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Advice for Incoming Freshmen

YYW
Posts: 36,391
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8/15/2012 3:03:22 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
You are at the first point in your life that actually matters, and for that your should be proud of yourself. You should also be wary of the temptations that college offers.

Drugs are not cool. I talk about drugs a lot, namely because I like them, but I quit doing them after my sophomore year in college. Smoking isn't cool either, and you shouldn't take it up. I doubt many on here will rush fraternities/sororities, but if you do, make sure your grades don't slip if you plan on going to grad school.

On that subject, let's talk about grad school. There is no better time to start figuring out what you want to do after undergraduate then now. Why? Because your entire transcript is relevant to your future, believe it or not. Your grades as a freshman could be the deciding factor of wether you graduate in the top ten percent, top quarter, etc. of your class.

As a college student, you are probably going to be strapped for cash. I came from an upper middle class family, and even then I was frequently cash-poor. Fortunately, I finished undergraduate with no student loans (kept scholarships all the way through).

If you are a freshman and you are on scholarships, your receipt of which is contingent upon maintaining a certain GPA, don't pretend like you're invincible. Those scholarships are VERY important, especially if you plan to go to grad school.

Peter Thiel (a personal hero of mine) said something to the effect of "debt strapped graduates are the last indentured servants of the modern world." (Read the New Yorker's interview with him if you're interested in more on that, in the Profiles section.)

You don't want to be paying off student loans when you're 50.

If you have taken out student loans, recognize that if you get kicked out -for any reason- that there is no windfall that will allow you to escape that debt. Student loans are like an albatross around the necks of entirely too many... they will haunt you until the grave. I say this not to scare, but to inform.

If you are majoring in something that is pointless (exercise science, theatric studies, history, 20th century American pop culture, music theory, or any form of art other than graphic design), AND you are taking out student loans in pursuit of your pointless degree, be DAMN sure that the consequences of that decision are something you are ready to live with.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that you are smarter than your professors. You are not. There is no escaping that.

Do not make the mistake of being a douche to your professors. If they don't like you, they will not help you get the grades you need. For example: Let's say that you go to a school where they penalize you one letter grade for every additional class missed after five absences -and you miss nine classes. If I were teaching your class, I wouldn't care so long as you could pass my tests/your essays were not sh!t. Some professors are flexible. Others are "letter of the law" rather than "spirit of the law" type people.

Grad students are just weird. Some of them are perfectly stupid. Others are brilliant. Most of them have ego complexes. Grad students will often grade your work, which is bullsh!t, but if you get an unfair grade from one (who gives bad grades because it reaffirms their sense of themselves), just talk -rationally- about it with your professor, but if you challenge a grade be VERY sure that you have grounding to do so.

Personally, as a general rule, I can't stand grad students (because they ALL think they are SO much more intelligent then they are -or they are just weird) but you all get the point. You want them to like you as much as possible too, and for very much the same reason.

Do not skip class. In high school, your classes were basically pointless. Here, they are not. Here they mater. And even if they don't, your professor (the person from whom you need a good grade) will think that everything he/she tells you is important. Learn as much as you can, and do so with humility.

Go to guest lectures and meet people. Network the hell out of every opportunity you can. Build a LinkedIn account. Doing so will benefit you later in life.

Get involved as much as you can, in things that matter to you. Don't join the mountain climbing team to say that you have joined the mountain climbing team. Join it because you are passionate about mountain climbing, and ONLY because you are passionate about mountain climbing.

That being said, academic extra-durriculars (like debate, mock trial, model UN, etc.) are fantastic to both put on your resume AND to participate in.

Do an internship of some kind. For the more politically inclined, work for a campaign. It's a life-changing experience.

Take varied and challenging classes. Don't take classes that are easy A's. Take something that will require you to apply yourself, that you may get the most out of your college experience. That is imperative.

Do NOT get caught with alcohol, drugs or etc. You will (1) loose your scholarship at minimum and (2) risk getting kicked out of the university.

Do NOT cheat or plagiarize. You will get kicked out of your university and blackballed from higher education.

DO make friends with your roommate, and be honest with them. Treat them and their belongings with respect, and require that they treat you and your belongings with respect (in a friendly way, of course).

DO make friends -on your hall and in your classes. Form study groups. Build alliances. They will be useful later, and it's nice to have people to talk to.

Be friendly and open minded. College is an experience like no other. I grew up in the gated off flanks of American society... i.e. Suburbia, USA. My worldview was about as broad as a boulevard and my mind as open as an oil drum. Embrace the diversity of the environment.

In general, make the most of it. Don't waste a day.

Hope this is useful.

Peace and Love,

YYW
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Wallstreetatheist
Posts: 7,132
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8/16/2012 3:57:01 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
I wish I could sig this entire post to remind myself of these sagacious lessons.
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YYW
Posts: 36,391
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8/16/2012 7:39:48 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/16/2012 3:57:01 AM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
I wish I could sig this entire post to remind myself of these sagacious lessons.

Well, thanks, WSA. My hope is that somehow this is helpful/beneficial.
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Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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8/16/2012 2:04:08 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Good god, YYW, thank you for preparing us future freshmen for some whole, brave new world. God bless you indeed. =)
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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8/19/2012 2:59:40 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 8/16/2012 2:04:08 PM, Man-is-good wrote:
Good god, YYW, thank you for preparing us future freshmen for some whole, brave new world. God bless you indeed. =)

If you guys have any questions, I'll do my best to answer them.... but this was all stuff that I wish I had have known pre-freshman year.
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phantom
Posts: 6,774
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8/20/2012 6:57:14 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'm starting as a Freshman next week. Thanks very much for the advice. It was a good read.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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3/3/2013 9:15:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Okay, maybe I'm not smarter than my professors, but I do firmly stand by the position that spending a large portion of my intro to philosophy class on Sam Harris was the stupidest sh!t ever.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Chicken
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3/3/2013 9:20:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
We should sticky this, I feel as a large portion of all DDO'ites are in High School. I graduate in 2 years, when I do, I'll be sure to check back on this. (Hope it gets stickied)
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1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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5/31/2013 12:15:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/3/2013 9:04:54 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
Bumping this for reference

+1

At 3/3/2013 9:20:48 PM, Chicken wrote:
We should sticky this, I feel as a large portion of all DDO'ites are in High School. I graduate in 2 years, when I do, I'll be sure to check back on this. (Hope it gets stickied)

+1
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YYW
Posts: 36,391
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6/1/2013 10:16:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 5/31/2013 12:15:13 PM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
At 3/3/2013 9:04:54 PM, Wallstreetatheist wrote:
Bumping this for reference

+1

At 3/3/2013 9:20:48 PM, Chicken wrote:
We should sticky this, I feel as a large portion of all DDO'ites are in High School. I graduate in 2 years, when I do, I'll be sure to check back on this. (Hope it gets stickied)

+1

I try to be helpful where I can :)
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thett3
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6/1/2013 11:40:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thanks dude, this is really useful!
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: At 11/12/2016 11:49:40 PM, Raisor wrote:
: thett was right
YYW
Posts: 36,391
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6/2/2013 2:09:02 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/1/2013 11:40:30 PM, thett3 wrote:
Thanks dude, this is really useful!

It's the stuff that no one will just "tell you" but that you're basically expected to know. I hope it's useful. I think I'll post an update to it at some point...
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ViolaSheen
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10/28/2013 6:19:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hello, Another very important thing for college freshman to do is to build up their knowledge of different subjects as college is not as easy as school. They should read articles, newspapers and subscribe to a few online libraries like http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu... or http://www.researchomatic.com...
or https://archive.org.... Building a reading habit also helps a lot in creative writing. Dissertations and theses are required in most subjects so these habits can help you in writing those as well!
killerhighheels
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12/3/2013 8:34:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Thank you so much. I needed that. My freshman year is hell right now and it's mostly because I haven't met any worthwhile friends.
NothingSpecial99
Posts: 378
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6/1/2016 12:36:15 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
Appreciate the advice
"Check your facts, not your privilege" - Christina Hoff Summers

If you go to jail for Tax Evasion, you're living off of Taxes as a result of not paying Taxes

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