College
by Lance Pauker on August 15, 2012

Another year, another set of hopes, goals, and begrudingly applicable Facebook stati. Yet, while there’s no doubting your four years in school is markedly “better” than your future life as a cubicle-ridden termite, which year of college is the “best” year of college? 

In the spirit of Galile-Bro analysis type sh*t1, here’s a (comprehensive, accurate to the point you should get irrationally pissed and comment about it) power ranking:

4. Freshman Year

For those who launch into trite monologues about how they fell in love with their school on contact, and how the first tailgate was hands-down the best moment of their young lives, its important to realize that a lot of said reminisce is predicated on this weird notion of self-contrived nostalgia. There is no better example of this than Thanksgiving Break, also known as the time you get together with your high school friends and spend the entire time convincing them how much better your college is than their college, and that you “love it.”

That may be all and well, but riddle me this. What do you love? The strange cast of characters that is your freshman floor, many of which you’ll cease talking to a month into sophomore year? The Frat you have either not yet joined, or are in the midst of (literally) getting sh*t on by? That club that you didn’t really want to join, but joined it because you figured you should try some sh*t out?

That’s not so say there aren't some truly amazing things about Freshman year. You’re bumbling around campus that has endless amounts of everything–girls, alcohol, free time, pickup basketball games. The recipe to lose your (or take a) virginity on your dorm staircase, piss in an elevator, or blackout and go canoeing is right there for you. Your eagerness to do YOLO type sh*t is likely at an all-time high, and it’s something that can’t be discounted.

But when you really think about it, it’s the sheer shock value of freshman year that ultimately wins out–having zero f*cking clue proves to be more exciting than it does scary. And at the same time, you're still a f*cking Freshman. 

3. Junior Year

All in all, a transition year. If we’re making sports analogies (and we are), it’s generally a time where you’re rebuilding. A solid fifth or sixth seed, spending the year making the adjustments you need to run the table for next year’s title season.

The problem with junior year is that there’s too many variables. Because this is the year to go “find yourself” by living with 200 other Americans in a foreign country where you won't speak the native language more than 5 times, it’s pretty difficult to quantify the experience in terms of college at large. Abroad is so far removed from the “is this real life” spectrum of college, it exists in its own, nonassociative reality. Sure it’s a time where blowing up facebook feeds is encouraged if not mandatory, but it’s also a time where you’re missing out on what’s going on at the House. Or, you’re bitter than half your friends ditched you to go clubbing four nights a week in Denmark. Or, you’re turning 21 in 3 weeks, but got your ID taken away because everyone’s now going to the stricter bar.

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2. Senior Year

I’m going to hold off a little bit here, because we’re going to have some more “Oh Sh*t Jobs, Lets Party” related material later in the week. But because we’re here, my two cents:

It’s pretty impossible not to have the best time you legitimately want to. Jobs suck, people talking about their jobs is worse, but college has now become so much more than hanging out on the quad and sh*t. In fact, you hate yourself for even once having done that. What makes senior year the dopest is that College is now everywhere, from your Vegas trip to the vomited-soaked floor of your Tuesday night ragers, courtesy of bonding with a Freshman pledge who is somehow actually cool. And if you do it right, you’ll finish with a month-long, bucket-list savvy bender that will take 4-5 years off your life. And that’s when you’ll know it’s time.

1. Sophomore Year

Sophomore Year is the Kevin Durant of college. Your rookie growing pains are behind you, and you’ve likely established yourself in the circles you want to be established in. There’s still room for mistakes, but those mistakes are massively overshadowed by the explosive potential of the next three years.

This is your time to go wild. Sh*t still doesn’t matter, which loosely enables you to grow into the player you want to become. If college is about self-discovery, forging identities, and all that other big picture bullsh*t that somehow manages to fit between tubs of jungle juice, this is where all happens. 

All in all, its the perfect balance of present and future. Your upside is remarkable, and you now know for certain which place has the best chinese food delivery. Beyond crucial.

The 9th Semester Appears Every Wednesday.  Follow Me On Twitter.  

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