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The Argument for College: What I’ve discovered in the First Weeks at Ball State

I have a confession: I was wrong. 

I was very hesitant to attend college, I wanted to be this “young-hustler” entrepreneur that was going to take the risk by being out on my own and defying the odds of not going to college. And as it turns out, it was simply not my path. But hear me out on this one.

Some young people can go out on their own and achieve this, but regardless of my efforts, I was not one of these people. I had a lot of learning and growing up to do before I could go out completely on my own. Which is to say, I needed to pave my path with some guidance first.   

In the months prior to high school graduation, I felt like a failure because I didn’t build something successful NOW, and that I would be doomed to an average college life. 

Things changed when I arrived at Ball State University. Actually it started before that. In making my decision on if I wanted to go to college at all, and if so, which university to choose from (I had three options), I talked with some successful graduates from different universities. My favorite conversation being with @Scott Morris. He had recommended not only the university I would eventually attend, but also look at the graduates coming out of the program, and how that used the resources and alumni to get insights into entrepreneurship. Thus, I began looking at college as something different. I decided that in my time attending college, my aim would for it to be a tool for success and not “just” a degree.  

This shift of mind has brought me many new realizations: 

No Distractions: The Impact of a New Environment and a Fresh Start

Simply moving to a new location and not being known is a huge benefit to many young people. College is a time to reinvent and redesign yourself, get a fresh start, no matter how good or bad your high school experience. While I embraced this aspect (as you will see in point 3) I took a different approach to have a clean start. No more distractions. The majority of my time became to bettering myself and my work. I immediately began enforcing positive habits into my college adjustment period. Things like consistent exercise, listening to insightful audiobooks and podcasts, and specific times to develop my projects and do homework have all slowly become routine for me. And while I do have my free time, I make sure that most of my time is dedicated to benefiting the future.  

Time Management: A Better and More Clear Direction of my Goals

When it comes to eliminating bad habits and distractions, one of the most powerful tools I have encountered is time management. I religiously use Brendon Burchard’s High-Performance Planner in order to schedule out my day in 30-minute increments so that I can most efficiently use my time, even scheduling breaks for myself so that I remember to enjoy the moment. And this creates an interesting phenomenon that most college students encounter “I have so much free time” And because I have all of this free time, I know I can utilize it to its fullest! But what is out there besides homework? 

My goals. I began writing out my goals for the week and would attempt to bust them out. But when I looked at my new list of goals the next week, I realized it appeared to be identical to the previous week. I had gotten nothing done. This was very interesting to me because I knew I had the free time to accomplish my goals. Through a bit of trial and error, I realized that I was not scheduling my goals down for the week, and because they were not FULLY defined goals, I would not attain them! So I began time managing everything. I live by a schedule now and I can see my accomplishments and pivots at the end of the week. And I couldn’t be happier! 

A Personal Journey: Reawakening of Passions

For years I had issues with comparing myself to others, and it diminished my self-image. Making things worse, it made me feel like everything I had been doing, or working towards was worthless compared to others. Hundreds of people had better stories, better ventures, more success, and knowledge then I could dream of. And while I was very happy for every person I encountered and wanted to learn from them, I would only beat myself up and consider my efforts worthless. 

Being on my own in college, (and being farther away from social media) has shown me something very powerful. I am my own person, and I have my own journey. I am not like you, and you are not like me, and that is a wonderful thing. And it’s something to accept and be ok with. Just because someone is doing better than you, or living out a ‘better story’ then you, does not mean you can’t get there. Nor does it mean you have to be them. You are your own person with your own journey to discover and build. This sounds so simple but has been an awakening to me. I’ve seen it before, but now I get is… “I am enough. My journey is worthy.”

This sparked something very deep in me, to reawaken my passions and work harder than ever to build something meaningful for my own brand and for my college. I was free from the thought of worthlessness and sought to reembrace what I loved about my podcast. 

*More on this in the following weeks.

“It’s what you make of it”: Being a go-getter: Utilizing the recourses that the campus provides you. 

Eventually, I saw what my college could provide me, and also as important- what I could do for them. When touring around campus, many students told me that “Ball State is what you make of it” so I sought out to make it just that. Many of the professors, deans, and staff here are more than willing to help their students succeed, regardless if they are a little unconventional! Not only this, but there are also thousands of peers around me, all with wildly different talents and skills than I! Also, I want to see them succeed and work with them to create something awesome, thus collaboration is key! And with Ball State being a well known for Communications, media work, and Entrepreneurship, the resources such as videography/ audio equipment, the Innovation Center, and some fantastic alumni have made this a perfect fit. 

My Plan: Collaborate and Grow Together

There are many new projects and stories that I have undertaken in the brief time I have been here, and while I don’t feel comfortable to lay them out in detail just yet, I can tell you that I have many collaborations and opportunities with Ball State! I’m excited to see how all of the new projects grow. Where they succeed or fail isn’t really the point. It’s the journey of putting myself into a collaborative journey by getting better together. It’s the willingness to “horizontally” grow new skills, yet also “vertically” grow myself into a better classmate, learner, and potential leader. 

A year ago I would have told you that I was better off alone, and that “hustle and grind” would point me to success. But I now see that hustle and grind is done better with a learner's attitude first- and collaborating with awesome classmates, professors, and professionals in my network is a much better strategy.