In my last blog post, I shared six steps for success as a new college freshman. One of the important messages I’d like to discuss further, is how you can use your time in college to listen to your inner voice, and find your true vocation…to find your authentic self.

Diversify your schedule

Use your first two years of college to experience introductory courses that you find exciting or appealing. Use your high school subject matter as a starting point. If you liked a particular language, you might explore languages in college. If you liked math, science, or technology, you may find courses that are interesting in that subject.

There are so many varied job opportunities that can connect to the subject of your choice. For example, Steve Jobs dropped out of college but continued to monitor a calligraphy class. He later credited that calligraphy course with helping him design the letters and body of the Apple computer. Thus, he was one of the first people to think of beauty in the same category as technology, which set his product apart, and made it desirable.

Don’t discount required courses. Curriculum subjects required for graduation, regardless of your major, may actually inspire you by exposing you to something new that catches your fancy.

Check out campus bookstores and check out books that relate to the courses that you are interested in. See if you really like them, if this is the right subject matter for you.

Seek diversity in your teachers and expand your social circle

Remember: it is not just the courses you take but also the people you meet in college who can help you discover and define the real you.

Read up on your teachers. All schools have a biography of their respective professors; seek out courses taught by teachers with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Many times a professor can change the course of your life by mentoring and encouraging you.

Get involved – you never know who can help you. Network through personal introductions, email, and social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. Stay open to new relationships; you never know where a new contact can lead. However it is important while making new friends, to keep the old.

It can be all too easy to sink into our comfort zone and only move within our same social circles, but: no risk, no reward! Sometimes you have to leap without a net and take a chance on social connections. Just remember that what you put on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media outlets can be viewed later on by an employer.

Finally, don’t be afraid to dare to be different, dare to be yourself. Only the outcast can lead! There is a disturbing pattern developing in our college culture which punishes dissenting opinions. This lack of tolerance can stunt college education and life lessons. False humility is immaturity, no one gravitates to weakness, but rather to strength and certainty. Don’t underestimate your capacity, you often project onto others, that which you have inside yourself.

If you put yourself out there, are open to new classes, instructors, extracurricular activities, and meeting new people, you can make the most of your time in college. And, in the end, this expansion of your experiences may help you find your true voice, your true vocation.


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.