As my teaching career at my alma mater finally reaches its end, I felt the need to reflect on the last 9 years and the bits of wisdom I gained. So, here is my modest attempt at wrapping up the last few pages of this chapter while offering some sort of insight that might prove helpful for others. Here goes nothing…
- If you were a good student in high school, try your hardest to keep up that work ethic. College presents itself with many opportunities for distraction that don’t always result in failure, but it can reduce your performance quality quite a bit.
- Make friends. Even if you go to school in your hometown, make a concerted effort to introduce yourself to people you don’t know. You might surprise yourself with the friends you make.
- Get involved. College is more than just the academic experience. Getting involved on campus will help you make invaluable connections that will help you later in life.
- Pursue your passions. Your Bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean much. Don’t feel pressured into pursuing a major you hate. It won’t guarantee a job after graduation.
- Always take advantage of extra credit opportunities. That’s all I’ll say about that.
- Get to know your professors. Even if they are aloof and standoffish, at least introduce yourself. They’ll remember you.
- Don’t procrastinate. Work hard now, play hard later.
- Watch your attitude. There is already an assumption that the current generation of young people feel entitled. Don’t contribute to the stereotype.
- Just because you did well in Honors or AP classes in high school, does not mean that you are somehow deserving of high grades in college. Don’t act shocked when you start making Cs. Take it as a learning experience and find ways to improve.
- Assume high school did not prepare you for college-level work, especially if you are from Florida.
- You’re supposed to learn in your classes. In fact, the point of college is to get an education. If you find that you are not getting either of these, reevaluate your priorities.
- Form your own opinions about the world by investigating what’s going on around you.
While this certainly isn’t a definitive list of things to remember when stepping into college, I hope that it might prove helpful for someone. Above all else, enjoy college. It is the only time in your life when you will be able to live around people your own age in a semi-sheltered environment. If you do it the right way, you’ll leave with some of the best experiences of your life.