Seeking the path to purpose

We all aspire to leave our mark. To create something meaningful. To change the world, even a little, for the better.

College is where many of us begin to discover our true potential, building the foundation to pursue our passions for the rest of our lives. It’s exciting, agonizing, liberating and full of uncertainty—all at the same time.

These five students are representative of that crossroad, forging their own paths. Here, in their words, is where their journey is taking them, and how their phones are helping them get there.

Andrew Garcia

Sophomore, Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey. Studying digital media, Samsung Galaxy phone owner

“You need crazy diligence, crazy talent and crazy drive to make it in the entertainment industry. Having those things means making mistakes along the way. My greatest struggle is beating myself up when things don’t go as I planned they would. I would even refuse opportunities for fear of messing up.”

“Freedom is in accepting the fact that life is imperfect ... that’s what makes it a beautiful journey.”

“I want a successful musical career as a drummer and songwriter. I already play drums in two bands, and I’m in the process of starting my own. If I get a melody in my head while out, I record it onto my phone (usually by humming), then make a song out of it later. I use my phone for out-of-home studying and writing. I’ve finished papers and research at restaurants, bike trails, ski slopes and while road-tripping with friends.”


Kimi Wendland

Senior, The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Studying nursing, Samsung Galaxy phone owner

“When I tell people I love creative writing but I’m in nursing, they act surprised, as if the two disciplines were disparate. But even as a winding road can intersect a straight, broad street, healthcare and literature have a common denominator, which is a passion for the human experience.”

“My dream is to get my Ph.D. in English. Nursing is my way of getting there.”

“It was my sense of both duty and cynicism that first led me to nursing. After all, what are the odds that I can make it as a writer? Yet nursing has blossomed out of the gritty soil of cynicism and duty into something I hadn’t expected—a means to study human nature and to engage with human suffering—the greatest fuel for writing I could ask for.”

“There are important nursing apps that I use every day for looking up medications and terms on my phone. After a week full of classes, clinical hours and work, it’s difficult to keep things in perspective so I keep a travel board on Pinterest that helps me keep dreaming.”


Ariel Abir

Senior, Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Studying marketing and social work, iPhone owner

“When I started college, I was thoroughly daunted by the idea of nailing down a career path. I had no idea what I wanted to do, and the idea of spending the rest of my life with a stereotypical 9-to-5 office job was not very appealing. It actually felt like a light bulb went off when I realized that charity work could be an option for me.”

“I could make a living while working to impact peoples’ lives? The thought was exhilarating.”

“My phone is essential as a social media intern at the Downtown Women’s Center [in Los Angeles]. With it, I’m never without a camera and note-taking tool, so I never have to miss a great ’gram-worthy moment. I use my phone daily for anything from tracking the bus I take to sitting in coffee shops for a few hours and listening to video lectures. I have been able to save money and space by studying flashcards on my phone instead of creating hundreds of physical ones.”


Christopher Lyons

Senior, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Studying food marketing, iPhone 6 owner

“I can’t help but realize the truth that the quote ‘there are no shortcuts to any place worth going’ holds in my life. I have worked diligently to reach personal goals not only in academia but also in diverse job settings. There have been many times when those goals were never met, but I could leave those dreams behind holding my head high, knowing that I never took any shortcuts and gave them my best shot. Determination and optimism got me here.”

“Where will I be this time next year? Who knows? But one thing’s for certain; I will follow my feet and take no shortcuts getting there.”

“I am hoping my passion for marketing creative ideas will be achieved after college. My current dreams consist of using my education and passion for community service to pursue a food-marketing career that is not solely focused on business but also makes an active difference in the world.”

“My phone was probably the most important resource I had for my education in the past three years, simply due to the wide range of operations I could take advantage of by using it. I’ve used it for my job applications, converting documents to PDF files and accessing my school e-mail and online classroom resources. I can honestly say I would have had a very difficult time getting by in college without my phone.”


Corinne Gressang

Ph.D. student, University of Kentucky in Lexington. Studying modern French history, iPhone 6 owner

“I’m passionate about history. It is not something dead, but it actively evolves. I’m equally passionate about teaching. There are some extremely talented students who only need the opportunity to be pushed and for someone to invest in them. My goal is to be a college professor. I can’t wait to impart much more than knowledge.”

“I’m hoping to get a chance to help other curious students make the world a better place.”

“I am a lifelong learner who is never satisfied with the answer ‘I don’t know.’ My iPhone makes the task of training to be a historian so much more accessible. Having a smartphone has replaced much of the previous technology historians have been using. Instead of having multiple books and tools out, I have them all in one place. The resources that are now available are unbelievable. There is never a moment where I have to stop learning.”