By Santiago Ortiz (10th semester FIGRI student)
I believe every start in our lives can be difficult, sometimes because nobody tells us what to do or how to be in some particular situations, and other times just because of the way we are. However, there are two special beginnings in our lives at university and at work, which I would like to mention because they are important for almost everybody. I want to give you some advice to make those situations less traumatic, based on my own experience.
Firstly, when you begin studying at university, there are some tips you should take into account to make this start easier. The people who you will find at university are very different from the people you used to be with at school, and for that reason you should be open-minded and make many friends, without caring about what they look like. There is nothing more traumatic than being alone, because your fear will not let you be. If you have a good group of friends, you will feel confident and you can figure out the new and weird problems you will face. In addition, a good group of friends will help you study for hard exams, because I am sure that the last year of your school wasn´t as difficult.
Another piece of advice I would like to give you is to be very organized because you will have a lot of homework and projects, and if you do not have a good method, you will not use your time well. In my own experience, I found support in a female friend. Usually, girls are more responsible and organized than men, and she helped me to remember important dates and study for exams.
It is not only a good idea to be more responsible, but also to build strong relationships with others. I would like to give you other little tips for your university life. You have to think you are going to be at least five years with your classmates, so it will be better if you build a good relationship with them. You must not lie about yourself, about your economic situation, or try to be someone different, because your classmates will have enough time to know everything about you. Likewise, the relationship with your teachers is also very important because a lot of them are very well-known, intelligent and experienced people. Not only can they help you at university, but they can help you in the future to get a good job or to advise you in your personal projects. Don’t be afraid of speaking with your teachers because they are regular people and most of them are very paternal and pleasant. If you follow this advice, you will have a great time at university.
Moving on, below there are some pieces of advice for your first job that I have learnt myself. These are handy tips that everyone should know and make use of. I wish somebody had told me these before I started working, because this way, I would not have learnt them the hard way, and I would not have made so many awful mistakes. The following advice is not only applicable for work, but also for life.
Be humble. If you are one of those guys that graduated Suma Cum Laude and think you know everything, and you want to improve the way they do things in the office, I’ve got some advice for you. Forget about everything! What you are going to learn at work comes from experience rather than academia. It is the way things work in real life; it is not like in the classroom. Although knowledge should always be valued, don’t close your mind, so you can be easily be taught the new things that will complement you. There is nothing as annoying as a new person that wants to show off by correcting a current employee! I found out this when my colleague Andrés, the new intern, was hired.
Work hard, especially if your boss is a generation older than you. Bosses tend to dedicate a great part of their lives and goals to the company. They do not expect you to be a regular person, but a working machine that only has one focus: to generate profits for the company. Note that this happens more with older bosses. The older they are, the more their lives revolve around the company, and the more they want you to be totally dedicated to work and less to your personal life.
Be a unique, valuable asset. We all are good at something and we all have different skills. Your goal is to find out how you can apply those skills in your daily work. The important thing to have in mind is that you do not want to try to change the core of these things; just basic, slight improvements. Sometimes you will need to ask your boss or your colleague before making a change, so be aware of this. You can also express your ideas in workgroup conversations. Just use your wisdom and prudence before making a change and you will be fine. I hope these tips will be of great help in your life, because if you have a good beginning, you will have a good ending.