New college grad? Being mediocre isn't all that bad
I am almost out of college, but I feel all jittery about what the “real” world can offer a mediocre student like me. I am no member of the honor society Phi Kappa Phi, and my curriculum vitae contains nothing special, except for some seminars I attended in college.
It’s funny how this world can expect so much from new graduates, when in fact we expect to learn once we’re out of the university. After all, all we learned from the university are theories, which ironically can only be applied once we’re out in the “real world”.
What good is working in the financial services sector when I studied only one Accounting course? What will I use that Calculus subject for (which I struggled to pass, by the way)? It’s especially difficult for average students (like me) to impress the world, what with our empty CVs – our supposedly ticket to our “future”.
Interview questions like “why should we hire you?” and “what can you contribute to our company?” sound like a death sentence to my ears. Oo nga, bakit nga ba ninyo ako iha-hire? Ako mismo, hindi ko rin alam. (Yeah, why would you hire me? I, myself, do not know.)
But let me tell you, fellow graduates, how I plan to get by. These tips are mostly reminders to myself but I’m making you privy to it. It could be of help, or so I hope.
Know that you are not special.
I think this is the most important thing to remember for the mediocre and special alike. People will always say that we are special. But if everyone’s special, then no one else is. Believe me when I tell you that believing you’re not special is the best gift you can give yourself. My father would always tell me when my dreams go out of hand, “Average ka lang. ‘Huwag kang masyadong mataas mangarap.” (You're just average. Don't be too ambitious.) "Aray ko!" (It hurts). But then we should always thank people like him who keep reminding us about where we really stand. It’s a good thing to draw motivation from, actually. It’s this "I’m not special" mantra that will be our constant reminder to always, always strive hard in everything we do. It’s this reminder that gives us the “Babangon ako at dudurugin kita” mindset, and I’d always thank these kinds of people. Thanks, Tatay.
You still have a lot to improve.
Remember what they tell you when you lose in a competition? No matter how much of a cliché it sounds, yes, “There’s always room for improvement.” There surely is, whether you’re a mediocre student or a decorated cum laude. You might have learned from your Calculus subject that the rate of increase is higher when you come from a lower baseline. It applies well to the real world, too! But always (always!) remember, that it’s you who will determine whether you’ve reached the peak yet. Actually, you can never reach the peak, and the moment you believe you have would really be the death of you. Even Calculus tells us that the decline comes after that point of maximum. (See, you’ve learned something from that Math course you crawled out of!)
Pursue your passion.
You’ll get trampled on when you go out into the real playing field. You’ll get angry, you’ll cry, and you’ll get disappointed. But never ever get disillusioned. Keep that fresh-grad luster you have, because that’s the only thing you’d have when life gets tough and things seem impossible. Your undergraduate idealism will be the only calm you’ll have when the world’s noise starts getting to you. Your passion is your compass in this mad, mad world. Don’t ever lose it.
Don’t be afraid to fail.
To end this litany, I encourage you to take all the chances you have and don’t be scared of failure. There’s no greater danger than playing it safe. But then again, you have to take the consequences of your actions. Failing doesn’t have to be as painful if you don’t think of it as failure. It could even boost your future success. Besides, you’ve failed before, right? What’s there to lose?
So, fellow graduates, screw the standards of this world. Live and let live. Grab all the opportunities you can take. Learn as much as you can. You may have left the university but learning doesn’t have to stop, too. As Bob Ong said in his book, ABNKKBSNPLAKO, “Nalaman kong marami palang libreng lecture sa mundo, ikaw ang gagawa ng syllabus. Maraming teacher sa labas ng eskuwelahan, desisyon mo kung kanino ka magpapaturo. Lahat tayo enrolled ngayon sa isang university, maraming subject na mahirap, pero dahil libre, ikaw ang talo kung nag-drop ka. Isa-isa tayong ga-graduate, iba’t-ibang paraan. Tanging diploma ay ang mga alaala ng kung ano mang tulong o pagmamahal ang iniwan natin sa mundong pinangarap nating baguhin minsan…”
There’s a world out there to embrace, even for a mediocre person like you, like us. – Rappler.com
Mayumi Hayag D. Teves is a fresh graduate of Natural Resource Economics from the University of the Philippines Los Baños. She loves the environment, wildlife and sinigang. She currently works at Sa Puso Mo, but also volunteers as the Social Media Mola Mola for Save Philippine Seas.