The day after tomorrow Mrs. G's beloved daughter leaves for college. It's a sad thing because her wit and sparkle will be missed. It's a happy thing because she has an obvious itch that none of us can scratch. The girl is ready to roll. So, happy and sad. Mrs. G. believes the word she is looking for is bittersweet.

Yes, Miss G. is moving on.

caitie move
She's moving up.

She's moving over.

She's moving across.

The chicklet is just moving if you know what Mrs. G. is saying.

So do Mrs. G's daughter a favor. What is the one little nugget of wisdom, the one little gob of enlightenment that you wish you had known as you went off to college? And if you didn't go to college, what do you wish someone had told you before you headed out to claim your independence? No kidding, what would have helped you out?

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Reader Comments (170)

Respect your limits with alcohol, girl. If it's 2 drinks or 5--quit at your limit. Nobody likes a drunk and it's dangerous out there when you're stumbling and blacking out.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGreen Girl in Wisconsin

I went to a huge state university, and what I wish someone would have told me is 'Get to know your professors.' At this university, you had no contact with them outside of the classroom, and I know I would have done so much better in my studies had I been able to/encouraged to sit down and talk with the professors about the different subjects I was learning.

If she is going to a small private school where she will automatically have the opportunity to do that, then never mind.

Either way - the other thing I would say is learn what they are teaching you, but always analyze the true meaning of the material as it relates to YOU PERSONALLY. Don't just regurgitate material in your essays - apply it to real life, share how it affects you personally, and don't be afraid to have an opinion.

Oh, and don't feel that you have to stick firmly in the tract of classes which lead you to your major; explore, try new things, be brave. (And get a good part-time job to help pay for all that extra tuition.)

And drink a lot of coffee.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren ~

When faced with a problem, don’t just consult your peers. Really they don’t have much more life experience than you do. Listen to the advice of a variety of ages and experiences before you make a big decision.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary Alice

Trust your first instinct.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBunny Bunster

Eat right, get enough sleep, exercise a little, don't drink too much, and stay in touch with your family.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShe She

Ask for help if you need it.
Study - there will always be another party.
Ditto green girl in wisconsin - moderation with alcohol.
Congratulations and have fun!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

You're allowed to actively dislike the people you're first set up with. Example: when I started college, I landed in a hall full of girls who came to college to Party. I came with lofty ideal and a desire to read. So just know that if you get a roommate who isn't your cup of tea, you get to stop trying after a while and just declare dislike. And it's GOOD if some people (not everyone, but some) dislike you, too. That says you have a strong personality and those always rub somebody wrong.
Good luck, sweetie!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMinnesota Matron

Trust that little voice in the back of your head... the one that sounds a little bit like your mother...

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGinaagain

Going back to elementary school here...use the buddy system. There will always be those moments you look back on and say "What was I thinking, that was not the safest thing for me to have done." You'll definitely have less of those moments if you try to always have at least one trustworthy friend with you. Also, I don't know how big the school is or if you're on/off campus but use the free shuttle service, no walking home by yourself late at night. My school had a late night van that would drop me off at my doorstep after those late study nights.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmile

Get some kind of internship during college so that you have some idea of what you might want to do or don't want to do after college.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy

A little notebook. I wish I'd had a little notebook as a freshman. With emergency numbers (mom & dad!), and how long to boil an egg, and a bunch of "love" notes from my little brother (it was hard not having him around to tell me what a dork I was).

If I had that little notebook, like a talisman of home, I may have made some different choices. Or I may have made all the same choices but not taken so long to call home about them.

Best wishes to Miss G, and your whole family, on this bittersweet day.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiriam

Make good choices in the people that you hang with. Make friends with at least ONE of your teachers. Seek out allies - then BE one!

Oh, and do your homework.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMrs. Chili

This one worked for me: I pretended sometimes that I was being watched on a candid camera by my mother. If she would think the show tawdry... I stuck around! If she would think the show horrid and turn off the set, I scrammed!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSaucy

Ooh, I thought of one more thing.

Try to get to know your professors (at least the very good ones) outside of class. They can be wonderful resources.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShe She

Get a credit card
Use it only a little
Pay it off IN FULL every month. No matter what.

You don't have to have it all figured out just yet. The rest of your life is long and there will be many opportunities to change your mind.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterBananas

Travel abroad!!!!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTricia

Be smart. Be safe. BUT..also explore, take reasonable risks, test your SELF out. And find a good advisor(s) for when you reach crossroads and need some help making choices.

I LOVED college! Blast off, work hard, and have fun. Looking forward to updates. But not in a creepy way.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Feet

Nothing is as important as sticking with your education. It can become tempting to slack off or "take a break," and four years can seem like an eternity. But sticking to it is the best thing you can do for yourself. I'll always regret giving up on it.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMemarie Lane

Miss G, I'm glad I read all the comments before I chimed in because I think they say more about our own experiences than about yours.

Because I know what I was like in school and because I know a tiny bit about you and your fabulous habits and focused goals I'm going to stick with my original advice and say, "Go to that party or out to have pizza with your friends. KISS THAT BOY! (Or girl!) Skip class once in a while and lay on the grass in the sun and laugh with someone you really like. You don't seem like the kind of person who is going to do the bad stuff to excess so I hope you remember to do it in moderation. You will regret not finishing that conversation with that fascinating person from the coffee shop for far longer than you'll regret getting the A- instead of the A. I wish for you all the things you see in your dreams and I wish for us that you come back and tell us a little bit about it."

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKizz

Never, EVER be afraid to call home and ask for what you need.
And MRS. G: Never, EVER show up at her dorm room unannounced. Ever.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCerwydwyn

Don't schedule morning classes if you're not a morning person and when they say that attendance isn't mandatory in a class, go anyway.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKristen M.

When your dorm hosts a lame mixer type party, GO. Take every chance to get to know new people. I met two of my BEST friends from college at a get-to-know-you beginning of the year type thing, one my freshman roommate and I almost didn't go to because we were "too cool" for it.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMeghan

Set the ground rules with your roommate(s) EARLY. You can get nicer, but you can't get meaner.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFannie Mae

Congradulations, Miss G...such an exciting time!

Mrs. G you've done your job well, cheers to you.

My advice: take what you know about yourself already--your strengths and weaknesses--and set some goals and limits for yourself. College is great time to have successes that you can draw on later in life and feel good about, instead of looking back and having regrets.

Go make yourself known!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMama Nomad

To NOT put off for tomorrow, what you can do today ... and, I don't just mean studying, school work, and chores. I mean, if you wanna learn to rock climb, just do it. Itching to knit? Itch away! Hungry to learn some new recipes? Cook away!

Life is short. Live today.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterso NOT cool

Explore, try out your new wings, call home regularly.


September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersee you there!

All of the above plus ...

If you are given the opportunity to give someone an opportunity,take it.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Learn/explore absolutely everything you can - the whole world is awesomely cool and amazing!!
Avoid things that'll hinder that exploration (alcohol, small-minded people, judgement...)

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMamaMo

Listen to that little voice in your head; it is almost always right. Best of luck Miss G, and don't be a stranger to your mama!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMental P Mama

No matter how independent you want to be, do not use that credit card that you just got in order to "build credit". Not for food, not for clothes, not for repairing your car or buying gas to go home. IT'S NOT WORTH IT! IT WILL ERASE YOUR BRAIN CELLS!! Ask you parents, they'll probably still be eager to help out their baby girl.
Also, nap often. Those naps will have to last you the rest of your life. Also, avoid summer jobs if you can. You'll miss your summers when you have to start working full time.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

I agree wholeheartedly with Mary - do not, under any circumstances, get a single credit card. And do not let anybody ever tell you that student loans are easy enough to pay off - live like a student while you are a student so that when you actually get a paycheck, you won't end up paying 1/2 to your student loan debt every month for the rest of your life!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFRK

Use whole milk and real butter when making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. And bacon bits too. And follow all of the above advice - it's good stuff.

Mrs. G. - are you hanging in there?

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTina

1. Don't declare your major right away. Take classes that interest you and go from there.
2. I agree with Green Girl and I was a partier.
3. Take as much in as you can, experience wise. Try a semester of summer session in a different country.
4. Take the summers off. I didn't and I wsh I had.
5. If you and your roommate are from different planets, don't completely write her off but you don't have to spend every waking moment together.
6. Choose your friends, don't let them choose you.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterscargosun

I got a practical business degree, and went to work for a no-nonsense bank. I wish someone had told me while I was still in college that you can work for a non-profit, make enough money to live on, and maybe change the world in the process. I would have had a very different career path.
(And yes, I got away from the horrible, evil bank and now am in non-profit. TEN YEARS after graduating.)

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLucy Arin

Don't forget to call your mother-regularly. This is harder on her than it is on you. She loves you and will have a little ache she can't quite figure out while you're not there-it's a tiny little wound from where the cord was cut.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRudee

Find those last few photos your mother posted and BURN them before you bring any college boys home for a visit!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Don't be afraid to call your mom and ask for help. That's what she's there for.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterthe MomBabe

I'm not just saying this for Mrs. G's benefit. Really.


You don't have to call every day. You don't have to tell every detail. But call.

But your mother wants to hear from you. That you are okay, you are having fun, you cried last night, that calculus sucks, or you need to know what temp to wash your socks on. Whatever it is, just call.

My mistake was not calling my mother more often. I didn't want her to think I was dumb, or couldn't handle it or was homesick (I was, terribly). I wanted to be a "big girl" and that meant going it alone and not ever calling because adults handle everything on their own. Like adults.

It doesn't matter how old you are or how grown up you are, every once in a while you're going to need your mommy. It's nothing to be ashamed of and you're mother won't think you're a ninny. She'll love you for it.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterG fan

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Keep on being you Miss G.
It is a time when people are trying to find themselves. But don't forget where you are while everyone else is looking.
And enjoy it. Do the stuff you want to.
Yipee. hurrah to new beginnings

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHerImperialMajesty

Miss G.: Savor every moment. College is so dang cool, in so many ways. And even as you move away physically, stay close in spirit to your mom.

Mrs. G.: Good job. You've prepared and are sending a wonderful woman out into the world to represent. We need her.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCheri @ Blog This Mom!

awe, it must be bittersweet to see her go!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter...love Maegan

I agree with FRK and Mary on the credit card & student loans...they speak the truth!! Please, please don't find this one out the hard way.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTammy

Oh, what an awesome time in your life! Congratulations to Mrs. G for getting her baby there in such great shape, and WOOOF to Miss G - (or is it Ms. G now?)

Have a wonderful time starting official adulthood!!!

I wish somebody had told me to take it slowly, savor what I'm doing, and explore all the opportunities I'm given (not take them all, mind you, but take time to consider them at least - you may never have as many opportunities to reinvent yourself repeatedly).

Also, pets are great, but don't get a pet, because it makes that spontaneous trip to follow a great band for a week or drive to Los Angeles or take that trip to Japan harder.

I guess what I mean is: Have a GREAT ADVENTURE of a life!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRebekah

oh, well, that's your title so, yeah. Here's my 2cents: Stay true to yourself and your dreams no matter what anyone {especially boys} say or do. DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE BUT YOUR HEART!!! Everything else is wrong :)

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenter...love Maegan

All good advice, it's hard to think of anything new.

(I'm big on getting enough sleep and eating well. It's hard to do in school, but it does wonders for your well being.)

Have a splendid time. I'm hoping there's a guest post in the winter, when you come home.

Best of luck to you.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Milton

don't lose YOU, but stretch yourself as much as you can. .and that real butter/mac/cheese/bacon bits comment? right on!! and avoid ramen, oh please oh please! let everyone know that care packages mean the world, they really will.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterherM

Freedom is sweet, but it is sweetest without a hangover. It's also more fun and a whole lot safer. (It only took me one night of wishing I could have my stomach pumped to give up ever again drinking to get drunk.)
Everything in moderation--and that includes studying!
Be careful of those guys out there who are eager to take advantage of a girl. They seem nice enough until you tell them "no." Tell them "no" anyway -- real men don't act like jerks when they hear that word.
Buddy system is where it's at! As a confident young woman, you will want to pooh-pooh it as an unnecessary safety precaution. But it's smart, so please use it!

And if you ever hit a point where you feel like you need a break? It's okay to take a break.

College is a stretching experience, but judging from your limber poses in those pictures, you will do superbly well!

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterkcinnova

Holy cow I could write a whole SERIES of posts on what I wish I'd known when I went to college. Some have already been addressed here.
So in choosing from a random list, I'll just say that you should know that all sophomore, junior, and especially senior guys refer to freshman girls as "fresh meat." Miss G is a particularly beautiful and intelligent girl (far more so than yours truly) and will be much sought after for legitimate reasons as well as illegitimate. Just be careful sweetie. I'm sure that Miss G has far better judgment and discerning abilities than I do. But knowledge is power.I'm blogging anonymously today because I'm on a borrowed laptop, but it's Janet who has left the beloved 32-aker woods for the beach for a week.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

A fellow student my senior year declined to sit in the back of the class with our "group" stating, he was paying for a front row seat and he planned on using it. I sure wish I had that attitude throughout college, I would've gotten a lot more out of my classes.

September 16, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

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