It’s too late for Jason Henry, but perhaps you can learn from his college mistakes.
For what it’s worth, college was OK. I got through the program well enough. All in all, I’d say the experience was satisfactory. That sucks, because while I got decent grades, the experience itself was a C. Here’s what I would have told myself on how to deal with the phenomenon that is university.
1. The hatred for this school is due to your social anxiety. It is not that the school is horrible, or that registration is a bitch or even that the course codes are confusing. You have an irrational fear that you are going to trip and fall on your face in front of people you don’t know and be laughed to scorn. When the lecturer asks a question and you give an answer, you think you’re going to be wrong and be sent back to grade school. Your anxiety is based on your environment, and thanks to your psychology degree, you will learn that fear is often irrational.
2. Party now, study later. This sounds pretty irresponsible, but it really isn’t. You need to cherish this time of reckless abandon. Push boundaries, do something weird and different, have fun! You’re a fragile kid though, so know your limits. Mom and Pop always said to never cram but it works pretty well, trust me. It might not be for everyone, but you’re built for it. Besides, you’re supposed to learn material from five courses in 4.5 months. The school is cramming you, so cram it right back! If you don’t like this bit of advice, you can try the converse method: study now, party barely, or never. Because when you’re done studying and ready to play, everyone else will ignore you because they’re studying.
3. No girlfriend, no problem. The intermittent, short-lived and ultimately time wasting flings will mean nothing to you. Your friends, however, will talk about it for years to come. Can’t give an explanation for that, sorry. You might not like how this sounds, but you’ll never get into a relationship when in college. And even if you did, it’d be a complete disaster. This, however, is a good thing. You will learn how to be happy regardless of whether or not you have what you want. I could have really used the head start for that second reason.
4. Do what you like. Many people will question your choice of degree. Just tell them that you’re doing what you want to do. People are going to university to do a degree that will make them a certain amount of money. You’re stupid, so you’ll just do what makes you happy. Let that be enough. Rest assured, you will be employed when you graduate. Oh, and while you do have a passion for what you’re learning, the school will try and rip that to shreds by stuffing a colossal amount of information into your mouth and up to your brain. Just walk it off, OK?
5. Smoke. I’m not talking about cigarettes, man. We’re not about polluting our body to fund the corporations. I’m talking about weed! Look, I know what they told you but it’s not a drug. It’s just a plant, bro. Don’t miss out like I did! *
6. Friends are the most important aspect. I know the parents are not sending you to school to socialize, but it makes the price tag worth it (Ha! No, not really). For when those soul-crushing nights come, when scholastic and extra-curricular problems abound, and when the bass drops, friends calm the bad moments down and make the good moments extra-special. They will continue to be the best thing in your life after graduation. Do not take them for granted.
7. A bit of specific advice. If you are walking by the administrative building and see a calculator in the dirt, do not take it up, turn it on to see if it works and then stuff it in your backpack because you were too cheap to buy a new calculator. There is a reason the calculator was left forlorn, and you will thank me when you are doing your statistics exam and realize that the square root of 640 is not 2.
* Not legally available in all locations.
Image credit: Tulane Public Relations/Flickr