Today's Ten on Tuesday is an easy one for me: 10 Things You Would Tell a College Freshman.
1. Visit your professors during their office hours. It makes a difference. Office hours are a great time for you to review assignments, ask for extra help, or learn more about a career. Last fall I had two young men who came once a week, every week, for the entire semester to visit with me for half an hour. I sure missed their visits in the spring! Professors want to get to know our students. Also, I keep tea, instant coffee, and snacks in my office, so in moments of hunger, I can help you out!
2. Ask questions. You might feel stupid in class when you ask a question, but chances are someone else has the same question. Your professors will appreciate your being engaged in class, too.
3. Set up "house" rules right away. Be open with your roommate about how you want to keep your space, what you are willing to share, and ask her to share her ideas about your room, too.
4. Join. You don't have to join every club, but find at least one or two, along with an intramural if you're not already on an athletic team. You'll make friends, you'll learn, you'll stay in shape.
5. Mind what you eat. Don't get suckered in by the food. Be healthy. Buy fruit and granola bars if you must.
6. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. This might be hard when there is so much to talk about, so much to do, so many papers to write, but if you're not well rested, you run the risk of getting exhausted, beating down your immune system, and frying your brain.
7. Don't go to class drunk, buzzed, stoned, or in any other way high.
8. Be a good consumer. Whether you, your parents, or a scholarship pays for your college education, there is a cost for every class hour. It might stink to have an 8:15 class. It might be so hard to go to class on that really warm October day when your new boyfriend wants to go make out in the park with you. It might be tempting to leave campus early on a Friday afternoon to party at your high school best friend's college. Resist and go to class. Get your money's worth.
9. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. There are points in every semester when the work load seems to be too much to bear. Think about your professors. Are there any who have indicated that they are willing to offer extensions? What about the professor you've been visiting every few weeks during her office hours? Ask for an extension before a deadline, and offer a date when you will be able to turn in the work. But know that the professor has the right to deny your request. You're better off asking, though, then skipping class and turning something in late without prior agreement.
10. Don't text in class. Professors can see you do it. It is rude.
11. (Because 10 isn't enough) Have fun. Explore. Ignore everything any adult tells you if you have a chance to do something wonderful. Go overseas for a semester. Learn to network. Be serious. Hold back your girlfriend's hair when she's puking. Don't judge. Introduce yourself to people you don't know. Get as many internships as you can. Watch at least one sunrise a semester. Laugh.
Most of all: be present. College can be amazing if you make it.