There are certain actions you take without question. Kind of like when a police officer jumps in front of you on Alafaya Woods Blvd and holds up his hand. You stop!…or pull into the lot behind Publix…UGH!

Anyway, if a Chief HR Officer says, “Hey, new employees, do this stuff.” My guess is most of you would be inclined to do what she says. She is, after all, the person who is charged with making the company’s “Human Resources” productive. Feel free to disagree with her direction at your own peril the same way you argued with your professor about a disagreement with a topic they’ve researched and studied for the past 30ish years. You’ll soon be back on your sofa playing Left For Dead with your other principled..but stupid and unemployed…friends.

That’s why I read with interest the advice Ellyn Shook, CHRO with Accenture was giving new grads just starting their career ( She’s been with Acceture 26 years so I’m guessing she kinda knows how to navigate a successful career. No one starts off at CHRO, they don’t suck and get promoted to that position. Cool thing about her advice is that you are already doing it. Or at least you should be!

First, as a student at one of the largest Universities in the world you have the opportunity to meet the widest variety of people you ever will at any point in your life. You will work with other students on teams. You have 20 different student organizations to choose from just in the college. You will sit next to people in class, see them in the Student Union, and stand in line behind them at Einsteins. SAY HELLO! Begin to develop your network at Welcome to the Major. Broaden it by joining a club. Deepen it by getting involved in campus activities.

You will take classes from a variety of professors. You will work on teams with people from all over the state, nation, ad world. Ask them what they think about stuff. Tell them what you think about stuff. Purposely engage people who may not agree with you. Don’t argue with them, talk to them. Listen. This isn’t the O’Reilly Factor, jerkwad. Treat it like the PBS Newshour. You may learn something that makes you smarter.

Get your money’s worth from your classes. Do you wait until an exam to watch all your lectures and go take the test. Or are you actually reading and keeping up? Seriously, you paid money for the class. You don’t pay for a movie then go at the very end to see how it ends. Or buy a meal just to show up and ask people how it tasted. Go to lecture (they have seats!) Read the book. Read other books. Keep reading books. Get to the point where you can pick out themes in other books. Anyone can read “Who Moved My Cheese” and learn something about change management. Come see me when you can identify the three stages of change in Kafka’s “Metamophosis” (See my earlier blog!)

Keep learning. No one leaves college with the same skill set they had when they arrived as freshmen. The same way you grew skills in high school, middle school, and elementary school. You have been engaged in continuous learning your entire time here. Figure out what worked for you and keep doing that.

Your time in school is only partially taken up with lectures and studying. Students work, they go out, they study abroad, they do internships, they work part-time jobs, they volunteer, they hang out at Burger U and eat french fries with some hot girl from their Cornerstone class. In other words, they lead lives outside of BA 1 & 2. Keep doing that after your graduate. Discover a passion in school and continue to dedicate time to it after graduation. Find a purpose, keep a purpose, make a difference.

So…what are you gonna do when you grow up? Hopefully the same thing you’re doing now!