I finished high school NINE years ago, about two weeks after turning 17 and I had my whole life mapped out — I was going to study languages, then film, then go to law school and move to Calgary. Somehow, I thought that the combination of Russian, German, French and a degree in Quebec civil law was my ticket to success. Alas, I was misguided and want to stop this year’s crop of fresh young people from making the same mistakes that I was planning to make at their age.

Your friends are stupid

DO NOT GO TO A COLLEGE BECAUSE THAT’S WHERE YOUR FRIENDS ARE GOING. For the love of God, the school you want to go to is three blocks away. Plus, you probably won’t be friends with these people a year from now anyways and then you’ll be stuck studying in a program that you don’t like and have no friends. Think about why you’re going to a particular school (or going to college at all) before committing yourself to a life path.

Take a year off before making any life decisions

Work a menial job, travel to a new place, learn a new language, move to a different city but OMG, just don’t sit at home and feel bad for yourself and that you’re falling behind your friends. It’s better to take a step back from life for a couple of minutes, think about what you want for your life and then be a year or two behind than it is to race into a field that you have to back track from halfway through. Don’t waste your money and time pursuing something that you’re not 100% happy with.

Work the night shift and make ALL the dollars

You’re going to pay me MORE money, to do LESS work AND give me food and stop me from spending money because I’ll be sleeping while all the shops are open? OMG sign me up!

Meet new people

The people that you went to high school with grew up in the same town as you, had similar experiences as you, come from (more or less) the same socio-economic background as you — how boring can that be? Talk to future doctors, people from Australia, make a new best friend from another city, vacation with an illegal immigrant, talk to someone about how he escaped Iraq — but do not stay in your town, hang out with the same 10 people, inter-date and then get married to someone you’ve known since kindergarten without even looking to see what else the world has to offer.

Here’s the thing — mistakes WILL be made and are, more often then not, fixable. The problem is that mistakes take time and money to fix and, as a PF blogger, I can’t allow you to do that. Figure out what you want to do early on in life and you’ll be much farther ahead at 30 than someone who rushed in without a thought.

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