I took a couple of classes this summer and finished up six days before my fall term here at Castleton began. During that time I had to get my daughter ready for her first semester as a college freshman. I sent my son off eight years earlier. You would think the advice I gave my daughter would be different than for my son based on gender, but that wasn’t the case. The reason my advice was different was that this time I’m a college student too. I have one last semester here at Castleton before I graduate. I now have had some of the same experiences of a present day college student — non-traditional for sure — but still it counts.
I have felt the same frustration that the 18-year-old feels navigating the system for course changes, buying text books, and feeling lonely and lost. I have enjoyed the thrill of acing a test and the disappointment of studying hard and still failing one. So instead of saying “work hard and get good grades,” I left that to my husband and gave her some advice that I felt might actually help:
1) You don’t have to declare a major yet. Take some courses in the area of study that interest you and see if you like it as much as you think you will.
2) Don’t take an 8 a.m. class. It only takes a couple of over-slepts to affect your grade.
3) If you find you are overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to drop a course.
4) The first semester is the hardest. Socially you don’t have a place yet and it’s unnerving because you don’t know how you fit into the new community. Relax everyone feels the same uneasiness. Break the semester into pieces just concentrate on getting to the mid-term point, then Thanksgiving and not long after that the semester is over and Christmas is here.
5) Get your books early and ask for the used ones. It saves money and next semester when you know your classes in advance, Half.com will really save you money.
6) As you get toward mid-term, if God forbid you are getting a bad grade, withdraw. You still have to pay for the class, but it won’t affect you GPA.
7) Drinking. Don’t. Yah right! But if you choose to drink, remember this. You do not know this new group of people. You need time to get to know who is trustworthy and who is not. Take a while to get to know the people around you before you put yourself in a less than in-control situation.
8) When you go to a party, remember roofies dissolve in liquid – not just alcohol. So take you covered coffee mug, it is much harder to slip something into a drink that has to have the cover removed. (That does not mean that you still don’t have to keep an eye on it)
9) Sex! What can I say here that I have not said already? If you choose to become involved in a sexual relationship BE SAFE – USE CONDOMS. If you need some, go to health services they hand them out no questions. P.S. I’ll feel better if he’s really cute with a bright future.
10) Have fun and make the most of the adventure.
I know that she has at least taken some of my advice because she called to say that she had her schedule and had been to the book store and all but one book was used.
And oh, there may be a few envious students who read this when I tell you her first Monday morning class is at 12 noon. Hell! I’m envious.
One last piece of advice unless you absolutely have to. DO NOT TAKE SUMMER CLASSES. IT SUCKS.