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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Campus Guide: Leap over obstacles to win at college

    Editor’s note: This article is part of the Arizona Summer Wildcat’s 2014 Campus Guide. The Campus Guide is a special issue that runs every year to help introduce incoming students to the UA and campus life.

    To succeed in college, you have to become like an Olympic hurdler. College life is all about getting over the obstacles that suddenly appear in your path.

    You may believe that college is just four years of non-stop fun where the only downside will be the occasional hangover. I pity the fool who believes that, because there will be problems, downsides and disappointments, I guarantee you.

    Maybe you get a C- on that midterm you thought you were ready for.

    Maybe you see that attractive person you were going to ask out in the arms of your roommate.

    Maybe someone steals your wallet and then steals your identity and saddles you with their gambling debts.

    Maybe the freshman 15 turns into the freshman 51.

    Maybe you run out of money and have to be a pharmaceutical guinea pig to pay your rent, and the medications make hair grow out of your teeth.

    Maybe your boyfriend and your best friend elope in Las Vegas. Maybe your boyfriend and your three closest friends elope in Utah. Why do those places have to be so close to Arizona?

    Maybe that roommate, who seemed normal at first, reads “The Lord of the Rings” aloud in the original Elvish at 3 a.m. every night.

    Maybe you have assigned seating in the front row and the professor spits when he talks and has a no-umbrellas-in-class policy.

    Maybe your parents want you to be a math major but the homework is much harder than you expected, and you begin to feel you would rather get a root canal every day than solve another equation.

    Maybe your parents want you to be a philosophy major but … wait, your parents want you to be a philosophy major? Seriously? Better double check. They must have said psychology, and you heard them wrong.

    Maybe a freak protractor accident causes you to become blind in one eye, and as a result, you get cut from the curling team and lose your scholarship.

    I’m not trying to freak you out here. It’s unlikely that all of these things will happen to you, at least not all within the same week. I’m just saying that, although you never know what form they will take, there will be unexpected problems.

    Deal with it. Don’t waste a single second feeling sorry for yourself. Make a plan, reach out to resources on campus to help you get through those problems, as well as to friends and sometimes to family (although don’t expect your parents to swoop in and help you pass your organic chemistry final).

    If your major is not working out, meet with professors and department advisors to see if there is some way you can meet the requirements within classes that are manageable and interesting for you. If the major still will not work out as an academic and career path, don’t waste time being upset or bitter about it. Just find an even better major and put all your epic talents and energies into that.

    The same logic goes for jobs, clubs, friendships and relationships. When something goes bad, try to make a logical plan to fix it, and if it still does not work out, shift gears and throw yourself into something else. Don’t get discouraged or lose confidence or start smoking crack.

    Don’t let college just “happen.” Opportunities are not going to magically fall into your hands while you are sitting in your dorm room watching YouTube videos. You have to go out and get involved with things.

    If you are proactive and a self-starter, and if you can get over obstacles instead of avoiding them or giving up and running home to mommy, then you will succeed in college and probably in life.

    I’m a graduate-level student now, but I have been in your shoes and I wanted to pass a little knowledge down to incoming undergraduates. Whatever successes or non-successes I had in my undergrad years were based on whether I followed this advice: Learn to handle obstacles in a level-headed and productive way. If you do that, you are almost guaranteed to have positive college experience.

    Logan is a second-year law student. Follow him @AproOfNo

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