Looking back and moving forward, I now know that plans aren’t always effective. I have 3 pieces of advice to help you transition smoother than butter. One: Don’t stress out over your major or career path. Having a plan for the future is important, but if that plan morphs into something new, don’t worry! You’ll figure it out sooner than you think. Two: Getting into your dream school is only half of the admission step. Maybe another school is a more practical choice whether it be for your health or your family’s financial situation or just a disagreement on where you should go. Simply put, don’t fret! Everything happens (good and bad) for a reason and everyone is eventually placed in a hard situation, no matter how screwed up the situation may seem. Nothing’s simple so keep your head up. Finally, three: Keep your eye on the prize. Advice from others is invaluable but don’t let their ideas and voices crowd your own. Your gut does more than digest food, listen to it. You will fail and stray from your path but you’ll always find your way back to success.
If I were to go back in time and teach myself what I know now. I would tell myself that there is nothing to be afraid of when attending college. College is a place where you meet new people from all kinds of places. The experience of attending college of beyond any satisfaction of just doing good in school. It is a place where you begin to discover who you really are inside of your heart. You be suprised at what you can really do and really accomplish without effort. You will thrive when you are surrounded by people who will support your every effort.
Right now you're a big fish in a small pond. Things up to this point have largely been out of your control, and I think you're right to resent that. I want you to know that's going to change. From here on out, you're the one in charge. Everything you do today will lay the foundation for tomorrow. What you do tomorrow will lay the foundation for the next day. That's what people mean when they say "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." I want you to think about that, and then when you're done, think about it some more. Frank Herbert said something special in one of the later Dune novels, "Since each individual is ultimately accountable to the self, the greatest care must be exercised in the formation of that self." God will not judge you until the end of your days, but you will find that you judge yourself constantly and that judgement will have considerable impact on the way you feel. Do the things today that will make you better off tomorrow. Prepare yourself for the opportunities to come.
If I could go back and talk to myself as a high school senior, I would explain that I need to get all the tutoring I need for math. See what study groups are available and join them. Devote at least 1-2 hours a day and even on the weekends for some extra math study. Also take a different language so in college it will be familiar to you. Than the most important, decide what career you want to pursue after graduating and see what classes you will need to help you succeed and be the best you can be at that job. The earlier you start the better prepared you will be when you go to pursue your career.
Knowing what I know now as a returning student, I would advise myself to really take the time to speak to my career counselor and other trusted adults so I could gain a better understanding of my ultimate career aspirations. I would tell myself it is much more difficult to complete a college degree while juggling a mortgage, marriage and full-time career, not to mention trying to start a family. I would tell myself that completing college immediately following high school will make my life easier in the long run, even if I have to delay starting my career until after I have completed my degree. I would tell myself working hard is not the same as working smart, and working smart is completing my degree the first time I attend college. I would tell myself to take the time in college to seriously contemplate my life goals and plan a career based on my satisfaction and not only on the money I could make. I would tell myself to value my youth and my health because they both are fleeting. I would tell myself to not take myself so seriously and that there is still much to learn.
You're doing all right, Greg. Just keep up with what you've been doing, study hard, and hold on tight to your dreams. Oh, and make sure you have your computer with you.
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