Me, At 20

I get a lot of emails asking me two questions: “What advice do you have for someone in college (studying design)?” and “What would you have done differently in college now that you know what you know?”

For awhile I would come up with some pretty solid responses. I would tell people how I didn’t really learn much in college, that it felt like a waste of money and to go to a school in a city where you could network! But as I started thinking about it recently…I decided to change my answer. I started thinking back on my college life and realized the following:

  • I didn’t do well in many of my classes
  • I didn’t really have school spirit
  • I stayed up way too late and skipped most of my classes before noon
  • I didn’t get an awesome internship my junior year
  • I went to school in the middle of nowhere
  • I didn’t love design like I do now

But here’s what I did do:

  • I was making art with my hands. Painting. Drawing. Sculpting.
  • I didn’t have much anxiety
  • I traveled. A LOT.
  • I took an insane amount of Photobooth pictures like the one above and then probably made out with Adam immediately after
  • I met and lived alongside my best friends

That time for me was really precious. In a way – I am envious of 20-year-old me. I feel quite successful professionally but there’s something really amazing about that time in my life. Carefree, curious and adventurous. I want to incorporate those things back into my life on a day-to-day basis.

So the next time someone asks me about college (and what I would do differently), I’ll probably say:

Not a damn thing.


A Consideration

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Comments (10)

  • Now, I realize that college was such a big step for me. I had just become paralyzed a year before, and college was my first big “my life will not be about this wheelchair” adventure that I knew I needed to take on. I was scared. OUT. OF. MY. MIND. And I wish I had it back sometimes.

    Reflection is good. Both to appreciate what you have now, and to find the things that you may have lost about who you were.

    • I totally agree Carrie. Those moments (at the time) don’t hit us quite as hard until we look back on them. I admire you!

  • I feel split on this question.

    I am not using the degrees I got or where I envisioned they would take me, but if I hadn’t made the choices I did I feel I wouldn’t have met some of the amazing people I know now (like my husband, which also led me to meet my best friends). So while I do feel like college can be a waste of time on your path to a career, it’s because of that waste of time that I got to where I am with the people I have in my life. And let’s face it, relationships make life that much better!

    • I’m using my degree (sort of..I mean I’m designing but I didn’t learn any of the things I do day-to-day in college) but I completely know how you feel. Relationships are priceless and I’m so thankful I met the people that I did (while skipping class haha).

  • Love this. Isn’t it crazy how everyone sees that experience differently and how you value it differently over time? I definitely feel that way about my time at college.

  • Middle of nowhere is an understatement.

    I sometimes look back on those 4 years and think a) how in the hell did I not get kicked out and b) as much as I want to say I didn’t have a great time, I couldn’t trade that time because nothing would be the same.

    In hindsight, I wish I could tell 19 yr. old me to value experience and adventure far more than anything else.

    • Haha…true.

      And I like that. I think I would tell college Allie to keep doing what she’s doing. And be even more adventurous.

  • Oh, girl, I feel you on this one.

    College I’d definitely a once in a lifetime experience and nothing else will ever be quite like it.

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