Tuesday, August 21, 2007

And, Now, for Another Exciting Installment of ...

VUBOQ Offers Advice to the Masses College Freshmen

Ah! The beginning of the School Year.

VUBOQ would like to write a post in which he waxes poetic about the joys of teaching and how to be a better teacher (or professor). However, VUBOQ experienced very little joy during his two year teaching stint in rural North Carolina, where most of his students aspired to either a) make socks in the local factory or b) make lots and lots of babies.

Perhaps his most joy-filled moment was the one in which he gave the principal his Letter of Resignation. VUBOQ distinctly remembers the Heavens parting and a snow white dove descending whilst the Heavenly Host sang "Hallelujah!"

Fortunately, VUBOQ has spent loads of time being a student and has learned a few useful things about studenthood.

First, the advice my father gave my older brother when he went off to college:

Remember: A B plus a good time is better than an A minus a good time.

When my brother came home for Christmas, he said, "Dad, how about a C and the time of my life?"

Now, on with the show ...

1. Be engaged.

Do the assigned reading (preferably while sober and earlier than 5 minutes before class). Think about what you read. If you know you are not a morning person, do not register for an early morning class. You will not be engaged. In fact, you will not go. Why set yourself up for failure?

2a. Your professors may look scary and talk tough, but they are all really squishy, squeezable, cheesy poofs who want you to succeed!

If you are confused, ask them questions. If you are still confused, schedule appointments. This isn't to say that you can manipulate them into doing your bidding, but most professors will try their darndest to help you.

2b. Getting to know your professors can sometimes be the difference between an A or a B.

True Story: VUBOQ stayed up drinking the night before his Freshman Biology Final Exam ... which, in retrospect, was not the brightest thing to do. VUBOQ bombed the Final. After checking his grades [B? YIKES!], VUBOQ met with the biology professor, discussed the Final and the course, demonstrated he did actually know the material, and the professor changed his grade back to an A. Yay! Had VUBOQ not cultivated a relationship with this professor by asking questions and being engaged, VUBOQ would not have earned his A.

3. Grades don't matter

... after you get your first job ... or get accepted into the grad school of your choice. Until then, they matter. Study hard. Make good grades. Make your parents proud.

4. Study during the week. Party on weekends.

VUBOQ and his friends called ourselves "Geeks Who Have Fun." It's very simple: An hour or two of studying after classes usually frees up an entire weekend. No need to cram for an exam! You know the material already, because YOU've been studying all along. Aren't you the clever bunny? Yes, you are.

5. STUDY ABROAD ('nuff said)!

6. If possible, take one course per year (or semester), which is outside your major requirements and which you think would be interesting.

Part of the fun of a college education is learning about things you normally wouldn't. VUBOQ took Creative Writing and Introduction to Color and Theater Workshop and Comparative Vertebrate Embryology. OK, CVE was in VUBOQ's major, but it was not required and completely fascinating. VUBOQ still has his drawings from the lab. Somewhere.

7. Be a social animal.

If you are naturally shy (like VUBOQ), force yourself to get out of your room. Join clubs. Participate in events. The great thing about starting at a new school is everyone is out to make new friends. So make new friends! If you see someone sitting alone in the cafeteria/ food court, go sit with them. And don't go home every weekend. In fact, don't go home until at least Fall Break.

Hm. I guess that's it. There's probably more, but I just received an email that is pissing me off (slightly) and I can't think about anything else right now. ugh.


  1. Vuboq makes me wish I could go back to school. *sigh*

  2. Would you please come and give a talk to my students during the first week of class? It will be a good chance to show me how to make a good martini ;)

  3. I wish more students would take advantage of number 6 (especially given that most of the classes that I teach are not required for anything). You also forgot number 8 -- Give your professors gifts, especially the gay ones.

  4. Excellent advice!

    2a and 2b: Yes. If I had to do college all over again, I'd definitely work on these. I didn't interact much with most of my professors, and unfortunately being a stranger wasn't a great position to be in, especially if I needed help near the end of the term.

    7: Heh, my freshman year I went home practically every weekend. The next year I started hanging out more with friends and joined the student theater group, and it was like, wow, so this is what a social life feels like! ;-) I'll probably sound like recruiting brochure, but some of my very best friends are ones I met in college!

  5. Anonymous2:55 AM

    VUBOQ makes me wish I could have afforded school right out of high school...sigh..