LeeJolliffe.com
 
Just thinking about fairly simple things one learns along the way. Here are a few:

• DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS. Ever seen those signs? Sure, picking up hitchhikers is damned foolish, but why the random sign. What they REALLY mean is: PRISON NEARBY. BEWARE OF RANDOM GUYS ON THE HIGHWAY.

• MANY STATES USE PRISONERS AS ROAD WORKERS. You know how you might ask directions from a nice blue-collar working person? The working "persons" out on a highway can be prisoners with minimal supervision. So road workers are one group you shouldn't approach for help.

• ROAD COURTESY: Here's one I learned young and then realized my white-collar friends did not all know: If you've ever driven a rental truck, you know how tough it is to tell where the heck the tail-end of your truck is. So, on the highway, semi-truckers have the same problem. Not only that, but often when they find a slot to move into, some four-wheeler decides to speed up and take it.
 
When a semi is passing you, let them; don't randomly speed up. And when they're sufficiently past you to fit in in front of you, do a QUICK DOUBLE-CLICK OF YOUR BRIGHTS. That's the universal signal YOU ARE LETTING THE TRUCK IN and THERE'S ROOM TO MOVE IN FRONT OF YOU NOW.

The trucker will respond with a quick double on-and-off, once he/she's pulled back into line in front of you.

• SAVE GASOLINE FOR EVERYONE, NOT JUST YOURSELF. You can save more gas on a trip helping one trucker than being fuel-efficient in your automobile. Trucks are often carrying astonishingly heavy loads. DON'T MAKE THEM SLOW DOWN QUICKLY because you bop in front of them and slow down. It costs them a HUGE amount in gasoline.

A heavy truck will positively drag itself uphill while you're fuming behind it, possibly moving out to pass on a freeway. But the same truck needs to make up gas and mileage-vs-time by heading downhill FAST. Best get out of the way.
It's less dangerous AND saves gasoline for them.

•  Never go on a road trip with people you really don't know too well. Nuff said.

• There is NOWHERE you need to be MORE IMPORTANT THAN SAFE. No class, no visit, no meeting, no nothing. I've seen my universities lose one too many students to that "need" to be in class, at practice, home for a holiday. Email your professors and your department's most approachable staff person that the weather has held you up. Along with DEAD, I've seen students stranded in the damnedest places by snow and ice. (Worst was a No-Tell Motel with Truck Stop--just imagine yourself stuck there because the Highway Patrol has closed a freeway. It happened. Held at gunpoint in the car that stopped to give them a ride takes second place as "worst stranded-college-kid story I know".)

•  NEVER GET A RIDE HOME WITH A DRUNKEN FRIEND. In fact, take their car keys when they're drunk enough to realize it's a problem and before they get too drunk to be belligerent about it or to think they can actually drive. Take a cab, call someone else to come get you, best choice is: PLAN AHEAD SO YOUR WHOLE GROUP GOES OUT IN A CAB AND COMES HOME IN A CAB.

• NEVER GET A RIDE HOME WITH A FRIENDLY STRANGER, even in a group. Predators use a "nice" persona too often.

More good advice I hope you'll heed, later on.....
 
 
When my son went off to college last fall, I tried to remember what was critical to have--flipflops to wear in the shower, a carry-all to get your toiletries back and forth to the shared baths, extra pillows so you can use your bed as a sofa. But I also went online, and ended up using the "College Board" site's list as well (http://www.collegeboard.com/student/plan/college-success/9763.html).

What we learned:  Get yourself/your kid all the things on that list, but buy extra. Not every Mom and Dad used the list. And you've probably raised a kind, generous kid. So when someone else has a headache, a sprain, a scrape, or a cold, there go your Ibuprofens, bandages, Vitamin C, and throat lozenges. And you really wouldn't want it any other way. (Really, a roommate with a cold should have a roommate with some cold meds to share.)

What my son used most was the over=the=counter medical items and vitamins, next-most was the 8-way screwdriver (he IS in engineering school; they even modified their Nerf guns). The pillows were popular, and the PopTarts were too.

Oh, and do use Facebook to locate your roommates and "friend" them, so you can plan ahead who brings what. Don't be shy. That way you don't wind up with three big-screen tvs but no microwave--or vice versa.

What to leave home: huge things, magnets for klepto's (not your Granddad's antique sliderule or your best necklace), booze (wait on that, please), firearms or weapons (how to get expelled FAST). Remember, even well-meaning roomies borrow things, not to mention what you simply misplace. And leave a record at home of your electronics' serial numbers. (We had one roommate tell another, "Oh I had a stereo just like that but the XYZ was broken." Two weeks later, while the stereo-owner was out of town, HER new stereo magically got the same flaw. I'm betting the new one is at the roommate's house...the old switcheroo. Ick.)


Here endeth the first lesson.