What Advice Do You Have?
Updated: Apr 3, 2019
What advice do you have for someone in College?
Over the last month, I have been asked this by two different people that are going through college right now.
I started out in college unsure of my direction. I went to a community college out of high school after a science teacher in high school did a lot to discourage my dreams of being a marine biologist.
I had a phenomenal speech teacher named RE Davis. I took his speech class and afterwards was determined to take any class that man taught no matter what the topic.
What else did RE teach?
He was in charge of the theatre department.
He also convinced every person in the program that IF they wanted to do theatre professionally, they had the capability of doing it. I was convinced and I went on to a university on a theatre scholarship.
Acting and being in front of a crowd wasn't my thing, but I spent many evenings working on building sets and learning technical theatre. I did carpentry, electrics, dealt with budgets and multitudes of personalities. It was like small business class. My senior thesis was directing the build of a set (done by the other students in the program) without building anything myself. I was fully absorbed in the threatre world and had little contact with people outside that department.
I wish I could have bottled that drive that took me out of Arkansas to professional theatres in Florida and Upstate New York, and applied it to other dreams and ideas that came up as I left the world of theatre.
I moved from Albany, New York to Texas to help my brother out and be near my aging grandparents. The economy had changed from when I was in college and simply heading out and applying for a job didn't guarantee you a position.
I had done some work in apartments before moving from New York and wanted to continue that. My resume was packed with theatre experience and no one was eager to take a chance on me. I had no network of people to call on for help or advice. I worked a few temp jobs, then waited tables.
I read a real estate book that had me thinking about getting into purchasing houses. My Aunt even set me up in a meeting with friends of hers that were doing live-in flips.
I didn't have much money saved up and didn't take action on anything related to real estate at that point.
I moved to the California Bay Area as relations strained with my brother. I had a friend out here that said the economy was great and I would love the area. I took the saved money I had and made the move.
I was working within a week of arriving and kept busy until I ended up taking care of a large condominium complex. I was still interested in real estate. At that point the market was hot and we were close to the subprime meltdown.
Real estate took a dive, I had savings, and I did nothing.
No action, none of that 'I can do this if I decide to' attitude that RE had instilled in his theatre class.
I learned a lot on the job and built skills at the condos that help me today. I didn't do a lot outside of that work at time for financial self improvement. I pursued karate and studied Japanese.
I married and continued to take no action until my wife asked a friend at a Thanksgiving party, that worked with a title company, about if it was even realistic to think of purchasing a house in the Bay Area. That friend told us to take action immediately going for a home purchase since prices were recovering and we did.
I changed companies after over 8 years of time with two different condo complexes. I learned a lot about buildings over that time. I reached a point long before I left where there wasn't the opportunity to do more or grow with that company. The day to day was more comfortable than the unknown. It took the financial strain of adding a kid to our household to wake up and realize that comfortable was unsustainable.
Moving up to a company that I could grow with and my skills were appreciated and compensated was a huge relief. Another person in the new company helped me get the education I needed to analyze apartment deals. I also listed to an audio on success that switched on something that had been dormant in me for a long time.
My wife and I looked at markets, analyzed numbers, and done overnight travel to find something that works for an investment. We made things work and now have apartments that we own. This isn't the end and it certainly isn't a trophy to hold up, but it is progress in the right direction.
I would have liked to have taken action ages ago. I would have liked to have the drive to continue to better myself and to continue to be responsible for my financial situation once I was in the routine of adult life.
So, what advice do I have for someone in college?
1. Take action on whatever you decide you want to pursue
2. Continue to build skills that can return value to you and those around you after college
3. Build a network of people and contacts while in college
The network of people is somewhat underappreciated and so important, especially in real estate success. That is one of the reasons that Tci Building Services has the option to put together area contacts for services that a property owner may need to call on that are all verified to answer the phone, respond, and serve the particular building type that you own.
What advice do YOU have for someone that is in college?