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10:00 10:40- ACADIANA
10:55 11:25- MACHINOTAUR
11:40 12:00- THE JUMP OFF
12:15 12:45- The Berner StreetHoax/AFLOG
1:00 1:30 TEAM DANK
1:35 1:50- Paul Zienty
1:55 2:15- Conner Clifton
2:20 2:40- Alex Ravandi
2:50 3:05- ATOM ASSASIN/IPV
3:20 3:50- MOTHS
4:05 4:25- THEY LIED
These are things I learned over the course of 4 years of being here at Texas A&M, in no particular order. These 11 tips are not laden with nonsense motivated by “tradition,” but rather, the things they nobody really tells you and can make your life much easier.
1. Get a VIP card. This is the easiest way to save money every year on food. They only cost $10, and you can buy these at Texas Aggieland Bookstore on University Drive, right next to Freebirds. This card has literally saved me hundreds of dollars in the past couple of years I have used it.
2. Try everything once, but don’t be afraid to say no. Yes, I will admit it. I have been to go two-stepping in College Station—and I enjoyed it (and I was wearing white Adidas basketball shoes). When I came here, I would have never seen myself doing something so different from what I was used to. But, there is something exciting about being completely out of your element, and it’s definitely good for you. As for saying no, if you know you don’t like something after trying it, don’t feel like you need to keep doing it because everyone else is. Also, everyone is molded with slightly different values on how to live life; your values have taken you this far, don’t feel like you need to forget how you were raised.
3. Avoid being in a relationship, but go on plenty of dates. This may be counter-intuitive, but to keep this as short as possible: the MAJORITY of people who are relationships can’t have nearly as much fun when you have a night out on the town with them. This goes ten-fold for when you turn 21. Being single will lead you to having much more fun, and I promise you won’t be lonely. Trust me. As for the dates, if you meet a guy/girl you think is interesting, ask them out on a date. You’ll start to see what you like, and more importantly, what you can’t stand. It’s not like you have to get married, but I promise you that you’ll never regret a bad date as much as you would regret not having the guts to ask them out in the first place. Besides, bad dates lead to amazing stories (and great stand-up material).
4. Buy your textbooks online, or borrow them from friends. The textbook game is one of the biggest hustles I’ve ever seen, and most people will just roll over and pay way too much to get a book that they will barely use. Trust me, you won’t need your book before it arrives with 3 days of shipping. Sometimes, you won’t even need the book at all. Ask around.
5. Find your own identity, and be you. For me, it was doing stand-up comedy. If someone asked me what I will remember most about college, it will be that I was able to start my dream job way ahead of time. Far too often, I see incoming students swooped up by (insert student organization here) and they find themselves forever associated with that group. Dare yourself to separate from large groups and be yourself. This may sound generic, but you have a passion. You love to do SOMETHING. You know exactly what it is. Pursue it. Why? This is the first time in your life when you don’t have anyone around to tell you that you can’t do something. Become relevant by doing what you love.
6. Challenge yourself. Why spend thousands of dollars on a degree that you will not be satisfied for completing, and will most likely not lead to you having a job afterwards? You know when you’re shorting yourself, don’t waste your time—or your parents’ money. Don’t be afraid to show the world (and yourself) that you have a brain.
7. Be ready to fail. You will fail at some point, if not many. How you respond to that failure will determine what kind of student you will be. You are going to see plenty of people around you fail and give up or be forced out. Don’t be phased by early failure, and learn how to be strong enough to rebound with hard work. You will also encounter people who are simply better than you in school. They will dominate everything with minimal effort. Don’t attempt to model yourself after them. Realize that being successful is going to take a lot of work, and plenty of sacrifice.
8. Be ready to sacrifice. What does this mean? For me, it meant saying, “Not tonight guys..I’ve got work I need to do.” You can always get sleep back, but you can’t take that test again, and you certainly won’t get a retry on that semester project. For everyone, the meaning can take on its own life, but everyone who made it through their college education can give you plenty of examples of how they had to sacrifice fun/leisure/pleasure by having to put school first.
9. All-nighters don’t work. Some people will tell you that they do, but they will also tell you that you are a zombie for that whole day. I’ve heard plenty of stories (and have unfortunately experienced myself) about students staying up all night, then completely drawing blank as soon as they got the test. Don’t do it. Study ahead of time. Procrastination is one of the most evil pleasures in any college student’s life. With that being said, caffeine can be your friend. Be careful though, caffeine is a tool that can easily become a weapon if it is not used correctly.
10. Play intramurals. We have one of the best recreation centers in the country, use it. There are so many different sports you can play, and intramurals is a great way to meet plenty of new people who enjoying the same things you do. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU SUCK AT SPORTS! Buidling a competitive mindset and team mentality can only serve to help you throughout college and the rest of your life.
11. Build a network. Right now, Facebook is the best way to go about keeping track of everyone you meet. By the time you walk across the stage in Reed Arena to mark the end of this chapter of your life, you should be able to scroll through your phonebook and know that you didn’t know most of these people when you started. Meet new people. Meet new people that are interesting. Meet new people who aren’t interesting. Be worth meeting. Talk to everyone in your classes, they can turn out to be the most important people you come across since they work on all of the same work. Everyone you meet is good at SOMETHING, find out what it is, and use the people you meet to make your life much better. Who knows, they might even work with you some day. I’ve always said that I’d rather be incredibly resourceful than just good by myself. If you stay true to yourself, the network that you build over the next 4 years will become a highly-evolved group of friends that respect you for who you are, and are willing to help you in any way they can. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
Oh yeah, party and take lots of pictures.
Texas A&M University, Class of 2011
Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/AlexRavandi