Flown the Coop
The Empty Nest Heads North

The Inside Scoop . . . OR Advice for a Brother

As many of you read last week, Carole's Ten on Tuesday list had us all giving advice to college freshmen.  It was fun to see all the lists out there -- full of Really Good Stuff.  Most of it, though, was advice given through the eyes of . . . grown-ups looking back at college with the perspective, hindsight, introspection, and idealism that really only comes from being . . . a grown-up looking back at college.

When my son went away on Friday to begin his freshman year, my daughter - now a worldly college senior - sent him her own advice for surviving college.  When I read it, it made me laugh.  Because her list is so much more . . . practical-minded . . . than most of the lists I read (and put together myself) last week.  I thought it would be fun to share her list with you.

So.  Here it is.  The Inside Scoop on Surviving Your Freshman Year.  Hit it, Erin!


1. Don't oversleep! Set multiple alarms. Make sure one is somewhere that makes you get out of bed in order to shut it off. The worst feeling in the world is running to your Music Theory midterm exam an hour late.

2. Go to class! I know it seems obvious, but there are going to be days when you feel like staying in bed rather than going. Missing classes is a pain in the ass and you have a lot of work to do when you return.

3. If you and your roommate have issues (even little ones) discuss them. The worst thing to do is let all your irritation bottle up, because then, when you're overstressed, something will snap and life will become unpleasant.

4. If you want to drink, be careful!!! And watch out for people slipping things in your drink. This is more common for girls but it's happened to dudes too. Also, don't get caught by any authority figure. And don't drink so much that you wake up on level 2 of the parking garage with absolutely no recollection of how you got there.

5. Take notes and pay attention in class! Professors are boring sometimes, but notes are vital!

6. If you take a girl back to your room and you are unsure of her sexual history (ie: diseases, or whether she's on the pill) USE A CONDOM!!!

7. Learn to nap in odd places for short periods of time. I don't know how I'd get through school without my power naps in the 5th floor library stacks!

8. Wear shower shoes. Just do it.

9. Talk in class. Professors love contributions. Of course, make sure you have something to add to the discussion first.

10. (This is one I'm still working on) Start your papers (or labs or research or whatever you scientist types do) early. Do not wait until the night before it's due. This causes immense stress, doesn't allow you to do your best work, and is just a bad idea in general.

But most importantly, learn, try hard, and have fun!


And there you have it!  Real advice. . . from a seasoned college student. . . to her real college freshman brother!


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Erin is a very smart grrl and she's giving great advice. You must feel all a sea to be on your own and with your "little ones" spreading their wings.


Perfectly awesome & insightful! :) I forwarded it on to my freshman son!


Wonderful list!


Excellent list! You have a very smart girl there....and an equally smart boy if he follows her advice. ;)


Excellent advice from One Who Knows!

Diana Troldahl

Excellent advice!

Lori on Little Traverse Bay

Great list! Just emailed a link to my sophomore son. (Hope he reads it; he "missed" the Mom list because he was packing, and you KNOW how long that takes!)


Excellent advice! I'd also add, as a scientist, that if you have a lab class, read the experimental protocol before going to lab! Many experiments have the knitting equivalent of "at the same time" which can come as an unwelcome surprise (and having to start over and spend a LONG time in lab) if you haven't read the procedure through before starting.

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