What I Wish I Knew

Dear Students,

Here are some things you will never learn from books:

So this is my fourth year at Hofstra and the time I have spent here has definitely taught me a lot about this school, life and other people. Some say you cannot learn from others’ mistakes and experiences, but I am hoping what I’m about to tell you can change at least one outlook you may have on life

I went out on a mission and consulted many seniors to help me write this article. Unfortunately, the only non-opinionated advice I have to offer you comes from my friend Danielle who swears by her rain boots. If you have not noticed, Hofstra’s campus floods at the slightest sign of rain, which is quite convenient seeing as how we are located right next to the ocean. If you take nothing else I am about to say out of this article, at least invest in a pair of rain boots or you could find yourself in a similar situation that I went through one rainy day during my freshman year. I was walking back to my dormitory and my shoes were so soaked that I had to take them off. At which point I just started jumping through the puddles in my socks instead of trying to avoid them because by then it did not matter anymore. My pants were soaked and it was definitely a sight to see as I walked across the unispan carrying my sneakers with my hair dripping wet. So unless you are particularly fond of trudging through lakes in your socks, I would go with the rain boot idea.

Possibly even more important though than this whole rain boot idea; learn how to speak to your professors. It sounds like a simple concept, but so many students have problems talking with their professors. There is no need to be nervous if you have a question about why you received a certain grade, if you need help, or an extension on an assignment. Even the strictest of teachers have a heart, and they will not know you need something unless you ask for it, so go and ask. Ideally, it helps to talk to them before the assignment is due, but as we all know, things come up and the five page paper is due in an hour and you only have your name typed out. You would be surprised at how understanding professors can be when you just go and explain your situation to them. The key is to catch them when no one else around, like after class or during their office hours, because they do not want the whole class to know they are giving you a break. Next comes the whole talking part. Generally if you are calm and respectful while making your point about a grade or explaining why your assignment is not finished, professors will be more than willing to listen and possibly work something out with you. Granted it helps to come up with some really good reasons why you could not do your homework, but the truth definitely works the best, even if the truth is “I just didn’t do it or have time to do it.” Be well-prepared and go into explicit detail about why you did not have time to finish the work; grandma dying four times in a semester just is not going to cut it. Whatever you do, do not start yelling and arguing because it will get you absolutely nowhere, and then you are jeopardizing your final grade.

Speaking of final grades, do not delete any of your assignments until after you receive your final grade at the end of the semester. There have been so many occasions where professors have issues and ask you to hand in an assignment again. When this occurs, there is always that poor student who just deleted his or her work assuming he or she would not need it anymore, and now they are stuck redoing that report because the professor no longer has it. Do yourself a favor and keep your work until after the semester ends and grades are in.

And as important as those academics are, (and they are because one bad grade can destroy your grade point average), you cannot forget to have fun. I spent over 40 hours of my week working in the mall my freshman and sophomore year; I was too exhausted to do anything. And you would think having extra money would help, but it actually caused me to spend more than I saved. Working is definitely a great idea and it gives you invaluable experience, but do not over do it. That is one of the biggest regrets my friend Jestie has: not spending enough time just having fun at school. She pushed herself so hard and is graduating early, but now she has no clue where to go or what to do.

But what you can do to make the most of your time and have fun here at Hofstra is to get involved on campus. There are over 121 organizations on campus, so there is bound to be one that fits your interests; and if not you can start your own club (contact the Student Government Association at 516-463-6960 for more information). Plus, being involved in extracurricular activities looks good on your resume because it shows dedication, social and time management skills. However, do not join so many clubs that you cannot devote enough time to each to be fully active member. Nevertheless, join something, you will be surprised at what kinds of things you may end up liking; I’d be rich if I had a nickel for every time I hears, “I never pictured myself in a sorority, but now I love it!”

Not only will joining a club help you get active in something you have fun doing, it will also help you meet lots of new people, thus broadening your social network. And while a broader social network means more career opportunities in the future, right now it means more party invitations. And, parties are a lot of fun as long as you play it safe and recognize that you are not Superman and thus have limits. Alcohol also revs up your flirtatious side, so you have to be careful or you may wake up in bed next to someone whose name you cannot seem to recall. It happens more times than you would think and it is cool if you are into that sort of thing, but for those of you who are not, there is nothing more awkward. And as big as you may think this school is, people will find out and you will see him or her again; you may even end up in the same class next semester. And, trust me when I say there are not many things more difficult than trying to focus on a professor’s lecture when you know the person you hooked-up with is sitting three rows back. As my friend Christina put it, “You get to a new school and a lot of people like to experiment, but you have to be careful if you are going to hook-up with someone because you never know who has what disease or who is going to kiss and tell.”

And then lastly, there is always the relationship option if you get sick of the hook-up scene. Just make sure you do not rush into it or you may find your relationship over before it even has a chance to begin. Also, amke sure that you stay involved with your extracurricular activities and do not forget about your friends just because you have a significant other because if the relationship does end, you will not want to be left without anyone at all. Although, if that does happen, at least you will always have your rain boots.

Best wishes,

Ashley Hughes

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 3:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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