Best Laid Plans

Sometimes, life doesn't go according to plan. But that's okay, because you can get through it! Check out how off course my life went and the resources that are available to you as a Boilermaker!

 “Success in life hinges more on seizing opportunity than having everything go according to plan!” – Ethan Austin, Co-Founder, GiveForward

Age My Plan Real Life Age
22 Graduate from Purdue Attend 1 semester at Purdue/go back home 18
22 Start brilliant career Work odd jobs until landing factory job 20
25 Get married Start part-time school, continue working full-time 22
27 Start family Join hometown Civic Theater 28
    Get married 32
    Graduate from Purdue 34
    Start family 36
    Start brilliant career 48
    Write this blog 54


My life certainly did not go according to plan.  In the 36 years that are represented in the chart, you cannot see the amazing things that have happened to me.  In fact, while I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t see it either.  Every time I got together with my high school friends I felt tremendous shame as they were talking about the next greatest step in their lives and I could only say, “yeah, you know, I work in a factory and take a couple of classes when I can.” 

Now, looking back, I would not change ONE SINGLE THING!  I had no idea how much I would learn from working in a factory.  Or the lifelong friendships I would cultivate in the theater (26-year member).  There are opportunities to learn and grow at every stage in your life.  That’s true whether it was planned or not, like learning online because of COVID.  You’re in the thick of it right now and you can’t always see what’s in front of you.  Sometimes it feels shameful and depressing and too hard to handle, but you can get through it! 

I want to highlight a few resources that are available to you as a Purdue Student. 

First of all, Horizons Student Support Services.  If you qualify for the Horizons Program, you should check it out.  The one semester I was at Purdue, I was in Horizons.  It’s the thing I missed most when I had to leave school and go home.  I adored my peer-mentor.  She was absolutely fabulous, and I met with her several times.  I also got so much out of listening to the different faculty who would speak to our class.  I still use the time management skills I learned there.  It’s just a good place to make a core group of friends.

Get involved with different student organizations or clubs.  It’s a great way to make friends and it can give you a much-needed break from academics…and there is such a wealth of opportunities available on campus.  There are over 1,000 registered student organizations, and they cover an amazing range of interests!

Get the help you need from the Office of the Dean regarding academics, financial issues, safety and well-being. 

Talk to someone at CAPS (Counseling & Psychological Services).  College is a big deal and it’s not all about studying.  You’re learning how to live on your own, how to live with others, how to work in groups, how to navigate relationships, how to deal with loneliness or physical illness, and so much more.  Check out the monthly stressors that affect college students. 

This campus is full of people who genuinely want to help you.  There is nothing wrong with seeking help. Look for opportunities and ways to get involved.  And if you’re studying remotely, look for those things in your hometown.  Reach out to me if you need to at  Best wishes, and Boiler Up!

Written by Rhonda Haan