Never, ever, ever in forever ever underestimate the power of the writing instructor.
Paying attention to any feedback, edits, suggestions will save your life. Not actually like you'd be in a life-threatening situation. But it will definitely help your grade.
Don't be afraid to use outside sources (AP stylebook, Purdue AP source, practice stories, etc) just as long as you still follow the rules you learn in class.
ALWAYS READ THE NEWS PAPER FOR THE CURRENT EVENTS QUIZ.