While I was never a Boy Scout, I always knew what their motto was. Be Prepared.My dad gave me an old Boy Scout knife when I was younger, and I was struck by the usefulness of such a tool in an emergency or uncertain situation. To me that knife embodied the Scout’s motto perfectly.
In the real world however, not every problem can be solved with a simple pocket knife. What the unknown future requires most of all is knowledge. Knowledge is needed to make plans, reduce uncertainty and risk, and to be prepared.
This is especially apparent to college students just moving out on their own for the first time (aka. me). A college student needs to know where they are going to live, what they need to bring, what classes they are taking, where those classes are, what books and supplies are needed, where they are going to get their food, what the campus offers, and a myriad of other things. The amount of questions is overwhelming and without the answers, without knowledge, you won’t be prepared for anything.
So how can we get the information we need to be prepared? Here are a few ways:
- Do your research! When you know you will be in a new situation, first examine a few things. What is expected of you? What things will you need to bring (these can be things, attitudes, or even personal qualities)? Will you be interacting with anyone else? How much importance do you place on what you will be doing?
- Get help. Find someone who has been in your position (or a similar one) before. Ask them for their advice or what they thought was most helpful. If you can, contact the authorities involved for answers (e.g. colleges, an organization running an event, a supervisor, etc.).
- Get motivated. Take control and accomplish the things you need to in order to be prepared. Make sure you have what you need, right down a to-do list, have the right paperwork, and know what is expected of you.
By taking the time ahead of time to get the right information, you can avoid surprises and embarrassing moments. You can arrive at a situation well prepared and able to perform. Whether it’s at work, on a date, starting college, or during a vacation, being prepared takes a little forethought, some research, and a good plan. And you don’t even have to be a Boy Scout.