This post is inspired by the work that @blackgirlproject is doing.
1. Meet with your professor to clarify your first assignment. Every professor is is different and you will get a better idea of what they asking for. They may be busy but this is your education to claim, they have theirs. As the first woman in my family to go to college AND as someone who is being trained to be a college professor. I know the power of such a meeting.
2. Never set your drink down at the party. Even with your best friend. It only takes one minute for someone to put something in your drink that can compromise your faculties. I don’t use the term date rape, because date softens the sexual violence of rape. However, in a rape culture you need to protect yourself and the culture needs to change.
3. If something traumatizes you, if you have a racist or sexist experience, tell someone preferably a professor or a therapist on campus. Keeping stories inside of you is harmful to your mental health. If you do not have your health, you cannot graduate. I had a hard first year with regards to my family during my first year at Mills. I went to a professor and let them know what was going on. Talking about it out loud helped. I had two part-time jobs and STILL earned a 3.5 that semester.
4. Make friends with girls. I know we are socialized to not like women. But your girlfriends will hold you down when your boyfriend/girlfriends/Lovers break your heart.
5. Send thank you notes to all the family members who do nice things for you while you are away. It means a lot to receive a call or a thank you note.
6. Party. I will never forget four of us packing into my homies BRAND NEW sentra and flying across the Bay Bridge to see the De La Soul show. We bonded that night. I did NOT say party all the time. I said party. Notice the distinction.
7. Think about your summer plans. Go to the internship coordinator and ask them for help in November. Then go back in February. These folks are busy, but they have the resources to help you. In my senior year I interned at VH1 because I was persistent and tenacious. Because of this internship and another with a smaller production company I landed my first production assistant job with Beyond the Glory. BTG was/is a documentary show about athletes.
8. When someone offers to help you with your career, thank them and take their card and follow up. I am not saying use people like a rug, because that is wrong. I want you to understand that college exposes you to social capital, which is just as if sometimes not more valuable than money. Access to people means access to relationships. Unfortunately, the world is such that people with institutional power may NOT talk to you if you do not know someone that they know. This is how institutional power works. I want you to understand it and have a language to describe it.
9. Keep a journal. It will help you process mistakes. Remember mistakes are assets.
10. Do not run up your credit card bill. Understand that higher education is a profit oriented system. The fewer loans you have when you graduate the more freedom you will have with choosing a career.
I hope this helps you little bear.
All the best.
To my readers, is there anything else that you would add to this list?