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No Rules, Just Right?

October 6, 2009 | NeW Staff

A junior at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, John Eick recounts the lessons of responsibility and accountability he learned during his freshman year. His article titled, “A Close Call” is part of a series by the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education: “If I Knew Then What I Know Now.”

Eick remembers his late night hours filled with procrastination before a major exam and his decision to turn his study habits around in the right direction. Eick’s stroll down memory lane highlights the reality for new college students: what happens when our parents are no longer in the next room? For many, this new found freedom is coupled with poor decisions and regrets in the early morning light—both academic and personal. He writes:

“I realized that during high school, figures of authority, both at home and in the classroom, had provided far more structure than I had in college…and in college students have a great deal of freedom.”


College is a unique time for men and women alike as the constraints of home are released and a new community of support forms. For some students, the freedom of college not only provides an escape from the pressures of home but a chance to re-define oneself with a new, better or more relevant image. But the decisions students face in the classroom and the dorm room are not limited to four years as consequences often follow students past graduation. If we realized earlier that we are responsible for the habits and choices we make in college, would we do things differently?

What about you, has there been a time when you wish you knew then what you know now? I know I can think of a few.

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