This week students are arriving on campus at the university where I work. I work in a building (a library) where I studied as an undergraduate. This building is across the street from the building I lived in with 2,999 of my fellow students, and where I now eat lunch about 2-3 times per week.
When I left high school and entered the wide-world of higher education, it was quite a change for your humble blogger. I was leaving a world in which I'd achieved academic success mostly by following the rules and bullshitting when I did not, but doing it with humility and a pleasing smile that seemed to keep me from getting my head lopped off on the many, many occasions that should have done me in.
College provided me with a new set of circumstances, new people with new perspectives, teachers no longer working from a regionally approved curricula nor with fear that saying things displeasing to the local moral majority would cost them their job. But, I also left the comfy nest of a home provided me by KareBear and The Admiral, a place where meals were provided, laundry magically happened, and as long as I did my homework, promised to go to college, occasionally did the lawn and didn't get anybody pregnant, I was able to enjoy the benevolence of those who might smite me. But it wasn't exactly training for college.
I attended the University of Texas, my incoming class becoming part of what was a roughly 48,000 person student body, which would jump to 51,000 before I'd departed with 5 years and 2 degrees under my belt and the perspective and philosophy that comes with time spent in a city-state dedicated to creating the educated individuals of tomorrow. I never didn't love the institution. Instead, despite the rough first two years I spent at the bottom of the GPA pool, I figured out how, at last, to get out of the school what it was offering.
And so, I offer up some helpful tips I wish somebody had told me when arriving upon the steps of the Ivory Tower of Education, some things that may help out the young The Leagues showing up at their own colleges and universities, all across the world this Fall.