I attended Brigham Young University in Provo from 2007-2011. I got my degree in Elementary Education, but I was briefly an Anthropology major with an International Development minor. I lived in Wyview my freshman year, Heritage Halls during Spring Term after my freshman year, Allred Apartments (1 block south of Brick Oven) until I got married my junior year and moved to Wymount Terrace. We lived there until the end of the summer of 2012, after my husband graduated.
So that makes me an expert.
1. When applying for BYU, ladies, don’t use your maiden name in your net ID. You may or may not get married while you are there, but if you do, and if you change your name, you won’t be able to change your net ID.
2. Move out completely. You are going to college. You are not grown up yet, but you will be when you graduate. If you are not going to move out now, when are you going to move out?
You probably need a place to sleep when you go home for holidays or summers, so don’t let them sell your bed, but you probably don’t need all your hello kitty stuffed animals and band t-shirts. Do you want to be the one who takes care of your things? Sell stuff, give stuff away, throw away stuff, but don’t leave it in your room and
3. don’t take it with you. I took way too much stuff to college. The following paragraph is going to be embarrassing. Deep breath. I took books, crafts, and yes, even toys to college. A lot of it. I had like six storage tubs of stuff, plus several suitcases. I used about 1% of it.
Yes, those books were all the books I was going to read in my leisure time. Ha. Under my bed are the six storage tubs that I never opened. But that I moved six times. Each time, I had to find someone with a truck. On the other hand, Bryan could move all of his stuff in the back of one car.
4. Hike the Y as soon as possible. Organize a group activity, take your roommates, ask someone out, or go by yourself in the early morning. Don’t be the sophomore who hasn’t been to the top. The trail head is running, if not walking, distance away from campus.
5. Think about an all-sports pass. It’s $115. Football game tickets are $50-75, Other sports are $5-10 per event.
I didn’t care too much about sports my first three years. I chose instead to sit at home and do homework (or get on Facebook.)
I was in BYU Cougar Marching Band my senior year, and so I went to every game. It was awesome. Way more awesome than homework.
Now that I have graduated, I miss BYU sports so much. I would totally buy an all sports pass for Heidi and Peter. (Yes, I am going to be that mother. I am going to college with my children.)
So my advice is get an all sports pass, but take into account that I am an alumna, and old. If you’re only going to one football game and a few other events, don’t get a pass.
5.5 Rent a locker and put snacks in it. Particularly a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of honey. While I was there, a locker costed $10 per semester, but it saved me that much and more in vending machines and restaurants.
6. Familiarize yourself with BYU Sports. All-Sports Pass or not, everyone talks about games in class, and it’s nice to have something to say. You don’t need to know everything, just the names of the players, their approximate skill level, and their approximate positions, so you have a framework to understand the sports talk that goes on around you. Oh, and educate yourself on the rules of football before you watch a game. It’s way more fun if you know what part of the field to look at. It’s also good to know what the athletes look like, because hey, they go to the same college you do. I totally saw Harvey Unga one time.
7. Sign up for classes according to professor, not a convenient schedule. My husband read BYU student ratings and ratemyprofessor.com. He found the best teacher for each class and worked hard to get in that class. He took several classes just because he had heard the professor was phenomenal. A few times, he took two classes at the same time block just to get a professor he wanted. (Apparently they only overlapped by about 15 minutes…)
I worked very hard to make sure all my classes were in a block in the morning. And when it worked out, it was convenient, because I didn’t waste time going to campus multiple times during the day. But I still wasted time… in those classes. There were some awesome teachers at BYU while I was there, but I didn’t take the extra steps. In the end, I paid the same tuition for a lower quality education. Lame.
8. Get a job during which you can study. I was always way jealous of the computer lab TAs whose job entailed answering a couple questions, walking around and pushing in chairs every 30 minutes, un-jamming the printers… and their homework.
You’ll probably need some computer skills to get hired, but that is what high school is for. Get your parents to buy the software and spend your high school years or summers getting qualified to get the jobs that will pay for your education and your young family.
9. Be very involved in your ward. From the start, be the first to talk to someone and be the first to organize group activities. If you are the one who organizes something, here’s a hint… you’re invited.
Additionally, BYU student wards are (socially) re-created every semester. Tons of new people move in and out, and the ward climate starts all over. You can be key in building the kingdom.
10. Seek out the best friends. You will become the average of the five people closest to you.
Will the best friends want to be your friend? If you are friendly, kind, and interested in their life, yes, they will want to be your friend. Make friends deliberately.
11 Be a good friend to your roommates. Do your dishes immediately. Bryan brought one plate, one cup, one bowl, one knife, one fork, and one spoon. And then he did his dishes immediately and put them away. A lot of roommate fights center around dirty dishes. You’re going to have to do dishes eventually; you might as well not make anyone hate you in the process.
Put effort into your roommate relationships. They are your new family, and they can make or break you.
12 Join a dinner group. I have been in two different dinner groups, and they are great. You make dinner once a week, and you get to eat free for the rest of the days. You also get really close to the people in your group, which helps you in every aspect of your life.
13. Find lots of ways to have fun without drinking. They exist, and BYU students for a hundred years have found them.
14. Do homework in study labs or during TA hours. This is my husband’s advice. He learned that if he did this for math and engineering classes, he finished his homework much quicker and got higher scores on it. He could get his questions answered quickly and sometimes he could check his work.
15. Sit in the front. You’ll see better, you’ll hear better, you’ll learn better. The teacher will get to know you, which is always a good thing. You or someone who loves you is paying for you to be in that class. Expend 5% more social energy and get as much academically as you can.
What will people think? That you are interested in getting a good education. That you place a high priority on learning. Ponder for a moment on the ridiculousness of thinking that is a bad thing.
16. Sleep on your papers. Just don’t drool. Plan ahead, like, a day, so you can read through your paper again with fresh eyes. Papers need time to rest, too. Sometimes after you finish a paper you are just so sick of it that you print it out and turn it in without looking at it again. Imagine being a professor and having a stack of barf to read through. And then coming to your paper. Which is not barf. (But drool!)
17. Use the writing and research center. Writing papers with help is so much easier than writing them alone. Swallow some pride and procrastination, and really do yourself and your teachers a favor. Writing a research paper all night the night before it is due, alone, without the use of the library, is a very sad and painful experience. The hour between four and five is the most lonely.
18. Take notes with your future self in mind. Use a little organization, a little color, and neat handwriting. Write your takeaways at the end of a day’s notes, highlight the most important parts. It’s like going into the future and giving yourself a high five.
19. Sample the entire world. On campus, there are infinite clubs. Join some, and you might find your new favorite hobby. When in your life will you be in a better place to experience all of that? Expend another 5% of your social energy and get yourself some really good experiences.
20. Participate in at least one study abroad or internship. Seriously. Do you really think you will regret it? If your parents want you to go, ask them to help you pay for it. If your parents don’t want you to go, then say you’re an adult, save up, and pay for it yourself. (You’ll probably have to pay for other stuff by yourself too, but it’s gotta happen sometime. Might as well see some cool places with your new found independence. )
21. Put a lot of effort into deciding on a career path. Don’t go in the future and kick yourself in the shins. Experience a lot of different fields, and get as much real-world experiences as you can (by signing up for classes with difficult projects). Don’t lay in bed and worry about making this decision; do research in the career advisement center, take classes, read books like the Pathfinder. At BYU, there is a certain point after which you cannot change majors. Bryan decided to change his major… after that point. So, instead of switching to something with computers or the internet (which is the field he is working in now) he got to finish out his engineering degree. That senior year of college is really difficult… make sure it is in the field you like best.
22. Sell all your textbooks as soon as possible. Most students sell the ones they don’t like, and keep the ones that they liked “for future reference.” The cold, harsh reality is that you will never look in them again. You will move them around during your college years, you will store them somewhere in your future home, and you will never look at them again. Maybe once. But really… these days (or soon) all of that information is going to be on the internet.
When you are busy raising children or in the workforce, reading textbooks isn’t high on your priority list. It wasn’t high on your list when you were actually in college, and now that no one is making you read them…
I hope I have convinced you to sell your textbooks.
If not, do this: buy your textbooks for the semester. Use them. Make a list of the ones you would like to keep. After finals, sell them all back to the bookstore. If the bookstore doesn’t take them, sell them back to bookstores around town. For whatever they will give you for them. The sooner you sell them back, the more you will get. Wait three years for another edition to come out and make your edition worthless (except to you.) Purchase it again for about two dollars. Don’t be holding the book while it loses value.
Bryan and I held them. We kept our favorite textbooks, intending to use them for reference later in life. Then when we graduated, we decided to sell them because they would take up too much space in the move. At this point, though, we got almost nothing for them. We really did get nothing from a few of them. Good times.
23. There’s no green grass anywhere. When I was in high school, I wished I was in college. When I was in college, I wished to be out of college. Now that I am out of college, I wish I was back in college. There’s no green grass anywhere, so stop looking for it and water your lawn.