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Bonnie Brown: The Incoming Ole Miss Student’s 15 Commandments

My older son Dennis and his wife Lillie have just become empty nesters. It happened when their younger son Bennett moved to the Ole Miss campus last week, following in older brother Andrew’s footsteps. Andrew is now a junior.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Through most of my career at Ole Miss, I dealt with students. If I could personally tell each student things that I think would be helpful to them in college, it would be these things:

1. Go to class. You’re paying a lot of tuition, so get your money’s worth.

2. Introduce yourself to your professors/instructors so they get to know you. Tell your professor that you enjoy his/her class whether you do or not. Find something complimentary to say. Google your professor. You’ll be surprised to learn that he/she likely has remarkable credentials.

3. Likewise, make friends with the students seated next to you in class. They are your resource for notes should you have to miss class, someone to study with, and someone who shares your anguish about the class. Get over your shyness. Your opening line to your fellow classmates could be “Where you from?”

4. Take care of yourself. You are in charge of you now. Yes, it’s difficult to get enough sleep and eat well when you have so much going on. Mark the calendar because after about 2 weeks into the semester, you’re gonna come down with whatever crud is being shared in your dorm, your apartment, your classroom. Go to the Student Health Center. They will help make you better.

5. Look out for others. You know what I’m talking about. When someone has become unable to take care of themselves, make the effort to help get them home safely so they don’t come to harm. Be their hero!

6. Be in touch with your parents and your grandparents. The grandparents will be even more grateful to hear from you than your parents. You don’t have to hang on the phone for long conversations but a short text with a “I miss you and I love you” thrown in will make you and your folks feel good!

7. Check the local weather forecast (there’s an app for that) and have rain gear with you always, a plastic disposable poncho works. Not only will an umbrella or rain jacket keep you dry, but it can also protect your computer, phone, books, etc.

8. And speaking of phone, get yourself a portable charger to keep with you. You will need it. When you arrive home, put your phone, charger, earphones, wallet, keys, student ID, etc. in a basket where it is ready for you when you leave again. This will save you lots of time hunting for these things.

9. Get involved on campus. Whether you’re interested in politics, religion, poker, whatever, there’s a group with similar interests as you. It’s called networking.

10. Be sure to look for ways to volunteer/pay it forward. You’ll be better for it.

11. Always have a back-up plan even if it’s to go bowling in case the movie is sold out.

12. Keep a calendar. Write down the need-to-know dates (withdrawal deadline, semester breaks, etc). Write down assignments, test dates, and any other obligations.

13. Be social but be aware. Enjoy meeting new people, but “vet” new acquaintances before you allow them total access to your life.

14. Pay for a roadside assistance so that when you have trouble with your vehicle, you can call on them rather than having to rely on your friends or worse, having your dad drive 3 hours to change a flat tire.

15. And my last advice is a two-parter: Everything in moderation and don’t do stupid stuff!

Believe me when I say my college grandsons have heard all this, ad nauseam. I just hope they benefit from it.


Bonnie Brown is a retired staff member of the University of Mississippi. She most recently served as Mentoring Coordinator for the Ole Miss Women’s Council for Philanthropy.

For questions or comments, email hottytoddynews@gmail.com.

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