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  1. #1
    Senior Member Bear Warp's Avatar
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    Default Advice for soon-to-be undergraduate students.

    Some things I would like to know are:

    What are some things you regret doing at college?
    What are some things you regret not doing at college?
    Are there any courses that you wished you had taken, but didn't? (because they would have helped you after school)

    Any other tips or anecdotes are welcome too.

    I'll give some...stats regarding myself, just to see if anyone can give specific or specialized advice. I'm starting out in the fall as an English major, with a concentration in professional writing. I aspire career-wise to do just that: write professionally. Journalist, staff writer, technical writer, magazine writer, freelance writer--they all appeal to me. I'm not going to declare a specific minor, but I plan on taking courses on computer programming, web design/programming, graphic design, and business (small business mainly).

    Go!

  2. #2
    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Warp View Post
    Some things I would like to know are:

    What are some things you regret doing at college?
    What are some things you regret not doing at college?
    Are there any courses that you wished you had taken, but didn't? (because they would have helped you after school)

    Any other tips or anecdotes are welcome too.

    I'll give some...stats regarding myself, just to see if anyone can give specific or specialized advice. I'm starting out in the fall as an English major, with a concentration in professional writing. I aspire career-wise to do just that: write professionally. Journalist, staff writer, technical writer, magazine writer, freelance writer--they all appeal to me. I'm not going to declare a specific minor, but I plan on taking courses on computer programming, web design/programming, graphic design, and business (small business mainly).

    Go!
    There was a class I had to take called "philosophical exposition and analysis." If you can find a writing intensive philosophy class, go for it. Popular writing is not the same as academic philosophical exposition; popular media demands that you arrest your readers with beautiful and exciting prose. But being able to combine that ability with the ability to thoroughly dissect and clinically present arguments is invaluable.

    Work hard.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jive A Turkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear Warp View Post
    What are some things you regret doing at college?
    Caring and worrying about grades. What a waste of time.

  4. #4
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Enjoy it. Give your 100% and make yourself proud.

  5. #5
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    As a high school grad of '04 who has switched her major from pure sciences to social sciences to humanities, taken a gap-year after 1st year uni...

    I'll answer this when I get back from my long weekend in the states. Late for packing already!
    *You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.
    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
    C.S. Lewis

  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    What are some things you regret doing at college?
    -not studying hard enough to keep my scholarships/get new ones
    -not being outgoing enough to make new friends in my program, especially in first year
    -not bothering to join sports/activity classes until 3rd year. I missed out on so much!
    -not being as involved socially as I could have been.

    What are some things you regret not doing at college?
    -oh wait, see above. I guess I didn't end up actually DOING anything I regretted (typical P).

    Are there any courses that you wished you had taken, but didn't? (because they would have helped you after school)
    Don't know yet, but don't think so.

    Any other tips or anecdotes are welcome too.

    Don't be lazy. Don't wait for people to tell you what to do, take the initiative. Be friendly and don't be an asshole.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Eileen's Avatar
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    I wish that I had studied abroad. That's about it.

    I do NOT regret caring about grades, as I expect that my grades will play a role in getting into grad school. Care about your grades!
    INFJ

    "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality." -Martin Luther King, Jr.

  8. #8
    Wonderer Samuel De Mazarin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jive A Turkey View Post
    Caring and worrying about grades. What a waste of time.
    It all depends on what you want to do with your life! If you want to go to a grad school and program of your choice, and maybe pick up some fellowships on the way, grades are very important! Also, top grades can let you get a head start if you want to go to top firms in finance. Beyond that, getting at least pretty good grades is at least one indication that you're actually working with your material and starting to know it.

    As a liberal arts guy myself, I recommend that you (the English major) do some math. If you have the will to do it, going deep (at least two semesters) into calculus and maybe taking one or two courses in probability/statistics and discrete mathematics (combinatorics, etc.) is so key to having a truly well-rounded education... with calculus and probability you can understand so much more of physics... with statistics you can bring a critical eye to economics and sociological ideas that are casually bandied about in newspapers and with combinatorics you get a wonderful sense of the deeper potential of mathematics as a practical tool, an instrument of logic... (helps with LSAT)...

    Take as much science as possible... as a writer, it's wonderful to be able to bring in an educated layman's perspective of contemporary science and reflect on what it means to be an animal in a technological world... Chaos theory is awesome... I think it's the key science/mathematical discipline after quantum physics... it throws a fascinating light on the typically linear, Newtonian way of looking at the world... wouldn't knowing these things change the way one thinks as a writer? I'd also do some biology... neuroscience and psychology-related studies... the obvious interrelations between language studies and brain science is one good reason for a liberal arts person to do stuff there... chemistry is totally unimportant to me...

    Yeah.... so, that's probably a lot for an English major to do... I guess this is really a reflection on my own position... I'm, thankfully, a junior so I still have SOME time to catch up... my major point here is to diversify one's education... I'd definitely give a science major advice to take some philosophy and anthropology classes... plus, take a course on Shakespeare, one on Joyce...

    __________________________________________________ __________________________

    I just re-read OP's post and realize OP's doing computer programming, graphic design, business, etc... well, just take some science courses outside of computing... it really widens one's horizons... the world's very interdisciplinary nowadays.
    Madman's azure lie: a zen miasma ruled.

    Realize us, Madman!

    I razed a slum, Amen.

    ...............................................

  9. #9
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    1. Study, take care of academics-- I'm not kidding. People say all the time that undergrad doesn't matter and it's about life experience (okay, I said this in undergrad) but a bad GPA is an albatross and it will haunt you when it comes time for internships, jobs right out of college, and especially grad school.

    2. Avoid intro classes like the plague- Intro classes suck the life out of any potential topic or major that you are interested in. Instead --

    3. Freshman year, take only classes you WANT to take, not classes you think you 'have' to take- Narrow down an actual potential major first, then take the boring classes. This is really important. I fell into my major because I kept taking classes I thought I 'should' take, and not necessarily taking classes I wanted to take.

    4. Don't box yourself in- College is the time to break out and explore. It's really your last socially sanctioned phase in your life you can make a bunch of mistakes, 'experiment', and try out lifestyles, looks, hobbies, etc. that nobody will hang over your head later. You can reinvent yourself -- every month!

    5. Don't be afraid of being awkward or being out of your element- EVERYONE is out of their element to a point in college, just like point 4, throw yourself into things and don't worry about being shy or failing or looking foolish. Again, EVERYONE looks foolish in college. Seriously, years from now you'll look at pics and cringe at your hair, your outfit, your ex. :P

    6. Cultivate relationships with mentors, professors, etc.Don't just be a random face in a crowd. If you find a professor or mentor in a field you like or just like a professor, visit their office hours, find salient points in lecture or articles to talk about, if you're going to miss a class, call them ahead of time and let them know, etc. This REALLY enhances your college experience and opens doors.

    7. Major in whatever you want!- Undergrad majors don't matter. You want to do be a computer scientist? Double major in Dance! For a lot of people, college is your last chance to throw yourself into the arts. So major in what you want, take the classes that you need for the job you want, and enjoy being in an academic wonderland.

    8. Find your real friends- Since people experiment and are finding themselves in college, there's lots of social jumping around floating from groups and acquaintances, etc. So find and cultivate the real connections when you find people you vibe with. Try not to be flaky?

    9. Be youDon't let trends dictate how you act. Dont' be afraid to go against the crowd. College is a very transitory funny time, what seems like a big deal at 19 is ridiculously inconsequential at 30 or even 22 -- keep the focus on the bigger picture which is doing things which are in your best long term interests and vibe with your values.
    “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.” ― Oscar Wilde

    "I'm outtie 5000" ― Romulux

    Johari/Nohari

  10. #10
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Just don't waste too much time studying. Undergrad is easy, 3 years of life are many, so take care.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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