Senior offers Guilford-specific advice

When I set foot on campus for first-year orientation almost four years ago, my head was swimming in an ocean of advice from family members, teachers and students. My sister, for instance, who graduated from Guilford in May 2016, warned me about the College’s academic rigor.

“Guilford is a writing intensive school,” she said. “Be prepared.”

I must admit, most of the guidance I received at the time was accurate.

You should be mindful of your sleep schedules and eating habits. You shouldn’t let your newfound freedom go to your head. You should definitely study what you love.

But these tidbits of advice and clichés are problematic. They aren’t very specific or Guilford-centric.

In my four years, I’ve navigated classes, worked for Conferences and Events, studied abroad, written for, and edited, The Guilfordian and made an embarrassingly long list of mistakes. Hopefully, if you think you’re missing out on some aspect of the Guilford experience, I can offer some more concrete dos and don’ts.

First off, there are the things on campus that you should try before graduating.

A heavenly experience awaits you on the second floor lobby of Dana Auditorium, just outside the production booth and balcony. There you will find the coldest water fountain on campus. Though it sometimes has poor water pressure, that fountain has chilled my bones in the summer and refreshed my senses in the winter.

On a similarly off-the-wall note, I recommend that you take walks around campus.

This activity is a visceral one. Guilford sports a blend of natural wonders and urban sprawl that deserve more appreciation from students.

Additionally, I’ve found myself in plenty of unique situations wandering about the College’s walkways and footpaths. During a nighttime stroll as a first-year, I happened upon a student kicking a soccer ball by himself at the Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Plaza. He happily passed me the ball, spawning my first collegiate friendship.

On several occasions, I’ve been able to share meals with Guilford professors, both ones I took classes with and ones I didn’t. If you get the chance, I suggest you take a seat and spark a conversation. Our faculty is an eclectic bunch, and each one is full of stories.

Rounding out this short to-do list, you should spend some time in the Hut. A popular venue for classes and group meetings, the Hut is a quiet place one can congregate, study, meditate and worship. During the winter, you can even enjoy the warmth of the fireplace.

There are things, however, that students shouldn’t do at Guilford.

When practiced improperly, procrastination can be the bane of person’s academic existence. You especially don’t want to be behind before or after two big campus events like homecoming and Serendipity.

In my four years, I only attended Colorfest once because I was worried about schoolwork. Others feel the deadline crunch in the post-homecoming and Serendipity hangovers. I recommend you prepare for these events in advance and get a jump on those papers to save yourself the trouble.

On that train of thought, don’t put off putting in work orders for those nagging repair jobs on campus.

I’ve heard many students gripe about sticky desk drawers and dead fluorescent lights, yet they don’t do anything about it. You can save your complaints and spend less than five minutes completing a work order to fix the issue. The link is in the Guilford Buzz.

But there are also times where I recommend that you ignore your troubles. When you’re on break, be it spring, summer or fall, don’t do your work.

This liberal arts institution demands academic excellence, but that requires students to be on top of their game physically, mentally and emotionally. Taking time off every now and then is a surefire way to boost your health.

There is one corollary. Don’t work during breaks unless you’re passionate about what you study and learn.

Lastly, as an economics major, I believe the theory of diminishing returns applies to academic success. Sometimes, the amount of work necessary to earn that extra letter grade isn’t truly worth it.

Don’t focus too much on grades.

If you take pride in what you do as a student, you might find yourself getting good grades anyhow. But college is about learning and understanding, not about being perfect.