I have done it twice; once for under-grad and then again for my juris doctorate; also, I am at that age where I feel at liberty giving advice (don’t worry you will be here someday too).
Here is my advice as you head off to college. You are, of course, free to disregard all of it, but I am hoping that you might remember at least one or two pieces of my advice. Some of it will sound familiar; some of it will sound like your mom; and some of it will sound like no fun.
- Don’t get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs. Not even once. Walking is great exercise or the cost of a taxi is well worth your life.
- Don’t sleep around. It’s beneath you. You will regret it and you can never regain your reputation.
- Stay away from balconies, roads, speeding cars and lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc if you have been drinking. None of those things mix well with alcohol. If you survive, the pain will not be worth the thrill.
- Be kinder and more understanding of those who are different from you. You might learn something, including tolerance and you may just earn a friend.
- Know that you will meet someone this week who will become a life-long friend. That’s a pretty cool upside to college.
- Study more than you want to and then study some more. You won’t regret it and there is much more time for fun than you think right now.
- Do something you’ve never done before- not like crack cocaine- like broomball.
- Expand your world. Be open to new experiences and people.
- Don’t forget to call home. Believe it or not, your family will miss you. Forgive them for crying this week. They have worked your whole life for this day, but it is absolutely heartbreaking for them in many ways that you won’t understand until you are the parent getting in your car to drive home without your child.
- Remember that you have a family who loves you and supports you and that you can always count on them- no matter how stupid the mistake. You might not necessarily want to test the limits of their love and patience, but believe me, they will understand and forgive if you do.
- You will be more homesick than you ever imagined. You will get through it.
- Learn new things, test yourself, make new friends, experience all you can (in a reasonable and intelligent way).
- Don’t ever forget your self worth. Don’t ever let anyone treat you poorly.
- Be kind to others and to yourself.
- Be patient with your roommate.
- Be honest in all your dealings. It is much easier to remember the truth than a lie.
- Go home once in a while and be grateful for what you have been given.
And, when you have done all of those things, choose a day and tell your parents, “Thank you” just out of the blue. If you remember to do that, you will have paid them back in some small way.
Believe that you truly are phenomenal! Good luck!