This will be my last column, as I am graduating next Friday. The time has flown by, but I am finally sprinting towards the finish line. In my four and a half years of being here, I haven’t learned it all, but I would like to impart some advice to my fellow classmates.
If I could tell you do one thing while you are here, it would be to spend your time in college wisely. College can be the ultimate test of a person. There are ample opportunities for success; you can join student organizations, volunteer, network, do internships and make good grades. All of these things will heighten your chance of landing a great job after college, which is the whole point of being here, remember? For all the opportunities for success, however, there are just as many opportunities to be unsuccessful. It is the ultimate paradox of college. Academics may be why you are here, but the distractions from it are plentiful. Only three out every 10 students with the HOPE scholarship keep it throughout their entire time in college. Pick up a copy of the Jailbird paper on any given day and you’re guaranteed to see pictures of fellow students in jail for a DUI or MIP. Some will even commit crimes that lead to longer stays in jail. The choices don’t even have to be this extreme to still have a negative impact on your life. Going out a lot, being too hung over to get anything done the next day, and choosing happy hour over going the extra mile will only deplete your health, your wallet, and your worth to employers. There are many people in the world that would love the opportunity to earn a college degree but are not afforded those opportunities. Squandering your privilege is a slap in the face to those less fortunate.
College can be a hard transition, I know. We go from mommy and daddy making us do our homework in high school to having complete freedom and an endless supply of alcohol. To make it in college, and in the real world, you are going to have to develop self-discipline. Studies are showing that the ultimate predictor of a person’s success in life (income and otherwise) is not their IQ, but their ability to focus and stay committed to their goals. So find your passion in life, set goals for yourself and your career, and begin doing what is necessary to achieve them today. Note that I said “today.” Not tomorrow or next week or next year. Because I promise you, this too shall pass, and you are going to want something to show for it.