Wednesday, September 18, 2013

College tips for survival as taught by the Disney Princesses

This one is a little different form my norm but I am thatgeekDAD so I thought why not.  So this one is for my daughter Claire with hope that nothing about college changes too much or I will look like a noob writing this for her now, sixteen years before she heads to college.

It's hard to know how to navigate the murky waters of college. Before you dissect Pitch Perfect in hopes of some guidance, try looking to the women who taught you all the important lessons when you were a kid: the Disney princesses.

While Mulan, Belle and company did not technically pursue higher education, their overall messages can easily be applied to your freshman year.

1. Don't get all your advice from one source.

It might be easier to receive all your campus info from that nice junior in your history class, but as countless movies with "the new kid" have shown, even the most well-meaning tour guide is going to give you a biased explanation of the school's dynamics.

Worst-case scenario, you could be taking tips from someone who was just waiting for a gullible freshman to believe all the girls are fixing their hair between classes with sporks. Crowdsource your advice -- you'll meet more people.

2. Don't take the smoothest path.

Holing up in your dorm room every night is easier than braving the common room. Taking English 101 is safer than exploring the unknown waters of Philosophy.

Whenever you feel yourself leaning towards the safe choice, ask yourself, do you want to end up with John Smith or Kocoum? If the outdoors club is sponsoring a whitewater rafting trip, just sign up. It could be fun.

3. Clean your dorm room.

If you don't, there's the distinct possibility that furry creatures will find their way into your room -- only they won't help you dust or appreciate your singing.

4. Challenge people's expectations (and your own too).

You might seem like the kind of person who would never enter the talent show or campaign for student council, but that shouldn't stop you from trying new things.

If you need to psych yourself up, just sing "I'll Make a Man Out of You."

5. Leave your high school heartbreaks at home.

Even if you sold your soul to the god of the underworld to ensure your boyfriend's acceptance to your dream school, only for him to follow someone else out of state, that's no reason not to give the new guys you meet a chance.

Likewise, a string of bad math teachers doesn't mean you might not find a great Calc professor. High school is over, and your expectations for the next four years should be high.

6. Get some rest.

Sleep is important. Too many all-nighters can leave you passed out in the quad without the help of an enchanted spindle. Make it a point to carve out some nap time.

7. Don't rely on first impressions.

Throughout the first few months of college, people will try on a lot of new identities -- but not all of them will stick.

That guy on your floor who spent the fall as a super-jerk jock might morph into a friendly geek by Christmas break. Keep an open mind and consider re-introductions.

8. Fight for something you believe in.

Protesting is often part of the college experience. Even if circling the campus court makes you dizzy you can still try out activism. Join a cause you believe in, even if that's fighting for better snacks in the vending machines.

9. Keep thinking about the pay-off.

A twenty-page paper sounds awful, but being a college graduate is going to be awesome. Don't let anyone tell you different.

By concentrating on your end goal, the grunt work it takes to reach it will eventually be worth it. Focusing on one task at a time will make things more manageable.

10. Don't be afraid to try out a new look.

Dye your hair; go from prep to jock; try out a piercing.

College is a great time for an extreme makeover. As long as you stay away from the tattoo parlor, you can always return to your original style by spring break.

11. Invest in good shoes.

Yes, the slippery glass heels worked out for Cinderella. But if you leave your shoes at a party, the only thing you're left with is pieces of broken beer bottles stuck in your feet, and possibly tetanus.

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