College Advice for my Brother
Tomorrow, my youngest brother Robby is going away to college. While I’ve had 2 other brothers go away, this is different. He’s going to Florida Tech, which is the furthest away, and with no friends (an experience I didn’t have). I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t being a little protective, but I think this is sound advice for any incoming freshman, which is the reason I’m posting it here. So without further ado, here are some tips for going away to college.
First off, I’ve complied a list of posts that I’ve written throughout the years that are in the same breadth as this. They are tagged with College Advice. Some of the good ones including the “10 [whatever] for College Students.” But this post goes beyond that; there are tons of lists out there for best software, books, movies, hardware, etc. for college students. This is the other stuff.
- Get Involved
- This is by far the best way to make friends. Join an intermural team or some organization on campus. You’re meeting like minded people and you’ll be forced to work together with them, which can form good bonds. The best friends I made at school I made through the campus organization USPB.
- Be Welcoming, but Suspicious
- This seems a little pesimistic, but it’s still true. Be open to making new friends and meeting new people, but don’t be completely trusting of people right off the bat. This was something I learned the hard way. I was too trusting, assumed they knew more than me, and I was manipluated because of it. Keep people in check; you’ll know if and when you can fully trust them.
- Hang Out in the Lab
- As a CS/Software Engineering major, we had a lab specifically for us to work on projects and assignments, as did most majors on campus. Do your work there sometimes, even if it’s on your own computer. Chances are someone else in your classes will be there and it’s a good way to learn about your classmates, work with them, and brainstorm together on how to solve that problem.
- Ask the Teacher Questions
- This was another thing I learned later than I would have liked. The teachers are there to help and guide you. They have office hours specifically for it. Visit them then and have a couple of questions ready. Ask questions in class too. There is an old adage that if you’re thinking of a question, chances are someone else in the class is too. So don’t be afraid to ask.
- The “Know-it-Alls” Don’t Know Much
- Especially in tech oriented majors, there will be students who think they know everything. They Do Not. I’ve seen at least one every year. He will try to answer every question, argue with the teacher, and skoff at you for asking “stupid” questions. Just remember when it comes down to it you will know more because, just like Socrates, you know you don’t know. On a personal note, I seriously hated that kid. He would argue with me all the time. And guess what; he was always wrong.
- Keep an Open Mind
- College is a time for education and growth in and out of the classroom. I became a better professional, but I also became a better person because I kept an open mind and listened to my friends when they offered constructive criticism. This might contradict my point eariler about being suspicious, but don’t listen to everyone all the time. Use your discression.
I hope this advice helps. It’s stuff I wish I knew going into college (aside from the get involved thing, which I did early and often). I’ll leave you with this: remember who you lend out stuff to. If you don’t you will never see it again.