Dear College Emma,
I’m here from the future to give you some college advice. I know how you feel. It’s a crazy time in your life. You’re trying to get into the business school, you’re trying to figure out how to pay for school, and you’re honestly just trying to keep it together. I’m here as your older, somewhat wiser self to give you some advice on how to navigate through the rest of college.
College Advice #1: Believe in yourself
I know the incredible weight of that doubt of your shoulders. I know that feeling of not feeling smart enough, qualified enough, or good enough to be admitted into the business school. Your 3.1 GPA is just a piece of your application. You’re a great writer and you will score high on the Writing Skills Assessment. And girl, you got an internship your sophomore year! You are showing the business school that you are already a business school student.
Anytime that weight of doubt starts to creep on your shoulders, you need to recognize it and stop yourself. You have the power to stop that doubt before it spirals out of control. Stop, breathe, and say to yourself that you are smart enough, qualified enough, and good enough to be at UW and that business school.
College Advice #2: Don’t second guess yourself, follow your intuition
I know you’re questioning every step of your college experience. You’re questioning if you should major in marketing and sales or switch to something else like supply chain or information systems. You’re questioning if you should try out for the cheer team again. You’re questioning if you should try to intern out of state.
You have a strong intuition so follow it girl. Don’t doubt your marketing and sales degree. Your marketing and sales degree is going to help you at each stop of your career. When you work in finance (surprise! Yes in the future you’ll work two different roles in finance), you’ll use your selling skills to tell the story of financial data.
When you work in project management, you’ll use those marketing and sales skills to understand what motivates people. Because you understand different motivations and you understand how to build relationships with people, you’ll be able to communicate at any level.
Questioning yourself isn’t a bad thing. We ask ourselves questions to really check to see if our head and our hearts are aligned with what we’re doing and what we’re working towards. Question yourself, listen to your intuition, and commit to what feels right to you.
College Advice #3: Focus on your next step because you don’t have to have your WHOLE life figured out
You DON’T have to have it figured out today, tomorrow, or even by the time you graduate college. You have your whole life to figure out how you want to make a difference in this world. So focus on what the next step or next few steps look like for you.
Think about how you want your year to look. Think about what skills or experiences you really want to have. Write them out then plan your next step.
College Advice #4: Don’t be afraid to take risks
You’ve done an incredible job getting outside your comfort zone. You’ve tried hip hop classes, yoga and you’ve registered for ballet. You’ve learned how to partner stunt and you’ve tried out for the cheer team.
My advice to you would be to continue to take risks. You should apply and take that internship in D.C. or New York. It’ll be tough to figure out moving and living expenses, but you will figure this out. You’re super interested in political science and law societies and justice, why not double major? You’re curious about informatics. Why not take a class? I know you’re afraid to extend your time in college because of the fear that you won’t be able to afford it, but you can do this girl.
When you’re in college, you can take these risk. You don’t have kids yet or a mortgage you have to pay for. Your main responsibility is YOU.
College Advice #5: Remember to have fun!
I know you’re serious and committed to your education. But please remember that these four years are going to fly by fast. Go out with your friends on Wednesday, jump in the Drumheller fountain, and do something you’ve never done before.
You won’t remember what your accounting final study guide questions are. Instead you’ll remember those trips to Whistler, the Everybody Every Body Fashion shows, and throwing those Victoria Secret PINK Parties. You might also remember that horrifying group presentation when your classmates screensaver of Mila Kunis sprawled out on a bed was projected in front of the entire class, but you’ll also laugh about that!
Post College/Graduate Student/Working Woman Emma
Why I decided to share some college advice to my college self:
When I was about to enter college, the only real message I heard was that it was going to be the best time of my life. Then I got to my freshman year and all of my friends in college were posting the highlights of college – themed parties, tailgating at football games, and going out with friends. When I look back, I know those Facebook and Instagram photos were everyone’s highlight reels of college. But at that time, I struggled with imposter syndrome and insecurity as a first generation Filipino-American college student.
While I learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable college and how to deal with failure as I got cut from the UW cheer team three times, I wish I had taken bigger risks. I wish I would have interned in Washington D.C. my junior year summer into my senior year. I wish I would have applied for the Seventeen Magazine internship in New York – even though it was unpaid.
I would give myself my favorite piece of advice this year: “To not eliminate myself from situations I’m not in yet – especially out of fear”. Since I financed most of my college education on my own, I was really concerned and stressed about money. But I know now that I would have figured it out financially. I know I took the path I was meant to take, but if I truly could give myself college advice, that’s would I tell myself.
Whether you’re a new freshmen or a college senior, or whether you’re in college or not, if you’re 18-22 years old, I hope this blog post helps you out!
The first few years out of high school can be a crazy time of trying to figure out what path to take. Please know that you will figure out your path and it does get better as your learn what you want and don’t want to do with your education and career!
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan Photography