A year ago (fun fact: it was the first post on this blog) I posted a fun and sarcastic piece about the things most survival guides don’t tell you about college. I’d like to take a moment, after much reflection, and present all you college newbies with some more serious things you wouldn’t otherwise know because no one or no survival guide wants to be the bearer of bad news.
Learn how to check your email more often than your text messages
Professors WILL NOT text you about a quiz getting moved up or a class getting cancelled, they email you. Get into the habit of checking your email at least three times a day, more if you have group work, a demanding class or an online class.
Learn to nap
If you weren’t a fan of napping before college then you need to suck it up and get into the habit. Because all-nighters and hectic schedules become the normal for college students, taking your spare time and turning it into naptime becomes essential to not passing out during boring lectures.
It’s okay to question everything
Do I really want to be a chemical engineer? A nurse? A teacher? A pharmacist? Do I really like my style? My friends? My dog? Am I gay? Bisexual? Asexual? Am I a liberal? What even is that?
College, for most people, is the first time away from home and it’s a whole lot of changes at once. When thrust into this world, you begin questioning everything. Here’s a life hint: It’s best to question now and figure yourself out before it’s too late.
College is full of weird people you never thought you’d see
If you’ve ever seen the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” then I would like to refer you to the scene when Joseph Gordon-Levitt is new and David Krumholtz is pointing out all the cliques. It’s a lot like that scene complete with girls talking about how they love their Prada backpack but nowadays it’s either Coach or Michael Kors.
The preppy girls you hated are now called “basic”
It may be a popular joke to call a girl basic but for reals, this is like, not a drill. All those preppy girls in high school, the ones who giggled at text messages from the person two rows away and hung out with all the jocks, have given fame to the “basic” phenomenon. They now giggle at completely stupid Snapchats, drink Starbucks lattes (with soy and two shots sugar free vanilla, obvi) and they wear glasses even if they don’t require them.
Budget or die
Cut coupons and watch for sales if you are living in a dorm or a campus apartment. Whether you have a job or have a weekly allowance, budget you money so you have enough to cover essentials like rent, food and textbooks. Partying can be done when you’ve secured your future. Also, check your bank account daily to make sure your card hasn’t been compromised and you’ve paid for someone else’s surfboard.
Credit/debt cards are not invisible money from the bank of mom and dad
Please refer to the above-mentioned “Budget or die” because it is not your parent’s responsibility to pay for every visit to Taco Bell and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Buzzfeed for Ramen hacks (you will get tired of basic ramen noodles)
Especially if you live on campus, Ramen has just become your main dish everyday for the next four plus years. Ramen noodles can get boring after a while though and the need to spice things up, sometimes literally, is all but mandatory. Buzzfeed has come out with many videos on the different things you can make with Ramen including gnocchi, BLTs and cheese sticks.
Plan for a traffic jam
Shout out to commuter students who have to take major highways to get to and from school. You’re not the only driver and not everyone is going to class. Some are on their way to work, some on their way to vacation and others are just taking up space because they’re lost. Accidents happen and construction is inevitable so always plan for the possibility of getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic.
Welcome to the world of politics
It you weren’t politically aware before, you are now! From arguments in hallways to posters on bulletin boards and protests in the quad, college is a petri dish of political agendas slowly growing to the absurd, especially around the times for presidential elections aka this fall! I can’t wait to see the many Donald Trump posters and memes around campus.
Don’t sign things unless you’re really passionate about the cause
Half the time when someone is asking you to sign a petition supporting animal rights or to impeach a president, you either need to submit your email to receive never-ending forwards and graphic pictures but also your name is now on a government watch list. Everyone take a moment to wave at the NSA!
You’ll end up with at least seven pocket Bibles by the end of your first semester
It’s hard to escape the very nice older generation of people who appear on campus multiple times in the fall and spring armed with small green Bibles that easily fit in your pocket. Maybe it’s because college is known as a breeding ground of debauchery but expect to have a Bible shoved, yes shoved, into your hand when you come out of a parking structure stairwell, out of a building, walk across the street, walk into Starbucks and, no joke, try to get your lunch from a food truck.
Things are about to get drastic
Anything that was holding you back from being you in high school has been lifted. It’s like magic! Or at least it’s like magic that has been weighing you down and your senses need time to adjust. Chances are you’re going to be inspired to get healthy and cut out gluten for no other reason than Twitter said everybody else was. You’ll want to join 7 a.m. yoga because a survival guide said it would improve your energy for the day. You’ll want to dye your hair a pastel color because the guy who sits behind you in your bio lecture convinced you you could pull it off. Newsflash: Very few can.
Your professors really have heard it all
If you don’t do an assignment, don’t make up and excuse to get an extension because your professor could write a series on the ridiculous things students have come up with from a death in the family, mass Wi-Fi failure, rabid animals, murder and police. Just be upfront and say you forgot and/or ran out of time. Chances are they’ll be nicer about the situation.
Truthfully, college is easy but the change and responsibility is what throws students for a loop. Chances are you have a job, live on your own and have people to answer to. Basically, it’s your first time adult-ing and it’s terrifying. But remember, #itgetsbetter.