Foreword from your Head F&N Babe-in-Charge Tiff: Each week, we're introducing a new friend with a new story. A story about something that'll make you root for the author reading through her (or his!) ups and downs. A story that will inspire you to chase your own dreams and maybe pursue other paths you may have not considered before. A story that will show you never-before-seen vulnerabilities and suck you in. Every story is different but one thing remains the same. Each person is pushing forward ever-onward, giving 110% to living the best life possible. (Disclaimer: they are not ALL stories, but possibly life experiences too etc.)
I'm not going to lie. I could come up with a list in no time flat of the classes I would've taken if they had actually been offered during college:
- How to Do Your Taxes and Not Look Like an Idiot
- How to Negotiate a Raise Like a Pro
- How to Find a Decent Apartment with a Landlord that'll Actually Respond to You
I know there would have been a stampede of students if our school had listed these in the available courses (I'm totally right, right?).
Our F&N Marketing Babe Madelyn is finishing up her last year of college right now and she's giving us some major flashbacks as she recaps the real lessons she's learned from her four years. I've known Madelyn for almost ten years now and I've literally watched her grow up from an awkward pre-teen (yes, I remember those glasses still) to a beautiful young woman. As a big sister to my own sisters, it's hard to keep my mouth shut and try to let my own siblings learn from their own mistakes and impart wisdom only when they ask for it. So it goes without saying that I have to do the same with her!
I completely remember how it was when I was finishing my last semester of my senior year trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I initially thought I wanted to work in the non-profit world. And I changed my career path so many times since then that it's comforting to at least show other people that it doesn't mean you have to have a guaranteed idea of what you're supposed to be doing for the rest of your life. All that matters is that you learn from each new chapter, grow and keep pushing forward. Madelyn has always been a go-getter and it makes me so happy that she was able to join our team to bring her special touch to F&N. Read along below to get to know her better and think back to (or reflect on your current schooling) your college years. -Tiffany
F&N Marketing Babe Madelyn: I know we have all said the phrase “When am I ever going to use this!” at some point during our college experience. I know I have too many times to count. While things like knowing how to solve a differential equation, how to convert a chemical formal or even how to write a 12 page paper on monetary policy might not be useful in the real world, I have learned a few important things that will actually be helpful to me after graduation:
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
You aren’t a real college student until you over sleep your alarm, panic while sprinting into class 10 minutes late, all to find out class was canceled that day.
I am sure we all have these types of stories, luckily they have helped me grow into who I am today.
I promise in 5 years or even 1 year, it will not matter that I overslept and missed my first college 8 am or even that I failed my first geology exam (sorry mom), even though it may feel like the end of the world at that moment. Thankfully, there are more important things in life. What I did learn in college is that I can’t control everything that happens. Bad things are going to happen to you, everything is not going to go your way, and you are going to fail, more than once. That is a part of life and how you react to that failure shapes you into who are.
Thankfully my father left me with quote that is constantly stuck in my head.
“Worry is like a rocking chair, you rock and rock and you don’t get anywhere.”
If you can’t change the situation, there is no use worrying about it. Worrying does not and will not change what has already happened.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Be Nice to Everyone You Meet/Finding New Friends in Different Social Settings
I know this one sounds cliché but just trust me it's important!
Coming to college 4 hours away from home with no friends was terrifying. There were 2 girls I had gotten to know over the summer but other than that I was moving away from all of my childhood best friends.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, this is one of the most important things I learned being away at school. Introduce yourself to new people, you will be surprised how many lasting friendships can come from it.
It is hard to narrow down the most important thing my parents taught me but this one comes close: always be nice to everyone you meet. College has taught me how hard this can be but also how rewarding. Introduce yourself to the girl in your Spanish class, or the new coworker at your job. You will never know when you might need their help or even when they might need yours.
I am thankful college taught me to step out of my comfort zone and meet people in different social settings. Most importantly it has made me realize that everyone has a different story and is fighting their own battles.
Mental Health/Time Management is Important
College is hard and stressful and usually takes over all of the time in a day - whether it’s sitting in class or studying for the next one. This can constantly make you feel like you don’t have time for anything. Learning good time management skills was a necessity to not only being a college student but also playing a college sport. I was horrible as a freshman (and honestly still am sometimes). I didn’t realize the amount of work that was going to pile up on me even during “syllabus week”, (which is apparently not a thing in college) and spent most of my time watching Netflix or hanging out with friends. Thank goodness I found some sort of balance; within my sport, school work, sorority life, relationships, and even leisure time. Balance is truly found by learning how to schedule out your time appropriately. It is okay to take a break from work to watch tv, as long as you set a time limit and stick to it. Balance is finding what works best for you.
Find What Works For You
There are some people who write A papers the night before it is due and some who need to spend 3 weeks on it to get that A. It may be even working in increments and having to take breaks and that’s okay too. College forces you to find what style best suits you. It may take time to learn what works but if you are anything like me, you’ll be finding yourself writing your best papers the night before it's due. I found that I do not do great with 8 am classes but I know that's when I get the most done on my own so I schedule my classes, workouts, and school work accordingly (running in the morning, class in the afternoon). Learning how and when you work best shows how you perform under pressure. Putting your own deadline on projects can be very helpful in making sure you get work done before you become too stressed about them.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
My first year of college I was terrified to ask people for help. My senior friends seemed like they had everything figured out and I didn’t want to look dumb to my professors. Unfortunately, because of this, I really struggled my freshman year; with my school work, time management, and, of course, being home sick.
Luckily, over the years I learned to ask for help from peers and my professors. I learned that my older friends didn’t always have their lives together and struggled just as much as I did (I just wasn’t around to see that part). I learned that everything is not always how it looks from the outside and that there are always people willing to help. I now have my circle of people that I know I can always go to for guidance that support my goals and want me to succeed.
Creating My Own Opportunities
We get asked our entire lives what we want to be when we grow up. Starting in kindergarten people begin asking where we want go to college and what we want to do after. When I was younger I always said I wanted to be a Veterinarian (if you know me, you know I’m obsessed with pretty much any animal), but then I realized that you don’t just get to make them feel better and play with them all day. So, then I decided I would be a marine biologist; well I found out that I hate biology. Fast forward, here I am about to graduate college in 6 months, still not positive what I am going to do with my life. But I do know that I am going to be successful in whatever I choose. While my parents get a lot of credit for my positive outlook on my future, college has set me up to create my own opportunities. It has molded me into who I am today by forcing me to overcome obstacles on my own. College has pushed me to grow in every aspect of my life, it has shown me how important is it to be a friend and given me the confidence that I can do whatever I set my mind to.
To follow Madelyn in her journey after college: