As college freshmen head off to school for the first time, The New York Times asked six graduate students, the sort of Ph.D. candidates who "actually grade [freshmen] papers and lead their class discussions," to counsel the newbies on how to get the most out of university life. Here, a quick sampling of their best tips:
Diversify your assets
"Make friends with people who grew up much poorer than you, and others much richer. Date someone of a different race or religion. (And no, hooking up at a party doesn't count.)"
Cultivate town-gown relations
"Explore the town you're living in. Meet people who are not professors or fellow students. If you spend all of your time on school grounds, then it becomes too easy for the criticism from an occasional unkind professor or the conflict with a roommate to take on a monstrous scale."
Seek out research opportunities
"A curious, competent undergraduate can always find work assisting a researcher" and there's "something powerful in seeing how the right experimental or analytical approach can sort through a mess of observations and opinion to identify real associations between phenomena, like a gene variant and a disease, or a financial tool and the availability of credit."
Break up with your high school sweetheart
"You should break up soon because you are likely to break up over Thanksgiving, anyway. You'll give it an earnest try, but you’ll start to resent each other for forming new attachments, for not really 'getting' what it's like at your respective schools, for being the reason you’re both missing out on important experiences...."
"Start by scheduling a few Internet-free hours each day, with your phone turned off. It's the only way you'll be able to read anything seriously, whether it’s Plato or Derrida on Plato."
Accept your ignorance
"Be comfortable with the fact that you don’t know anything. Nobody does."
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