My mind wanders a lot. It’s like a puppy, I have no control over it and sometimes it piddles on the carpet. So I don’t know why I think about this, but sometimes I imagine what I would say if asked to give a speech to graduating college students. My latest version goes like this.
How many of you have played World Of Warcraft? Or any MMO really though, I think they’re probably a lot alike. In WoW you fight monsters and gain experience points, collecting enough experience points causes your character to level up and the higher level you are the stronger you are. When the game first came out the highest level you could possibly achieve was 60.
I was level 58 when the first expansion came out which raised the level cap to 70. So by the time I got to 60 it wasn’t the max level anymore, it was a bit of a bummer. That’s a metaphor for much of my life, every time I get close to achieving something the goal moves farther away. Anyway, people kept telling me I had to get to Max Level. They said the REAL game doesn’t even start until Max Level.
Max Level sounds like a person. “Hello, Max Level I presume? Oh, you’re not? He moved to an office ten floors up? Back to grinding the stairwell then.”
When I did finally reach Max Level the game did change. Suddenly I was being invited to raid dungeons with big groups of people. I was asked to join guilds where lots of people work together to run ever harder boss monsters. Nobody cared what level I was anymore, everybody was Max Level, but the quality of my gear was suddenly the most important thing. Gotta get better gear by running harder dungeons with better groups of players.
I thought when I reached Max Level that the days of progressing were over, I was totally wrong.
You’re graduating college. That’s great. You’re now all Max Level. Suddenly you’re being asked to get jobs in your careers. You’re ready to join Companies where lots of people work together to fight with/against harder bosses. Nobody will care what your grades are anymore everybody is a graduate, but now your job titles or income will be what people focus on. Gotta get better jobs and more money. Because that’s how you progress now. It’s not about “leveling up” to the next grade level or making sure your GPA is high anymore. It’s a completely different game now.
I don’t belong to a raiding guild in WoW. I didn’t enjoy raiding dungeons in groups as much as other people. I do it from time to time and I enjoy it in small doses. But generally, I solo a lot still. I run quests. Collect mounts and vanity items. Play alts. The thing about WoW is there’s so much more to do at Max Level than just dungeons. Hardcore raiders will tell you raiding dungeons is the best part of the game, and for them that’s true it’s what they enjoy most. But there are other things you can do, lots and lots of other things you can do.
Many of you will join big companies and will thrive in that environment, you may enjoy it, and be successful at it. Many of you may find your happiness in other ways. There are jobs that don’t pay as well but are more rewarding emotionally or spiritually.
The thing to know is that the game is changing. Changing drastically. Life is a big game, almost as big as WoW, there’s a lot of choices out there. And the exciting thing is that you’re finally Max Level, you’re finally ready to play the REAL game.