Meet Oluwasola Ogundare, Schools That Can’s first Student Board Delegate! Oluwasola, a freshman at Cornell University, will be writing a blog series for STC, tackling the transition from high school to college, career readiness, and what’s on the minds of young people today. 

My first semester has come to a close, and with the Spring semester just getting started, I’ve taken a step back to see how far my peers and I have come. I went from not really knowing if I could get into college during high school to attending an Ivy League institution and starting my own journey to become successful in this world. Although my time here has been good, to say that I was fully prepared for this environment is an overstatement. Nothing can really prepare you for college except for college itself, but there are definitely some things I wish I knew before entering the collegiate world. 

Not every activity has to be something that is for your college application.

Oftentimes, we get very caught up in trying to have the perfect transcript and creating a facade that is appealing to any college one applies for. I repeatedly did this in high school by trying to apply for every single program or be “a part of” every single club possible. Instead of  following my own passions and pursuing what I most enjoyed, I restricted myself to only the “best” organizations and most creditable clubs. To think that anyone, including myself, would give up on their own endeavors just to complete an arbitrary checklist needed for success baffles me. Even though it is good to put yourself out there, it should always be because you want to do so. As often as it may be said, colleges really do want to know who you are as a person, and if they don’t see the value you have through the pursuits that you’ve followed, then it is their loss. 

Realize how massive the world is and know you’ll meet a lot of different people.

Growing up, I never really got to meet new people in my everyday life. Having gone to the same school up until 7th grade and then moving to a new school until I graduated meant I was often surrounded by the same type of people. This isn’t necessarily a negative thing, but going to two very small public schools sometimes caused me to have a narrow outlook on life. Even though I branched out in these small spaces, there’s no replication for actually meeting different people from around the country or even around the world. Cornell’s enormous undergraduate class size of over 15,000 people has forced me to meet new people and view the world from a perspective I was never able to see from in the past. I meet someone new almost everyday and hearing all the incredible journeys people have taken to get to this point is incredible. Although shocking at first, it is something I recommend everyone goes through to become a more informed and open-minded person.  

Focus on tackling your challenges one day at a time.

Having just gone through my fall semester, I would be lying if I said it was easy. It may have been rough at times, but the challenge was well worth it. Having taken on a lot of new responsibilities and having to study a lot more than I ever did in high school, I found that it was best to focus on getting better each day, one at a time. Throughout high school, it was very easy to become ultra-competitive and try to have your entire life planned out.  Having a plan is important, but everything is subject to change and you should always be cognizant of this. Although having everything mapped can work for some people, life is not linear and it’s important to realize this. It’s okay to just focus on setting goals for the week, or even just a day, and conquering them. It’s easy to get stressed out about everything that is coming up but taking it one day at a time truly helps this process. 

Leave high school with no regrets. 

As corny as it may sound, you really are only in high school once. This is a special place where you get to enjoy life as a young adult before you’re off to college and you’re trying to get a full-time job. Every portion of our life is special and it’s important to see the value in every stage. If you’re contemplating joining that new club, meeting new people, or picking up a new hobby, I strongly recommend you do it. Life is full of responsibilities and they only increase as we get older.  Don’t let doubt stop you from doing the things you’re interested in. The earlier you start and the faster you do the things you’re interested in, the sooner you’ll get better at them and learn whether or not it’s for you.