Stuart's Guidelines for Freshman Year College

Welcome to college. It's all on you now. No one is going to force you to do or not do something. Everything you do from here on out is on you. Make what every choices you want then live with the consequences.

Over my college years, I came up with some guidelines for being successful at college. After college, I've added some to be comfortable in life.

Also, these are just guidelines based on what I've been told ( and have found to work) and experiences I've had, life is big and weird and unknown you won't find all the answers here or anywhere else, follow this guide them as much or as little as you want.

Have Fun!

General Guidelines

    1. Try not to make decisions or choices that will affect you more than 1 month out.
      1. When you do break this guideline(and you will), be thoughtful and intentional.
    2. Register to vote.
      1. did you know elections are held more than just every 4 years. There are off-cycle and local elections as well. See what happens when you vote in these (most Americans don't know what happens when you vote in these)
    3. Remember that no one really knows what they are doing. We're all learning as we go along. Practice forgiveness.
      1. Wheaton's Law - Don't be a dick.

About Classes

    1. If you want to pass a class go to class every day
      1. Find a "friend" in each class, when they don't show up for a class ask if they are OK or sick, this will create a kind of accountability for you to show up to class.
    2. If you want a B in class do the homework
      1. See if you can't do your homework with that friend
    3. If you want an A, study for the tests.
      1. Does the friend want to study?
    4. Make sure your professors know you and your name.
      1. Ask questions in class (even if you think you know the answer)
      2. Show up for office hours at least once every 2 weeks and ask a question( even if you think you know the answer)
      3. Participate in discussions
      4. Develop a personal brand and unique identifier( Hawaiian Shirts?).

Grocery Shopping

    1. Think about switching to almond or soy milk. It keeps for like a month+, and nothing smells worse than a half drank gallon of milk 2 weeks past its sell-by date.
    2. Milk crates, bungee cords, and a small hand cart are awesome for grocery shopping or any other moving. keep some in your car.
    3. Free food is good food.
    4. Learn to cook with a slow cooker.
      1. Line your slow cooker with slow cooker bags. They make clean up and storage way easy
    5. Travel Vacuum Flasks (thermos) are awesome.
    6. Rice cookers are awesome
    7. Don't let people keep you down for using paper plates in college.
    8. Find a place that takes recycling.
    9. Coffee is awesome
      1. You may break grocery guideline #1 for a small amount of half and half
      2. Travel Vacuum Flasks (thermos) are soo awesome.
      3. There is more to coffee than Starbucks fraps


    1. Drink more water and less soda. ( don't Drink Energy Drinks drink Coffee)
    2. Develop a preferred sleep schedule. Experiment with this to get to know yourself, your preferred schedule can change
    3. Develop an exercise schedule and plan. At school, you have access to a free(or close to it) fully stocked gym. use the internet to find an exercise schedule and plan that works for you (even if it's just walking). the habits you build now can define your life.
    4. Develop a diet (this is the scientific way of saying diet). research and experiment with different ways of eating. Be aware of what you are eating and what you want to eat.
    5. Use your campus's health services to find free or reduced medical care.
    6. Get a checkup every year.
    7. Get a flu shot every year.
    8. Guys and Gals understand methods of birth control and STI prevention (see General Guideline #1). Understand which methods are what, and the 1-year effectiveness rates of methods and tools (some measured studies of pregnancy prevention rates of couples using abstinence as their primary prevention method show 1 year prevention rates as low as 25%)

Mental Health

    1. Most colleges have a counselor's for helping students. Find out where they are and get to know them ( before you have any difficulties).
    2. Find personal time. Each day find some time for yourself; reading, meditating, make you a priority in your life.
    3. Find a hobby or activity that you really love.
    4. It's ok to not know what to do, and sometimes you can't talk to anyone in your social net, some colleges have crisis lines for students experiencing stress. find them as your counselors' office. if your school does not have one, you can contact one of several national lines
    5. The section on dealing with Jerk Professors.
      1. Some professors are jerks ( assholes, racists, sexists, elitists, or just enjoy rolling up students) some people are jerks. but unlike "some people" "some professors" have control over your grade.
      2. Look online and talk to friends about what professors teach what classes and who is a good person to learn from.
      3. If a professor has offended/hurt you in such a way that it's distracting you from learning you can start by letting them know in a respectful manner.
      4. If they continue and it and, talk to the dean of the department, or a professor friend you have in the department.
      5. Once the semester is over don't take from this professor again.

Socialization and Communal Living

    1. Go to freshman orientation
    2. Put yourself out there to make friends. (you will have to rebuild your friend social net)
      1. For the first semester go to social events that know you will hate
      2. For the first semester go to all the stupid student union social things
      3. Find some low involvement volunteer events (like 1 morning a month)
      4. If you are religious go "church shopping" looking for a community of worship that fits you. Maybe you're not the denomination/religion you were brought up in.
      5. Join some campus clubs, the student union most likely has a list hanging up somewhere.
    3. When staying over at someone else's, sleep on the floor on a blanket. it's more comfortable than college couches.
    4. A subsection on prohibited substances due to age or local laws
      1. Know the laws in your area as to legal drinking age and legality of other substances. understand the consequences of breaking these rules/laws
      2. If you see someone in trouble help them.
      3. Always get your own drink.
      4. Keep it classy. Think stemware.
      5. Keep your feet on the ground at all times, if this becomes difficult, think about what that could mean.
      6. Learn about affirmative consent."no" means "NO" "Yes" means "YES" (but no still means no, and no answer also means no)
      7. If someone isn't in the state to drive they are not in a state to consent, don't think they can, this is called sexual assault or rape(depending on local/state laws).
    5. Go on road trips.
    6. Look for vertical storage, and storing things under sitting and sleeping furniture.
    7. Learn how to do your own laundry
      1. Learn to iron.
    8. Learn how to do the dishes.
      1. JetDry is awesome
      2. Run Lemishine once every 6 months to clean your dishwasher
      3. The Silverware tray is removable if you want to wash big things

Career (Internships and CoOps)

    1. Create and maintain a simple webpage to act as a portfolio for all the projects you've done. a quick blurb about the project, what you did, and several pictures of the final result is all you need. Being able to refer to something in an interview will help you stand out.
    2. Apply for everything even if you feel like your not qualified. Let the hiring manager make that determination.
    3. Resume.
      1. Keep your resume current (and keep it on your webpage).
      2. have at least 2 people proofread your resume before you send it to someone
      3. Cover Letters are great (again have 2 people proofread it)

Economics and Money

*note everything here is an exception to general guideline #1*

    1. Create a budget for yourself
      1. Mint or YNAB
    2. Try having 2 checking accounts, one for bills and one for personal spending. Make sure your bills account has enough money to cover your monthly bills. Then if you overdraft your spending account you won't have the water turned off on your house
      1. Turn off over drafting.
    3. Most 4 year schools cost $50,000+ for all 4 years.
      1. College loans will ask you to pay this back over 20 years with interest. By not taking student loans Stuart was able to get an awesome car with all the money he didn't spend on college loans.
      2. The first step to getting a college loan is thinking of EVERY POSSIBLE way you can get the money other than getting a college loan.
      3. Do you really need to be in a 4-year university for your Freshman and Sophomore years?
        1. yes you got in but what list out the gains from going your freshman year vs community college for Fr and Sm and going to the big university your junior year (note there is a social cost to community college)
      4. There are thousands of low value($250-$1000) scholarships/grants available, and most of them go unawarded. set aside a week or 2 a semester to just find and apply for these scholarships (note they have a loans search too, skip over that)
      5. Get to know your college financial aid office people. some are useful, some are clueless, and some are straight-up paid by the financial services industry.
    4. Get a credit card history.
      1. It's helpful to have a credit history once you are out of school.
      2. If your parents have good credit and are responsible with money ask if you can be a co-signer on one of their cards, then have them not give you that card. Don't push it if they say no or think this is a bad idea.
      3. if you do get a personal credit card use it sparingly(like only gas or some other small monthly bill, pay this off monthly).
      4. Do not get a credit card from anyone selling/giving them out on campus, go to your personal bank.
    5. Pay yourself first
      1. Even if you make only $100 a month, set aside an amount of that( $20, $10, even $5) each month for savings and your future.
      2. The Future is cheap. Start a Roth IRA NOW
    6. Be charitable
      1. Set aside a monthly amount of money and/or time to give to others. ( even if you think you have no time or money, find it, you'll be a better person and live in a better world for it)
    7. Your student ID is POWERFUL at getting savings
      1. List of SOME of the discounts.