Back-to-School Survival: The handbook that should be distributed, but never is.

  1. The first day of class is the most important, so pay attention.  The professor will inform you of everything that will happen during the semester and of all due dates.
  2. Ride your bike around campus and scope out the area, keeping in mind where your classes are, where you can do your laundry, where you can buy toiletries and other necessities, and where the best after-class entertainment is.
  3. Pace yourself in the lunchroom.  You’ll be eating the same food all year, so you don’t have to try every dish in one setting.
  4. Join a sports club or get involved in intramural sports.  Take advantage of your free student, gym pass.
  5. Cruise town and find the best fishing spots, trails, and disc golf courses.  (Free fun is the best fun.)
  6. Take a rain jacket to class with you, especially if you walk or ride your bike.
  7. Buy a U-Lock for your bike, not the cheap chain.  If you want to skimp on something, skimp on your bike seat cover.  Stuff a plastic sack into your backpack and if it looks like rain tie it over your seat to keep it dry.
  8. Keep spare pens, pencils, paper, and blue books in your school bag.  If you’re already running late you don’t want to have to stop at the bookstore.
  9. If you go to a game and deck yourself out in school colors, mismatched socks, face paint, and pom-poms, sit in the student section.  It’s just awkward if you don’t.
  10. If it’s cool out wear a beanie, because you never know when you’ll take a detour and walk to the nearest Red Box or fast food joint.  (And, trust me, near is always at least three blocks away.)
  11.   During track season don’t cut across the shot put, discus, and javelin practice field.  Seriously, those signs are posted for a reason.
  12. If there’s a study group available, join it.
  13. Set at least two alarms on exam day.
  14. When someone says it’s a good idea, it’s never a good idea, but do it anyway because it makes a great story later.
  15. If there’s a free event, attend.
  16. When there’s free food, get there early.
  17. Play laser tag at least once, and when the little kids annihilate you be a good sport about it.
  18. Take a ski trip with your friends.
  19. Before you graduate go on an actual spring break trip.  (Save up because you’ll be overcharged on everything.)
  20. Have a comfortable backpack with a padded laptop sleeve.
  21. When your parents visit and offer to take you shopping, stock up.
  22. Keep your music down.  By the time one AM rolls around nobody cares if it’s your favorite song.
  23. Keep your living area clean, and if you have dishes wash them at least once a month.  Please.
  24. When someone asks you to play D&D, decline.  (Hint: It’s not a drinking game.)
  25. Have fun.  Try new things.  Meet new people.  Make new friends.  Decide who you want to be.
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