Mistrunner

Advice

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I've always found it helpful to ask the people here when I have a problem, so I thought there should be a thread for asking advice of the wise denizens of the forums!

I'd like to ask advice about starting college. I move out soon, and I'm getting nervous. Anybody have tips for not crashing and burning? Things you wish you'd known before you went? Recipes to live off of?

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Cool, what are you going into college for?

I don't know how much access to baking stuff you'll have, but I've attached a good recipe for peanut butter cookies that's excellent for making friends. They're slightly addictive; last time I brought them to school, everyone who had one made a point of returning a few minutes later to mooch some more. ;) Cookies are good for times like these.

Spoiler

IMG_20180226_183916.thumb.jpg.b411615346be1c0fa9e3a9ba1e6d3064.jpg

*Geoff (whoever he is) apparently liked his cookies big. Just make them normal sized (tablespoonful of batter per cookie) and you'll have more to share. 

 

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Let me just say that not crashing and burning is difficult, even if you did well in previous schooling. (I speak from experience, having ended my first semester with a .76 GPA.) That being noted, the best possible things you can do to prevent that are:

  • have a planner and continually update that planner with every test, homework, or in-class assignment you get
  • study a week in advance minimum for every test you have
  • review your notes a little while after each class in small chunks (helps cement the information in your head)
  • Study groups in difficult classes are a lifesaver, so even if you feel a little awkward, try to put one together
  • If you don't understand something, don't feel bad about going to a professor's office hours to try to get another explanation. It's what the office hours are there for. Use them.
  • Don't put off your homework unless you truly don't know how to do it yet because that leads down a rabbit-hole of unfinished/late assignments that'll drag your grade down.
  • Make a cheat sheet for each of your tests. Yes, even if the prof doesn't allow cheat sheets to be used on the test itself, make one anyway. It's a good way to study and makes for easy review whenever you have a moment to sit down.
  • Don't skip meals. You may feel like you don't have time to go eat, which fair enough, you might not, but don't skip meals where at all possible, and especially not over an extended period. You'll get lethargic and start falling asleep in classes, not to mention being easily distractible and at risk for illness.
  • Get a good amount of sleep. Get a solid sleep routine and stick to it as best you can. Don't wildly swing between no sleep and 10 hours of sleep, that's just bad in general.
  • Know where your classes are before the first day. On move-in day, or just one random day before classes start, go find your classes. Find the buildings, plot a route. Print off a map of your campus if you can and trace it down. Just know where they are and know how to get there the fastest.
  • Get a routine. Beyond even sleep and eating, get a routine. Steady routines will allow you to plan times to study better than messy chaos days.
  • DON'T SKIP CLASSES E V E R

Alright I think that's the low-down on the biggest stuff. Good luck and have fun!

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3 hours ago, Invocation said:

Let me just say that not crashing and burning is difficult, even if you did well in previous schooling. (I speak from experience, having ended my first semester with a .76 GPA.) That being noted, the best possible things you can do to prevent that are:

  • have a planner and continually update that planner with every test, homework, or in-class assignment you get
  • study a week in advance minimum for every test you have
  • review your notes a little while after each class in small chunks (helps cement the information in your head)
  • Study groups in difficult classes are a lifesaver, so even if you feel a little awkward, try to put one together
  • If you don't understand something, don't feel bad about going to a professor's office hours to try to get another explanation. It's what the office hours are there for. Use them.
  • Don't put off your homework unless you truly don't know how to do it yet because that leads down a rabbit-hole of unfinished/late assignments that'll drag your grade down.
  • Make a cheat sheet for each of your tests. Yes, even if the prof doesn't allow cheat sheets to be used on the test itself, make one anyway. It's a good way to study and makes for easy review whenever you have a moment to sit down.
  • Don't skip meals. You may feel like you don't have time to go eat, which fair enough, you might not, but don't skip meals where at all possible, and especially not over an extended period. You'll get lethargic and start falling asleep in classes, not to mention being easily distractible and at risk for illness.
  • Get a good amount of sleep. Get a solid sleep routine and stick to it as best you can. Don't wildly swing between no sleep and 10 hours of sleep, that's just bad in general.
  • Know where your classes are before the first day. On move-in day, or just one random day before classes start, go find your classes. Find the buildings, plot a route. Print off a map of your campus if you can and trace it down. Just know where they are and know how to get there the fastest.
  • Get a routine. Beyond even sleep and eating, get a routine. Steady routines will allow you to plan times to study better than messy chaos days.
  • DON'T SKIP CLASSES E V E R

Alright I think that's the low-down on the biggest stuff. Good luck and have fun!

I'll second most of this, though honestly its hard to say exactly how much it will all apply.  My college experience was a lot more laid back than High school, and I had classes that I could have skipped every day and still aced.

I'll add one more thing though: I don't know what your major is or what kind of plans you have after graduation, but I found that having a major that I was genuinely interested in went a long way.  If you like your major then you are going to like the classes you take (or are more likely to anyway) and you'll be more engaged.  And if your planned major doesn't seem to be working for you after a semester or two, don't be afraid to change it to something you like better.  And if you are worried that that will mess up your post graduation plans, well consider that if you don't like the college version of the subject, you'll probably hate it as a job too.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, find time to have fun.  all that stuff there is great for the calsses and work, but you need a social life and you need downtime.  don't force yourself to work 16 hours a day and sleep the rest.  schedule in breaks, go hiking or kayaking or whatever you are interested in on weekends.  you aren't going to do yourself any good if you work yourself to death.

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Those look like good lists from Invocation and Dunkum.  Some of the items remind me of a couple of books I read recently: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning and How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use.

For example, Make It Stick emphasizes the importance of spreading out studying in small chunks, but also reviews evidence that some popular study techniques (especially just re-reading textbooks or notes) are ineffective compared to techniques that force you to retrieve information from memory.  I found a nice ~8-minute summary on YouTube that might be all you need---the book itself reviews lots of cognitive psychology research studies to convince skeptics, which may be overkill for you.

The 40 strategies in How To Be Miserable include things like "Don't waste your life in bed" and "Give 100% to your work"---which translate to pieces of advice that Invocation and Dunkum gave, assuming you don't want to be miserable.  There is also a nice ~6-minute video adapted from this book, which is possibly my single favorite video on YouTube.

I can also add that your "planner" could be either digital or paper (or you could use both).  I rocked the paper planner when I was a student, but that was long enough ago that the Internet was not yet ubiquitous.  Now that I'm a (math) professor I mostly use Trello, which is free but might also be overkill for you.

I definitely agree that classes will tend to go better the more interested and engaged you are, and that office hours and other resources are there for you to use.  Short story: When I had to complete a history distribution requirement in my senior year, I took advantage of my college's add/drop period to check out three different possibilities during the first week of classes.  The Middle East history class I was initially planning to take turned out to be a real drag (the professor droned for 80 minutes straight over PowerPoint slides), and I was delighted to switch to a Japanese history class in which the professor asked questions and encouraged discussion.

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On 8/16/2019 at 0:06 AM, Archer said:

Cool, what are you going into college for?

I don't know how much access to baking stuff you'll have, but I've attached a good recipe for peanut butter cookies that's excellent for making friends. They're slightly addictive; last time I brought them to school, everyone who had one made a point of returning a few minutes later to mooch some more. ;) Cookies are good for times like these.

  Reveal hidden contents

IMG_20180226_183916.thumb.jpg.b411615346be1c0fa9e3a9ba1e6d3064.jpg

*Geoff (whoever he is) apparently liked his cookies big. Just make them normal sized (tablespoonful of batter per cookie) and you'll have more to share. 

 

I'm not sure yet, but I'm strongly considering something in the vein of computer science or music! Very different fields and the choice is basically between (hopefully) being able to pay rent and living under a bridge forever, but it's fun to take risks, right? Right? :mellow:

Thanks for the recipe! The massive batch size reminds me of my brother, his favorite cookie recipe calls for six eggs too. :P

On 8/16/2019 at 10:52 AM, Invocation said:
Spoiler

Let me just say that not crashing and burning is difficult, even if you did well in previous schooling. (I speak from experience, having ended my first semester with a .76 GPA.) That being noted, the best possible things you can do to prevent that are:

  • have a planner and continually update that planner with every test, homework, or in-class assignment you get
  • study a week in advance minimum for every test you have
  • review your notes a little while after each class in small chunks (helps cement the information in your head)
  • Study groups in difficult classes are a lifesaver, so even if you feel a little awkward, try to put one together
  • If you don't understand something, don't feel bad about going to a professor's office hours to try to get another explanation. It's what the office hours are there for. Use them.
  • Don't put off your homework unless you truly don't know how to do it yet because that leads down a rabbit-hole of unfinished/late assignments that'll drag your grade down.
  • Make a cheat sheet for each of your tests. Yes, even if the prof doesn't allow cheat sheets to be used on the test itself, make one anyway. It's a good way to study and makes for easy review whenever you have a moment to sit down.
  • Don't skip meals. You may feel like you don't have time to go eat, which fair enough, you might not, but don't skip meals where at all possible, and especially not over an extended period. You'll get lethargic and start falling asleep in classes, not to mention being easily distractible and at risk for illness.
  • Get a good amount of sleep. Get a solid sleep routine and stick to it as best you can. Don't wildly swing between no sleep and 10 hours of sleep, that's just bad in general.
  • Know where your classes are before the first day. On move-in day, or just one random day before classes start, go find your classes. Find the buildings, plot a route. Print off a map of your campus if you can and trace it down. Just know where they are and know how to get there the fastest.
  • Get a routine. Beyond even sleep and eating, get a routine. Steady routines will allow you to plan times to study better than messy chaos days.
  • DON'T SKIP CLASSES E V E R

Alright I think that's the low-down on the biggest stuff. Good luck and have fun!

 

Yeah, I assume crashing is gonna be inevitable at some point. I'm just trying to soften the landing when I do, I guess. :P Thanks for the advice! 

23 hours ago, Dunkum said:
Spoiler

I'll second most of this, though honestly its hard to say exactly how much it will all apply.  My college experience was a lot more laid back than High school, and I had classes that I could have skipped every day and still aced.

I'll add one more thing though: I don't know what your major is or what kind of plans you have after graduation, but I found that having a major that I was genuinely interested in went a long way.  If you like your major then you are going to like the classes you take (or are more likely to anyway) and you'll be more engaged.  And if your planned major doesn't seem to be working for you after a semester or two, don't be afraid to change it to something you like better.  And if you are worried that that will mess up your post graduation plans, well consider that if you don't like the college version of the subject, you'll probably hate it as a job too.

Also, and I can't stress this enough, find time to have fun.  all that stuff there is great for the calsses and work, but you need a social life and you need downtime.  don't force yourself to work 16 hours a day and sleep the rest.  schedule in breaks, go hiking or kayaking or whatever you are interested in on weekends.  you aren't going to do yourself any good if you work yourself to death.

 

I'll try to keep that in mind. It's very weird to be making big life decisions, and I appreciate any advice on that front. ;)

 

10 hours ago, Just a Lifetime said:
Spoiler

Those look like good lists from Invocation and Dunkum.  Some of the items remind me of a couple of books I read recently: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning and How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use.

For example, Make It Stick emphasizes the importance of spreading out studying in small chunks, but also reviews evidence that some popular study techniques (especially just re-reading textbooks or notes) are ineffective compared to techniques that force you to retrieve information from memory.  I found a nice ~8-minute summary on YouTube that might be all you need---the book itself reviews lots of cognitive psychology research studies to convince skeptics, which may be overkill for you.

The 40 strategies in How To Be Miserable include things like "Don't waste your life in bed" and "Give 100% to your work"---which translate to pieces of advice that Invocation and Dunkum gave, assuming you don't want to be miserable.  There is also a nice ~6-minute video adapted from this book, which is possibly my single favorite video on YouTube.

I can also add that your "planner" could be either digital or paper (or you could use both).  I rocked the paper planner when I was a student, but that was long enough ago that the Internet was not yet ubiquitous.  Now that I'm a (math) professor I mostly use Trello, which is free but might also be overkill for you.

I definitely agree that classes will tend to go better the more interested and engaged you are, and that office hours and other resources are there for you to use.  Short story: When I had to complete a history distribution requirement in my senior year, I took advantage of my college's add/drop period to check out three different possibilities during the first week of classes.  The Middle East history class I was initially planning to take turned out to be a real drag (the professor droned for 80 minutes straight over PowerPoint slides), and I was delighted to switch to a Japanese history class in which the professor asked questions and encouraged discussion.

 

Ooh, those are some great resources. I love the How to be Miserable video. I'm trying out Trello and it's great; thanks for the recommendation!

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Be prepared to change your mind on what you want to do.  I originally went to be a teacher.  I ended up really hating that.  But don't do what I did, and still continue to go to classes towards that major.  Switch the second you start to think "this doesn't seem like it's for me".  I'm 25 with no degree because I switched way too late.  I'll have one soon, but it's later than I should because I put my eggs in one basket, then hated the basket.

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My advice wouldn't be worth much, because USA studying is so different than European model. But I'll advice you pay close attention to your finances and don't waste money on unnecessary stuff. Also, try to build good connections with valuable people (not necessarily popular ones).

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