The NY Times reports that people who read literary fiction tend to score higher on emotional intelligence tests. Take the test! I posted a 34, but I have a confession – I hardly ever read fiction.
Last night, I reflected about how I started college and my adult life over five years ago! I have learned so much about higher education, the economy, and life since then, so I decided to blog five tips for college kids. In case any of our readers out there are about to start college or are in college right now, here they are:
1. Major in something that really holds your interest. For those of you who are planning on going to medical school or law school, you can still major in whatever you want and get that MD or JD. Not only do admissions committees at professional schools value diversity and life experience in the pool of applicants, college may be your last opportunity to take classes simply for the acquisition of knowledge. You are living amongst distinguished scholars in one field after the next, and it is their privilege and purpose to impart their knowledge onto you. This is your chance to make leaps and bounds intellectually and to refine your worldview.
2. Steve Jobs was right. Forget about the well-worn path, and do what you truly believe is great work. Kara Dioguardi, a judge on American Idol, went to Duke. In her memoir, she wrote about spending much of her time trying to fit into the pre-law crowd and developing an eating disorder. However, she had a critical moment at Duke that changed the trajectory of her life. One day, when she was in Duke’s student center, she watched a man start vomiting blood and collapse while his infant son shrieked beside him. That man died right there in front of McDonald’s while unconcerned Duke students pushed past. Dioguardi wrote that she wanted to yell, “Doesn’t anybody in this place care about a tragedy?” That day, she made the decision to forget about law and focus on music. Dioguardi ended up becoming a Grammy-nominated songwriter whose songs have appeared in over 159 million albums worldwide (Wikipedia).
3. It’s not too soon. It’s too late. When I was 18 and unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, people told me I had plenty of time. I now know that those people were wrong. No one should feel bad for struggling to figure out their interests, skills, and goals, but I advise everyone to approach the task with a sense of urgency (but not panic!). College is quite a short period of time when you consider that in four years, you are supposed to figure out your identity as an adult, develop all the basic skills you need to exist on your own, and launch a career in a new city by yourself. Wherever you are in college, the time to get started has already passed.
4. Don’t get stuck in a clique. When I was in college, the president of the university sent the student body an email warning students not to get sucked into what he called “myDuke.” At the time, I read it and pondered it, but ironically, following the advice got pushed to the end of a to-do list that involved a routine of classes, work, and hanging out with a tight-knit, familiar group of friends (including the girls on this blog!) – now, I’m connected to most people in my graduating class only through a Facebook news feed. It’s possible but more difficult to establish relationships after graduating, and there are so many interesting people I wish I had gotten to know better when I had the chance. I don’t regret spending a lot of time with the same people because I established close relationships, but I wish I explored more groups and created an even more diverse set of friends. So, lose the security blanket! Take risks in making new friends.
5. If you don’t like college, that’s okay. It only lasts four years, and the so-called “real world” lasts for the rest of your life. Many of my college friends didn’t like the school we attended or didn’t like the world of academia. They drove themselves crazy wondering what was wrong with them if college didn’t turn out to be “the best four years of life.” I loved college, and in my case, it did end up being the most fulfilling experience I’ve had so far. However, I believe the real glory days are still ahead of me. Even if you end up disliking college, remember that you have the rest of your life to have the time of your life. Do you really want it all behind you when you are 22?
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It’s been a while since I last checked in. Sorry!
September has been my favorite month of 2013! I’m a little bit more than a week into a new job, and interviews from doctoral programs are beginning to roll in. Adult life is fully underway!
Dr. (?) Arkie
Yesterday, I wrote about how I hoped that we would have lots of great stories to tell about our lives after graduation. Little did I know that I would have such an awesome day today! I got a journalism job in Manhattan that’s a job straight out my dreams. I was planning on spending the next few years of my life in school, studying a completely different field, but there’s a chance I’ll take it. Eventually, I’ll update with news about what I have decided to do. Any New Yorkers out there reading our blog?
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
I believe I am the last of the -arkies to reflect on our anniversary, so please excuse me for being late with this post. This past year has been so filled with unexpected twists and turns! Life after college is not at all what I expected it to be, but I already feel much wiser to the world. I have a little bit more insight into life and a clearer vision of where I want to be in five or ten years, and I am grateful for it.
Last August, we started this blog because our lives after Duke took us to disparate corners of the world. From Philadelphia to Budapest, to be exact! I was in a remote island of Hawaii when the other three -arkies started this blog, but they used the nicknames that I gave to them in college to preserve their secret identities. (Funny story, I first nicknamed Charlotte “Charkbait” after the funny scene in Finding Nemo where the other fish in the aquarium christen Nemo “Sharkbait.” I shortened it to Charkie, and she started calling me Arkie soon after. That was how these names were born.)
Once upon a time, we gathered in Charkie’s dorm room every night to recap news, do our homework, philosophize, and order in takeout. I must add that it would take us at least 30 minutes to decide on where to order. Because Charkie kept the cupboard in the corner of her room stocked with coffee and chai, we had no lack of caffeine to keep us working late into the night. No matter how stressed I was in college about classes or my career plans, I always had the comfort of these familiar faces and this familiar routine to come back to at night, and every day I had at Duke ended up being a great day.
Those moments, though treasured, are gone forever, but this blog has kept us connected over shared interests. This past year, this blog has documented our cooking experiments, has followed us on nights out, been the reservoir for stress about exams, and even captured our excitement about the royal baby, haha! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed being able to document life after graduation, and I have my fingers crossed that we’ll have tons of great stories to share in the coming years.