College Tips

The school experience. School related queries, discussions, and stories that aren't specific to a subject.

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SPsnow02
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College Tips

Postby SPsnow02 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:52 pm UTC

Hey all, I'm moving in for my first year of college today and was wondering if you guys had any tips for surviving my first year (And the first year of any others who read this read)?
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Re: College Tips

Postby H2SO4 » Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

Keep a decent sleep schedule. 3am taco runs may sound awesome, but it screws up your sleep like none other. Establish your own curfew, and only bend on it AT MAX once a month. I missed many a class because of this.
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Re: College Tips

Postby Dopefish » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

Read your textbooks. Really.

Many profs only teach the stuff that particularly gives people trouble, and skim very quickly through the rest, since they expect you to be reading the material yourself. First year texts for the most part I've found are pretty careful to explain things in a simple manner too, which your prof may or may not do, and so reading a long really makes a difference in your understanding on the material.

Depending on the course, and whether you have prior knowledge of the material, it could well be very possible to pass courses w/o reading, but unlike high school, you pretty much have to actually spend time reading the book outside of class to do really well, and it'll certainly make things much easier when it comes time to do assignments/exams.

It's hard to find time to go to class (which you should always endeavor to do), and do your assignments, and have a social life *and* find time to read textbooks I know, but you really should make an effort to include it, which many people neglect to do since their past school experiances have taught them that the teacher will tell them everything they need to know, which isn't always the case in university/college.

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Yakk
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Re: College Tips

Postby Yakk » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:24 pm UTC

Do a residence based (or faculty based) orientation/frosh week. Meet and befriend new people. Have fun.

Do not, I repeat do not, get so drunk that you don't remember what happened the night before. This will be easy to do.

Teachers at a university/college are not primarily educators. They are experts in their field who are telling you, via lectures, want you need to know.

Up until this point, you have been taught be educators who usually know just enough to cover the material they are teaching, if you are lucky. They are not primarily experts.

The difference is that educators job is to drill the handful of facts they have to drill into you, into you. Lecturers are exposing you to what you need to know. Educators assign homework designed to drill the facts into you -- lecturers assign homework so you can get feedback on if you are understanding what is going on. Educators textbooks are built to the curriculum -- lecturers textbooks are built to contain what you need to know, often presented differently than the lecture, so you have another source of knowledge to refer to.

This is a change of learning style. Going from knowledge being spoon fed to you, to you being expected to find the knowledge yourself with a little help, can be a big step.

The next thing you need to realize is that you get out of university what you put into it. You could easily be taking 15 total hours of class a week (instead of the 30-40 hour weeks of high school). What you are being given at university is access to a bunch of other enthusiastic young people possibly also interested in your subject, access to a bunch of slightly older recent experts in the fields you might be interested in, and access to a bunch of nearly rock-star level experts in the form of professors. You need to find other peers who are also interested in what you are going to school for, and spend time talking with them. You need to find other young enthusiastic and fun people to hang around with. You should try to hob-nob with the graduate and upper year students who have gone through the undergrad experience before you. You should try to get access to professors and spend time soaking up their knowledge and experience. You should spend lots of time having lots of fun.

Other things to avoid include MMORPGs/other computer game obsession, heavy drug use, heavy alcohol use, poisonous social cliques, never getting laid, bridge, falling in love with the first asshole hook up with, skipping classes, not getting enough exercise and getting overweight, over-drinking of pop and sugary drinks, taking trivial classes and ruining your work ethic, burning yourself out with too heavy a course load, and east side marios.
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Re: College Tips

Postby Adacore » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:33 pm UTC

The particular pitfalls you may encounter largely depend on your personality type. If you're shy and spend a lot of time gaming (like me) you'll have different potential problems to those you'd have if you're really outgoing and like to party. And you'll get different problems again if you're a hard-working ultra-motivated straight-A student.

The two main problems I had were: (a) spending too much time online and/or gaming late into the night, which meant I frequently missed morning lectures & classes (this was obvious at the time, but with the change in learning environment and the lack of strict rules I didn't do anything about it); and (b) not going out enough or making as many friends as I could've done - I had some great friends in first year, but I barely ever actually went out anywhere with them, it's a massive credit to how amazing they are that they kept asking me (I only realised this towards the end of my first year and made a blanket policy that I would always, always accept any invitation to go out, it was too late to properly fix the problem, really, though, without putting in effort and being outgoing, which I didn't do because I'm really shy).

Oh, and it didn't help that problem (a) resulted in my having to retake second year, thus massively exacerbating problem (b) as I lost contact with many of the friends from my course.

If you're the social type, the friends stuff won't be a problem, but the attendance stuff still may. And you'll probably have more concerns in the 'getting so drunk you forget what you did and/or make bad decisions' area. If you're the hard-worker type and you're going to a top university, you have to realise that you probably won't get top grades for everything and shouldn't try. It can also be hard to go from an environment where you're smarter than everyone to one where you're just average. I know I have a couple of friends who were top of my class at my secondary/high school who burnt out completely at Cambridge because they were trying too hard to be at the top.

On the teaching style, it varies so much from lecturer to lecturer. If it's anything like Imperial, you'll have some lecturers who teach almost straight out of a book, others will teach using their own notes but suggest set texts, while some will expect you to use purely the notes they provide in class. Yakk's points here are good - homework assignments in Uni are very much ways to test your understanding and won't always set out everything for you to just crunch through some standard method: you'll probably have to do some independent learning, actually finding the knowledge yourself, to answer the questions. This isn't something many people have done before university level, so it can be quite a shock.

The main advice I would give, though, is to make friends and have fun. That's as important, if not more important than the actual education part of the college experience, imo.

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Re: College Tips

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

Here's some advice that I would give. Not all is applicable in every circumstance, of course.

Don't skip class. You're paying to be there. The prof probably isn't going to review that material, and that material will almost certainly be both testable and necessary to understand the next class. If you must skip class, get the notes and review them before the next lecture.

Use office hours. Your prof has a couple hours a week set aside to deal with questions from students. This is a great time to get help on assignments, go over difficult content in lectures, or just chat with the prof about the subject and their research. What's great is, especially if it isn't right near midterms or finals, and especially in junior courses, these office hours are often almost never used, despite being a fantastic resource. I just want to stress, it's perfectly okay to go in and talk to your prof about the subject more generally. If there's other students who need help, you may want to excuse yourself and let them speak about homework or whatever, but seriously, if you are in a class, especially one in your major or one that you're really interested in, go talk to the prof in office hours and learn more about it. If nothing else, having a good repore with a prof can lead to a great letter of recommendation or maybe a summer work or graduate posting later down the road.

Every semester, always have at least one extracurricular social activity not related to your major. Join a club, a sports team, a political group, something. Preferably a few. You don't have to stay with them very long--if you don't like it, then drop that one and try something new.

Always study for exams and midterms. This isn't high school. You might be able to get away with not studying for a little while, but especially once you get into your senior years, not studying will almost invariably end badly for you. Better get into the habit now.

You are allowed to show up to class drunk/hungover/high once in your degree. Don't make it a habit. And try not to be too disruptive when you do.

Do more than is required of you. Often (particularly in Math/Sci) your prof will assign problems or assignments that you should hand in for credit. You should consider this the minimum amount of work that is required of you to do well. If you want to do really well, be prepared to do far more than this. Problems from the textbook are good places to start.

Form a study group. Get together with people in your program and work on assignments/projects together, study together, etc. Seeing things from another person's perspective is a great way to get a better understanding of the material. Being able to teach someone else how to do something is probably the single best way to prove you know how to do something well.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. See: office hours, study group. The earlier that you realise that you don't understand something and take action to fix it, the better off you will be. If you don't understand something while you're sitting in lecture, there's a good chance that you won't be able to figure it out while you're in a stressful situation trying to study, and there's no chance that you'll be able to figure it out on the fly in a testing situation.

Don't involve your parents personally in your studies. I mention this only because there are people who have "helicopter parents" who think that they can manage their adult children while at university. This is not how it is supposed to work. You are an adult, and are responsible to yourself. Your parents should be, under no circumstances, interacting with your profs, TAs, administration, residence monitors, etc. on your behalf. They can give support and encouragement if you need it. But they are not your advocates any more.

Be prepared to see your grades drop. If you put in the same level of work that you do in high school, you should be prepared for a drop in grades of approximately one letter grade (depends to some extent on program, but this is a decent rule of thumb for most people in most programs). If that's not acceptable to you, be prepared to work harder. Remember, if you're headed to university, then you were probably in the top third or better of your high school class--but everyone else at uni is also in the top third of their class. Average at uni is a higher standard than average at high school.

There will always be someone better than you. Because universities select the best people from a huge base, even being the top student at your high school is probably not going to put you at the top of your class at university. It might not even put you in the top ten percent. Leave your ego behind. Including such people in your study group will be a great benefit, probably both to you and to them.

Work if you have to, but don't work too much if you can avoid it. Being a full time student at university should be treated as a full time job, or nearly so. Taking on an additional part-time job during your studies is often necessary, depending on your funding sources, but taking on a lot of hours will be detrimental to your studies. If you really can't afford to do a full course load without working 25-30 hours per week as well, you might want to aim for a 5 year degree instead of 4, or go as a part-time student instead in order to reduce your course load and corresponding fees. As a point of note, many universities offer academic scholarships in-house at the end of each academic year. These may not even require an application from you, and instead may be based solely on academic excellence or recommendation by the department. Getting and maintaining (very) good grades, therefore, may help supplement your income.

You will almost certainly have the opportunity to get drunk, get high, and get laid at university (not necessarily, but quite possibly, all at once). Don't be afraid to try new things. Just don't overdo it.

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Re: College Tips

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:26 am UTC

My advice is slightly more mundane, but it's really important, in my opinion: Get a desk lamp. Get your roommate one too if they don't have one.

Seriously.

Chances are you'll have a roommate, and chances are you won't want to go to bed at the same time. Usually what I do with my roommates is that we both have a desk lamp, and if I'm going to bed before my roommate, she'll use the desk lamp and vice-versa. It can also be nice if you go to sleep before the other person even comes back to the room. You can leave their desk lamp on, and they won't die when they enter the room. Also, they'll know you're there and will try to be quiet (usually!). If you're sleeping in a loft, you might want a light that you can turn off from your bed so you don't die crawling into bed.

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Re: College Tips

Postby meatyochre » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:53 am UTC

Take advantage of office hours. Do not ignore this advice! It's the most important thing you can do if you are having even a small problem with the material. A professor who knows and remembers you by name will bump up your grade if you're right on the border (happened to me more than once). A professor to whom you're just another number will not.

Don't be afraid to try new things, but at the same time, establish your own limits and don't let other people push you past them. If you decide that you don't like drugs or drinking at all, don't be pressured into them. But if you decide, you yourself, that you're curious about the effects of drugs or alcohol, that's perfectly OK.

If you decide to drink underage, don't keep liquor in your dorm and try to avoid letting an RA catch you with booze on your breath. Most of the RAs I had were pretty cool and wouldn't judge an underage drinker, but there is the occasional fink who will write you up or call the campus cops.

Join a club. Any club, doesn't matter, just join at least one! Hopefully your school has a lot of them to choose from. I remember my college had Callout Week where pretty much every single club (of 600+) would have their callout at some point. You could wander from callout to callout and get free food all week, and hopefully find a club or two with cool people to join.

Eat lunch with your dorm mates! Leave your door open! And good luck!
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Adacore
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Re: College Tips

Postby Adacore » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:10 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:If you decide to drink underage, don't keep liquor in your dorm and try to avoid letting an RA catch you with booze on your breath. Most of the RAs I had were pretty cool and wouldn't judge an underage drinker, but there is the occasional fink who will write you up or call the campus cops.

This is where UK unis are different, of course, since the standard age for university entry is 18, which is also our legal drinking age. So you have n-thousand 18-year-olds escaping from parental control for the first time at the same time as they can legally drink. This has both good and bad consequences, but it does mean there's no prescription against keeping alcohol in dorms.

meatyochre wrote:Join a club. Any club, doesn't matter, just join at least one! Hopefully your school has a lot of them to choose from. I remember my college had Callout Week where pretty much every single club (of 600+) would have their callout at some point. You could wander from callout to callout and get free food all week, and hopefully find a club or two with cool people to join.

This, very much so. It honestly does not matter what the club is at all. For example, some of the most popular clubs at Imperial when I was there (aside from sports teams) were nationality-specific clubs, such as MalaysiaSoc; at least half the members, and probably more like two thirds had absolutely no connection to Malaysia at all, but were just in it as an excuse to do fun, organised stuff with a load of cool people and a union subsidy. Obviously if there are clubs you're genuinely interested in, that's even better.

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Re: College Tips

Postby SPsnow02 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

Thanks for the replies everyone;

I've got the sleep schedule down pretty well, I've been waking up at 8:30 on my own and biking most days, so I should be good.
The past two years I've gone to a few parties and drank a bit, but not that ofter, and never during the school year, and with the max credits I can take and a job I doubt I'll have much time to party.

I've stayed about 150 lbs 8% bodyfat, 5'8'' through high school by rowing, but I'm not doing that anymore, so I'll have to try to eat better, I don't have a car anymore though so I'll be biking to most of my classes, and my res hall is doing IM soccer, so I can probably stay close to in shape.

What are some good clubs you guys would reccomend? Right now I'm thinking about an IM sports team, or my schools Solar car team.
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Re: College Tips

Postby LaserGuy » Fri Sep 03, 2010 4:46 pm UTC

Clubs are really a personal thing--it's about what interests you. Two clubs with the same name at different unis could be vastly different, too, so it's hard to say for sure what will be good where you are. My recommendation is picking something that interests you, or something you've never tried before. It makes some sense to try doing things that are different from your major, since that will broaden your education and social circle more, but if there is something related to your major that you would really like to do, I wouldn't discount it solely on that reason.

For what it's worth, here's a brief list of things that you might consider trying:
-Sign up for three or four different religious clubs over the course of your program. The less you know about them, the better. You aren't there to convert, obviously, but learning about their ideas and worldviews will be a very interesting experience. I'd probably have done something like Wicca, B'hai, Islam, and Buddhist (I was raised Christian, FWIW).
-Debate club. Always fun.
-Ballroom or salsa dancing (great place to meet the ladies ;) )
-Any sport you like, or one you haven't really tried.
-Run for election to the student society on a joke (or real, if you want) platform

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Re: College Tips

Postby Dark567 » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:40 pm UTC

I am gonna suggest when picking classes, that you ask around and find which professors are best. This is vital, particularly at research based schools, where many professors don't want to be teaching. Try to avoid taking classes with those professors. Also sometimes you can get a recommendation on professor who is particularly spectacular.

I am gonna be a little contrarian here on my next advice, if a class isn't worth going to: fuck it, just skip. There were a number of classes I was assigned to during college where the professor didn't want to teach, didn't cover anything outside the textbook(and didn't cover it all), and was particularly bad at explaining things anyway. If this is the case, your time is better spent studying it outside of class.
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Re: College Tips

Postby kpmelomane21 » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:46 pm UTC

A couple of pieces of advice for not gaining the "freshmen 15" (or 50...): Try not to eat at night. I do not allow myself to eat past 9:00 pm unless I knew I'd be up for a long time doing homework or whatever. Just cut out eating at least a couple hours before you know you're going to bed. If you eat right before bed, your body has no time to burn any of it off. It just sits there and turns into fat. Also, EAT BREAKFAST! If you're not used to big breakfasts, eat at least a granola bar or something. Seriously. You have more energy for the day, and especially for those morning classes, it can help wake you up. There are other benefits to eating breakfast but I don't know them off the top of my head. Another thing is if your college has an athletic facility, use it! At least for my university, the cost for the athletic facility is included in our student fees, so basically I'm already paying for it and I might as well use it. So good for you, too. There are a lot of "classes" here like Zumba ( :) ) and Abs and stuff that are free. See if your university has anything like this.

If you can help it, don't procrastinate! I know this is very difficult to the average college student, but at least start assignments BEFORE the night before it's due. That way, if you come across a problem you don't know how to do, you can find help on it before it's due. If you have a lot of down time at one point, remember the times you are so busy you don't have time to breathe, and ask yourself, "what can I be doing now so that my life is a little less painful in the near future?" Also, don't do homework just to get it done, do it to make sure you know the material. Cheating will seriously harm you in the end because you won't have learned the material.

I agree on the clubs thing. It's a good way to keep your sanity once you get into upper level courses when you see the same people all week long and all you're doing is stuff in your major, which will be fun and all, but you're gonna want something different to do. I'd say maybe one club within your college and one outside of it. But I wouldn't exceed 3 clubs, 2 if you're really involved, because you don't want to overload yourself.

One las thing.....Sleep is niiiiiiiiiice :D

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Re: College Tips

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:15 pm UTC

I have a three top tips...

1) Don't take anything distracting to lectures (my weakness was Terry Prachet novels), don't get an unlimited data package if you have a smartphone, and don't take a wireless enabled laptop to take notes with...

2) If you move in with a group of friends, don't just hang out with them so much that you lose touch with other people.

3) Don't casually sleep with someone off your course. Fun, but I certainly didn't think it was worth the upheaval.
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Re: College Tips

Postby Name » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

Whatever grades you get in college, you carry them to your grave. Take all of the above advice about study habits and office hours. Just because a particular assignment is worth only 1% of your grade (if your instructor collects homework at all) doesn't mean it's okay to slack on it; that assignment is a great way to make sure you fully comprehend the material for the things that really do matter.

Manage your time. Important. If possible, set up a daily schedule where you set times to study for each class, and swear to yourself that you will follow this schedule. Include some time for last-minute stuff, "me" time, and social activities as well. This will prevent those notorious 2 AM speed reading and cramming sessions.

Textbooks are expensive. Compare your prices at all online vendors and marketplaces before purchasing. Some good places to check are Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Half.com, and any textbook shops in your area. Look into textbook swaps or rentals if anyone has set those up on your campus. If you know you aren't going to use a particular book very much, skip the purchase and visit the textbook reserve at your campus library. Get used books if possible; some of these are in great condition.

Watch your spending. If you're going to use plastic, save all of your receipts. Too many students throw those little things away when they should be keeping them to check their statements. If someone screws up a charge, you'll need that receipt. With those receipts around, you also get an idea of how much you're using. Spend only as much as you can pay off.

Not a survival tip, but I think this is important:

If you've already decided on a major, look into extracurricular opportunities available in your department. It's not critical that you do something special in your first or even second semesters, but the earlier you get involved, the better. Also research careers you'd like to pursue and what those entail: what they do, how much they get paid, what the outlook is for the next decade. Talk to professors in your field about this; they are more than willing to help you out. Again, this isn't something you absolutely need to do in your first year, but do it at your earliest convenience.

If you are undecided, take the above advice when you're about to choose a major.

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Re: College Tips

Postby Tyrankh » Sun Sep 05, 2010 4:30 am UTC

I'm being dead serious about each of these. I'm into my second year of college now and each is a cornerstone of everyday life for me, and without them I can't imagine getting by:

1. Keep up with family, but start becoming your own person. This is the time where your parents and siblings will go through Empty Nest Syndrome, but the faster it's over the better. Acclimate them.

2. Play music, do art, read, draw, sing. Use your creative side, because the university exists to augment and fortify it. You will never have the resources you do right now, and it's up to you to find and utilize them.

3. Join a club. Anything.

4. Set a grade limit and never go below it for any class. Learn to really care about what grades you get, because if they're low they will always, always be a crappy feeling at the back of your mind, ruining the fun you're having.

5. Tighten up your diet. You're in your prime, feed your body properly and things will start clicking physically.

6. Meet people, make friends. This is the biggest and at times hardest part of college.


Good luck! Enjoy it, these are the best days.

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Re: College Tips

Postby Sharkie » Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:56 pm UTC

Name wrote:Textbooks are expensive. Compare your prices at all online vendors and marketplaces before purchasing. Some good places to check are Abebooks, Alibris, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, eBay, Half.com, and any textbook shops in your area. Look into textbook swaps or rentals if anyone has set those up on your campus. If you know you aren't going to use a particular book very much, skip the purchase and visit the textbook reserve at your campus library. Get used books if possible; some of these are in great condition.


That's definitely important. My biggest regret from Freshmen year was buying all my textbooks from the school's store. (I was worried about not having the textbooks when classes started and about getting the wrong ones.) I had to buy almost all of them brand new, so I was spending about $600-$700 per term. After I started shopping online, I only spent about $300 a term. Also:

-Amazon sells new textbooks for about what you'd pay for a used textbook from school, so if you want new ones get them there.
-Teachers sometimes order textbook "packages" where the textbook comes with a CD-ROM, an online code for extra resources or some sort of workbook/study manual. Any time I was told to get one of these "packages," I never used anything other than the textbook. So, if a teacher says you have to get a "package," confirm that you absolutely need the extra materials before buying it.
-Don't sell your books back to your school. You get a lot more money back by selling on Amazon.com Just make sure you read all of Amazon's rules and follow them carefully, and package the books well (wrapping in a brown paperbag or just slipping the book into a bubble envelope doesn't cut it).

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Re: College Tips

Postby etotheix » Fri Sep 10, 2010 4:25 am UTC

Sharkie wrote:That's definitely important. My biggest regret from Freshmen year was buying all my textbooks from the school's store. (I was worried about not having the textbooks when classes started and about getting the wrong ones.) I had to buy almost all of them brand new, so I was spending about $600-$700 per term. After I started shopping online, I only spent about $300 a term. Also:

-Amazon sells new textbooks for about what you'd pay for a used textbook from school, so if you want new ones get them there.
-Teachers sometimes order textbook "packages" where the textbook comes with a CD-ROM, an online code for extra resources or some sort of workbook/study manual. Any time I was told to get one of these "packages," I never used anything other than the textbook. So, if a teacher says you have to get a "package," confirm that you absolutely need the extra materials before buying it.
-Don't sell your books back to your school. You get a lot more money back by selling on Amazon.com Just make sure you read all of Amazon's rules and follow them carefully, and package the books well (wrapping in a brown paperbag or just slipping the book into a bubble envelope doesn't cut it).


Textbooks.com has served me well as a source of books. I keep them all for reference, but they always have new ones for the price of campus book store used ones. I buy used ones from textbooks.com when I can, and so far they've all been nearly immaculate to the point I couldn't tell if the person who owned them before me had ever even opened them.

Also, Amazon used books aren't supposed to come like that?! I buy probably two or three books a month from Amazon used and they always come just dropped in a bubble envelope!

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Re: College Tips

Postby Sharkie » Fri Sep 10, 2010 5:45 am UTC

etotheix wrote:Also, Amazon used books aren't supposed to come like that?! I buy probably two or three books a month from Amazon used and they always come just dropped in a bubble envelope!


Sorry, I should have clarified. Thin/small hardcover books and paperbacks can arrive okay if just packaged in bubble envelopes. But, really, paperbacks should be packaged with a thick piece of cardboard so that the book doesn't get all bent (the post office isn't exactly gentle with packages, and some mailmen bend them while trying to force them into mailboxes). Thick paperbacks and hardcovers should go in a box because bubble envelopes that are stuffed with a big, heavy book are likely to rip. If you're selling books on Amazon, you're responsible for refunding/appeasing buyers whose books were damaged by the postal system. Might as well as put a little extra effort into protecting your expensive textbooks, right?

I save all the undamaged boxes I get from regular Amazon purchases to use for shipping textbooks, and I also save large pieces of thick cardboard from other boxes to add support to paperbacks that I ship in bubblewrap mailers, so it doesn't cost me anything extra. ^_^

edit: I just looked at textbooks.com. They actually seem cheaper than Amazon. I just don't like that you don't get a description of the used book you're buying. I absolutely hate writing/underlinging/highlighting in my books, and I'd be worried about getting a book with all that. =/

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Re: College Tips

Postby Yakk » Fri Sep 10, 2010 12:28 pm UTC

Sharkie wrote:My biggest regret from Freshmen year was buying all my textbooks from the school's store.

... you had a boring freshman year.

Or a very good one!
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Re: College Tips

Postby sharpcrayon » Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:48 pm UTC

A few small things I learned through my own errors and others :)

-wear flip-flops in the shower. Seriously. Don't ask questions, just do it.
- Don't put metal soup cans in the microwave
- Don't burn things - the sprinkler system probably hasn't been changed since before you were born.
- Pre-read for class. you get so much more out of lecture if you have a clue when you walk in.
- Laugh at the dumb things you see other people doing - but don't do them!!
- Steal a few good ideas from other people.
- Febreeze works wonders if you roommate can't control their liquor.
- Be nice to your roommate. Seriously, you have to live with them. You've got to compromise (on small stuff like where to put the mini-fridge and such)
- Watch the crosswalks. People don't always stop.
- Take advantage of all the cool extracurricular activities!

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Re: College Tips

Postby Sharkie » Fri Sep 10, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:
Sharkie wrote:My biggest regret from Freshmen year was buying all my textbooks from the school's store.

... you had a boring freshman year.

Or a very good one!


Ha ha. =] My Freshmen year wasn't too bad. Wasting a ton of money on brand new textbooks (some of which I barely used) just seems very idiotic and newbish now.

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Re: College Tips

Postby Low Caliber » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

Read the relevant section of the textbook BEFORE the lecture, some of my profs told me some grade statistics and the people who learned from the textbook and then used the lecture as supplementary material did significantly better. don't worry if you don't understand some of the stuff in the book, it will hopefully get cleared up in the lecture. it is good to know atleast hazily what you are about to learn rather then going in blind.

acquaint yourself with your campus' alcohol rules. On mine booze is fine in your room but if you are moving it you have to keep it in a bag, and it counts as open if the seal has been broken.

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Re: College Tips

Postby ginadagny » Fri Sep 10, 2010 6:47 pm UTC

- Don't get too worried if your grades drop a bit after your first round of midterms. The transition from high school life to university life is big. Learn from mistakes and carry on.
- Try and maintain a healthy diet. I'm sure eating pizza and burgers every day gets tiring after a while. Fruits and veggies are your friends!
- Get some exercise! Its a great way to unwind from all of the stressors of uni life.

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Re: College Tips

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Sat Sep 11, 2010 3:27 am UTC

Low Caliber wrote:Read the relevant section of the textbook BEFORE the lecture, some of my profs told me some grade statistics and the people who learned from the textbook and then used the lecture as supplementary material did significantly better. don't worry if you don't understand some of the stuff in the book, it will hopefully get cleared up in the lecture. it is good to know atleast hazily what you are about to learn rather then going in blind.

acquaint yourself with your campus' alcohol rules. On mine booze is fine in your room but if you are moving it you have to keep it in a bag, and it counts as open if the seal has been broken.

I guess your first advice depends on your learning style and whether the instructor sticks to the syllabus (or even uses the textbook at all). I can't learn shit from a book without some guide of what I'm supposed to figure out and I made it through my freshman year with a 3.7. This may be different depending on the quality of your profs.

Remember, a truly dry campus is a six sigma event. Most of the time students at dry campuses get busted less than students from other schools because they know how to hide their booze and control their guests at parties. Remember, the important thing is not giving anyone who can bust you reason to think you need to be busted
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Re: College Tips

Postby Jahoclave » Sat Sep 11, 2010 7:07 am UTC

When the TA teaching your english 110 class tells you to bring three paper copies of your essay over fifteen times in class, bring three god damn copies of that essay. IN fact, do everything those ta say, because they can't fucking wait to flunk your ass to make the grade curve. And, don't bug them with pointless emails about shit you should know from paying attention in class and the syllabus.
In fact, follow these three very important rules number one.
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1. Don't cheat.
1. Don't be boring.
1. Don't suck.

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Re: College Tips

Postby Yakk » Sat Sep 11, 2010 5:31 pm UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:
Low Caliber wrote:Read the relevant section of the textbook BEFORE the lecture, some of my profs told me some grade statistics and the people who learned from the textbook and then used the lecture as supplementary material did significantly better. don't worry if you don't understand some of the stuff in the book, it will hopefully get cleared up in the lecture. it is good to know atleast hazily what you are about to learn rather then going in blind.

acquaint yourself with your campus' alcohol rules. On mine booze is fine in your room but if you are moving it you have to keep it in a bag, and it counts as open if the seal has been broken.

I guess your first advice depends on your learning style and whether the instructor sticks to the syllabus (or even uses the textbook at all). I can't learn shit from a book without some guide of what I'm supposed to figure out and I made it through my freshman year with a 3.7. This may be different depending on the quality of your profs.

Your goal in university cannot be "get a high grade point average".

Getting a high grade point average might be necessary. It might even be a side effect of your goal.

But the act of getting a high grade point average is not evidence that you are getting what you need or want to get out of school.

You are spending, in the US, about 40,000$ per term or year on an education. You are being exposed to world-level experts in their field, who are teaching you how to do what they know in (relative to them) baby steps.

A high grade point average means that after the decades of grade inflation in university, you have managed to not completely suck compared to your fellow classmates. It doesn't mean you are becoming a master of the material you are spending a small fortune on, it doesn't mean you are learning as much as you can, it doesn't mean you will be prepared for whatever you are going to do next. It means you have managed to jump through some hoops.

Those hoops can be important. A high GPA can help you get into grad school, let you take higher level courses, turn a marginal resume and interview into a hire, etc. The path of becoming a master of the material in question, and learning to be able to work to a schedule to jump through hoops, will give you a high GPA and also give you dividends for the rest of your life.

School is serious business. And right now, there is a huge bubble in handing out "easy to get" educational loans, which the inexperienced in life university students squander, and then spend the next 10 to 20 years of their life trying to get out from under them. Make use of the ridiculously huge amount of resources you have access to at university.

And have fun.
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Re: College Tips

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Sun Sep 12, 2010 1:31 am UTC

@Yakk:
I think you misunderstood my post. I didn't say that reading the book is worthless. I simply said that sometimes the profs don't use the book and the for some people's learning style, reading from a book won't do much good unless they know what to learn beforehand
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Re: College Tips

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Sun Sep 12, 2010 8:53 pm UTC

Another tip I only just remembered...

Buy a doorstop and slab (24/36/48 can crate) of generic drinkable beer and some cans of coke too, as all your flatmates pass you in halls ask them if they want to come have a couple of beers, if they don't fancy beer offer them coke, great way to make friends quickly.

If you have teamaking facilites in the kitchen, take teabags, coffee and milk, the offer of hot drinks can have icebreaking effect in the first couple of days too!
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Re: College Tips

Postby Dark567 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 12:14 am UTC

TheKrikkitWars wrote:Buy a doorstop and slab (24/36/48 can crate) of generic drinkable beer and some cans of coke too, as all your flatmates pass you in halls ask them if they want to come have a couple of beers, if they don't fancy beer offer them coke, great way to make friends quickly.

If you have teamaking facilites in the kitchen, take teabags, coffee and milk, the offer of hot drinks can have icebreaking effect in the first couple of days too!


This seems like it would only work in someplace that isn't the US(yeah I know thats a lotta places). Beer is pretty much contraband in some US. universities, which in fact only makes it more worth your while.
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Re: College Tips

Postby scheme » Mon Sep 13, 2010 5:10 am UTC

1. My number one tip is to know what you want to take away college before you go in. I recommend a high GPA in a marketable major and friends.

a. The single most valuable thing you can do is talk to people. Classmates, professors, the janitors that clean the building you work in late at night. You will meet awful people and awesome people. If you know enough people, things become a lot easier. You can ask around for a favor, the TA will start to get your learning style, you can get help from someone who went through the class before, the awesome janitor will let you through the locked door to get your forgotten stuff. Even if you're skittish, talk to and be friendly to EVERYONE. Plus, these people might help you find a job later.

b. As for the gpa and major: Almost all knowledge can be taught outside of a university (perhaps with greater difficulty). You're paying upwards of $15k a year to get a piece of paper that certifies you know a lot about a field. Pick a field in which you think a bachelor's degree will help find a job.

2. It is easier to change your environment that to change your habits. Set out a clear study-only area, sleep-only area, eat-only area. This makes it easier to study without distraction, get to sleep faster, and avoid unconscious snacking.

3. eat right, exercise, think before you do things that could injure you or others.

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Re: College Tips

Postby TheKrikkitWars » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:57 am UTC

Dark567 wrote:
TheKrikkitWars wrote:Buy a doorstop and slab (24/36/48 can crate) of generic drinkable beer and some cans of coke too, as all your flatmates pass you in halls ask them if they want to come have a couple of beers, if they don't fancy beer offer them coke, great way to make friends quickly.

If you have teamaking facilites in the kitchen, take teabags, coffee and milk, the offer of hot drinks can have icebreaking effect in the first couple of days too!


This seems like it would only work in someplace that isn't the US(yeah I know thats a lotta places). Beer is pretty much contraband in some US. universities, which in fact only makes it more worth your while.


I did consider that... but If you can get your parents (or someone over the age of 21) to help you aquire a substantial amount of beer, it's probably going to give you a social advantage in an economy of (alcoholic) scarcity.
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Re: College Tips

Postby folkhero » Mon Sep 13, 2010 7:00 pm UTC

Study groups will be critical for your hard classes. If you can make friends out of your study group, or study groups out of your friends, it will be even better because you will enjoy seeing them and will be more willing to let your guard down. Another good thing about friends is that if you do well on the test, you feel a little freer to brag about it which brings out everyone's competitive natures a little bit. If people in your group are better than you in the class, or just get an answers earlier than you, don't be shy about making them teach it to you until you really get it. If you are better than them in the class, so much the better; nothing will help you learn and remember your stuff better than having to teach it to someone else. A group of two or three people is great, anything more than five and it will seem more like a discussion session of class and you'll lose much of the 1-on-1 interaction that make these groups so valuable.

I had two classes that were well know for being very difficult (they would probably be considered weeder classes to kick the ass of anyone who was unprepared) that I had study groups of good friends that met several times a week. I did awesome in those classes, I ended up as one of the fewer than 10% of students that got an A in those classes. Classes where I met with a study group once a week with people I didn't know all that well, I'd get A's or B's depending on how hard the class was. My difficult classes that I didn't have a study group for... I was lucky if I ended up with a B.
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Re: College Tips

Postby SWGlassPit » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:17 pm UTC

I would agree with the above, but with the added caution that you restrict the group work to studying the topics on a general level. That is to say, do your own homework, and don't bring it into the group. It's really easy to fall into the trap of relying on your group to help you get your homework done, and from my experience, you end up learning far less than if you struggle with it on your own.

Also, don't use study groups in lieu of visiting your professors and TAs for help. We hold office hours for a reason, and, while I can't speak for other TAs, I don't do anything else during my office hours, so when they go unused, it's just time wasted on my part.
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Re: College Tips

Postby PaulTagg » Fri Sep 17, 2010 10:46 pm UTC

advice that i have gained from surviving the 1st yr, .....

if your not a morning person, do not take a morning class, you will not be mentally awake /regretting it....

ex major offers classes early morning (7am) or (7pm), or only 1 class a semester that can be either or

DO NOT GET A CAFFEINE ADDICTION. cause when you come home from college you will attempt to keep drinking that amount, and caffeine headaches arent fun..

exercise..... i gained atleast 15 maybe more pounds....

oh and random food cravings at 3am, are occasionally a good idea if your really board..... but usually end up in you sleeping....

randomly driving around and counting cop cars is also fun...


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