Nataly Kogan ’98 will present a WESeminar, “What I Wish I Knew When I Was a Super-Successful Wesleyan Overachiever” in the Ring Family Center at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 28.
Kogan, who at 13 emigrated with her family to the U.S. as a refugee from the former Soviet Union, graduated from Wesleyan with High and University Honors as a CSS major. She achieved early success as a consultant with McKinsey & Co, a venture capitalist at the age of 26, and a tech executive with companies like Microsoft. However, this came at a huge personal cost, she says, and it didn’t have to. Now the founder and CEO of Happier, she is the author of Happier Now: How to Stop Chasing Perfection and Embrace Everyday Moments (Even the Difficult Ones), published in May 2018.
Kogan looks forward to sharing her strategies for how to manage stress, treat yourself with compassion to increase motivation, connect with your sense of purpose to boost your resilience during challenges, and thrive while achieving goals.
She spoke about her upcoming talk with the Connection in this Q&A:
Q: What is it about college campuses that make your message particularly important for students to hear?
A: According to The American College Health Association, in 2011, half of undergraduates reported they felt overwhelmed with anxiety. By 2017, 61 percent did.
These are scary numbers and it’s a scary trend. American college students are stressed out, overwhelmed, and feel intense pressure from themselves, their parents, their professors, and our society to succeed.
And what makes it scarier is that we don’t teach college students—or any students, at any level of education—the skills to cultivate and strengthen their emotional and mental well-being. As a society, we’ve not yet embraced that these are not optional soft-skills, but that emotional wellbeing is the foundation for helping students thrive and learn, without burnout, depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, instances of which are increasing every year.