Editor’s Column: No Ragrets

As I reflect on my four years at Colgate, I can wholeheartedly say that I’ve made unforgettable memories and lifelong friendships. I have grown physically, mentally and emotionally at Colgate, but it is the culmination of my institutional education that transformed me into the man I am today. The following are my words of advice to getting ahead in the academic world, told through my personal, embarrassing anecdotes from my 16 years as a student:

Control Your Emotions: This is undoubtedly easier said than done. But rather than immediately acting on emotion in response to a bad test grade, an embarrassing class moment or a heated argument with a classmate, take a few seconds to collect yourself and analyze the situation. You don’t know how vital those few seconds are until you’ve already said or done something regrettable.

David’s 4th Grade Escapade: A girl in my class, let’s call her “Maggie,” stole my soccer ball and punted it in the opposite direction. In a fit of rage, I kicked her and we both were forced to pick up garbage during recess. Nearly 12 years later, I regret nothing.

Cheaters Never Win: Cheating gets you nowhere; just ask notorious cheaters Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong and Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner. As far as cheating gets you, getting caught can ruin your educational career and you will be forever labeled as a dishonest person.

David’s 7th Grade Lunch Detention: In March of 2009, Scarsdale Middle School was rocked by a biology homework cheating scandal. One student found the homework on Yahoo! Answers and sent the link to all his friends. I received the link, but believe it or not, I did not use it since I had finished the work early. Regardless of whether or not I used the homework guide, Mr. Gandelman sentenced all 20 of those who received the link to serving lunch detention. That was my first and only lunch detention of middle school. It was my birthday.

Health Comes First: Without a (relatively) healthy lifestyle, the other spheres of your life can break down. Some people eat healthy and others exercise, or you can be part of the small percentage of lunatics who do both. Especially now with the meningitis scare on Colgate’s campus, you should seek medical help, possibly from the nice folks at Community Memorial Hospital, if you’re feeling ill. With finals season around the corner, staying mentally healthy is extremely important. Colgate has a plethora of mental health resources, highlighted by the Counseling Center and its seasoned staff. 

Befriend Your Professor:  Professors are real people, just like you and me. If you go to office hours, it not only shows that you care about the class, but you might find that you have something in common! They might even throw you a few participation grade points because of it.

David’s Scarring Lecture Experience: During my 70+ student political science class, “America as a Democracy,” I broke out in a horrible coughing fit. Having run out of water, I attempted to discreetly leave the classroom. I was two steps from the safe haven that is the hallway when Professor Anonymous said, “Excuse me, where do you think you’re going?” I responded hoarsely, like Spongebob on dry land, “Water.” My professor scowled, “On my class time?” I gasped, “Please,” with what felt like my last breath, at which point the professor finally let me go. Getting called out in front of dozens of random students, many of whom were older than me, taught me not only about handling public embarrassment, but also taught me to bring a full water bottle to every class.

I hope my words of wisdom have inspired you to look at your educational career from a new perspective. Go through your academic career with no regrets and if you can make it at ‘Gate, you can make it anywhere.

Contact David Minster at [email protected].