Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sibling Assignment #72: NIC Advice: You Must Flip Things Around

This sibling assignment came from Silver Valley Girl. Today she will be escorting her daughter the Princess to Coeur d'Alene to begin her freshman year at North Idaho College. So, she posed this assignment:
Since The Princess will be moving into her dorm room at NIC on Sunday, August 24th, let's post some advice, memories, information that could help her as she begins her first semester of college.

InlandEmpireGirl's presented her advice in the form of a list, here, and between the demands of the melodrama and getting The Princess moved into her dorm, Silver Valley Girl hasn't quite had time to compose her piece.

(Stock Photo)

The Princess starts classes at NIC tomorrow. I started classes at NIC thirty-six years ago.

I made two mistakes right away in my first semester that I never repeated in my ensuing 40,000 years of undergraduate and graduate work. First, I overscheduled myself. I panicked. I didn't see how I'd ever complete my courses. I dropped two of them and suddenly my courses were manageable and, to a degree, enjoyable -- as enjoyable as courses could be my first semester.

I approached college studies my first semester (and on into my second) the way I had in high school: working at the Zinc Plant, socializing, going to dances and concerts, playing basketball, visiting friends at their apartments all came first. I studied when I felt like it and did most of my work at the last minute or did it late.

In other words, my studies were an afterthought. Many days and nights passed when it didn't seem like I was going to college at all -- this was especially true once I turned nineteen, the drinking age then in Idaho. I skipped classes, turned in work late, had study spurts, but these spurts were out of desperation.

Before my second year in college, during the summer, I made a decision: I would flip things around.

I would put my studies first and hang out more with other people who did the same.

I went straight to the library between classes instead of listening to the jukebox and hanging out at the student union.

I studied every night. I kept up in my classes. My courses became fun and they were what I gave my best time and energy to.

I still partied, but usually only on Friday nights and sometimes Saturday and even that practice faded away as I became more involved with other serious students, including Eileen, whom I would later marry.

The flip is difficult to make. Old habits die hard.

But the flip has two great advantages to a person starting college.

First, giving your best time and energy to school relieves a lot of pressure. You don't get behind. You get more invested in your courses. You discover interests you didn't know you had. You give studies a chance to do for you what they are designed for.

Second, studying is cheap! I've told this to countless students over the years. No one has listened to me, but it's true. If you keep up with your studies you aren't shopping, eating out, going to as many movies, using gasoline, or doing the other things that drain your budget.

Studying only costs money if you have a pop or a cup of tea while you do it or if you eat Cheetos or some Ramen.

Otherwise, you are reading, writing, or calculating and once you have the books or the equipment, reading, writing, and calculating is free.

So, Princess, I hope you'll flip things and experience the pleasure that comes with making studies the center of your life.

It's stimulating.

It's cheap.

For me, it was a lot of fun.


Dean said...

Have The Princess stop in and visit.
My office is in the SUB, 2nd floor. Tell her to visit ASNIC. We're all a big family up here.

Hope said...

My one regret in life is that I didn't give my studies more of my attention the first time around. It took 15 years to get it right and just last week, I got the letter that I had completed my bachelors degree in Economics. What life would have been like if I had gotten it right the first time?... I may have not met you.