Remember those New Year’s resolutions you never got around to doing? Hey, no shame in being honest. Life happens, other things take priority, that cute boy in class keeps distracting you with his beautiful biceps and he doesn’t even realize he’s doing it…Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that college has arrived and no distractions, no matter how attractive they may be, are an excuse for you to not give it your best try. Come forward, my child, and partake in the sweet nectar that seeps from these 10 awesome commandments. Instead of Though Shalt Not, Thou Shall.
1. Thou Shall Find Sanctuary in the Library
Every student was at least once lulled into the trap that your dorm room is the perfect place to study. Clearly your roommate’s strange screams in the middle of the night and the lights flickering on and off are great stimulators for concentration. Those riots about the incoming apocalypse outside your dorm room? They’re just practice for you to overcome distractions during tests so you can get that “A,” right? The library is an oasis of calm in the chaos we call college. Make a habit of going to the library when studying for tests, working on projects and writing papers. Pick up some chick lit too when you need to take a break.
2. Thou Shall Learn How to Interact With Thy Professors
Momma ain’t gonna send a stern email to your teachers the way she did in high school. Now it’s up to you to contact your professors, and ask questions or schedule an appointment. You may have anxiety about it, but it’s really not a big deal. Just remember your email etiquette: Save the emojis for your sweetheart and multiple exclamation marks for your annoying neighbors next door. Always be polite and formal in your emails to your professors and don’t forget to say thank you for any help they offer.
3. Thou Shall Gain the Freshman 15 – Or Shall Thou?
Of course you want to keep your figure while still holding onto your cookies. The truth is that it isn’t realistic; sodas and junk food will not nearly be enough to fuel your wonderful brain. So, you need to learn how to manage a healthy diet while in college. How is this at all academic? Simple – good eating gives you energy to study, which equals a better chance of succeeding in class. Find a nutritionist or health professional on campus to teach you what a healthy diet entails. Discover food that is both appetizing and nutritious for you.
4. Thou Shall Be Lost On the Freaking Campus
Like the freed Israelites wandering the desert for 40 years, you too shall succumb to the trial of getting lost. This happens to the best of us, so don’t feel bad if you find yourself lost from time to time. College is a big adjustment for every student, so take your time in getting acquainted with your new environment. If you’re new to campus, definitely download an app that can take you to where you need to go or be old-school and carry a map with you. Lead on, my son, and carry your people to the Promised Land – well, mathematics for liberal arts majors, but still, same difference.
5. Thou Shall Find Salvation in the Church of the Food Court
When you just can’t find the time to cook yourself a meal and you’re minutes away from being late to class, the food court is your answer. Who doesn’t want to munch on Wendy’s and sip Starbucks during finals? Try to know the biggest traffic congestion times in the food court so you won’t be sucked into the mob of starving students. There’s no need for you to claw your way through the hunger driven chaos. See if you can make friends with the employees at the food court so when they see your familiar face and charming smile they will be sure to know your order. Go grab your fries, girl.
6. Thou Shall Go to Office Hours
Seriously, guys, office hours are the best thing offered to students. Professors don’t want to fail you and force you to retake the class. Office hours are a great opportunity to meet with your professor, ask for help outside of class and form an academic relationship that will help bolster you in the eyes of teaching authorities. Let’s face it, sometimes you miss something important during lecture or you didn’t fully comprehend a tricky formula. Take advantage of office hours to catch up on what you missed or ask questions on what’s unclear. Office hours are here to help you, not hurt you. If you don’t do this, you’re going to hell – that is, the utter hell of bad grades and retaking classes in the summer.
7. Thou Shall Have Fun
Studying, eating and sleeping are big priorities in college, but fun should never be kicked out of this equation. Find clubs and groups that interest you and fuel your passion. Meet new people in the classroom, at the food court, in the library, at your place of worship, the beach – the list goes on for days. Embrace college while you’re there, and don’t leave until you’ve joined a club, signed up for a worthy cause and made friends.
8. Thou Shall Be Burdened with Studying
Come on, first I say to have fun and now I tell you to buckle down and work? No fair! This is true for anyone enrolled in college, so accept the cold hard truth with a side of tough love and keep it movin’. The primary purpose of going to college is to get an education, so studying should be your top priority. If you’re struggling with your academics, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Colleges have many resources for students determined to do well in their studies, so feel free to get a tutor or begin a study group that works together at the library. It’s worth it. Summa Cum Maximus, anyone?
9. Thou Shall Be Burdened with Doubts
College is a crash course on decision-making. Are you taking the right classes? Is this the major you want? Can you even pay for college? It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed at certain moments in the semester and to not know the answers. You’re not alone. Everyone goes through hard times in college, but these difficult moments also come with fun experiences that you will remember fondly. When things get too crazy, be open to getting help from your friends and faculty.
10. Thou Shall Accept Your Mascot as Your College Lord and Savior
College is an amazing experience if you grab it by the syllabus and steer it to your chosen destination. Be proud to be a Gator, a Bull, a Knight, a Clown – is there a college mascot like that? – and be comforted in knowing that by the end of your four years, you’ll be someone who has grown immensely. Who knows, your time at college might just be the start of you changing the world.