College has a very cyclical-feel about it at times. As I enter my senior year at Washburn, I am nearing the end of my four-year journey and there are those who are just beginning. Over the last three years I’ve learned a thing or two about survival here at Washburn that I would like to pass along.
Go to class
I know this seems like a given, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people fall flat on their face simply because they didn’t show up in the class they’re paying to be enrolled in. Now I’ll be honest, I’ve skipped my fair share of classes. Am I saying to have a sparkling attendance record? Most certainly not, as the ability to skip out on class whenever you feel like it is one of those collegiate rights-ofpassage that everyone should experience at some point. Besides, I’ve done my fair share of playing hooky. Ultimately, you’re already paying an ungodly amount to go, so you might as well have your butt firmly-planted in a seat when class starts every now and then.
Listen to professors
Believe it or not, the person with a terminal degree speaking to a class full of bored freshmen actually does know what they’re talking about. They didn’t get their position by sheer luck, and if you want to do well in the course, you might as well jump through the necessary hoops they lay out for you. In the end when you have to show up in their office begging for a one-percent bump in your grade to keep from failing, professors are far more likely to listen to someone who has made a good-faith effort to do well in a class. Ultimately, they’re the ones running the show, and no amount of complaining about how “you’ve paid to be there” will give you any more power. Don’t bite the hand that grades you.
Keep an open mind
When I began attending Washburn in Fall of 2005 as a scared freshman, I had no friends here. Nearly everyone from my graduating high school class had gone to a small college in my home-town, or to Kansas State University. Nothing is quite as intimidating as going from an environment where you’ve had a solid support structure for the last 18 years to starting over from scratch. Less than two weeks after moving into the Living Learning Center, though, I had netted a group of around 10 different friends, all from different backgrounds. Some of them were quiet, some were overly-dramatic, but they were all great people, but I never made friends with them if I hadn’t kept an open mind. The ability to do-so is the single most important factor in meeting new people. Freshmen, your first week or two here, don’t be afraid to knock on random doors in the residence halls just to say hello, or ask if you can sit with a group of unfamiliar people. Knocking on doors can quickly lead to meeting great people, fun times and, in one instance, a random outbreak of singing Bowling for Soup’s “1985.”
In the end, though, there really is no exact formula to a great college experience. If your thing is chilling in the library, go nuts. If you enjoy attacking your friends with diminutive cans of body spray, go for it. But if your favorite pastime is blowing up toilets in a field with a shotgun, well that’s just plain weird. But hey, if it works, do it.