To Those Starting College

To Those Starting College

A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to speak to some high schoolers on the verge of heading off to college.  My task, share some wisdom regarding what they’d soon experience. 

My three pieces of advice were 1) start reading immediately, the volume will be more than you’ve ever seen; 2) join clubs that interest you so you can ask questions of those a few years ahead of you; and 3) get a job that allows you to afford the lifestyle you’ll choose. 

The kids were earnest and cute and interested in being well-prepared for the collegiate adventure that awaited, so I couldn’t help but feel that there was more wisdom for them and others out there.  So, I asked my virtual tribe for the advice they’d give. 

Unfiltered results below:

  • “Be yourself, even if your self is perceived as a bit weird.  Just don’t be creepy.  Creepy is not good.”
  • “Don’t get credit cards or bank loans while in college.  It will ruin you.  Wait for a hooptie or graduation.”
  • “Take one class a semester just for the love of learning, no matter what the subject.”
  • “Don’t eat too much pizza late night . . . .”
  • “What I told my son: You are loved and worthy of love.  You will always be loved and worthy of love.  If you remember that, you will make great decisions and forgive yourself and others for bad ones.  If you forget that you are loved, please call and I’ll remind you.  Now go pick up your shoes you left  by the door and turn off the light in your bedroom –you are wasting electricity.”
  • “Get to know all the bartenders.”
  • “You can retake a class, but you can’t relive a party.”
  • “Nothing good ever happens past midnight.”
  • “To the greatest extent possible, discard preconceptions of people and be open to getting to know the wide variety of personalities they encounter.  Be intellectually curious–take a course in semantics and then one in Economics, Chemistry, and Art History.  Enjoy every minute!”
  • “Learn to read, write, and think . . . and learn with topics that feed your soul . . . and practical (finding jobs) will follow.  Otherwise . . . you’ll end up with jobs that eat your soul.”
  • “You’ll likely have to go to grad school so study your butt off and take it seriously.  Your grades and reputation matter down the line.  And don’t put the party bong photo on fb.”
  • “Keep yourself busy.  Time will fly by and next thing you know winter break will be here.”
  • “No credit cards!! Danger!!”
  • “When in doubt do the thing you will remember and will make you smile when you are 90.  Don’t don’t don’t build up crazy debt . . . consumer or student loans.”
  • “Make sure you get the right roommate.  It makes all the difference.”
  • “Remember, almost everyone is as nervous as you are.”
  • “Be kind to your roommate and honest on the housing form.
  • “Don’t be too cool (or scared or uncertain or shy or busy) to at least try most things that come your way.  Rappelling, experimental theater, knitting, or Latin.  Any of them (or dozens of other things) could be your new passion.”
  • “Surround yourself with good people.  Follow your heart.”
  • “Look for where the resources on campus are for tutoring, career help, advising.  Office hours are helpful so use them.  Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself if something goes wrong with financial aid or anything else.  Be involved on campus if you have time.”
  • “Treat it like a job.  If you have class fifteen hours a week, then study 30-40 hours a week in addition to class–work 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday -Friday.  This way you can still have fun–give yourself time to work and play!”
  • “Study what excites you.  Don’t worry about your grades.  Make meaningful relationships with your professors.”
  • “I tell all new students to not buy a whole wardrobe before they leave.  Their tastes change SO much that they should wait until break.  That advice goes for more than clothes . . . if they approach college the right way, SO many things about them will change in great and amazing ways.”
  • “My daughters set up routines so they would get everything done.”
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