Rethink Your Role

You Determine Your Success

No one can tell you how to succeed, not even a college or university. To everyone's disappointment, there's no secret formula that can turn you into a hoodie-wearing tech startup billionaire genius.

What college (specifically NEBRASKA) can provide is the opportunity and the guidance you need to create your own formula for success. Not only that, but you can test that formula, remake it, test it again, and finally find what works for you. That's your role in college—to figure out how to be your best at whatever you try.

Which is exactly what Angela Mercurio did.

On paper, Angela is an all-star student—a triple jumper for the Husker track team, a UCARE researcher, a leader in her faith, and an aspiring med student. The reality is Angela is a normal college student who figured out her formula for success.

Just like you can.

We recently sat down with her to talk about three things that have helped her succeed.

1. Sacrifice

It's always practice, study, sleep, repeat.

I always have a goal in mind. I want to go to med school. That's my goal, so I know I'm going to have to sacrifice certain things. With that in mind, I can't stay out all night partying because I know I have to do homework the next day—gotta wake up early to study.

It's things like that. Sacrifices.

So, I mean, I miss out on some 'fun college things,' but it's worth it.

2. Initiative

That first semester was super hard. I can't sugarcoat that.

I didn't start looking for opportunities outside of sports and school until my sophomore year, so I wasted a year and a half. I wish I wasn't scared to go out of my comfort zone sooner.

If I could go back to freshman year, I would tell myself to get started right away because that will open the door for so many other things. Now I'm doing all these things—Bible study, getting involved at my church, my UCARE research, Student Athlete Advisory Committee—and I really enjoy them, but I could've started so much sooner if I got past that uncomfortable year.

What's unique about this part of life is the independence. I mean, before you have your family and after college you'll probably soon—maybe not soon, whatever your life ambitions are—you might be starting another family. So this is the period where, it sounds bad, but I can be selfish and do what I want to do and be on my own.

3. Vulnerability

One of the things I learned about myself through college was how open I could be. Before I came here I was not necessarily open. I had a lot of good friends and we talked a lot, but being open—being vulnerable—that's a huge thing. Now I'm totally open to expressing myself or being emotional towards people. I don't know why. I feel like it was maturity and meeting more people who were willing to be that way towards me and I realized, 'Oh, it's actually OK to show that you have emotions.'

Honestly, it's so cliché, but the people that I've met are my favorite thing about college. That's really what it is. Just everyone, even people I've met in passing, even if we just have one conversation. I've just met so many great people in general whether or not we're friends. And it's that openness that allowed that.

Through her experiences, Angela figured out what works for her. Discipline through sacrifice, making your own opportunities through initiative, and making deep connections through being a little more vulnerable.

Maybe you'll draw different lessons from your college experience. Maybe what Angela says resonates with you.

In the end, your role as a college student is to make the most of the tools and opportunities these four years provide and to draw your own conclusions. The good news is, you won't be on your own. Your professors, campus staff and friends will help you find and test your formula for success.