Words of Wisdom for the Class of 2017

September 09, 2013

Looking back on high school and college, many of us probably wish we had done things a little differently: taken advantage of the opportunities offered, gone the extra mile, joined more clubs, and taken more leadership opportunities. For this year’s incoming college freshmen — the class of 2017 — many lessons lie ahead, but they don’t have to be learned the hard way.

So as you head back to class this fall, here are seven pieces of advice, courtesy of the AAUW Pinterest board.

1)       “You can’t be afraid to get out there and make yourself known.” — Stefani Jones

Get Involved

It might seem scary to step up as a leader, but pushing past your comfort level is what leads to success. Join organizations and run for leadership positions.


2)      “One of the best ways to learn something is by watching someone else do it first.” — Katy Dickinson

Marion Talbot cutout with word bubble that says seek out mentors.

Seek out mentors in college. Mentors push you in the right direction. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the people who helped guide my college career at George Mason University.


3)      “Don’t feel forced to do what looks like success to others.” — Nina Godiwalla

Be Yourself

You know what works best for you. Sometimes the hardest part of growing up is learning to be yourself instead of following the crowd.


4)      “Don’t stop dreaming.” — Anamarija Frankić

Samantha Dream Big

Setting goals helps you focus on what exactly you want to accomplish in college. You cannot be what you cannot imagine, so dream big.


5)      “Leadership is one of those words that means a lot of different things: success, power, authority, change. None of these things will be possible for you if you don’t know who you are.” — Rachel Simmons

Fin"Find things you care about." Picture Frame

Take time to discover who you are. Find things that you care about. You grow and discover yourself during college.


6)      “Always show up, put your head down, and ignore the noise. If you do your job, people will have to recognize that.” — Natalie Randolph

Show Up!

Go to class. Participate. Stand out. Repeat. You will spend more time out of the classroom than you do in. But it’s what you do out of class that determines how well you do in class.


7)      “There’s no guarantee that if you have a lot of failures that you’ll have great success, but there is a guarantee that you cannot have great success without mistakes along the way.” — Melissa Harris-Perry

Failures and mistakes are a part of life

You learn the most from your failures, not your successes. Ask for help when you need it, and realize that failure and mistakes are a part of life. In fact, they make you a better person.


If you want more words of wisdom, check out our Pinterest board. If you feel truly inspired, join the AAUW community. Undergraduate students at our college/university partner members can join for free.

What pieces of advice do you think women need in order to navigate college? Share them in the comments.

This post was written by AAUW College/University Relationships Intern Mabinty Quarshie.

AAUW Intern By:   |   September 09, 2013

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