Inspired by Beyonce, 11 women give advice to their college-aged selves

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Beyonce’s latest hit is definitely Vogue’s September issue where she takes a moment to reflect on her evolution from 20-something Destiny’s Child girl-group star to the 36-year-old icon she is today. “I look at the woman I was in my 20s and I see a young lady growing into confidence but intent on pleasing everyone around her,“ Beyonce said. “I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting. And so much more powerful.”

As we enter back to school season (the real New Year, so to speak) we realize there’s no limit to the amount of advice we’d want to give our younger selves. Beyonce isn’t the only one who has seen the light. Because the UNiDAYS team is stacked with IRL Beyonce’s, we asked 11 ladies from around our office for any advice they might have for their college-aged selves. From worrying less about making the Dean’s list, to spending more time with your friends-- and making out with more boys-- these women are channeling their inner Bey and dishing on how to make the most of your college years.

“The main advice I'd give my college age self would be to take a breath and not care so much about what others thought. While sometimes it is important to care what others think, I was so focused on it that I couldn't see between who my true friends and fake friends were. I was so stressed every year that I didn't even really start to have fun until it was almost all over. I'd basically just tell 20 year old Grayson to take a chill pill and actually enjoy everything college (and the world) has to offer.” -Grayson, Social Media & Content Coordinator

"My one advice to myself in my twenties would be to believe that true love and "happily ever afters" do exist. Don't settle, there is someone out there that you can be madly in love with for years to come. With that being said, fall madly in love as many times as possible in your 20s. Life sure looks rosy when you're in love. Also, cherish those moments where you're belly laughing with your friends. Life has a way of making you forget how to laugh when you get older and those memories will remind you.” -Bita, Legal Counsel

“Enjoy your independence, but don't overindulge. Try to limit the late night Taco Bell trips and focus on getting to bed at a decent time during the week.” -Alex, Director of Food Innovation

“Advice for my college-aged self: Take a coding class and see if you like it - there are so many opportunities for girls who code. Do more creative work - Start a company in college! There are tons of people doing this nowadays, and so many women are seeing success even before graduation. Soak in every moment of college because it's some of the most fun you will ever have, and some of these friendships will last far beyond college (my friends and I have a girl reunion twice a year if we can swing it!). Meet cool business owners - who knows what opportunities will come from it. Major in something you actually care about versus what you think you should do - it will give you better opportunities in the long run. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, DO IT! And do it for as long as you can afford to - I don't think I'll ever again be able to run around Europe for an entire school year with little to no real responsibility besides my internship that funded my weekend travels. It's the best.” -Tayler, New Business Director

“Have a little fun with your coursework - not every class you take needs to be what you're majoring in and what you think you want a career in (NERD). And take time to appreciate the close proximity of all your college friends. A 1 mile walk to a friends apartment on the "other" side of campus is nothing compared to the 400 miles across the country or even 14,000 miles across the globe once you graduate. Also, invent Uber: an on-demand car service that won't judge you for your current state or destination.” -Nhat, Marketing Manager

"First & most importantly - CHILLLL. Honestly, if I could go back in time & hug my little 20 year old body, I would tell her to stop running so fast towards the future & enjoy the present for a moment. College is awesome. Yes, it's full of uncertainty, awkward experiences, & dumb decisions (that are NEVER actually as life altering as you think they are - promise!!). But also the time for you to test out weird hobbies, try on different types of friends, & explore random interests (Confucius 101 anyone?) without real world responsibilities. Try to learn as much as you can, definitely, but just remember to have fun while you're there." -Jamie, Product Manager

“I wish that in college I had spoken up more, and known that my feelings were (and are) valid. I was so focused on people-pleasing that I didn't stand up to sexist professors, I didn't ask for the medical care that I needed for my chronic illness, and I didn't tell people when they hurt me. I've learned that the people who make you feel like your opinions and emotions aren't valid will trickle out pf your life and be replaced by people who boost you up and actually listen to you. You have to ask for what you need, tell people how you feel, and yell until your voice is heard. After all, you DESERVE to be heard.” - Sarah Q., Social Media & Content Coordinator

“Here's what I would tell college Marisa:

  • Education: Appreciate the joy of learning. There's so much to know and fewer opportunities as you age to just take the time to do it. Take all your requirements but with those electives, allow yourself to explore topics that interest you, not just courses that are practical.

  • Career: Make meaningful connections with adults. Find out what they do, ask lots of questions, get their contact info for when it's time to explore an internship, a summer job a career. Most people really want to help, it feels good, take them up on it.

  • Money: Put aside $10-$20 a week. You won't regret. You know you want to be an entrepreneur, create a nest egg for when the right idea comes along. I have nearly none of the things I spent my money on during college because I either consumed them or they just weren't that important.

  • Social Life: Friends are hugely important and make meaningful connections but you will always make more friends. Therefore, saying no, putting yourself first and not doing things just because you feel guilty is something that is ok.

  • Boys: Make out all you want but stay safe. The days of slut shaming are over baby! And definitely, do not slut shame others.

  • Fashion/Appearance: You are way skinnier and prettier than you think you are. Be confident!

  • Social Media: Either put it all out there and build a brand out of it and a way to make money or be cautious around your posts (would a future employer hire me if they saw this?). Otherwise, what's the point of anything in between?

  • General: It only takes once to do something so mindless, so careless that you can cause permanent damage to yourself or someone else.

  • Travel: You can learn more from an international trip that you can in an entire course. Go experience the world and its many amazing cultures.” - Marisa, VP of Innovation

“Oh how i "B"EYOND wish! Ok... so i'll tie it back to B... if I could give my 20 something self advice, it would be to always be silently karaoking from the rooftops to the "Irreplaceable" song lyrics on 24/7 auto play. Know your worth, have confidence, take chances, jump at new experiences, for better or worse there's a lesson in failing and succeeding, find a mentor and a best friend. Always remember this is the most special time in your life. And anyone who dares to stomp on your specialness just sing it to your bad ass sista self: "You must not know 'bout me 2x " -- "the the left, to the left"... Mixed with a little Eminem Lose Yourself, " this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime". Grab it!” -Cat, US Marketing Director

"Stop plucking your eyebrows -- they are a gift. Fitting in is totally overrated. Have the confidence to go after what you want -- talk to that boy -- go for that job -- stop saving that dress for a special occasion. Don't spread yourself too thin, make sure to save some you-time. If you can work hard you can afford to play hard, but never stop forgetting to strike that balance. It's never too late to change your mind about what you want out of your future. Hands on experience is more valuable than most of the books you'll read (though, you have to learn the rules before you can break them). Sometimes you'll feel like you're learning to fly the plane at the same time that you're building it -- never be too scared to admit when you don't know something but feel comfortable & excited knowing that you'll figure it out." - Sarah B, Head of Social & Content

"I went through school as a type A super achiever. Work before play, studying before partying. I got the good grades, but I sacrificed a lot in the process. If I could go back and have a coffee with my 20-something self (if she could even fit me in between churning out chapter notes), I'd tell her my least-favorite word on the planet: RELAX. Because making social connections and smelling the proverbial roses is more important, and will bear more fruit, than making Dean's List." - Stacey, Director of Travel Innovation

"My advice to college-Missy is as follows:

  • Eat what you want: Thats not an excuse to gorge on pizza and the almighty chicken parm daily - I mean lets not go nuts but enjoy going out to Denny's at 2am and once you're done eating - LET IT GO. If everyone goes in on pizza just have a piece and call it a day. 1) This is the time that you will be able to easily and quickly burn these foods off and 2) the amount of time you waste beating yourself up over it is totally not productive.

  • But Work the F Out - You will never again have this amount of flexibility in your schedule. Figure out what you like to do to stay active, experiment with different activities, people, classes, etc. Try it all so that later you have a quick roster of activities that relax you, keep you healthy and help you manage stress.

  • Learn how money works - Remember that credit card you got on spring break? Remember when you had a 22% APR? Remember when it took you 7 years to pay off that last minute trip to Amsterdam? Don't do that.

  • Embrace being broke - Running out of $ on Spring Break and being forced to live on everyones leftovers, was a low point...but it got me the nickname "scrappy", cemented my role as the survivalist among my group and still makes me laugh to this day

  • Study Abroad - if you have the chance to, do'll casually reference it throughout your 20s on dates. I mean it'll be kind of annoying but also kind of cool (like most things post-college)

  • Hustle - meet as many people as you can, push yourself to do an independent study, explore as many topics as appeal to you, take advantage of the fact that you've got four years to try as much as possible: intern, write, play sports, join sororities, make fun of sororities, act in the play, wait tables, work part-time with a kitchen designer, whatever strikes your fancy but try to force yourself to DO as much as possible vs watching a 90210 marathon everyday from 4-6pm

  • Keep In Touch - maybe with facebook and instragram and social media in general - this is much easier then when I graduated but your college friends will know you in a way no one else will. They'll be a part of you trying on a few different identities and they'll be doing the same. My personal dry runs were: Phish head, Kappa Delta, there was a bandana phase which I think was a nod to camping (had never done it), Cheerleader, Intern, Rock Station employee and where I truly found my crowd - waiter at TGI Fridays (flare is real). The people that join you for all or part of these dry runs will be know you in a totally different way then your other friends throughout life and reconnecting is great but staying connected is better.

  • Stop stressing about your major. It seriously didn't matter." -Missy, New Business Director

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