Back-to-School: Advice I'd give myself if I were going to college right now

I’ve been sitting out this Back-to-School season mostly because I’m so far removed from college and my son is only three so I don’t feel sufficiently informed enough to offer any helpful advice to you all when it comes to gear you need in the dorm. However, some of us are old enough to give you general advice. This is assuming that you are a fairly tech savvy nerd – like we were, to varying degrees – and that you might be a little nervous heading school. Ahem.

My advice:

  • Join groups with people from all backgrounds. If you’re in CS, don’t stick in with the nerd groups like SCA or the Computer Club. Do they even HAVE computer clubs anymore? Try the school newspaper or the drama club. They always need guys who can make stuff and there are girls in these groups.
  • You don’t have to study computer science. Once you get to a cool, great school, you can swap majors. If you don’t like writing linked lists and, eventually, OS kernels you may want to try Information Systems or Business. I know it sounds like a cop out but it’s not
  • Don’t be one of those guys/girls who is against everything fun including drinking and/or smoking. Yeah, yeah, it’s all bad for you but the prissy, Victorian attitude you cultivated in high school will not serve you well here.
  • Try on plenty of hats but don’t be insufferable. I thought I was a Taoist in college. My buddy, who now consults for HP, was a Marxist. All the creative writing majors I went to college with are now working in insurance. Try everything but don’t define yourself too early.
  • Be the guy who helps pick up the keg for the party.
  • Live off campus ASAP.
  • Seriously, stop with the WoW already.
  • Dave’s advice (Dave never went to college):

  • Don’t blow off college. HR people go to college, and hence like to hire people that have gone to college and when there are layoffs, you’ll be the first to go.
  • Doug’s advice:

  • Just because Kool-aid is cheap and easy to make doesn’t mean you should mix it with Whiskey. Spring for some decent mixers.
  • Buy the second cheapest beer you can find. It’ll result in slightly less heartburn.
  • Jeremy’s advice:

  • The more boxers you own, the less laundry you won’t ever do.

That about covers it. Good luck.