While everyone else is training to get a job, do yourself a favor and use 4-years on a first rate campus preparing to create one. Make the campus the R&D site for your new start-up that will save America and create jobs. When other folks are publicly partying, spend that time privately perfecting your personal game. When other folks are focused on how they are going to get a job and and get rich, invest that time figuring out how you create a job, and build wealth. Secure a business internship or fellowship as soon as possible and 'warm up' that resume with some real life operational experience; managing people, a budget and responsibilities. Do some community service, it's not only good for society, it will make you a more well rounded person, and a better leader. Credit cards are not free money. Its actually very expensive money. If they max out a $10,000.00 credit card, and only make the minimum payment every month, they will senior citizens before they extinguish that debt. This will prove to be the only time in your life when you are being paid to study, and encouraged to think for a living, so take full advance of both. Align yourself with people who can serve as mentors and sponsors of your chosen life path (after basic competence, life is all about relationships), to help you open doors and make introductions that will be beneficial to your future. Once you graduate, repeat this cycle, but this time it is you helping someone else with items 1-13.
- Do what you are passionate about. You will stink at everything else.
- Match your passion with a job description, and then pick your major in response to that match.
- Remember that college is your pre-paid R&D for life. Don't waste it at parties you don't even remember.
- College is about the only time a grown man is still considered 'cute and adorable' -- take advantage of how weak kneed every successful adult is around you by asking for something meaningful -- like a business internship at their company for the summer.
- Have more questions than answers. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen more than you talk. You can be smarty pants later.
Parts of my 'advise' to college students can be found in my friend Lauren Young's article containing counsel from me and other leaders here at Reuters.
Operation HOPE offers its own custom curriculum and financial literacy programming for college students, called Banking on Our Future, College Edition. This program is currently offered at more than 30 HBCUs and other college campuses across the country.