You locked me up in a prison of standardized tests and sexual frustration for 8 hours a day for 4 years and I’m supposed to muster up the desire to attend a 50-minute freshman class with no attendance policy? I really don’t want to disappoint my 28-year-old History T.A., Brad, but drooling on my couch to re-runs of SportsCenter sounds a lot more appealing. Obviously as we were given more choices about what we wanted to do rather than what we ought to do, it becomes easier to rationalize behavior…which I have found to be a very common theme over the course of my higher education.
After having to go through the process in high school of learning how to drive, getting your license, and dealing with your parents’ “totally bullshit” curfew they imposed on you, a road trip with your close friends in college sounds like heaven when you get to college. What they don’t tell you is that every ounce of common sense seems to leave your body once you step onto the campus of another college. Even after half a dozen rum and cokes, you might not find a police golf cart something appropriate to take a joy ride in. But this isn’t your town, so fuck the rules! In a somewhat related incident, I am fairly certain that I am banned from every Qdoba in the state of South Carolina.
Your slightly overweight high school gym teacher probably drilled into your brain in Health class that binge drinking was more than 4 drinks at a time. Furthermore, if you SO DARE as to violate this rule you will be decapitated by Satan himself and someone will shit down your throat for eternity. That definition becomes a joke the day you see someone the size of Andre the Giant steamroll 18 beers and forcibly remove a door from its hinges. How does one exactly prepare for a friend knocking on your door at 11 AM on a Tuesday, greeting you with a bottle of tequila and a smile? I don’t know. Practice, maybe.
I would put the sadness of finals week somewhere between your family pet getting run over by a car and getting a colonoscopy. I don’t remember any finals in high school, yet I am scarred indefinitely by some of the questions that college professors have put on my finals. I have often contemplated filing sexual assault charges against some of my professors for what their exams did to me. But that’s how it is! You are matched up against your peers based on performance on written exams. That asshole Craig who looks like Jesus with thick-rimmed glasses scores higher than you on EVERY exam, but can barely hold a conversation and definitely has not ever touched a boob. You could be well rounded in all areas; you could have studied three times as hard as he did, but no. Your C- on the exam can suck Craig’s dick. Eventually, you learn to deal with it like most college students do; hateful resentment and excessive drinking.
Interaction with the opposite sex
In high school, with my v-card laminated and kept with me at all times, from eavesdropping on occasional gossip I gathered that the pinnacle of interaction between sexes was what happened in the empty basement of whoever had parents out of town that weekend. Wow, it’s that easy. All you have to do is get girls drunk and they’ll be down to play with your pork sword and get stuck, bro. That strategy had a lower success rate than Shaq shooting free throws, but you do learn how to get vomit out of your sheets. And between how every many souls have the privilege of laying under your weird patch of chest hair and slightly bulging beer belly, you might find one you like and take her on a first date. After sleeping with her. Because you’re a damn gentleman.
From all of the shameful experiences I have had on the toilet in my years in college, I can say with great confidence say that my body was not prepared for eating like a college student. Having ham sandwiches for lunch prepared with the love of your own mother five days a week doesn’t exactly prepare your colon for shitty pasta covered in Tobasco at 4:00 AM. It doesn’t take much more than common sense to understand that my stomach probably shouldn’t feel like it’s being shredded by a cheese grater after I eat sometimes. But I’m going to live off of things that aren’t good for me (fast food, beer, ramen noodles) because I’m a college student and well fuck you.
Remember how many times you celebrated Red Ribbon Week? An entire WEEK dedicated to abstaining from drugs, and you celebrated from shitting your pants in elementary school all the way to high school. You’re prepared to diligently refuse any sort of illicit drug because who knows, you will probably see black tar heroin getting passed around in eighth grade. You say to yourself, “I’ll never do drugs” and “I don’t even know what they look like.” I would like to talk to the person that failed to inform me that the weird kid on my dorm hall who wears a beanie even when it’s 85 fucking degrees outside is going to offer me assorted drugs every time we are awkwardly in the elevator together. How do you politely refuse drugs from a stranger? “Nah…already bought some potsweed from my other buddy dude!” Right.
My experiences with coffee in high school were what most doctors might consider “normal.” I maybe had a cup here and there before school when I was a little groggy from studying for an AP World test, nothing really more than that. But with college classes comes the need to be alert and awake for much longer spans of time than before, and coffee soon became my bold little friend. My favorite kind of people are the ones who hate coffee because I can look them in the eyes and truly wonder what the fuck is wrong with them. When I’m hit with the tidal wave of warmth from a cup of coffee I feel complete in a way similar to junkies getting another hit of smack. However, as someone who is unfamiliar with the concept of moderation, I will proceed to have four or five more cups after that. Often, I drink so much coffee that I begin to see noises and bleed from my eyes. Nobody prepared me to develop a crippling addiction to caffeine. I did that all on my own, which I know would make my parents extremely proud.
When I perused Facebook as a strapping young junior in high school, I remember seeing all of my older friends who were in college always posting pictures of themselves in bars. They always looked so kept together. So, of course I thought that everyone generally acted the same way in a college bar. There is no way on God’s green Earth that anyone could prepare you for the things seen in a college bar. Who could’ve explained to me that you see so much go on that eventually nothing surprises you anymore? Oh, look. Those two young coeds are sucking face while everyone around them is taking pictures for blackmail. Normal. Some dude is passed out in a puddle of his own urine and feces in the bathroom? What a mouth breathing IDIOT. I’m not sure how concerned I should be knowing that I frequented bars enough to dull my perception of events as “inappropriate,” but I’ll worry about that later.
Speaking of worrying about things later, although I might be the outlier in this, I felt as if I had zero free time in high school. My daily schedule went something like this:
6:00 AM – alarm goes off
6:30 AM – wander downstairs, where mom has food on the table
6:45 AM – head to lacrosse workouts
8:00 AM – head to the gas station to get a Monster after workouts because I’m a badass
8:40 AM to 3:40 PM – class
4:30 PM to 6:30 PM – lacrosse practice
7:00 PM – dinner
7:45 PM to 10:00 PM – homework
Then sleep, rinse and repeat. Opposed to the daily schedule in college:
8:30 AM – alarm goes off for 9:05 AM class, hurl phone against wall and keep sleeping
10:00 AM – wake up with a headache, regret drinking last night and find water
10:02 AM – puke
11:00 AM – somehow make it to class, realize you have a paper due in two days
11:01 AM – consciously decide to blow it off until tomorrow
11:30 AM – sit on couch, scratch
12:15 PM – back in bed for a three hour nap
3:30 PM – wake up, head to class hating everything
3:35 PM – realize you forgot about a homework assignment
5:00 PM – friend calls you, says he’s coming over with a 30 pack in 15 minutes
Then drink, rinse and repeat. But, because you are King Of Complete Bullshit you find out how to somehow woo your professor into an extension on your paper, and an all-nighter fixes your problem. You walk into your professor’s office, set your paper down on his desk, and back away making a sizzling noise.
Should we be angry that we weren’t taught everything in the free world that we should know before we got to college? Even though I might’ve liked to know the assload of money that I was about to spend and that blue Powerade is indeed magical, I’ll settle with having “learned” what I have in the very twisted sequence that it all occurred.