The Things I Wish I Knew

A few years ago when my son Crosby was graduating college he wrote a guest blog talking about his experience in college and "The Things I Wish I Knew." At the time he was just about to graduate from a five-year honors program at the University of Michigan with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Engineering. My wife Mara and I were, and continue to be, so proud of him.

As kids are starting to get back to school this week, I thought there would be no better time to bring back this blog to remind anyone that has a kid in school, or if you are going to school yourself, about all of the things you should keep in mind as you work toward your goals and ultimately enter the job market.


 High School

  • Pick where you go to college for the "wrong" reasons. Sports, weather, social scene, etc.  If those things are important to you now, they will still matter when you’re there.
  • Savor your fleeting moments. There are a lot of experiences you'll have that you just won't ever be able to recreate.


Freshman Year

  • Meeting people should be your number one priority.
  • Classes are easy…a lot easier than upper level classes. Set the bar high for your GPA.
  • Effectively manage your time. If you don't go to class, your grade suffers. Period. But, just being in class doesn’t mean you're going to learn (especially if you spend the entire time playing snake on your phone).

Sophomore Year

  • Write a resume: You might not think you have enough to put on there now, but you will. Use what you do have as a base to start with. Always ask someone to review it.
  • Recruiters have great memories: go to career fairs, corporate events and presentations. They’ll be calling you when you do need an internship/job. Besides, you get free food.
  • Join a club. Become president of said club. Fill formerly empty resume.

Junior Year

  • The people you choose to spend the most time with will have the greatest effect on your happiness. Choose wisely, and don’t be afraid to re-evaluate who you’re hanging out with every so-often
  • See the value in any experience: I passed up the chance to spend three months roaming around Europe so I could take an internship and add another line on my resume. I quickly learned the true value of those two options.

Senior Year

  • Enjoy yourself: Reap the rewards of your hard work by taking every opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family.
  • Go on a road trip: there is nothing more exciting than getting in a car and seeing the country.  Stop anywhere and everywhere you can south of the mason dixon line for BBQ and/or Chik-fil-a
  • Savor your fleeting moments. There are a lot of experiences you'll have that you just won't ever be able to recreate. (Sound familiar?).


  • Get a job: Take the process seriously, but don’t get caught up in what opportunities your friends are getting. Run your own race.
  • Seize the moment: I once got a call from a buddy during class. He said he had a ticket to the Michigan-OSU basketball game in Columbus. Tip-off was in six hours and we were 200 miles away…it was a great game.
  • Final thought: At an event for students in my five-year program, I had a conversation with the program’s benefactor and namesake, an extremely successful real estate developer. As he discussed his houses in Vail, Florida and New York, I exclaimed how exciting that must be. I'll never forget his reply:

"Yeah, having houses across the globe gives my wife something to do, but its all bullshit. I couldn’t care less about them. The only thing that matters in life is relationships with friends and family. That’s it."


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