When Bungee Jumping, OG Bobby Johnson and Spike Lee Aren’t Enough: My Top 10 Jewels for Navigating the Unknown

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When Bungee Jumping, OG Bobby Johnson and Spike Lee Aren’t Enough: My Top 10 Jewels for Navigating the Unknown

Sometimes I forget I graduated from college many, many years ago. Senior year was a blur as I was too busy coaching my VP on carrying out the duties I left to her as the new President of an organization.  I was also trying to finish my thesis that was turning into a ghost hunter mission (don’t ask). Thankfully I graduated but as I transitioned into the “real” world,  I always wished someone  prepared me for the seemingly scary, unknown road ahead.

Last month,  I returned to my alma mater—this time a wiser, smarter and more seasoned alumnae—to present opening remarks  to a group of graduating seniors at the University of Pennsylvania. Delivering this speech reminded me how the fear of the unknown is quite scary for some and can be debilitating for others. Whatever your unknown is, I hope these words will encourage and inspire you to muster the courage to think big and  dream bigger as you navigate through your unknown: 

“As you depart this prestigious university and venture into your next chapter—if you ‘ve figured it out  yet—I do have  a few words to hopefully inspire and encourage you. As I tried to figure out, what words of wisdom to share this morning, I asked my Facebook fam and tweeps for suggestions and advice. Here’s Facebook and Twitter’s Top 10 words of advice for Penn grads:

  1. Keep Learning
  2. Persistence and resilience are the keys to success
  3. You are not special; no one owes you anything ( Now don’t be like Spike Lee and think because you’ve won some great award Hollywood is going to call you and BAM! You’ve made it. And you’re OG Bobby and a boss now! You have to work of what you want and be limitless in what you envision for yourself. NO ONE is going yo give you anything. You must go out there, put in the work and make it happen for yourself!
  4. Live within your means, save your money and I have two words for you: Sallie Mae

    That's me in the back with the Cheshire cat grin... hanging with friends

    That’s me in the back with the Cheshire cat grin… hanging with friends junior year of college


  5. You can make money doing anything so follow your passion and what you enjoy
  6. Don’t be afraid to fail
  7. Asking for help is a sign of strength
  8. Clean up your social media pages, if you haven’t already. You know the pics of you with drinks in hand or the crazy subtweets you sent your ex after last week’s Kappa party–get rid of anything you wouldn’t want your parents or priest to see.
  9. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have
  10. Get a few mentors because you will need them

I’d also add your reputation precedes you, so be kind to others. And lastly, be who you say you are and do what you say you are going to do. There is nothing more powerful and genuine than being a person of your word to others and yourself.

Now, you will get a lot of advice this weekend. And on Monday you’ll hear how important it is to live your dreams. You can accomplish anything and that you are enough: you are smart enough, you are talented enough—you are enough.   And yes, it’s all true.  You will have many doubts but I am hear to tell you, it’s ok to be afraid. However don’t allow your fears to cripple you…ride the waves and realize you will survive the unknown! Live life and enjoy it! Travel the world; learn another language or if you are adventurous like me, jump the 2nd highest bungee jump in the world in New Zealand! I mean, who knew I’d do that?! I surely didn’t. Most of all, have faith in yourself and your dreams. I look forward to seeing you in the alumni society and many, many congratulations!”

How do you handle transitions? What would be in your top 10 list of advice?


 Onyx Finney is CEO of The Creative Nous

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  1. Jill
    June 19, 2014

    Very good. I like it! YAY!

  2. LaNeshe (Nesheaholic.com)
    June 19, 2014

    I think this is a great list!

    • Onyx
      June 19, 2014

      Thanks LaNeshe!!

      • Essie Miller
        July 10, 2014

        Hi Onyx,

        You did great, I like the 10 points. I am going to share this with my Grad from Fort Valley University. Keep up the good work.

        • Onyx
          July 28, 2014

          Thanks so much Essie! Please do!

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