Wednesday, April 23, 2014

5 Real College Tips

For millions of high school seniors the next few months will be filled with stress and anxiety as they make their final push towards getting into college. The summer months will be filled with orientations, class scheduling along with the excitement of finding living arrangements and buying new school supplies. Soon they will take off to different corners of the nation where they will meet new people, find out a lot about themselves, and a good portion will move home after, or even during, the first semester.
There are a plethora of articles about how to approach ones first year of college, most of these articles are written by some middle aged writer and has little to do with those walking through their University Gates. And you know what these articles are going to say, "get good grades, do an internship, network network network, volunteer...," you get the point, you've probably read the articles. While their advice is certainly accurate and should be taken seriously, you already knew it all, because it's the same shit that has been shoved down your throat you entire life by teachers, families and counselors. 
What I am hear to do is give some "REAL" tips for college, the stuff that few people write about, the decisions that will not only change what you are but who you are, and to do that you are going to need your comfort zone, and definitely your childhood bedroom...


Move Away

I know that the idea of saving thousands of dollars on room and board is tempting, but how can you truly experience college is you still have a curfew and if your parents still have direct control over your life. Your parents have every incentive to keep you from leaving home, they are terrified of what college can do to a person, because some people get overwhelmed by freedom and responsibilities. But would you rather experience that overwhelming when you are 18 and have 15 hours of class a week or when you are 23 and have your first real job?
Dad is happy because he can finally give mama some lovin'!
If you stay in your home town you are likely to hang out with the same group of friends, continue to experience the same things and just basically waste your college social life as an extension of your high school days.

Live In A Dorm

Many schools force freshmen to live on campus, which inevitably leads to hordes of freshmen complaining about how that is unfair. But living in a dorm is significantly better than living in an apartment, from a social standpoint, you actually meet people. When I started my freshman year I lived in an off campus apartment with my best friend. We had moved away from our hometown for school, and we never made any friends that first year. The next year we moved into the dorms and to this day still speak to some of the people we met in that forced social interactions.
What every girl's dorm looks like!

My junior year my friend left for film school in California and I switched to a large university, I knew one person who was enrolled at this school, my ex girlfriend who had also just transferred to the university. So needless to say I had no really social connections, until I met my roommates, we would go on to be best friends for the remainder of college, and we are still friends to this day.
The catalyst of this article was a group of us talking to our friends younger brother about college, and everyone at the table, who had gone to both large and small colleges, both close to home, across the country, and even abroad agreed that living in on-campus housing is the best decision if you want to meet new people and find lasting relationships.

Do The Free Stuff

Every college has free activities, most of these are a thinly disguised attempt to keep people for going out and drinking excessively. They are still free though, and they are usually hot beds for social interaction with other students, plus college has figured out if you want to get students to come to activities you give them free food and shirts, and trust me you will want to take advantage of any free food made available to you. If you are even slightly social awkward, which you probably are even if you don't know it, you are going to have a lot more success making friends at a campus event rather than a party. But if you want to get laid and wake up hugging a dorm toilet, then go get drunk, cause the campus activity girls are unlikely to put out or give you food poisoning.
Okay, now this is kind of weird...
Don't get me wrong, I am not speaking out against drinking is college, I did excessive amounts of it and I expect you will as well, it's just part of...

Explore Who You Are

College is most likely your first and last chance to get to "find yourself" without society judging you. Take the opportunity to explore who you want to be, how you want to be defined and remembered. You don't have to consciously do anything except for limiting yourself to the standards set forth for you your whole life. Talk to the kids you would have never talked to in high school, most of these people are just as lost and confused as you, learn from them, and explore different career options. And if you have the means, study abroad, you will learn so much about the rest of the world when you live inside an alternative culture.
...and meditate, but only in gorgeous settings.

And get out of your comfort zone, do things you would never do, unless it's likely to kill you then maybe avoid that stuff. The one thing in life you never want to regret is spending so much time not being who you are, but being who you were supposed to be. And it's college, if you travel down the wrong road, you can just jump back on a new road, and this is most likely your last chance to do that so...

Take Absurd Electives

Steve Jobs audited, that means to sit in on a class for no credit, another awesome thing to take advantage of at college, a calligraphy course and references that for his ultimate dedication to design, which we all are well aware is what sets Apple apart from the rest of the world, and made Jobs a billionaire and a legend. College is filled with absurd electives, things that you think have no meaning to your future or your present, but some of the most memorable courses one takes are the electives.
"Look mom! I'm a fish!"
Exploring different cultures, different hobbies, it could even change your entire career path. How does one know they don't want to be a novelist if they never try it, or a scuba diver. If there are classed that changed my life, changed me as a person inside and out they were a senior level psychology elective, a study abroad architecture course and an evolutionary biology course.
So use college not only to learn and train for your career, but as a playground for the ideas you have about who you want to be professional, creatively and ethically. Who you want the world to remember you as. And just like with the post college world, don't spend so much time grinding away working towards the future that you miss the opportunities available in the present (I also took a Buddhism class).

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