8 Successful professionals talk about the ONE thing nobody told them when...

8 Successful professionals talk about the ONE thing nobody told them when they were starting college.


This article has been curated from this answer on Quora.


Make sure you get a B, and do it early. Once you do you’ll stop worrying about having a perfect GPA, because it’s no longer attainable. Then you will be free to actually get an education: take risky courses either in topics you don’t understand or on topics you aren’t sure you like or in topics that appear to be beyond your grasp. It’s the most liberating thing you can do.
– Shriram Krishnamurthi, Professor of Computer Science, Brown University. 


College is a little bit different from high school. It’s less structured and I think a lot of students get into trouble because they get to college, they’re excited and they take on more than they can actually deal with, and so they are over ambitious.

Sometimes they take classes that might be a little bit of a stretch for them. They might take too many classes and they might — on top of that — try to become involved in four or five organizations and also play intramural sports and make hundreds of friends all at once.

So really be sensible and think about what your bandwidth is and ease yourself into the activities.

[quote_box_center]Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your professors. They are there for you and a lot of college students — especially freshmen — sometimes hesitate to ask for help and that’s the last thing they should do. They should really be comfortable talking to professors or advisers, asking for any advice well before they get into any kind of trouble academically or otherwise.

This is one moment in your life where you’re surrounded by a lot of cool people, intelligent people that are around your age.There are about 5,000 to 6,000 students that are coming in together with you and it’s a great opportunity to make friends.

One of the reasons why I find some freshmen get home sick or don’t get integrated well right away is that they don’t really make an effort to find a community within this larger community.
– Santa Ono, 28th President. University of Cincinnati


Leave your door open in your hostel/residence hall. It’s one of the best ways to meet people and show you’re open for new friendships. Better yet, walk into open doors you see on your hall, everyone is just as scared as you are and will be excited to make new friends!

Your best friends from high school DO NOT MAKE GOOD ROOMMATES. I’m serious about this one. Some of the biggest conflicts I’ve seen is people in high school who think their Highchool BFF will make a perfect freshman year roommate, but people change in college, grow apart, and need to be able to do that. They also probably have a lot of weird living habits you don’t know about yet.

Often times this can lead to higher expectations, deeper-seeded conflict, hurt feelings, and even loss of a friend. Then you can’t talk to your Highschool BFF about it later. Living with a friend is much different than hanging with them. I would actually suggest trying to spend some time away from your high school friends, start with a clean slate for a roommate. Worst that happens you never talk to that roommate again, but it’s the only way to gain the new perspective that college is all about.
Chelsea Hunersen, Tour Guide, Resident Advisor, Club President, University of Michigan


Your professional life does not start after college. It starts NOW.

Don’t make excuses and wait to find out what you are passionate about until after you’ve spent 4 years in college. Most college students explore their university for 2-3 years and only start thinking about the rest of their life when college is all but finished. I give career advice to 70+ young professionals every 2 months and the majority don’t know who they are or what they want out of life because they’ve never thought about it.

The only way you will find out what truly matters to you is by viewing your college experience as your opportunity to take risks, put yourself in uncomfortable situations and diverge from your peers with the goal to identify the areas of Life that you want your life to be about.

When I was a sophomore in college, I started a club to help high school students in high poverty areas. We would walk into high schools around Boston with the lowest graduation rates in the lowest income areas in the state and just ask how we could help.

I took the next year off from college to turn our club into a nonprofit and see what we could do. All of my friends from high school or college were focused on their studies, social engagements, or both. I became a bit of an outcast almost instantly and couldn’t relate to the goals of most people my age.

It was hard. We made a lot of mistakes and there were very few people we could lean on. Our lives were consumed with uncertainty, pressure, and many, many people depending on us even though we were often only a few years older than most of the young people we were helping.

The nonprofit eventually expanded to multiple cities over the course of 5 years and we were nationally recognized for our success in the space.

Doing something ambitious and hard BEFORE I was ready was the best decision I ever made. Don’t wait to find out who you are. Start now.
Michael W Ellison, founded 3 startups, Head of Business Development – Codepath

I’ve decided to start a business in college but what should I do?

Think of something your friends will want. Get them that thing. Charge them for it. Repeat. Chances are pretty good that those people will want that product or service even after college.
Dan Reich




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