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The grades, the after-school clubs, the homework and tests—we all know about them.

But the little things that will save your butt (or not)—well, take it from someone who used to be a student and is now teaching them. They are important.

5. Your Teacher Knows You Didn’t Do the Reading

You avoid eye contact, you shuffle through the book, hoping you can catch a quick few sentences that will catch you up to speed. The thing is, most of you are doing it. And your teacher is up there, at the head of the classroom, watching all of you—we see much more than you think we do. Surprise the heck out of him or her and give them a summary of the reading. They’ll appreciate it more than you know.

4. The Syllabus. No Really, It’s Helpful

There is always a line of students at the end of class or sending emails the night before, asking the teacher questions. But guess what? Most of those things you’re wondering about are already in the syllabus—that group of papers each professor gives you the first day of class. They’ve spent hours putting things in there, and they will appreciate it if you’ve looked their first for the answers. Then when you bring them a question they haven’t already answered several times—they’ll be thrilled.

3. Ditch the Excuses

Sometimes, you just didn’t make it to class. Your alarm didn’t go off, you looked at the clock and said, “Forget it,” or you didn’t do the reading or write the paper right when they asked. Just pick up and do it better the next time. Because, quite frankly, any excuse (unless it’s a real, genuine surprise—hello, broken arm—) is one they’ve not only heard many times, but as a student, probably used themselves. They can see right through it, and you too. Most of us have a sense of humor about it, remembering we were there not so long ago. But don’t expect us to believe it if you don’t believe it either.

2. Make Lots of Friends

They’re going to become your family. It’s them you’ll be spending the endless hours in class with, organizing the study groups at Denny’s with, only to spend most of the time sipping coffee and discussing ideas and conflicts that have nothing to do with the class. They are what make your experience so memorable. You struggle through together, you triumph at the end together. And they’re the ones that will be taking the notes for you because you didn’t set your alarm.

1.Stick It Out

Easier said than done, right? Sure. But honestly, you won’t regret it. College is an experience that you won’t get elsewhere—which isn’t to say that you won’t get good experiences in other places, but it won’t be college. Your undergrad years will be some of the most memorable and amazing of your life—I promise. There’s nothing like that time with your classmates, the choosing the new classes, the reaching that final moment where you are told, “Congratulations.” Embrace it and cherish it. Nothing can replace this experience.

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