Looking back: Confessions of a college senior

My name is Mackenzie Stogsdill, and I have a confession to make. I have not had the perfect college career. I stayed up too late. I missed classes. I didn’t take enough credits some semesters. I did not get perfect grades. I did not join all of the clubs I should have.

Hold on. Did you think I was going to make this blog a pity party? ABSOLUTELY NOT. If there is anything that I have learned about college, it’s that making mistakes and growing from them is one of the most important life skills, and learning it early is even more necessary. Yes, I did not do everything by the book. I said that my college career wasn’t perfect, not that it wasn’t great.

Here are some things that I would go back and tell my freshman-year self if I could though, just to prepare myself to be okay when things aren’t perfect:

  • “Things aren’t going to go as planned.” To be honest, if someone had told 18-year-old me that I was not going to graduate with a triple-major, double-minor business degree with the highest honors, I probably would have cried. But it’s all okay. Even today I was asked in an interview what my greatest accomplishment was and I said it was changing my major because it was the toughest thing I had to do.
  • “Don’t knock it until you try it.” Going into college, I had let my preconceived ideas of many groups affect my ability to have an open mind. Looking back, I wish I would have done more. Who knows where I would be today if I decided to rush a Greek organization, if I had tried out for the club volleyball team, or if I had explored other majors earlier. Just be open to all of the opportunities that college can provide.
  • “Go talk to your advisor.” This is how self-led college planning should go: First, write down your college plan. Draw out everything you want to do for the next four years, and what you need to do in order to get there. How will you get into that study abroad program? How will you get that internship? What do you have to do to be happy? Then, THROW IT OUT THE WINDOW. If I could go back to my 18-year-old self and get back all of the hours I spent planning my four years, I would tell her to go outside and take a break. I stressed WAY more than I should have to make sure that my college planner was perfect and that each class took me where I wanted to go in the end, but that was three majors ago and literally amounts to nothing today. Just talk to your advisor and things will be a lot easier.
  • “College is going to be great. Make the most of it.” I wish I had the opportunity to see the look on my face when I told my freshman self that IU would make a lot of my dreams come true. I got to go to Europe (twice!). I won money for a case competition. I landed some sweet jobs and internships. I made some awesome friends.

College journeys are like snowflakes. You might have had the perfect high school career. You were class president, lead actress in the musical, varsity volleyball starter, member of the FFA and in show choir. In college though, there are plenty of ways to be successful that don’t require a 4.0 and an Olympic gold medal. Looking back, the things I did wrong were the greatest mistakes I ever made. Having the perfect college career doesn’t make for a good college experience. (Or blog for that matter.)

Mackenzie Stogsdill headshot 2017Mackenzie is a senior at Indiana University majoring in Media with a concentration in Management, Industry and Policy, with minors in Creative Industry Management and Marketing. She is a member of the African American Chorale Ensemble, and interns with Northwestern Mutual as a College Financial Representative. From Spencer, Indiana, Mackenzie enjoys singing, playing volleyball and spending time with her three-legged cat. With Pearson, she thoroughly enjoys writing for the Students Blog as well as being a Campus Ambassador. Go Hoosiers!