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A Maineiac

Mainer = A person who stays in Maine for an entire winter.

Maineiac = A person who doesn't have the sense to leave Maine after the 1st winter.

Crib Notes On College

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  • Your high-school reputation will not precede you. No one will know you as the jock/geek/brain/loser/spaz/prom queen/drag queen/guy who puked in gym class/etc. You have to start over to make a new reputation, but you get a clean slate.
  • Homework effort affects your grade, even if it's not checked.
  • Textbooks cost far more than you can imagine.
  • Teaching assistants have far more control over your grade than you can imagine.
  • Students who make an effort to talk to the professor/teaching assistant during office hours get better grades.
  • Your prof/TA will care about you if he/she knows who you are.
  • Pickles have no calories.
  • Pizzas do.
  • The laundry room is empty on Friday night, and weekdays between 2am and 6am.
  • There will be LOTS of people who are VERY different from you.
  • You will soon learn that they are also incredibly similar to you.
  • Everyone is scared and insecure at first.
  • The key to having a good roommate is to be one.
  • Pasta is a cheap, quick, and easy meal.
  • It will be very hard to stand out from the crowd in either a particularly positive or negative way.
  • For this reason, you can feel free to experiment.
  • There is a counseling center to help you get over the rough spots.
  • Homesickness hits almost everyone at some point.
  • Students who work more than a few hours a week get lower grades.
  • Persistent people can get into "closed" classes. See the professor.
  • Generally, no one will care if you come to class.
  • Generally, no one will warn you if you're failing a class.
  • If you buy your textbooks the week before classes begin, you will be more likely to find used textbooks while also avoiding the rush. Save the receipt. Don't write on them until you're sure you'll keep them.
  • Collegiate merchandise (sweatshirts, notebooks, etc. with the college name) is ridiculously expensive. It's intended to be purchased as gifts by your parents when they visit you.
  • Don't buy supplies at the college store. The local retailers will certainly have better deals.
  • If anything is making you so stressed that you can't function or want to drop out, GET HELP! Someone can help you, even if the problem is a lousy roommate or a tough professor. Things can be worked out, but you have to seek someone out.
  • Exceptions are made to almost any rule or regulation.
  • You are the consumer; you're buying a service, and you have a right to expect to be treated like the paying customer that you are.
  • "House parties" that charge for admission are never worth it.
  • You can wear whatever you want to class, or anywhere else.
  • Fire drills and false alarms will regularly occur in the middle of the night.
  • College personnel ("residence hall assistants") can and do search through college owned property in your room (such as your dresser or closet) but cannot search through your private property (such as a foot locker or dorm fridge that you own).
  • Take home everything of value over the winter break. College personnel can and do enter your room when you're not there and snoop around.
  • Friends will drop by your room when you're not there. Hang some type of message board outside your door for them to leave messages. (Small blackboard and chalk, write on/wipe off marking board, or even a legal pad taped up with a pen tied to a string).
  • Think about it before you purchase the full meal plan. Will you really go to breakfast each day?
  • You'll meet people more easily if you leave the door to your room open while you're there.
  • You'll regret it if you leave your door open while you're not there.
  • Giving away home-baked anything can only improve your social life.
  • No one will dislike you if you refuse to drink or to smoke or to do anything else you don't want to do. They will respect you.
  • You can be expelled for academic dishonesty (such as cheating) or criminal behavior. Expulsion from any school will end your college career.
  • Support staff are overworked and underpaid. Don't contribute to their misery.
  • Public colleges and universities are an unbeatable value. You will pay tens of thousands of dollars more for the same education at a private school.
  • Thank your professors for their efforts. A note of appreciation after the semester is over will certainly be remembered for a long time.
  • Professors can't write you letters of recommendation if they never noticed or don't remember you.
  • On the other hand, you don't want to be remembered as a suck-up or as a pain in the butt.
  • People will like you a whole lot more if you let them win now and then.
  • There is nothing wrong with sleeping during the day.
  • It's easy to become addicted to cable TV, Internet browsing, soap operas, or whatever else you didn't have at home but may get at college. Don't overdo it.
  • If you're not sure about your major, join the club. Nearly everyone changes his or her major at least once.
  • The best way to decide on a major is to take courses in a lot of different, interesting areas. You probably have to do this anyway.
  • Assignments, projects, rules, requirements and so forth may seem stupid and arbitrary, but there are good reasons behind all of them. Try to understand that.
  • The pain-in-the-butt security features of dormitory buildings (locked doors, etc.) are there to protect you. Don't defeat them.
  • You can usually apply for a student loan for the current year at any time during the year. Even if you didn't opt for a loan at the start of the year, you may be able to take one later. Check with your financial aid office.
  • Student loans are generally a very good deal, with low interest, comfortable terms, safeguards in case you have trouble paying, and are mostly deferrable any time you are in school full-time. It may make a lot more sense to borrow the funds you need than to tear your hair out or even compromise your grades by trying to work for them while in school.
  • Many banks have special programs for students, perhaps special rates or a package deal on new accounts. Ask around.
  • Before relocating to a school in an unfamiliar area, call that city or town's Chamber of Commerce and ask for a relocation package. They will be able to send you information about the area, local merchants and services, and so forth.
  • Another option is to visit your library and see if they have the local newspaper for that city or town. It's a great way to learn about the local resources.
  • See if the college or university has a Web site. Most do. Some maintain apartment rental listings and make them available for anyone to search online.
  • Many colleges and universities require freshmen or even all underclass students to reside on campus. Check your school's policy before you go apartment-hunting.
  • Underclass students are freshmen and sophomores. Upperclass students are juniors and seniors. Graduate students have a baccalaureate degree (have already graduated from college).
  • A "lecturer" is not a faculty member. He or she may be a temporary employee, a graduate student who is allowed to teach, or a part-time employee. He or she may or may not have a Doctoral degree, but almost certainly has a Masters. They almost always teach lower-division (100-200 level, freshmen/sophomore) courses. You may usually call these people "Professor" or "Professor Smith," unless they request otherwise. An alternative would be "Mr (Ms.) Smith."
  • A "professor" is a faculty member. "Assistant Professor" is the lowest rank, "Associate Professor" is the next level, and "Professor" is the highest rank. These are usually not meaningful distinctions, but only indicate the length of time that the person has been on the faculty. These people may teach courses at any level. They almost always hold Doctoral degrees, or the most advanced degree in their field. You're always safe calling these people "Professor." "Dr. Smith" is also an option.
  • Buy a box of manila file folders. They are indispensible for keeping your notes/bills/correspondence/papers/exams and everything else organized. Especially if you also have a small (two-drawer) file cabinet.
  • Don't let anyone criticize your taste. You have a perfect right to be yourself--even if it means being a Michael Bolton fan.
  • You'll be amazed how much the "rebels" and "nonconformists" all look and act alike.
  • A bad dye-job will grow out.
  • A bad tattoo won't.
  • "Home" piercings are likely to lead to infection. People can die from infections.
  • If you don't smoke, demand a nonsmoking roommate.
  • When making personal decisions, do whatever the hell you want. You'll have the rest of your life after college to worry about projecting the right "image."
  • There will be people with whom you share interests, no matter how weird or unique you think you are.
  • Your college years are your best time to experiment, question your assumptions, and try on different hats. Grow a beard. Grow your hair long. Or shave your head. Attend a religious service. Attend a pagan ritual. Try sushi. Become a vegetarian. No one will chastise you. These are your decisions to make.
  • Stand up for your beliefs. Join an activist organization. Speak up for your rights.
  • Remember that every other student has exactly the same rights as you, including the right to go about his/her business unharassed.
  • Everyone takes notes differently. Usually they are meaningful only to the person who took them. Don't rely on your friends'/roommate's notes. Go to class and take your own.
  • Finish all assignments ahead of time. Then you'll never be penalized because your hard-drive crashed (or some other catastrophe happened) the day before the assignment was due. Turn them in early, too, and your profs will love you.
  • Every assignment takes longer than you think it will. Especially if you care about your grades.
  • Take advantage of any extra-credit opportunity, even if you think you don't need it. Consider it grade insurance.
  • The single most important skill that will determine your success in college and beyond is your writing ability. Do anything and everything you can to learn to write well, and keep improving your writing ability. This effort will be repayed a thousand times over. Trust me.
  • The second most important skill is your speaking ability. In-class presentations are a good opportunity to hone this skill.
  • The most important things you'll learn in college are not in the textbooks. You won't even realize you're learning these things. They include tolerance, ability to work with diverse people, communication skills, analytical and critical thinking, open-mindedness, problem-solving skills, decision-making skills, self-confidence, self-identity, and a great many others.