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Dear Frosh: I wish I'd known about life's twists

Jenna Johnson

Today's advice for college freshmen is from Brian Hall, an instructor at Champlain College in Vermont.

I wish I had known the number of times I would change my academic and professional direction.

BrianHall.jpgThere are particular moments throughout college that have the potential to change everything. It can be a single statement from a professor during class, it can be a course as a whole, it can be external events in the world around you, it can be a moment of self-discovery about what you really enjoy.

The best thing you can do is welcome those moments and consider following them.

I left home to enter as a freshman student at a liberal arts school in Florida, moved back to Illinois to finish a two-year degree in programming (community college is a great choice for the first two years), was determined to be a full-time programmer, had an eye-opening internship, decided to continue my Information Technology (IT) education in Indiana, took up a concentration in History my senior year, began graduate school in History, accepted a job in the IT career path, completed grad school in IT while working, left the professional tech world to begin teaching college, and will continue to further my own education in an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.

Every one of these major events was rooted in an exact moment that seemed much smaller at the time. Yet, they became the starting point of a new direction that would take me places I had never previously considered going. If it makes you happy, do it. You won't regret it no matter how it ends. There is always another road.

What do you wish you had known as a freshman? E-mail me your short essay (less than 300 words) and it might be featured on the blog. Read previous essays here.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  September 16, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  College 101  | Tags: Champlain College, Dear Frosh  
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