What’s up, it’s me, I mean you… From the future. Thought I would give you a few tips on college now that I’m a sophomore. The first thing I would say to you is that I know you’re feeling overwhelmed and that’s ok, everyone does, but you should be excited. You have so many options and a plethora of opportunities laid out for you. I’m not here to tell you which path to pick; the fun is in the process.
Don’t feel like you need to make the perfect decision on where to go to college and what to study, there isn’t one. I know Mom and Dad have a certain vision for your future, but there’s so much more to explore. I just declared an environmental science and economics double major… Who would’ve thought. Just keeping things interesting and keeping our options open.
The reason I’m writing to you is to reassure you that you’re on the right path, even though it may not be the one you may have imagined. It’ll be important for you to be courageous in your thinking.
Formulate your own ideas and opinions, do your own research, come to your own conclusions. Mark William Roche has a beautiful quote from his book Why Choose the Liberal Arts: “Not having the courage of one’s convictions can mean that one is fully dependent on opinions of others.” There will be people who try to discredit the work you do and shift your values to align closer with their own.
Your parents will persuade you to study fields where there are steady, reliable jobs. Your peers will discourage you from hanging out with certain groups and organizations. Have faith in yourself and follow the path you desire because that is the one that will give you the most happiness and purpose.
Find your “Element” as Sir Ken Robinson would call it. Something that gives you happiness and purpose. Join a club or organization; maybe one that you have no idea about. I’m in a couple now like student body government, a fraternity, and a variety of committees. Some are better than others, but they all offer something. Whether it’s a place to learn, lead, or laugh, every place has something to offer if you care enough to put the time and effort into it. The more things you try, the better idea you’ll get of what actually interests you and matters to you.
I’ll be transparent with you, I’m still not really sure what I’m passionate about. We take interest in just about everything, but have a hard time committing to one thing. I’m not too worried about it though. I like being versatile. Being one-dimensional is boring, so is being too radical. You don’t have to commit to one preconceived personality type. Don’t let yourself or other people box you into a persona, you can be whoever you want to.
Oh, and don’t forget to sleep while you still have the chance. You don’t get much of it in college and I’m guessing it doesn’t get any better when you get to the real world.