Yesterday was a very interesting day for me. I went for campus drive of an engineering college nearby, as a recruiter. 54 anxious students were sitting in front of me eager to listen to what my company is all about and why it makes sense to join us. The online tests, GD and interviews carried on for the whole day. We had reached the college by 10 in the morning and left only by 10 in the night.
I am not sure how they found the process but for me, it took me back to my days of engineering. More than anything else, I saw myself in them. As a naive 21 year old, I was just like them - anxious about future, unsure about what I want to do and still comfortably living in the safe settings of my college and carefree teenage. Truly, these are times that never come back. So now that almost a decade has gone past, I definitely have a better sense of things and I believe most of these youngsters will also get it, once they are my age.
In the meanwhile, I felt some free advice for people in their 20s won't harm. :) Here's what I feel you should do definitely do in your 20s :
1. Learn the right attitude
This is according to me is the most important thing you could do. Develop the right attitude in life. Working hard, being sincere, honest, accommodating and professional are all habits that will carry you for rest of your life. It takes time and effort to know and develop what is the right way. Invest your time in reading about them and develop them. From here on, it is your attitude that takes you forward than your skill. Work on it. It'll pay you back for life.
2. Learn personal finance
Like it or not, Money plays an important factor in life. It's great to follow passion and all the noise around it. But if you are not financially secure you can never be completely free to do what you want. Good financial knowledge is like a safety net, you'll always know to manage your money irrespective of your income. It becomes more and more important as you go further in life. It's easy and an early step will reap immense benefits for you in future. So learn personal finance and secure your life.
3. Travel often
Traveling opens up new perspectives. So go ahead, visit as many new places as you can. Explore at least one new place every year. Learn about the people there, their culture and their lifestyles. It will make you more mature, more understanding of cultural diversity and essentially make you a complete person. It is easiest to do these travels when you don't have many responsibilities.
4. Explore art and literature
I know the first feeling that comes in mind when we hear the words - literature or art, but I do not necessarily mean the artsy, boring, off-beat branch of popular streams. What I mean is to explore more movies, music, literature and other forms of art. You could do it by trying out the classics in any genre or simply taking up the most popular ones of the genre. You don't need force yourself. Explore different genres, see what piques your interest and give it a try. Movies, music and other forms of art are a culmination of hundreds, if not thousands of years of human expression. They teach us more about life than any science textbook ever can.
5. Learn a new skill every year
Learn a new skill every year. Anything - from a new language to paragliding, a new instrument or baking. Don't restrict yourself, go ahead and push your boundaries. If you do that from the age of 20, you would have 10 new skills by 30 ! If you don't like it you can always give it up. But don't give up before you try.
6. Write more
A lot of your time will go into introspecting what you want to do in your life. And it helps when you start writing your thoughts down. Writing gives you more clarity in your thoughts. It helps you express better. You need not publish it anywhere, even a simple habit of keeping diary would help immensely. If not daily, just write occasionally when you feel like but do try it and see the difference.
7. Take care of your health
There was an article where I read an interesting question : "Imagine if you purchased a car, never to sell it or change it and to use it throughout your life - how would you maintain it ?" You would take good care, do proper servicing regularly, give it good unadulterated fuel, keep the engine clean and so on. Right ?
Your body is one such car. Take care of it in your 20s - you'll see the benefits coming soon.
8. Fall in love
Getting in a relationship is one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences. Even if it doesn't work out in the end, the experience itself makes you more mature as a person. So, don't hesitate - socialize, get to know more people and if you get a chance - fall in love. :)
Most importantly, enjoy the process.
With warm wishes