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Excerpt from How to Have Fun without Failing Out
From: Rob Gilbert, Ph.D
Subject: How to have fun without failing out
In September 1964, I began my freshman year at the University of Massachusetts Amherst . It's now the twenty-first century, and I'm a professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey .
I've spent the last forty-two years in college---first as a student, then as a staff member, and now as a professor. What I've discovered is that most colleges and universities offer courses on just about everything except how to excel in college. That's why I wrote this book---to help you excel. How to Have Fun Without Failing Out is your own personal course on college success.
It took me more than forty years to gain the insights and develop the strategies necessary to write this book I wish I had it in my hands back in 1964, and I hope my hindsight will become your foresight.
Don't go to class.
Don't do the assignments.
Don't take the tests/
Be ready to ask, ôDo you want paper or plastic?ö for the next forty-five years.
College is hard. If it were easy, everyone would have a college degree. To become a college graduate, you'll have to experience a certain amount of pain. You have a choice: Either you can experience the PAIN OF DISCIPLINE or you can experience the PAIN OF REGRET.
When you request a letter of recommendation from one of your professors, be sure to ask: ôWill you write me a great letter of recommendation?ö If your professor says, ôYes,ö you'll get a great letter of recommendation. If he or she says, ôNo,ö be thankful---you wouldn't want that letter in your file anyway.
Before you read another page in any textbook learn the Survey Q3R Technique:
- S urvey the entire reading assignment---give yourself ôpreview of coming attractions.ö
- Q uestion yourself about the text. After every couple of pages, ask yourself: ôWhat is the author trying to tell me?ö
- R ead actively by underlining key words, phrases, and main points.
- R ecite key ideas. Stop periodically and recite from memory the main points the author is making.
- R eview the reading assignment several times before the exam.
Energy management is even more important than time management. Conserve your energy by getting adequate sleep, eating healthy foods, and using stress-reduction techniques.
At some point during the first three weeks of school, spend twelve hours in a room reading and reviewing your textbooks and notebooks. Take bathroom and food breaks only---no phone calls, radio, computer, television, or friends---just you and your books. Most students think this is impossible. Once you do this exercise, you'll have new respect for your academic endurance, and studying for two hours a day will be cake.
Instead of choosing a course based on when it meets, choose your courses based on the professors with the best reputations. Some students wouldn't take a course on religion at 8:00 AM even if were taught by Professor J. Christ!
Many students only visit their professors when they want to complain about their grades. DON'T DO THIS! Do you want your professor to see you as a whiner or a winner?
Trust me: For your first semester in college, DO NOT have a friend from home as your roommate.
You may be an ôAö Student with fabulous references, but if you have a bad credit rating, there's a good chance you won't get the job you want after college. (Your credit score shows the world how responsible you are.)
The most interesting people may not always be the best looking.
No one would buy a pair of shoes without trying them on, so why do so many graduates go into a profession without first ôtrying it onö? For example, if you want to be an accountant, do an internship or co-op in an accounting firm. Get a part-time job with an accountant. If nothing else, volunteer to work in the field.