Q: What is the most important lesson you learned while you were a student at Mississippi State?
A: The importance of self-discipline, the value of forecasting the future, and the various implications of volunteering. It was also the first time that I was exposed to the generation of science. There are always students who fall victim to the “good times:” booze, partying-anything but studying. The first thing I learned was how to say “No,” for any number of reasons. If one is good at seeing the possible future, one has the chance to get that future. If I have a wild weekend, how will I do on Monday’s chemistry test? If I do poorly, can I expect to get a “B,” much less an “A?” If I study all weekend, do I have a shot at an A? What are the ramifications of either? In a short while, these evaluations become automatic, so that doing the things that will get you to your goals, and not doing those things that put your goals at risk are done with little effort.
Volunteering can help you gain knowledge that is difficult to obtain in other ways, and it helps establish the fact that you are dependable, and betters your reputation. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and establish meaningful relationships. But there’s a balance to be struck in realizing you must be sure you’re meeting your primary priorities first.