Most guys go off to college with no idea about… anything really. At 18, you don’t know shit. Hell I’m 25 and I still have a lot to learn.
Very few incoming freshman get a taste of what college is like. If they do, it’s usually just a weekend visit to spend time with an older sibling. Most incoming freshman think college is going to be a combination of American Pie, Animal House, and Van Wilder.
It will be and it won’t be…
You can never really know what college is until you live within that realm.
I’m 7 years removed from my Freshman Year move in day. I’m 3 years removed from my college graduation. That’s enough time for me to reflect on my experiences and give pinpoint advice. Here are 50 things every guy should know before he starts college.
Here it goes:
1. College does not begin on move in day. College officially begins the day you get your acceptance letter in the mail.
2. As soon as you get accepted (and make your choice), you need hop on Facebook and join the Class of 20XX Facebook Group for your school. Get a feel for your peers. Make small talk on the page. Stay positive and talk about how excited you are.
3. The summer before you start college is a time for you to relax and do what you need to do to get ready for college. If you missed out on the good times in high school (girls and parties), this summer is another chance for you to get some experience before you go away.
4. You have a unique brand but during move-in day (and orientation week) people should think these 3 things about you: POSITIVE FRIENDLY HELPFUL
5. Have a loose “game plan” but understand that things very rarely go exactly according to plan. You’re going to mess up. Things aren’t going to pan out. Lady Luck will not always be in your corner. You will absolutely be forced to make adjustments to your game plan.
6. The period from move-in day until Halloween weekend is the most important time period for your college social life.
7. There are 4 main forms of “social currency” in college: GIRLS PARTIES TRANSPORTATION ALCOHOL (big deal when under 21) He who has easy access to all 4 will have a blast in college.
8. Befriend upperclassman in the top-tier fraternities. Status is very much an association game and if people see that you are associated with them aka “boys with them”… this is a fast way to build status.
9. Do your best to maintain a balance between healthy eating/exercise and partying.
10. At least try drinking… The non-athlete “I’m never going to drink” kids are always on the fringe of being social outcasts. Have one drink just to remain socially acceptable.
11. Spend as little time in your dorm room as possible. Study in the library. Work with others to learn the material and complete assignments. Treat your dorm room as a place to sleep and bring chicks back.
12. The difference between high school and college is that in high school you’re often lulled in to a false sense of security because you think you can coast by since you have exams and assignments (maybe extra credit) to earn a grade. In college, you have usually only have 1 or 2 things that make up your final grade. If you bomb one of them, you’re fucked. If you don’t show up to class (or do the reading) and try to cram the night before you will probably get steamrolled… unless it’s something easy like Astronomy.
13. Time management is everything in college. You have the freedom to make your own schedule so choose wisely.
14. When in doubt… Keep your mouth shut.
15. You can never truly “be yourself” especially on today’s college campuses where liberal hippies are trigger happy with the R word. Just be mindful of the situations where you should probably “vanilla” yourself in any political/cultural/racial/religious discussions.
16. If your nights out partying entail just you and your wingman “gaming” college parties… you’re doing college wrong.
17. Most Freshman girls are “on the market”. They might have a boyfriend back home. Rest assured, he’s usually just a placeholder until she finds something better/more convenient.
18. Most of the time, the way you get in to that first college relationship is through simple small talk with one of the girls that you see on a regular basis. That cute girl Jaime might be in 1 (or 2) of your classes. You might also see her at the gym and cafeteria. Go introduce yourself. Start small and talk about whatever shit you got going on in class. Build upon that.
19. Everybody is nervous in the beginning because everybody just wants to be accepted. Have faith that most people have a basic understanding of this. If you say hello and introduce yourself, most people (in the college environment) will reciprocate your politeness.
20. For your college major refer back to #5. Come in to college with a few game academic game plans. You’re young and are still learning yourself. Thinking on the fly, changing majors, and having last minute meetings with your advisor might seem stressful but 5-6 years down the road it will all seem like a cake walk.
21. If you find a high-quality girl that you like… Spend time with her and date her exclusively. You’ll learn more about yourself and grow as a person with a high-quality girl far more than you will when you’re in wrecking ball mode every weekend.
22. At the beginning of the year, have a heart to heart talk with your Freshman Year roommate. In a lot of ways, you guys are like brothers. You need to look out for each other and have each other’s back.
23. Don’t ever let other guys know that you’re digging some chick. You don’t need other dudes knowing your business and messing your with your shit (many times they will if they stand to benefit).
24. If you are struggling with something academically, get help. At the very least, it shows the professor that you care. If they are understanding, maybe they will play ball with you come time for Final Grades.
25. If you are struggling with something mentally/emotionally, get help. There are tons of resources on campus and people who are willing to talk to you FOR FREE.
26. If you are talking to mom/dad every day, multiple times a day… you’re doing college wrong.
28. Pay attention to current events because a lot of professors go above and beyond to relate their material to what’s going on in the world. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s also a great way to truly learn the material and see how it relates to the real world (the place you go after college).
29. Become good friends with a girl who takes impeccable notes and has great study habits (I’m talking flash cards and everything), you’ll learn the material and do better in class.
30. In a lot of ways, your college campus is a bubble that keeps you safe. Once you start spending more and more time away from that, that’s when you can potentially get in to trouble.
31. If you choose to go to a school with a prominent Greek life, you should strongly consider joining a frat. If you don’t (and lack a strong network with connections), you will feel left out. At that point, your choices are to endure (and always feel left out) or transfer and hope for the best.
32. Start building your rolodex of alumni contacts as soon as possible… the sooner the better. HINT: Linkedin
33. The rich kid(s) will always be taken care of…
34. Pay attention to important guest speakers that come to your school. Take advantage of every opportunity you can to go see a famous author or academic speak at your school… FOR FREE.
35. Pay attention to your friends’ parents. What do they do for a living? Maybe you can learn from them somehow…
36. Understand that in college, you will have the biggest halo on your head in the eyes of society. You are the next generation that will (hopefully) bring advancement to society. EVERYBODY is eager to help you…. Professors, alumni, academic advisors, the career center… They are all waiting to help you. If you have questions or need advice, talk to someone.
37. The right friends can get you anything you want in college (same goes for after college).
38. Opportunity will throw itself in your face everywhere in college.
40. Check out Rate My Professors before you sign up for a class.
41. The early morning classes always suck.
42. Take the time to sit down with a few friends for one meal a day (usually dinner).
43. Never buy your books brand new.
44. The whole college experience is going to be a huge adjustment… Be patient and don’t put too much pressure on yourself right away. Get acclimated to this new and exciting time in your life. That’s what’s most important.
45. When in doubt, start off you college career by getting some of the “easy” core requirements out of the way (Arts/Music). If necessary, go light on the hours too.
46. Get close and maintain contact with 3-4 professors (for letters of recommendation down the road).
47. The one thing you are guaranteed with a college degree is that you have satisfied one of society’s requirements for being a valuable member of society. Yes, a college degree legitimizes you. No, don’t use Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg to argue your point.
48. Start researching internship opportunities as soon as possible. Do not wait until sophomore or junior Year.
49. You don’t have to be a doctor or lawyer.
50. Do everything you can to hold on to that optimism and hope. Hope is what drives us to become the very best version of ourselves. Faith in the future is what keeps us moving forward. It insures that we still have a fighting chance… even when times are tough. As long as you still have that fight in you, the future will always be bright.
… And that’s all I have to say about that. Did I miss anything?