So you got into college. Congratulations. Now try not to screw it up.
Remember how cool you were in high school? Nobody cares, buddy. The slate is clean. That means you can make yourself into whoever you want to be, and honestly, isn’t that what college is all about?
While you’re here, there’s no doubt that you’ll want to fit in– unless you’re some sort of hipster who shuns everything that’s popular, creating the paradox of the non-conforming conformist. It’s safe to say that everyone wants to fit in somewhere. Sorry to break the news to you, but nobody fits in less than a freshman.
If you just said, “Oh no! I’m a freshman,” don’t worry, we’re here to help. If you want to look like you belong, listen up.
Don’t travel in packs. This is the classic green-pea stereotype. You’ll be tempted to eat dinner at J&H with your entire floor, but nobody needs to roll that deep. Whenever a large pack of roving mammals is spotted on campus, we’re never fooled into thinking its Diddy and his entourage. We only think one thing: fresh meat.
You know all that cool stuff Temple gave you for free? Burn it. If you don’t want to be wasteful, give it to your little sister for Christmas. Just don’t strut around campus proudly displaying your “Celebrate Temple” keychain around your neck unless you want people to know you just got here and don’t have any friends yet.
There’s nothing wrong with school spirit, so please, learn the fight song and love it. We all must fight, fight, fight for the cherry and the white. If all else fails, just start an “E-A-G-L-E-S” chant. In Philadelphia, chants are appropriate anytime, anywhere.
The city is full of historic places that are cool to visit, but don’t go too crazy, too soon. Before you go, try to learn about the stuff they won’t tell you on the tours. Just imagine the look of horror on the tour guide’s face when you tell him, “I heard this is the place where Ben Franklin discovered that he had syphilis. Is that true?” If you really want to know, then why don’t you pick up a book? You’re in college now. They’re not going to spoon-feed you like they did in high school.
Don’t wear your “Tenderfoot High School Class of ’07” T-shirt. Duh.
You might not realize it, but you look like a baby. Guys, consider giving up shaving for a while. Even if you don’t look good with facial hair, people will think you’re being ironic and that’s supposed to be hip these days. Ladies, continue to shave, but don’t dress like you’re trying to sneak into a club with a fake ID.
Whatever you do, don’t ever ask for directions. Nothing says “I don’t belong here” like not knowing your way around. Take advantage of the maps and find out where your classes are before the first day. If you can’t find a building, never admit it publicly. In fact, if you miss the first day, your classmates will think you’re a rebel. They’ll assume that you’re cool and not that you have a horrible sense of direction.
Starting your life at college is both scary and exciting. Above all things, just be yourself and you’ll have no trouble finding your way. That is, unless you’re a jerk.
Aaron Hertzog can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.