After a significant number of years seeing college students come and go (some with a diploma, some scratching their heads), we have compiled a list of suggestions that, if heeded, may help you avoid an early exit.
- Pack light! All of the big radios, televisions, DVD players, VCRs, your favorite recliner, and that solid oak bedroom suite are unnecessary. Each residence hall has a television with cable in the lobby. If you are forced to journey to the lobby to watch the television, it may cut down on your viewing and increase your time spent studying. If you need a moving truck to get here, you have too much!
- Bring an umbrella! If you are coming from a state where it seldom rains, you will discover quickly that walking to class in the rain is not a pleasant experience. You rapidly can become a casualty of wet papers, dripping clothes, bad hair and a squeaky walk. A trip to the store and $10 can rescue you from this soggy experience.
- Be prepared to study! Start good habits early. Again, EARLY! With all the transitions necessary to come to college, your first year of classes can be a REAL challenge. The suggested study time is two hours for every credit hour you are in class. It works!
- Don't panic! The transition to college takes time. You may get a couple of poor test scores at the beginning and you may not make close friends in your first week. People adjust to college at different rates. If you're struggling in a class, find a tutor! If you're feeling lonely, join an activity until you find one that fits! And never hesitate to seek out a professor or member of the Residence Life Staff to talk.
- Make a budget! Unless you prepare a weekly budget, it is possible to spend all the money you saved for the school year in the first semester. Write your budget down and keep track of what you spend each week to ensure that you do not spend over your limit. Learn to say “no” to eating out too much, movies, or whatever. There are plenty of things to do on campus that are absolutely free or that are relatively inexpensive. We recommend that you do not apply for a credit card until your senior year, if then. Many credit card companies will offer pre-approved status and no annual fee for the first year. The temptation of having something to buy things with and not having to pay for them until the next month can be great. Don't fall into the trap! Students graduating with a $1000+ credit card balance pay dearly for it.
- Get involved! A recent Fortune magazine article stated that companies are looking for students who are well-rounded and are campus leaders. They specifically mentioned students with a liberal arts education. You have made the right choice of school; now it is time to take full advantage of what a liberal arts education has to offer. Student Government Association (SGA) offers a myriad of socialization and leadership opportunities. Too many students go through college without meeting new friends, without becoming a member of a social or service organization, and without an appreciation for their alma mater. Budget your time to include social events, church involvement, Bible studies, and physical exercise.
- Take pride in your school! Plan to see a few games while on campus. Soccer, volleyball, men's and women's basketball, baseball, softball, and tennis are all on campus and are free. Your classmates appreciate your support. Milligan athletics are competitive and offer some exciting moments. They also offer you a time to see faculty and staff members in a more casual setting, cheering right along with you!
- Ask questions! When you need help, if you are getting behind in your studies, if you do not understand something going on in the residence hall, ask someone about it. There is no such thing as a bad question. Do not draw your own conclusions until you know the facts.
- If you want to get good grades, hang around people who get good grades. If you want to get involved, hang around people who are involved.
- It is o.k. if you do not have a car! Some students survive four years without one. Cars are expensive to maintain and can quickly diminish your cash flow. Not having one forces you to meet other people by finding rides home for break, to church, the mall, etc.
- Phone home! Call home once in a while and keep the family informed about what is going on in your life. They want to know about grades, special friends, when you are coming home, how the food is, and if you have run into your neighbor's second cousin who used to come and visit every other summer and throw rocks at you.
- Video Games! Video games and the like can be addictive. These games can result in hours of wasted time which could be so productive if channeled to the right places. There is plenty to do even if you are not studying.
- Use coupons! Over the next few weeks practice cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper for things you will need at college such as toothpaste, laundry detergent and deodorant. Fifty cents here and there is a considerable savings over the course of a year.
- Go hiking, not shopping! The Appalachian region, of which Milligan is a part, is one of the most magnificent areas of the country. Don't waste it spending time at the mall. Get out and see what else there is to enjoy.