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Syracuse Professor Boyce Watkins speaks to students

by on August 16, 2009

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

As a college professor for the past 16 years, I’ve noticed two things about college: It can be a place to make your dreams come true, and it can also be a breeding ground for your worst nightmares. So, I thought I would compile a list of things that I’ve seen college students do to ruin their lives over the years. Hopefully, you and your child can learn from what I am about to share.

1) Sex, drugs, alcohol and gambling
College is a great place to pick up a lot of really bad habits. The worst part is that people tell you that these things are ok. It’s not that all of these are bad things to do, but at the very least, they should be done in moderation. It doesn’t matter if you are in college: If you have sex with too many people, you are going to catch a disease or get pregnant. If you use drugs, you are going to become a drug addict. If you drink too much, you will become an alcoholic. Gambling can also ruin your life as much as drugs or alcohol. I have several dozen friends with really messed up lives to this day, all of whom started their downward spiral on a college campus. You should not think that because you are in college, you are immune to these problems. If something doesn’t feel right, then you shouldn’t do it. Be mature enough to make smart decisions.

2) Falling for the credit card scams and ruining your credit
There are no serious credit card scams in college, only the little people who stand out in front of the bookstore trying to get you to take their "free money". Credit cards are very tempting when you are in school, especially since you are broke. If you decide to take one, make sure that you are very careful with how much you buy with the card, and that you have a careful plan to pay it all back. Putting yourself in over your head can easily destroy your credit. That is not a good cycle to get into. Not taking care of your student loan obligations can ruin your credit as well. You should manage your debt as best you can, because if you don’t, it can take decades to fix the problems that are created.

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