Monday, June 08, 2009

What I know now that I wish I knew then…

So reflecting back on my first year, I have put pen to paper or finger to key on a couple of thoughts to make year one a little easier.

Buy a warm jacket…now. Especially if you are in a warm climate where jackets are on sale. It will be your best friend by November. While you are at it, buy gloves and ear muffs (180s are good) too. Better to be safe than cold.

Start reading GMA Smart Brief and other marketing blogs now. I didn’t learn about these until the second week of school and I felt behind. Interview prep will start before you know it and you will be asked for good brand/brand stuff or give me an example of this. Smart Brief is a good, quick snapshot of the happenings of the CPG world.

Don't panic about money. You will blow your budget by October, but that is normal and why they invented banks and credit cards.

Discontinue Tivo for the summer. I love Tivo and DVRs as much as the next person, but it prevents you from watching ads. While ads can be boring, they are also fodder for class. Just watch and remember.

Call your family and friends a lot this summer. Come Fall, you won’t talk to them. Not because you don’t want to, but because you don’t have time. If you have a significant other in another locale, just start apologizing now.

If you see Brian Ward put a magazine back on the table, don’t pick it up.

Hang out with the 2nd years sooner rather than later. I didn’t start hanging out with the 2nd years until we got back from Turkey in February. Before I knew it, they were gone and I regret not getting to spend more time with them.

Buy an iPod or music listening device as you will walk everywhere and good music is essential. Is it a 15 block walk or three really good songs? You pick.

Be a yes man or woman. While saying no might be easier, it is not as fun. Lets try an example: Would you like to go sit on a frozen lake, drink beer, and look at a hole in the ice? Yes, it is called ice fishing and I would love to. Seriously, you are coming to grad school for two years so stretch yourself a little and do a couple of things that you normally wouldn’t do.

Go to TAPS early in the semester. It is a great chance to meet both the 1st and 2nd years. Also, come November you will be slammed with projects and won’t feel like it.

Join a club or three. We tend to get pretty Brand Center focused so joining clubs is a great way to meet other 1st year students.

Eat your vegetables. I guess that is just a general life lesson and something good to do.

Go to a football game. Even if you don’t like football or have never been, Wisconsin games are a whole different experience. Jump around at the end of the third quarter and stay for the fifth quarter. It is worth it.

Go someplace warm for Spring Break. Even pale kids need sun too.

Don’t overdo the Nitty Gritty. I think we went there once a week for the first 10 weeks celebrating birthdays and haven’t been back since.

Finance is going to be tough and you are going to get a low grade on the mid-term, but that is normal. Take pride in your 44, I know I do.

Most importantly…have fun. You are in school for two years. It will go fast and you will work hard, but this is the last time in your life that you get to do this. Go out to the bars. Make some poor decisions. Don’t study on Saturdays. Choose a good conversation over skimming another reading. Make this investment in your life worth it and something you will remember.