2 Steps to Acing College
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
I'm 4 feet tall. I'm in 3rd grade at Dean Street Elementary and it's field day in gym class. I'm in line for the high hurdles that are a little taller than me. Why? Because I've always had this belief that I can take on hurdles that are twice my size. I gear up for the run, back knee bent. My gym teacher yells "GO!" Suddenly, I push off. The people around me seem to be going so much faster and I begin to feel like I'm in one of those dreams. You know the one, where you keep running and running but your legs just don't seem to be going fast enough. The hurdle inches closer and I jump stretching out my legs to get over the hurdle. When -- bam! My shin catches the top of the hurdle and I belly flop face first into the grass.
It's senior year, and I keep thinking back to all the hurdles I've tried to take on. I wish I could tell my old self a few things.
1. SLOW DOWN
I've always enjoyed learning. I love the deep discussions that fill classrooms, and the feeling of cracking open a reading to find that history is a complex tale worth diving into. But, to be engaged in all these things takes time and focus. I can still recall the tears streaming down my face as I held my first F in Arabic my freshman year. I had been working two jobs and taking a full load. I felt powerful and hardworking until that moment. The romanticism that came with the overexertion of the independent working women that bled coffee and always had somewhere to be made me feel important.
"The romanticism that came with the overexertion of the independent working women that bled coffee and always had somewhere to be made me feel important."
Those days quickly became exhausting and lonely. Sure, I was working out twice a day and actually had money to spend. But, who wants abs when you can share a plate of fries with a friend. You know what's better than having money in college? Not having to work two jobs to pay back your student loans after college. If you have the luxury of not having to work while in school, take it. Read a book. Volunteer at a job you're interested in. Slow down or you'll find yourself two Adderall bottles deep trying to finish your senior thesis in one day while you're have a mental breakdown about your dark future.
Give yourself the time.
2. FOCUS ON THE END GOAL
As my friend Michael said, "you need to look at the classes you're taking." Although they are all important, focus on the fact that the classes for your major and opportunities outside of class are going to be the foundation of your future.
Doing internships in the summer, working a college job in the field you want to be in and volunteering with organizations that you're passionate about are going to be what get you the job. You volunteer at a local homeless shelter and you're interested in social work? Great. That will help you meet people in the field and give you opportunities to connect with others who share the same passions. It's not about how many classes you took and your ability to handle extreme stress on lack of sleep. It's about the relationships you nurture and the experience you gain.
College is for: learning core values, creating content, networking.
The people you meet here will be the reason you get a job someday.
As I use to say to my mom when she'd asked me what I was doing on Saturday nights: "I'm networking mom."
"I'm networking mom"
Senior year. The questions about what the hell you're going to do with your life will increase by 200% and your anxiety about the dark hole of your future will inch closer and closer to reality.
However scary it may seem, these two steps will have helped you get ready to take on the real world of woes. Work hard and trust yourself