Dear College Me,
R ight now, you are on the cusp of adulthood and worried about where your life is headed. Here is the good news: you are the navigator on this journey. You are in the driver’s seat and you get to choose where we go next. That choice will always be yours.
You already have an idea of what direction you want to go in, but not a destination. You’re majoring in Computer Science because you love technology, but you don’t know exactly what you want to do in the tech industry. That’s okay – your major is just one of many vehicles you’ll drive on your road to success. If it stalls or runs out of gas, you can always switch cars. Focus on the journey, the people you meet, and the many experiences you will have along the way. They will open your eyes to new possibilities and lead you to places beyond your wildest dreams.
You’ll be pushed outside of your comfort zone more than you would like, just like in college. When you first went off to college, you ran into a ton of obstacles before you could even get your bags out of your rental car and into your dorm room. It was a discouraging experience. You felt like you’d made a wrong turn on your road to success. I remember so vividly how much you wanted to turn back around and just go home. Though your aversion to risk kicked into overdrive, you didn’t pull over or turn back. You kept going, and by surviving that experience, you felt like you could conquer anything else life would throw at you.
I bring that memory up to remind you to not let discomfort stop you from moving forward. Explore the new frontiers you find yourself on the cusp of and take calculated risks. This will take a lot of work, but you already know from experience that it’s worth the effort. In fact, the more risks you take, the easier it gets.
Taking risks will not only lead you to success, but sometimes to failure. In starting your new blog, you’ll not only see success, but at some point, you’ll lose all of that work and have to start over. Be grateful for the failures. In the long run, you’ll learn more from these moments than from your successes. That learning will become foundational to your ability to keep your foot on the gas and quickly get back in your lane.
Breaking into the field of your dreams may seem like a long shot right now. Your blog, SheGeeks.net, is small and you have zero connections into the technology industry. Though you love technology, initially you’ll feel like you don’t belong or deserve a seat at the table because you don’t see many signs of yourself on the road to technology. However, sometimes things are not what they appear to be; but you won’t know that unless you take the risk to find out. Like the saying goes, you’ll never know if you don’t try.
So, start now. When you do, you’ll be surprised by the support, encouragement and opportunities that appear. SheGeeks will become an award-winning tech blog. You’ll become an Influential Woman in Tech, at least according to FastCompany Magazine. You’ll even capture the attention of President Barack Obama. You just have to hop in the driver’s seat and drive. In doing so, you’ll open new doors on your journey and inspire others on theirs.
Ultimately, there is no destination. There is only the journey and you. Hearing that probably makes you wish you could be clairvoyant, but don’t worry so much about your future. You’ll end up right where you should be – even if you don’t know where that is right now.
So buckle up, shift into drive and enjoy the ride! I love you and can’t wait for you to see the woman you’ll soon become: a badass, award-winning, technologist. You go, girl!
This post was created in collaboration with National Car Rental, which offers car rentals
to any business traveler. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of
National Car Rental.