College
by Lance Pauker on October 17, 2012

Below is a list of shit you'll probably do. Here's what you'll get out of them:

1. Orientation

You can read about all the ways in which your school is drastically misrepresented here, but the primary purpose of orientation is to prevent any real embarrassing police reports while everyone’s parents are still there.

In another life, the icebreakers and diversity training sessions could actually be semi-interesting and worthwhile. Except, of course, the fact that interest cedes to eagerness, and eagerness is a HUGE no-no when it comes to the tackling the insecurities of freshman year. Why be interested in something when that cool kid you just met might think it's the shittiest thing on this side of his Michigan ID? Way too risky.

Lesson Learned

  • When in doubt, act like you’re above institutional norms. This can only backfire when everyone else is given enough time to formulate their own opinions. Four days is never enough, so you’re good here.

2. Vodka-Only Dorm Pregame

In which you haven’t totally decided if you want to spend the next four years with the kids currently taking Burnetts to the face in your dorm room. They’re cool, but clearly there’s something a bit off here. Also, what is it with the girls just talking to each other until they’re drunk enough to forget that they came into this trying to play hard to get?

Lesson Learned

  • Without alcohol, the concept of a “Middle School Dance” applies well beyond middle school.

3. Unplanned Hookup in a Public Place

If you do this right–meaning, you have no idea what the fuck you’re doing as it's happening, are half terrified that you might get kicked out of school if you're discovered, and have scored a girl that isn’t a complete aesthetic catastrophe–you’ll have cemented a solid go-to “craziest night in college” story for the rest of your life.

**The spontaniety of this is crucial–and gets harder to pull off as the years progress. 

Lesson Learned

  • Calculated honesty is highly rewarded here. Know what you could get away with. If she blew you in the somewhat dark, out of the way corner on the stage of the main assembly hall, that’s what happened.

4. The First Non-Acknowledgement

Going through college and remaining in contact with all the people you’ve sloppily hooked up with–even if only on a “hey what’s up” passerby basis, is damn near impossible. Therefore, it’s very important to pretend like you don’t know the person that just walked by you. Otherwise, you may have to spend the next two years debating whether or not to look up from your phone every time they're remotely in your vicinity. Not a hole you want to dig yourself into. 

Lesson Learned

  • There are things that could be put off until the last minute. This is not one of them.

5. Thinking Your Friend Might Die

You’ll likely be on both sides of the coin–but because you won’t remember the tails part we’ll focus on the heads.

He may not have any color left in his face–and dumping water on his head may not do anything to wake him up–but thank Mr. Jesus he’s still breathing. A feat so phenomenal, it makes you want to celebrate with an entire bottle of…oh, right  

Lesson Learned

  • While this isn’t something to put on a babysitting resume, bitch please with claiming your nine year old is a piece of work. Hospital Level Drunk Kids = East Detroit’s mean streets of babysitting.

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6. First Date Party

There is nothing quite like taking a girl you really like to a classy function at a house that could easily pass for a Craigslist listing in South Fallujah.

Yet if done right, this will be one of the more memorable nights of your college experience–and even a bigger one for the girl, who will likely spend the entire week before whispering about it excitedly about it to her friends, who will whisper excitedly back because they’re really jealous and think whispering back excitedly may mask their jealously down to acceptable/undetectable levels.

Lesson Learned

  • In the long term, Fraternities will give you lifelong friends, memories, and valuable experiences. In the short term, they project status. Underclassmen girls go ape shit about these sorts of events, because the sheer exclusivity of it all differentiates them from the rest of the common-room gossiping pack.
  • As a dude, don’t discount this. Even if you breathe too loud, and kind of know she’s not entirely into to you. She's counting on you much more than you realize. 

7. Career Fair

As once stated by my former roommate (and diehard Sriracha sauce fan), the mixture of desperation and ambition at these sorts of events is beyond unbearable, creating what is without a doubt one of the most depressing environments you’ll experience in college.

It’s nearly impossible to leave one of these without completely hating yourself, the world, and the fact that you used the words “Aesthetic Integrity Coordinator” to describe your summer landscaping job.

Lesson Learned

  • Unless you are really enthusiastic about wearing khaki pants that make you look like the goonishly oversized kid at a bar mitzvah, you’ll never get a job
  • Unless you’re irrationally enthusiastic about learning a few buzzwords that are only there so someone could make it seem like they know what they’re talking about when they really have little to no idea, you’ll never get a job.
  • If you shout the words “Microsoft Excel” loud enough, you will probably get a job

8. Scarring/Exhilarating Intramural Sports Experience

One time, my intramural basketball team won a very close, must-win game at the last second. Following the game, we discovered that the worst player on our team, who played less than half the contest and definitely harmed more than he helped, forgot to register prior to tip-off.

After a decent length conversation with our ref turned to minor shouting match, we were forced to forfeit.   

Lesson Learned

  • Being an intramural ref is a thankless job
  • At the same time, (many) people who ref intramural sports are dickheads
  • Dickheads are dickheads because think they’re much more awesome than they really are
  • This is only exacerbated when put in a position of power.
  • Also the story of most police departments.

9. Someone Else’s Formal

Formals clearly deserve their own article, which will we tackled sometime in the near future. But have you ever been to someone-else-that-wasn’t-your-girlfriend-at-the-time’s formal? MAN are they somewhat cool and somewhat ehh.

Lesson Learned:

  • If you’re not part of a tight-knit group, people will only put up with you out of courtesy to their friend.
  • If you’re not part of a tight-knit group, but then get drunk with said tight-knit group, you are now part of the tight-knit group.

10. Bar Trivia

An upperclassmen adventure, this is where you pat yourself on the back for enduring your friends for the past four years. A much bigger accomplishment than you initially realized. 

Lessons Learned

  • Everybody in the world has an intolerable ego
  • Even you.

The 9th Semester Appears Every Wednesday  For Suggestions for Future Column Topics Get at Me On Twitter

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