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Thread: First day at college

  1. #1
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    First day at college

    I am writing to you all from my first day at college. I just moved in to Northern Ill. Univ. and I am lovin' it. Wish me luck as I take part in the 4-year educational program which will hopefully land me a position as an urban planner.

    Also, what are some things about college that absolutely no one tells you that you should know, how did you like college, and how soon did you know you wanted to be a planner. I knew at age 16.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    I am writing to you all from my first day at college. I just moved in to Northern Ill. Univ. and I am lovin' it. a) Wish me luck as I take part in the 4-year educational program which will hopefully land me a position as an urban planner.

    Also, b) what are some things about college that absolutely no one tells you that you should know, c) how did you like college, and d) how soon did you know you wanted to be a planner. I knew at age 16.
    a) Luck.
    b) If you are bright and they give you a placement test and tell you "You will have to retake trig or you can take calculus as your first of two required math classes" give them the finger and ask about clepping Algebra and such. It only took me about 14 years to figure that out. They are NOT generally trying to make your life easier. So find out for yourself how to meet their silly requirements in a manner which isn't utter torture.
    c) I liked college a lot better than high school. But, then, I like dental work better than high school.
    d) I knew I wanted to "major in something having to do with the built environment" when I was 33. I'm quick like that.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Have fun and study hard

    Good Luck
    Make sure that you read the books and become social with the people in your class. It is crazy how much you can learn about a subject from a classmate over a pizza and beverage of choice. Find someone who is doing well in the class, and see if you can study with them. But to do that you need to use communication. If you can, don’t do your homework at your dorm room. Instead go to a place like a computer lab, library, or one of the on campus eateries. This will provide a new challenge and the distraction will be a test as to how hard you have to focus. In the real world, we deal with all sorts of distractions, and it is up to us to find the best way to stay focused. Oh and this will also give you the concept that your not missing anything.

    Try to learn as much about the people around you as possible, and get involved in actives such as sports teams, music programs, and organizations such as student or hall governments or clubs where you share similar interested. That will help you to stay well rounded, meet new people, and it looks great on a resume. Even if you are not all into politics, student government will give you a good understand of how different political processes happen and what people look for in leadership. Even in the private sector of planning, everyone deals with some aspect of government in this job.

    But the most important recommendation that I can give you is truly enjoy your time at college. Be a student, paint your face and go to football games with buddies, spend time with friends, and take a nap in a student lounge. If you can, get a job working at a place with other college students. College is a truly amazing time for people depending on how much they are willing to get into it.

    Having said all of that, I loved college. Heck, I am going round two to get my masters degree and trying to balance being a student and an adult. I realized that I wanted to be planner a few months after I started college as a landscape architect major. Botany class sucked.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  4. #4
    First off, illinoisplanner you are posting at 9:44 pm on a Thursday. You should be out and half drunk by now

    micaelskis made some great recommendations. I agree with is idea to get a job on-campus where a lot of other students work, like the dorm cafeteria, student bookstore, or somewhere in the Student Union. You will meet all kinds of people. I still have friends some 10 years after I met them through a university job.

    Try to do new things but also seek out groups of people that are into things that you like. I was a skateboarder so I was in the elevator with my board and a few other stakers got on a few floors after mine. They asked me to skate with them and we all became great friends. You will be surprised in 4 years how few of your high school friends you even talke to anymore. I only talk to 2 people from my high school class and one of them I actually only became friends with in college.

    Try not to go home too many weekends. You will miss out on a lot of fun.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  5. #5
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Stuff that you should remember to do at college:

    -get into the tunnels under campus and travel from Founder Library, into the campus police station, into the Computer Sci/Psych building and finally exit near the "well" in the grassy area in front of DuSable Hall. There are two sets of tunnels.. one for west campus.. one for east campus.

    -Make sure to get really drunk and stumble around Eco park preferabbly on a very foggy night. Don't fall in the pond in eco park. The mud will go up to your shins.

    -Don't trust any drivers on Anne Glidden.. at all. in fact.. just skip going to class all together.. it's too dangerous to cross that road

    -The Huskie Bus is really a great student run Bus line. Use it.

    - I really enjoyed Prof Greene (urban geog), Michael Konen (soils), Prof Wang (GIS/land use).

    - Make sure to "ride the rail".

    - I got a job working in a dorm computer lab.. do they still have those? It leave for work by taking the elevator or stairs to the basement..in flip flops and clothing I woke up in.

    - No one tells you how interesting De Kalb is. It's an old industrial town, old agricultural town, an exurb...explore it.. every part of it.

    -Secret (at least when I was there): the quicket way to get to the shopping strip is to take Anne Glidden up to Dresser over to First Street, then down Bethany to IL-23. You can avoid all the stupid Hillcrest speed humps and the highly enforced 30 mph speed limit.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Hceux's avatar
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    illinoisplanner, you've been given some good advice already.

    Here are a few more thoughts to consider:

    - don't quit school on the ground of feeling so despair. You may feel so overwhelmed with schoolwork, social life, family life, friends at college and at home from high school, etc. Just stay around until at least the first term. By Christmas, you'll realize that you can make it through a term! A term at a time is what I sometimes had to think to myself.

    - take some interesting classes and classes that are a little bit out of your realm of interests because you may find something else that interests you.

    - do meet lots of people whenever you can: in the rez, in the cafeteria, in the library, in clubs, in classes, in tutorials/labs, etc.

    - don't sit at your apartment talking to everyone on ICQ/MSN/AIM when you can do it in person! (Here's one exception: when everyone's studying and you need a quick help online or something like that).

    - consider using the library to get information from the textbooks, instead of buying big bucks for the textbooks from the bookstore. If you cannot, then consider buying a second hand copy, but be very sure that it's the correct version - my tip is that don't buy the book until you have a copy of the syllabus/course outline that specifically states the exact version of book that you need for the class.

    - if you're on scholarship and worry about maintaining your average to keep it for the years that you're doing college, then try to learn what are some of the bird courses - or even better shop around by dropping into a bunch of different classes to get a feel of the instructor and the course - so that you can have better luck of achieving a good mark in that class. But balance these bird courses with courses that you are require to take.

    - do advocate for yourself when you need help with certain subjects or tasks in your class. Ask the instructors, the TAs, other classmates, etc. They're free and that's why they have office hours. This can be a way for you to network too.

    - take advantages of services like the Writing Centre that helps you with your writing as we all can improve our writing styles for various assignments.

    - do think about going abroad. If you need financial assistance to go abroad, do think and research about financial aid for studying abroad because travelling is a whole different kind of education.

    - do remember to have fun! And to set aside some personal times for yourself and for no one else.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Also, what are some things about college that absolutely no one tells you that you should know, how did you like college, and how soon did you know you wanted to be a planner. I knew at age 16.
    This advice mostly applies if you're at a big school, which I guess NIU is:

    1) Look through the list of student organizations; pick 2 or 3 that you're interested in and attend as many of their meetings/activities as you can. I think this is the best way to make friends and avoid the face-in-the-crowd feeling that you can get on a big campus.

    2) Get that cute girl/guy's phone number! It might be months before you see them again.

    When I was 16, I knew I wanted to party and not much else That was a fun part of college too, but don't choose your friends based solely on a shared desire to get drunk and hook up. The people you meet at the Bicycle Club or the Planning Students Association will probably turn out to be better friends than the guy down the hall with a fake ID.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Greenescapist's avatar
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    Good luck and enjoy college. Work hard, play hard is a good attitude to take going in. You'll see people who only get the play hard part and, guess what?, they don't always come back after winter break.

    I wish someone told me not to take myself too seriously and go with the flow. Join clubs, try new things and put yourself out there. You get so many opportunities to do new things in college- it's terrific. The best thing I did in undergrad was travel a lot. You won't have a lot of money, but you have an insane amount of time off and probably don't feel the need to stay in fancy places. Go on lots of trips. I did a study abroad term in Europe and it was the best thing I've ever done. I think everyone should spend a term in another country- you'll never regret it and will have great memories.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Hmmm I guess you're an undergrad too eh? Interesting.... although I'm doing geography, since there is no UP undergrad here....and well... enjoy! Besides that I can't give much advice since I'm in a completely different system here.

  10. #10
         
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    Uhgugh all these posts made me wish I was back in school!! I would say the single most important thing (well besides getting an education) is to have fun, enjoy every minute of it because there is no time in your life that will be quite like college.
    I also recommend getting very involved, its a great way to make connections and its a great way to keep morale up when things get tough (finals, etc...)
    Congrats on your first day of school, enjoy it!!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Queen B's avatar
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    Lots of great advice!

    If there is ever a time when you feel like you may be in over your head, look around the room and ask yourself " Do the rest of these people look smarter than me?"


    Chances are they are not a bit smarter than you.

    You will have weird dreams about missing finals and not being able to find your class room. It is all normal.

    Good Luck!
    It is all a matter of perspective!!!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    This was a good book that helped me:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...=UTF8&v=glance

    Remember that the most important thing is to be yourself. If you can do this you will meet people that share with similar interests and you'll have a great time. There's a time for partying but be careful. Too many kids get caught up in the party scene and miss out on so many opportunities to do really cool stuff. Looking back on my own excperience I wish i studied abroad.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    keep an open mind about people and things you are not acustomed to. just because it's different doesn't mean it's wrong.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Wow!! Big reaction. Thanks everyone for the helpful advice and replies.

    Quote Originally posted by boiker
    Stuff that you should remember to do at college:

    -get into the tunnels under campus and travel from Founder Library, into the campus police station, into the Computer Sci/Psych building and finally exit near the "well" in the grassy area in front of DuSable Hall. There are two sets of tunnels.. one for west campus.. one for east campus.

    -Make sure to get really drunk and stumble around Eco park preferabbly on a very foggy night. Don't fall in the pond in eco park. The mud will go up to your shins.

    -Don't trust any drivers on Anne Glidden.. at all. in fact.. just skip going to class all together.. it's too dangerous to cross that road

    -The Huskie Bus is really a great student run Bus line. Use it.

    - I really enjoyed Prof Greene (urban geog), Michael Konen (soils), Prof Wang (GIS/land use).

    - Make sure to "ride the rail".

    - I got a job working in a dorm computer lab.. do they still have those? It leave for work by taking the elevator or stairs to the basement..in flip flops and clothing I woke up in.

    - No one tells you how interesting De Kalb is. It's an old industrial town, old agricultural town, an exurb...explore it.. every part of it.

    -Secret (at least when I was there): the quicket way to get to the shopping strip is to take Anne Glidden up to Dresser over to First Street, then down Bethany to IL-23. You can avoid all the stupid Hillcrest speed humps and the highly enforced 30 mph speed limit.
    Wow, boiker, didn't know you went to NIU. Very cool. Prof. Greene is awesome!!! And so is Prof./Chair Kremenec and Prof. Shuey. I think Wang is cool too, but haven't talked to him as much yet.

    Yes, Annie Glidden is ridiculous. If a student gets hit there (and it wasn't the pedestrian's fault), they should be able to go to college for free.

    Ride the rail...there's no train service is there? Or do you mean stair railings?

    Thanks for the access-to-23 secrets. Hillcrest speed bumps do suck.

    Huskie Bus?...I don't know, I'd rather get the exercise by walking. But it does seem like an efficient line, especially for foul weather...which DeKalb always seems to have.

    Dorm computer labs???...will have to check that out.

    Thanks for the advice, Huskie.

    I'm getting involved already like most of you told me too. You may not be happy with me being a College Republican...but at least I'm getting involved.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 01 Sep 2005 at 12:24 PM.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Good 'ole Illinois University - Dekalb (IUD). It has bee a couple years since I was back there. A lot has changed and many of the old faces are gone. You may get to meet Ken Bownen, though. He used to teach environmental/physical geography. Great guy. Very involved with the students. He was the reason I began to take more and more geography courses. He retired a few years back.

    Rich Greene was my graduate advisor and is an excellent instructor. He is another one that gets involved with the students. Andy Krmnec (correct spelling) was probably the most intimidating and brilliant professors I have had. He knows everything.

    Quote Originally posted by illinoisplanner
    Ride the rail...there's no train service is there?
    Sure there is. Wait until evening when one of the freight trains is parked behind The Junction. Pick a car. I would recommend a flatcar as the most comfortable. You might also try hanging onto the ladder of a boxcar or one of the thousands of coal cars that pass through. The train is a nice way to shorten your trip to downtown. You do want to get off before it picks up too much speed, though.

    A few other tips:

    If you live in the dorms, the East Lagoon is where you go at night with your girlfriend and a blanket.

    Try climbing onto the roof of Williston Hall. I went up there with a girlfriend to look for keys her brother had dropped when he was breaking his arm. He was drunk, which is a good reason to climb onto the roof, since the building is only about fifty feet from the campus police station.

    Get away from DeKalb now and then. We used to go to White Pines State Park if we just had a day, or to Mississippi Palisades for a longer trip.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  16. #16
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Good 'ole Illinois University - Dekalb (IUD). It has bee a couple years since I was back there. A lot has changed and many of the old faces are gone. You may get to meet Ken Bownen, though. He used to teach environmental/physical geography. Great guy. Very involved with the students. He was the reason I began to take more and more geography courses. He retired a few years back.

    Rich Greene was my graduate advisor and is an excellent instructor. He is another one that gets involved with the students. Andy Krmnec (correct spelling) was probably the most intimidating and brilliant professors I have had. He knows everything.



    Sure there is. Wait until evening when one of the freight trains is parked behind The Junction. Pick a car. I would recommend a flatcar as the most comfortable. You might also try hanging onto the ladder of a boxcar or one of the thousands of coal cars that pass through. The train is a nice way to shorten your trip to downtown. You do want to get off before it picks up too much speed, though.

    A few other tips:

    If you live in the dorms, the East Lagoon is where you go at night with your girlfriend and a blanket.

    Try climbing onto the roof of Williston Hall. I went up there with a girlfriend to look for keys her brother had dropped when he was breaking his arm. He was drunk, which is a good reason to climb onto the roof, since the building is only about fifty feet from the campus police station.

    Get away from DeKalb now and then. We used to go to White Pines State Park if we just had a day, or to Mississippi Palisades for a longer trip.
    Yeah, Greene is probably one of the nicest and coolest. Kremenec definitely has that dry humor and he can be intimidating at times, but is a nice guy.

    Definitely hoping to find a girlfriend here, thanks for the East Lagoon suggestion.

    And I would definitely like to get away from DeKalb. Never been to Starved Rock or White Pines and I would definitely like to check those places out. The Quad Cities is another place I'd like to venture to. The Iowa Machine Shed in Bettendorf has the best country meals ever, and would like to go back there again. I might also check out a concert at the Mark of the Quad Cities.

    Oh, and ride the rails...I already found out it has nothing to do with trains.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I couldn't agree more

    [QUOTE=Mountain Magic]This advice mostly applies if you're at a big school, which I guess NIU is:

    1) Look through the list of student organizations; pick 2 or 3 that you're interested in and attend as many of their meetings/activities as you can. I think this is the best way to make friends and avoid the face-in-the-crowd feeling that you can get on a big campus.

    With my UG program, I got more out of the activity I was in (campus radio station) , as far as contacts, experience and friendships, than I did in any of my classes. I still keep in contact with the professor that runs the station, as well as some of the poeple that worked there which is more than I can say for any of the people who actually taught me in a classroom there.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian jread's avatar
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    1. Remember that PERSISTENCE is the way to get through college. It doesn't matter how smart you are, etc. As long as you keep at it, you will finish.

    2. Remember that college is NOT the real world. You will graduate completely pumped up and ready to save civilization, only to find yourself 10 years later being fat, balding, paying child support and beaten down by the local government

  19. #19
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Go to as many parties as possible (without neglecting studies) and talk to as many people as possible at said parties. Don't worry about underage drinking, just don't be obvious about it when walking home.

    Do not have a TV in your dorm room.

    Shoot for a B/B+ average upon graduation....no need to stress yourself about assignments/grades...(unless As come easy to you)

    Go on roads trips with college buds (male and female) whenever possible.

    Make sure your friend base in college is not dominated by males...at least a 50/50 split.

    I didn't even know about planning until my junior year of undergrad. At my school, planning was only a Master"s program. I wish I could have gotten a BA in Planning and saved myself $40,000 of school debt.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  20. #20
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mendelman
    Go to as many parties as possible (without neglecting studies) and talk to as many people as possible at said parties. Don't worry about underage drinking, just don't be obvious about it when walking home.

    Do not have a TV in your dorm room.

    Shoot for a B/B+ average upon graduation....no need to stress yourself about assignments/grades...(unless As come easy to you)

    Go on roads trips with college buds (male and female) whenever possible.

    Make sure your friend base in college is not dominated by males...at least a 50/50 split.

    I didn't even know about planning until my junior year of undergrad. At my school, planning was only a Master"s program. I wish I could have gotten a BA in Planning and saved myself $40,000 of school debt.
    So far, I've done all those things, although I haven't attened as many parties as I would have liked so far.

    As far as the TV goes, I brought the stereo and my roommate brought the TV. Even though we decided to share these items, we just don't. I've found TV to be pointless at college, esp. with the Internet and all.
    "Life's a journey, not a destination"
    -Steven Tyler

  21. #21
    Cyburbian ICT/316's avatar
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    1. Don’t be embarrassed, swallow your pride, stop being stubborn and ASK FOR HELP IF YOU NEED IT! Get a tutor if you just can’t get the “Course”. They’re free.
    2. Have your priorities straight, seriously.

    Bill

  22. #22
    Cyburbian poncho's avatar
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    Introduce yourself to all of your profs. I believe that makes a huge difference in the way they view you. This also makes it easier to ask questioins either in class, or office. They usually don't bite, just growl.

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