(This is the second time I’m writing this post, as the first one got deleted. Hate when that happens…)
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about different post-graduate opportunities. It’s still a bit early for me as I’m a senior whose doing a 5th year coterm. But like most Stanford students, I’ve got a wide array of options on the table. Personally, I’m considering:
Research, joining a tech startup, starting my own company, management consulting, non-profit work, Google, med school and b-school. As I consider all these options, there are a bunch of factors I taking into account:
- How much I will enjoy the day to day work?
- What I will learn in terms of knowledge, skills and experience?
- Who I will interact with: friends, colleagues, bosses, mentors?
- What I will have accomplished?
- Is this opportunity is available later on in life?
- How much I will get paid?
- Whether I’m making a positive contribution to society?
You may have your own list as well. The problem with all these opportunities is that you stress about whether or not you there is a “best one” for you, and making sure that you get it. As research has shown, more options = less happiness with final choice.
But when I think about all most fulfilling, educational and admirable things I’ve done or been a part of, I realize that there are two things they all shared:
1) There were always times when I hated what I was doing, or thought it was a waste of time, or felt unhappy with how I was being treated.
2) I got what I put into in. If I just tried to coast by, do the minimum, or go through the motions, I gained little of value. But when I put everything into it, went the extra mile and really made it a priority, I gained something very valuable.
So here’s what I’m saying – Don’t stress too much over the post-grad stuff. Whatever you end up choosing will be good for you provided you enter with a curious, honest and willing-to-work attitude. We’re all exceptional people here at Stanford, and we bring that with us, wherever we end up going.