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If I could do it again: Michael Simmons

I’m inaugurating a new regular feature for the blog: If I could do it again. The idea is to interview recent college graduates doing interesting things and ask them to reflect on what they did right during college and what they would do different.

Our first victim is Michael Simmons, a graduate of NYU, who is the co-founder of the Extreme Entrepreneurship Education Corporation, a company which publishes books, operates a successful college road tour, and owns the goal-oriented social networking site Journey Page. Michael’s been featured on CBS, ABC, NBC, and USA Today, and was named one of Business Week’s top 25 entrepreneurs under 25. (He’s best known, however, for co-founding a high school dot-com with a dashing and brilliant classmate who went on to write a pair of book about doing well at college.)

SH: What did you get right during your time at college?

Michael: I spent a lot of time building relationships with the administrators
(professors / deans / advisers / president / marketing / etc). These
relationships helped me become aware of and receive great opportunities.

SH: What would you do differently if you could do it again?

Michael: I would have studied abroad in a third world country.

SH: What is the single most important piece of advice you would give a current undergraduate?

Michael: Contemplate your goals for life and college and then make them happen no
matter what. Otherwise, you’ll end up following somebody else’s goal for

SH: Describe one simple hack you found made your student life easier.

Michael: During the first week of every semester, sit in on as many classes as
you can and then drop the classes you don’t like. I found that professors have more of an impact on my enjoyment of a class rather than the topic. Beyond a professor’s reputation and curriculum vitae, it is really difficult to know whether or not you’ll like the professor until you seem him/her in action.

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