“Fear is the only thing that can stop a person from reaching their dreams”, said Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist. On Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Asplundh Concert Hall Patrick Combs proved this to be correct with his presentation titled, “Major in Success.” Not only does Combs travel around the country speaking about how to get the most out of your college experience so that you’re prepared for the real world but he has been a TV personality, done public relations for Levi Straus and even was even interviewed by Barbara Walters on The View. Combs began his presentation telling the story of a young poor girl growing up who loved writing more than anything in the world, but never told anyone because she thought she was no good at it. Her parents dreamed she would be a bilingual secretary, so instead of pursuing her dreams, she pursued her parents dreams for her in college. The woman lost job after job, since she had no passion to be a secretary. During her depression, the woman escapes to Portugal, where she gets married, has a baby, then two weeks later gets a divorce. Again, trying to escape the sad things in her life, she moves back home. The woman decides that she will give herself one year to live on welfare, while she finally decides to do what she loves writing. She told herself that if her writing career doesn’t happen after one year, she will return to her secretarial work. Every day for one year this woman pushed her baby in the stroller around the block until the baby fell asleep so that the woman could write in a nearby coffee shop. A year and half after writing and doing what she loved to do, a publisher bought her book.
This story was in fact the life of J.K.Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series. She was the world’s first billionaire by writing. She is the second richest person in England, only second to The Queen.
Combs told this story because he said, “I care what happens to you during college, to make sure you have a magnificent life after college.” He began talking about fear and how it is the only thing stepping between you and your dreams.
To prove his point, Combs said he was going to select three people at random to come up on stage and gave a three minute motivational speech. Students were giggling, avoiding eye contact with him, and watching his every move around Asplundh concert hall, just to see who was going to be the unfortunate victim. Combs ran back on stage to announce that he’s not actually going to pick anyone, but that what they were feeling was fear. Combs explained how fear stops people from doing things. Everyone is worried to follow whatever it is that they really want to do because of this fear.
Combs explained how college students debate whether they should major in something that will get them good money when they get out of college, or major in something that they love. He said that you will make great money with the major that you love, as long as you know the right steps to take. Combs stated that if your goal is only to get good grades in college, you’re never going to make it. One of his college professors told him that, “the most important homework you do during college is never going to be assigned”. If you don’t have a ticket to ride, you don’t get into Disney Land, was exactly how Combs explained it.
He went on to describe the 5 key assignments you need in college that will never be assigned to you.
Number 1: Run a Student Organization. Everyone is looking for leaders that can lead others. This experience is what starts to make you stand out from the rest. Number 2: Computer Big 3. This means knowing as much as you can about computers. Knowing how to use Microsoft Word, how to create Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets, and of course how to develop a PowerPoint Presentation. These things will only make you a more qualified candidate when it comes time for a job.
Number 3: Internship/Co-Op. Combs explained that 3 internships is the magic number. He even went on to say that the students who have 4-5 internship under their belt by the time they graduate will have doors open up wide for them, and have a “walk on water” type deal.
Number 4: Study Abroad. Combs explained that students that study abroad really know what it’s like to face your fears and get out of your comfort zone, what you’re used to.
Number 5: Get a mentor. He recommended that everyone find a mentor and simply say “teach me”, about everything.
“It’s easy for you to be outstanding when you graduate. Any field you go into, only 2-4 percent take action and do exactly what they want to do,” according to Combs. These students, he stated, will do better, have more opportunities, and be overpaid. They are the students that did what everyone else wouldn’t do, their unassigned homework.
“College isn’t going to teach you about your dream job, you have to figure that out on your own,” Combs told the students in Asplundh Concert Hall. Once said by Michael Nolan, “there are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few that will catch your heart. Pursue these.”
Combs had a very worthwhile speech on Wednesday in Asplundh. He reminded West Chester students that it’s important to use college as a learning tool, use it to train yourself so that you can become the best you can when you get out on the workforce. Jackie Aliotta is a fourth-year student majoring in Communication studies with minors in business, technical writing, and Spanish. She can be reached at JA609350@wcupa.edu.