1. Did More Of The Readings.
College has a way of assigning things that, if you wish to engage in life outside of studying, are all but impossible to complete fully. And like most people who determinedly stare at a fixed point upon being asked a question about the reading, I rarely ever did the reading. From a practical standpoint, it rarely made sense to.
Yet, whereas we seem to be moving more towards a “you learn most things outside the classroom” educational experience, the classroom seems like it should count for something. I was shitty in this regard.
2. Took More Trips.
The one real trip I took was down to New Orleans; a 24 hour drive from Washington DC in an RV with 14 guys. That was over a year and a half ago, and I’m pretty sure we’ve got enough material to reminisce for at least 10 years. Trips do that, trips help you remain friends when you’re 30 and have nothing in common. Trips have you making fun of state troopers in rural Tuscaloosa that think they have the drug bust of the century, but actually just have a kid who can’t drive an RV. Take trips.
3. Did more stupid bets.
I hated my dining hall. The food wasn’t exactly terrible, but I found the whole “this is when you’re gonna eat, and you’re not allowed to eat past 8pm” thing a bit much. Plus, going to the dining hall required you eat with friends instead of the main homies Alex Trebek and Jeopardy!. Double plus, all the people that worked at my dining hall were giant Redskins fans.
One of the last days during sophomore year, while incredibly pissed over a recent breakup, I decided to embark on a series of toolish bold-flavored moves I that I figured would help convince myself that I do in fact have redeeming value. One of which was adamantly declaring that I was never going to step foot in the dining hall again. Two of my friends called me out, the conversation escalated, and we ended up setting the bet.
Two years later I held up to my end of the bargain. I won a measly $40, and lost a considerable amount in free meals from friends with dining hall cards. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
4. Actually Engaged In Some Sort Of Social Justice.
I did a lot of community service in high school, and like most people, I’d be lying if I said a lot of it was out of genuine interest for community service. Now done with crafting the proper common app renaissance man, I reasoned that when it came to activities, college was gonna be all about hedonistic self-indulgence. Which was definitely fun, but fun shouldn’t always be the end game in these sorts of things. Moving from the high school bubble to the collegiate bubble, I began to learn that the world was all kinds of fucked up. I did little to improve that. That sucks.
5. Put Water In The Easy Mac.
Due to COLLEGE and NO RULES, both in all caps, the first half of my freshman year was spent living on a steady diet of Cup o Noodles, Easy Mac, and Count Chocula. I also thought it’d be cool to not go to sleep until 5am, due to the aformentioned desire to consistently behave like a ten year old.
One night, I decided to heat up some easy mac in our dorm common room. This night was different than all other nights not because it a Passover Seder–but because I had forgotten to put water in the easy mac before heating it up.
This resulted in the microwave quickly turning into the black smoke monster form LOST, prompting me to smother the nearby smoke detector with a sizeable collection of garbage bags. Had that smoke detector sang its song, the entire 500+ person dorm would’ve been evacuated. It was three in the morning.
The fire drill catastrophe was avoided, but the common room (and the entire floor) decided to smell of putrid burning for the next several days. It was also parents weekend.
6. Not Do What Everyone Else Was Doing Every Night.
“Everyone’s there,” your friends will reason. And by everyone, it usually means the 1-2 “options” for the evening.
Very much like getting a 9-5 job and cubicling your way into a mortgage, it’s alarmingly easy to follow the nightlife path set out for you. Robert Frost it up, and go across town to that up and coming area where all the postgrads hang out. Part of this whole thing is to challenge yourself. This means socially.
7. Balanced the Repression/Dumb Decision Cycle.
The present day collegiate narrative brings with it this sort of humanistic exceptionalism; that amidst all the personal boundary pushing, you should be engaging in borderline reckless activity. Meaning that amidst all that boundary pushing, you’ll probably take it a step too far.
Like everyone else who commits actions they’ll severely hate themselves for later, I tended to respond by overcompensating in the opposite direction. I.e., after a very dangerous alcohol poisoning hospital visit, I reasoned that the best thing for me to do would be to not drink for the entire next month. Once that month was over, there was way too much pent-up potential energy for me to handle.
Extremes have a funny way of boomeranging on each other. It’s why addicts turn their addiction into full-on, ritualistic sobriety; it’s another addiction. Not that I’m qualified to tell anyone about anything, but if you make a dumb decision, fleeing to the opposite extreme will eventually send you back to where you came. This seems like a good thing to keep in mind.
8. Was Better At FIFA.
All my roommates were ridiculously good at FIFA. I was too focused on sending witty emails and thinking I was gonna write the next Great American Novel to notice or care. They get to say that at one point, they were probably some of the best FIFA players in the world. All I can do is avoid telling anyone about that novel I tried to write.
9. Didn’t Take Shit So Seriously.
This is harder than everyone thinks. It also doesn’t even mean anything–by actively trying to brush things off, does that mean you actually care way too much about that thing? Probably.
Just at some point, remember that most sentences you read are just a facade to keep the economy going. At the end of the day, nobody can tell you how to college. Don’t forget that.