Although this post comes from one of our youngest Fit to Leaders, we think her advice applies pretty universally to all of us:
For many of us, this may be the first time living on our own. Practical advice springs to mind:
NEVER wash anything red with anything white unless your goal is a brand new pink wardrobe.
If the milk (and most likely anything else liquid) has clumps, don’t drink it!
Likewise, science experiments on food aging are best done in the lab, not under your bed or anywhere else in your dorm room.
While extremely useful, those tips and ones like them are probably not the most important advice I could give. Mistakes with laundry, food safety or other sanitation are easily remediated. Some things though are not so easily fixed. So with a goal of focusing on the truly important, here is my best piece of advice (from the Lee Ann Womack song of the same name):
I hope you dance!
I do actually love to dance, but that’s not my point. Rather, what I want you to know is that the coming four years are our chance to learn a lot about ourselves and the world around us. To take advantage of all that college has to offer, we can’t play the next four years safe. Experiment. Investigate. Take chances. Engage. In the words of the song:
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Livin’ might mean takin’ chances but they’re worth takin’…
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance.
I’m not sure that my advice is particularly radical, but I do think it could be game changing. Consider for example the story that Steve Jobs shared at his 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford. He dropped out of Reed College, but he stayed on campus for eighteen months. Freed up from all requirements, he audited classes that interested him. Calligraphy fascinated him so he took a class even though he was sure it would have no future relevance. Ten years later, however, when the first Mac was being designed, it was that class that led to the Mac being the first computer with multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts.
Of course, I’m not advocating that anyone goes to college planning to drop out. Steve Jobs was a unique individual, and his personal course was perhaps a bit extreme for most of us. However, if he had embraced college thinking only about where each course was going to lead him, on how much would he, and in fact the entire world, missed out?
So figure out how to fit in that unusual course that has absolutely nothing to do with your major or your career aspirations. Join that club that sounds interesting to you even though your friends think its weird. You may find something you love, and it may change your whole life.
So, if you get the chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance!
Hallie Salko is a recent graduate of the North Broward Preparatory School. She will be attending University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall.
I Hope You Dance As sung by Lee Ann Womack, Music and Lyrics by Mark D. Sanders/Tia Sillers, Copyright © 2000, Uni/Mca Nashville. All Rights Reserved. from the album, I Hope You Dance