The Watch Your Step Blog

Kyle Grappone, Public Speaker and Book Author

The 5 People You Meet In College

Mitch Albom wrote a very famous called ‘The 5 People You Meet In Heaven’. It told the story of a man who died saving a girl’s life and the five people he meets in heaven. All five people had a significant impact on the man’s life. Now, going to college isn’t the same as going to heaven (well, maybe in some ways it is) but your college years can have a serious positive or negative impact on the rest of your life. Furthermore, the people you decide to associate with, as well as the people you decide to ignore, can make just as big an impact. Therefore, allow me to introduce to you, the 5 people you will meet in college.

The Party Man

This guy or gal is here for one reason, to party. They have no desire to go to class. The fact of the matter is, they are not mature enough to go to class on his own. They may have had the grades to get into school, but not have the maturity to stay. This hooligan is down to party 24/7, stay up all night playing video games, skip class, and engage in various illegal activities. It may seem like he is living the dream, but his life will become a nightmare when they flunk out of college and has to face his parents when he gets home. Do not be fooled by this mirage. Stay the course and go to class.

The Stranger

It’s a fact of life that people tend to settle down and live amongst people who are similar to them. Therefore, to no fault of your own, you may have had limited or no contact with individuals of different races, religions or nationalities. You may be tempted to avoid these types of people and continue mixing with people who look and sound like yourself. However, if you are truly going to college to grow as a person, you should take this opportunity to connect with anyone from a different background. The knowledge you can receive as well as give can be invaluable. The choice is yours.

The Mentor

You will meet many faculty members while attending a 2 or 4-year college or university. Some are memorable, others are forgettable. The key is, to decide on day 1 what you want out of these student/professor relationships. If it simply a grade, then you do not have to do much. However, if you have decided that you are going to think differently about getting the most out of college, you will want to seek out that one or two professors who inspire you. Those educators who reach you in ways no teacher ever has before. These educators have a passion for helping students and are just waiting for students to be proactive and ask for advice. Be that student.

The Smarty Pants

Colleges are a melting pot, as we briefly covered when speaking about The Stranger. Not only do they mix races and religions, but they also mix individuals of varying intelligence. The confidence you gained by being accepted into college can quickly diminish after meeting the type of person who seems to ace every test, never have to study, and has everything come so easily to them. Comparing yourself to this person can have two devastating long-term impacts. The first, you may feel inferior, and decide early on that you are not good enough to reach that person’s level of intelligence. The second, you may try to emulate there ‘no study’ strategy and find out the hard way that it does not work for you. The key here is to stay true to who you are and identify what you need to succeed. You are every bit capable of succeeding as this person is, and the fact that you need to work harder does not make you any less worthy of your impending success. Focus on what works for you.


College, if approached correctly, can be the most transformative four years of your life. The person you are on day 1 of freshman year should not be the person you are when you walk across that stage. The latter should be a stronger, wiser, more determined version of yourself. The key to this long-term change is being open to new experiences, ideas, and feelings. Understand that you need to taste new things to see if you enjoy them. Meet new people to understand what else is out there. You may decide that now is the time to leave old habits, friends, and thoughts behind. If you are constantly striving to be a better version of yourself throughout your various college experiences, you will meet a new you after your cross that stage. Strive to be better.


You will meet many types of people throughout your college years. Some will have an everlasting impact, others will just pass on by. By thinking differently about how you approach college and is determined to get the most out of it, you navigate this sea of new people and build (and avoid) the relationships you need the most. Think differently.

About Kyle

Kyle is a youth/education public speaker, book author, and podcast host. His goal is to use these mediums to inspire high school and college students to think differently about the choices they are about to make and the next steps in their lives. Want to learn more? Visit me at! The views expressed in this blog, and all my content are mine and do not reflect the views and opinions of any companies and educational institutions I have had current or past connections with.

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