and connections by quite honestly thinking it wouldn't be fun.
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Even if it's local! There's registration fees, parking costs, food's not included, etc. that all adds up once you're out of college. It's almost like we're ignorant to just how valuable it is to be ale to fly to a conference on another's dime until we realize our spot alone was a $1,750 expense.
Additionally, the knowledge you gain from these experiences are truly what college and being a young adult are all about. Take the opportunities and you'll realize that the seminar on setting up a 401k will actually be applicable to you in maybe a year or two. That cooking class might just spark your passion for cooing on the side.
Basically, you never know what will come from the opportunities you get FOR FREE as a student, so take them. All knowledge gained can be applied in some sense, so start taking what you've been paying for in your tuition. (Don't forget to snag tons of photos)
#4. Cut The Crap
Whether it's toxic relationships, crappy food or bad habits, cut it out now. It can seem hard to let go of things while in college, especially if it's a person in your life, but it's for the better.
Looking back on my years, I definitely didn't have a problem cutting crap out of my life, but it did take me a while to do so. Without knowing it, in that time I took on crappy habit and crappy ways about myself that I had to eventually unlearn once I pulled the plug.
My point here is even if you think you can keep crap in your life and succeed, it will rub off on you in some fashion. You may not realize it until you lose an opportunity because of who you're associated with or end up with a health problem due to your diet, but it can happen.
Cutting the crap out of your life sounds harsh, but it's one step towards putting yourself and your life FIRST as it should always be. Be selfish with what you allow into your life while you're in college and moving forward in life.
Like all the previous tips this one is the same, start now and watch the growth/results come in. Don't wait until tomorrow to do what you should've done yesterday.
Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts and what you're doing in college RIGHT NOW to help your future self be great.