Remember to learn from others
I won't bore you with the details of personal memories or specific experiences. Life is too short to rewind and playback all those past memories. It is important to look ahead and apply what we have learned during the college years.
I feel sorry for those whose days on the Hanover plain were spent learning the number of alcoholic beverages required for intoxication or those that perfected the art of due date extensions.
Instead, I hope the majority of my classmates learned something about people and more importantly, about themselves. Would that near $100,000 tuition be well spent if each of us came out of Dartmouth only able to read and write and not to live?
In order to survive in the world it seems necessary to understand people more than anything else; better than knowing derivatives, better than translating Arabic, better than reading classic novels. Without people to share this understanding it would be worthless. We should learn from our time on campus before it eventually blends into the great fog of our past.
Last week, during a ritual night out for coffee, I asked some of my close friends to tell me what they learned while at Dartmouth. I had some interesting responses, most sounding like they belong in a book of cliches, but if you think about them long enough, they actually start to make sense --
"Getting your money's worth on a punch is harder than catching a greased hog in Texas on a midsummers day."
It is going to be hard for a while, isn't it? Nobody said that doing what you want would be easy. Let's hope one of our brilliant classmates develops a system that allows us to access everything by BlitzMail and charge everything home on our ID's.
"Confusion usually precedes self-assurance."
I don't know about you, but when it comes to even simple questions, like "what am I going to do with the rest of my life and how am I going to get there?" it is usually necessary to go through a period of complete and utter confusion. But that is okay ... We are young; we don't have to be perfect.
"My parents know more than I thought."
No, really, they do ... No matter how well you get along, no matter how much your opinions differ, they have been around the block (probably more times than they will admit to) and can tell you if there is a bull dog with "huge, nasty, pointy teeth" waiting to devour you or if it looks like clear sailing all the way.
At least try to listen; you owe them that much (and $100,000 more if we are keeping track).
"Getting where you're going takes more than knowing where you're going."
The only way to get where you want to go is to figure out where that is first. To do that you need to talk to the people that know. Learn from others' mistakes and successes.
There is a wealth of information waiting to be read and researched and studied, but before you stick yourself in the middle of that fast-paced whirlpool take time to see what the people around you have to offer and what you have to offer them.
Who knows? In the end of it all you may be lucky enough to learn about something no one can teach you and is not written about in any book ... yourself.