Every year I scoop up a glassy-eyed freshman and tell them the real rules of Cal Poly. I glanced at the survival guide this year and it’s the same thing they tell freshman every year; the same old recycled garbage that goes in one ear and out the other for 99 percent of new students. They talk to you like you’re a little kid, while trying to tell you’re not anymore. They often can’t tell you a lot of what you really need to know. So incoming freshman, here is some things you really need to know:
You’re not a kid anymore, so don’t let anyone treat you like one. Read every word of anything you sign because people will try to trick you. Don’t let people push you around, you don’t deserve it. Know your rights, because you may need to exercise them.
You’re not in high school anymore. That will take some getting used to. Nobody cares if you show up to class, but trust me, most of the time you really need to go. Nobody cares if you don’t do your homework, but yeah, that’s something you need to do too. The list goes on but the point is you need to be more responsible. Don’t worry about the people who don’t get this rule, they don’t last long at Cal Poly unless they straighten out. Time management is a biggie; I highly suggest you sit down at the end of every school day and work out when you’re going to get everything before you get bogged down in an endless amount of homework and projects.
Don’t do anything really stupid. People will always drink and do very stupid things. Don’t be one of them. If you think about any idea for about a minute you know if something is just plain stupid. You all know you’re not stupid; you just got into a great college. So do things in moderation – you’ll fail your classes if you go out partying every night anyway.
The 25-35 hours a week studying rule is a bunch of bull, mostly. Yes, 25 to 35 hours a week is way too much studying for most people. Most people will be fine with substantially less, but I assure you it isn’t bad advice. If you crack open your book and notes every day and study like they want you to, you will do fine.
I can’t say everything you need to know here, but I highly encourage new freshman to make upperclassmen friends. They can impart years of making mistakes on to you, so you don’t have to make them. If people respond well to this column, I will do follow-ups, for those of you who just don’t want to go out and find a kindly junior or senior to take you under his or her wing.
Lastly, get enough sleep, www.polyratings.com is your friend, get to know your professors and actually go to office hours, never be ashamed to ask for help and advice, and have a great time. I will sorely miss my time at Cal Poly when I graduate this year, and I hope this advice makes your time even better.
Chris Lee is a computer science senior and a guest columnist for the Mustang Daily.