Monday, March 18, 2013

Uncle Dusty's Freshman 15

                 The Dad has historically been a man of few words and most of those were a bit salty for most tastes.  However, the happier he gets, the chattier he gets and other than oversharing medical issues related to his nether regions while I am trying to eat breakfast, it typically isn’t horrifying or surprising.  However, this morning he proceeded to inform me of his time in Germany while in the Army.

                It seems he has a past in supply and demand.  The same way Al Capone had a past in used furniture.  Apparently my father was a loan shark; I’m not sure why I’m surprised.  Tales of his sketchiness were told throughout my childhood.  Whether they were meant for my ears or not I don’t know, but they were shared.  It helps to have a father who, when whispering, simply drops his voice an octave with no discernible change in volume.  Sotto voce to him is “that thing I ate at that eye-talian place that one time, right?”

                What does this have to do with your Dad being all sketchy in Bavaria, you ask?  Well, it got me to thinking about life and college and after the last blog my niece Payton and I had a wonderful conversation about how she can benefit from my mistakes that I so eloquently refer to as ‘experience’.

                Now, I don’t see her on a daily basis; goodness knows it’s more like quarterly at best, but as she is on my phone plan and we share an iTunes account, I am privy to certain things about her.  Some of them are bothersome, such as an alarming number of songs by Jason Aldean and something referred to as Cross Canadian Ragweed, which sounds like what you would take Claritin to rid yourself of.   As I have never heard of them, I am assuming she has downloaded everything they ever recorded including, quite possibly, a sixth grade recital piece.   

                One of the good things is I have been receiving the daily reminders she sets for herself.  They have made me so very proud.  Just this past week she recommended that I “forget about everything and just be happy, with your head held high.  Never let your tiara fall” and “Remember God said not to worry, so don’t.  Give it all to him.”  She is an amazing young woman, right?

                 So I’ve been compiling a number of lists in my head and this one is all about things I wish someone had told me before I started college.  So, here is Uncle Dusty’s Freshman 15:

 1.       You are not required to choose a major when you start college.  Take some interesting classes and see what’s out there before you decide.  And don’t choose a major based solely on earning potential.  Do what you love and the money will be there.  Unless you want to be a professional clown.  I cannot help you with that.

2.       Junior and community colleges are a great alternative for many situations, including financial.  Great people come from community colleges, such as yours truly.  If you don’t think I’m great, why are you reading this blog?

3.       DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT take an 8 AM class during your freshman year.  You are not used to policing your sleeping habits and dealing with all that freedom.  Janis Joplin wasn’t referring to skipping classes in that Me and Bobby McGee song and unless you have a recording contract, you need a good GPA.

4.       Be prepared to be met.  There are hundreds if not thousands of students on your campus and, just like you, they want to meet people and make friends.  They are as nervous as you.  Just say “Hi”.  If you can’t think of anything else to say, remember everyone has a major, a need for caffeine/food and a favorite/hated class/teacher.  Remember, if Ron hadn’t said “Hi” to Harry on the Hogwarts train, they wouldn’t have had 8 hit movies.

5.       This is the only time in your life where it is safe to consume Ramen Noodles and that much pizza.  Enjoy.

6.       You will do embarrassing things; things that cause you shame.  It’s part of growing up.  Do not share confessions or photos of that shame with Facebook.  Future employers and potential spouses will see them.  And if you wouldn’t tell your mother about it, you know you shouldn’t show pictures of it to anyone else.

7.       Remember you are worth more than gold.  Never date/befriend someone who mocks you for standing up for what you feel is right.  You can always have a lively discussion with people – it’s one of the best parts of college life.  But don’t succumb to the pressure to compromise your principles.  If nothing else, remember that God, your mother and I will always love you.  No matter what.

8.       Regardless of your intended major, take at least one business class, like management or accounting or business computer applications.  Everyone can use some amount of business savvy and most jobs require it.

9.       If there is an event on campus, GO!  You can meet all kinds of great people at random events. Worst case scenario, there will be refreshments and if it’s really weird or awful, then you have a great story to tell your new friends.

10.   Always be on the lookout for opportunities to learn or earn.  There are many scholarships and student work positions.  The Dean of Students Office is the best place to get this info.

11.   If you want to be in the yearbook, join the staff.  Who do you think selects the photos, said the former editor with his picture on every other page. 

12.   Find your niche by joining a club or organization.  I can assure you regardless of your interests there is at least one other person who likes the same things.  If there isn’t a group that interests you, develop your leadership skills by starting one.

13.   Stay true to your faith.  I know it sometimes seems difficult to be a Christian and have fun but the biggest mistakes I made in my life were made during the times I was running away from God.

14.   According to police, if something is within your reach, it is legally yours.  Choose your friends wisely and don’t do anything illegal.  If you have to wonder if it’s illegal, it probably is.  And remember, the police are not your mother or me; they will not be swayed by tears, except possibly in relation to speeding tickets. But only if you are female.  Males who cry when stopped for speeding get tazed. 

15.   Don’t be afraid; college is incredible.  However, if you ever find yourself afraid, don’t let it stop you from being amazing. 

And that is all I’m saying…for the moment

1 comment:

  1. God bless you, Uncle Dusty! Wish I'd have read that myself before heading out into the wide, wide world. Might I add to Payton -
    1 - If you're ever starving and it's the middle of the night, depending on where you go to school, there's a time difference in your favor between you and California - I'll bet Uncle Dusty would be willing to spot you some pizza money - and he can probably do so online.
    And 2 - When you go out for retail therapy, ask yourself, will I want this tomorrow? in a week? in a year? Will I have to give this away if I move? And, is the price they're asking worth what I could do with the money by using it some other way? You'll spend lots less money on junk that way (although from what I've seen - you have exquisite taste)...
    oh, one other thing - it is possible to live in the dorm and NOT pay for a meal plan. If you never eat in the cafeteria, use your meal plan when you are out and about. If you can't do that, don't pay for it - it is a huge amount of money for "cafeteria food".