1. You are going to meet a lot of assholes this semester. A lot of the boys entering college are only after one thing – hooking up. Regardless of how sweet and caring they may seem, it is highly unlikely that you will meet a freshman boy looking to settle down. Don’t come in expecting to be showered with love and attention by the attractive boy in your seminar. It is unlikely that you are both after the same thing. Especially when “fuck bitches, get money” has been drilled into their heads as the college motto. Be realistic and be aware; freshman year is no place for hopeless romantics.
2. Your state of mind entering college will determine how you deal with these assholes. You can either let them get to you or you can know exactly where you stand and look past them. Don’t take it personally when the sophomore frat boy doesn’t ask you out on a date. Don’t get offended when you agree to go check a guy’s TV out before buying it and he makes a move on you and then acts surprised when you stop him, as if you would sleep with the first guy that paid you any attention. Don’t expect every guy you meet to treat you as well as your high school sweetheart did. Know your worth and understand that meeting assholes in you first year of college is inevitable and it isn’t your fault – the only thing that matters is how you deal with them and how you let them affect you.
3. Don’t rant to other college friends about your roommate. You are just getting to know these people, so you don’t know exactly how well you can trust them yet – don’t find out the hard way. For all you know, they may be your friends now and your roommate’s best friends next semester. These things are bound to come out, drunk or sober, and you are the only one who is going to suffer from it because you live in the same room as them. If you need to rant, do it to your parents or your friends back home- they have no connection with your roommate whatsoever so it can’t backfire.
4. Join as many psychology studies that offer money as you can. Seriously. It’s not lame. It’s not ratchet. We’re all going to be overwhelmingly broke at some point in the semester and you’re going to wish you filled out a few questionnaires about yourself in exchange for $20 when you had the opportunity.
5. Give the friends-with-benefits deal a try. You are all a bunch of hormonal teenagers thrown in a dorm building with little adult supervision and the realization that you won’t have someone in your bed whenever you please now that it’s so easy to sneak around will hit you hard. If you share a sexual tension with a close friend, there is no harm in fooling around. However, if you want to give it a try, make sure that you are both on the same page so no harm is done and that it won’t be awkward for either one of you or your friends whenever you hang out. Have fun, it’s all up to you.
6. Be nice to your dorm guards/kitchen staff. Not only is it the morally right thing to do, but you’ll be surprised to find out how convenient these relationships are. You’ll have a sandwich named after you with extra salami when no one is looking and they’ll look away when you sneak out of the cafeteria without paying because you don’t have enough money left in your meal plan (What would I do without you, Carlos?) You’ll be thankful that you’re friends with the security guards when you come back to the dorms stumbling around. Or when you lose your student ID and can’t access the building. Or when a random guy at the club promises to only walk you and your friends home and takes his ID out to get checked in into your building.
7. Become friends with commuters. These people have it the hardest when it comes to making friends in college, so they will be eternally grateful to have you in their lives. You’ll give them a taste of the true college experience and you’ll grow pretty close. They also live nearby so if you ever need an apartment to crash in for the short holidays, storage space to keep your stuff during the summer, a getaway to breathe, or a place outside dorms to throw parties at, you’re all set.
8. Become friends with bar/club bouncers. Want to avoid the long, excruciating lines to get into bars or clubs? Become friends with the bouncers. They are usually constant, and the more you go and interact with them, the easier it will be for them to remember you. They will familiarize with your ID and will never give you trouble for it. At first, introduce yourselves as you wait in line, ask them how their night is going, drunkenly hug them goodbye, and always say thank you at the end of the night. After a while, you’ll go straight to him when you arrive at the venue and feel gratified at the sight of red velvet ropes instantly opening a path for you.
9. Adderall and RedBull don’t mix well.
10. Do not hook up with anybody in your residence hall. If I had a dime for every uncomfortable elevator ride I’ve third-wheeled in I would have enough money to build an interstellar teleporter. There is nothing worse than not feeling free in your own home, so avoid having to dodge out of the cafeteria and pressing the “close” button on the elevator 234232934 times to make sure you don’t run into him. The hook up is not worth the embarrassment that comes from the awkward eye contacts and your friends bursting out laughing whenever he enters the room. Nope, not worth it.
11. Have at least one ride-or-die friend. Keep them close. Have someone that feels like home when you’re so far away from it. I promise the satisfaction that comes from going through all these new experiences with a best friend is indescribable. Have someone you can run to at 3 a.m. when you are going through hard things. Someone to stay in with on a Friday night to jam to the Jonas Brothers and watch movies on Netflix. With that said, don’t look for homes in people.
12. Be someone’s ride-or-die friend. Go out of your way to be someone’s go-to person. There is nothing more rewarding. These are the friendships you’ll take with you wherever you go.
13. There is no such thing as having too many ramen packs. Have 20 minutes before your next class? Did you run out of meal plan money for the semester? Are you up at 4 a.m. cramming for your exam and everything around you is closed? Did someone clone your credit card and leave you with $-12.00 in your bank account? Repeat after me: ramen noodles are life savers.
14. Keep a journal. It doesn’t have to be a diary, but make sure to have a simple way of documenting the memorable things you do in your freshman year of college (and believe me, there will be a lot.) It’s hard to keep track of everything that happens and you’ll eventually regret not writing it all down for future reference. (I recommend: One Line A Day Journal) At the end of the year, sit back and reminisce with your friends over it all.
15. Still want more money? Work for the rich foreign students. Every university has those rich foreign assholes that are quite literally paying for their degree; they don’t care about learning the material themselves and they most certainly don’t care about the money they drop. So, why not take advantage of it? Do their essays and make some extra money from these oh-so generous people. Besides, chances are they are enrolled in English 101 and you’ll have no trouble writing a mediocre argumentative paper on global warming or uniforms.
16. Stay away from frat boys. This depends on what you expect from them. If you want meaningless hookups and blurry nights, go for it. If you are looking for respect and love, get the hell out of that basement. Maybe the upperclassmen are a different deal, but do not expect anything serious or respectable from the young ones. Especially not the pledges – I assure you, you are not a priority in their lives when they are trying to get into a fraternity. Don’t be the girl that plays video games with his roommate as she waits for him to clean out his Big’s apartment and run naked across the football field to deliver a flag to the fraternity’s president. You’re not in high school anymore; give the mature men a chance.
17. Find your spot in town. Find a place that you can escape to when this new lifestyle overwhelms you to the point of asphyxiation. You’re far away from home and from the people you’ve had by your side your whole life, so it’s perfectly acceptable to take your time to adjust. If you live nearby home, don’t escape there. Make a home out of your new city. Find your own place – a lake, a park, or a coffee shop and don’t bring anyone else with you.
18. A TV is important. A printer, too. A few of my saddest memories include going down to the basement to watch the How I Met Your Mother season finale and finding a bunch of guys huddling around the TV watching college basketball. Or when I went to the printing lab 5 minutes before class to strategically arrive with 2 minutes to spare only to find out the printer was out of ink and the 56k tuition we all pay could not fix my dilemma right then. Invest wisely.
19. When nothing goes right, go to sleep. Odds are you probably need it, anyways.
20. Don’t drink and text/Snapchat. Because how do you come back from this
21. Get away from the city without telling your parents at least once. I can’t quite explain the rush that comes from trying not to die in a different city because your parents would kill you if they found out. My fondest memories and best stories I have from my freshman year exist because I bought a bus ticket at 3 a.m. with my best friend or agreed to take a train to a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of strangers that suddenly became friends. Be spontaneous and be adventurous; make the most of your freedom. Just stay alive, okay?
22. It’s okay if you almost died of alcohol poisoning that one time. The important part is that you didn’t. Don’t beat yourself up for partying a little extra hard that Saturday night. It’s not your fault that that bottle of Jack forced itself upon you, and that you were the only one in the room that had never tried Fireball and therefore felt obliged to and that it was Jimmy Something’s birthday and you needed to take several shots of celebration. It’s okay if you don’t remember any of this and your friends were the ones that had to fill you in the next morning as you woke up tucked in bed with your hair wet and a trash can next to you. Thank them sincerely for taking care of you and volunteer to be Sober Sally next time.
23. Unfollow your high school sweetheart from social media if wounds are fresh. When you’re lonely, you’ll begin to reminisce and focus on the good times only – you won’t even acknowledge why you broke up in the first place. It’s not immature to cut the person off if you’re only doing it to heal. It’s perfectly understandable if the pictures, tweets, and status updates still sting a little, so do whatever you have to do to move on and find happiness within yourself. Don’t type the letter F on your navigation bar and get redirected to his Facebook profile. The “unfollow” button saves lives.
24. Sleep is for breaks. You’ve got a limited amount of weekends to be reckless and immature and blame it on being a freshman. Don’t waste them sleeping – that’s what holidays are for. You’re going to want to sleep through the How-Is-College small talk, anyways.
25. If he has to buy you shots to convince you to kiss him, don’t. Take the shots and get the hell out of there. Is that your lesbian lover calling you? Sorry, pal.
26. Take advantage of your student discounts. And considering never graduating because of them.
27. Record as many things as possible. Keeping a journal and having videos to look back on are two very different things. Relive those moments with a simple click and keep them with you for the rest of your life – the memories you are making now are so important. Besides, the look on your hungover friend’s face when they watch what they did the night before is always priceless. You’ll have great footage for a cheesy montage, too.
28. Call your parents as often as possible. You’ll realize how much you took them for granted when you start to feel homesick and lonely, or when you go to the doctor and there’s an empty chair beside you, or when you accidentally leave a red sock in your whites, or when it hits you that you’re probably never going to live with them again. You’ll only love them more when you’re apart from them, and these calls will only bring joy to both ends of the phone – so make them. Now.
29. Do not let people drag you down. Don’t base your life around others, regardless of how close they may be to you. Don’t miss out on the art galleries, the movie premieres, or the parties simply because they don’t sound appealing to your friends. Reach out to other people or go by yourself and make new friends. Be independent and open yourself to think differently, to do different things, and to surround yourself with different people. This is your new life – don’t give anyone the power to control it. Don’t take these opportunities for granted.
30. Go out that Thursday night. Be irresponsible and make memories. Don’t make a habit out of it.
31. Don’t beat yourself up for not going out on a Friday night. Going out and getting drunk everyday of the weekend is regarded as the norm for the majority of college kids, but let me tell you something – it’s exhausting. You’ll start feeling suffocated at the realization that your weekends lack so much actual substance and you’ll want an immediate break. However, after a while, you’ll feel out of the loop and feel pressured to go out again so you don’t miss out on anything. It’s okay to stay in and read a book or catch up on your shows. Go out when you’re completely ready and comfortable – no one is judging your decisions.
32. This isn’t high school anymore. Trust me when I tell you that the things that were once significant to you in high school will be meaningless in college. The Instagram likes, the amount of Facebook friends, your popularity or your friend’s popularity – nobody.gives.a.shit. “Live a life that feels good on the inside, not one that just looks good on the outside.” It’s time to grow up.
33. The Freshman 15 is real. This Loch Ness monster is no myth. The idea of gaining 15 pounds seems ludicrous until it actually happens to you. Your dorm’s cafeteria will be your biggest enemy- remember when you asked mom to stop buying glazed donuts to avoid temptation? The caf couldn’t care less. It will draw you in with its endless choices of disgusting, fattening foods available to you at all times, even when you’re not hungry. Make time to exercise before you hit rock bottom a.k.a stand on a scale and realize you’ve spent all your money on cheap alcohol and Chipotle.
34. Eat24Hours.com is a friend.
35. There is nothing cool about frat parties. Unless you’re into so-sweaty-it’s-humid pussy fests and enjoy guys grabbing your ass wherever you go. Don’t feel pressured to go to these events just because you’re in college now. I’m not saying not to experience it at least once, but people glamorize the whole affair and spark excitement within young, naïve freshmen that eagerly tweet about the event on the way there. Just know that you can do without the clogged toilets and cheap beer, believe me. If you do decide to go, just know that the view from the rooftop isn’t that great. Or worth it.
36. Sew your student ID to your body. Word on the street is, before entering that elevator, Jay Z mentioned he had misplaced Solange’s student ID. You’ll be surprised to know how easy it is to lose the bastard and how much it hurts to pay $20 for a new one each time.
37. Don’t seek for many similarities when searching for a roommate – people clash. Chances are you are not going to be best friends with your roommate; there is something about confining two complete strangers for a year that doesn’t usually end up working out well. When you’re picking a roommate, don’t look for a star-crossed best friend. Instead, look for someone you can visualize yourself working well with. It’s true what they say about opposites attracting. Who knows? Maybe you’ll realize that you actually were star-crossed best friends in the end.
38. Do.Not.Buy.Textbooks. Of all the useless things I’ve gotten the past year (and that includes a traffic cone and a giant ironing board) the ones I regret packing up the most are my textbooks. Remember when you actually needed books to pass classes in high school? Yeah, good times. Think twice before dropping thousands on textbooks that you can exchange with your school’s book store for the grand total amount of $5 and human tears.
39. Study for your finals instead of writing articles for Thought Catalog.