When you first arrive, college can seem like a total zoo. There are countless types of people you’ve never seen before, each more ridiculous than the last, and, without a keen discerning eye, it can be impossible to distinguish between the lions and the leeches of college life. But even though there are thousands of students on your college campus, there are ten people that you’ll meet within your first week, without a doubt. These ten species are present on every single campus across America, and, if you can spot them quickly, you can learn to navigate the wild safari of college life like it’s a petting zoo. Her Campus is here to help you classify the ten people you meet in college—see if you can find any of these creatures on your campus!
1. The Future Master of the Universe: For these students, college is just a stop on the way to The Real World, and a career in finance, business, medicine or law. They can’t be bothered with such petty concerns as class, parties and campus events when they have a future to create. They’ll spend every waking moment talking about the internships they’ve applied for, comparing GPA’s, and poring over grad-school acceptance books. Every weekend, they jet off to the city for interviews, missing all the fun of college on the way. You’ll see them strolling around campus in three-piece suits and furiously emailing on their BlackBerrys while balancing Venti black coffees. Look out for them in business or pre-law frats, on the board of the Inter-Fraternity Council or in Student Government. And watch out for these slippery characters in class—they may never attend, participate or pay attention, but they’ll find a way to get all the notes and study their butts off, until they can walk away with the “A” that will buy them a ticket straight to Goldman Sachs.
2. The Environmentalist: This ubiquitous species, formerly known as “tree-huggers” and now known as “green” or “sustainable”, wants YOU to know the Inconvenient Truth of climate change. They’re not satisfied with carrying $30 eco-friendly water-bottles or $195 reusable grocery bags; they need to get the entire campus to take action. They will not rest in their journey toward a “greener future”, lobbying, campaigning and generally shaming everyone on campus into ditching the Easy Mac for locally grown, organic produce and powering our rooms with wind energy. This person has a cause to promote, and they’ll never let you forget it. You will see them EVERYWHERE—posting flyers all over the quad, writing impassioned guest columns for your school newspaper, and using every available second of class time to garner support. You’ll find them in the Environmental Club, at the local food co-op or farmer’s market, and at Starbucks, plotting their crusade on our nation’s carbon footprint over $4 lattés in disposable paper cups.
3. The Vampire: This guy may live on your floor, but you probably won’t see him after the first-night getting-to-know-you meeting. He’s almost always either pre-med, an engineer, an architecture student or a computer science major, and he will NEVER leave his room if he can help it. His blinds will always be down, his room will always be silent as a tomb (except the constant sound of clicking keys), and after a few weeks, a strange smell may start emanating from under the door (when you’re that busy, who has time for cleaning or laundry?). He exists solely off Pop-Tarts and Red Bull, and it’s impossible to tell whether he ever sleeps. If you’re lucky, you may see him venture out of his lair, but he will invariably have a 7 a.m. lab or a project that keeps him at the studio until the wee hours of the morning, so it will be tough to catch a glimpse of this elusive species.
4. The Sorority Clone: This girl is very rarely seen without at least two or three others just like her, eating salads at the dining hall or walking in a herd, talking and texting at the same time. She lives in a uniform: black leggings, Uggs or Tory Burch flats, and an American Apparel hoodie emblazoned with her sorority’s letters (and in the winter, a North Face down coat). She will NEVER go anywhere alone—she won’t sign up for a class unless she knows a friend will be taking it too; she won’t show up to a meal without an entourage; and she’ll roll up to the library in a car full of five other sisters. If you sit behind a bunch of Sorority Clones in class, you’ll be deafened by the incessant clicking of their cell-phone keys and their hushed conversations about formals, mixers, and “drama”. Her favorite words are “legitimately”, “actually”, and “honestly”, and she uses them to emphasize every observation she makes, no matter how mundane (“This is honestly the fattiest fat-free Italian dressing I’ve ever had, legitimately.”) Get her on her own and she may be able to snap out of it, but only if she can manage to tear her eyes away from her BBMs.
5. The Irono-clast: This student, almost always an art, history, philosophy or English major, is just a little bit too cool for you. He wears sweater vests, bow ties, boat shoes and horn-rimmed glasses, but only because they’re retro. His favorite word is “ironic”, and he uses it to great effect in class, just to let everyone know that nothing he says is meant to be taken entirely seriously. He’s been watching “Mad Men” since the first season, unlike the rest of us, and he USED to listen to Vampire Weekend before it got way too mainstream. He probably writes for the arts section of your school newspaper, or else he contributes esoteric poems to a campus literary journal, so he can say he’s a published writer. Look for him, not in Starbucks, but in an underground, little-known organic coffee shop, where he’ll probably be discussing the finer points of Keats or else tweeting constantly from his iPhone.
6. The Great Participator: You’ll remember this student in every single class you take. Great Participators have an answer, comment or opinion for every question, whether right or wrong. They’ll keep their hands up for so long they’ll have body-builder-toned arms, and they’ll go off on so many tangents they’ll sound like they’re getting over a case of mono. If they’re a member of any gender, cultural, political, or geographical group, they will always find a way to tie any point made in class to their background—“As a _____, I can personally relate to the readings because of the author’s sense of ______.” They will make the same point several times in a class period, and vary only slightly from that point throughout the semester. If anyone else makes a point, they’ll be sure to one-up you with their personal opinion, whether or not it has anything to do with what has just been said. But as much as they participate, they may not be so outgoing outside of the classroom—this is often a girl or guy you’ll see acting perfectly normal, even shy, in social situations or at a dorm meeting, and they can even be the person sitting alone at the dining hall, reading the newspaper and enjoying a solitary sandwich.
7. The Athlete Adonis: These guys and girls are the A-List celebs of any college campus. They’re your newspapers’ bold-faced names, your stadium headliners, your paparazzi targets. Between their jam-packed season schedules and their godlike status on campus, to see one up close is as exciting as running into the entire cast of “Gossip Girl” on the street. No matter the time of day or year, they will be wearing their sports uniforms or warm-ups, and you’ll never see them without an embroidered gym bag—in your school’s colors, of course. If a few live on your floor, you may get the distinct insider privilege of befriending a member of the game-day glitterati, in which case you will become the envy of all your friends (and maybe score a few sold-out tickets!). These gods and goddesses not only have their own teams, schedules, and wardrobes, but they have their own houses and parties too. If you’re able to score a coveted invite to a basketball party or a blowout at the hockey house, you know you’ve moved up into the upper echelon of college society. If you’re looking to sight one of these sparkly celebs, start hanging out at your campus gym, be sure to frequent the sportiest, frattiest bars in town, and take big introductory classes—you’re bound to find a few sitting together in the back.
8. The Creep: You’ll mostly see this guy at an open frat party, snaking their arms around girls from behind and grinding with them without any invitation. He’s of an unidentifiable age, and he might not even go to your school—but if anyone asks, he’s a junior. No matter what. He could be a 24-year-old financial analyst who’s visiting his old frat house, or a 17-year-old townie from the local high school, but he will insist up and down that he’s a junior in X frat, and all the guys at the party are “his boys”. He’ll offer to buy you a drink, hound you for your number, and invite you up to “his place” (which could very well not be his place at all). If you make the regrettable mistake of succumbing to a Creep’s advances, you won’t be able to get away ‘til he sticks his slimy tongue down your throat, and if you go home with him, you’ll need to ignore his sketchy 1 a.m. texts for weeks to shake him. Avoid this type at all costs—he’s the guy at the party wearing a white track jacket, with spiked hair and a chin strap, carrying two drinks—one for him and one for his prey.
9. The Floor Mayor: This eager-beaver species is obsessed with rounding up your floor for get-togethers. The first week this is nice—after all, you may not have a set social group yet, and the Mayor’s always looking for a group to go on a party-crawl. But after a few weeks he can get pretty annoying, when you’re trying to study at 11 p.m. on a Wednesday and the Mayor’s screaming through the halls that “everyone on this floor is so BORING!” And while it’s fun to get close with your floor, by no means should your dorm-mates be your only social circle, and the Mayor appears to have no friends outside of your R.A.’s domain. It can get kind of awkward when he appears at your door every Friday night, rounding up the troops for a floor outing, and you’re planning a night out with other friends. He’s always super-friendly on your floor, but he may be quiet or shy in class or at a party. Look for him in the TV room or study lounge at all hours, hosting an impromptu pizza party or a game of catch in the halls at 2 a.m. And be sure to pop in his room—the door’s always wide open—to pay your respects to your tireless leader.
10. The Party Animal: You may think you’re a pretty fun girl, going out a few times a week, maybe even sleeping out some nights if the night gets pretty crazy, but you’ve got nothing on the Party Animal. She goes out five nights a week, and takes Sunday and Monday to recover before starting again on Tuesday. You’ll spot her in class (never before 10 a.m.), in sweatpants and oversized sunglasses, clutching her Starbucks like it will save her life. She somehow manages to coast by in all her classes despite a grueling partying schedule, and even after the most toxic of hangovers she’ll bounce back by 10 p.m., shimmying her way into the hottest campus bar (with a fake ID, of course) in a trendy outfit and sky-high heels. She’s friends with all the bouncers, all the frat guys, all the bartenders, and all the athletes, and you kind of want to be her, just a little bit. Then you see her throwing up on the sidewalk, or dancing on a table with her thong in full view, and you’re grateful for your relative sanity.