Wednesday, May 5, 2021

How to Truly Be College Ready

by Patrick O'Connor, Ph.D.

Graduate, here are some recommendations on how to spend part of your summer. College is about trying new things, and even if some of them may seem to have been around a while, they’re still new to you, and have something to show you. Give these a spin, and you’ll be more flexible than Gumby after a yoga class:

Movie You Must See Before You Go to College The Shawshank Redemption was overlooked when it was released the same year as Forrest Gump. Now it’s on demand. A story about forgiveness, second chances, and negotiating with the world, this isn’t an easy film to watch, but it talks about hope, determination, and always doing what’s right. It will give you the skills to manage Intro to Econ, eccentric roommates, and more.

Movie Clip You Must See Before you Go to College Call it cheesy, but the first scene in The Sound of Music is worth the two minutes and 22 seconds it will occupy in your life. All you see are the mountains of Austria, and all you hear is the magnificent voice of a young Julie Andrews. Success in college demands the ability to stop and appreciate that which is simple and beautiful. Watching this clip will also help you understand why your father (or grandfather’s) adolescence was complicated by having an intense crush on a nun.

Song You Must Listen to Before You Go To College The second movement of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp is the finest piece Mozart wrote, and its full potential was realized by Jean-Pierre Rampal and Lilly Laskine. Rampal started out as a pre-med major, but his heart had other designs, and he went on to become the premiere flutist of all time. This is a perfect piece to begin your discovery of “classical” music. Just remember, anyone who tells you all of Mozart’s music is the same has no idea what they’re talking about, and no idea how to listen. Keep that in mind.

Song Clip You Must Watch Before You Go to College It took less than two minutes for Ella Fitzgerald and the Manhattan Transfer to find their place in Grammy history with this rendition of How High the Moon. Your goal in college is to work this hard to make everything look this easy—and if you leave college without an appreciation for good jazz, your tuition was wasted.

Phrases You Must Add to Your Vocabulary “Absolutely.” Colleges are run by administrative assistants—veteran, organized professionals who have a way of doing things that works, and is older than Stonehenge. This method almost always works to your advantage, except at peak times every student needs help, and their system of order is on the brink of collapse. This is where you come in.

You: “I need to drop a class”.

Administrative Assistant: peering over glasses: “Have you seen your adviser?”

You: “Absolutely.”

You have restored some sense of order to their universe, and they will never, ever forget you. That’s good. Trust me.

Phrase You Must Delete From Your Vocabulary “No problem”. One of these assistants may thank you for doing something. The only way to get off their good side is to respond with anything other than “You’re Welcome.” Practice now.

Book You Must Read Before You Go to College How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill. Neither fiction nor a scholarly work, it’s like your Irish neighbor telling you the enhanced but true story of the vital role Irish monks played in restoring education in Europe in the time of Saint Patrick. You won’t read anything this easy or biased in college, but it’s the story of how modest people engaged in diligent efforts that change history will stay with you forever.


1 comment:

  1. Phrase You Must Delete From Your Vocabulary - "My bad." Do not use this phrase. Not only is it grammatically incorrect, it does not replace taking responsibility for an error. Instead use, "Looks like I made an error. How can we move forward?" "How can we fix it?"