Just graduated? Here are 18 real-life tips to remember

“The greatest Jewish tradition is to laugh. The cornerstone of Jewish survival has always been to find humor in life and in ourselves”
(Courtesy: 0R8A1566/Flickr)

Mazel tov — you made it! And in a global pandemic, no less! It’s no small feat. Charting this new path forward into the ‘real world’ can be overwhelming, so I’ve asked the Unpacked team to share some of their best advice for post-grad life. Real people who were once in your shoes. Plus, I had to sprinkle in some wisdom from our sages and favorite Jewish celebs. Honestly, this is unsolicited life advice that anyone — not just new grads — could benefit from.

  1. “It took me a long time to realize that I needed to pray for courage. The courage to listen to myself, the courage to listen to others, and the courage to accept what was on the other side of that. Courage will give you the tools to seek wisdom and grace. So I encourage you to find your courage to carry on in the face of adversity and disappointment.” – John Kunza, Publisher, Class of 2006
  2. “The most fulfilling things I’ve experienced have truly been the human interactions … helping others ends up helping you more than anyone. Getting out of your own concerns and caring about someone else’s life for a while reminds you that you are not the center of the universe and that in the ways we are generous, or not, we can change the course of someone’s life” – Natalie Portman
  1. “I’m a fan of this idea… ‘instead of living a life with expectations, live a life with appreciation. Pessimists and optimists die the same death, but they live very different lives.” – Noam Weissman, Senior Vice President, Class of 2008
  2. “Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” – Abraham Joshua Heschel
  3. “If you are someone who wants to really love the work you do, make sure you stay realistic. Identify the type of work that you love, and then look at how you can pursue that as part of a career where you can earn a good income and gain expertise in a specific skill set. Follow your “head” and your heart!” – Sara Himeles, Educational Intern
  4. “Embrace the unexpected. Don’t get so hung up on expectations, on the image you have in your head of what your life will be in 10 years. Looking back, I’m a completely different person now than I was then. I made so many different choices than I ever thought I would and I still feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.” – Abigail Ellis, Social Media Manager, Class of 2013
  5. “We each decide whether to make ourselves learned or ignorant, compassionate or cruel, generous or miserly. No one forces us. No one decides for us, no one drags us along one path or the other. We are responsible for what we are.” – Maimonides
  6. “The best advice my father told me when I started working was to make myself indispensable — take a job and then learn how to do something that no one else can do there” – Unpacked staff
  7. “Life is short. You’ve just got to play, dance, experiment, fail, succeed, learn, give.” – Barbra Streisand 
  8. “Don’t be afraid to speak up when you think you can do something better. Don’t ever be afraid to ask how to do something even if you’re asking a second or third time. Try to learn something new every day” – Simone Katz, Chief Marketing Officer, Class of 2002
  9. “Even in darkness it is possible to create light,” – Elie Wiesel
  10. “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”Albert Einstein
  1. “Live within your means! When you start getting a paycheck, it’s so tempting to take Ubers, get coffee and brunch, and live in fancy expensive apartments in cool neighborhoods. But if you instead invest that money, max out retirement accounts, and live frugally…it will absolutely change your life – Rivky Stern, Podcast Producer, Class of 2011
  2. “So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.” – Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  1. “Take a deep breath. You don’t need to have your entire life figured out right now. What do you love? What are you passionate about? What makes you feel fulfilled in your life? Now one step at a time, using your knowledge, experience and those around you who you trust, find a way to turn that into a living. #trusttheprocess” – Avi Posen, Assistant Director of Education, Class of 2010
  2. “The greatest Jewish tradition is to laugh. The cornerstone of Jewish survival has always been to find humor in life and in ourselves” – Jerry Seinfeld
  3. “There are two ways to live. You can live as if nothing is a miracle or you can live as if everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
  4. “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl