When Steve Jobs of Apple gave the commencement address at Stanford in 2005, the transcript made its way around cyberspace in a flurry of forwards. But nearly five years later, I wonder how many of today's high school students (and parents) have read it. I think it's worth it, so I'm posting it here.
For high school students, I see three direct parallels between his advice and your college planning.
1. Don't expect that you can plan your entire future in advance. You can't draw a line forward that perfectly predicts what your life will be in 5 or 10 or 50 years. But once you're there, you'll be able to draw a line backwards to see how it happened. It will make sense when you look back. I can't tell you how many successful people, some famous and some not, describe what was a somewhat uncharted and surprising route that brought them where to they are today. In the meantime, you just have to work hard, trust yourself, and follow the next two guidelines. So don't try to convince yourself that the only way you'll ever be happy and successful is to go to one particular college–there are lots of different routes and colleges that can get you where you're meant to go.
2. Make your most important goal to find what you love. From your high school activities, to your chosen college, to your college major, to your post college career choice, find what you love. Don't spend your time doing something just because you think you should be doing it.
3. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. Don't choose a college just because it's famous or because your friends are going. Listen to yourself and go where you want to go. As Jobs says,
"Your heart and intuition already know what you want to become. Everything else is secondary."
If you were ever looking for advice about how to be successful, Steve Jobs seems like a good source. And he never even graduated from college.