When you start college, everyone will want to give you advice about alcohol, studying and relationships. Though these are often important parts of the college experience, such advice does not tell you much about what the next four years of your life will be like. For this reason, I have attempted to put together a list of things they don’t tell you.
• Get a good winter coat: Once classes start, there are 256 days until the end of exams in May, and at least 162 of them will be cold and windy. This means unless you drink more than four nights a week, the cold will affect you more than alcohol and exams combined. Take it from someone who spent two winters in uncomfortable misery while everyone else enjoyed the snow – invest in a warm coat you feel comfortable in. You won’t regret it.
• Don’t share drinks: I say this not because of a fear of roofies – although you certainly should watch out for them – but out of a concern for your health. The kissing disease may sound cute, but when you miss a month of class because your throat is so swollen it prevents you from eating, talking or sleeping, the drink your friend made you taste won’t seem worth it anymore. Forget what you learned on “Sesame Street” – some things are not for sharing, namely mononucleosis. Use your own cup, and if people want a taste, ask them to get their own. If they refuse, have them look up the symptoms of mono.
• Just say no to laundry: If you’re 18, you probably haven’t made the final cut to the umbilical cord yet. The less reliant you are on your parents and the more you do for yourself, the easier this will become. If you go home to do your laundry, as I do, do it yourself – don’t let your mother do it. When the time comes to declare yourself an adult, it won’t be such an ordeal if you aren’t still relying on mom to wash and fold your clothes. Still, always accept free food and cash. You’ll never outgrow being hungry or poor.
• There is no one-size-fits-all plan for college: Your friends may swear by their studying, sleeping, drinking or dating techniques, but that doesn’t mean they’ll work for you. Instead of relying on other people’s decisions, experiment a little. College is an opportunity to have one foot in the real world while still having a cushion to land on if you miss a step. So have fun and keep your priorities in mind. You’ll succeed as long as you’re trying to figure your life out for yourself and not following some pre-written guide.
• Now it’s time for a moral: In an interview with himself, Truman Capote said his personal motto was “I Aspire.” I’ve adopted this as my motto, too because “I Aspire” can mean anything; it doesn’t tell me what to aspire to, just to aspire to something, be it greatness, success, happiness, even infamy. While you’re here, do yourself a favor and aspire to something, anything at all, and work toward seeing your aspirations realized.
That’s all I have to say. But who am I to tell you what to do anyway?
Theresa Bruskin is a junior newspaper journalism major and copy desk chief for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]