Senior Send-Off: Advice from an Alum

For today’s senior send-off, alum Natalie Krafft takes a look at her freshman year in college as a music education major. Below, she lists 100 things she learned in her freshman year, from practice strategies to life advice.

Here is a list of 100 things that I have learned since coming to college. Hopefully they’re useful, or at least slightly humorous.

  1. You can indeed stay up till 6 in the morning and still make it to your 8 am class the next day. But should you do it every night? NO.
  2. Mom’s pho is beyond comparison no matter where you go so you should just give up.
  3. Seeing a dog on campus will make every college student excited.
  4. I actually need to feed myself? Without my parents telling me what? Or when? So should I eat healthy? YES.
  5. I only practice the days I eat. You only study on the days you eat as well.
  6. Do NOT study or do homework in your bed you’ll just either fall asleep or get distracted.
  7. Socialize. For God’s sake go outside, get some fresh air, take a walk, talk to a dog and their owner when you see them just get out and do something.
  8. You will miss your siblings; no matter how much you don’t want to admit, you will.
  9. You will also miss your parents.
  10. Food is a pretty good way to make friends, but it’s not the only way.
  11. Take out the trash consistently, otherwise it piles up and smells weird, which is unappealing.
  12. Brush. Your. Teeth.
  13. Don’t show up to class when you’re sick because you don’t want to be that kid that starts the music building flu.
  14. But also show up to class because when you’re sick because you only have so many absences each semester.
  15. If you do get sick, take your medicine and have some bone broth.
  16. It’s okay to spend thirty minutes of your practice time crying by yourself in the practice rooms.
  17. It’s also okay to cry to your piano teacher because he’ll give you some tissues before you leave and tell you that things will turn out okay.
  18. Those things you cried about to your teacher? They turned out okay, like he said.
  19. Do your work. Don’t be a flake. You’ll be more likable.
  20. Make some online friends, they’re actually really neat to talk to. Just avoid the creepy pervert ones.
  21. Find your music niche, it’ll make college and life just that much more enjoyable.
  22. Keep in touch with a few friends in high school; it’s nice to hear that your legacy still lives on or that they got some epic scholarship to their dream school.
  23. If you have a friend who is lactose free, find them some ice cream that is lactose free, they need it.
  24. Always buy your cookie dough without eggs so you can devour as much of it as possible in one sitting without getting sick the next day.
  25. You do need time to recharge, believe it or not.
  26. Sometimes rainy days aren’t that bad…
  27. Listen to every song or artist recommendation you get.
  28. Find some comedians.
  29. Find some study buddies.
  30. Barter. Need an accompanist? Cool, because I need a music theory tutor.
  31. It’s good to be nervous for your performance– just learn to harness those nerves for good.
  32. Practice. Your. Scales. And. Hanon. Every. Day.
  33. Being yourself is so much easier than someone else. So be unapologetic.
  34. Set three alarms for everything. 30 minutes before, 15 minutes before, and 10 minutes before.
  35. Keep a journal for whatever you want. I have three. One for when I practice, one for my own personal stuff, and another for health.
  36. Text your long-distance friends who are also in college and whine about not having good Asian food where you live because they won’t have good Asian food where they live too and it’s just fun to text them.
  37. If you dislocate your knee, don’t use stairs.
  38. Think before you buy.
  39. Find a show that you click with. The kind of show where you get excited to watch and re-watch over and over again. Make it funny too.
  40. That online friend you made? Trust them more, it’ll make life easier.
  41. Sometimes skipping class is okay, you need a break sometimes.
  42. Have integrity.
  43. Know what integrity really means.
  44. You will trip and fall, but regardless of how hard you fall it doesn’t matter. What matters is how you get up and keep going.
  45. Take. Naps.
  46. Be honest in what you can or cannot do. Don’t overestimate or underestimate yourself.
  47. Bring your stuffed animals, there is no shame in doing it.
  48. Do NOT leave food on the floor in your room; you will get ants.
  49. Answer all of your parent’s phone calls.
  50. Take plenty of pictures of your pet because you will miss them so much.
  51. You don’t need as many clothes as you think you do, so save the hassle and bring only the things you actually wear, plus a few spares.
  52. Bring a backup phone charger with you everywhere you go.
  53. Bring ear buds everywhere you go.
  54. If you go anywhere off campus bring a buddy. As nice as people are, there are still bad people out there so be safe. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations if you can help it.
  55. Keep. Your. Room. CLEAN. Please! Please! Please! A clean room makes an easy life.
  56. Be able to communicate with your roommate.
  57. Your RA is there to help you, talk with you, and listen to you.
  58. Ask older, more experienced students for advice. They’ll tell you things you wouldn’t have known otherwise.
  59. Ratemyprofessor is a Godsend, so use it. It’s at least 60% accurate.
  60. Trust yourself.
  61. Try at least one thing that you’ve never done in your life while you’re in college (as long as it’s legal).
  62. Death and suicide jokes are only funny for the first week of college, after that it gets a little too overdone, and a tad bit too personal for some. Be respectful of that.
  63. Keep as much bubble wrap as possible, for stress release.
  64. In keeping your room clean, laundry comes with that. Do not overlook that.
  65. It’s okay to be single in college.
  66. It’s okay to be taken in college.
  67. College is about exploring yourself, so get ready to do some uncomfortable self-reflection.
  68. It’s okay to break up with your high school sweetheart.
  69. It’s okay to stay with your high school sweetheart.
  70. It is not okay to have Ramen for every single meal for every single day if other options are available.
  71. If the only food you have is Ramen, then it’s okay to only eat that for every meal.
  72. Hydrate yourself. Drink water and avoid sugary drinks.
  73. You don’t have to ask to go to the bathroom! Amazing! Wow!
  74. Make friends with the people you sit by in those big lecture hall classes, they’ll be good study buddies.
  75. Also take classes with your friends or roommates if you can, that makes going to class less scary.
  76. When packing to leave, make sure you do little bits throughout the week, not all in one night. It’s no bueno.
  77. You may or may not have a smelly roommate, so brace yourself for anything.
  78. Hug your siblings before you leave.
  79. Do the dishes when you come home.
  80. When looking for jobs, call after you submit an application and apply a month before you leave.
  81. College will make you meet lots of new people with a different cultural, religious, and personality than you. Tolerance is a must.
  82. Support other students. If you know a senior is giving a symposium on something that’s related to your field but you have 0 interest in it, go anyways. They need that support.
  83. Go to teacher’s sabbatical presentations. It’s fun watching them nerd out over something they truly love.
  84. Check your emails in the morning every morning, so you don’t end up with 300+ emails in your inbox.
  86. Do any and all extra credit you can for any and all classes that offer it.
  87. Tutoring is nothing to be ashamed of. If there was one stereotype I could crush is that if you’re using tutoring, you must be dumb. That’s just not the case. Tutoring is something every smart person should do, especially if they need help. Asking for help should not be seen as weak, and it isn’t.
  88. If your bank account has no money, don’t go out with a friend unless you’re going to something for free. Just be smart with your money.
  89. ABSOLUTELY take naps when you can.
  90. Study throughout the semester for finals. Not during reading week. That’s just not smart.
  91. GO. TO. CLASS. Not because of the absence policy mentioned earlier, but because you will learn so much better that way.
  92. Put effort into everything you do; people will notice and remember that.
  93. Exercise at least once a week. It doesn’t have to be anything big like an epic gym session. Even a walk around the campus is good enough.
  94. Believe it or not, people are at different stages of life than you. Some are more skilled than you, others are less. Do not be the d-bag who puts others down for not being as good as you and don’t be the wannabe show off who tries to upstage the person with more experience. Know your place.
  95. If you have to or want to choose a meal plan for school, choose the cheapest one because you honestly won’t need the 21 meals a week plan; you’ll end up wasting it.
  96. Plagiarism is not worth it. Cheating is not worth it. Don’t do it. I’ve seen other students do it and it’s never a good day for them.
  97. Doing homework with others is never a bad idea either, as long as you’re all doing your own work separately. Having someone to check it and back you up on answers is very reassuring.
  98. Coffee and tea are both wonderful choices for caffeine, just drink both in moderation. You don’t want to go through withdrawals because you missed one morning cup of Joe.
  99. While wearing sweat pants and uggs to class is totally comfy and 100% worth it, don’t do it every day, and especially don’t do it on the first day because first impressions are still important.
  100. The most important piece of advice I can give is to take care of yourself above all else. Yes, grades matter, scholarships matter, but when your health starts deteriorating, that’s not okay. Physical health and mental health are both so so important; take care of that and you will succeed.