My name is Austin Foster, and I am a sophomore majoring in Finance with a concentration in Alternative Asset Management, Political Science, and Public Policy. I am originally from Arlington, Texas—about a 30-minute drive from campus. I am writing today to share two pieces of advice as you work on deciding what the next four years of your life will look like and where those years will transpire.
Going through the college search process can be very stressful. Not only are you choosing what you believe to be your future career path (don’t worry—you’ll change your mind at least two or three times before making a final decision), but you’re also choosing where you will live for the next four years. While the former is certainly important in the decision-making process, the latter is, in my opinion, a much bigger deal.
Personally, I entered the college search process knowing two things—That I wanted to study business and that I wanted to go to school outside of Texas. As such, I applied to school all across the United States—East Coast, West Coast, and everything in between. At SMU, I got one of these two things, but wouldn’t trade the other for the world. While academics are important to consider when selecting a university, choosing the place that feels like home is far more important than any ranking, program, or course offering.
For me, SMU was the perfect choice because it hit so many of my wishes and needs as a student. We have small classes (An average of 22 students), which makes me a name rather than a number for my professors. We have a student body that is just the right size—enough students that there is always someone new to meet, but you’ll also always see a friend whether you’re walking down the boulevard, studying in Fondren library, or headed into Dedman Rec.
My second piece of advice is very simple. Nobody Cares.
This is something that I was told before I came to SMU and I wish it was something I had truly taken to heart at the time. Looking back, I realize how true it is. The beautiful thing about college is that nobody cares where you grew up, who your parents are, what you’re wearing, or what classes you decide to take. All that truly matters is that you are HERE and that you do the things that make you, YOU. By being brave enough to be yourself rather than trying to fit a mold of what you think everyone else wants to see, you will find your lifelong friends and enjoy your college experience.
Austin Foster, SMU ‘23