I am seventeen years old. Even though my life is miserable at times, I would not change anything about myself - NO. But I would go back in time, if I could, and change certain things that I did. (wouldn't everyone?) In any case, I have compiled an advice list for those who wish to be successful as grown-ups, which not everyone does, and if you don't then don't read my list, but if you do, I am speaking from experience; so it is to your advantage to follow these 'guidelines.'

  • Read a lot when you're young. When you get older, your reading abilities become very important. If you live in South Dakota, be sure to attend the Youth Business Adventure camp at the end of your junior year. You will have tons of fun at YBA while also gaining valuable information about the business world. Click here for pictures from last year. Be yourself. It's as simple as that. Meet new people and stay in touch with them. This will become one of the most important strategies for success. Sharpen your oral communication skill today. Be unique. don't always do what others do. I've always been the person that doesn't fit the occassion, but I don't hate myself for it. Yes, it can be painful sometimes to not fit, but Einstein didn't fit; neither did Thomas Edison, Newton, Robert Frost, Bill Gates, and most of the larger-than-life figures. I believe to truly stand out and be called one of the greatest of all time, you have to be eccentric and different from the popular, the traditional. Take a look at my poem to get a better idea. Be friends with your own "group." you'll feel much more comfortable with people you have something in common with. I.E. if you're an A student, don't try to butter up the freaks. Join thinkquest and start your project early! Apply for as many scholarships as possible, starting in your junior year. Read my good friend Chad Foster's book, "Teenagers - Preparing for the Real World." It's had an influence on my philosophy and possible on my future career. If you plan to attend a competitive college, make sure to take AP Calculus in HS. It is probably the most difficult class offered in HS, and there is no way you will get an "A" in college Calculus if you don't master derivatives and integrals in HS.
  • Do not be disappointed or feel low just because you're different from the ordinary, the common, the popular. The greatest people of all time could not have been as greatly achieving if they hadn't been different, out-standing from the rest. This is not to say if you're different then you'll become the next Isaac Newton, but to be truly great, one cannot be with the common. Doing well in school, participating in extra-curricular activities, servicing your community and going to a good college is for normal people - 99.9% of the regular people who want to be successful. Rest assured that these are highly respectable choices, but they're not for everyone. If they don't work for you, don't be let down. You may have much better alternatives. Pursue your dream everyday and one of two things can happen: 1) Your dream comes true; 2) Something else equally as good comes up in your process of pursuing. Take Robert Frost and Bill Gates for example: Both dropped out of college, yet both have accomplished so much that the world might be different today had they stuck through college, found a job and lead an ordinary life. Luckily, they did not "fit," and they did something else that we will always remember them by.