Take a moment to think about one of your favorite video games and what you felt when you first started playing. You feel the excitement of just wanting to start the game, but, suddenly, you are hit with the infamous “tutorial.” As much as you might wish to skip the tutorial, remember that it is there for a reason so that you can learn how to play the game.
In this two-part series, I will use the analogy of an open-world video game to depict the journey of life going from a college student to a post-grad. Along the way, I will offer helpful tips and takeaways for navigating these new seasons and transitions.
In the first part of this series, I will talk about how life as a college student is similar to that of a video game tutorial. Let me explain why.
1. You choose your class.
In a lot of games, you are first presented with the option to choose a specific character class. For example, you can choose to be a warrior, wizard, or ranger. This choice allows you to explore different character classes to find out which one you like the most. The same applies to your college experience. You get the opportunity to choose the major that suits you the best in a relatively low-risk environment. Not only do you get to choose you also get to take different classes to try out these different majors to find the one for you. College offers you this opportunity to explore these things similarly to how a tutorial allows you to do the same.
2. Your path is defined.
Once your class is chosen in the tutorial, you are presented with the path and steps you need to take to complete the tutorial. From here on out, all you need to do to succeed is complete the steps that are presented to you. The same can be applied to college. Once you pick your major, you are told which classes you need to take to graduate. There is a very defined path, you know exactly which classes to take, which assignments/projects you need to complete, and the exams that you need to excel at to graduate.
3. You learn foundational concepts.
The above steps and path defined for you in the tutorial exist for a specific purpose. To teach you the basics of how to play the game. It doesn’t teach you everything but just the very basics. The classes and courses you take exist for the same purpose in college. It teaches you the foundational concepts of your specific major and gives you a good understanding of them. The things learned in college are oftentimes only starting points and don’t always paint the full picture of what it’s like after graduating. I will talk more about this in part two.
How to Succeed
Now that I’ve talked a little about how college can be similar to a tutorial in a video game, here are a couple of tips for navigating this season of your life.
1. Make the most out of the tutorial.
The tutorial gives you all the resources you need to obtain a general understanding of the game. Take your time to thoroughly understand these topics. It might be easy to rush through the tutorial, but there is a lot of valuable information that you can miss if you go through them too quickly. Whether you are taking classes or working on homework assignments, put in the effort. This, in turn, will greatly benefit you as you graduate from college and help you be a little more equipped to tackle working life.
2. Explore your options.
The tutorial is the perfect time to explore different options in a relatively lower-risk environment. With so many resources available to you, take advantage of those and explore your options. College is the time to try different things. You might not know what you are passionate about right at the beginning, so take advantage of the opportunity to explore so many different things. Take different classes or try a new club. Those are all opportunities that you have in college to discover your passions. Finding your passions in college can greatly shape and direct your life even after graduating.
3. Enjoy it.
The tutorial is short, so take your time to enjoy it. It might be easy to rush through it just to get to the main game, but there is also a lot of value in taking time to enjoy the tutorial. Just as in the tutorial, you only get one shot to go through this season of college. Once you graduate, you most likely won’t get another chance to go back. Take your time to enjoy college and everything it has to offer. It is such a valuable time to explore your passions and to build strong friendships with those around you that, in a lot of ways, can be more difficult after graduating. Take advantage of this time and make sure to enjoy it.
Finishing the Tutorial
Now that we have wrapped up the tutorial, we can finally move on to the main game. In this scenario, it is the open world. In the next and final part of this series, I will continue the metaphor by talking about life after college as an open-world game. Stay tuned!