Western Heritage in a Global Context

General Education

Tips for First Year Collegiate Success


 Welcome to college!  You are embarking on perhaps the most exciting and rewarding journey of your life.  And though you may believe the path to be well-marked, there are shadows and hidden dangers along the way.  Keep the following points in mind, as a flashlight so to speak, as you make your way.

  • Only four classes?  You took six or seven in high school—this will be a piece of cake!  Not quite.  College-level classes demand greater time, attention, and skill than do high school courses.  You will read more, write more, and be tested less often on more (and more difficult) material.  You need to pace yourself—this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Think of yourself as being in your first job, and you have at least a 40-hour work week.  You will spend approximately 12 to 15 hours “on the job” (in the classroom), but the other 25 to 28 hours are not vacation or time to catch up sleep.  You should spend those hours outside of class reading, writing, working, and thinking.
  • Buy a four-month calendar and post it next to your door or desk.  As soon as your get your syllabi from your professors, mark when every exam is, when every paper or project is due.  Sometimes you will have two (maybe even three!) projects due on one day.  That is college life, and you need to plan accordingly.  See those “empty” days on your calendar, when nothing is due?  That is when you should be working on the projects due in the coming weeks.  Don’t wait until the last minute and then ask your professor for an extension, or to move an exam—he or she probably won’t anyway.
  • Go to class—every day.  You (or your parents) are paying good money for a great education.  This would be a very expensive bed and breakfast.
  • When you are in class, or in a WHGC plenary, pay attention and be respectful.  Turn your cell phones off (or leave them at home), unplug your I-pods, and do not text your friends.  These behaviors are sophomoric and disrespectful to the speaker and to your peers.
  • Don’t avoid a class just because it begins at 8:00 AM.  One day, you’ll remember fondly the days that you could sleep until 7:30!
  • Your mentor is there for you and wants you to be successful.  Seek him or her out, as well as other faculty at Eckerd.  The best time to speak to faculty is not necessarily right before class (unless that is when they say they are available), but during their office hours.  Send them an email; ask to schedule a time to meet; and keep your appointment.  One day, you may be asking them to write a letter of recommendation for you.
  • Take care of yourself.  Try to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and find a balance between learning and having fun. 

Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn to know the liberating influence of beauty in the realm of the spirit for your own personal joy and to the profit of the community to which your later work belongs. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

What is WHGC?

Western Heritage in a Global Context (known as WHGC) will engage some of the influential works and ideas of Western civilization in a conversation with important works of non-Western civilizations. We will also listen to voices that have often gone unrecognized in traditional Western Civilization courses. What we envision is a journey through time that creates cross-cultural communication and allows students to consider alternatives to the received wisdom of their own culture.