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Mistakes college students do
by Joseph Gatt
2016-10-23 11:59:52
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September 24, 2002 was my first day in college. As I get out of the subway, I get greeted by a young man trying to sell me weed. As an international student, fearing deportation and legal problems, I tell him thanks but no thanks. A huge “join the intifada” poster greets me at the entrance, book, magazine and health insurance salesmen harass me as I try to get to the registration gate. The auditorium was packed on the first day, and emptied as the semester went by. Here are some mistakes college students do, and I’ve done some myself.

1.    college01_400  - Skipping class

Some classes can be very tempting to skip. But being there is half the work done.

2.     -  Not reading newspapers on a regular basis

A lot of the material covered in class will be mentioned in several different newspaper articles. I used to start every morning with coffee, cookies and a press review, which was very helpful.

3.    -   Being noticed by the professor

Some professors are awesome, others can be real sociopaths. When in doubt, make sure you blend in and don’t pop up like a stain on the wall in class. I say this for having done the mistake dozens of times. Some professors will favor the students that they notice, but more often, they will be irritated by the nail that sticks and will want to pound it down.

4.    -   Not beefing up your resume

Essay contest? Send an essay! Speech contest? Try your luck! Student conference? Submit a proposal! Student roundtable? Hop in! You don’t want making it to the dean’s list the only thing that stands out on your resume.

5.     If possible, stay dry

Liquor and studies don’t really mix. Writing better papers when drunk or high is a myth. That’s because drinking is an art in and of itself, that involves pacing yourself and munching fatty food between drinks, and surviving the hangover the next day. It’s an art that takes years to master, and college students aren’t very good at it. Most accidents in college involve some kind of drinking.

6.     -  Don’t lose sight of your professional goal

I wanted to do the whole BA, MA, Ph.D. and go on to be a professor before professors pretending to be way busier and more important than they actually were and some professors implying in lectures that Jews and other minorities are hiding in their closets and come out when it’s dark got the best of me, and I gave up on that dream. In hindsight I should have feigned ignorance on that side of the deal and carried on. Every industry has its dark side, and most times feigning ignorance of the dark side is the best way to go when it comes to professional goal.

7.     Try to agree on most things with most people

For many college is the first time we get to make our own decisions and have an actual say on most things. The secret to making a lot of friends is not how you look or what you think, how many books you read or don’t read or what sport you excel at. The secret to making lots of friends is not saying “yes” all the time, but saying “I agree” most of them time.

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