Meg Jay comes to USC, gives important takeaways on twentysomethings

by Whitney Smith 

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, students, faculty and staff listened intently as Dr. Meg Jay delivered the much-anticipated lecture explaining what psychologists, sociologists, neurologists, reproductive specialists, human resources executives, and economists know about the unique power of our twenties and how they change our lives.

Program Coordinator for Faculty Development and Assessment for University 101 Programs, Kevin Clarke said, “My biggest takeaway from the lecture was that Meg Jay is promoting intentionality and mindfulness, with the belief, and the data that suggests, that by being more mindful and intentional, we’ll be happier in all aspects of our lives.”

Clarke and the hundreds of others in attendance listened and related to Jay’s insistence that thirty is not the twenty and that our twenties are a time when the things we do- and the things we don’t do- will have an enormous effect across years to come.MegJay

Jay urged twentysomethings to make intentional and productive mistakes and that doing something is better than doing nothing. Doing nothing because we fear failure is a huge mistake and intentionality should supersede that fear. She also asserted that twentysomethings should strive for intentional decisions that align with individual goals and values, not what twentysomethings think they are “supposed” to do.

During her presentation, Jay shared a quote that contained wisdom from an unlikely source- a fortune cookie. The fortune read “a wise man makes his own luck.” This illustrated her point that there is strength in weak ties, meaning that twentysomethings should develop as many weak ties as possible by getting outside of their friend group and finding acquaintances that will be able to help them reach the goals they have set for themselves. We will never be able to achieve personal and professional goals if we merely sit and wait for something to happen- creating our own luck is the surest way of attaining what we want.

Twentysomethings weren’t the only ones that were able to take away something insightful from Jay’s lecture. Faculty and staff also learned how to approach students about their twenties and how to approach their future.

“The one piece of wisdom that I will apply more to my job is to stop telling students they ‘have time’ to make decisions because they are young. While they certainly have plenty of time to make decisions, they don’t have time to waste either. The choices we make (and don’t make) have a big impact on our life down the road,” Clarke said. 

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