It was a day 33 years in the making, and well worth the wait. I graduated from the University of Virginia in 1979, and though I've given a number of commencement speeches since, I finally got my chance to speak at my alma mater this past weekend.
While I was researching some themes for the speech, I stumbled on a new book by Dr. Meg Jay, a member of the U.Va. community. She's a clinical psychologist and author of "The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter - And How to Make the Most of Them Now."
It seemed like something I should read before speaking to a bunch of newly minted college grads about to enter the "real world."
First, Dr. Jay points out just how much of our adult lives begins to take shape in the first decade out of college. She says 80% of our defining decisions are made before we're 35, and 70% of lifetime wage growth happens in the first 10 years of our careers. And the book branches into personal life issues, as well. When should a young person consider marriage? Is living together with a partner a good idea?
Nowadays, with jobs being harder to come by and a "30 is the new 20" attitude prevailing, the book argues that too many young adults are waiting to become, well, adults…and that procrastinating the inevitable can have a less-than-desirable long term impact on their lives.
In this episode, I speak to Dr. Jay on the grounds of U.Va. and ask her about some of the mistakes recent college grads make…and how to avoid them!