Advice to My College Self

Via Gratisography / Photo by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design

Via Gratisography / Photo by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design

You ignorant fool. You’re lovely and brilliant, don’t change. Actually… you’re going to have to change considerably. There is a lot to learn that they’re not going to teach you in school. Put down the burrito…and the student loan paperwork…and look at me. 

Two out of those four years are probably going to be a waste of your time. YOUR TIME – spend it wisely. Do more. Act often. Don’t wait to be told to do something, try new interests all of the time. See what you’re good at and what you are not. And if you’re not, keep trying until you are. If you’re still not, then fine. It’s not for you. A real try though. Not a half-hearted try based out of fear and a presumption of failure.

Fail and fail hard. Failure is learning. Failure is doing. Some of our favorite people have been massive failures: Lincoln, Proust, Taylor Swift (it took a turn), Julia Child, Stephen King, Oprah, Spielberg, J.K Rowling, Dr. Seuss. They never let their failures define themselves. They kept trying. Kept moving. And they found successes. You’re going to fail. A lot. And it’s going to be terrible, but you’re going to learn. All right, you can pick up the burrito. It’s delicious and your metabolism won’t make these kinds of allowances for very much longer.

Accept the bad and let in the good. Let your inner monologue sound like a motivational poster from the mid 90s. Be that cat and hang on for dear life. Act confident rather than comparing yourself to others. You’ll soon see there is a reason why people “fake it till they make it”. Think about it.  Consider that meditating on the delusion that you’re a ‘budding piece of crap with limited capabilities beyond sucking at life’ has NEVER serviced you. So what does it do? Just gives you an excuse not to try. You’re holding onto it because you need a reason, a validation, on why you can’t do something- to make failure bearable. It’s a sad safe place. This is not the person you want to be. Be the shit instead of a piece of shit. And now I sound like a 40-year-old man. Look, you can’t be miserable if you’re constantly moving towards being a greater version of yourself. MOVE. TRY.

And when you feel like you can’t try any harder and longer or do anything more – you’re wrong. Take the chances that you’re too afraid to take. Don’t worry about how you look. Try something different, something you didn’t even know you wanted to do. Talk to everyone about their experience and not your own. Really listen and you can learn. Give yourself into new experiences, new platforms of creative expression and new groups of people.

Never be bitter. Never be helpless. Because you never really are. The only person who can ever help you, is you. You’re the only one. Anyone else is just luck. So take charge of the one thing you can control – yourself. Even when the bad happens, you have to have a good attitude. You have a choice on how you want to take on the world. And never forget that it’s always a choice and it’s never a race. You define your own success and you define yourself. It’s your own life. No one else’s.

Done with that burrito? Go for a jog. Seriously… if I still had that energy…


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