A lot of people say I bring a good energy to places. I’m excited about life and I love to help. I want to make things better, to learn as much as I can. I try to be remembered and get involved anywhere I go.
What I believe to be the truth is that it’s easy to be virtuous—exemplifying all virtues—in virtuous situations. It’s easy to be optimistic and positive when things are going well. But when things go awry, when we encounter obstacles, only then is when we truly have an opportunity to demonstrate the strength of our virtues. Everything I am today, all my success, I attribute to being able to hold consistent, even amplify, my virtues in the turmoil of my injury. I could have had more courage, charm, wit, energy, optimism, strength of character, anything, before my injury, but few cared until they saw me joke with my doctor in the hospital, tell my therapists to push me harder in rehab, or to be optimistic—without illusions—of the future with certainty that I can figure things out during times of uncertainty.
I’m an electrical engineer with a minor in mathematics. This summer I did a lot of things I wanted. I had a virtual internship with Oracle working as a software engineer—how I got that job is a crazy story for another time. I’ll be a software engineer at Oracle after I graduate this spring. I really enjoyed my work and when I wasn’t working, I spent lots of time reading outside, hanging with my friends, kayaking, Oshkosh air show plus camping, and exploring. My girlfriend got a van and converted it to a camper, so the last week of summer we traveled around the West. I also wrote for my blog and recorded more videos, which I hope to continue to do during the school year.
To new Huskies—there are a lot of things I wish I had known as a college freshman, some of it trivial like how to best organize your laptop folders. The best advice I can offer is:
Study abroad. You really won’t get another chance to explore the world for three months like you will doing a study abroad. Going to Australia was one of my best college experiences.
Read. Read books, read quotes, read speeches. Quotes are great—I have 10 pages of my favorite quotes and I read them all the time. I constantly read history, biographies, business, personal development, philosophy, etc. I also have a book of about 300 great speeches. Podcasts are great as well—I mainly listen to Tim Ferriss, who talks to very successful (by many definitions) people and asks great questions.
Go to office hours and establish relationships. Ask questions. Get to know your instructors.
Don’t cheat. You may get away with it, but you can’t get away from yourself, and who wants to be stuck with a cheater?
Take your humanities seriously. Technology changes rapidly, but philosophy, critical thinking, law, and other humanities are timeless and will give you insane leverage in how you interview, approach tasks at work, and grow in your thinking, way of life, and overall performance.
Don’t choose easy. Choose interesting classes, but don’t choose courses just because they’re easy. No one values that.
Stop complaining. I used to. A lot of students do. They get a bad grade and blame it on the instructor or something like that. I will not say a course is bad until I’ve read the texts, taken notes in every lecture, gone to office hours, gone to the Learning Center, watched videos online, completed the homework, and reviewed it with the grader or instructor. If I’ve done all I could and still get a bad grade, I look for additional ways to improve. Because it’s been done before. There are students who have gotten an A in every class, some probably as single parents, with English as a second or third language, or with other challenges to learning. All you need to know is that it’s possible.
Attitude is a skill. Determine how you want to be viewed and what success means to you. How you see yourself and how you behave is what others adopt as their view of you.
It will be hard to remember, but obstacles are the only way to demonstrate your strength and character. Encounter those times as great opportunities. And follow me on Instagram, of course! –Cosmo Trikes #mtuhumans