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COLUMN: The dos and don’ts of a great experience: A senior’s perspective

Please do:

5. Go to class.

Remember you are here to gain an education, (among other things, of course) and you are paying for it. Would you buy a brand-new car and leave it in the garage? Probably not. Be smart.


4. Reap the benefits.

The University of South Dakota tries pretty hard to come up with some good programming and benefits for students. You are a student. Use them. From popcorn Fridays to Finals’ late-night breakfast, we’re generally talking free food. But it doesn’t end there. The university also provides outstanding lecture and film series throughout the semesters.


3. Take a class outside the requisites.

While there’s always that fear of not graduating on time, it’s worth trying to fit in at least one class that’s not required, or in your major or minor. This is a liberal arts college after all.


 2. Form a close-knit group.

It’s inevitable that during your college years, you will form many acquaintances, ranging from friends you get coffee with once a week to friends you say hello to in passing. What will often make or break a college experience is the group of close friends you form here. We all need to be able to invest our time and energy into a few good people we know will be there for us no matter what. When the stress and anxiety kicks in, you’ll need them, and they’ll need you.


1. Get involved.

I know  you’ve probably been hearing this since junior high, but it’s especially true in college. I guarantee you won’t look back at your time here and remember most of your classes or tests or papers or grades. But you will remember the countless hours you spent with the Spanish Club or fraternity/sorority and the friends you made there. It’s more than worth it.



Please don’t:

5. Sit in your dorm and play video games.

If it’s not Call of Duty, it’s napping or just never getting out of bed at a decent time of day. Especially as a first or second-year student — get outside! Enjoy our beautiful campus and talk to people. Live your life with people. Speaking of living, please don’t


4. Live on social media.

There’s a reason Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook primarily for college students. It sucks you in. There will always be the temptation to live your life vicariously through Likes, re-tweets and Instagram. At the end of the day, it’s not how many Likes you got on that clever wall post. It’s people. Live in the here and now.


3. Buy textbooks exclusively at the bookstore.

Although I’ve purchased my fair share of books at the USD bookstore (and if you shop smart, you can still find some good deals), it’s generally cheaper to look elsewhere. Try Amazon or Chegg or even Ebay. Either way, shop smart and make sure you order them on time.


2. Box yourself in.

While there are some people out there who were blessed by the age of four to know they were going to become a doctor, it’s not that easy for the rest of us. Even though it’s important to have a game plan, it’s also important to be able to compromise and let yourself experience different things. You never know what field you might end up in.


1. Don’t do what everyone else is doing.

First and foremost, it’s hellishly boring. It can be hard as a first or second-year student, but like finding a close group of friends, doing your own thing and being comfortable with who you are can make or break a college experience. You don’t want to look back at your time at USD and remember a perfectly manufactured and packaged experience. Make it what you want. It’s yours.