5 Things I Learned About Living On My Own In College

Professor Jeffrey Smith
Art History
At UT for 34 years

1. Be nice to all of your dates since one of them may end up being your spouse, as in the case of my wonderful wife. Otherwise, you might be reminded about a freshman or sophomore faux pas for decades afterwards.

2. Be open to the amazing new and different people that you’ll meet in college. There are exceptions, however, such as the two freshmen down the hall in my dorm that specialized in their bagpipe and hog-calling duets at 3 a.m. on weekends.

3. Learn to be really on your own by studying abroad in a country with a different language. You soon find out a lot about yourself.

4. Discover your own passions even if it isn’t the major your parents hoped. It is ultimately your life, not theirs.

5. Challenge yourself. You have four years of unprecedented freedom (and time) in a highly intellectual environment. What new have you seen, heard, thought about or tried this week?