Meet your soulmate.
Everyone has this dream of walking into your English 110 class and automatically locking eyes with your future wife on their first day of college. You shyly introduce yourselves to each other, get lunch in the student center, and bam, that’s it, 10 years later you marry your college sweetheart. In reality, you’ll walk into that English 110 class to find several awkward fellow freshmen with backpacks the size of an 8-year-old child carrying every book they ordered online two months before classes started. Sitting next to them are the girl who you’ll see twice (on the first day and the day of the final), the politically charged student, the 50-year-old going back to school, and a whole bunch of juniors who failed English 110 the first time two years ago and are forced to take it again. The closest you’ll get to a soulmate your freshman year is a one night stand who you sleep with twice.
Know what you want to do with your life.
Sure, you might have declared a major. If not, good for you, at least you’re admitting you’re clueless as to what you want to spend the next 50 years of your life doing. Maybe you have some ideas in mind and stick with your major, but I guarantee you that when you sit down to think about it after your first semester, you’ll sit and wonder if the ever-growing pile of student loans is worth the future possibilities. (Hint: it is.) But not to worry, everyone is in the same boat as you. You just don’t know it yet.
Go on a soul-searching road trip.
College is nothing like the movies. You and your new friends say “fuck it” and drive out to California for spring break in a 5-person convertible blasting Modest Mouse all the way there. Chances are none of you have your car on campus your first year and none of you have the money to pay for hotels and gas, let alone McDonald’s after a long night of partying. Unless you’re really lucky, the most adventurous you’ll get your freshman year is waking up on the floor of a foreign dorm room, not a foreign country.
Do anything on time, ever.
You know that 8-page final paper on genetic engineering you have due in five weeks? It’s not getting done until the night before. Lie to yourself all you want, but it won’t cross your mind for another 4 weeks and 6 days. You’ll do it on Saturday? Sure you will, right after you eat scrambled eggs and Naked juice while you’re hungover in bed watching Arrested Development. For 14 hours. Also, you won’t wake up on time, go to sleep on time, or get to class on time. Procrastination becomes a carefully crafted art to the point where you can convince yourself without panic or worry that the paper you have due in 12 hours “can wait a little longer.” Being five minutes late for everything is sort of like being on time, right?
No matter how well you think you handled your alcohol in the past, I think this one speaks for itself. It’s more of a rite of passage than anything.
Not hate your roommate.
I’ve carefully come to the conclusion that you are not meant to share a room with someone unless you are related and forced to share a space, or are married/dating someone. At first, they’re your “best friend.” You do everything together from showering at the same time to eating dinner together. Everything is perfect, and you move into a pseudo- scenario #1 case. Eventually one of you will crack and you’ll move into a state of annoyance. Everything down to their choice of breakfast cereal will annoy you. Why do they breathe so loud? Why can’t they just pick up their coat when it falls down? You question their every move and long for the hour when they leave you alone when they’re in class. After time, they become slightly more tolerable and you stop nit-picking their lives. You learn to co-habitate and get along. They might not be your best friend, or even friend for that matter, but they DO know where you sleep and have access to all your personal items, including your shampoo and toothbrush. (Trust me, I know some people who have done unspeakable things to their undesirable roommate’s toiletries.) You get used to their quirks, and if you’re lucky, you room together the following year. If not, then you get a new roommate and start the process over again.
Throw an awesome party.
College does have awesome parties, but you won’t be throwing them. At least not yet. Those kickass frat parties DO indeed exist in real life, but they’re mostly hosted by upperclassmen with daddy’s credit card supplying the copious amounts of alcohol. Hey, you might not even be invited, you measly freshman! Invite only! Not to fear, it’s college, and where there are unsupervised teens and 20-somethings, there are always parties. Just be grateful for the time being that when you go to a party, it’s not at your house and you don’t need to move your TV and everything you own into another room to avoid them being soaked in a mixture of beer, pee, and puke. Your time will come.
That whole “dorm diet” thing you heard about before you moved in seemed like a great idea in the summer, and the entire first week of school. Then you get lazy and give into the macaroni and cheese served in the cafeteria. And heck, let’s admit it, all those calories you consume from alcohol probably don’t help. Yes it’s true, you will gain that notorious Freshman 15 no matter how good your dieting intentions are. And the gym? Sure, it seems like a great idea at 3 in the morning when it’s closed and you can’t go, but at 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. when you’re free, it seems about as desirable as standing in line at the DMV for 6 hours.
Unless you go to a fashion school or have some ridiculous amount of time and patience on your hands, all those back to school clothes you bought are nothing more than a gallery of wasted money sitting in your closet. Waking up for an 8 a.m. after watching documentaries on marijuana until 4 a.m. doesn’t exactly give you the motivation for dressing awesome. It’s all well and fine the first two weeks, but after that, bring out the gym shorts, because those suckers become your best friend. And your eating pants. Also, you acquire eating pants.
Use proper hygiene.
Once you hit the middle of your first semester, you’ll have this moment of “what’s in my hair?” The answer is probably grease, sweat, Cheez-it crumbs, and dirt. Why? Because you haven’t showered in four days. You really did have every intention of throwing on those flip flops for the communal showers on Sunday night, but you forgot about some last minute work and had to watch The Walking Dead. It’s okay though, you can shower Monday morning. (Yeah right.) Okay, Monday afternoon. Monday night turns into Tuesday afternoon, and suddenly, it’s Thursday and you look like you just came back from digging the proverbial hole to China. You get a good look at yourself in the mirror and say “oh shit” and realize there’s a piece of shrimp stuck in your teeth from your leftover Chinese food. That whole “wash behind your ears” thing mom told you suddenly makes sense now.
This post originally appeared on Thought Catalog.