WEDNESDAY, 18 FEBRUARY 2004
What would be my advice to teenagers and students before they make critical decisions in their lives?
I would say: Get to know yourself in a variety of situations and in dealing with a wide range of people, and ask yourself how and where you want to fit into the larger community. Think about what you want out of life. Consider the reasons and motivations why you want to pursue those particular things, and why you want to fit into the community in a particular way.
You do not necessarily need to sort out all these things decisively and conclusively before you embark on any journey – study, work or anything else, but do not delay this process to a distant “someday”.
Lastly, think, and think again, before you accumulate financial debt before you have sorted these issues out. And if you’re in the habit of avoiding debt as much as possible, why spoil a good thing?
[Is there a foolproof recipe teenagers and students can follow?
Probably not. The things I mentioned in the preceding paragraphs might be sound advice, but it’s also easy to verbalise when it’s someone else’s time to do it.
In the end everyone has to make mistakes, and sometimes it takes years before people have sorted out the above-mentioned issues well enough to be able to say: “This is who I am. This is where I want to be. This is what I want to do. This is what I want out of life, and these are the reasons why.”
The most valuable practical advice, considering the fact that it may take years to find or formulate proper answers to important questions, is actually something that everyone should already know: avoid debt.]