My daughter is now officially a college freshman after she attended college orientation last week. I am officially brain-dead, because I was also expected to attend college orientation last week.

When I went off to college, my mother’s participation consisted primarily of waving goodbye as I pulled out of the driveway.

Me, I took off a day from work to spent 10 hours listening to lectures on what my child should bring to college, what classes my child should sign up for, what my child should and shouldn’t say to college professors, and how I really need to step back and stop micromanaging my child’s life.

The orientation planners scheduled the class on “how to pay for college” at the end of the day, when they knew we’d be most tempted to skip out early or sleep through the lecture.

Here are some things I learned at college orientation.

1. It’s really hard to sit for eight hours a day in windowless classrooms. You can get sore muscles. From sitting.

2. Even if you’re a parent, you still need to pay attention in the classroom or you could raise your hand at the completely wrong time.

3. One needs appropriate footwear for walking across campus.

4. I do not own appropriate footwear.

5. It’s still awkward to walk up to a table full of strangers in the school cafeteria and ask if you can sit with them.

6. If you need to buy a college-branded T-shirt, wait until after orientation, because you could well wind up with five free shirts. And free plastic cups. And free stress balls. And free hair ties.

7. You can rent textbooks now. This is better than driverless cars and Amazon drone deliveries.

8. Dorm rooms have private bathrooms now. No more rushing to get to the showers before the hot water runs out.

9. Dorms have free laundry now. No more carrying around $25 in quarters.

10. Dorm rooms get cable now. No more fighting over the remote to the one TV in the common room.

11. You can never have too many Command hooks.

12. Read the syllabus. All of it.

13. Check your email every day.

14. Don’t text and walk.

15. A grant is not the same thing as a loan.

16. FERPA is not the same thing as FAFSA.

17. Dropping a class is not the same thing as withdrawing from a class.

18. If your college student cannot use a planner, THEY ARE DOOMED.

19. Faculty do not give grades. Students earn grades.

20. All students fail. The successful ones reach out for help when they do.


Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.