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  • Make sure you are interested in a career that requires college in the first place. If you're not going into a the 'professions' or into academia, you might not need college.
  • Consider going to a two-year community college and then transferring to a 'name' university. You'll be glad you didn't max out your student loans later.
  • That being said, loans are still a better deal than work-study. The math is simple-- today the most you'll make as a work-study is, say, $8/hour. How much will you be making after college? So borrow the money now and pay it off later, when you're better paid.
  • Don't drop out, especially if you're on financial aid.
  • On a related note, don't be lazy about paperwork.
  • If you were misunderstood in high school, things will get a little better, but don't expect to have lots of intellectual peers with similar interests and politics.
  • Don't waste time on sports and student government. You won't get graded on it (unless of course you're preparing to be a pro-athlete or politician, in which case go fuck yourself).
  • The greek system might be an archaic throwback of a bourgeois, sexist past... but they do get laid more often, and they do party, and they do form valuable connections with lots of rich bastards. So if you don't rush make sure it's because you don't want to, not your politically correct guilt complex.
  • Make friends with some profs in your field early on, and make sure you stay in touch. School is more than just grades-- you'll need sponsorship from them for undergrad research, and recommendations for grad school.
  • Do some undergrad research, but don't get too hung up on doing it in precisely your sub-field. What's more important is a lab where people are patient with undergrads and where you will learn a lot about your overall profession.
  • Don't get too hung up on what the other gender thinks of you. There are two things that can happen-- unrequited love, which will derail your academic career due to depression, and requited love which will derail your academic career due to distraction. The latter is usually followed by messy breakup which will finish off your academic career again due to depression. So just say the hell with them-- why wait to be disillusioned? Learn from others' mistakes.
  • Avoid computer games like the plague, especially Civilization.
  • The best part time job you can possibly have is a computer site consultant on the night shift. Second best is night library monitor. Third best is hotel night desk clerk. Fourth best is security guard. The common theme here is night shift, dig? Not much happens at night. Plenty of time for homework.
  • If you are in need of medical, or psychological, or psychiatric help, don't fuck around, don't go into denial-- go and get your problem dealt with by a professional. You don't want to get ill or suffer a nervous breakdown in the middle of exam season.
  • Start planning for the GREs early. Be the one who walks in fully prepared and cool as a cucumber. Yes, btw, you can study for GREs. Buy a Princeton Review book (don't waste money on their courses, though, and definitely don't waste money on Kaplan materials).
  • Every town has obscenely cheap living arrangements, if you investigate the matter (and are willing to accept some lifestyle adjustments). Dorms are never the cheapest alternative, and they suck for studying too.
  • ...much, much more to come.

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