These next four years

College advice from someone who’s been at it a while

Welcome, young freshman, to the major leagues.

Here in college you will learn your own personal array of important things that will indeed expand your mind, including such popular hits as: homework matters, getting involved pays off and the knowledge that your parents were wrong sometimes.  Actually, quite often.

But, while it is important to learn things for yourself, nobody ever died from a little sagely advice. Sometimes it’s okay to avoid that embarrassing incident that, had someone simply warned you ahead of time, you would have side-stepped for the better.  Not every lesson needs to be learned the hard way. And so, little freshman, the lessons you learn in this column from here on out are my gift to you.

First and foremost, know this.  Your professors are not stupid.  Those who teach often do so to better the lives of students through education, but they’re human beings just like you and I, only with 20 to 50 years more life experience, which means they see through bullshit quicker. And also, in human tradition, most teachers are fickle. If you succeed with flying colors, your teacher could become more than just a textbook with a speech function, they could become an ally and a friend.  Should you fail, however, they will simply stop caring about you, and let you get what’s coming to you.  One simple piece of advice to keep you on your professors good side is to do more than just your homework.  If possible, always go at least one step beyond.  That’s something I wish someone had told me before I got three years into college and accrued a handful of professors with less than stellar things to say about me.

Also important is to remember to make as many friends as possible.  I won’t be cliche and say that everyone you meet will have something of value to say – they won’t.  Some people you won’t get along with, others are beneath you.  I know it, you know it, lets not talk down to each other.  However, getting tight with the people you do get along with is almost as important as doing well in your classes.  Because, you see, some of those people will have skills that supplement yours and a quick Google search will tell you just how many success stories came from two bros doofing around in college.

And, perhaps most importantly, always be thinking about you.  Because that’s what the college experience is all about.  It’s four years of your life spent on your education that will play a large part in how you spend your future.  Take time out of everyday to ask yourself “what do I want” and then go do that thing.  There will be times you do things only because your friends talked you into it, which is fine, it’s important to go outside of your interests sometimes but ultimately remember that you’re what’s most important.  Be the pilot of your own life or something to that effect.

It’s too soon in your college career to know if any of this advice was useful, but know this:  like you, I was intimidated by the thought of going to college.  I spent a lot of time up until I actually arrived worrying about the next four years of my life.  Then I got here and found out that everybody else was in the same boat.  For the past three years I’ve been practicing what I just preached and I’m a lot happier for it.  God willing you do the same that my advice may help you as well.  Semper fi, little freshman, you’ll be just fine.  Probably.