Letter to Past Self: College Edition

Editor’s Note: Hello! It’s Jacob Ferguson again, the Marketing and Social Media Intern for the NIU College of Business. I hope you all survived your first week and are looking forward to the summer just as much as I am. The goal of this post is to not only reflect on the past, but also share with all of you some of the advice I would give my past self or someone just entering college. If you would like to learn more about me please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jacob-ferguson/49/121/998 or follow me on Twitter: @JacobFerguson53.

Jacob Ferguson - Senior Year of High School

Jacob Ferguson - Senior Year of High School

Hello Jacob,

This picture brings me great joy because it captures you on your last day of high school. You thought you had it all figured out. You thought you had the perfect plan. Little did you know that plan was about to change. I am glad to tell you that you are better off for not following that plan and wanted to give you some advice for your journey ahead:

  • Get involved as early on as possible, it is truly what makes the next four years of your life bearable. You will meet most of your best friends this way and will develop yourself both personally and professionally in ways that you never thought were possible.
  • Focus on your GPA and doing well in your classes more than you would like to admit your first couple of years. With that being said, I am not telling you to not focus the last couple years…just that classes will get harder and that you might catch a common case of senioritis.
  • Don’t forget to call home. You might be busy and get caught up in life but that is no excuse to stray away from the people who have always been there for you and always will.
  • When you say that you will do something, do it! There is nothing worse than burning a bridge.
  • Take advantage of every opportunity you get to travel. Whether it be to a different continent, country, state, or city there is value to be found and lessons to be learned in the most unordinary of places. The cross-cultural experience you will receive as a result is invaluable.
  • Develop a budget and stick to it. There is nothing worse than not being able to do something that you want just because you don’t have the money.
  • Go out more and live it up! Don’t be afraid to meet new people and try new things. The video games and Netflix will be there when you get home.
  • Don’t fear what you don’t know. You didn’t know what you were doing back then and you still don’t, just roll with it!
  • Be weird! Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd and march to the beat of your own drum. Also, don’t be afraid to dance!
  • Fail and make mistakes! Some of the greatest lessons you will learn are from the times you thought things couldn’t get any worse.
  • Exercise…somehow it always ends up being the last priority on the list. Find something that gets you moving and that you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be running or working out, it can be racquetball or Quidditch. Just get out there and move.
  • When it comes to food and alcohol don’t be afraid to spend a little extra. Your body can only handle so much cheap vodka and late night Taco Bell. You will thank me later!
  • Go to class! You’ll learn what you need to know and you won’t have to cram so much the night before an exam.
  • Put the cell phone down! And with that being said never put anything on the Internet that you might regret later. If you won’t want your mom seeing it then don’t post it.
  • Just because it will look good on your resume doesn’t mean that you will enjoy it. Be sure that you are doing things for the right reasons.
  • Get used to checking your email and Blackboard. It is no longer your professor’s job to spoon feed you when things are due, it’s on you.
  • Keep applying for scholarships! There is so much “free” money out there and no reason that it shouldn’t be yours.
  • Don’t bring so much stuff! You will be amazed at how many things you thought you would need that end up in the back of the closet.

I could do this for hours but this is a good start. You have all the tools you need to succeed and I would bet my bottom dollar that you do. I will leave you with a quote from Arnold Schwarzenegger that has really resonated with me these past four years, “The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.” Good luck and have fun!

Sincerely,

Jacob Ferguson

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