The Lessons We Don’t Look For

Courtesy of Video Blocks

Written by Richard Salvatierra

The second half of spring semester serves as a reality check for many juniors and seniors. For juniors, the capstone ISP final project acts as a sobering reminder of the 3 years they have been at Stern. For seniors, graduation is becoming more of a reality by the day. Life after graduation may be daunting but taking a moment to reflect on your time at NYU may ease graduation anxiety. During introspection, you may discover meaningful life lessons you learned while in college that were not taught in a classroom and that can be carried forward and applied to your life as you mature. I reached out to several juniors and seniors at The Gould Standard to get some insight on valuable life lessons Stern taught them. These were my favorites:

  1. “Question the advice people give you and the recommendations they tell you to take for granted. Nothing is clear-cut or objectively true. Instead, rely on your gut a bit more.”– Andres Gomez Perry, Class of 2019
  2. “We have all been in desperate situations in our lives – times when we thought that we needed a certain event to transpire or a certain decision to be made in our favour. Think about it: negotiating with parents, recruiting, even being in a relationship. But with anything in life, the results are not in our control, which is why making our happiness, or our measure of success, contingent on positive outcomes is irrational and detrimental. Instead, we should tie our happiness to everything that goes into making results (the pursuit of excellence, our learning capabilities) and disconnect our motivation from success.” – Alexis Datta, Class of 2020


  1. “It’s okay to be different, so don’t be discouraged if your path doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Sometimes career paths aren’t linear, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to where you want to go. Be open to exploring your interests, because those atypical experiences can not only teach you a lot, but also serve as interesting talking points during a coffee chat or interview.” – Pooja Narayanan, Class of 2019
  2. “Make time to know others truly and deeply. A full life is not necessarily a full resume. If you surround yourself with people who make you believe otherwise, find new friends. Find people in college, whether it be friends, mentors, or professors, that inspire you to grow. It’s so easy to get caught up in the Stern bubble and follow the herd, but you’ll be much more satisfied knowing that you consciously decided to forge your own path.”– Stephanie Yang, Class of 2019
  3. “We often narrow down on our problems and worry too much about things that might not have much significance in the bigger picture. Next time you find yourself anxious or stressed out, ask yourself: Will this matter next week? In a month? In a year? If not, perhaps you’re more worried then you need to be, which can negatively affect other areas in your life.” – Paul Yoon, Class of 2019

My goal for this article was to obtain a collection of reflections from students on graduation and create an archive of written memorabilia. Hopefully this article serves as a nice reminder for the students I interviewed and for alumni to look back at. For current students, let this serve as wise advice and a gentle reminder that the best lessons we learn in college may not be those you can find in your textbooks.

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