10 Rules for Clueless Freshmen to Live By
The first few days of my freshman year in college was all that you would expect: clueless teenager, walking aimlessly around campus, trying to find her first class without looking like she was trying to find her first class; new clothes, new shoes, new bag, and a new-found fear of the unknown; sitting in class, pretending as though she knew what the heck the professors were talking about, when, in fact, she did not have a clue.
I’m pretty sure that most of you would agree that your first few days on campus were much the same. I remember sitting in my History of the Metaphysical Poets class (yeah, I’m deep like that) and my Medieval Literature class (because clearly my Metaphysical class wasn’t challenging enough) and feeling as though I was not only enrolled in the wrong classes, but also the wrong school. I mean, how was it possible that I had signed up for these courses? I didn’t even know what “metaphysical” even meant, let alone that you could write poetry about it!
And, when I looked to my Medieval Literature class for a wee bit of comfort after being slammed with terms and phrases that I didn’t even realise existed in the English language from my Metaphysical Poets class, I was, to say the least, even more disappointed. You see, the professor began the class by distributing our syllabus and then immediately began a discussion on Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. I know what you’re thinking – “Well, that doesn’t sound so bad! So you had to read a few lines of Chaucer…what’s the big deal?”
Well, friends, the big deal was that I had the wrong edition. As it turns out, our professor didn’t want to make life easier for us in any possible way – we had to have the original Middle English (not the same as the language they speak in Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings – just need to clarify that) edition, not the modern English edition that Penguin Publishing produced just a few short years ago. You know…the one I had. So, when my prof called on me to begin reading aloud in class, you can understand my hesitation. The second that I started reading, she looked at me, puzzled and more than a little annoyed, and told me to go out that afternoon and purchase the correct original Middle English version of the Tales.
Day 1 and I had already managed to annoy my professor. Great.
So, needless to say, I was clueless as to how to navigate through my first semester properly. I needed someone to tell me what to do, how to do it, and how long it should take to do it. That, my friends, is the knowledge that I’m about to impart to all of you soon-to-be freshmen now. The following is my recommendations of Rules for Clueless Freshmen to Live By, which is based on my satisfactory work experience in a college, as well as my embarrassing experiences as a student:
1. If you don’t know your way around campus, ask someone for directions: People aren’t going to think that you’re lame; they’re going to think that you are just lost. Which you probably are.
2. Get out there and meet people: Having a smartphone in your hand at all times does not make you look cool; in fact, it may do the opposite. Relax, stop creeping your friends’ Facebook walls, and meet people the old fashioned way – by talking to them.
3. Ask questions: If you aren’t sure about something that is said in class, then ask a question; it’s how you actually learn. Don’t worry about having people think that you’re stupid because they more likely than not have the exact same question too.
4. Pay attention to details: Always, and I mean always, pay attention to the editions of textbooks that are required for the course – if your instructor calls on you to read a portion of text in class, you want to make sure that you have the correct edition/translation/version/book that costs twice as much as the one you bought at Chapters. (You don’t need to worry about this if you’re a student at the college where I work because we include books in the cost of tuition. We’re awesome like that).
5. Don’t be late: If an assignment is given, make sure it is done on time. College professors/instructors don’t like things to be handed in late – no matter how sick you or your best friend/RA/goldfish is/was. You’re told well ahead of time when assignments will be due, so there should be no excuse for handing a late assignment.
6. Don’t waste money: Sounds pretty self-explanatory, doesn’t it? Well, if you think that college is just about partying, skipping class, and sleeping in, then you’re a money-waster. Your education is an investment; ensure that you make it a wise one.
7. Never come to class in your jammies: As tempting as it may be to live on campus and go to class in your pajamas, it’s never a good idea. It doesn’t impress anyone. Trust me.
8. Make time to meet with your instructor: If you feel as though you’re falling behind in class, make an appointment to see your professor/instructor. There is a reason that they have office hours…for you to come to their office to speak with them.
9. Work hard: That’s it. Yes, you have to have down-time as well, but while you’re on campus, work hard or you will most definitely get behind and will struggle when exam time comes – there’s only so much cramming you can do.
10. Try to eat some vegetables every now and again: No ones embraces the dreaded “Freshman Fifteen”, so keep yourself healthy while you’re in school. It’ll help keep you focused and it’ll save you money – you won’t need to go out and buy a new fat-wardrobe.
So, if you’re a college freshman, don’t be afraid of your first day on campus. Everyone else is in the same boat as you, and probably have all the same questions/fears/cluelessness as you do.
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