By Monica Springer
Guest writer

I had my life planned out seven years ago.

I was finishing up at a community college and I was planning to transfer to a state university. I was set.

Then, life threw me a wonderful curveball. Once I made a campus visit to Southwestern and saw that beautiful building on top of the hill, that was it.

I knew I had to change my plans and go to school in Winfield.

If you’re a Southwestern student reading this, I need to talk to you. I have some advice that, if given to me a few years ago, could have saved me a few dollars, some sleepless nights and some heartache.

Here’s my advice to you.

You’re going to spend the rest of your life dodging those curveballs. It doesn’t matter what you have planned out, life will take you in another direction.

Let it.

I think you need to know that in the end, it’s all worth it. One day, a few years from now, you’ll look back and realize that you went through everything you did for a reason. If you try really hard and put your degree to good use, one day you’ll have a wonderful life.

You’ll have Southwestern to thank for that wonderful life that you love.

Tonight at sunset, sit on top of the 77 and watch the sun in all its glory. You’ll miss that and wish you did it more often when you move away from Winfield.

I also have some job advice for you. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. And don’t be afraid to leave a situation if you don’t like it. The best decisions I’ve ever made in my professional life have been leaving situations I’ve been unhappy with.

If you’re brave enough to leave, life will greet you with a wonderful new hello.

You have a wonderful gift. You get to decide how your life will go. You get to decide who to spend the rest of your life with, what city to live in, and what career you want to have.

Those are all big decisions to make. Time your time.

It’s been five years since my class finished college. We’ve gotten married, had children, advanced in our careers and have had some wonderful things happen in our lives.

Achieving all of those things is not easy.

It’s my hope that every single one of my classmates knows this, and I want to pass it onto you.

You might not know that sometimes life doesn’t work out. Sometimes you’ll break, and it’s okay if you do. Before that happens, surround yourself with people who don’t mind putting the pieces back together for you.

Sometimes you can’t do it yourself.

And the next time you’re walking around the Southwestern campus, take a look around. You have an amazing network of people who want to help you achieve your goals. Talk to professors after class. Ask about internships, jobs and part-time jobs. Ask students, too.

Jobs fizzle out, cities can change and friendships you make can fade. Don’t let go of your friends from home or your friends from college – they’ll be there when jobs and cities change.

And that student sitting next to you in class? That person could someday be your boss. Be nice to other students, and don’t be afraid to network with them if you’re looking for a job.

Trust me.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is this: Be confident. Aggressively seek what you want in life, and don’t ever settle until you get it.

You deserve it.

 

Monica Springer

Southwestern College, class of 2008