With just a few weeks remaining in my senior spring quarter, I am feeling like I’ve just started to get the hang of Principia. It’s kind of funny because when I started out at Prin I assumed I would transfer. It just seemed so small initially – such an easy nut to crack. But, like most experiences, the more time I have spent here, the more intricate everything has become – I have learned more lessons and discovered more opportunities. I figured the least I could do in my last quarter was pass on some of the most practical wisdom of my college career. Without further ado:

The Top Ten Things Alice Wishes She Knew Before Her Senior Spring:

10. Although Principia’s campus is small, it is riddled with interesting nooks. When you’re getting cabin fever in Elsah, take the time to discover some new places. There are so many sweet spots to have meetings, picnics, dates, and gatherings removed from the general traffic flow of Prin. I don’t want to divulge all of my favorite little-known locations, because then they won’t be secret. However, to name a few, there is the concrete cave on the bluffs, the secluded staff dining room in the basement of the School of Government, and the balcony of the Dining Room.

9. I wish I had taken advantage of Prin’s general location. It seems like for my first two years of college I was stuck between Elsah or St. Louis. Besides the occasional trip to Beyond the Bubble (R.I.P.), I barely explored Grafton, Jerseyville, or Alton. But, really, there is a lot to do in our neighboring cities. There are local festivals and fine dining (more than Tony’s – try Gentelin’s), art shows, and bluffside parks.

8. If there is a social activity or general activity you think would be cool, this is actually a great campus to make it happen. The social activity process is pretty transparent. It is simple to shoot the Student Activities Director an e-mail or chat up your house social head. Chances are, anything you dream, you can do. What about a Mr. Principia contest? What about a dance marathon? What about a spelling bee? All these are ideas I have had but never got rolling. I wish I had.

7. It is never too early to consider opportunities for the future. I don’t think you need to worry about a job until you’re graduating (and not even necessarily then), but it is never too early to start doing what you want to do. I think most college students have this idealized “I’ll do what I really want to do once I’m not busy with school,” but during college is the time you probably have the most resources at your fingertips, so it behooves you to start working on passions here.

6. Additionally, it is okay to have your own schedule. As an underclassman I remember feeling a heightened sense of sadness on weekends when I had to do homework. But it’s okay to spend Saturday night working on a paper so you can go out on a Tuesday later in the week.

5. Utilize other people as resources. If something strikes your fancy that you don’t know about, ask someone in that field. Being at Prin is like walking through Wikipedia. There are various experts around every corner and a D-I-A-L system to access their knowledge. This especially helps when deciding which gen-eds to take. If you don’t know what to take, ask a major. You’ll be happier than if you chose based on time slot.

4. Org is far more valuable than the fifty-minute nap sesh Tuesdays are frequently used for. You don’t have to be a Christian Science junkie, or even know it is the religion for you, to enjoy seeing a professor express gratitude or a housemate you don’t know offer inspiration.

3. Take advantage of trying new activities you know you might suck at. This might be humiliating most places in life, but Prin is so small that even if you make a complete fool of yourself in a swimming class, or at a Starbrooks, or in a difficult history course because it’s not your forte, you have plenty of opportunities to redeem yourself as an intelligent person in the fields in which you do feel comfortable.

2. Be brave. There are always things we want to change about our experiences, and there are ways to initiate that change. Instead of looking at elements of our school and wishing them to be different, talk to your house president, write a letter, or call who is in charge. Again, Principia’s smallness offers excellent translucence to the way things work. Also, we all have CS in common. Be brave in using it and sharing it with others – even others you don’t know intimately can appreciate general CS thoughts in passing.

1. There are all sorts of things I said I would do before graduation, but now that it’s coming down to the wire, I can remember very little. I wish I had kept a comprehensive list.