Natalie Shammas, APA ’14, Duke ’18, returns to Parrott as Cum Laude Society speaker
Natalie Shammas, Duke University ’18, returned to her alma mater to speak to the new class of Cum Laude Society inductees. In her address, she stressed three lessons that she learned since her induction her junior year at Parrott. In her own words…
1) Embrace uncertainty. Everyone’s journeys after high school will not and should not be straight paths. They should allow their paths to be convoluted and give themselves grace in being undecided.
- “For those of you who think you 100% know what you want to do, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not exploring different areas and having an open mind. For those of you who were lost like I was, you should not be stressed. Embrace your uncertainty because there is no better place to experiment with your passions than college. Along the way, you will start to find what makes you tick. If I had let my anxiety over my unconventional route affect me, I wouldn’t have majored in Psychology, I wouldn’t have discovered my interest in consumer psych, and I wouldn’t have found connections between consumer psychology and marketing that ultimately led me to Google. My first piece of advice is to embrace uncertainty) Failure is not final; it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.
2) Failure is not final; it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.
- “As you embrace uncertainty and begin carving your own path, you will quickly learn that missteps, roadblocks, and failure will be inevitable. It is misleading, in my opinion, to talk about success without referencing failure. I know of no one who has achieved something significant without also experiencing their share of hardship, frustration, and regret. Here’s the truth, throughout college, you will fail, and you will likely fail often. It may be painful and it may be discouraging, and at times it will test you–as it has tested me–to your very core. However, please believe me when I tell you that failure isn’t final and it isn’t fatal-it is simply feedback to direct you along another path.”
3) Take things step-by-step and day-by-day. Don’t let your end goals blind you from becoming all you’re meant to become.
- “As I previously mentioned, when I first got to Duke, I put immense pressure on myself to discover what my “big thing” was. I quickly realized when I came home feeling empty after my freshman year, that I was blinded by focusing on what was at the end of my path, rather than the small steps I needed to take to get there. With all the time spent trying to figure out what my “big thing” was going to be, I passed over a lot of small things that could have really added up. College has the potential to be one of the most trans-formative periods of your life. No matter if you go to a small private university or a large state school, you will be presented with opportunities you’ve never been exposed to, you will be surrounded with people who are different from you, and you will be part of a community that is bigger than yourself. What a shame it would be if you are so blinded by your end goals that you didn’t take advantage of all that your new home has to offer.”