OPINION: The Tao of college survival

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Whether you’re returning or just starting out, it takes a lot of adjusting to be successful in college. It requires a lot of your time, sanity and money.

The following is a collection of tips that might help your K-State experience, provided by Lao Tzu. Tzu is credited with writing the “Tao Te Ching,” the book that makes up the foundation of the Eastern philosophy of Tao.

“The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.”

If you insist on doing everything, give yourself enough time to do it. Time is your most valuable asset in college. The student who spends every waking hour studying is just as ridiculous as the student who spends every night partying in Aggieville.

Finding a way to balance between work, school, sleep and social life should be the first thing you figure out in college.

“The wise man is one who knows what he does not know.”

Keep an open mind when learning from professors. Listen to them and understand what they’re trying to teach you. Too many students believe they already know what they need to know. If that’s the case, why are you here?

Learn from those who are willing to teach you. After you listen and absorb what they say, then discard the parts you don’t think work or you think can be improved upon. That’s part of the critical thinking process you need to develop in college. But you have to listen first.

“Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

Life rarely turns out to be the way people expect it. You might decide to change your major halfway through your senior year. Strong relationships and friendships may dissolve almost overnight.

These changes are natural and not worth freaking out over. Don’t let yourself be your biggest source of stress. Understand that the way things are today might not be how they are tomorrow. Keep yourself grounded and remember your long-term goals.

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment.”

Long story short, figure out what you’re capable of. If you have trouble understanding a class, take extra time to speak to the professor or seek out tutoring. Some people can stay awake all night and do fine in class the next morning, some can’t. The secret to succeeding is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and using them to your advantage.

“An ant on the move does more than a dozing ox.”

For the advantaged and disadvantaged alike, it doesn’t matter what your background is if you insist on doing nothing in college. The experience you have largely depends on what you make of it. Be involved with the things you want to try.

Don’t just let K-State make an impression on you, make your impression on K-State.

“A scholar who cherishes the love of comfort is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”

Don’t let your college experience be a boring one. Manhattan and the surrounding area has a lot of hiking trails, creeks and lakes. Go to Aggieville at midnight, if only to grab something from the Varsity food truck and do some people watching.

Part of the college experience comes from developing as a person. If you only go to class, the only thing you’ll receive at the end of four years is a piece of paper with your name on it.

Jon Parton is a senior in mass communications.

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