Mark Zeigler, beloved professor in the School of Communication, took to Facebook to give incoming college students some advice. After 23 years of college classroom work, he gives 21 pieces of invaluable advice for newly minted high school graduates.
1. Go to class, all classes, all lab meetings. ALL.
2. Read assigned readings before class.
3. Visit all of your professors and teachers during office hours. Prepare before you go, start an ongoing dialogue. This will help when it is time for a reference letter.
4. Go to everything you can: games, music events, theatre and dance performances, debates, films, speakers, residence hall programs, spinning classes, gathering days at the student union.
5. Establish a study location. Use it.
6. Make friends who are not from your hometown. Make friends with people who are very different from you.
7. Take classes from the hard professors. When I was not enjoying a history class my sophomore year at Stetson, my dad suggested I wasn’t bringing anything to the table. He was right.
8. Exercise daily, even walking helps. Eat right. Sleep right.
9. Get involved, but do it because you care about the cause or the people involved. It is very easy to spot the resume builders.
10. Don’t let anyone have your mind (a minister, mentor, yoga guru). Again, this is a suggestion from my mom and dad, but they are right. Think for yourself.
11. Develop a relationship with your university. Learn to love the place and do what you can to make it better. Don’t be a complainer, looking for reasons to transfer. If you aren’t happy at Auburn, you won’t be happy at FSU.
12. Have a good attitude. Rain is an opportunity to have some fun. No parking gives you a chance to listen to some good music (get there earlier, by the way).
13. Be kind to others, say hello as you walk to class, befriend those sitting at a lunch table by themselves.
14. College is a game changer. It prepares you to handle anything that will be thrown your way in life. It is not a guarantee of success, but your life starting point will be far beyond those who choose not to go.
15. Be kind to your parents and grandparents. They aren’t all perfect, but most are doing their best. It is very exciting for them when they visit. Let them enjoy it and learn to negotiate the boundaries.
16. The friends you make in college will be your friends for life. Cultivate the relationships, value them.
17. Don’t drink too much. It ruins the experience. However, a couple of beers are fun.
18. Everyone will tell you this: The four years go by VERY fast. You won’t believe or understand this until you are 40.
19. Your major is your choice, not your parents’ decision. Choose one for which you have a blinding passion. If you do, the career and opportunities will take care of themselves.
20. And do not stress over grades. Do your best. “A” grades are earned, not a right. “B”s and “C”s happen and sometimes that is alright. The goal is to learn something. If you get a “D” or an “F”, it is usually because you don’t go to class or get behind early.
21. Enjoy yourself, your life. Drink coffee. Sit under a tree between classes. Have a burrito. Sing the school song. Go on a date. Read a book. Go on a road trip. Be a good person.