6 Things I Wish I Knew at 17
1. You don’t have to have all the answers now. Deciding where to go to college and what to major in are huge decisions, ones I recall stressing about as if the fate of world was in the balance. Truthfully, there isn’t always one *right* answer about what to do next, and what you major in at school doesn’t necessarily have to be what you do for the rest of your life. Seek wise counsel from trusted advisors, make a decision and boldly march toward your future. No matter what university or major you choose, what happens once you get there is up to you.
2. You can have more than one dream. At 17, I felt so much pressure to choose a major that would lead to the one perfect career for myself. But I couldn’t figure out how to condense all my interests and passions into one career. As it turns out, I didn’t have to. While I majored in Public Relations, my career path has been far broader, encompassing advertising, journalism, marketing, blogging, social media and photography. And I never could’ve planned for my foray into blogging, because social media wasn’t even invented when I started out. You’ll only get pigeonholed into one career if you allow that to happen.
3. Someone has to do the cool jobs. Why not you? When choosing a major, I never considered that I could have one of those amazing dream jobs you see in the movies. Allow yourself the freedom to explore your wildest, most outrageously impossible dream career… and then really consider going for it. Someone has to do it, so why shouldn’t it be you?
4. Cultivate a vast network. I dated the same guy from senior year of high school until we graduated from college. I thought we would get married, and since I had him, I was lazy in forming meaningful relationships in college. Don’t let anything get in the way of meeting as many people as possible in your late teens and early 20s. There’s nothing as valuable in the working world as a strong network, so get connected.
5. Say yes. As an introvert, I often find it taxing to go out and meet new people, but when I put myself out there, I never, ever regret it. Every wonderful, surprising opportunity I’ve ever had has come as a result of chance encounters with new people, so if you’re invited to a meeting for an organization you know nothing about, say yes. If you hear about a new club seeking leadership, say yes. Get out there and say yes!
6. Growth comes in the bad times. The darkest days I ever had are the ones I look back on with the most grateful heart. The worst times are the times that have made me into the person I am, so when things get rough, just know it’s an opportunity to come out better on the other side.
About the Author
Angie wears many hats; social media consultant, project-based publicist, travel blogger, freelance journalist, big sister and adventurer. A Gator grad born and raised in Jacksonville, Angie spent the past two years traveling the world alone and writing about it in magazines and on her blog. Prior to that, she worked in NYC at Weber Shandwick, the world’s largest PR agency, where she represented some of the biggest names in travel.