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Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life - Excepts

Dr. Ruth Excerpts
Dorm Life 101
Morning Larks Versus Night Owls
Noise & Other Distractions
Alcohol & Cigarettes
Drug Use
Sexual Side of Drugs & Alcohol
Food Issues
Mixing of the Sexes
Dorm Alternatives
Work Life
Your Residential Advisor


Noise and Other Distractions

The noise in a college dorm doesn't just keep you awake, it can also be a detriment to studying. While there are always some students who don't think studying is their main purpose for being at college, I'm certain you realize that learning and getting good grades is your prime purpose for being at a place of higher learning. But if you've gotten used to studying in a quiet room, then you're definitely going to have to adapt to studying in college.

Noise all by itself doesn't have to be a problem. In high school you might have accustomed yourself to studying while you had some music playing in the background. But if you did, you set the volume, and there weren't three, four, or five different kinds of music going on all at the same time, as well as TVs blaring, people shouting, and someone sharing your room who has no compunction about talking to you whenever they feel like it. And the worst part is that you'll want to join in those conversations. You'll want to be part of the action when it's all around you. I'm going to go back to that word again, adapt, because that's what you're going to have to do, adapt to the rhythm of college life. Now, each dorm is going to be different, so you have to be aware of what the rhythms of your particular dorm are and work around them. If there is so much commotion going on between the hours of, say, 8 and 10 p.m., then you can't plan on staying in your room and getting any work done. On the other hand, if things start to settle down most nights around 11, then you know that if you have work to do, you can get started then, assuming you won't conk out before you get done. But if the quiet hour is earlier, then that's when you have to study.

Look for quiet areas where you can study and use them when you have a test the next day or reading that has to get done. If you need to use the computer in your room to get work done, listen to a quiet CD through headphones. The music will drown out much of the other noise. Most dorms are pretty quiet in the morning, when the students are either at class or sleeping. Make use of that time, if you can, to get work done that requires a lot of concentration.

If you are going to college with the intention of getting the absolute best grades you can, or if you're on a scholarship that requires a certain average, then you should consider living in a so-called "quiet" dorm. It's not that these dorms are like monasteries, where no one is permitted to speak. Rather, at a certain time, say 10 p.m., all noise is supposed to stop, so the students can get some studying done. Being in such an environment will most definitely help your grade point average, which will help you throughout the rest of your life a lot more than partying, so don't write off such dorms so quickly.

Q My family had to take out loans in order for me to go to college. My parents told me that as I long as I kept a 3.5 average, they'd pay off the loans, but if I fell below that, the loans would be my responsibility. I live in a suite with five other guys, who are really great, but none of them have to get good grades for financial reasons the way I do, and I don't want to tell them about my arrangement with my parents because I don't want them to feel sorry for me. The problem is that they are sometimes a real distraction, literally forcing me not to study in order to fool around. This is putting a lot of pressure on me, and I don't know how to handle it

A. You are learning what it feels to have the responsibilities of a grown-up, which while somewhat unpleasant is not a bad lesson to learn. Eventually you may have to decide between your friends and your GPA, but here's a thought that might be a temporary cure. A college is a big place. There are lots of little nooks and crannies where you can sneak away to study and you won't be found. If you absolutely need time to study, get out of your room and go study where you can concentrate. If you require your computer and have to work in your room at times, then you are just going to have to tell your friends your situation. If you could get them to study a bit more, you would actually be doing them quite a favor, so you needn't be so ashamed of your need to hit the books, but rather they need to grow up a little and take their studies more seriously.

Continued Next

Dorm Life 101 | Morning Larks Versus Night Owls | Noise and Other Distractions | Alcohol and Cigarettes | Drug Use | The Sexual Side of Drugs and Alcohol | Food Issues | The mixing of the Sexes | Dorm Alternatives | Work Life | Your Residential Advisor


Dr. Ruth's Guide to College Life
By Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer And Pierre Lehu

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ISBN 1-56833-171-1




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