Five honest tips from a college professor

(Ed Note: This column is written by a senior professor at Sam Houston State University who has agreed to provide us with one professor’s perspectives on issues facing Sam Houston students.)

Welcome to Sam Houston State University! Believe it or not, the faculty tends to be as excited about the start of a new year as some of you may be. Here are a few of my tips to jump-start your Fall 2006 semester!

Attend your first class! Get the syllabus, sit next to someone you think is attractive, introduce yourself to them and see if you can get their cell number. Knowing the name and phone of at least one other person will come in handy! Take notes on what types of exams will be given (scantron or essay, etc). Even for required courses find something that interests you about the course and write that down – trick your mind into a positive attitude about the course. Write down the name of the professor with a description of what they look like! And buy the required text.

Second, figure out how you will have “constructive fun.” Meet lots of people. SHSU students are incredibly well mannered and friendly. Just say hi to any student, staff or faculty, and introduce yourself with a smile. You will be amazed at how easy it is to meet people here. Just tell them you are new and blame this column! No reason to be lonely at SHSU!

Third, don’t leave you morals at home. Chances are you are here because you are not a sex crazed, boozing alcoholic or drug abuser with a criminal record. And if you are – find your way to the Student Counseling Center NOW. Our Center is staffed by licensed psychologists. No additional cost – if you wait until you are out of college, it will cost you $200-300 an hour! Don’t decide that freedom away from home is a license to try everything your parents have told you not to do. Instead, have the self-confidence to have fun without endangering your mental or physical health.

Fourth, review your schedule carefully. Biggest mistake: over-commitments like working 20 hours and taking 20 hours. It is better to do well at school and work and still leave yourself some time for a good social life. Don’t join every club. You might even try the religious organizations (free food, nice people, non-threatening environments) and yes, they like partying.

Finally, this may not be Harvard but most of the faculty actually expects you to have read the assigned material before class. That will give you a great start!

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