What is success?
Most people attend college in hopes of becoming successful, yet the true definition is a mystery. How do we measure success? Are we really in college to become successful?
All these questions were raised Feb. 9 at a presentation inside Jones Auditorium given by Jullien Gordon, co-author of “101 Things to Do Before You Graduate.” The book is aligned with Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s Common Read Program.
Each year, the program chooses a book distributed to all TAMUK freshman students and promoted throughout campus. “101 Things To Do Before You Graduate” is a detailed list of 101 experiences students should achieve while attending college.
Gordon is author of three other books, How To Align your Personal and Professional Purpose, Good Excuse Goals: How to End Procrastination & Perfectionism Forever, The Innerview: Everything You Need To Know & DO Before Your Job Interview.
He has traveled to several universities, motivating students to become successful individuals. To Gordon, success is more than just focusing on one’s own wealth or status, but on the relationships built and how many people transformed.
“My definition of success is the alignment of my purpose, passion and profit. Am I being who I want to be, am I doing what I want to do, and do I have enough to continue being what I want to be and doing what I want to be doing?”
Gordon explained that the three most important questions students should ask themselves are, “Why am I here? What is my definition of success? What do I want?”
At the presentation, Gordon revealed the reality most students will face after graduation. Current students are not just competing with their classmates or other universities, but with the entire world. Students might think they are safe because they graduate.
However, Gordon explains that college education is only an expensive piece of paper. The value it has can only be determined by the experiences accumulated before graduating. That is where the book, 101 Things Before You Graduate comes in handy.
Gordon mentioned how every minute a student spends at TAMUK costs $0.41. Eating, napping, and even breathing are costing students’ massive amounts of money.
English Major, Kelby Sprinkles says students should focus and learn about time management. “We have to learn true responsibility. It’s the first time someone is not holding your hand and trying to get you to do things.”
The book lists several activities and skills a person can accomplish. Some of these items include taking… a campus tour, creating a vision board, learning computer programs, and wearing a costume to class.
Amanda Bakonyi, Biomedical major said her favorite item was doing something you’ll likely get rejected or fail at.
According to Bakonyi, “You can’t find success without finding failure first. Failure is just a step closer to success.”
Sprinkles said that her favorite item was writing a letter of forgiveness.
“It helps us move on with college, which is a completely new phase in our lives. If you’re still holding on to things of the past, how are you supposed to grow and become the person you’re supposed to be when you’re holding on to all this hurt?”
To Katy Garza, a Chemical Engineering major, students should follow the 101 list at their own pace. People have to do what they believe and know is important.
Gordon explains that whatever choice students make will impact their future. Even a student’s decision to come to college is a costly and timely one.
The four-year graduation rate at TAMUK is 17 percent, while the six-year graduation rate is 35 percent. A student’s decision to change their major can cost them up to two years of college. Even worse, the students who decide to drop out of college risk losing up to $1.2 million.
To prevent looking at college as simply “more school,” Gordon suggests that students concentrate on their passions not their future profession. He also strongly encourages students to surround themselves with people who are want to be successful, not just social.
For Angelica Rivera, a freshman at the presentation, the speech gave her clarity. Angelica shared that she is in the middle of changing her major, so the speech gave her a lot to think about.
Rachel Smith, an Education major, said that the Gordon’s speech and his book, 101 Things To Do Before You Graduate, go hand in hand. To her, the book teaches students to not take the easy way out, while the speech has reinforced her to follow her passions.
¬¬Barbara J. Birdwell, Assistant Director of the GPS Mentoring and PACC Tutoring Centers says the book is a clear, concise road map that gives students a real starting point.
“I think he’s very forthright with reality of the world. He paints a real picture that teaches students to focus on more than just academics,” Birdwell said.
Birdwell also added that every college freshman should get to know their professors, develop their resume, and begin and internship.
Gordon is not through with his mission on helping others. He plans to keep influencing others through his presentations and writing.
“I know that there are so many schools to reach. So right now, my focus will be to reach out to more schools and people. If I see there are other things people are challenged with, I may have another idea for a book.”
In a world where ¬¬students must compete with people from across the globe, a college degree is not the answer to success.
It may not be a guarantee for a job, but it is a smart investment given the right choices. 101 Things To Do Before You Graduate is a book that helps guide students towards the right experiences and skills to compete.