It's that time of year. Graduation. I remember the triumphant joy when I realized nobody could ever take that away from me. And when I...

Dear Graduating Seniors

It's that time of year. Graduation.

I remember the triumphant joy when I realized nobody could ever take that away from me. And when I visited Princeton, I went out of my way to proudly walk out of the Fitz Randolph gate.

I have grown up a lot since I left school, and I've had a lot of time to reflect on my life so far and on who I am and want to be. There are many things I think I did right, and many I would have done differently.

High school seniors:
You made it. It seems high school has become a tracking system into college, rather than an educational platform. Watching the girls I coached talk about grades, SAT scores and college admissions, I realize that high school is no longer about understanding, but about getting the grade.

I beg of you, don't let college be the same. Spend this summer rethinking your approach to school. Whatever degree you choose to obtain, think of college as an opportunity to learn. You will learn facts, figures, dates and formulae. But also learn how to think. Learn to be passionate. Learn to make choices for yourself—not your parents, friends or professors.

Yes, grades can be important. But when you write a resume, you can leave your college GPA out. It matters much more who you know and how passionate you are—so put as much time and effort into developing relationships and interests as completing your problem sets.

And along those lines, decide your priorities. You can't have it all. It may seem like your peers do, but I promise that you have something they don't: a connection to your family, a full night of sleep or 1000 facebook friends, perhaps. To me, sleep was important, until I met Dan. Then, I sacrificed many a full night to talk and laugh in the dorm stairwells.

College seniors:
If you already have a job, congratulations. If you don't, congratulations—take the free time to find a company that you are passionate about. Go to as many interviews as possible—not to get the job, but to figure out what companies have to offer you. Practice interviewing your friends and family, so you know what it's like being on the other side.

You can give yourself this luxury of time by choosing to live below your means. Certainly spend money on the things you value, but don't spend money on that which you don't. Maybe you value organic produce or being able to watch Comedy Central whenever you want; maybe you'd rather spend time out of your home than have a nice one.

Remember: nobody has time to judge you anymore. In your life til now, somebody has either been tasked with judging you (your parents) or paid to judge you (your teachers). No more! You can choose to love the rain and long lines, to only eat purple vegetables, or to say hello to everybody you pass. Certainly college was an opportunity to reinvent yourself, but there were always constraints.

Your constraints are gone. Embrace the terrifying freedom and make tough choices.

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