I got to say you’ve come a long way from cr*pping your pants and walking like a perpetually drunk little man. You transitioned less than gracefully from childhood to adulthood with weird hair phases and bad skin to bridge the gaps. Today though your life changes, you are an adult and your future lies ahead of you. You will drink yourself through the hallowed halls of higher education and hopefully meet your future wife (which happens to about 28% of people that attend college) but maybe there are a few things to consider before you inebriate, procreate and educate yourself. 50-70% of college students change their major three times before they graduate.
1. Explore all options
I’m not talking about sexual partners but about academics. Most colleges allow you to declare your major the second year of study. During your freshman year try to take as many unrelated courses as possible until you find something that excites you. Again, I am not talking about sexual partners here. If some of the courses you took don’t apply towards your major you can always use them as electives.
2. Learn to do things for yourself
Good Lord! Get your hands out of your pants that’s not what I meant! This is the first time in your life that you’ll be doing things for yourself as an independent adult. College as an institution is quite forgiving so use this time to learn the do’s and don’ts of normal society. After your freshmen five (the standard 5 pounds of weight most freshman gain) you’ll figure out that a diet of Jager-bombs, pizza and couch cookies (cookies you dropped between cushions while drunk) isn’t the best thing for you. As a sophomore you’ll finally find yourself crunching down on some much needed veg (stop giggling I said veg you pervert). And yes, the stalk of celery and tomato juice in a Bloody Mary count as vegetables.
3. In the year 20XX+4
Why are you in college? And I swear to God if you say: “To meet hawties” I’m goin’ to smack you. On the other hand you’ve inadvertently proved my argument (if you don’t know what ‘inadvertently’ means maybe you should go to your 8am English class once and a while).The last thing on your mind while in college is the future. Which is ironic because that’s why you’re in college in the first place: to have a more comfortable future. It might be hard to forecast what might happen in the next four years but considering what could be in demand when you graduate will definitely help you decide on a major. Most colleges hold job fairs and offer career consulting which should help you make up your mind.
4. Studying abroad
Travel to foreign destinations and learn something at the same time. I saw you raising your hand, what do you want? [monotone] I don’t know if foreign girls will like your accent. Where was I? Oh yeah, studying abroad. It’s a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a culture, meet new people and experience new things. If you take a non-traditional approach to studying abroad it could help you get a lucrative job offer upon graduation. Or as you would say: “It’ll score ya a fat check boiii!” Studying and living abroad will show the recruiter that you have no problem challenging yourself, treading unknown waters and being adaptable.
5. Volunteer work
As a freshman you’ll probably have a considerable amount of free-time on your hands. Sure getting drunk at 2 p.m. because you don’t have any afternoon classes and playing video games in your boxers is a great way to spend your afternoon. You really can’t put that on your resume though. If you did please go back and omit it, you cannot consider yourself self-motivated because you have a level 30 Destiny avatar. Also raiding villages in Civilization 5 is not risk management experience. If you think working for free is for suckers you are gravely mistaken. Not only do employers consider that a strong attribute in a job candidate it can even be considered previous work experience. Your liver could probably also use the day off from drinking.
6. Stay safe
Yes and this time I am talking about sexual partners. Here’s a shocking statistic that should curtail you promiscuity. Did you know that almost half of the 20 Million new sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed each year are among people aged between 15 and 24? Guess what the average age group for college students are? 79% of all college students are between the ages of 18-24. You’re in freshman math I think you can figure out the overlap right? That puts you right in the middle of that demographic that comes to you courtesy of the Center for Disease Control. In a much more representative and pragmatic context, one in 4 college students have an S.T.D., have fun buddy!
OK back to a more pleasant note, what are you doing? Can you take the hazmat suit off please? College is a fertile place and time for novel experiences. There are clubs, hobby groups and associations dedicated to everything from ballroom dancing all the way to Philosophy. You can easily meet like-minded people too, by finding a group specific to your hobbies. Yes there is even an insect taxonomy group, probably.
Sure you’re going to drive your 1990 Ford Focus to college, but once you need to buy books, food and pay for housing, you might not have enough money to put gas in it. Also the more you drive a car and the older it is and the more maintenance it needs, and maintenance needs money. Familiarize yourself with public transportation that’s available to you or look into buying a bicycle if the weather permits it. Added bonus is that in many places college students can use public transportation for free or a discounted price.
9. Stay Safe II
OK now I’m going back to not talking about sexual partners again. After my last little quip about them I’m sure you’re not eager for a revisit of the topic anyway. When I say safe I mean physically this time. Sure every freshman gets a little wild and crazy, of course you will. It’s the first time you’re by yourself and living by your own rules. There are other rules that you should definitely follow. In the attempt to not sound like a faddy old man I’m going to put it this way: If you had your weight in Jager and chased every third shot with a beer you might want to take a taxi home. Underage drinking will get you some community service or a fine, drunken driving will get you (let me take a breath here) jail time, fines, a permanent record, probation, kicked out school and could even completely prohibit you working in certain fields.
10. Take time to find yourself
Most cultures have a coming of age ceremony, and for most western cultures college is considered the gateway between fun and a life of miserable adulthood. All the collective experiences of college will form your still malleable personality into the concrete you of tomorrow. The more you experience the more you’ll know what you like and dislike, inspires, motivates and empowers you.
Have a perspective on the topic? Well let us know in the comment section below!