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  • German A. Ramirez and Monica L. Gonzalez

The Well-Equipped Graduate

Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

The Covid-19 pandemic and its forced lockdown has given all of us plenty of time to reflect about what really matters in life. In this blog we share a few hints --in terms of values, attitudes and behaviors--that the 2020 graduates may want to keep in mind as they transition into the so-called “new normal” world.

More than advice, which seems ubiquitous nowadays, our intention is to give a few reference points that can help broaden perspectives to navigate the road ahead. The list is far from comprehensive and to an extent, arbitrary; it is based on personal observations during our own life journeys.

  • Sense of purpose. This is what the Japanese call Ikigai, and means that your reason for being is yours only. Discover what excites you most, and after defining your goals devote all your energy and passion to achieving them.

  • Discernment. Not everything that shines is gold, particularly in this age of information overload where blunt falsehoods are turned into “truths” overnight. Honing the ability to distinguish the chaff from the wheat will serve you well.

  • Collaboration above competition. Does it seem naïve to defend collaboration when you’ve been told that success is about besting your competitors? Not really. The crisis has confirmed that complex problems can be better solved by joining forces. The world doesn’t need to function as a zero-sum game. If you look hard, with sincere intent, there will always be a gratifying win-win proposition.

  • Respect. Applying this maxim when relating to others and the environment will ensure peace and sustainability. There’s already plenty of conflict around, so why not try getting along with others, especially if they are way different? Diversity can be a great source for mutual enrichment. In addition, leaving the planet in better shape than you found it can be a lasting legacy.

  • Frugality. Despite the relentless consumerism push, you will come to realize that true happiness doesn’t come from possessing more things. On the contrary: having less can be more fulfilling, especially if you focus on the essential and account for the effort made in attaining it.

  • Courage. This is not a call to heroism. It is about being bold when taking on projects and initiatives. The satisfaction of acting with freedom and determination to liberate your creative potential will always outweigh the risks.

  • Lifelong learning. This is an invitation to embrace every opportunity to grow intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. It is about distilling the essence of your experiences and translate it into lessons that equip you better for future stages in life.

Nota bene: The true rewards in life will come from an intimate sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of having used your talents to humbly walk through life being true to yourself.

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