What You’re Really Doing at College
College: The Pinnacle of Higher Education. Years of hard-work, civic involvement, and awkward loneliness have brought you here. This is the culmination of everything you thought you were working for when you were President of your high school’s National Honor Society, German Club, Breakdancing Club, Future Leaders of America Club, and the “Fuck I Just Want to Get Into a Really Good School Can’t You Fucking Stupid Admission Officers See That Club” (I dedicated most of my time to the F.I.J.W.G.I.R.S.C.Y.F.S.A.O.S.T.C.). And you’ve made it kid – you’re here. However, now that you’ve reached this shining beacon of knowledge, there’s one thing you don’t want to do: work. After a lifetime of pretending to care about learning, you’re just plain out of shits to give. But since you’re here, you may as well do something. Here’s what you probably spend most your time doing at college.
Drinking Ahhhh yes – everyone’s favorite time-honored college tradition: binge drinking. And I know drinking isn’t just a tradition in college; while some people called their dads “Daddy” and others called their dads “Father” (you formal motherfuckers out there), I had a special name for mine: alcoholic. However, drinking in college is a special kind of drinking, because it happens all the time for whatever reason students can find. Party at the Pike House – let’s pregame it. Disney Movie Marathon hosted by A&O – let’s pregame it. Special guest lecture in Biology – let’s pregame it (Suggestion for Drinking Game: While reading the chapter on genetic material, take a shot every time “cytosine” shows up in the text…okay maybe not.) Drinking in college is less an entertainment activity and more of a sport (it’s actually one of the few sports Northwestern is good at, though we still lose to state schools). If there’s one thing that explains college it’s this statement from Bad Bones Malone: “When you’re in college, life’s a game – so there’s no reason not to pregame everything.”
Note: Jingling your keys is NOT appropriate to do during a game of beer pong, but you should try it sometime.
Hooking Up There are few things in life that go together perfectly: peanut butter and jelly, cookies and milk, Adele and awkward depression boners (SOMEDAY I’LL FIND SOMEONE LIKE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU). However, there are two things that go together so well, that they have a category of their own: alcohol and hook-ups. It’s a match made in hedonistic heaven. However, alcohol is only part of the reason these magical blending of souls on sweaty fraternity dance floors occur. In fact, the cause of hook-ups is normally as follows: 1. Student is locked up in Room 4 for years with nothing to do but study math. 2. Student develops awkward attraction to L’Hopital’s Rule. 3. Student comes to school and discovers people. 4. Student becomes an animalistic beast, hooking up with every one that may cross their path. It’s a perfectly natural process and nothing to be ashamed of.
Regretting Dance Floor Hookups “Oh God, I really shouldn’t have done that last night. Shit. Shit. SHIT!!!! Was that a mole or just a piece of food on her shoulder? Did it talk to me? Shit I think it said something to me. Never again. Never again. Okay, who wants to take shots?”
Making Friends Remember that guy who helped carry you down the stairs after you made out with the wooly monster “woman?” He’s going to be one of your best friends. That girl who pulled you away from that Lodge brother who looked like he was birthing? You guys are going to be closer than you could imagine. Though college is a time of bad decisions, drunken skinny dipping, and then making more bad decisions (God, you’re going to make some terrible decisions), it’s also the time when you’re going to find some of the most important people in your life and develop some of the most important relationships you’ll ever have. So go on and make dumb decisions, and know that you’ll have those people to fall back on as long as you always remember how important they are.
Learning Despite your best efforts, you will inevitably learn things in college. However, what you learn and when you learn it will come at different times. There will be things that you learn early – always drink water before going to bed after partying, any text sent after 1am is probably a bad idea, and BK is only good drunk – and these things you may occasionally forget. There will be things you learn later – your friends put up with way more of your shit than you give them credit for, going to class most of the time is a good idea, and you should always pursue what you care about – and those things will stick with you. However, everything you learn, whether it’s in a class room or in a fraternity basement, and whether you learn it during Welcome Week or senior year, is important and will help shape your college experience and your life.
College is one of the most exciting, eventful times in your life, but school will likely be one of the least important parts of your experience. You will spend the vast majority of your time doing things that don’t involve work, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Every drunken stumble home, every hook-up, and every friend you meet will impact the most important four years of your life and help you to become the person who will, for better or worse, impact the world we live in.