College: 50% Done


The other day I ran into my old piano teacher at a bookstore. I was her student for nearly eight years, from elementary school to until boarding school, so she was like a second mom to me. Anyway, we sat down and the first thing she asked me was "Are you happy?" This led me to reflect on my past two years in college.

The first half of college was definitely an eye-opening experience in a lot of ways. After living in the South for most of my life, I was officially on the east coast and was introduced to a new culture, interesting people, and generally just got to try a lot of things that I never thought possible. Overall, my first two years in college were well spent, but a part of me feels like I was so focused on my goals that I didn't prioritize my happiness as much as I should have.

For the longest time, my #1 goal was to attend a good college. My hard work and perseverance got me admitted to my first choice school (hooray!), but once I got to college, I moved onto my second big goal: getting a good job.


I was really intense since day one. Even though my first semester of college was pass-fail, I went straight to the library after class and did all of my problem sets. I was also committed to a career in finance and was stressed way too early about networking and getting internships from the top firms. #TypeA




I joined finance clubs and became friends with upperclassmen who were pursuing banking careers. They taught me a lot about the financial world and helped me get a big jump start on my career. One of them even taught me how to present a stock pitch!



Freshman me giving a stock pitch...

Sophomore year was even busier and more stressful than freshman year. After a short internship at an investment bank, I realized that finance wasn't for me. When my friend introduced me to consulting, I fell in love with it. I founded the consulting club and a chapter of 180 Degrees Consulting. It was time consuming, but I got to work on awesome projects and meet fascinating people. A short internship at a boutique consulting firm in New York confirmed my love for consulting. My career was on the right track. 


I should have been happy, right? But why were people telling me that they either (1) never see me around on campus or (2) that I looked exhausted?





I'm proud of my accomplishments. I learned a LOT from my classes, extracurricular activities, and my brilliant classmates, but I was always in go, go, go mode. In retrospect, I should have taken at least 15 minutes every once in a while to ask myself if I was happy. Just because you enjoy what you're doing doesn't necessarily mean you're happy. One thing I learned is that your happiness matters the most. It'll keep you motivated, interested, and passionate.



My advice to freshmen: Take time to learn more about yourself. Try out different things, meet new people, and broaden your horizons. While getting good grades and a good job are important, everything will work out if you work hard and have fun. Most importantly, make sure you are happy. You can't go far if you're not happy. You don't want to look back on your years at college and only remember how stressed you were. I will try to take my own advice for the second half of college.



Work hard, play hard!


With love,
Phyllis

3 comments

  1. My mom was my piano teacher haha. But that didn't work out too well, because I was one of those kids who was super angelic around strangers and authority figures, but was a secret stubborn/rebel child at home :P I didn't get very far with the piano, but I know how to read music and plunk the notes out on the piano, albeit very slowly. This summer I taught myself River Flows In You (45/45 measures ;) I kept my friends updated hahh) and the Downton Abbey theme song (well, the first page of it, because only the first page was available on preview)!

    Sounds like you're killing it at Swat! :D I'm so glad that you got into your first choice college. So did I! The tri-co is pretty great ;) I haven't really thought about my career much, much to my parents' chagrin. It's kinda scary going out in the real world. I'm fine with school, more than fine. I'm comfortable in this little bubble. I've been avoiding thoughts about the future and the real world, reasoning that I'll go to grad school and I won't have to worry about it until then. BUT I'm determined to get my act together this year and so have prepped myself this summer.

    See you in the tri-co! -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

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    1. Yes, let me know when you are at Swarthmore! Also, I highly encourage you to join the Bi-Co (or Swarthmore) finance groups if you are curious about going into business!

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  2. Great post! congratulations on making it 50%:) Do you want to support each other's blog by following each other?:) Please let me know if you do so I can follow you right back x

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