Life Planning for College Students

A few weeks ago, I shared some remarks I recently made to a classroom of college students. 

You can go back and read my column from December 11th, but in summary I discussed the importance of dying well, living well, being “whole,” and remembering the truth that “life compounds.”

The other four challenges I gave those students?

  • Develop response-ability. This idea comes from Stephen Covey’s bestselling book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Here’s the gist:

We have little to no control over so much in life: inflation, interest rates, the war in Ukraine, decisions by the Supreme Court, your parents’ divorce, the color of your skin, your country of origin.

Re-active people see such things as happening to them. Their common reaction is happiness or satisfaction if they like a certain reality. It’s disappointment, fear, or anger when they dislike a thing.

The response-able person also sees these realities as “impacting my life.” However, he or she goes the extra step of saying, “Now I get to choose how I will respond to this situation.”

Developing this kind of response-ability is perhaps the greatest superpower you could ever have in life. Very few acquire this mindset, and it won’t be easy for you either, but in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. It’s worth the effort.

  • Love people, use things—not the other way around. People that develop this perspective grow in their satisfaction with life and enjoy great relationships. People who don’t, don’t. It’s that simple.

Think about it. Do you prefer to be loved or used? Just as I thought. So, do the same for others. That will go a long way toward helping you live the good life. 

  • Fail wisely. This is not an invitation to foolishness. Rather, it’s a call to summon up your courage and pursue worthy goals. 

Failing wisely means you research and prepare. Then, at the right time, you launch. You take worthwhile risks. For example, you…

  • Change your major to something you think you’d love and be good at 
  • Stay in a major that is really hard—but that you know will be worth it
  • Ask her out on the date 
  • Apply for that dream job
  • Ask for the promotion
  • Try to fix the relationship you broke (i.e., you take full responsibility, offering no excuses) 

“But what if I fail?” 

What if you do? A wise man once said, “Success is never final, and failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” 

Which leads to my final point…

  • Don’t stop. I’ve given you an outline for discovering, developing, and living a good, successful life. But you won’t get it right the first time. In fact, you will fail…at times, perhaps miserably. 

That’s okay. Keep going! Most people let failure intimidate them into inaction. They give up, ascribing their failure to who they are rather than to what they tried to do. That’s tragic. Our failures don’t define us. On the contrary, they can actually help us become the best versions of ourselves. But only if we let them.

You’re in college to learn. One of the most significant things you could ever learn is that you are a person designed to live a good life. You’re capable of serving others and doing great things. And you will…if you keep growing and going.

That’s a resume anyone could be proud of.

If you know a young person who could benefit from these reminders, please pass them along.

And if you’re a few years (or decades!) beyond college, I’ve got a book for you. It’s called How to Put Your Money Worries in the Rear View Mirror – The Financial Freedom Roadmap. It’s free if you’d like a copy. Email me at, and I’ll send it to you right away.

Argent Advisors, Inc. is an SEC-registered investment adviser. A copy of our current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. Please See Important Disclosure Information here.

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