A Survival Kit for the Graduates of 2020 from the Author of The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life 

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Elizabeth Segran, author The Rocket Years joins us to offer helpful advice to new graduates about harnessing their creative energies and using them as a launchpad for the rest of their lives. With humor and a lot of research, Segran’s insightful anecdotes capture all the wisdom you wish you were told and will have you racing to get this into the hands of every twentysomething person you know.

If you’re a college senior — or happen to have one in your life — congratulations! The last couple of weeks have been rocky and full of disappointments, but you’ve gotten through it. This is not the graduation anyone had in mind, but it doesn’t diminish the incredible accomplishment. Take a moment to celebrate everything you’ve achieved so far.

Members of the Class of 2020 are coming of age in the midst of a pandemic. I know things look bleak right now, but I believe young people have a lot to look forward to in the years to come. This crisis will eventually pass. And it is this generation that will have the opportunity to pick up the pieces and rebuild the world. They’ll use their talents and passions to launch companies, kickstart social movements, and create the families that will shape the future. During this strange period of self-isolation, they have a moment to pause and ponder what they really want. They can begin charting their course in life.

I’ve spent a lot of time researching the magical, pivotal post-college decade for my new book, The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch The Rest Of Your Life. Our twenties are the period when we write our own origin stories, figure out who we are and what matters to us, and make crucial decisions. My book lays out the big decisions we confront in these years and provides evidence-based advice about how to navigate them.

In many ways, this book is the roadmap I wish I’d had as I was muddling through my career and romantic relationships in my twenties. As a millennial, I entered the job market in the wake of the Great Recession. I have a lot of empathy for today’s twentysomethings who are starting their adult lives in another strange, difficult moment in history. But I believe today’s graduates have many reasons to be hopeful about what is in store for them. Here are some insights about what they can do right now to lay the groundwork for their futures.

  • Don’t Give Up on The Dream Job: In the midst of economic uncertainty, it’s easy to give up on a career that aligns with one’s passions and identity. But I urge everyone to keep searching for deeply satisfying work. During recessions, many young people hop between short-term positions and turn to gig work to pay the bills. These can be opportunities to learn what kind of work they enjoy and to build their resume, which can be stepping-stones to that dream job.
  • Deepen Relationships: Our twenties are an important time to build our lifelong network of friends — the people who will support us in the decades to come. Don’t let this period of social distancing derail relationships. It might feel strange to transition from interacting in person to talking over FaceTime, but it’s worth pushing through the awkwardness because this may lay the foundation for a lifelong friendship.
  • Develop Coping Mechanisms: During this incredibly difficult time, it’s crucial to do things that make us happy. It’s a good time to invest in passion projects, whether that’s playing an instrument or knitting or painting. Research shows that hobbies are a fantastic mechanism for coping with stress, so it’s worth focusing on them now. And many young people become more sedentary in their post-college years. Now might be a good time to develop the fitness routines that will last a lifetime. This is a great way to keep both body and mind healthy during this period.

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