Over the past two years I’ve had my share of experiences. I’ve had some success and a fair amount of failure as well. With graduation quickly approaching I wanted to take some time to reflect on what contributed most to not only my successes but my failures as well. This has been a great form of meditation and I encourage anyone reading this to do it as well! I’ve learned a little bit more about myself in the process and want to share my thoughts with you in a short series of posts that will highlight my contributing factors to success, which you’ll read below, and my failures will follow in time. Disclaimer: by no means am I saying that I always do these items below…but when I have, I’ve felt that I’ve achieved success in doing them. Hope you enjoy!
When something hits your desk it doesn’t matter what level of importance it is. What matters most is to recognize that if it affects somebody else, do it immediately. You can wait till the last minute on a 10 page paper if you are solely affected by the grade on the assignment. However, if somebody needs an email forwarded, help on a team assignment or a favor, do it. You will be held in high regard if you can exhibit this behavior. An old saying rings true “You can have everything you want, if you will just help everyone get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
Keep in contact with people. Send little texts, stay in touch through social media, or send a card once in a while. Do this whenever you see something that reminds you of them. Or if that’s too much out of your day just be personable and say hi to people you know (or don’t know) in your daily lives. Nurture your friendships and keep your network open, one day these people you kept in contact with could hold the keys to open doors that you don’t even know exist yet.
Opportunities present themselves often at NIU, take advantage of them. You get in-class presentations on the Experiential Learning Center, study abroad programs, student organizations, etc., but many people simply forget what they’ve been exposed to only minutes after it’s shown. Write those opportunities down and research them further when you have a minute to yourself. Pursue challenges and you’ll be amazed at how far you’ll go, not only at NIU, but in life itself.
Keep moving. I learned this on distance bike rides and a backpacking adventure in the Smokey Mountains. Even trying to ride my bike from my hometown to Wisconsin, every pedal I took, no matter how small, brought me closer to finishing my goal. When backpacking we spent a few days going uphill for stints of 12 miles or more. With each step in that cold and wet weather, we were that much closer to reaching camp. For those of you who want to give up and are overwhelmed by work that is seemingly insurmountable, take a second and remember how to eat an elephant…do it one bite at a time.
I encourage you to add your own keys to success in the comments below. As I said, keep an eye out to read a little bit more about my failures and how can you avoid making the same mistakes I’ve made in my university career. 2.0out