A letter to myself

Samuel Wood
Dec 1, 2016 · 7 min read

Learnings from a year of not following anyone's advice

Yo Samuel!

This year will be the most unpredictable but best year of your life.

You sit in your accommodation for hours at university looking at your whiteboard of ideas. You want to explore, you want to see places, you want to do big things…. and then look back at your desk and see a pile of Economics books by Sloman and get back to work (wondering if working this hard for a degree is worth it). But you vividly remember the time your mum told you “Sam you never finish anything” so you keep grinding at Kimberlin Library and promise that you’ll put your all into anything your name is on.

Econometrics (Sigh)

Throughout the year you contemplate whether all this invested time is worth it, you feel like you’re riding a prison sentence but in the back of your mind wonder if you’re just making excuses for yourself.

You work out every 37,000 students’ emails at your uni. You send them your uber code. You take uber from your accommodation to your 9am lectures every morning for the rest of the year, for free.

At one point you and your housemate don’t see each others faces for one week straight because you’re both working crazy (but opposite) hours in the library.

The late nights pay off.

July comes around. You Graduate with a First class and a special prize that you didn’t even know about until graduation day. You know the grade means more to your family than you, and seeing them happy in that moment makes you happy. The sacrifice feels worth it in that moment.

You’re happy you did it together.

Buzzfeed feature you in an Article?!?

Shout out Tolani

Back to reality… maybe?

You start being asked multiple times a day by peers what are you planning to do now you’ve graduated. You hate the question because you don’t have an answer. You usually always have an answer.

You look at graduate scheme finance roles online. You’re uninspired. The pay is good, but you know yourself and traditional banking isn't you.

You exit the page.

You’re 37,000 ft in the air on your way to New York city. WTF.

Before this you’d only been to Spanish holiday islands where you see all the people from your local pub drinking Stellas on the beach.

To top it off you stop by ‘The 6’ (Toronto) for two days before heading back to London. Crazy.

You fall in love with New York and start to question if London really is the city that you always adamantly backed as the best city in the world. Funny what travelling does.

In your 22 years you have never been to America, but little did you know you’d be on a plane again 3 Months later heading right back to New York with a big idea, a good friend and no connections.

London boy dreaming

You and Nathan Miller finally get serious and go back and forward on the idea you’ve been trying to work on together for over a year. After countless long evenings scheming after work at the Ace Hotel, Nathan convinces you to book a ticket to New York and to start the project out there (you think he’s crazy at the time but tell yourself f*ck it).

The Blueprint is born.

You land (once again in New York) but this time you’re on a mission. You grind hard the first two days, flip out your Macbook and start sending cold email after cold email to massive names. You manage to secure 8 major interviews (Gerard next time we’ll make it happen!).

You turn up that night to celebrate the interviews (and that Nathan wasn’t crazy).

That night in a club in New York (big up Pianos) influenced by Hennessy, you look back to your time in uni accommodation and smile to yourself realizing that you’re actually about what you say you’re about.

You vow to continue doing more and saying less this year.

Pictures from the interviews etc etc

You return to the familiarity of London and get sucked back into the London hustle. Cramming onto trains. rushing for no reason. coffees. gym. part-time work. business. sleep. repeat.

You have the best time of your life this year but you constantly wonder if you’re being too idealistic. You see your smart university friends take offers in the first 2 weeks after graduating at the Big 4 finance firms. Maybe you should be more realistic, try to do the same and get on with it. But you know yourself too well, you’ll quit.

You look for more graduate jobs, see nothing you like. You exit the page again.

Little do you know… the year is far from over yet.

You’ll be going to your homeland, Ghana (which you know basically nothing about) to celebrate the person’s birthday you respect most, your Dad’s.

You decide to quit everything (including your well-paying part-time job) as you feel you aren’t growing fast enough, and head to Ghana.

You arrive to the open arms of your family and feel at home. You visit all the places your Dad grew up and the relatives that hadn’t seen you since you were 1 years old. They still call you Little Sam. But you let it slide.

Ghana makes you question where you feel most at home. But that’s something you’ll deal with later, for now lets enjoy.

You meet up with your childhood friend, Abu, he welcomes you with open arms into his network and you’re inspired by how close they all are as friends. Friends doesn’t even do it justice. These guys are brothers. Down for each other.

It inspires you to be a better friend, more trusting and to cut off anyone who is toxic.

A female this year teaches you a lot about empathy and trusting the process. You’re grateful.

You learn more about your dad through his friends, you realise how humble he is through how little he has told you. Your dad has an amazing 60th birthday. And seeing him and your mum happy makes you happy.

You bond more than you have in a long time with the fam.

One week later it’s time to head back to London but you’re enjoying your stay so much that extend your flight. F*ck it. You continue to not settle and do what you want.

That week you receive an offer for a graduate position with an amazing team more suited to you than anything you’ve seen advertised online. You’re happy.

You look over Accra City and start writing an article. You realise there’s still 30 days left to make it happen in 2016. You stop writing this article and get back to making things (happen).


I created a challenge for you to make 2017 your best year yet. Check it out: CarpeDiemChallenge.com

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