Tuesday, October 19, 2010

College Advice

To all you Freshmen out there, here are some golden nuggets of advice I wish someone had told me 3 years ago.

1) Don't skip class! You may be very tempted to because you think you can just learn it from the book, but it takes longer to learn it from the book than to just sit and listen to your professor talk for an hour. You might even think to yourself that the extra hour of sleep is worth it, but the extra 3 hours you will spend studying the material when the exam rolls around could have been spent enjoying some high quality Z's. Go to class!

2) If you are undecided and have no idea what you want to do, BE PROACTIVE about finding something you are generally interested in and can see yourself pursuing a career in. Take classes in a wide range of subjects, but don't stop there. Do your own research: find out what kind of jobs are available for which majors. Find out what you would need to study in order to get a certain job. Talk to older friends about their majors and if they like it or not. We're lucky that Michigan offers such a wide variety of schools and programs: a great business school, a great engineering school, arts school, music school, public policy school, nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, architecture.. The list goes on and on, but I didn't find out about half of them until Junior year. DO YOUR RESEARCH!

3) If you are an engineer, and you don't know if you want to do engineering 100%, get out. Get out now! I have heard too many stories of Juniors and Seniors who just did engineering because they didn't know what else to do, and switched to LSA with no applicable credits for their new majors. Also, the later you switch out of engineering, the deeper your GPA will sink (probably) and the harder it will be to pull it back up. If you're just unsure of what kind of engineering you want to do, find out quickly because the more quickly you find out, the less time you will waste taking filler classes as underclassmen and the easier your junior and senior years will be.

4) Learn to spend your time wisely. You might have already figured out by now, but college can get very busy. From class, studying, meetings for student organizations, church small groups, to laundry, sometimes it can be impossible to find time for facebook (but we all somehow manage to do so). Figure out things you have to do and things you don't have to do. Class, for example, is a must, whereas laundry can be postponed (to a certain extent..). Learn to double task: if you take the bus to class, do something productive like reading for your psych class. Those 15 minutes spent on the bus may not seem like long, but they can add up. If you ride the bus twice a day, seven times a week, that adds up to three and a half hours! Equivalent to one facebook session! 

5) Figure out what kind of study person you are. Do you get a lot done when you study with friends or do you usually end up taking hundreds of pictures on your mac photobooth at the Ugli? How much noise can you handle when you study? Can you handle the Ugli at its noisiest, or do you need law library level silence? Do you ever get anything done when you take your computer to the library with you when you don't need it? Can you study in your room? Can you study in one place for a long time, or do you need to move around occasionally? These are all good questions you should ask yourself to figure out where, when, with whom, and in what conditions you will maximize your study time efficiency.

6) Finally, last but definitely not least: call your parents. They miss you. It's easy to forget to do it when school picks up and things get busy, but you make their day when you call them before they call you. It's also easier to hit them up for money when they're in their "aigooo! my baby thought of me and called me!" mood than when they're in their "you took three days to call me back" mood.

By: Dan Jun

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