To a grandson going off to college | Cronin & Loévy | Content reserved for subscribers

Do not go.

Please don’t grow up so fast.

We love you as you are.

But if, despite our pleas, you’re still going to college, here’s some unsolicited advice.

Set high expectations, but reward yourself for reasonable accomplishments. Take what you do seriously, but try not to take yourself too seriously. Make room in your life for sunrises, sunsets, beautiful music, art, travel, humor, joy and love.

Here are some more random suggestions.

1. Use all your resources. Faculty, administrators, librarians, coaches, computer geeks, health center folks, residential life staff and others are all here to help you on your intellectual and social journey through the college or university. Never hesitate to use them. And don’t forget to thank them and the guards, plumbers and security personnel.

2. Face the reality that you can’t do everything. You cannot play college lacrosse, be the editor of the student newspaper, star in a musical at the campus theater, etc. Time management is essential. Choose your extracurricular activities carefully and then work to excel in them. Take Anna Quindlen’s advice: “What’s really hard and really amazing is to give up being perfect and start working on becoming yourself.”

3. Speak and participate in class. Sit in the first or second row. One of the most important things you can learn in college is the ability to speak effectively to groups of people. Also consider starting study and discussion groups outside of class.


Is Colorado Springs a paradise?  |  Bob Loevy

4. Going to college puts you in the biggest pool of people your age you’ll ever swim in. It will be easy to hang out with friends of your own political and spiritual leanings. Contact and get to know as many of your fellow students as possible across a wide range of races, religions, national origins, political and economic backgrounds. Broaden and strengthen your own points of view by striving to see things from the point of view of others.

5. Work on improving your writing skills for communication and persuasion. Every test, exam, and essay offers another chance to hone your writing skills. Be sure to provide evidence. Also, remember that perfectionism harms playfulness, creativity, and the liberating process of writing.

6. Don’t expect to automatically have a good time at college or university. Movies and television mistakenly paint a picture of college life as one continuous party filled with attractive young people who never seem to feel lonely or spend a lot of time going to class and studying. The truth is that many students are challenged both academically and socially by college life. And many students in America have to work, almost full-time, even to afford to go to college. Finding “your own” can take time, just like being a good friend takes time and sharing.

7. Teachers and coaches understand that when they hold people to high standards, they increase the likelihood that students or players will excel. A helpful mantra: “It’s never a shame to reach for the stars. What is sad is not having stars to reach.

8. “Those who take the high road of humility,” said our friend and former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, “are not bothered by heavy traffic.” Humble people don’t think less of themselves – they just think less of themselves.

9. Optimists believe in breakthroughs. They are alliance builders who never gave up. The best leaders have uncompromising optimism rather than naïve optimism. They understand how things can be, but they keep looking for the possibilities. A look at entrepreneurs shows that tenacious and sometimes even irrational beliefs play an important role. We may not agree with everything he does, but we admire Elon Musk’s T-shirt that reads “Occupy Mars.”

10. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Those who do not prepare often fail. Be prepared to fight for your beliefs and values. It’s okay to get bold in what you stand for while being wary of what you might fall for. Beliefs are important, but be careful in developing your beliefs.

11. A person’s moral compass is measured by how willingly you stand up for those who are voiceless and powerless. The strong and the wealthy already have seats at the table. It takes courage to sacrifice at least a part of oneself to fuel struggles for justice, freedom and the betterment of those who, for whatever reason, have been left behind. Be a lifter.

12. Pay attention to what you admire. Most of us subconsciously admire things that can corrupt our souls. To paraphrase David Foster Wallace: If you love money, you will never have enough. Admire the beauty and you will always feel ugly. Worship power and you will end up feeling weak and afraid.

13. Develop your listening skills. Listen to both what is being said and what is not being said. Hone your skill at asking questions, especially for second and third opinions. There are no stupid questions – only stupid people who don’t ask questions. Albert Einstein said, “Never lose your holy curiosity.”

14. Effective people seek multiple mentors and multiple apprenticeships. Keep getting adopted by smart, talented people. Try to take classes from well-respected professors – and remember that it’s okay to take occasional classes on a pass or fail basis.

15. Be on time. If you can’t be on time, be early. You don’t want others wasting your time.

16. Creativity involves playfulness, resistance to conformity and conventional thinking. Picasso joked, “It takes a long time to become young” and presumably, playful.

17. Be and know yourself. Everyone is already taken. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Learn to compensate for your weaknesses. Learn from your setbacks but transcend unnecessary shyness and hesitation. Try to live fearlessly in a world that will often be a scary place. Also, make sure you are living your dream and not someone else’s.

18. Develop positive addictions: meditation, yoga, skiing, climbing, playing a musical instrument, poetry, weaving, volunteering, painting, photography.

19. John W. Gardner, one of our mentors, encouraged, “Learn all your life. Learn from your failures. Learn from your successes. When you encounter a problem, ask yourself what is this trying to teach me? Lessons are not always happy. but they keep coming. “

20. Don’t be afraid of new ideas. And don’t be afraid of old ideas.

Oh, two final points: Have a good toothbrush and use it three times a day. And try setting aside five minutes a week — out of your 168 weekly hours — to call or text your grandparents with updates.

With lots of love,

Your grandfather.

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