Speaking of staying up until 4 am, if you’re an average freshman, you’re about to do a lot of partying, perhaps more than you would have thought yourself capable of while still a mere high school senior. That’s fine, too. Stay safe (be careful whom you accept drinks from, and always have cab fare home) and enjoy yourself. Just don’t let this new freedom to party come between you and passing grades. Another way to say it is, make sure that, on occasion, you put the bong down and do your homework . Remember, if you wanted to hide out in your room and rip j-bones all day, every day, then there was no need to pay tuition. You want to follow Phish around? Great. Sounds awesome (except for all the Phish music), but if you want to live a rock and roll road trip party, once again, why pay tuition? Strike a balance, instead. Catch a leg of the tour over the semester break, and then get your ass back to the library.

While we’re on the subject of Phish, don’t come to class baked and reeking of weed . It’s rude. It’s disruptive, and despite what stoned stoners think, anybody with a nose can tell. William Shakespeare has a character named Falstaff, a hard-partying, somewhat disreputable knight that you might read about when taking English Literature, who once said “the better part of valour is discretion.” Falstaff was right, too. Rolling into a learning environment all fried, dyed, and laid aside means that you are broadcasting unhelpful signals about yourself to the world. It’s indiscreet, as well as disrespectful of your peers. It’s dumb, which might be one of the reasons why marijuana is called dope, and not Einstein. What if you need to ask the professor of a class you stink-bombed for help getting an internship? That professor is going to answer, “Maybe you could get Cheech and Chong to reach out for you, instead?” Then they’re going to go back to their offices and laugh about the look on your face with your other professors. For real.

Speaking of classroom etiquette, nothing bothers professors more than students openly texting, or otherwise on their cellphones during class, except perhaps the occasional student who looks things up on their phone in order to contribute whatever ideas Google has for them to the class discussion. So, please, put your phones away . Don’t film or tape anything without permission, either. Keep a lid on the social media, too . One friend of mine, a professor in Tennessee, saw a drawing on Facebook that a student had done, photographed, and then posted, all during class, because they didn’t feel like working on the assignment. If a student of mine had done that, and then asked for an extension, or a recommendation, I’d probably laugh in their face.

Believe me, your professors want you to succeed. But they’ll never care about that goal more than you. That’s the bottom line.

I wish you luck, kids. Without even knowing you, I feel like you were put on this planet for more than digging ditches, so get to work. AND class.
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