My college experience and best advice – Cut

Note: This is part of a series on my experience and best advice for college. Visit often to get the rest.

8. Didn’t listen to the university counselors.

I rarely ever went to my “required” counseling meetings. The idea for these meetings was to have my counselor help me map out my college courses. If you don’t know what you’re doing, maybe that’s a good idea. But I can almost promise you, you’ll do more work that way.

Instead, map out your own path. You know what you want to take and what you want to get out of college more than your counselor – you have more at stake than they do.

Also, and this is crucial, they won’t advise you to take classes out of order. Sometimes, your schedule will work out better if you take Calculus before College Algebra. Go for it. Sometimes, you really do need the first one, but most times, nine times out of ten, you don’t. Most classes will review in the beginning anyway. If you get into a class and it doesn’t work out, just drop it.

Warning: Consult the catalog when planning (that’s what the counselors do). Some classes you can fudge into working for certain requirements. Others, though, are no go. Make sure you know what you’re doing.

9. Didn’t do all my  course work.

If you’re reading this, you might be an overachiever. And if you’re an overachiever, you need to hear this.

Don’t do it all. Do what they want.

This is especially true for writing. I can’t tell you how many times I turned in entire research papers after a couple hours of sloppy work only for the professor to tell me to change two or three paragraphs to get an A.

Look for ways to cut stuff off. Seriously, for my math or Spanish classes, I remember turning in homework that wasn’t completed all the way, but I got 100 for turning it in. It doesn’t work for every class, but that doesn’t mean avoiding it for every class.

It’s all about trying and asking and getting feedback about what’s REALLY required. Showing effort doesn’t always mean putting in effort.

Oh, and by the way, I’m not talking about lying or anything like that (since I know someone’s bound to ask). I’m talking about finding out what’s required to get what you want (degree, grades, whatever) and accepting the consequences for your choices.

10. Stopped buying books.

This could be a whole post, or ebook as I’ve said before, by itself. I’ll keep it short here.

My experience: after my second semester, I mostly stopped buying books.

My advice: don’t buy textbooks. This is an art, but if you go into it knowing you’re not buying them, you’ll make it happen.