austin-whittle-3Now that fall break just ended and my friends are getting emails about spring enrollment, the reality of my early graduation is sinking in. Two months from now my chapter at SMU will end and a new one will begin. Looking back on my time, I’ve come up with some tips for those about to embark on their own collegiate journeys.

Be shamelessly yourself.
Coming into college, I was not true to myself. I wore what I thought others expected me to wear, studied subjects people told me would lead to high-paying jobs and created an identity for myself that was anything but me. I’m not entirely sure at what point it clicked, but I no longer feared being different with the amazing friends I made at SMU. I changed my majors, and the university resoundingly supported me in further discovering my sense of self.

Surround yourself with people who challenge you.
Going to school with people from all different backgrounds is one of the most humbling experiences. Be vulnerable to the diverse ideas people will pose in the classroom, and it will benefit you the truest form of education. SMU is full of some of the most ambitious people I have encountered to date, and they have helped reshape my perceptions of what is possible.

austin-whittle-2Ask questions.
I realized the times that yielded the most valuable learning experiences thus far were times that I dared to ask questions. Many come into college with the fear of raising hands, but now is the most important time to question “why?”

Study abroad.
One of the most formative experiences I’ve had in the past three and a half years was studying abroad. Immersing myself in a new culture taught me as much about my own culture as it did about the new. It also led to my dream of working in London after graduation.

Eat as many tacos as you can.
This one speaks for itself. The majority of my remaining time will be well-spent in line at Velvet Taco.

Keep these in mind and the opportunities at SMU will be endless!

-Austin Whittle