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Senior Status: Goal Oriented Design

It’s week one of my senior year of college and I’m sitting here wondering, what was I doing those other three years here at Michigan?

Tonight I met fifteen people I’ve never even seen on campus before who utterly amazed me. It was a feeling I knew all too well for I recently experienced it at The Flatiron School – where I realized what incredible people the students/instructors are: motivated, generous, fascinated by life, determined and above all else, passionate. The people I met tonight were driven, they were students getting shit done — whether they were programmers, designers, aspiring VCs, interaction researchers, iOS devs or simply interested in entrepreneurship, it didn’t matter – they all had wrong thing in common; they were getting shit done and changing the world.

I can tell this year is going to be different. It already is.

To that end, here are some of my goals and inspirations for the last eight months I have here in Ann Arbor doing nothing except learning and taking in as many experiences as possible. It’s written as a letter to myself.

  • Surround yourself with people smarter than yourself in whatever field that may be. Art history, bioengineering, music studies, computer science, just be around people who can teach you about their field. Not only will this inspire your creative mindflow, but you’ll be introduced to new perspectives leading to a more well rounded character.

  • On the same spectrum, get really good at your field. Yes, you are totally a newbie to the tech field. You’re a linguistics and Spanish major for pete’s sake, but that’s not stopping you. Code, code, code. This is the last time in your life (likely) that you’ll ever have this much free time. Read all the books, go to all the meetups, audit all the CS classes.

  • Complacency is the ultimate enemy. There is never a time where you legitimately have nothing to do considering there are seventeen books in your dropbox (Thanks Avi and Flatiron team), treehouse lessons to be completed and commits to be made. Besides coding, just keep learning. Strum your ukulele often. Play with illustrator for a few hours. Run a few extra miles. Challenge yourself. There is no risk right now, you thankfully don’t need to be making money for another few months. Take the risk not presented to you, seek it out and be productive.

  • Explore deeper connections. After the next eight months, you have no idea where you’ll be located let alone where all your friends will be. But even with distance, if you have an amazing relationship with someone, neither of you will let it fall astray. Be an amazing friend, help each other, learn from one another, explore new aspects of Ann Arbor and of yourselves. Friends can be forever.

  • Lastly, be in the moment. Life is too fricken short to be living anywhere else. Whether you are at MHacks programming away in the executive suites of the big house (blog post to come next weekend about this hackathon), at an MPowered Sunday meeting, apple picking at the cider mill, or doing the dishes, be in the moment. Accept the gifts and obstacles life throws at you.

So here’s to my final year as a college student. Have fun, make it count. Be the person you’ve dreamed of becoming. You now have the resources and the power to do so and it’s up to you to make shit happen.