Most of us probably appreciate that a retailer's checklist for dorm/apartment furnishings is not a college readiness checklist, but rather a convenience for shoppers and a boost for sales.

And although there have been plenty of recent criticisms in the media about the frenzy for designer dorms ("When my daugther went away to college, all she took was a pair of sheets") -- decoration, whether it be of our bodies or environments, is a normal expression of identity.

The problem is when such decoration becomes the preoccupation, rather than living the life of a student, i.e., studying, exploring one's identity, interacting with others who are different, participating in social activities, volunteering, etc. Buying is not being, and image management is not identity development.

Being a successful student demands a real college readiness checklist, with many cognitive and emotional requirements, some of which may include:

Self-Discipline (e.g., the ability to say no to one's self and turn off the video games)

Humility (e.g., the ability to accept being told no and not be given everything one wants, either from a professor or a future boss)

Responsibility (e.g., seeking out information, and not adopting a "no one told me" approach)

Patience (e.g., understanding that just because one considers an email message urgent, the recipient may not or may not be able to respond immediately)

Curiosity (e.g., a willingness to consider various points of view, different majors, unheard of careers)

Tolerance (e.g., respect for others, no matter their backgrounds or beliefs)

Reflection (e.g., pausing to think rather than reacting, and perhaps, regretting)

About the Author

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D.

Kristine Anthis, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University. She is the author of Lifespan Development, Sage Publications.

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