Try harder, see what happens

By Katy Mae Turner | Photographer

It may sound harsh, but chances are you need to try harder at whatever you’re doing — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you know what you want, you have to put yourself out there more and take bigger risks to see a greater reward.

Connections are everything in life, and college is the place to build them. You’re going to meet hundreds of people with interests similar to yours — whether it’s a person with the same major who will be in your future industry, someone you served with in student government who is working with high profile politicians or even the person who you met at that one club meeting two years ago. These are the people who you can reach out to 20 years from now and ask about almost anything.

One thing I learned my first year of college during COVID-19 was people aren’t going to show up on the front steps of your dorm asking to be your friend. You have to put in the work to meet new people. It doesn’t matter how busy you think you are. There’s always an extra hour in your schedule to try that new club or to go on a coffee date with someone you haven’t talked to before.

Even little connections make a world of difference.

Reaching out is easier than you think. Sending a direct message to a stranger or emailing a professor can seem scary in the moment. It’s tough to find the right words to convey your feelings.

No matter if it’s a job you really want on your resume or a person you want to get to know better, people can’t read your mind. Unless you explicitly say “I want this job” or “I want to be your friend,” they won’t know. The only way to tell them is to send that message or have that conversation.

And then, once it’s sent, you face the hardest part: waiting. My grandpa used to always say “Tell me yes or tell me no, but tell me now,” and I unfortunately have taken on that part of his personality as a very impatient person. There are so many things they could say back, but the worst message you can get is “no.”

No isn’t as scary as it sounds, though. It’s not a fun answer, but afterward, you can continue on with your day. This life has hundreds of thousands of different paths to discover. Maybe that one just isn’t where you need to be at this time in your life. But the only way to know for sure is to try.