Inspiration from a 9-Year Old and a Cardboard Arcade

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the future.  Could it be that in just three short weeks I’ll be thrown in to the “real world” of post-graduate life?  I certainly think so.  It could also be that I spent 10 short minutes watching the story of a young boy who has worked really hard at fulfilling his dream, even though most didn’t believe in him.  Who knew a 9-year old could build a functioning arcade out of cardboard boxes?!

And strangely enough it got me thinking about what graduation really means these days, with all of our young minds at least somewhat occupied with how “bad” the economy is.  (Even if I have no idea what that really means, or why the guy on NPR insists on telling me that the Dow has moved 0.00000000001 points down today.)

Unfortunately for many students graduating today, it means that we are worried about finding a good job – one that can support us and provide enough money to pay the bills, our student loans, and if we’re really lucky, give us health insurance.  What often gets lost in the frantic search for gainful employment is focusing on what really drives us – what makes us get up in the morning and feel excited to start a new day.  When we’re filling out the many boxes on each job application and crafting the perfect cover letter (hopefully free of typos), we forget why we chose our major or our degree in the first place.

Yes, it isn’t always possible to find a job that makes you feel that way, especially with the financial realities that are an annoying part of life.  In fact, it’s a luxury that many around the world don’t have any control over.  But even if you can’t get it from a job, try looking for that satisfaction elsewhere – like in a volunteer position or and activity you do with your friends or family.

So I would encourage you to think hard about what it is that you really want to do after graduation, and how you can work to get there.  Write it down.  Talk it out with a friend and have them hold you accountable.  Set up a meeting with a person you admire and ask how they got where they are now.  Think about it.

And if you find yourself feeling discouraged, watch Caine’s story and get inspired.

What kind of cardboard dream will YOU build?

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