4-minute read

In college as in most important things in life, Mindset Matters!

I had the pleasure of hearing from a student who exemplified the best mindset for what it takes to be successful in college.

After a difficult transition during her freshman year, this student was able to articulate some essentials to achieving a college success mindset which some students never fully master.

Here are some of the things she said mixed in with a few of pieces of my own wisdom mixed in:

1. Don't Compare Yourself to Other Students

Remember this is your journey, your path, and your life. And the decisions that you make in college can and will have a lasting impact and could even change the course of your life.

Don't worry about if you see your friends hanging out while you still have reading or other work to do

You don't need to wonder why you have to work so hard while everyone else does not seem to have as much work to do as you.

Realistically some majors require more work than others. So if you are a nursing major, a biology major, an engineering major, a finance major or any other challenging major, you can't expect to have the same social and leisure time that a student with a less demanding major has.

If you are reading this because are wondering why you have to work so hard and if the hard work will really pay off. Or if you are looking for your why, a meaning for your life, your purpose. Then you have to commit to doing some work.

2. What is Your Why?

The first step is to Honestly, Thoughtfully, and Completely answer the question- Why are you in college and What do I want to get from your college experience?

Don't worry, I get into this more in a bit.

3. What Do you Want to Get Out of It? What Kind of Life do you Want In College and When you Graduate?

While you are working to figure out your why, you also need to actively be thinking about your big goals and your life's dreams and how college can set you up to get what you want.

Think about what type of life you want to have and what experiences, connections/relationships, education and, training you can get out of your time in college.

All four years are essential and important.

I met my long time best friend during our freshman year of college. She left after her freshman year and graduated from another University, but she is still my best friend. We even lived together, after I graduated from George Washington University when I lived in DC.

But I digress. The point is, the time you spend in college is important and you should take some time to think about what you want to get from your investment of time, energy, and money.

4. Dream Bigger

Now back to your why.

When I ask most students what they hope to get out of college the answer usually surrounds getting a job or a general desire to be successful.

Nearly everyone says that they want to get a good job or to be successful in their career, but what does that mean to you for your life?

What kind of work do you want to do everyday?

What kind of people do you want to work with and who do you want to work for?

These questions are important things to consider and to answer for yourself.

Because when the obstacles come or you have to make difficult decisions, you will want to know what is driving you and your personal motivations and goals so you can make the best decisions for where you are and where you want to go in your life.

5. Its Okay if You Don't Have Everything Figured Out Yet, But You Should Get On It Now

If you don't have a clear direction yet, that is normal and that’s fine. Figuring out the answers to these questions can give you some direction if you do not yet have one.

However if you are among the 20 to 25% of students who knows their purpose and is actively working towards it, then there are things you could and should be doing to learn more about your desired path and explore all of the possibilities for your intended goals.

Students rarely know all there is to know about an industry, career or discipline of interest. College is one of the best places to explore because as a college student you have access to the academy and the alumni. And who does not want to help out a college student. Use this to your advantage and suck up all that you can lean during this critical time .

6. Who are you Really? Can you Do it?

You should have a realistic understanding of what is required to do your major. It might take long hours of reading in the library or working in the lab. Are you willing to do what it takes? These are the questions you need to answer honestly. You also need to be self aware enough to know if you are motivated, driven, willing and able to do it.

Henry Ford quote "Whether you think you can or think you cant, you're right."
What you believe is important. "Whether you think you can or think you cant, you're right."

7. Do You Believe?

Key in your ability to get your degree is your belief and confidence in your ability to do it. Do you have the knowledge, abilities, skills, and talents to get it done.

And will you “get gritty,” as Angela Duckworth would say or suck it up buttercup and do it anyway. As I would say.

I know than thinking of all of this can be overwhelming at the beginning of the semester, which is why students should begin having initial conversations about these topics sooner rather than later. I have an 11 year old and he has heard about purpose and we have had conversations about his goals and aspirations for after high school and in life.

It is never too early or too late to start.

So now it the time to Get Your Mind Right.