Well, it’s sadly been a while since I posted. I’ve been at conferences back to back and have been going crazy trying to stay on top of research. Also, internet access has been sort of shoddy and one time I came to blog, the site wasn’t working. No more excuses now. I’m blogging this post, now. Alright…rambling aside.
For class we’ve been asked to comment on the Honors Residential College blogs. I have been reading through a decent number of them, and I must say, a 18-19 year olds brain is quite different from mine. It is brilliant to see some of them taking such initiative with what they want to do with their lives, and more brilliant that they are realizing that decisions made in college matter and don’t matter at the same time. While it’s important to get good grades and try to take classes which you think will direct you in the right direction – your major doesn’t have to determine the rest of your life. It’s a little different if you are an engineer since I could no sooner do the job of a chemical engineer than he/she could do mine as an electrical engineer. However, when I think about this example, there is a whole area of electrical engineering which is much more chemistry oriented. It is called solid state design and revolves around transistors and the like if you are interested. So, even with engineering, there is some fluidity.
There are a few things that I wish I’d known when I was in my first few years of college. I’ll list a few of them here in hopes that one of them may stumble upon this.
1. Linear algebra is really important, you may think you finished important math with diff eq, but you’re wrong. Memorize those theorems and understand that stuff. It will help you later on (more so if you’re in grad school).
2. Do your homework mostly alone and then go meet up with people in a group. Unless you are the brilliant superstar of the group, don’t be fooled by thinking you know what’s going on when really someone else figured it out. It will help a lot on tests.
3. Volunteer and don’t stop. I did Adopt a Grandparent in my undergraduate career. It was one of the most rewarding parts of college – old people are really amazing. I’m not fond of children in some part because I don’t learn from them in the same way that I can learn from older people.* They have such good stories…so just ask them about them! I’m sure they’d love to talk to you.
4. Find people who make you happy and make sure you make them part of your top priority – I’m talking about the people who make you feel warm and fuzzy inside (and try to make them feel the same way back). These people will make your college experience. I feel like the people I know who really, really loved college have a group of friends they feel very close to…it’s a pretty common theme. So again, make them a priority.
5. Try to spend as little time wasting time as possible. This is hard, I know it. But seriously, try not to just lay in bed all day or be on reddit/facebook constantly. There are so many experiences to be had. Go out and have them!! A friend of mine just said something recently that was along the lines: Drink a red bull, can’t fall asleep on life.
6. Save money on small things and treat yourself to something special…vacations, nice dinners, whatever. You won’t really miss that chipotle, but you will miss being able to go on spring break.
*I know you learn from a child’s fresh perspective on life and that is good, but it’s not wisdom.
**These are not in any order…just came to mind. I think number 1 is due to a more recent research issue (but it has come up tons of times in the last 3 years).
Good luck kids, you’ll be a different person after you’re done with THE BEST FOUR YEARS OF YOUR LIFE!!