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Tips For College Success!

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

I remember when each of our four children left for college. We were nervous, sad, anxious, and proud all at once! We did have a summary “making the most of college!” discussion with each of them. We wanted to remind them of the many life lessons we hoped they took away from their childhood. The conversation did evolve for each child and the following captures the essence of our advice.

I hope this may be useful to you as well!

Today, our four kids have graduated or are well on their way to graduating college. They all graduated with honors. They all graduated to get good jobs and are self-sufficient. Most important to us, they graduated joyful and thankful. They each have a love for life.


To our children - We love you. You are ready for the next step. We could not be more proud of you! Here are a few thoughts we hope you will find helpful.

– Mom and Dad

A reminder for connecting your Heart, Brain, and Faith


  • Your heart is the engine driving your desire.

  • Use your heart to push. Push to create and push when it is hard. Push to make decisions. Push the decisions you have made.

  • Your enthusiasm for life is a reflection of your heart. Don't be afraid to show it!

  • Anything worthwhile may be met with resistance. Use your heart to push through.

  • Being positive is a CHOICE. Choose a positive attitude. Positivity is the wind under the wings of your heart.


  • Your brain is an incredible information-processing engine to support your decisions. Your ability to intellectually process will evolve and improve throughout your life.

  • Take care of your brain by feeding your curiosity. Learning and trying new things are the fertilizer for brain growth.

  • Take care of your brain by 1) creating good habits and, 2) changing bad habits. Don't forget, an established bad habit "feels" normal. It takes effort to change a bad habit. It is much easier to avoid bad habits altogether.

Faith & Consciousness:

  • Your Faith is your decision governor. All decisions have some uncertainty. Use your faith to guide your decisions.

  • We have provided for your Faith Foundation. Now it is your turn to build on your foundation.

  • Your faith is now an INSTINCT. That means, if something doesn't feel right, it is probably because there is a conflict with your Faith.

  • Listen to your instincts, they are almost always right. It never hurts to validate your instincts with a trusted advisor.

  • The Footprints poem is a wonderful reminder of our Faith. There will be low times in your life, do not be afraid to let your Faith carry you!


Tips for college success!

  • Strive for balance. College is fun. College is work. College is personal growth. Remember, sleep is part of the balance.

  • Put the work in to get good grades. The effort is its own reward. Don’t forget, it is much easier to maintain the grade average you want than to bring up a grade average you don’t want. Make this day, this week, this month, and this semester an investment in the grades you want.

  • Eat healthily. Save your money to make sure you get a good meal plan. Healthy eating needs to be a priority.

  • Exercise often. Personal fitness will help make your college experience incredible.

  • Seek out the right friends. Your college experience will be shaped by your friendships. Strive for friends that share your values AND add diversity to your life. These friends could be with you for the rest of your life.

  • Take risks. Now is a good time to try new things. College has so many available and interesting clubs, activities, sports, people, etc. Take risks that will help you learn and get more out of college and to set good risk habits for the rest of your life. There is a difference between a thoughtful risk and being stupid. Your Faith will help you tell the difference.

  • Say you are sorry. Making mistakes is a normal part of life. Reconciling those hurt by your actions is important. Owning how you make someone feel is a core part of reconciliation. Ownership includes both issue recognition and making it right. Reconciliation is one of the greatest expressions of our Faith.


Saying Goodbye

But what about us parents!? Our children leaving for college or otherwise moving from home is a right of passage, a sign of a job well done. But it still doesn’t make goodbye any easier. The degree to which we parented well aligns with our goodbye pain.

"Saying Goodbye" - This Washington Post article was published a week before our oldest son left for college. It hit home...

“Well, 18 years is a window that closed too quickly. But, my son (or daughter), those days have been the greatest wonder and privilege of my life. And there will always be a room for you.”

- Michael Gerson


Further Reading:


1. Our Brain Model

2. Changing Our Mind

3. The Education of a Sport’s Parent - Top Ten suggestions for developing the athlete’s mindset

High School Students

4. The benefits and risks of college – An employer's and risk manager's perspective

5. The College Decision: Framework and tools for investing in your future

6. The College Stoic: The Stoic's Arbitrage and making a great college decision

7. Be like Rudy: Community College as a smart, lower-cost path for Higher Ed

College Students

8. Shattering the Teacup Label: Honing Adulting Competencies and Building Resilience

9. How to make money in Student Lending

10. College Success!

11. Diamonds In The Rough – A perspective on making high impact college hires

12. Higher Education Reimagined

Career and Beyond

13. Do I need to be a data scientist in an AI-enabled world?

14. Success Pillars - a life journey foundation

15. They kept asking about what I wanted to do with my life, but what if I don't know? - Part 1

16. They kept asking about what I wanted to do with my life, but what if I don't know? - Part 2


The Stoic's Arbitrage: Your Personal Finance Journey Guide

Core Concepts

1. Our Brain Model

2. Curiosity Exploration - An evolutionary approach to lifelong learning

3. Changing Our Mind

4. Information curation in a world drowning in data noise

Making the money!

5. Career choices - They kept asking about what I wanted to do with my life, but what if I don't know? - Part 1

6. Career choices - They kept asking about what I wanted to do with my life, but what if I don't know? - Part 2

7. Career success - Success Pillars - A Life Journey Foundation

8. Career choices - Do I need to be a Data Scientist in an AI-enabled world?

9. Career choices - Diamonds In The Rough - A perspective on making high impact college hires

Spending the money!

10. Budgeting - Budgeting like a stoic

11. Home Buying - Homeownership is an important wealth-building platform

12. Car Buying - Cutting through complexity: A car buying approach

13. College choice - The College Decision - Framework and tools for investing in your future

14. College choice - College Success!

15. College choice - How to make money in Student Lending

16. Event spending - Wedding and event planning guiding principle

Investing the money!

17. Investment thoughts for my children

18. Our Investment Barbell Strategy

19. Using the Stoic's Arbitrage to choose a great investment advisor

10. Anatomy of a "pump and dump" scheme

21. The Time Value of Money Benefits the Young

22. How Would You Short The Internet?

Pulling it together!

23. Capstone - The Stoic’s Arbitrage: A survival guide for modern consumer finance products

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