I made this list of instructions for my niece when she started college.

Pass this advice along to the young college women in your life.

Dear Niece, here’s a list of things you should know before you depart for the University: 


Directions for Drinking Alcohol

  1. College kids drink alcohol. You don’t have to. (Don’t even think of experimenting with drugs.)
  2. If you insist on drinking, don’t have more than two drinks at a time.
  3. Don’t drink around handsome boys. They impair your judgment as much as the alcohol does.
  4. If you drink, never drive.
  5. Never let any of your friends drive drunk. Make a scene if you have to, but don’t let them drive drunk and don’t get in the car with a drunk. Ever.
  6. I am always only a phone call away. When you need me, call. Any time, any day.

Instructions for Studying

  1. Study hard. You’re paying for this college education.
  2. Take courses you’re passionate about–think in terms of what makes your life happy, not what fills your wallet.
  3. You’ll have strong professors and you’ll have lousy ones. Learn from each of them.
  4. If you have a class you’re doing badly in, get a tutor; if you have a class you’re doing well in, find someone to tutor.
  5. Keep your GPA up. You have no idea how important it is until you want to go to graduate school!

Safety Hints on a College Campus

  1. Don’t trust everyone. Don’t be cynical.
  2. Always lock your car.
  3. Check your car when you get in.
  4. Drive with your car windows up when going through town. When you’re stopped at street lights, people can’t reach in.
  5. Don’t flirt with strangers; they could belong in John Douglas’ (Anatomy of Motive) book.
  6. Avoid giving strange men your phone number. Arrange to meet them in the student union or some other place full of people. Stay in comfortable surroundings until you really feel sure of him.


Guidance for other Studying

  1. Take as many offbeat electives as you can; they may open delightfully unknown doors!
  2. If you need money for a special event and you don’t have it–a concert of music you’ve never heard of before, a speaker you would love to see, a field trip to a new destination–Call me!
  3. Spend four years being serious about yourself, not anyone else. You’re fundamentally what matters. Until you’re taken care of, you cannot take care of others.

Other College Survival Advice

  1. Develop an exercise regime. Physical movement and a good sweat make you feel better.
  2. Eat right. It helps your brain cells study.
  3. Don’t bother getting addicted to coffee–it’s not all we adults crack it up to be!
  4. Maintain a savings account; even if you can only put five dollars in it a month–the security will mean everything to you.
  5. Cursing doesn’t make you sound tough; it makes you sound angry and small. Remember, words are your tools to betterment.
  6. Cool is defining your individuality. It’s not driving fast, smoking pot, or having lots of boyfriends. Cool is who you are right now, already.
  7. Giggle as if you’re a three-year-old. They have the best fun. I saw that in you and your brother repeatedly. When you don’t have time to write letters, send postcards. Your friends & family miss you more than you know. [Cards beat out texting!]

Love & family

  1. Know that whatever you need, whatever you have questions about, your parents are there, they love you and will always give you hugs of love.
  2. Remember to email and write your grandpa. He loves you more than you’ll ever know–but you’ll always feel it in his hugs and in his kisses!
  3. Be aware of the world around you. Don’t miss a chance to watch the sunset, hear a bird sing good morning, or decide what the clouds look like to you. School is not all-encompassing, life is.

Share this bit of college advice with your girlfriends. I guarantee you that they don’t have an Aunt who loves you as much as I do—it’s simply impossible.


Aunt RoseMary


Read: Mother’s Good Advice

Different advice: Tips for Starting College