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Students Welcome Motivational Speaker Anthony O’Neal

Mar 13, 2018


-by Luca Pixner '20

anthony oneal meets with RMC students The Randolph-Macon College community welcomed speaker and Wall Street Journal national best-selling author Anthony O'Neal to campus on March 1, 2018. O'Neal's presentation, "One Life, One Decision," took place in Blackwell Auditorium, R-MC Center for the Performing Arts. This event was sponsored by Student Affairs.

A Commitment to Students
O'Neal welcomed students and asked them to gather in a circle around him as he introduced himself and the topic of his talk. He also used the occasion to talk about his book, 5 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in College, and handed out signed copies to attendees.

On stage, O'Neal shared with the audience an overview of his background.

Reflecting on his personal journey, O'Neal said that he had enjoyed being a student at Chapel Hill University, North Carolina, until he lost track of money. He talked about owning multiple credit cards and spending thousands of dollars within a few weeks. Once bills were due, O'Neal realized he was deeply in debt, and, at the lowest point of his life, he ended up living in his car. After O'Neal's parents took him back in, he had the epiphany that ultimately shaped his life: "The choices you make today will determine the calibre of your future."

Since that time, O'Neal has helped thousands of students make smart decisions about money, relationships and education.

Jacob Lamarche '19, an English major and writing and ethics minor, says he valued how O'Neal "incorporated his own personal narrative, as you get to see the actual results of the life advice you are being given, which is very encouraging."

O'Neal does not believe in a lack of people's ability; he argues that problems—and successfully overcoming them—require determination and conviction. On the brink of financial ruin, he told himself, "Every single decision I make in my life is important."

A key element of O'Neal's talk was the importance of having cash. He asked the audience whether they owned credit cards. One person raising a hand for "no" argued that he would only spend the money that is available to him right now. O'Neal praised this answer and reminded everyone of how important it is to stay on track with bank accounts. He got himself out of debt, and he refuses to use credit cards. He urged students to stay away from them if possible.

The 5 Steps (Back) to Success
To sum up his talk, O'Neal outlined five steps every college student ought to take for a successful life—especially regarding financial security. He encouraged students to: be determined to succeed; have between $500 and $1,000 dollars in their savings account; get out of debt the fastest way; have a budget plan; and "be uncomfortable."

"Nothing extraordinary comes from within our comfort zones," he explained.

James Trani '20, a theatre and arts management major, especially liked this last point.

"I think it is important to keep a positive attitude and to always continue working on oneself," said Trani.

Setting Priorities
O'Neal stressed that, to succeed in life, students need to take responsibility for their own actions, which requires that they set priorities. He encouraged students to focus on the present moment and what they can do in order to improve the future. For many, he said, success depends on money, and therefore it is crucial to be financially secure if one wants to live a happy life after college.

"However," he said, "the quality of your future life depends on what you do right now. Every decision we make matters. Let's go out into the world and make the good ones!"