Freshman Dean Offers Best Advice For College Students

Here are 10 essential pieces of advice for college students from a Freshman Dean:

1. Arrive ten minutes early to anything scheduled.

It will decrease stress and give you the chance to negotiate any unforeseen issues. People will remember this. On the rarity that you’re running late, call ahead to the appropriate person.

2. There are no short-cuts to quality.

Know and fulfill your responsibilities whether for a course, extra-curricular, relationship, or job. Quality requires your attention and diligence.

Freshman Dean offers advice for college students

3. Be patient and listen.

Study and reflection lead to humility. You become wise because you realize that no one, including yourself, is omniscient and has a monopoly on knowledge. Realizing this also makes you more approachable.

4. If your “gut” reaction suggests that something is wrong, then listen to it.

It is your ethical conscience, critical mind, and values speaking to you all at once. Don’t stifle it.

5. When you feel irresponsible, guilty, or unprepared, common sense suggests that you are those things.

Do not delude yourself. Once you know, you cannot not know.

6. As you get older and gain more responsibilities in your career and family, avoid the temptation to exaggerate and whine.

No one wants to be around such people.

7. Diction is a powerful tool.

Use your words carefully. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Even if you have trouble expressing your ideas, keep working to articulate them better. Oftentimes, working to clarify a problem can be more useful than solving it.

8. Every day, offer gratitude to somebody – God, Buddha, Allah, parents, significant other, store clerk.

We are social creatures who learn from and with others. Acknowledge the “unannounced” teachers and interlocutors in your life. You are one to somebody, too.

9. Find humor in life – when you are studying, interviewing for a job, asking someone out on a date, or hanging with friends.

An intelligent and educated person need not be boring, cold, or dismissive. Most intelligent and educated people I know are funny.

10. To forgive a contrite person is to love him even more.

Don’t forget that sometimes we are that person seeking forgiveness from others and self.


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Robert J. Parmach, PhD, Freshman Dean, Fordham College, Rose Hill, New York. This post originally appeared on the Fordham College website and appears here with Dr. Parmach’s permission

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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