The 3 Things I Learned in College



Some people want to be married, or have their first child by the time they turn 30. Me? I just wanted to graduate from college. 😀

I was on the 12-Year Plan.

I started my long-standing college career on the campus of Northeast Missouri State University, now known as Truman State University.

Ultimately, I ended up moving to Las Vegas, and transferring all my college hours to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It was a fresh scene, I was in love with the West, and by that time, I was a little older and more mature. I really wanted it. (The picture above is of the famed Thomas & Mack Stadium on the campus of UNLV).


I went to UNLV during the Glory Years: Coach Tarkanian, the Shark Tank, a national basketball championship. The National Finals Rodeo. Las Vegas was growing by leaps and bounds! (But that’s another story.)

Getting my degree, and wanting it from UNLV, became a personal best.

I wanted it bad enough that over several years, I worked full-time and took classes at night. And also in the summer. I remember sitting out in my backyard many a night on the weekends, studying.

I saw the brightest comet I’d ever seen on one of those nights; it literally lit up my whole back yard! That was like a special gift. (As I look back now, I really enjoyed this time of my life.)

When I changed jobs and went from an administrative job into retail, my unpredictable schedule forced me to drop a class. That was not in my plan.

My long-suffering but optimistic father agreed to allow me to quit my job, and pay for me to finish college. I just needed one year. 🙂

I also realized that each semester, after studying and cramming for tests, you take your final and have a break. Then you repeat the cycle the following semester. Only a small margin of what I learned the previous semester really stuck.


After all those years of learning, I remember 3 things:

1. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

I first learned this in Econ I in Missouri, and later at UNLV in either Microeconomics or Macro, I forget which. (See what I mean?)

The ‘opportunity cost’ for a free lunch is the lost opportunity to do something else, which means the lunch wasn’t really free. It just may not have cost you any money.

Maybe I remember this because who knows what I might have missed out on by going out to lunch too much. Or dining on the freebies at Sam’s Club. (I was a student, remember?) 😉

2. Cognitive Dissonance is the scientific term for Buyer’s Remorse.

I’m quite certain I know why I remembered this. Probably because at that stage of my life I still liked to shop. 😉

My degree is in Marketing, so we studied why people do things quite extensively. And how to get them to do what you wanted them do to. The problem with a Marketing degree is that it didn’t really tell us what WE were supposed to do.

Some of my college classmates got boob jobs and did cocktails at a hotel, because they could make more money doing that than in an entry-level marketing position. (And nobody thought anything of it because we it was Vegas, baby! Everything was different in Vegas!)

3. Perception is Reality.

Basically, your perception of things is based upon your reality. And my perception of things is based upon my reality. And sometimes the two can be vastly different! Which explains how you find yourself wishing you had a translator to help you talk to your husband or a GPS to help you avoid someone in the grocery store.

Las Vegas


Living in Las Vegas was a terrific time in my life. I had an opportunity to figure out who I really was; I grew during the same period of time as Las Vegas grew and matured. I made a lot of friends, had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

I went to Las Vegas not knowing anyone, and making a life for myself. And then I came back to Missouri and did it again. That was powerful.

And college?

I wouldn’t change a thing! I made lifelong friendships at both colleges. I learned how important learning is; and that college isn’t about how smart you are, but how much you apply yourself.

I created some of the best memories of my life in college. Sadly, two of the best friends I had during those times have passed, both of them too young. But they forever remain in my heart, and I’m a better person for having known them.

I can’t think of two better reasons to be thankful that I’m here, to keep learning, and to make this life the best that it can be. 🙂

My Struggle With Time Management

This week, I looked at the calendar and realized how long it had been since I’d blogged. Where did the time go? lol   🙂 You would think that someone who was edumacated and a smartie-pants would instinctively know good time management, but no, life doesn’t work that way. 


All My Lists

I am always looking for better ways to do things.

For instance, I love lists. (See the picture above?) That’s all my lists.

When you’re self-employed, you become in charge of your own schedule. And since what you put into your business is what you get back, it’s important to be productive and maximize your time working so that you can truly enjoy your downtime and have fun, rather than play guilty. 🙂

If you also happen to be a visionary, it’s even worse. The curse of being a visionary is that you can see the big picture of what needs to be done. Thus, life becomes one big ‘to do’ list!

If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you might remember that I have a constant  stream of non-punctuated sentences running through my head on any particular day. To keep my mind  as quiet as possible, I write it on a list, and then I can forget about trying to remember it.

Did I mention I love lists?

Anyway, I have a lot of lists, all of which I use, and all of them are different.

I have a list for large projects that I plan to work on when I have time.

Big Projects


A list for the projects I want to do at home.

House ProjectsA shopping list for decorating projects.

Decorating ListMy Master List, from which I make notes of things I need to do. I check this frequently, and pull items to complete from it when I have time.

The Master List

My calendar even has small lists or reminders along with appointments. (And by the way, my calendar has to have pages with the months, because I like to see my month laid out in front of me…and space to make lists on the weekdays. 🙂


This does not include my grocery list, Wal-mart list, and shopping list for any time I’m at Sam’s Club or Kohl’s. (Yes, those are separate lists.)

Can you tell I love lists?

So a few weeks ago, my schedule began to ramp up, and I began to worry that I would forget things. I was wearing myself out trying to remember what I didn’t want to forget!

With a desire for efficiency and productivity paired with the satisfaction of crossing things OFF lists once they were done, it seemed totally natural to start making a daily list of appointments, errands, and tasks.

Wednesday List

The theory seemed simple: I always carry a notebook with me which has most of my lists. When I had extra time in my day, I’d move over some things from my Master List.

It totally ramped up my productivity!

I was a Rock Star! I was getting so much done each day: tasks that had been lingering on my list for weeks were suddenly getting done. Errands were getting ran. I was crossing things off like crazy! It was awesome. I was like the Tasmanian Devil, spinning through the day.

Yesterday List

I was also more stressed.

And I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t having any fun. Life suddenly felt like one big “To Do” list and I realized I simply wasn’t enjoying my days near as much. Was this all life was??

And then, one day this week I had an hour of uninterrupted time where there was nothing else I could do but wait. So I started reading through a backlog of emails.

Dr. Alan Zimmerman is a motivational speaker. I’ve subscribed to his newsletter for years, “Dr. Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip.” It just so happened the topic of it was “Time Management Strategies.” For a list-maker, this was going to be eye candy.

As I read it, I realized that I’d been working very efficiently, I hadn’t been working very effectively.

I’ve excerpted parts of his newsletter here, in italics:

The true basis of time management … and therefore life management … is knowing which targets to focus on.  And one way to do that is to apply the 80/20 principle.
The 80/20 principle states that in many situations about 20% of what you do yields about 80% of the results. With a typical to-do list of ten items, the 80/20 principle suggests that two of them will yield about 80% of the value.  The remaining eight will yield the remaining 20%.
 For example, Peter A. Turla, a former NASA engineer on the Apollo moon-rocket design team, found that 20% of your customers give you 80% of your sales.  (Concentrate on those customers.)  20% of your customers make up 80% of your complaints.  (Keep your perspective.)  20% of the inventory gets 80% of turnover.  (Keep these items well supplied.)  20% of the house gets 80% of the dirt.  (Clean other parts less frequently.)  20% of your friends call you 80% of the time.  (Call them back at your convenience.)  20% of the newspaper has 80% of the news.  (Skim the rest.) 

Hmmmm. This made a lot of sense to me! I was interested to read more.

I hate to say it, but there is never enough time for everything in life.  One of keys to success is to spend your time on the really valuable things instead of the low-payoff activities. 

 Quite often, things that have a high payoff do not have a high urgency. They are things that would be great to do … like investing in your team’s development, building a stronger marriage, or getting yourself in better shape physically and financially … but are easily put off until later.  Don’t fall into that trap!

In other words, you can’t increase your time, but you can increase the value of your time just by defining your objectives.  A specific destination … or set of targets … will motivate you more than aimlessness will, and when you’re motivated you automatically use your time more effectively.
So I challenge you … right now … to choose your targets.  Select your high payoff goals or objectives.  Write them down.  And make them as specific as possible.  

Suddenly, a one-million candlepower light went off in my head. (And those do exist, I have one.) 😉

I realized that I was so addicted to crossing things off my list – being productive – that I wasn’t focusing on the high-priority items: the things that really meant a lot to me and that I enjoyed. The highest priority work, which I should do first, was getting pushed back by the smaller stuff; leaving the bigger things unaddressed raised my stress level. For instance, blogging is a high-priority item for me…but I was pushing it back to accomplish other, smaller objectives.

This light-bulb moment totally refocused the way I do my daily planning. Now, I focus on my high-priority, high payoff items first. The details can come later, as I have time. Because I will never get it all done.

I still have my daily list; I just now focus on my high-priority items first. And, I’m MUCH happier. And you know what? I’ve gotten some things done since then that should have been a high priority months ago. They just weren’t urgent. And I feel good, because by doing them I helped advance my business. Funny how that works. Life is good. 🙂