Michael He

September 1, 2021

Basic College First Year Lessons

Many students are starting school this week. Here are some reminders for this exciting yet uncertain time:

Wear masks, wash hands, get tested, and get vaccinated. Let's do this much to keep the colleges open and not on Zoom. 

Don't forget to lock your door at all times. I know people who lost laptops, driver's licenses, and wallets from a quick two-minute trip to the next-door restroom.

Sleep more than seven hours. Lack of sleep is correlated with physical fatigue, low energy and concentration, mood swings, and sadly, mental health issues.

Avoid easy sugar. Lucky Charms at midnight sounds amazing (and it is), but that will be your best friend to add that 15 pounds before you return home for Christmas.

Take care of your skin. Make sure to wash your face, apply moisturizer, and sunscreen everyday. The sun, the sweat, and the dust are natural enemies to your skin. It still takes some work to look 18 when you are 18.

Sweat and have fun. Physical exercise is one of the best things to do today, tomorrow, and thirty years later. Do something fun and stay in good shape and mood. It also helps with sleep and weight control. My best friend likes volleyball, while I love swimming and tennis (I’m very bad at it) on top of regular gym sessions.

It's okay to be alone. You just need to do "alone things" when you are by yourself. Remember, when you see other people eating together and you are eating alone, that's often the only times these people can spend time with their friends.

Don't stay in your dorm all the time. You did Zoom school for a while now, aren't you tired of it? Take a walk outside, do work in another building, explore the campus (no matter how "ugly" it looks). Be with people if that’s your preference. 

Learn how to write emails and talk to people not your age. Politeness and proper grammar go a long way.

Mental health is important, so is staying away from other people's anxiety. Negative emotions spread like virus, so make sure you don't get affected by other people's problems. It's absolutely great to help, but don't forget that you can't help others with oxygen masks on the airplane until you put on your own.

Get a job (hopefully on campus). Compared to later, you have more time to explore different ways to make money properly. Even a minimum-wage job for a few hours each week will net you some nice money for your dream trip or eating out with friends.

Go to office hours. There is at least one professor in your college years that will help you much more than academics, but you need to put in the effort to find the person and stick with them.

Never forget your priorities. Your life revolves around them, not the other way around.

If applicable, stay connected with family, friends, and home. College may be a fresh and necessary start for many, but for those that have loving and supportive folks back home, don't lose touch with them.

Note that I didn't include any tip on academics or studying. Everyone does things differently, so you need to figure out what works for you and keep improving. The only advice I have is to learn something you care about, even if you have to put up with a curriculum (e.g. pre-med or engineering) most of the time. That makes the pain more bearable. 

Hope these are helpful. I will write about some hard-learned lessons at another time.  

About Michael He

Trying to get better every single day.