Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Classes and Prohibited Items and Families, Oh My!

The last time we spoke, dear freshmen-to-be, we discussed packing, plugs (or lack thereof, as your case is), people, and privacy. I left you with the promise of more, coming up soon. Here is your (eagerly awaited, I'm sure) more.

I’m going to give you a basic rundown of The Way Things Work In Academia. Your degree program requires a certain number of hours—around 120, let’s say. You’ll either be a B.A—Bachelor of Arts—or a B.S—Bachelor of Science. B.A’s have a foreign language requirement, B.S’s don’t. That’s the only difference. Each class has a certain number of hours associated with it, determined by how many times a week you go and how long you stay once you’re there. A MWF class that meets for fifty minutes (8:00-8:50) will count for 3 credit hours. Likewise, a TR class from 9:00-10:15 is also 3 credit hours. Minors don’t count for anything once you graduate, so choose something you enjoy. Take your core classes first—get them out of the way with the people you came with and you’ll be happier later.

Probably in high school, especially if you took advanced placement classes, you got used to taking lots of notes, just hours and hours of lectures. That’s over. You won’t need a huge notebook for each class. The system I’ve settled on looks like this. Two divided subject notebooks-one for MWF and one for TR. One three ring binder with a divider for each class’s handouts and syllabuses. Grab the day’s notebook, the binder, any textbooks you might need and your backpack will be gallons lighter than if you’d chosen a binder for each class.

They don’t mean it when they say you can’t have a coffee maker/toaster/hot pot in the dorms. They just mean they don’t want to see it. They do mean you can’t have open candles but the same rule applies-if they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. This is the only true rule: if they don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. Take note.

If you can move your bed up and down, you’ll be tempted to raise it as high as it will go. You think this is a good idea because of all the extra storage it will provide… but it’s not. You won’t be able to get up and down easily, leading to roommate laughter as you fling yourself upon your princess-and-the-pea-like bed only to slip and slide back to the floor. Also, the bed, if low enough to access easily, will provide seating. You don’t want your bed that high, I promise.

You will probably miss your family a bit, especially if you were close in high school. Talk on the phone as much as you feel comfortable with. Go home and visit them. Have them come visit you. No one will look down on you for being a natural, normal human being with natural, normal human attachments to the people who gave you life (and who, incidentally, are probably paying for your college experience). They miss you, too, and don’t particularly like it when you’re gone. Leaving you for the first (and second and third and fourth, etc.) time might be a little difficult for them. They might cry a little. This is okay, and expected. You might not cry then, but you will probably cry later. This is okay, too.

Ultimately the point I’m trying to make is that you're not going to do this college thing right the first time. Despite my (very accurate and very ineffective warning) you will bring too much stuff and not have any place to put it. You will spend the first week and a half eating nothing but ice cream and Froot Loops. You’ll probably miss class once or twice and you’ll probably get sick from the ice cream. College is a new experience, and you’ll make the mistakes, and you’ll learn from them and move on. Once you’ve moved on from the mistakes you’ll enjoy yourself immensely. I had more fun my first year of college than I did all throughout high school combined. I can’t wait to go back and I can’t wait to meet all of you. So stop and introduce yourself. I'll be the one with the smile. :)


No comments: