101 Things Nobody Told Me About College

  1. The tours and glossy brochures do a very good job of hiding the rats, broken elevators, or general dumpiness of a college.
  2. That being said, even if you get put in the 3rd worst dorm in the country, it will not suck too badly.
  3. Unless you have an older sibling in college who’s done this before, you will have packed at least slightly wrong (i.e. you will bring too much of some stuff and too little of other stuff.) Plan accordingly.
  4. You can spend more money than you can imagine if you’re not careful.
  5. The Holy College Trinity is Netflix, Amazon, and Apple products.
  6. If something exists to be bought, you can probably find it cheaper or for free elsewhere.
  7. Those cheaper or free options may have drawbacks.
  8. 50-90% of the people you meet in orientation will never cross paths with you again.
  9. It’s okay to say hi to them, though.
  10. Everyone changes when they go to college.
  11. You or your roommate may swear they always get up early, and then never get up before 10am.
  12. The quality of your roommate (and your roommate relationship) can make or break your college experience.
  13. Being friendly to people early will make it easier to build relationships later on.
  14. Joining clubs will make it easier to build possible relationships.
  15. Making friends anew takes time and effort.
  16. You probably have forgotten how to make friends.
  17. Everyone else will have forgotten, too.
  18. You will have peers ready to run for student councils, apply for internships, and start research projects by the end of the first week. Don’t be hating; make friends with them. Learn from them. Be inspired.
  19. If ambitious people give you panic attacks about your own life choices, then find some less high-strung people too.
  20. The dining hall is not as bad as everyone says.
  21. You will have to dine alone at some point, and it will happen more than once.
  22. Everyone has to dine alone at some point.
  23. Trying to avoid dining alone will make your neuroticism worse.
  24. It’s startling how many clubs, events, and meetings start after 8pm.
  25. That means it’s startlingly easy to stay up past midnight.
  26. You will fall behind on your reading until you learn the art of skimming and self-discipline.
  27. There are more resources on campus (or off) than you can imagine.
  28. Getting speech tutoring from the French Embassy down the road is a viable option.
  29. That being said, if you miss an important date or event, that’s on you.
  30. You will get at least one terrible professor.
  31. You will get at least one extraordinary professor.
  32. You can love a subject and hate your course in that subject.
  33. You will also get TAs who are as competent teachers as the professors, and those with the helpfulness of a broken spoon.
  34. That old man huffing and puffing on the elliptical in short shorts could be your chemistry professor in a year (or an hour).
  35. You will have no idea what to do with office hours when you don’t really have a content question.
  36. You will feel that you are not worth your professor’s time.
  37. You are in fact worth your professor’s time, no matter how many articles and books she has published.
  38. If you have a course before 11am, you will sleep through at least one class. You will not die, but don’t do it again.
  39. All-nighters always suck in the end.
  40. Really read your syllabus; it tells you more than you may think.
  41. Ask for help when you need it. Professors can be more generous about extensions and flexible deadlines than you think.
  42. Your schedule timing matters as much as the courses you take and the professors you get.
  43. If you have to choose between a class period and a one-time event with an extraordinary guest speaker, do everything in your power to see that guest speaker.
  44. If you have free time, go see to a smaller lecture event. You never know who you meet or what could happen.
  45. You will let at least one opportunity or fantastic contact slip through the cracks.
  46. That should teach you not to let future opportunities slip through the cracks.
  47. Some of the clubs on campus are harder to get into than Oxford.
  48. Other clubs just put up applications to scare the less-passionate away.
  49. Go audition for an a capella group (even if you have never sung outside of a shower before).
  50. Unless you have no interest in a cappella. Then find something else and go for it.
  51. Go to at least one campus event where the majority of the student body is in attendance (be it a concert, sports event, etc.)
  52. You will become very, very grateful for your parents very quickly.
  53. You will get homesick at least once.
  54. You will feel isolated and alone at least once.
  55. You will hate your college at at least one point. That’s okay.
  56. You will (or at least should) question your major at least once. That’s okay too.
  57. You will get an inferiority complex from the guy sitting next to you in lecture filling out his LinkedIn resume with all four languages he speaks fluently.
  58. It will seem like 90% of the student body has their entire life together.
  59. In reality, it’s more like 1.5% (seniors included).
  60. Alcohol is everywhere. ‘Legal drinking age’ goes the way of ‘decent bedtime’ and ‘balanced meals’ in college.
  61. If you don’t party, you will become very aware of how many (and often) people party.
  62. Not everyone parties.
  63. Not all who party become drunks.
  64. Sex is not as big of a deal as you think.
  65. Sex is still kind of a big deal.
  66. Finding those people who don’t party is not impossible, but it takes some effort.
  67. The designated walker is an essential component of any tour de Coors. Have one or be one.
  68. Playing the Is-(S)He-Smashed-or-Sober game becomes easier with experience.
  69. When you have a friend who becomes too-drunk-to-function, be prepared like a doctor, not a mom. You’ll need to do a whole lot of things to make sure that person winds up safe and sound no matter what. Be prepared for it, and be prepared to do it without character judgment.
  70. Bodily fluids happen, and happen more often than you expect. (i.e. poops in the shower, pee in the sink, vomit everywhere but the toilet).
  71. You will probably do something stupid at least once. Perhaps in public. You will apologize, laugh at yourself, and move on.
  72. If you live in a city, there is no good reason (that includes homework) for you to spend a Saturday afternoon in a dorm or a library.
  73. If you live in a city, get a card for the metro and/or bus system. It will make your life that much easier.
  74. Get discount cards for store you shop at often (grocery stores especially).
  75. Go visit the city by yourself (taking reasonable precautions).
  76. Go visit the city with friends.
  77. Find cheap or free events and attend them.
  78. Say yes to something you don’t think you’ll like if it’s with people you enjoy.
  79. Be adventurous, but not stupid (read: try not to endanger your life).
  80. Being an adult means you can have a pint of Ben & Jerry’s for dinner.
  81. Being an adult mean you know you should not do that (often).
  82. You will make choices about your health because of how those choices impact you, not (just) because of what your mom said.
  83. You can choose unhealthy options, but you will feel so much better if you’re healthy.
  84. Upperclassmen are your most accessible resource for information, opportunities, and contacts.
  85. Alumni are less obvious, but still eager resources for you too.
  86. However, they are people, not just business cards.
  87. If you are not super career-inclined, you will meet more career-oriented people than you expect.
  88. Some people will start interviewing for summer jobs and prestigious internships before spring semester.
  89. Those people will intimidate you if you let them.
  90. People will tell you to meet all their expectations, but without seeking perfection. It will frustrate you.
  91. In reality, every activity demands a minimum amount of time and effort of you. You can devote just that minimum without any significant consequences, negative or positive or success. You must find that minimum, and then decide how far above it you want to go.
  92. Ultimately, no many how pep-talks you get or motivational playlists you listen to, no one can do the thing for you. You must motivate yourself.
  93. College will overwhelm you sometimes (or often).
  94. It overwhelms everybody sometimes (or often).
  95. When you go through one door, other doors get shut.
  96. Not shut forever, but it takes more work to open them again.
  97. Don’t be afraid to fail (because you will).
  98. Don’t be afraid to succeed (because you can).
  99. The choice of how you spend your time and effort is truly and completely up to you.
  100. It’s only four years of your life.
  101. It’s only four years of your life.