This week the alumni magazine arrived in my mailbox. I don't typically read it cover to cover but, after years of skipping to the back to see who got married and who had babies I did decide to start at the beginning and read the first few pages. The issue started with one of my most memorable professors. He taught finance. Ugh... finance. Let me preface this by saying during my entire school career, I had always excelled in Math. Always. But finance? It was not my friend. Chalk it up to a lecture hall setting where you are among a sea of folks who are either cramming for their next exam, sleeping or arriving late and leaving early. You could say there were more than a enough distractions to keep me focused on learning the ins and outs of the stock market and economy. College was also a time where I met my soon to be husband. Social distractions? Plenty.
A few more pages in and I realized WOW, my University has fantastic programs for management students. (Did they always have these and I just didn't realize?) A mock trading floor? I'm sure they didn't have that 10 years ago but I think it would have engaged me if I had the opportunity to utilize it. Wait, an alum is now the CFO for the Yankees? At this point I'm not only impressed but starting to work on my flux capacitor with one hand and continuing to flip the pages of the magazine with the other so I can read what other great careers have been made with my same education.
If I could go back in time to my former-self and bungee cord her to her lecture hall seat until she aces that finance final exam I would also give her a few pieces of advice:
- Caffeine is your friend. Embrace it now!! Stay awake in all classes. You'll be paying for this schooling 10 years from now when you have a husband a child and other more bills. You will learn to love coffee (light and sweet.)
- If you studied as much as you complained about how much studying you had to do, you'd have those hours back and already be reading for fun.
- Read for fun. Access to amazing libraries is not a right, it's a luxury. What I wouldn't give for an hour of silence to read something for enjoyment.
- Study abroad. Remember that time you hovered outside your counselors office with an application for Study-in-Ireland and he was taking too long with another student and you walked away? Might have been worth waiting for if nothing else but a stamp in your passport.
- Take internship opportunities. Don't think of it as working for free. Think of it as getting free experience. With a fresh young face you can make mistakes (and learn from them) in a way that will be forgiven because of your age.
Recently I ran for a pad and paper during an Oprah episode to write down this quote. Her favorite definition of forgiveness was "Giving up the hope that the past could have been any different." I think I'm ready to start forgiving that 20 year old management student. I'll start by brewing a big pot of coffee.