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College Advice: Make Friends with Five Key People

"Try not to confuse independence with isolation. Successfully independent individuals make choices based on information gained from consulting with others in their community. There are so many faculty and staff in the college whose job it is to help freshmen make the most of college – don't neglect them."
– Dean of Freshmen, University of Rochester

Everybody's college experience may be unique, but here's one thing that's guaranteed: At least once in your college career, something will go horribly, terribly wrong. Black smoke spews from your heater, your laptop disappears – you do keep it locked, right? – or the registrar inadvertently signs you up for a graduate seminar. Now is the time when you want to have some friends in high places who can deal with your problems while you worry about papers, problem sets, and parties.

In particular, get to know the following people, then tap them as resources when you need them:

  1. Your resident advisor (RA). During orientation, you'll meet your RA, tour the campus with your RA, and eat dinner with your RA. Then you make other friends and lose touch with your RA. This a reminder that your RA is living in that large single for free, so don't hesitate to call when the toilet's clogged, your obnoxious neighbors are blasting techno music at three in the morning, or even when you just want to talk with somebody about your midterm.
  2. Your deans/advisors. Unless you go to the Paragon of Efficiency University, the infrastructure of college is a mish-mash of bureaucracy. Talk to your deans about your college goals and they'll help you make a four-year plan, tell you who in the college can help you meet your goals, and help you deal with any red tape involved.
  3. Secretaries. Secretaries know everybody. If you've got a problem, a secretary can tell you who has the answer.
  4. Your building super (if you don't live in a dorm). Things break. Fuses blow. Light bulbs burn out. Keys stop unlocking doors. Frisbees fly through windows. It's a good idea to know somebody who can fix things.
  5. Reference librarian. Research papers are hard enough without wasting time rummaging through the library. Have a reference librarian do your rummaging for you. It'll give you more time to actually write your paper. Besides, reference librarians seem to enjoy it.

Navigating Your Freshman Year From Navigating Your Freshman Year by Students Helping Students®. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FEPARENT.

More on: College

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From Navigating Your Freshman Year by Students Helping Students®. Copyright 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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