My time at Auburn is coming to a close, and I can’t help but swear it just started. In my four years and some summers in the loveliest village, I’ve learned a lot more than AP Style and Adobe InDesign. While I admit that I’m still learning some life lessons before I graduate, there are a few mistakes I’ve made that I hope incoming freshman will learn from.
Professors (usually) don’t bite. Go to office hours early and often.
Transitioning to college already seem daunting, and going from a high school classroom of 30 to an auditorium of 300 doesn’t help. Make the effort to make sure your professors know you, from your first history class to your senior Capstone course. Not only will they be more lenient on due dates, but they’ll be able to help you outside of the classroom, from proofreading your resume to emailing it to the right people when you’re searching for internships.
You can’t put off homework until the morning of. You think you can, but you can’t.
What does this GIF have to do with my point? Absolutely nothing. I have an hour until I have to post this, and this GIF was on my computer to make me feel less embarrassed about eating fast food five days out of the week. Also, Mindy Kaling is flawless and I like to think she Insta-stalks me just as much as I Insta-stalk her. PS, procrastination is bad.
In high school, I often started essays at 6 a.m. and turned them in at 10. While those essays got me As when I was 17, professors hold you to a higher standard in college. I’m not pretending that I don’t still procrastinate, but working “last minute” now means four days in advance instead of four hours.
There simply aren’t enough hours in a day to be as involved as you were in high school.
In high school, I was president of two clubs, worked part time, was in extracurriculars and still managed to go to bed at 10 p.m. every night. College courses require so much more time and effort, and you’ll have to learn how to budget your time wisely. And would you really rather be in another meeting for an organization you joined on a whim instead of relaxing in front of Netflix when you finally get everything done?
You will trip and fall on your face at least once. And it will definitely be in front of a tour group and probably a professor that you’re scared of.
It doesn’t matter how coordinated or alert you are, you will trip in public. Whether it’s in the student center or in front of Samford Hall, you’ll wind up faceplanting in the worst possible place at the worst possible time. Accept it. Embrace it. Make sure you’re not carrying hot coffee at the time.
Follow AU Alert on Twitter instead of waiting the three hours to get a text that your best friend got immediately.
While AU Alert has gotten significantly faster in the past four years, this still rings true. Whether you’re waiting to find out about another Haley Center evacuation or faux snow day, you won’t want to wait for a text message. Following AU Alert, and at least one Auburn account, on twitter means you often find out before the texts and emails are even sent.
You will date at least one person that, a year later, you’d like to pretend didn’t exist. And you’ll end up running into them on the concourse, typically immediately after your first allnighter.
Camp War Eagle probably made you believe that you’ll meet your soulmate in RBD. While that may be true for some, you will likely meet and date some people that you’d rather forget. And you will certainly run into them when you’ve just left the library after 16 hours, rocking the backpack sweat lines in August or sick and miserable in February. These are the moments that you pretend you have a very important text when, in reality, you’re praying they don’t notice that you haven’t unlocked your phone. Or, if you're like me, this is when #4 will happen, and you will be carrying hot coffee.
Don’t go to class when you have the flu. The med clinic gives excuses for class, and your professor and classmates will thank you for staying home instead of getting them sick.
Flu season always strikes around midterms, and class turns into a life or death situation. But that doesn’t mean you need to make it a life or death situation for everyone else. Email your professors, get an excuse from the med clinic and curl up in bed with chicken noodle soup and Netflix. Missing class for three days means you’ll feel better faster than if you spread your germs all over campus for two weeks.
Don’t mock people for dressing up or dressing down on campus.
Soon enough, you’ll be dressing for your internship after class or rolling out of bed for class after another allnighter. The girls in business casual and the guys in suits aren’t showing off, they’re on their way to interviews, presentations or internships. And the people wearing yesterday’s oversized shirts and bedhead were probably the same people that were working on that presentation or internship application until 5 this morning. Cut them some slack and save the side eye, because you’ll be in the same boat soon enough.
Befriend people in your classes. By senior year, the majority of your friends will be in your major, and it doesn’t hurt to have someone to take notes or help you when the professor’s moving too quickly.
While it seems daunting enough that you have to take notes in a room with 300 other people, making small talk before and after class won’t kill you. Not only will you spend the next four months with these people, you may end up in the same major and spend the next four years with them. By senior year, you’ll spend most of your time thinking and talking about your classes, and having people that understand your major’s jargon is so underrated. Befriend them, because at least one of them will be a genius at whatever you just can’t wrap your mind around the week before your final. Also, it'
Join clubs related to your major. Not only will it look good on your resume, there will be moments when you wonder if you’re in the right program and hands-on experience is the best way to figure that out before it’s too late.
After two years of math, science, history and literature, you’ll start to forget why you chose Software Engineering or Public Relations in the first place. Joining major-related clubs and organizations will give you hands-on experience before you delve into your advanced classes. Learning that you hate writing when you’re only a sophomore as opposed to a senior saves you time and money, and not to mention a breakdown in your advisor’s office.
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