“What is some advice that college students are never likely to hear?”

This was a question on Quora. Some of the responses (from an M.I.T. admissions counselor) made me laugh, or that made me think, “Yes, I wish someone had told me that.”

A few examples:

In college more than ever before, songs will attach themselves to memories. Every month or two, make a mix cd, mp3 folder, whatever – just make sure you keep copies of these songs. Ten years out, they’ll be as effective as a journal in taking you back to your favorite moments.

And in a similar vein:

Take a lot of pictures. One of my major regrets in life is that I didn’t take more pictures in college. My excuse was the cost of film and processing. Digital cameras are cheap and you have plenty of hard drive space, so you have no excuse.


Adjust your schedule around when you are most productive and creative. If you’re nocturnal and do your best work late at night, embrace that. It may be the only time in your life when you can.


At least a few times in your college career, do something fun and irresponsible when you should be studying.

Hmmm. I think most 18-20 year-olds will do this without being told 🙂

Welcome failure into your lives. It’s how we grow. What matters is not that you failed, but that you recovered.


Take some classes that have nothing to do with your major(s), purely for the fun of it.


In the long run, where you go to college doesn’t matter as much as what you do with the opportunities you’re given there.


Writing prompt: If you’re in your first or second year of college now, based on your experience over the last 6-18 months, what advice would you give to a younger sibling?


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