Can you believe it? Another school year started over a month ago. Seems like just a few days since the Class of 2019 was preparing to graduate, where did summer go? Sometimes it seems like summer lasts just a matter of days, instead of the traditional three months – at least between the end of one school year and the start of another.

The graduates from the latest class who decided to continue their educations are, or are about to be, off on their new adventure filled, I suspect, with a fair amount of anticipation and trepidation. As I’ve written before, it doesn’t matter whether the latest class of high school graduates goes to trade school, vocational school, the military, a two-year college, or a full four-year tour at one of the public or private colleges and universities that dot the Indiana countryside. The point continues to be that the chances for success in adult life are pretty slim for those young people who go straight from the classroom to a job – without any intermediate post-high school training or education. Oh, it can be done and I know people who’ve done it and done it very successfully, but the truth of the matter is that the odds – today – are pretty slim of becoming a success without some post-high school training. Which, obviously, makes the reverse also true: the odds for success improve with each extra day of additional training after high school. Please note, I’m not intentionally leaving out the armed services. For lots of kids going into the military is a very good option and by volunteering to serve, young people become eligible for the G.I. Bill which will help pay for college after their term of service is successfully completed.

For those recent graduates who are headed for college, I’m going to offer some sound advice you really should keep in mind during your freshman year. Parents, if your son or daughter has already left for school, you might want to clip this column out and send it to them – or just cut and paste it into an email.

1. College is not 13th grade! Way too many kids never really “go” to college. They’re home every weekend. Do not come home every weekend. Get used to being in college. You’ll never get used to being away from home if you’re back here all the time – and a note to parents: If you miss your child and are tempted to urge them to come all the time, you’re doing them a gross disservice. If you miss your kid that much – go there for a weekend visit, don’t insist that the child come home. Spend the day with your child, have dinner and come home! (As an aside, the best advice I ever had was not to come home until Thanksgiving break. By Thanksgiving you’ll be used to being a college freshman and you’ll fully understand that you’re not in 13th grade.)

2. Study habits. Some high school kids really didn’t have to study very hard. If you take that attitude with you to college, you’ll be home for good by Christmas! For every hour you’re in class you should plan to spend two hours studying – that’s a very good rule to follow.

3. Don’t let anybody talk you into taking more than 14 or 15 hours of classes during the first semester! You’ve got plenty of time to earn a degree; don’t try to do it all in the first semester. Take a relatively light load of 14 or 15 hours while you’re used to being in college. Important note: Some of you may qualify for a higher level class in some subject. I recall two local students who did well enough to enroll in a 200-level class in chemistry. (A 200 level designation means it’s a sophomore level course.) One of the students took the freshman level chemistry class and got five hours of A. The other student took the advanced 200-level course and barely eked out a C in the course. Now, which makes more sense? Five hours of A or five hours of C? On other note; a 5-hour class means the class meets every day for one hour.

4. If you follow the two hours of study for each hour of class, that’s 15 hours in class and 30 hours of study per week – and there will still be plenty of time for other activities.

5. If you’ve never been away from home before for more than a week or so, you will be homesick the first few days. Don’t worry about it; it’s perfectly natural to feel that way. Get over it! Don’t run home; don’t sit in around feeling sorry for yourself. Get out there and meet people! You’re all in the same boat, and remember why you’re there and what it’s going to mean for the rest of your life!

6. Get over the food! It may not be mom’s home cooking, but it’s just food. I have known kids who quit college just because they didn’t like dorm food. How dumb is that? (I also recall, there was another kid who went to college and still had a “high school honey” back home. He was used to picking her up after school each day. So, guess what he did? He drove home from college every day to continue picking her up! Guess how long he lasted in college – one semester! By the end of his first semester he had flunked out! They say love is blind. In this case it was also stupid!)

7. Get involved in activities, meet new people, have a good time, work hard. Although it may not seem like it, this is best time of your life!

That’s –30—for this week.

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