Get the most out of college without lifting a finger

Get the most out of college without lifting a finger

CultureOctober 08, 2012

Be open minded about being open minded.
Appreciate the vast menagerie of backgrounds that collectively give rise to the modern campus. You’ll meet plenty of people who share your worldview, but a majority of them will not. Try and remember that most perspectives and opinions have some credibility—even if the person expressing them is not your favorite. You may not opt for radical change, but it’s going on all around you: republicans become libertarians, progressives become conservatives, and evangelicals cultivate an affinity for weed. Your opinions are going to change. If they don’t, you’re missing out on one of the greatest college experiences: personal growth. You can’t grow if you don't ask ‘why?’

Don’t forget the golden rule.
If you make the effort to make someone else’s life a little easier, your chances of the favor being returned are much greater. It all comes full circle: a free shot begets a free beer, a free ride begets gas money, a back rub begets a tug job. That guy whose bookshelf you helped put together might turn out to be your next weed dealer. Conversely, if you flake out on people (or never help out in the first place) they have a tendency to turn on you. Treat others the way you want to be treated—either that or fly in the face of 10,000 years of collective human wisdom.

Learn to read people.
A lot of people have multiple faces in college. You won't know the wild side of your quiet and conservative lab partner until you see her double-fisted dancing at a lingerie party. Learning to see past people’s faces is a great skill to have in college. If you happen to bring home a sexual tigress from the bars and she turns out in the morning to be certified gonzo, well stud, now she knows where you live. If you give your number to a man in uniform without realizing he’s sexually frustrated, chances are he’ll be texting you non-stop until he breaks his six-month dry spell. Don’t take people at face value and you’ll avoid a lot of awkward situations and wastes of time you’d rather do without.

Explore whatever you want.
There is an almost infinite amount of information available to the world. You wont be able to learn it all, so you might as well study something you enjoy. Don’t look at the stars if you’re into rocks, and don’t stick your face in a physics textbook if you’d rather be on stage. Yeah, your parents may make a fuss if you decide to follow your own path instead of theirs, but college is transition between youth and the rest of your life—make it your own and success will follow.


Have fun. Don’t be stupid. 
It's not unreasonable to want to blow off steam every once in a while—just don’t be an idiot about it. YouTube is full of footage of college students making asses of themselves trying to have a little fun. Looking to drink too much? There’s the video of the girl who crapped her pants. Feel like showing off? There’s the kid who jumped off of his apartment building, landed in the intensive care unit and missed his finals. Feeling drunk and unruly? There are plenty of captured scenes of cops beating up on kids just like you. Laugh now. Just don’t show up in the next video. 


Don’t sweat the small stuff.
If you flunk a test, you can make it up; if you flunk a class, you’ve just wasted hundreds of dollars and incurred the immeasurable cost of repairing your GPA (so hard to build, so easy to trash). If you’re not flogging yourself over this kind of fuckup, you’re probably not going to graduate. On the flip side, if someone bums too many cigarettes from you or drinks too much of your booze, it’s not worth blowing up over. No matter how much time you wind up spending in college, it’s not forever—and the bridges you burn generally stay burnt. The point is to never lose sight of the bigger picture. You’re trying to make something of yourself just like everyone else. Make it easier on others and you'll find it working for you. Go easy, dear reader, go easy.