Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ten Things I Wish I had Known When I Started College

This is something I wrote for a young cousin of mine who just graduated from high school:

Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started College

1. The Trilogy of Education. There are three main things to do at college: study, sleep, and party. But there is time to do only two of these three things in a day. Some kids choose to sleep and study. They are boring and have no fun. Some kids choose to sleep and party. They are called “drop outs.” Some kids party and study, which leads to crankiness and dependence on caffeine. For a successful college experience, study and sleep during the week, then sleep and party on the weekend.

2. Don’t be a stranger with your professors. Go by during office hours and ask a question now and then. Eventually you will need a reference for a scholarship or job, and a professor will be far more willing to write you one if they know who you are! I have also known professors to allow a student who was one or two points away from an “A” or a “B” to do some extra credit to make up the point and get the higher grade.

3. There is no reason to feel lonely when you live in a dorm. Pop some popcorn in the microwave and hang out. Soon, someone will be asking, “Can I have some of that?” The smell of popcorn is hard to resist.

4. Don’t drink trashcan punch at a party. There is no telling what is in it. Seriously.

5. Nobody knows what they want to be when they grow up. It’s ok if you don’t either. Try out a major and if it doesn’t work out, change your major to something else. Changing your major is not the life crisis some people make it out to be.

6. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are all kinds of resources at college. If you are not doing well in a class, ask your professor or your advisor what to do. If you are sick or depressed, go to the student clinic. Take advantage of the resources available to you.

7. Baby steps. Some things are overwhelming if you look at the big picture, so break it down into baby steps. Don’t freak out over having to do a term paper. Just pick a topic. Then do your research. Write a first draft. Edit your draft. Turn it in. Done! See? Baby steps!

8. College is easy. Go to class and pay attention. Do the reading and the assignments. That’s it. If you do these things, it is almost impossible to flunk out.

9. Don’t forget why you are there. College is “adulthood light,” adulthood with a safety net. Everyone is hoping you will succeed but everyone is ready to help you if you take a misstep here or there. Practice being a grown-up, then act like a kid again. Repeat.

10. Don’t forget who you are. You are a smart, beautiful, talented girl. You have great things to offer the world. You can achieve just about anything you set your mind to. Most of all, you have friends and family who love and adore you.


Robin Thomas: A Nest With a View said...

This is so seriously brilliant.