Wheeeew! The graduation season is almost over! To be honest, I love and hate the graduation season. I love it because I get to see my mentees walk across the stage with pride and a sense of accomplishment – I am always humbled by this moment. On the other end of the spectrum, I hate it. I hate it because they are about to set foot into this cruel ad sometime, unforgiving world. I fear for them. I fear that they might forget all of my advice. I fear that they will make wrong decisions. I fear that they will stumble and fall. I fear that they will fail.
Even though my fear places things in perspective, I can’t let my fear overshadow my faith. Yes, they will make mistakes. They will make wrong decisions. They might forget my advice. They will stumble and fall and they will fail at certain things in life but it should not hinder their growth and development. As a matter of fact, their shortcomings will help shape and nurture them. I had my fair share of failures. I did forget some key advice. I made wrong decisions and made costly mistakes, but through grace, I turned out “alright”. I have faith and believe that my mentees will go through their own journey, but when it is all said and done, they will turn out just fine.
Besides the one-day summer camp which will they be attending with me to get them mentally prepared for college, I wanted to casually share some “rules” with them. So after Church yesterday, I sat down and started to think about things I would like for them to know, do and don’t do – these are things I learned during my four years at the Pennsylvania State University. I did not intend to write down 101 rules, but the list kept growing. From 5 to 25, then 50, then 70 and, finally, 101!
These “rules” are guidelines – they are not “if you do not follow these you will fail and die” rules. They are only to help guide their decisions, build character and positively help shape them into men of substance and value. I hope you enjoy these. Feel free to comment. :)
101 Rules For My Mentees
1. Don’t choose “walking” as a major. You don’t require any special skills to be the best walker or a walking specialist. My point is, choose something which will add value to yourself and your future.
2. You don’t have to go out every weekend, you know that right?
3. Make new friends but continue to invest old friendships.
4. Take risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes
5. Break some rules, but don’t be foolish because some rules will cost you for life
6. Really sick? See the doctor and stay in bed. You won’t learn anything especially if you are not in the right state of mind. Oh, you won’t get a perfect attendance award.
7. Do not be pressed over any girl.
8. Don’t get “married” your first semester in college.
9. Do not form bad habits
10. Treat girls with respect
11. Do not forget your parents – because no matter how they try, they won’t forget you
12. Fear God
13. Find a Church
14. Do not get crazy drunk – legally/illegally. You will regret it the next morning, plus it’s not fun anyways – overrated.
15. Want to have a baby? Get a puppy. Oh, by the way, getting a puppy will attract more females ;)
16. STUDY! STUDY! STUDY! This is the main reason why you are going to school.
17. Get to know more females. They are interesting and they will teach you a lot. Some will definitely annoy you and others will end up hating you – such is life.
18. Say no to drugs. Period.
19. If you are supposed to complete a degree in 4 years, it simply means you should whatever it takes to finish it within four years at all cost. No days off.
20. Priorities, priorities, priorities…. and more priorities. If you do not prioritize, you will simply fail.
21. Be honest with your parents, your professors, your friends, but most importantly, be honest with yourself.
22. Don’t plan to cram. Planning to cram is planning to fail and only a fool plans to fail.
23. Every homework, assignment, or quiz should be your final.
24. “These girls ain’t loyal”
25. Just kidding, some are…Some. Choose wisely.
26. Don’t be pressured to be in a relationship. It is expensive in college plus you will be broke anyways
27. Travel, go on trips
28. Be spontaneous
29. Give. Be a blessing to someone
31. Volunteer because you want, not because you have to
32. During breaks, be excited to come to see your parents and totally serve them while you are home. They will definitely be surprised and respect you as a young adult
33. Call your mentor at least once a month. Yes, call me.
34. I don’t expect you to be perfect, so don’t expect yourself to be perfect. When you fall, rise.
35. When you make mistakes, learn.
36. But do not fail a class. You can pass any class if you put in the time.
37. Don’t be afraid to make enemies. But love your enemies.
38. Go on dates! Lots of them! Yes, girls still love them
39. You see a cute girl you are interested in, talk to her. Get to know her. You might not see her again
40. If you give her your number and she doesn’t reach out, reach out to her (if you have her number)
41. If she doesn’t respond, she is simply not interested. Don’t stalk her – its classless
42. Read. Not only for class
43. Remember God. Don’t throw away your faith.
44. Make room for your boys and spend time with them even if you have a girlfriend, because you will need them when things go sour with your lady.
45. No girl completes you
46. Stay away from girls who start drama or always in drama – not worth it
47. Invite your boys from other schools to campus events and create moments
48. Be a great host
49. Use your professors as references or point of contacts
50. If you are really into a girl, then avoid the friend zone at all cost
51. Join a club and build your network – make sure it is diverse not just on race, but ideas and personalities. Get involved with campus activities
52. Thinking about joining a frat. Well, weigh the pros and cons and make sure it will give you something no organization/anyone else can give you. Do your research. I did and I did not join one. But that’s me.
53. Hold onto your morals and value
54. Throw a party at least once in your college career – even if it is just a get together
55. Invite your friends to just come hang the day after the party. You will need them to help clean
56. Don’t feel like going to a party? Simply do not go
57. Don’t feel like going to class? Go. Bad habits are usually formed by unstable emotions. Trust me, you will most of the time not feel like going to class
58. Freshman 15 is real. Yes, for the guys too. Internship and work over the summer is a must. Don’t compromise
59. You don’t understand something, question it
60. Question your professors too. After all, they are not ‘all knowing’
61. Do not judge. You don’t know what others are going through
62. Fight for what is just and right
63. People do not have to like you, but they must respect you. Know when, where and how to put your foot down
64. Don’t give up on your dreams, they are always going to be valid until you are dead
65. Don’t want a pregnancy scare, don’t have sex
66. When you ask a girl out on a date, you have to pay for her. The quicker you learn this, the better
67. McDonalds is not a great place for a date either
68. Accept people for who they are but most importantly, for who they are NOT
69. Help other, but remember you are not superman and you simply can’t save the world. Someone has already done that. Lead them to that person
70. Be different, stand out and embrace your uniqueness
71. Practice good hygiene
72. Challenge the status quo, but respect authority
73. Boys talk should remain just that…. Boys Talk!
74. Your girlfriend is just a girlfriend. Not your wife, mother or sister
75. Some people are irreplaceable – mother, father, sisters or brothers. Remember them
76. Build your brand with confidence from Day One!
77. Attend every career/networking event at your school
78. Don’t play with the emotions of females. You might have a daughter some day.
79. Avoid 8 am’s. Just avoid them. You will be half asleep anyways.
80. Syllabus week is NOT “party week”. Look over the syllabus and get a head start with your readings. Whatever you do not understand, ask the professor in class. He/she will like that you take his/her class seriously. It is not “sucking up”, you are only doing what you are supposed to do and you are beating the system.
81. It’s not middle or high school, so your professor is not there to teach you – his job is to guide you. You teach yourself and you learn on your own.
82. Don’t hesitate to schedule office hours with your professors. They actually appreciate them.
83. Pick a fun elective. Something odd and different. You will learn something interesting and valuable
84. Learning is the application of knowledge. You are not learning if you are not applying. Simple.
85. I’m not saying all your friends will be snakes, but be wise. Not all of them will have your best interest at heart
86. Pick a random night, make sure you don’t have class the next day, play video games with the boys and just talk
87. Sleep is medicine. Remember that
88. Build your network
89.” If you do not know what to do, do Business because it underpins everything” – from my co-worker Chris.
90. Arrive early to class, sit in one the first three rows, ask questions, take notes and you will never fail
91. Don’t sit with your friends in class. You won’t learn a thing
92. Don’t throw away your culture
93. Don’t lose yourself while trying to find yourself
94. Set goals, but make sure they are Measurable and Attainable. Hold yourself accountable
95. Don’t squander your refund check. Be wise with it. It is not free money.
96. Have a clean room and ensure that it smells good at all times
97. Invest in a nice pair of dress shoes, a dress shirt, pants, a tie and a watch. It’s a gentleman’s thing
98. Your default response under any sort of pressure should be a NO.
99. Try new things
100. Avoid these four group people: Gossips, Moochers, Drama and Negative people – they will never help you
101. Live a FULL LIFE
Let me honest here. You won’t always get it right and you are never going to be perfect. College is just another journey which will challenge you and build you up. Never stop learning and you will never stop growing.
Bonus and Final Rule: If life gives you lemons and you don’t like lemonade, just know that you really do not have to make lemonade. You have so many options with these lemons. Take your time, be patient and find ways and means they make good use of these lemons.