Curiosity doesn’t kill, it saves time and money

I am going to hell for football tickets.

In 2004, I had meant to get down to the Huntsman Center at 5:00 a.m. to stand in line with friends for tickets to the Holy War football game. I woke up late and then ran out of gas on the freeway, but my friends let me cut in anyway.

About 100 people after me, the tickets ran out. Somebody who had been waiting in the cold dark for three hours was denied a ticket because I cut in line. I enjoyed the game and married the girl I took to it, but I know that I am going to hell for those tickets.

Not everyone who cuts in line, however, is doing the wrong thing.

For example, I just got back from Disneyland, where those wonderful “Imagineers” (what Disney calls its engineers) came up with the FASTPASS system. FASTPASS is a program whereby you insert your resort pass into a machine and it spits out a ticket for you to cut in line at one of the most popular rides.

The catch is that you have to return at a designated time and you can only get one FASTPASS at a time. In order to take advantage of the system, you must have prior knowledge of it and then pre-plan your day to get the most rides in.

What a wonderful analogy to college: First learn the system, then plan out your time to get to the head of the line.

Knowledge is power because those who have it will succeed over those who don’t. The catch is that you have to be curious and seek the knowledge that will give you an advantage.

I walked past people who had been waiting two hours to ride Splash Mountain to stand in a line that only took 15 minutes. Why do so few people take advantage of FASTPASS? Because they’re dumb. I overheard a lady asking how it worked at 8:00 p.m. She had waited in lines all day before deciding to ask. The catch is, I bet FASTPASS wouldn’t work if everyone used it. Its success probably depends on only a few being smart enough to take advantage of it.

College is the same way. There are services, programs and counselors who will help you have the smoothest, most enjoyable college experience, but you’ve got to know where they are and what questions to ask.

For example, you’ve got to know how to circumvent your academic adviser if he or she is incompetent. I know of advisers who have caused students to delay graduation by a year! Most are good, but there are other people you can go to if you sense early on that they’re not helping you plot a smooth and helpful academic course.

There are scholarships and grants available for which no one ever applies. There are low-interest loans never taken advantage of. There are classes that knock off two requirements at once.

To get the most of your education, you must seek helpful knowledge about the system and you must plan well.

Never turn down opportunities to learn about a university program or service. Attend every “fair” and information meeting held in the Union. Collect information brochures and packets. Walk around the Student Services Building and ask each office what they do and how they can help you.

Meet with your academic adviser early and ask many questions. If they are rude or vague, find out who else you can go to.

Don’t be a sucker and stand in lines when FASTPASS options are available. And don’t go to hell for football tickets.