50 Things University Taught Me: First Year

Recently finishing my first year of undergrad, I compiled a list of the things I really learned after paying thousands of dollars. Move aside Foucault and Morrison, this is where it’s at.

  1. You will, without a doubt, hate everything you came to school for, at least once.
  2. Your parents were wrong.
  3. Suede, although pretty, is such a useless material.
  4. Your parents were right.
  5. Take chances. Always, always, take chances.
  6. It is possible to survive an entire day on a bagel and a carton of chocolate milk. Sometimes, just the bagel.
  7. All those habits you thought you were going to kick? Nice try.
  8. Sometimes, you just don’t want to be kissed.
  9. Engineers, regardless of what school they attend, are dangerous creatures.
  10. It is possible to watch a movie every night.
  11. Yes, T.A’s do hit on their students.
  12. Don’t come to university with the expectation that people are any more mature than they were in high school. They aren’t.
  13. Turns out, fulfilling your dreams requires a lot of paperwork and a high GPA.
  14. Never say never.
  15. You will miss people with every fiber of your being and not realize it till you hug them after months of absence and remember why you liked them in the first place.
  16. There’s no graceful way to eat a pita wrap.
  17. Being away from everyone you’ve gone to school with since you were 4 helps you sort out those worth coming home for and those worth forgetting. That is, if you didn’t already know.
  18. There will be students from other faculties in your major’s class who will do better than you on everything. It does not mean they are actually better than you. Numbers on a transcript have no relevance to passion. It’s okay.
  19. Nothing will make you make you feel more like a student than when you’re fishing through your wallet for spare change so you can buy a hot dog.
  20. You know nothing. But you also know absolutely everything.
  21. Never, ever, EVER turn down free food.
  22. No decent guy refers to the number of girls he’s slept with (be it in one night or cumulatively) as a “kill count.”
  23. Cover your boobs.
  24. Never interrupt during a discussion.
  25. “I used to be in Commerce, but then I realized I had morals, so I switched to Humanities.”
  26. Remember money? Remember how nice it felt to actually have some?
  27. Sex is beautiful. It’s a merging of limbs and ideas, a physical way to express your joy in the fact that the two of you love each other.
  28. Sex is dangerous. It is secrets and fears translated into desperate movement in the hopes that the body you’re clinging to, the face you’re looking at in the half dark, stranger or friend or someone in between, will help you understand something. It will not.
  29. When you go out of your way to so desperately look for something, it will go out of its way to make sure you don’t find it.
  30. It’s okay to cry.
  31. Your problems aren’t as big as you make them out to be in your head. Doesn’t mean you should disregard them completely. Just know you don’t have it that bad.
  32. Holding doors makes all the difference.
  33. Know that some people don’t realize that it’s possible to love someone in different ways.
  34. That one Double-Double was actually a Triple-Bypass-Why-Is-This-So-Sweet-Holy Shit-Why-Did-You-Buy-This.
  35. There is no set time to eat sushi.
  36. That look high school seniors give you when you wear your university sweater.
  37. The ones you loved and thought had left were just taking their time to find a way back.
  38. One of the best papers you’ve written all year will receive a failed grade because you were under the word count and you only talked about Russia. It’s an excellent paper. Deal with the shitty grade.
  39. Take a look at the people you last spoke to (via text, MSN, phone, etc) before heading off to bed. These people are who you really care about. These people are important.
  40. Just because someone is good to you, does not mean they are good foryou.
  41. Saying “fuck it” doesn’t work. “Fuck it” doesn’t write your essays or do your labs or edit your videos or get your lecture notes. “Fuck it” isn’t good to your GPA or your friendships or your sleep cycle.
  42. Everything worth knowing leaves scars.
  43. “It depends on the context.”
  44. There is something about the applause your professors receive at the end of the semester’s last lecture that will always make you well up with pride.
  45. Procrastinating on your schoolwork is a communal activity.
  46. When in doubt, cite it.
  47. The friendships you suddenly make at the end of the year, standing in line to buy coffee or over piles of exam notes, are more genuine than you give them credit for.
  48. Maybe you shouldn’t reread 1984 when you should be just doing readings.
  49. Always tell the truth. Even if it’s dirty and unpleasant. Do it. If the person doesn’t thank you then, they’ll thank you later, to your face or silently to themselves.
  50. Always reflect. Thought Catalog Logo Mark