Student Success Strategy #73: And finally, random advice!

A few last bits of advice from my students, who often wrote just one line of advice or information.

“Never underestimate the wrath of a roommate who didn’t get a date.”

“Homecoming events include lots of free stuff.”

“Go to the football games for the tailgate parties.  Then skip the games.”

“Carry an umbrella and a plastic bag with you to protect your books.”

“Carry your ID everywhere.”

“Your legs will stick to the chair if your shorts are too short.”

“If you find a parking space, never leave.”

“Offer to pay for some of the gas rather than driving your car.  The driver will appreciate it and you don’t risk having your car trashed.”

“Don’t leave a drunk friend alone, even if you have to leave the party early.”

“Bring lots of underwear and you can avoid laundry until Mom comes to visit.”

“Don’t drink things you don’t like.  If it’s something you need to ‘develop a taste for’ then either don’t drink it or admit you just want to get drunk.”

“Drinking games are more fun for the spectators than the drinkers.”

“Decide what you want your spring break to be.  If it’s a vacation, don’t take any books home with you.  If it’s a way to catch up or get ahead on assignments, don’t waste all your time sleeping or partying with your old friends.  If you want to do something completely different, look into the Alternative Spring Break volunteer programs.”

Student Success Strategy #73:  Listen to random advice from former students.  

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Student Success Strategy #51: Clean Your Room?

There is a commercial on television right now with a woman in a full-body pajama-like jumpsuit.  She’s rolling around on the floor to pick up the dirt.  Her friend tells her to get whatever product it is that cleans better.

She stole my idea!

When I first when to college, my roommate Jackie and I put on sweats and rolled around the tile floor to pick up the lint.  Without bringing any cleaning supplies, we figured our floor could be clean, the washer would take the lint out of our clothes, and we’d have fun at the same time.

Our third roommate and her mother walked in about that time.  This was the young woman who had written each of us a letter with a cleaning supplies list, our individual responsibilities circled, followed by smiley faces.  Jackie and I had each ignored the letter, without any contact between us.

“Have either of you shared a room before?” asked her mother.

Janey’s mop, broom, dustpan, and Comet went into her part of the closet.

Aside from the obvious mismatch in roommates, what will you do about keeping your room clean?  Does your college offer maid service?  Most do, in part to protect against students like Jackie and me.  I recommend taking that option if there is a choice.  Even if you are neat at home, why not have your living space as clean as possible to avoid roommate conflicts, but even more important, so learning can be your first priority?

Student Success Strategy #50:  Clean your room?  Or have someone else do it?  Someone’s got to think about it.

Student Success Strategy #41: Drugs on Campus

There are drugs on campus.  Not only are they illegal and unhealthful, there are specific college rules prohibiting them.  There are consequences for using, having, or distributing.   You may be expelled from housing, from the campus and your classes, and you may be arrested as well.

If you can smell marijuana being smoked, and you are not involved, remove yourself from the area.  That will be your most important action.  If you find drugs or paraphernalia, the same action is best.

Most students do not want to report others for using drugs, but it is to your advantage to report if you could be associated with the users.  In an earlier post, I discussed how roommates can be charged with possession if drugs are found in any common areas.  It may not always be fair, but if you allow illegal activity or ignore illegal drugs and paraphernalia in a common area, you may also be found in violation of policies or guilty under the law.

Some colleges have an alcohol and/or drug amnesty policy.  In the past, many inebriated or drugged students have been permanently harmed or even died when others were afraid to call for medical help.  Under an amnesty policy, the help can be called without incriminating the caller.   Whether there is an amnesty policy or not, though, PLEASE DON’T HESITATE!  You know that the life of a student is more important than avoiding possible charges.

Student Success Strategy #41:  Drugs are on campus.  Prepare yourself to deal with all of your choices.

Student Success Strategy #37: Ask for advice Part I

Do you want to be prepared for college experiences?  If you could ask just one question, what would you ask?

You might not even have the questions to ask, but those who have recently been in college remember their difficulties.  Ask them what they wish they would have known.  Here are a few questions to prompt them:

Should I bring a car?  Where can I park?

How much money do I need for books?

What do I need to do to get checked in to my room?

What do I need to bring with me?

Where do I eat?

Where do I do laundry?  Do I need to bring rolls of quarters?

How do I get mail?  What will my address be?  Should I use my parents’ address instead?

What else do you wonder about?  Send in your questions, and I’ll help you get answers!

Student Success Strategy #37:  Ask for advice – from your friends, neighbors, relatives, and any others who will share their lessons.

Student Success Strategy #29: Roommates! Part II

You are not required to sacrifice your comfort and safety for your roommate.  In the worst case, you have options to change roommates, although you may be the one required to move to a new room.

Residence halls, or dormitories, have a procedure for assigning rooms and roommates, and procedures for changing those assignments.  Find out early what those procedures are, including what constitutes a valid reason to change rooms.  You should understand that convenience or personal preferences may not be enough to reassign you to a new room, but safety is always a valid reason.

Has your roommate said or done anything that you find threatening?  This could be as mild as a comment telling you to stay out of his or her closet, depending on the way it is said or the suspicion that they have something illegal in there.  It could also be a physical threat, as blocking you from leaving or entering, throwing an object against the wall, or actually hitting you.

At your first moment of worry for your safety, talk to your resident advisor or hall supervisor (there are many names for this position, but like in most things, start at the lowest possible level, including discussing the issue with your roommate if you are able without placing yourself in any danger).  Even if you decide to take no action, talking about the situation will help establish a pattern  of behavior if you need to report a safety issue to authorities at a later time.

Student Success Strategy #29:  Roommates!  Your safety comes first.  Take action immediately if necessary.

Student Success Strategy #28: Roommates! Part I

Do you want to have your best friend from high school as your roommate in college?

Sometimes this makes for an easy transition to college life, but it may limit you from making new friends.  More important, not every friendship survives the year.

Do you want to take a chance on a random selection by your college for your roommate?

Just imagine the wonderful discoveries you can make, learning about other cultures, personalities, and habits.  Also imagine your worst nightmare.  While some nightmares come true, there are some milder forms of incompatibility as well.

What if one of you is a partier and the other is an early riser?  What if one of you is a classical music student and the other only listens to rap?  What if one of you is a vegan and the other eats take-out fast food burgers every night?

Should you use Facebook to meet a roommate before sharing a room?  Should you speak on the phone, or even meet before moving in?  Is texting a way to get to know each other?

With all the methods of contact available, it is likely that you won’t move in without some exchange of information with your roommate.  Will you be the first to reach out, or will you let them take the first step?

Student Success Strategy #28:  Roommates!  Be prepared for cooperation, compromise, and a few conflicts.   We’ll discuss some specific issues in later posts.