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Advice for Incoming Freshmen Redux

YYW
Posts: 36,243
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6/2/2013 2:50:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
When you are scheduling your classes, do not take only 15 hours (five classes). Take at least six (18 hours) and realize that seven (21 hours) is perfectly doable. The more classes you take, the less likely you are to partake in the more unsavory proclivities that are associated with the general collegiate experience. You will also graduate earlier, which will likely save you money if you're taking out student loans.

Summer classes are easier but more expensive. If, like me, you hated lab sciences take them in the summer if you are able too without incurring debt because although the lectures are three hours long per day and the amount of reading you must do per night is more intense, the burden is over in a month.

Study/travel abroad as a student. This might mean teaching english for a year in South Korea. A good friend of mine did that last summer, and she loved it. That might mean spending the summer months in a foreign country to "learn the language" through an affiliated university. If you find yourself in German-speaking Europe, hit me up and I'll tell you a few awesome places to go. Oh, and don't forget to take an international cell phone. Communication stateside is a b!tch without one.

Buy a good computer, with an even better warranty. Computers are finicky beasts, and you want one that's going to last you all four years. I personally recommend a 13 inch Macbook Pro. If you buy a Mac, be sure to get Applecare. But, whether you buy a Mac or a PC, do not buy Microsoft office through any place other than your university. Almost all universities get fantastic software discounts. But, if you're the kind of dude who pirates that sh!t, then this probably doesn't apply to you.

On the subject of piracy, don't do it through you're school's internet. Most universities monitor data traffic and they are able to determine if you're downloading loads of songs of movies from illicit places. Did I mention that most universities consider piracy an honor code violation, and will often result in disciplinary action? Just thought you should know...

When it comes to writing, most students are really bad at it. In fact, I'd say -though I don't have the evidence to prove it- that only about one in every twenty college freshmen are capable of writing an acceptable essay. Freshman writing and composition classes help, but are often not enough. So, avail yourself to either use university resources to help if you're not getting good grades on your essays or go to office hours. I find that History and Philosophy professors are often the best essay editors that I come into contact with. If you make friends with one, they might help you in your other classes... or they might not. But it's worth a shot, often, just to be able to bounce ideas off of Ph. D.'s.

Pick a faculty advisor who is (1) competent, (2) who you trust and (3) who will mentor/coach you. I had an amazing undergraduate advisor... and I can say with confidence that my experience in that regard was the exception rather than the rule. After hearing other's stories, my god... I got really lucky. Luck, however, can be facilitated by good choices -so make the choice to select a good faculty advisor.

If you're gay, don't have high hopes for the other gay guys/gals on campus. LGBT groups are often filled with people who personify stereotypes, who talk about feelings too much and who are overly dramatic. I say this as a (pretty masculine) gay guy... while there will be some people who you'll probably make friends with, and may even 'like' be prepared for drama, glitter and fairy dust nonsense.

Make friends with people who are older than you, who are involved in things that you might want to be involved in. It's always better to know someone in a group than just show up cold and try to make new friends. I found that the best way to do that was to take a few 400 level electives as a freshman.

Do not hesitate to take the lead in group projects. College kids, as a rule, need direction in their lives -and what better than another college kid to give it to them? Often, it is nothing more than a crisis of leadership which results in a group project failure. To learn how to overcome this (i.e. to figure out how to step up and lead) is often the broader point of collaborative or group projects, rather than actually complete a given task.

When studying, it's often really effective to teach the material you're trying to learn to others. That might mean posting some thoughts on the last book you just read on DDO, or it could mean a long conversation with your room mate about Infinite Jest (if, of course, you were dumb enough to sign up for a modern American lit class -lolz).

When studying, don't take adderall the night before a test, cram for 12 hrs and expect to get an A. As a general rule, using drugs to study is an incredibly risky enterprise. Not only to ALL American universities consider it a violation of academic integrity, but it could get you expelled if you're caught on or off campus with Rx drugs you were't proscribed. Ironically, cocaine is not considered a violation of academic integrity -but a student conduct violation. Talk about stupid policies... but I digress. DO NOT USE COCAINE! lulz

Realize that having sex is fun, but it tends to piss off other people when they hear it. If you bring a "screamer" back to your dorm, the next time you and your buddies go out drinking, you might get "cock blocked" because no one else wants to hear you have fun -and dorm walls are very thin. The point? Whatever "sexy time" decisions you make, consider the impact those decisions will have on others. Your RM will not like hearing you and your "playmate" either.

RM's (resident mentors) are essentially glorified hall monitors, and while they have real responsibility, some care and some don't. There are some who very much get off on enforcing the disciplinary code to the letter. There are others (mine, freshman year) who will be happy to share your room mate's vaporizer.

On the subject of vaporizers, be aware that they actually do have a smell and that when/if you use one, anyone who comes within about twenty feet of your room will know what you're doing NO MATTER WHAT you do to masque the smell. So, don't smoke, vape or anything pot related in your dorm. It's just not worth the risk.

Regarding money, manage it well. Don't buy things you don't need, or food items that will make you fat. You'll miss the money and wish that you'd never eaten that box of cookies from Insomnia (even if their white chocolate macadamia nut is on par with a blow job). Generally speaking, salads are the way to go.

Drink coffee, but not too much coffee. Coffee is cheaper than Red Bull, tastes better and is thousands of times better for you. Coffee has antioxidants, it has been linked to lower rates of depression, it promotes healthy digestion, it stimulates the mind and invigorates the body -hot or iced. It's also considerably cheaper then energy drinks -which are terrible for you, are expensive and will only increase the anxiety you already feel for that upcoming test.

Dump your high school boyfriend/girlfriend amicably, and if possible try to renin friends. You can either believe that I know what I'm talking about, or see why I'm giving you this advice when you go home for Thanksgiving. ;)

Don't spend a lot of time on Facebook. You are in college to network, to make friends and to meet new people -not to only keep in touch with your high school "buds." If making the most of any new experience is the point of college, don't live in the past. You can catch up with everyone you left behind over Christmas break.

Don't spend spring break an Cancun, or any other equally worthless vacation destination. Do go on trips with your school. I went on several, and I gained more from them than from almost any other "extra curricular" I participated in, while an undergrad. Btw. DO join honor societies. They
muzebreak
Posts: 2,781
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6/3/2013 9:19:52 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Just thought I would chime in on the computer bit. In respect to getting a good computer, if it's just for college work and such, then get a Lenovo ThinkPad. They are the most common laptops in big businesses, because they are efficient. You never have issues with the hardware, and they last ages. They also come pretty darn cheap. In regards to buying through your college, that is always the best thing to do. I know my college has deals with various software companies, and they get better prices because of it. To get more information, find a Comp Sci professor, and ask them about any software deals the college offers. But, personally, I'm a pirate. Now'a'days more and more colleges have an open policy around the internet usage. For instance, while this is far from being the norm, MIT offers WIFI that is not password protected, and general internet usage is not heavily monitored for such things as piracy. The best thing to do is, again, consult a Comp Sci professor, because they'll be aware of all rules relating to Internet and computer usage.
"Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact." - Carl Sagan

This is the response of the defenders of Sparta to the Commander of the Roman Army: "If you are a god, you will not hurt those who have never injured you. If you are a man, advance - you will find men equal to yourself. And women.
leojm
Posts: 1,825
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6/3/2013 9:29:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/3/2013 9:19:52 AM, muzebreak wrote:
Just thought I would chime in on the computer bit. In respect to getting a good computer, if it's just for college work and such, then get a Lenovo ThinkPad. They are the most common laptops in big businesses, because they are efficient. You never have issues with the hardware, and they last ages. They also come pretty darn cheap. In regards to buying through your college, that is always the best thing to do. I know my college has deals with various software companies, and they get better prices because of it. To get more information, find a Comp Sci professor, and ask them about any software deals the college offers. But, personally, I'm a pirate. Now'a'days more and more colleges have an open policy around the internet usage. For instance, while this is far from being the norm, MIT offers WIFI that is not password protected, and general internet usage is not heavily monitored for such things as piracy. The best thing to do is, again, consult a Comp Sci professor, because they'll be aware of all rules relating to Internet and computer usage.

Yes. I wish I could have chosen my type of computer but the school provided the Dell laptops.
1Devilsadvocate
Posts: 1,518
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6/5/2013 2:20:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Another useful & awesome post, but it looks like the end got cut off:(
I cannot write in English, because of the treacherous spelling. When I am reading, I only hear it and am unable to remember what the written word looks like."
"Albert Einstein

http://www.twainquotes.com... , http://thewritecorner.wordpress.com... , http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com...
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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6/6/2013 1:45:25 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/5/2013 2:20:13 AM, 1Devilsadvocate wrote:
Another useful & awesome post, but it looks like the end got cut off:(

I don't remember what the rest of the sentence was going to be... oops!
Andromeda_Z
Posts: 4,151
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6/7/2013 7:10:24 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/2/2013 2:50:53 AM, YYW wrote:
If you're gay, don't have high hopes for the other gay guys/gals on campus. LGBT groups are often filled with people who personify stereotypes, who talk about feelings too much and who are overly dramatic. I say this as a (pretty masculine) gay guy... while there will be some people who you'll probably make friends with, and may even 'like' be prepared for drama, glitter and fairy dust nonsense.

Incredibly useful, thank you :) I was thinking about checking out the GSA at my university now that I'm out of my parents' house and finally can, probably still will do that but realism is a good thing.
Regarding money, manage it well. Don't buy things you don't need, or food items that will make you fat. You'll miss the money and wish that you'd never eaten that box of cookies from Insomnia (even if their white chocolate macadamia nut is on par with a blow job). Generally speaking, salads are the way to go.

Adding to this great advice, salads (and other various good-for-you things) are generally expensive as hell and not that great when you buy them from a grocery store, especially in weird seasons. Find out where the good, cheap produce is. Almost everywhere has a farmer's market or other wonderful place, find that and go there whenever possible. It's well worth the effort of a google search.
YYW
Posts: 36,243
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6/7/2013 10:42:30 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/7/2013 7:10:24 PM, Andromeda_Z wrote:
At 6/2/2013 2:50:53 AM, YYW wrote:
If you're gay, don't have high hopes for the other gay guys/gals on campus. LGBT groups are often filled with people who personify stereotypes, who talk about feelings too much and who are overly dramatic. I say this as a (pretty masculine) gay guy... while there will be some people who you'll probably make friends with, and may even 'like' be prepared for drama, glitter and fairy dust nonsense.

Incredibly useful, thank you :) I was thinking about checking out the GSA at my university now that I'm out of my parents' house and finally can, probably still will do that but realism is a good thing.

There are some really great things about being both gay and in college, largely that there are probably other gay college students with whom you can fraternize... but it's just good to keep things in perspective. There will be some pretty awesome people there, but there will also be some nuts... so just keep that in mind.

Regarding money, manage it well. Don't buy things you don't need, or food items that will make you fat. You'll miss the money and wish that you'd never eaten that box of cookies from Insomnia (even if their white chocolate macadamia nut is on par with a blow job). Generally speaking, salads are the way to go.

Adding to this great advice, salads (and other various good-for-you things) are generally expensive as hell and not that great when you buy them from a grocery store, especially in weird seasons. Find out where the good, cheap produce is. Almost everywhere has a farmer's market or other wonderful place, find that and go there whenever possible. It's well worth the effort of a google search.

)
ShabShoral
Posts: 3,222
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5/27/2015 1:16:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This will soon be relevant again.
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