I'd like to share a wild and somewhat unbelievable story of advice and example about how I have been able to shine in this competitive and fast-paced world while using many opportunities to better myself and enjoy what has come along the way. I have a wide range of advice about college and the future that will hopefully help you the same way it has helped me.
1. Let Your Interests Guide You
One big thing that I learned while I was in high school and going into college is that life is unpredictable. Many people will tell you the skill sets you need to be successful and give advice, but secretly, we have no idea what we’re doing. The only thing that guides us is our interests and sheer will in what we want as the end goal. I have spent the last three years going to school for something that was a split-second decision for me, and I am happy to say that it has worked out for me. That is not the case most of the time; therefore, when choosing what you want to spend the rest of your life doing, you want to make sure that it is really what you want to do. With confidence and will, you can face just about anything that life throws at you; however, you still need to be prepared to find alternatives.
2. Have a Backup Plan
With the unpredictability of life, you need to make sure that you have backup plans. Even if you feel the plan has no chance of failing, it is always best to have one or two plans just in case that plan falls through, and you are stuck with no idea what to do next. I have dealt with this constantly throughout my life, and for most people, when that first plan fails, they just want to give up and put no effort into finding an alternate solution. For example, my close friend and I had planned to rent a house together for my senior year. Well long story short, what worked best for us was for me to find my own place. However, I would have been in a very precarious place if I hadn't already found and saved other potential places that I liked. This taught me to remember that things do not always work out, but you can be prepared to adjust to what life throws at you. Also, backup plans are especially helpful when finding the right college.
3. Pick a College that is Right for You
When it comes to college, the big secret is that it does not matter where you go. If it has your major of choice and you can adjust to the school's environment and culture, you will get a lot out of your college experience. This piece of advice about college is what I told my residents during my time as a Resident Advisor at my school. Also, apply to more than one school. I took a very big gamble and applied to only one and thankfully got in, but I don't recommend this. Give yourself several options as each school will have significant differences and benefits. The environment and lifestyle of each school are what make it unique and appealing to students. When it is your freshman year, and you are uncomfortable on campus, remember that everyone is uncomfortable their first year. This will quickly change once you find friends and clubs you want to join. Though to do this, it will take a lot of personal effort!
4. Don't Wait for Opportunities. Get Out and Grab Them!
The last big piece of advice I would like to give is that nothing in life is a handout, and it is up to you to take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you. The students who wait for things to happen usually continue to wait. The world is wide open for those willing to put effort into what they want to do, and that effort does show. I can personally tell you by putting 100% effort into what I wanted, I have been able to travel, make it into my college of choice, and accomplish so much that I can be proud of. With these few pieces of advice, I believe you can take on the world and be unstoppable. It is up to you to lead your story. As long as you have your backup plans and remember that life is unpredictable, you will navigate through anything just fine. Check out the NSHSS Collegiate Council page too!