Monday, August 23, 2010

10 on Tuesday: Off to College

Today's 10 on Tuesday is about 10 things you wish you had known before you went to college or that you would tell someone before going to college.

1. You don't have to go to college just because you finished high school. You can wait. You can experience some life for a while. You can still backpack across the US or Europe or go do a mission trip to bring fresh water to people in Guatemala if you like or get a job at the MAC counter in the mall. College isn't going anywhere and if you go before you are ready chances are that you are going to drop out, fail out or (worse in my opinion) bore out of learning.

2. Don't let anyone tell you that your major is stupid or useless or not real. If you want to be a theatre major or a French language major or get a degree in fine arts with an emphasis in pottery, then go do it. Do what you love not what someone else thinks is important. If you are studying accounting because your father told you that it was a responsible career where you can make lots of money but you hate it, then don't do it. Do what you love. Be happy doing what you do rather than rich doing what you hate. Also, while it is true that jobs are further and farther between in specialized degrees, not everyone ends up as a teacher or waiter or flipping hamburgers at Mickey D's.

3. You will party. Don't delude yourself that you are going to buckle down and study. Let yourself enjoy your college years. Just don't let your partying dictate how well you do in college. If all you do is sit in your dorm or the library studying and you have no social life, you might as well just do a home study course in your closet in your parents' house. Save it for the weekends and for Bob's sake, please always have a designated driver and make sure that your DD is sober. If you can't trust your DD, then you be the DD.

4. No Doze will not help you pass a test. If you don't know the material, no amount of caffeine will get you through the test. You might as well take it tired with the limited information you have retained than hyped up and unable to answer a single question.

5. While ramen is cheap, you still need protein and fresh produce. Take care of yourself and remember those 4 food groups. Alcohol is not one of the four food groups. Protein and fiber come before rum and Coke.

6. Safe sex. If you don't know what it is, ask. Ask your mom or your dad or your guidance counselor or your school nurse. Or if you really are seeking anonymity, e-mail me and I'll explain it all to you. Or Google it. Just make sure you use it. Got it?

7. If you find yourself hyperventilating before every class and not sleeping because you are so stressed you can't think past the next minute let alone through Friday's Ethics class, then it is time to take a break. It's ok to take a break. See #1. College isn't going anywhere.

8. Always circle the last day to withdraw without failing on your calendar. Just in case. You never know when that World History class (or in my case the five attempts at College Algebra) are going to be your doom. Don't let that date slip by knowing that there is no way you are going to pull off a passing grade. It's ok to drop a course that is killing you so you can spend more energy on those classes that are going to be productive for you.

9. The package store is cheaper than a night on the town and usually lasts longer (as long as you don't invite all your friends over.) Now, I realize I've mentioned alcohol several times in this post and I'm not an advocate of heavy drinking. I'm just being frugal. Oh and red wine keeps better without a refrigerator than white. Just saying.

10. A degree doesn't equate to a career. And not all careers need a degree. If what you want to do would be better served through a different avenue, do it! If you want to own a yarn shop, take some small business classes through your local community college and get a job at a yarn shop. If you want to be a chef, go to a culinary institute and get a job at a restaurant. There are tons of apprenticeships available in all kinds of careers. College is not the only way to a successful and happy career. It's a lot of money to sink into something that you may not use down the road. Make it count for something. And if it won't, then find a different way to get to where you want to be.

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