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Things I Didn’t Know Coming Into College That Have Made All the Difference

Posted by Micaela Wright on December 16, 2014

As my college career is quickly coming to a close, I look back and wonder where the time has gone. I feel like it was a month ago that I was walking across the stage at my high school graduation, promising friends I’d stay in touch (nope), and preparing for what I thought would be the best 4 years of my life. And they absolutely were. I get a little too emotional thinking about leaving a campus that has felt so much like home from the moment I stepped onto it. *sniff*

But college was also in no other way what I expected it to be. I’m not sure how qualified I am to have “words of wisdom” to pass down, but I’m feeling nostalgic so what the hell.

  1. Don’t be afraid of failure.

    I don’t mean this in the way you may think. Failing tests and classes is definitely bad – don’t do that. But don’t be afraid to try things you don’t know, to take risks, and to mess up! Now is the time to be doing that. A professor I had first semester of freshman year told us he wanted us to fail because that is the best way to learn and it’s SO TRUE. Through classes, internships and jobs, I’ve found that when I screw up and someone corrects me, I don’t screw up again. I remember what I did wrong and I learn from it.

  2. Don’t cop out.

    For the first few semesters of classes, I would meticulously plan my schedule in hopes of getting the professor with the highest grades. I was still stuck in the high school mentality of trying to get all A’s and increase my class ranking. I don’t want to say that grades don’t matter in college – because they do–but they don’t matter as much as LEARNING. Like I said in the number above, bad grades don’t mean you didn’t learn anything. I’m in a class right now that is absolutely killing me. It is by far the hardest class I’ve ever taken – and hands down the most beneficial one too. Challenges make you think and rethink the way that you think (say that three times fast). Don’t take the easy teachers; take the ones that will push you to be better.

  3. Don’t make enemies.

    I had a professor once tell our class that the advertising world is a small “incestual” one. People move around a lot, both in positions and locations - so don’t burn your bridges. Help your classmates out. Sometimes life is more than just a competition. Someday, you’ll need a connection to get you that interview, job or even to just ask for a second opinion. Friends are a good thing to have. That being said: don’t let people walk all over you. Find a balance.

  4. Take some classes you have no interest in.

    Ahhhh electives. They can be your best friends or your worst enemies. Instead of taking the easy ones or the ones you know a lot about, take some weird ones! Luckily for me, the two “weird” ones I took were both extremely fun – “Pop Music as Social Advocacy” and “Psychology of Video Game Advertising”. These classes have the potential to expand your view of your major and can give you an advantage in future classes. Not many people think to include a video game ad as part of their media schedule.

  5. READ! READ! READ!

    About halfway through your first semester, you’ll feel like you’ll never want to read again. Reading for pleasure will more than likely disappear (expect for the random Harry Potter reading marathons over Christmas break if you’re me). The further along I get in my college education, the more I realized how vital it is to read outside of just what you’re assigned. If you can get yourself to, read industry books – business, creativity, media, branding. Become addicted to learning.

If I could leave you with one last thing, it would be the quote from Forrest Gump: "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Try a bunch of new chocolate, spit a few out, and find new favorites.

Thanks, and hook ‘em


Micaela Wright was a current Marketing Matters Account Services intern for the Fall 2014 semester. She is graduating in May 2015 from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Advertising, with completed coursework in the TexasMedia program and a Business Foundations certificate. In her free time, she enjoys being an avid college football fan, playing tennis, and listening to new music.


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