To The LUMS Graduating Batch of 2017

With the final exams looming above your heads, I understand that you, the class of 2017, are looking forward to the pinnacle of your undergraduate life: Graduation. First, I would like to congratulate you for reaching this milestone. This is truly something to celebrate and pat yourselves on the back for. The thought that there won’t be any more exams in the near future, the prospect of starting out your career in companies both small and big, the excitement of pursuing an entrepreneurial career or preparing to study abroad is quite thrilling. Yet I am guessing that right now, most of you are like:

The feeling is mutual.

It is understandable. All the preceding batches had the exact same feeling. University life is among the most cherished experiences in life. Making unforgettable memories, participating in extracurriculars, meeting new friends, enjoying concerts, parties, and becoming who you intended to become from the four years spent on this campus. It is an enriching experience. Now, I am going to ask you to hold on to this feeling as I attempt to prepare you for the rollercoaster of a ride that is about to hit you next: Life.

Without romanticizing much, it is the right time to explain what it feels like after you exit the grandiose campus officially. You are going to miss it; whether you hated the faculty, the hostels, the faulty elevators, the dreaded SSE building, the convoluted academic block, the bland PDC food — you are still going to miss it nonetheless. While I am blessed with free food at work everyday, trust me I would love to dig in some black pepper chicken at PDC any day.

Those who don’t live in Lahore are soon going to find themselves feeling terrible about the fact that their friends in Lahore can visit the place whenever they want to. My friends get jealous when I deliberately Snapchat pictures of the campus whenever I get the opportunity to visit it. It’s a shot of nostalgia each time you muster up the energy to visit LUMS after work. It feels great but for a fleeting period of time.

As a millennial, I think it is almost vital to state that you don’t always get what you want. Geniuses and the not-so-intellectually-blessed alike are struggling. I would highly recommend you watch Simon Sinek’s video if you haven’t already. It will crush your bubble and it should, as early as possible. The key takeaway from the video is that young adults need to develop patience. It is a common belief Luminites hold that they will start earning a six figure salary almost instantly. To that, I can only say it is a farcical thought to have! It is the bubble designed to give you that illusion. It is time to exit that bubble because it is never going to come that easy.

As a motivator, its goes without saying that there is always a bright side to this. I believe in the clichéd line of the grass being greener on the other side. It indeed is. During those 9–5 routines, you might feel enveloped in depression and loneliness but know that you have a family that loves you, and is waiting for you back home. Never forget that your family will be with you through thick and thin. Good times are always around — you just have to be a little patient and clever. One of my friends advised me to take a day off at any random working day each month. You wouldn’t believe the peace of mind I achieved by doing that. It is okay to not go for this, I am just putting it out there.

Holiday/Weekend vibes be like.

An important advice I think everyone should internalize is to be kind. To be kind means to show empathy towards you peers and colleagues belonging to different backgrounds, ethnicities, religion, financial stature and/or those who have disabilities. Some of us may not choose to accept his fact but we are a privileged lot. Not everyone gets to achieve a top-class education from an institute like LUMS. The experience in itself matters, both the good and the bad. These very experiences create the person that is you.

Moreover, it is vital to be humble when interacting with people who are different from you. They may have differing ideologies and philosophies. You might even face a bit of a shock but always be keen to participate in fruitful, constructive discussions with these individuals. Make your opinion matter, and you’ll reach places soon enough.

Already having mentioned that you, the batch of 2017 are graduating from a university that has set the bar for achieving several accolades in multiple regions in the world, people consider you to be the crème de la crème of Pakistan. You have potential even during times you feel you lag behind somewhere. While some of you may beg to differ, no one is perfect. You just have to find your niche, but you will have to work your way towards finding it. You embrace the grind to become a better version of yourself every step of the way. Do not hesitate to pause for a brief moment of reflection. Meditate at some point in the day. Get a little philosophical on your part and form your own opinion, which I believe is one of the best things LUMS has taught you. Realize that it is important to stand out among your peers rather than becoming just another brick in the wall.

Yet, we are only human. Having a little fun along the way is a must to rid yourself of stress and anxiety.

Another advice, which goes without saying is to make time. For friends, family, mentors, protégés, pen friends. I felt this movie line encapsulates the feeling as a whole:

Movie — Before Midnight (2013)

Time is of the essence. Time is money. Time is everything. Social interactions become limited and much-awaited reunions will be cumbersome to organize. Social media activity will also reduce and most posts you see will either comprise of memes or job postings. It goes without saying memes are eternal but do make an effort to connect with your friends. A simple gesture of texting your friend about their day goes a long way in improving their mood. As I mentioned earlier about millennials: It takes time to discipline yourself and follow a schedule to divide work and play. If you are able to achieve that, kudos to you!

Important note about friends: Know that a big chunk of the people you meet on campus are mostly acquaintances. Most of these bonds are going to fizzle out. It is normal. Do not put an effort in these relationships. Focus on friendships with people whose life you are making an impact on. Some bonds with fellow Luminites form after you graduate since your conversations are not bound by class notes, exams, assignments and societies anymore. People get to know the real person, the real you. If you possess knowledge about the Vikings of Iceland or about an up and coming indie band, talk about those. Interesting topics make memorable conversations.

Well, I have rambled on long enough and by now you must be wondering why this bozo is dishing out advice fresh out of college himself. Yes, I am only one year into the journey myself but somebody has to let the next cohort of professionals/artists/entrepreneurs/activists know what to expect in the very near future. I tried to depict a non-sugarcoated version and in no way intend to demotivate anyone. There is much to look forward to. However, the notion that post-graduation life will be a breeze is not true. A plethora of challenges will always await you but do try to take them head on and give it your best. Just remember not to lose yourself along the way. You matter. Your health and your well-being matters. Take care of it since it is the only one.

Loads of opportunities await you, continue to learn new things, do not hesitate to reach out to your mentors/seniors, connect with your loved ones every now and then but most importantly remember to live. God Speed to all of you!

Yass, you can!

Hamza Mahmood
LUMS CS Batch, 2016

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Business Solutions @Voiant. Solving problems for humanity through design. I sometimes write for Startup Grind and UX Collective. Twitter: @mahmooyo

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Hamza Mahmood

Hamza Mahmood

Business Solutions @Voiant. Solving problems for humanity through design. I sometimes write for Startup Grind and UX Collective. Twitter: @mahmooyo

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