When I went to College some of the best advice I got was from an older nerd than ran a bulletin board system prior to the internet that you are enjoying right now. I was one of the guys that was a senior in high school, hooking up my 14 400 baud modem to an old Packard Bell with a 4-color CGA monitor playing online, text-based competitive games. One day the host of one of these channels had a chat with me and I told him I was going to College in a few months. The advice he gave me was to force myself to be social and talk to as many girls as I could because never again would I find myself in a place with such an abundance of diverse women.
Now as a man that is running strong in the rat race, I look back on what that nerd said; how I took his advice and how College was one of life’s greatest social moments for me and I wondered, what other advice could I give to make it easier for someone out there? The following is a list of things that I could have used when going off to College and I hope that at least one of them will help somebody out.
1. Freshman Year – Figure out what you want to be when you grow up
Many people enter a University system because they are told it is where successful people go. They enter the school to take on their general education classes and assume that after some time they will settle on a major and pursue it for their Junior and Senior years. Freshman year comes with many distractions, but it should not be so distracting that you forget to actively seek out a major to pursue. Don’t let time slip away from you; College is a vacuum and before you blink twice you may be stuck there while all of your buddies graduate and leave you behind.
2. Wear A Condom… Always
It can be very easy to find yourself caught up at the wildest parties, especially when a young beauty is somehow in your arms dancing and laughing. College can be the first time many kids get away from the helicopter parents, so girls that are “out of your league” may actually give you a chance. This does not mean that you should forget all of the lessons that have been drilled into your head about STI’s and pregnancy. Strap-up so that “getting lucky” does not come with a life’s debt in baggage.
3. It’s a brave new world, try the chicken soup!
When your parents drop you off and leave, you have two choices – you can live as if you are still “back home”, or you can experiment with new things and new people. One thing that I figured out after leaving College is that the four years matured me immensely socially because of the people I met and the things I did. This doesn’t mean that you should go turning the campus into a scene from Caligula, but it does mean that you should take the time to figure out who you truly are by dabbling in things that you didn’t grow up with. College brings people from all walks of life to one place and many of them bring a bit of their culture with them.
4. Learn how to earn and give the parents a break
Many of us went to school broke as a joke and our parents were broke too. What this led to, was that we had to figure out how to get paid fast! The lessons we learned from those first four years of hustling were lessons that we brought with us into the real world. If you are lucky enough to have parents that got it like that, do yourself a favor and pick up a side-hustle to kill a bit of that dependency. Personal skills are worth money on campus and you can get some pocket change from drawing, writing papers, and being a computer geek. The world needs more entrepreneurs so don’t be afraid to hustle a bit.
5. Credit Cards are the devil
If you have no financial training do not accept any credit cards, DO NOT pass go, and tell the companies that are trying to suck you into their debt vortex to kiss your ass. This advice is going to fall on deaf ears because many of you will see Credit as “free” and many video games, and cool clothes demand your tricking, but I beg you to heed my warning on this. If you are going to use a card go with a debit card or do like I do and keep it straight cash homey!
On the other hand if you have financial training, College is a great time to build up your credit by purchasing things on your card and then paying them off with your grants and loan money when it comes in. This is a dangerous game to play however that can get you into hot water so if you think that it will be risky just say no.
6. Find that one broken washing machine and exploit the hell out of it
College days are broke days so you must find angles and tricks wherever they present themselves. Mix in your Ramen Noodles with a side of Vienna Sausages sandwiched between some Saltines. Get a bicycle (or a dumb girlfriend with a car), and learn which dorm you can sneak into to take advantage of free stuff. What you have to realize is that you are getting raped on your tuition and fees (just so your University President can live like a king or queen – just kidding #notreally) so you may as well get it free where they’re slipping.
7. Party hard and master the art of study (or cramming)
The guys and gals who master “College” are those that party hard but study hard when they aren’t partying. You should never forget why you are there in the first place — here’s a hint, it isn’t to party and get arrested. The reason I tell you to party is because you want it burnt out of your system by the time you are into your career and trying to be a successful adult. Grown folks that are still trying to get shit-faced drunk and party all night when they have work in the morning are usually spiraling towards a harmful demise. Get your fill in college so that when it comes time for work you don’t feel the need to be slamming shots.
8. Live in a dorm your first 2 years and an apartment after
This seemed to be the pattern that many of my friends and I did in order to meet new people and then get away in order to focus. The first two years of school will have you taking a lot of general courses so you can spend much of your time meeting new people that will be in your network throughout school. Your Junior year and beyond will demand more of your time to focus on your major so an apartment will take you out of the Dorm tomfoolery and politics and allow you to get away from the campus when you need it. Not to mention it will do wonders for your love life.
9. Stay on top of your credit hours and class registration
Here’s the thing, I have this recurring dream and I am sure that many other College grads share it with me. The dream has me in my Senior year at some University and I am running between classes freaking out because I had a class that I straight up forgot to attend the entire semester! It’s an odd feeling to describe but can you imagine having to spend an extra semester at school because of bad class management? When you are in your last years of school all you can think about is getting the hell out and when you learn that you have to spend more time… and your friends are in caps and gowns… it sucks.
10. Make moves towards your career prior to your senior year
Do some research into your field, find out if there is still a demand. Write letters, seek out internships, and make moves way before your professors warn you hat it’s “the right thing to do”. If you find out early that your career-path is a dead end, you can change it. If you find out early that your dad works with someone that can get you an internship at her office, you have a step-up. I wish I had known this prior to going to school and freaking out towards graduation that I won’t have any “real-world” pieces in my portfolio.
Get proactive and enjoy the hell out of your college experience. That is the way to go about it.See some words or phrases that you don't understand? Check out The Dragon's Lexicon.