Congratulations, You've Graduated. Time to Burn Your Textbooks and Embrace the Unknown.

Class of 2012, you’ve heard it before: you will graduate into a world transformed by the global financial crisis. Unemployment among young people is at its highest rate since WWII, and the average 22-year-old now enters adulthood with $23,000 in debt. The total amount owed by students in the U.S. has reached the trillion dollar mark, surpassing the amount owed on credit cards. “Follow your passion,” while hard to argue with, is an inadequate career plan.


But times of uncertainty are also times of immense opportunity for those who can turn obstacles into advantages. It’s no accident that one of the most innovative companies in history, HP, was born in a garage in Palo Alto during the Great Depression. Or that Microsoft was founded by Harvard dropout Bill Gates in 1975, a time of high interest rates and low investment. (CNN and MTV both debuted during the economic slump of the 1980s.)

The Millennial generation, with its entrepreneurialism, tech savvy, and passion for all things social, is likewise poised to succeed in an atmosphere of disruption. As the first real digital natives, you have as much to offer your future employers as you have to learn from them.

And we want to help. We've put together a nine-week online course called Big Think's Summer School for the Real World, which will bring you advice from the world's leading experts, helping you to develop the skills you possess and build the ones you’ll need to thrive in the 21st century workplace. You'll get a crash course on the essential knowledge they never provided in lecture hall and the critical skills not found on any syllabus, featuring, among others:

  • PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel on how to think beyond professional tracks to set yourself apart from the crowd
  • Ken Segall, designer of Apple’s “Think Different” campaign on crafting the perfect pitch to get your foot in the door
  • The New Yorker writer Malcolm Gladwell on the secret of his professional success
  • Warren Littlefield, the man behind NBC’s Friends, ER, and Seinfeld on achieving your goals
  • Michael Ellsberg, author of The Education of Millionaires, on the power of networking and persuasion to help you defy even the grimmest prospects 
  • Anthony Scaramucci, founder and managing partner of Skybridge Capital, on the essentials of success in the world of finance
  • You can access the course for free. Content will be posted at midnight every Monday morning. Sometimes job-seeking can be a full time job, and Big Think’s Summer School for the Real World offers the guidance you need to master it. Class starts June 11, 2012.

    LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

    Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

    Getty Images
    Sponsored
    Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

    No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

    Keep reading Show less

    Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

    A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

    Public Domain
    Mind & Brain
    • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
    • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
    • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
    Keep reading Show less

    Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

    The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

    NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
    Personal Growth
    • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
    • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
    • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
    Keep reading Show less

    Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

    Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

    YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
    • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
    • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
    Keep reading Show less