Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Some rules, tips, and advice for the first college year

The Phantom Professor has posted an excellent list of hints, advice, do's and don't's for students coming to college for the first time. Much of it is the type of thing many older students may wish they had known when they went to college. Readers have been adding to the comments, and some of their hints and tips are very good as well. It makes for good reading. A lot of it is common sense and common courtesy, which are important things to exercise in college as well as in life. Among the basics:

  • Show up on time: This really cannot be emphasized enough. If you cannot show up to class on time, do you expect your workplace of the future to put up with it? If you are going to be late, at least try to let the professor know. A short quick e-mail is nice. I know when I was an adjunct, I kept office hours before class. A short call letting me know they would be late was appreciated rather than guessing.
  • "Do NOT tell profs on the first day of classes that you have to leave early for fall break or that you have to miss the midterm because you're in a wedding, you have non-refundable tickets to Hawaii or your parents expect you to spend the full week with them in Nantucket. Profs don't care. And those are not excused absences. They're just annoying reminders that students get better vacations than the people who teach them." This is a quote from her blog, and again, as one who was there, I cannot agree more. There is no quicker way to alienate your professor or have him/her think less of you than to try to pull this stunt. In my classes, if they did it, they had my "blessing" to go (I could have cared less), but they knew that it was unexcused, and work due usually had to be turned in early. Quizzes were zeroes. The diligent ones usually were ok; the others, well, let's just say the end of the semester was not nice to them.
  • Get some sleep. This is another little detail that will get you everytime. If you are going to keep up, get some sleep. You may think you can pull those all-nighters regularly, but sooner or later they catch up. Not to mention, looking like you crawled out of the bed, or worse, just walked from the bar that closes late to your early morning class really leaves a bad impression.
  • And, I am throwing one of mine in: have fun, but please, be moderate and safe about it. College is a great experience. Take full advantage of it, but again, moderation and safety. There are enough young people dying of alcohol poisoning from binges for example. Don't be one of them.

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