We need to talk.
You don’t know me, but you need to trust me and listen to what I have to say, or else there will be dire consequences that will impact your immediate future and possibly the rest of your college career. Bad things will happen. Lives will be ruined, dreams shattered just like John McCain’s credibility after he chose Sarah Palin as a running mate.
What’s that? You want to know how I know what will happen, why I’m going out of my way to warn you? Well I guess I can’t hide it any longer — I come from the future. And unless you listen to me, the time I am from will become a terrible wasteland, my parents will never meet, and I’ll never be born.
Oh God. If you believed that then we’re in more trouble than I thought.
No, I don’t come from the future, although I do have a strange talent for predicting the box office performance of Eddie Murphy movies. But you should listen to me anyway. Because I was you not too long ago. Granted, I was a version of you that had never seen the horrors of the terrible Bieber Fever epidemic that has ravaged this country, but the similarities are there.
You see, I too was confused, worried, anxious. What will college be like? Will I make friends? Will the boys there be cute? Will I end up a member of the best sorority on campus, torn between two former flames from rival fraternities who were best friends before I came into the picture? I asked myself (almost) all these questions and more as I braced myself for the next stage of my young life.
But had I known then what I know now…let’s just say that things could have been a little less Melrose Place. And that’s why I’m here. To do everything I can to keep the Heather Locklear out of your life, while still making sure that your college experience is one to remember.
And to help achieve this lofty goal of mine, I’ve listed fifteen things you should keep in mind as you begin your ascent to collegiette status. Believe me when I say that this is a freshman fifteen you’ll never want to lose.
1. Beggars can’t be bitches.
For those girls going off to a faraway school, the idea of making entirely new friends can be nerve-wracking. But almost every girl there is in the same boat, and with everyone in a friend frenzy, you’ll have no trouble finding people to hang out with.
Unless you’re a bitch. You’re at a new school with new people, and no one likes or knows you well enough to forgive your more Perez Hilton moments. Refrain from the behind-the-back insults and the in-your-face attitude — at least until you have your posse established.
2. Don’t be that girl.
Every year at the beginning of the semester, it always seems like there’s that girl that people remember:
– ‘That girl who drank a handle of Smirnoff and threw most of it up onto a cop’
– ‘That girl who got a fraternity put on probation after she went shot for shot with a brother, got alcohol poisoning, and was taken to the hospital’
– ‘That girl who got so drunk that she stripped off most of her clothes, passed out on the quad, and woke up covered in Sharpied penises when the dean of students was walking by’
Don’t be that girl.
3. Dance like someone is watching. And trying to sleep.
You may have had a room to yourself back in your own house, free to clip your toenails, talk on the phone, and perform elaborate musical numbers while jumping on your bedspread without fear of persecution.
But now it’s very likely that you have a roommate. And that roommate might be disgusted by your toenails on the carpet. And she might have trouble falling asleep to the sounds of your daily retellings to your friends from back home about how much ass you’ve gotten so far. And, after all of this, she might set up a webcam to record your elaborate musical numbers and post that shit to Youtube in retaliation.
Be conscious of your habits. Or someone else will.
4. Kill it before it dies.
As you head off to college, you and your high school boyfriend might be heading off to separate schools, pledging to each other that you’ll make “this long distance thing” work. But listen to me and listen closely:
In all likelihood, it will go one of several ways:
One of you will cheat on the other in the first few months, resulting in heartbreak, tears, and enough angst to write the most Emo album ever made.
As you both meet new (read: more attractive) people and face new opportunities, you will grow to resent each other and the short leash that connects you to Skype every night at 10 p.m.
You two will fight for your love and make it through the first year, but once sophomore year rolls around you’ll both remember how hard it was the first time. You won’t last ’til November.
Cut it off now and save yourself some pain. If you’re “meant to be” (or whatever phrase you Nicholas Sparks fans use these days), then you’ll reconnect after graduation. Probably to a dramatic piano track.
5. Don’t become “a sorority girl.”
Don’t misinterpret. Joining a sorority can be a great way to meet other girls, get involved with philanthropy, and be active in campus life. But it can also be a way to end up a mindless stereotype who would feel right at home in the first ten minutes of Legally Blonde.
Too many girls let their sorority define them. These are the girls who scream in ecstasy when they find a pin with their sorority’s symbol at Forever 21, who consistently have a Facebook status that reads nothing more than “Omicron Love <3,” and who don’t notice their roommates pantomiming an elaborate suicide when they talk about Greek Sing for the 12th time in as many minutes.
There are other things to talk about. And once your roommate stops revving up her imaginary chainsaw to perform a self-beheading, you should find a new topic to discuss.
6. Spend a few minutes reading the menu before you pick your favorite dish.
In middle and high school, the dating timeline was usually quite simple: After some stolen glances in the cafeteria, you and a boy would confess your ‘like’ for each other, and by 6th period you’d be boyfriend and girlfriend.
But you’re in college now. There is a fresh supply of men, guys you probably haven’t known since you were ten. Before you declare one your soul mate, spend a couple of months seeing what’s out there and making sure the one you’re crushing isn’t crushing small animals in his free time.
7. Make like a tree and branch.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll end up living with a group of people you really like. You’ll thank the fates who allowed this to happen (or the employees at housing management services) and get comfortable in your new group of besties.
But don’t get so comfortable that you don’t try to meet anyone else. Branch out — join organizations, play an intramural, and meet new people. Because when two of your floormates have a falling out over that cute guy down the hall and force everyone to take sides, your group of besties will very quickly be cut in half.
8. Don’t trust an upperclassman who wants to “show you around.”
There’s something very enticing about wide-eyed innocence. Don’t let yourself become a horny junior’s prey.
9. Turn off Dora and put on your big-girl shoes.
You and your parents may be very close. You may love them more than life itself, appreciate their advice and guidance, and be unable to get through a few days without the comfort of hearing their voices.
But if you call them every five minutes at college with the smallest of concerns, you’ll never learn to do things for yourself. You won’t get the most out of your college experience. And people will make fun of you. And by “people,” I mean me.
It’s time to cut the umbilical cord.
10. Pay attention to what goes in your mouth.
With an entirely different sleep and meal schedule, it’s easy to get distracted, but don’t leave your waistline in danger with countless 2 a.m. milkshakes and extracurricular snacking. Otherwise, you’ll get the bad version of the “freshman 15.” The one without a sassy narrator.
11. Don’t bet all your money on a trick pony.
The most interesting people you meet in college are usually also the most polarizing. And while you may find the Lady Gaga-esque junior in your math class a riot, a lot of people in her own year may roll their eyes and grit their teeth when she shows off her p-p-p-poker face.
You can be friends with her, but don’t spend too much time sticking up for this girl to other people and forsaking your other friends to hang out with her. Because if all of the older students hate her for reasons unknown to you, it’s very likely that those reasons will become clear soon enough.
12. Don’t piss off the wrong people.
Powerful enemies can make the next four years a living hell. Sleep with a Theta’s boyfriend, and you could find yourself with 50 fembots who want you dead. Don’t think you’re invincible just because you got away with these things in high school.
13. Get what you paid for.
When you think of college what do you think of? Four years of non-stop fun, friends, parties and…class?
Why yes. When you’re living it up on Wino Wednesday and Thirsty Thursday, remember that you probably have class the next morning. And when the four years are done and you’re applying to jobs, no one is going to care that you were known as the “Keg-Stand Queen.”
Never forget about class. In more ways than one.
14. Say yes to everything.
That Scott is such a bed-wetter, you might be thinking. He doesn’t want me to party, re-enact High School Musical on my bedspread, or have indiscriminate sex with guys that might be taken. He doesn’t want me to do anything!
On the contrary, Little Miss Melodrama. I want you to do everything. Go to a party if someone invites you. Try a new restaurant if your friends are thinking about going. Join a bunch of clubs and road-trip across the country for spring break. You’ll never have as many opportunities as you do right now, so make the most of it.
15. …but not everything.
But be reasonable. Don’t say yes to a party for the third day in a row when you have a paper due in 10 hours. Don’t accept a cup of unidentifiable liquid from a guy you met fifteen minutes ago. And for the love of God, don’t go along with it if the guy you’re seeing wants to videotape your next hook-up.
Some of us learn these things the hard way.