Our third edition of ‘Wisdom From a Recent College Graduate’ features one of the nicest guys you will meet, and he is pretty darn smart too! This, of course, is Mr. Sam Fisher. Sam gives an excellent perspective from a student turned professional entrepreneur with A LOT of learning experiences along the way. Sam is a Stanford grad and the Founder and CEO of Right Call Consulting! Let’s hear what wisdom Sam has for us today!
What is your name and occupation?
My name is Sam Fisher, and I’m the Founder / CEO of Right Call Consulting and a Software Engineer at Respond Software.
Where did you attend college and what degree(s) did you earn?
I attended Stanford University and graduated with a B.S. in Symbolic Systems, one of Stanford’s interdisciplinary programs that is a mix between Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and the humanities. I will also be starting my MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business in September.
What did you like most about your time in college?
The best part of my time in college was being around so many smart, engaging, and passionate young people. The environment was infectious, beginning in my freshman dorm and lasting through my final days on-campus. The people around me really pushed me forward on my journey.
What did you like least about your time in college?
I thought our college’s advising system left a lot to be desired. It was very hard to find people who could really help lead you down the right paths, which is an intimidating challenge at such a large university. As I grew older, I was able to add mentors around campus that helped, but I still feel like my first two years were unnecessarily rocky due to a lack of support.
What one piece of advice would you offer to a high school junior regarding choosing a major?
Have a plan, but be open to changing your mind! I came into Stanford expecting to be a computer science major, and I still felt that way through most of my first two years there. This helped me get settled in my academics, which was a nice boon, but as I got deeper in the major, I realized it wasn’t the right choice for me. I’m glad I made the swift decision to change majors (after asking for advice and making sure I’d still graduate on-time), as it was a very positive influence on the second half of my time in college.
What one piece of advice would you offer the same student regarding selecting a college?
Selecting a college is tough! My best advice is that there are many great schools, and until you have acceptance letters in hand, it’s a great idea to keep your options open. The easiest way to be happy with your college choice is to spend enough time to identify 10 or so schools you could be happy at before you apply, and then apply to those schools.
What is something that you would’ve done differently during the high school to college transition?
I was pretty happy with my transition from high school to college. I think by the time my senior summer was finishing up, I was itching to get on the plane!
What is something valuable that you learned outside of the classroom at college?
Wow, almost everything I learned of value in college came outside the classroom!
From being an RA and TA for two years each, to traveling around the country with Stanford’s sports teams for our student radio station and student newspaper, those special experiences shaped my college experience, and more importantly, molded me into the young adult I am today.
As a professional now, what advice do you have for college entrants to achieve a successful and fulfilling career?
My biggest advice is that it’s unrealistic to achieve these goals on day 1 of whatever career you end up embarking on. Many careers are more rewarding as you work your way up the ladder, and that’s ok too! In the beginning, find something you like enough to work hard, and be willing to listen to yourself and others as you consider changes you need to make. It’s a long, windy road, so try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
What is your best college ‘must do’ either inside or outside the classroom?
Learn to code! It’s hard to find a single career these days where having some coding knowledge isn’t a huge help, especially as you look for the entry-level jobs in that profession. Everyone should take at least one computer programming class in college, and the best time to do it is early in your college career. That way, if you finish the class and liked it, you can dive a little deeper during your remaining time in school. I promise it’s worth the effort!
Many thanks to Sam for his invaluable experience and advice. Please leave us a comment or a like to thank Sam for his input!