I’m a firm believer that the most important lessons are those that are learned beyond the classroom. That’s not to say that I haven’t learned anything in the classroom because trust me, I have. I’ve slaved over flashcards, PowerPoint presentations and textbooks just like any other student, but when I look back on my college experience so far and think about what really stands out, it wasn’t the A I stayed up all night studying for, but rather what I learned along the way.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I totally recognize that everyone’s college experience is different and unique, but I think almost everyone can at least relate to a few of these, whether you’re a sentimental senior, an eager freshman or somewhere in between like me.
1. Try new things for the sake of figuring out who you are
2. It can get a little lonely sometimes…
3. Leggings are most definitely pants.
4. The scientific method can and WILL be taught in just about every class. Especially the non science-y ones.
5. You don’t have to read the books. You don’t even have to buy the books.
6. But know that what you get out is what you put in.
7. People like to talk about their sororities/fraternities.
8. You should probably pretend to be interested.
9. People like to relive drunk memories.
10. Again, pretend to be interested.
11. The hardest part of going to office hours is usually finding the office.
12. You can accomplish 76% of your life goals during a big lecture class.
13. Eating in class is a spectator sport. If you bring a tupperware of lasagna, we are going to watch.
14. Don’t be that kid who is meditating in the grass unless you are genuinely that kid that WANTS to be meditating in the grass.
15. Same goes for being that kid that’s dancing on the tables.
16. Same goes for that kid who is a pre-med major.
17. Simply telling the people on campus who are handing out fliers that you’re sorry but you “hate tigers”/“hate women workers”/“hate the ocean” and that’s why you won’t donate works nine times out of ten. Purely due to their shock.
18. If you’re not the hugest fan of someone on day one, don’t waste your time trying to be friends with them. Move on. There are so many other people.
19. Call home.
20. You can survive on the same meals day-in and day-out with little to no immediate withering of your major bodily functions. At least this is true for popcorn and frozen yogurt.
21. Your neighborhood Subway is a great source of vegetables.
22. Nothing is more annoying than 20-year-olds who still refer to people as their “gay best friend” or say things like “I’m mostly friends with (insert opposite gender).” Stop it. Grow up. Be friends with your friends and shut up about it.
23. Actually, be family with your friends. Get them meds when they are sick. Bail them out of awkward or unsafe situations. Take them to the airport at 5 a.m. Make sure they wake up before their 8 a.m. final.
24. Getting a package in the mail is equivalent to the miracle of a child being born. If your parents do not know what to send you, buy your own stuff, put it in a box and ask them to mail it to you randomly later in the year. It’s like finding $20 in your pocket.
25. Registering for classes is also similar to childbirth. But in a bad way. The breach baby, no epidural, 24-hour labor kind of way.
26. Drinking green tea probably is not going to make up for binge drinking on the weekends.
27. People don’t date much here.
28. People (usually girls) who expect hookups to lead to a boyfriend/girlfriend situation are sad.
29. Dining halls have hours that will break your heart.
30. Wikipedia is fine. It counts.
31. Walls are thin. You will hear things you don’t want to hear. Usually, you don’t even have to wait until later to laugh about it. It’s funny.
32. You can go an awfully long time without cutting your hair if need be.
33. Same goes for showering, but please don’t test this.
34. You probably have at least one friend who is uncannily good at Facebook stalking. Use that resource. YouTube stalking is also helpful it turns out.
35. You will never get anything done over a break. Ever. Don’t save things for over break. Breaks are good for two things: helping you gain more weight and reminding you why you went to college seven states away.
36. Small talk is awful. Don’t be the person at the party who can only ask “what’s your major?” and “what year are you?”. Be creative. Walk up to someone and ask what their favorite power tool is, what limb they would lose if they had the choice, or which hand on a clock they most identify with.
37. You will probably scare off/ bewilder a few people. Good. Let those ones go. They are the people who write down every word of the slides that are posted online. They’re a lost cause. College probably won’t take for them.
38. Embrace freshman year, be annoying, be loud and make friends.
39. Put. Yourself. Out. There.
40. E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e has that crazy roommate.
41. Enjoy living in Freshman/Communal Housing.
42. Group Projects will forever suck.
43. Target and Goodwill have some great clothes.
44. “It’s college” is by far and away the best justification for all your stupid decisions. Staying up late, staying in the dining hall from lunch until dinner but really only eating 17 bowls of Frosted Flakes, peeing on your roommate that one time when you were drunk. Those words have kept me up watching Mulan until 3 in the morning when I had an 8 a.m. class the next day. Cause freedom! But in the brilliant words of someone: check yourself before you wreck yourself. Make smart stupid choices. Error on the side of Jennifer Lawrence, not Miley.