Jail Break

What advice should a trial lawyer, of 33 years’ experience, offer a Senior who is graduating from the University of Tampa? What have I learned, that you don’t know, and perhaps, should know? Or would want to know?

First, consider your assets of real value. You have an education that you have earned. It is either a good one or a great one. You are responsible for that outcome. You are responsible for the future of that asset. You can either build upon or waste it.

Second, you have time. Time to effectively use your acquired assets to pursue your goals, if well formed…..or to build upon those assets, goal driven or not.

Third, most of you have ambitions.

The likely problems you face are:

First, debt.

Second, peer-induced expectations, usually economic expectations….that is, someone expects you to get a job — now.

Consider this advice.

First: For every day that passes in which you do not build upon the foundation of your education, you will never get it back. When it comes to education, a day is a terrible thing to waste. Take stock at the end of each day and reflect upon something, regardless how small, that you learned. In time, you will become a wise person if you do this. And, you will be well-positioned to recognize wise people and separate them from those who are not. In the main, people do not live to be 90 years old without acquiring some wisdom. Respect your elders and solicit their wisdom. Someday, you will become an elder as well, provided you have been wise.

The wisened learn from the mistakes of others. It is far less painful than having to learn from your own mistakes. The advice of elders can help you avoid mistakes.

Second: How to use your time. Time that has passed can never be recovered and you cannot stop its inexorable march. But you can live well within it and you can plan to live well within it when it arrives.

Consider shaking off your immediate peer-driven expectations in favor of an adventure of education and self-realization. There a few times in your future life that will be able to do so.

Consider, that if you start a job, marry and begin a family, will you be able to grab a field pack and travel Europe or Eurasia on a student’s budget? Probably not, and perhaps never.

I have been a fortunate one, as I have ventured all over the world, traveling to the Far East, and to Europe and North and South of America. I have learned the cultures and sensitivities, to a fair degree, of the societies that inhabit our world. Along the way, I have acquired language skills while establishing friendships world-wide. This has given me a perspective in life that often differs from my colleagues, and allows me to make unique contributions to the teams with which I work and will work. It has enhanced my knowledge, and ultimately, my inventory of wisdom.

It is, therefore, my argument and advice, that if at all possible, make your jail break now. As our friends in Australia call it, you should consider a walk-about. Develop a travel plan that has a sure-fire return plan that can get you home, and then go. This not to say you will ever return, as you may chose not to do so. That is the adventure of life, and its risks.

I think that if you travel this road, alone or perhaps with a team, you will learn how to be resourceful, to improvise and adapt. You will learn the value of developing friends. You will learn how to avoid dangerous circumstances and you will learn how to survive. You will learn what you miss, and you may discover something that you overlooked and want to do with the rest of your life.

But there are two things you will definitely learn. First, your debts will always be there. Even when you own your own home, you have to pay rent for it to the government in the form of taxes. Therefore, do not let debt completely control your life, but learn how to manage it. And, second, peer pressure and expectations will always follow you throughout your life. This, you cannot escape…unless, of course, you have no peers. There is always a little time left to meet the ever-present, ever-demanding expectations of your peers. You are young enough right now to defer those expectations in order to allow you to learn, and decide, what you really want to do with your life. You may be able to accomplish that by removing yourself from that peer-review environment.

So, if I were a young pup graduating in 2010 from the University of Tampa, I would set my sights on a distant land or shore, form a travel and economic plan to go there, and have some fun discovering the world and lives of people I have never met. You will be surprise to discover that they will much in common with you and your ultimate aspirations, and that they see you much differently than you might expect. This, will begin your accumulation of …. wisdom.

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2 Responses to Jail Break

  1. Audrey Schmidt says:

    I think the idea of a “jail break” sounds amazing. My one life goal is to visit all 7 continents before I die. I have 2 under my belt. I have always been the type of person who wants to travel and experience new things, which is why I have lived in a rural Greek village when I was 17, and backpacked across Europe when I was 20. I think that experiencing different cultures is extremely important.

    When I graduate, which is in 3 months (!!!), I have no idea what I want to do. I have a lot of what I don’t want to do. I want to travel, that’s all I know, but I also do have to make an income in which I can support myself. That is the scary part. Seeing places that many never get to see and seeing something completely out of my comfort zone doesn’t faze me in the slightest, but excites me But the thought of not being able to do these things, is what scares me. I’m on the tip of the diving board, ready to jump, but how?

    In January, I am planning on taking that leap of faith and moving to a place I never thought I would move to, Aspen. (I am a Florida native, so the cold is extremely intimidating.) This is going against what I have been taught in school. The path of life in which is the norm, is you graduate and then get an entry level job within your degree field. I don’t want that. I want to be dirt broke and be a bum but enjoying every second of it. I will learn and hopefully figure everything out along the way.

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