The Best Advice for New Graduates

June 04, 2014 3 min read

Since we revamped the Novedge Blog over a year ago, we have asked many of our interviewees to share the best advice they ever received in their career, or to share what they would tell their younger selves if they could go back in time. 

I put together a selection of some of my favorite pieces of advice, the kind I wish I had when I graduated. Enjoy.

Traci Lesneski__maplegrove_020

Photo by Lara Swimmer Photography

Neal Pann: As I was leaving for college I asked a colleague what it was like. He told me it was the best of times and the worst of times all at the same time. I did not understand what he meant, but after college I knew exactly what he meant and he was right.

Al Boardman: I don’t really subscribe to the Jobsian philosophy of ‘do what you love and don’t settle for anything less’. I think it’s an idealistic way of looking at things and bad advice for anyone looking to break into the creative industry (or any industry frankly). We all do things that we don’t love, it’s a basic requirement of work. The trick is finding a reasonable balance.

Dave Alpert: Patience. I am a man of action and sometimes it’s better to take it more slowly and give it more thought. And open-mindedness. I once delayed joining a well-known firm because I heard it was a stiff, corporate, design mill. It turned out to be one of the most satisfying firms that I ever worked with, full of wonderful people designing timeless buildings with integrity. As for the corporate atmosphere, I discovered that there was plenty of tolerance for someone as un-corporate as me. 

Glenn Rescalvo: “Be a better listener”. Time and time again, I tell myself to listen harder and longer, even if it’s painful. I always learn something new.


Matthew Hufft: I would advise anyone that thinks they want to own their own firm, to take classes in business. Not only will you gain insight into how to look at numbers, you probably will find a client or two.

Mark R. LePage: My parents often told me as a child… work hard and you’ll achieve whatever your want to achieve. That advice is still the best advice I have ever received. Failure is not thrust upon us. Success is a choice. I work hard, embrace the psychology of success, and good things happen. 

Veronika Nedecka:Don’t be afraid to have goals. When I was 12, my grandmother asked me, what I wanted to be when I grew up, what I wanted to have and what I wanted to reach. At that time I realized that it is enormously important to set a goal and to go for it. 

Angela Mazzi: Seek out a mentor/coach, instead of passively hoping one would show up, be more clear with employers about what you expect in terms of career opportunities (timetable included) and LEAVE if you are not getting those needs met instead of thinking that you just need to keep working harder and accomplishing more things peripherally. If it seems like it’s asking too much to want to play big, you are working for the wrong people.

Kimberly N. Dowdell: Life is like an investment. While it will certainly have its ups and downs through the years, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. In particular, I strongly believe in mentorship and investing time with both mentors and mentees. We always have something more to learn and we always have something to teach.


Milana Huang: Personal skills of collaboration, communication, and being a problem solver are always in demand. 

Traci Lesneski: Be a whole person, and your work will be better for it, not worse. In other words, cultivate relationships and passions and make time for family and friends.

Cary Bernstein: Learn how to learn. Throughout life and work, there will always be things you don’t know but you have to know how to find out the information and solve the problem without someone handing you the answer.

Is there anything else you’d like to add to this? Leave a comment!

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