Top 10 Tips for College Freshman from the Daughter of a College Professor

Your freshman year of college can be one of the most confusing times in your life. You’ve moved away from home. You don’t know anyone. You have no idea what you’re doing. It’s like a bad scene from a movie. Well, no fear, I’ve got you covered. Lucky for you, I’ve literally grown up on a college campus. I even took my first steps at a college basketball game. I’ve been going to class with my mom, the college professor, since I was still in the womb. The best advice my mom ever gave me was that you’re stronger than you may think. I know that college can be a plethora of unknowns, so I hope these “Top 10 Tips for College Freshman from the Daughter of a College Professor,” can make it a little easier.

  1. Read the Book

Now, I know this quite literally may seem like a “novel” concept (pun intended), but hear me out here. You would be amazed at the amount of material on my mom’s homework, quizzes, and exams that come STRAIGHT out of the book. It’s almost like cheating if you buy one. You’ll also seem super smart to your professor in comparison to your peers who don’t even know what the title of the book is. Additional life hack: check Amazon, Chegg, and the bookstore to find the best deal on your texts. Trust me, that it’ll be worth it in the long run, guaranteed!

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  1. Get Involved

It may seem pretty tempting to come to college and just attend class and then go home every day, especially if you don’t live on campus. But, some of the most fun happens outside of the classroom! If you were, or weren’t, super involved in high school, now’s the perfect time! Getting involved in an on-campus job, club, Greek life, or a sport is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your college time. It’s basically getting friends for free. Plus, a lot of professors, like my mom, oversee these groups, so you can schmooze up to them outside of class!

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  1. Talk to Professors

It’s honestly not as scary as it may seem. Feel free to stop by and say hello to your professors any time their doors are open. You can ask for clarification on an upcoming assignment or talk about your grade (asking what you can do to improve it) or ask about their research if they do it! Professors will remember you if you go to their office hours! My mom loves when students come and visit her. It can’t hurt! They may even start to like you.

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  1. Read the Syllabus

You get this random stapled packet of paper of the first day of class. “What is this?” you may ask. This is the key to your future class success; that’s what it is. The syllabus has everything you would ever want to know about the course wrapped up inside a few white sheets. Learning objectives, book information, professor contact information, class schedule, and a grading scale are all typically included. Study these pages; they are your best friends. Plus, there’s nothing a professor hates more than being asked a question that was clearly stated on the syllabus they took long hours to create. One of my mom’s pet peeves, no doubt!

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  1. Go to Class

This may be obvious, but it’s not. College will happen. You don’t have someone waking you up every day or putting you on the bus to go to school. It’s up to you to walk or drive to class. This is absolutely terrifying. It would be so much easier to lay in bed all day, wouldn’t it? NO! The simplest way to ensure you’re pretty much going to succeed in most courses is to just go to class. A lot of professors, like my mom, even give you points just for going! Yay! Free points! Professors say some pretty important stuff in those classes, so I’ve heard.

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  1. Ask Questions/Go to Tutoring

I know you’ve probably heard this a time or two, but there are no stupid questions (unless the answer can be found on the syllabus). Chances are, the question you have is in the head of about 10 other students who are just too afraid to say so. My mom sometimes has to answer the same question five times in a row, so make sure you’re paying attention. Being as clear as crystal on something is much better than being as clear as mud. If you are too scared to ask a question in class, tutoring is a great vessel where you can get the help you need. One important thing I learned coming to college was that going to tutoring doesn’t make you dumb; it makes you smart!

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  1. Study Abroad

Belize! Spain! Italy! Mexico! Germany! Japan! Costa Rica! Oh, my! One thing to take advantage of when coming to college is studying abroad. I know a lot of you may have never traveled on the plane or out of the country before, and that can be daunting. Most colleges have an office for study abroad and scholarship/grant opportunities to make it easy to go any place you choose! You even get credits for the classes you take when you go. When I went to Germany with my mom and her class, it was the most fun I’ve ever had. Some professors, like my mom, even offer classes in the states that have a trip at the end! She loves showing students her favorite countries. Stop saying, “No,” and start saying, “Bon Voyage!”

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  1. Don’t Waste Your Summer/Do Research

It’s my mom’s worst nightmare when she hears of a student just sitting at home all summer doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, you can still have plenty of time to lay by the pool or go on family vacation, but it’s important to not waste these precious months while you have them. Do something! Potential employers later will notice how you spent your summers. Try to get a job or internship that’s somehow relevant to the field you want to go into. You can also spend some time volunteering. Another great alternative is to conduct research. It can be extremely rewarding, and it’ll make you a stand out for grad school or a job! The research I’ve done in the past helped me get the amazing internship I have now.

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  1. Don’t Put Off Public Speaking

Public speaking is the single most important course of your college career (according to my mom). Most students are petrified of taking public speaking. They can think of nothing worse in the whole wide world. My mom is one of the lucky professors who teaches public speaking. The worst mistake you can make is to put off taking the class until the last semester before you graduate. Take it the first semester you can! It isn’t nearly as awful as it may seem, and you can apply the skills you learn to presentations that you’ll have to make in other classes.

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  1. Make a Resume and a LinkedIn

Freshman year may seem like too early to create a resume, but it’s not. My mom teaches a class to seniors where they have to make a resume, so why not get a head start now? Resumes are those things that just don’t go away. In the back of your mind, you should always think of more items that you could add to it (going back to getting involved and not wasting your summer). Each line gets you one step closer to landing your dream job one day! You can translate all the stuff on your resume directly to a LinkedIn profile. You can make connections, look for jobs, and be recruited on LinkedIn. It’s super user friendly, and it’s the future of the job market. You can make connections with students in your classes and professors you have.  Build your network today!

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The 10 Commandments for College Students

Easter is less than a week away, and that got me thinking. One of our Easter traditions at home is to watch “The Ten Commandments.” When in college, there are also certain guidelines we students should follow to survive this crazy time in our lives. I give you “The 10 Commandments for College Students”!

  1. Honor thy professors.

Life will go a whole lot easier if you don’t question what they tell you to do… and ALWAYS read the syllabus.

2. Thou shalt not use a source in a paper without properly citing it.

Plagiarism will get you kicked out of school, so don’t try it. APA, MLA, Chicago – so many styles, so little time.

  1. Thou shall purchase expensive textbooks you will never use.

Use the book as a door stop instead of a reference. We’ve all been there. At least, you will probably get $4.95 in book buy-back at the end of the semester.

  1. Thou shall not sleep.

Never getting enough sleep is basically a given when in college. There’s always something you should be doing rather than sleeping.

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  1. Thou shall wait until the night before to study for an exam.

So many regrets. But, for some reason, we all keep trying it. Maybe we like living on the edge. Maybe we like failing. Procrastination is a college sport.

  1. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s GPA.

There’s no reason to want something you aren’t willing to work hard to achieve. Raise your own GPA instead of worrying about others’.

  1. Thou shall survive on caffeine and pizza alone.

Coffee is a way of life. And, when you go to UofL, like me, it’s Papa Johns. All day. Every day.

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  1. Thou bank account shall always be overdrawn.

It’s a good day when you check your bank account and you think you have $1.00 and you really have $3.00!

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  1. Thou shall worship the teams of your college and have no other teams before them.

Every t-shirt in your closet probably has your school’s insignia plastered on the front in big bold school colors. For my friends and me, it’s red and black all the way! Go Cards!

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  1. Thou shall not cheat.

You know, they never prosper.

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10 Ways to Know You Grew Up in a Small Town

Miranda Lambert – Famous In A Small Town

Miranda Lambert sings, “Everybody dies famous in a small town.” Being home this week for spring break reminded me of some things that make my small hometown charming in its own special way. Here’s my “10 Ways to Know You Grew Up in a Small Town”!I-come-from-a-small-town.jpg

  1. If it’s not at Walmart, you don’t need it… and sometimes you go just for the fun of it (and you know you’ll run into at least three people you know when you go). A trip to Wally World always makes the day special.
  2. Friday night sporting events are mandatory, even if you don’t like sports. Everyone in town will be in the stands at football games in the fall and basketball games in the winter. Go, team!
  3. When the festival comes to town, it’s everyone’s favorite time of year. In my hometown of Pikeville, KY, we have the annual Hillbilly Days festival. The small town transforms with thousands of out-of-town visitors and hundreds of vendors to celebrate our heritage while we support the Shriners. Nothing beats eating a funnel cake while you stand in line to ride the Gravitron!
  4. The fanciest dinner you can get is a hot dog and a shake at the local dairy bar. My home town favorite is Dorsie’s Dairy Bar. Yum!
  5. You can’t get away with anything because everyone knows your mom. So, I learned quickly not to even try it. 17321569_10212598212458917_2092664820_n
  6. You’re forced to pool through your best friend’s exes for date options because there aren’t enough decent men in your town… and at least that’s better than dating your cousin.17274716_10212598246539769_671538826_n
  7. Everyone has one of three last names. In my small town, everyone seems to be a Justice, Thacker, or McCoy (and they’re the real McCoy). Family reunions are basically a whole county-wide celebration.
  8. Who needs a movie when you can four-wheel up a mountain and stare at the stars?
  9. If you’re broken down on the side of the road, there will always be someone willing to help you get where you’re going. Someone who knows you will probably stop, but in a small town, people who don’t even know you jump to lend a hand.
  10. They say everything you need to know you learn in kindergarten. In a small town, you make forever friends when you’re only 5 years old. You rely on them while you grow up and become your own person. I met my BFF when I was only 4, and I know she will always be there for me when I need her, even if we don’t go to the same school.

It’s kind of a bummer that the nearest mall is about 2 hours away from my hometown. When people ask where I’m from, I have to pull out a map to show them. These things are just fine by me because you can take the girl out of the mountains, but you can’t take the mountains out of the girl. images