Some sage advice for the Class of 2014

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Learn from my (and my friends’) mistakes in college

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyColumn copyCongratulations Class of 2014!  What a milestone!  Now, on to the next chapter!  You have so much to look forward to!

Talk to anyone over the age of thirty and they will undoubtedly tell you that college was the “best time of their life.”  We are all jealous.

I am not saying that it isn’t stressful. I remember vividly cramming for tests, sweating through term papers and spending hours in the library reading volumes of textbooks that ruined my eyesight.

I’d still go back in a heartbeat.

However, I would bring with me the wisdom that comes with old age.  Lucky for you, I will share my mistakes (and those of my friends) with the hope that you will be smart enough to avoid them completely:

• Don’t let cereal become its own food group.  Not only is it completely void of nutrients, it is a calorie-laden, Freshman 15 siren song at 2am when your Intro to Psych paper is due in 7 hours.  Just say no.

• Don’t let beer become its own food group (for a million and one reasons).

• Formulate a study group early on and make it an actual STUDY group.  This is not the time to invite all of the good-looking, popular people.  Save them for the weekend.

• Wear something different than a college- logo emblazoned hoodie at least twice a week.  And, learn how to launder your clothes correctly…separate the whites from the darks, pre-treat, yadda, yadda.  This will demand 90% of your time in the future, trust me.  Get it right early on.

• Don’t switch your major because it is “hard”.  I was convinced that I would never make it to medical school because I couldn’t grasp Organic Chemistry.  I never pursued trying to master that class.  I simply walked away.  I wouldn’t do that today.

• Don’t be afraid to study abroad!  This is the opportunity of a lifetime to see the world.  Do NOT pass it up because it may not come again for a loooooong time.

• Don’t be a wallflower!  Date your little heart out.  I know that this particular piece of advice may get the stink eye…but, leave the high school romance behind.  There.  I said it.  Not to sound all Hallmark card-ish, but if it’s meant to be, you’ll reunite.  You will never fully embrace your college experience if you are pining away for someone 12 hours west.

• Don’t try to date the entire school.  Quality over quantity.  Good to keep in mind.

• Hitch your wagon to a star.  That’s Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice but I stand behind it.  The sky is the limit.  Dream BIG.

Happy Graduation Party Filled Weekend!  You deserve it!

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Tags: advice, Class of 2014, graduates, life, starting college

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