It’s that time of year again, when a new crop of wide-eyed freshmen arrive on campus ready to begin college. Tests will be taken, brain cells will be murdered, beers will be drunk and pants will be lost, but before any of that happens, the newbies have to make it through the first week. That’s where we come in. In order to get things off on the right foot and propel you to both a degree and a lifetime of kickass memories, we thought we’d give you this: eight things to do your first week in college.
Photo credit: wharman, Flickr
These are the people you are going to be spending the next year with. You will be living with them, eating with them, hell even showering with them if you are in one of those primitive dorms with a communal shower room. How you get along with these people can make this either the best year of your life or a miserable experience akin to living in one of those reality show houses with Snooki, Verne Troyer, Jeffrey Dahmer and the dude who played Mr. Belding – incredibly sad with bouts of violence and despair. So it’s in your best interests to get along with these people. You do not want to be that dude who just hides in his room all day, occasionally sneaking out only to go to class while everyone looks at you and wonders who the hell you are. These people want to get to know you. They want to be your friend. They’re in the same boat you are. If you find that you can’t get along with them, well, believe me when I tell you that it’s you, it’s not them. These will be your best friends for life. But only if you let them.
Don’t get ridiculous and make a complete ass of yourself in the pursuit of, uh, ass but don’t be afraid to hook up either. It’s a new year, a new world and everyone is looking to spread their wings (among other things… ahem) and fly a little bit. You don’t have to find the love of your life in that first week but if you happen to find the love of your weekend, well… that’s another story. Just make sure you wrap your little man up or else you run the risk of having an actual little man to take care of in nine months and then the only one you’ll be hooking up with is the morning radio DJ while you’re on your way to the dead-end job you got after having to drop out of school. Also, don’t be that asshole who just avoids the girl (or guy, we don’t discriminate) afterward. Keep it friendly but make sure that you both understand this is just about the hook-up and not anything more. It’s the 21st century and despite what some might tell you, you don’t have to take the girl home to meet the parents or to the ol’ sock-hop. Just have fun but do it the right way.
For legal reasons, a team of attorneys is holding a gun to my puppy’s head and demanding that I state that my assumption is that all college freshmen are 21.
*nervously tugs collar*
No, but really, you’re in college and in college, guess what? People get drunk. And believe it or not but a lot of them aren’t 21. I know, big shocker, right? Don’t be afraid to have a good time. Let loose that first week with your brand new friends and get hammered. It’s one of life’s true bonding experiences. Just make sure that you do it on the down-low or else you’ll end up being that dude who got written up by the fuzz the first week and nobody wants to be that guy. Also, make sure you don’t find yourself doing this every night or else your college stay is likely to be a short one, filled with hazy memories and little else, and hey, four years of partying is a hell of a lot better than half a semester of partying followed by fifty years at the box factory.
If you are going to get drunk, this is the place to do it. The dorm room is too risky, what with overzealous R.A.’s walking around just looking to bust people. A house party, on the other hand, is filled with nothing but people just like you, just trying to have a good time. This is also the ideal place to find that hook-up we talked about earlier. Indeed, the house party is ground zero for all things fun in college. You can party without fear since most of the time, when a house party does get busted up by the cops, they just tell everyone to go home, and it’s a great place to meet new people and to bond with your new friends. Seriously, that first house party, you and your floormates will feel like a gang if you do it right. Just hit the house party circuit together with force, have a good time and pretty soon you’ll have a ton of fresh memories in common and you’ll be known as someone who can be trusted to have a good time, two things of incredible value in the brave new world of the college freshman. And don’t worry about finding a house party. That first week especially, they’re everywhere.
No, not like that. Every floor has an R.A. – sometimes they’re called something else but the principle is the same – a dude or lady dude whose sole responsibility is to live amongst the herd and keep them from getting too out of control. Some of them are cool and will let you get away with pretty much whatever so long as you don’t leave a trail of corpses in your wake, but some of them get off on their own meager power and live to bust your ass. So it’s important to get a feel for which one of these groups your RA falls into. He’ll probably fall somewhere in the middle, but it’s still important to know just how far you can go without getting busted. I mean, don’t just pull out a beer bong right in front of him to see what he’ll do but feel him out. Talk to him – not about partying or what he’d do in any given situation – but just make small talk with him and get a feel for his attitude. Is he easygoing? Then he’ll probably be pretty hands-off when it comes to his duties. But if he seems like he’s the uptight by the book sort, it’s probably best to keep a wide berth and to exercise extreme caution. Just play it smart and you’ll be okay.
Chances are your school has at least some form of an athletic program, and that first week there should be at least something sports-related happening on campus. Hopefully, you’ll get lucky and it will be a football game, but even if it’s just intramural dwarf tossing, head on over and watch the game. It will help you feel like you’re part of something bigger, part of a real community. It’s also a great place to meet people and to bond with new friends. I can’t promise the game itself will be fun, but the experience will be. Just ask the freshmen who partied all night at the Michigan vs. Notre Dame football game last year. They’ll remember that forever, and if you’re lucky, you’ll remember your first game forever too.
I know I already listed “hook-up” but this is not quite the same thing. This doesn’t even have to be anything romantic. Just meet a girl – or better yet, a group of girls – and have a conversation. Get to know the opposite sex and pretty soon a whole new world will open up to you. Be their friend and they will introduce you to their friends. Give them a shoulder to cry on and they will give you one to vomit on when you’re too drunk to even walk back to your own room. If all you do is hang out with other guys, guess what? The only ass you’ll ever see will be your roommate’s as he staggers out of the shower at seven in the morning and let me tell you, that’s no way to start the day. Besides, girls are cool as hell. So make a few friends without penises and I promise you, in the end, you’ll be happy you did.
Let me say that again in case you weren’t listening: GO TO CLASS. I can’t emphasize this enough. Go to class. If you don’t, everything else on this list is meaningless because by the end of the semester you’ll be back living at home, cleaning toilets for a living and watching Animal House with a wistful sigh. GO TO CLASS. GO TO CLASS. GO TO CLASS. Got it? Not yet? Okay. Look, here’s the thing: no one cares whether you flunk out of college. Your roommate doesn’t give a shit, your professors don’t even know your name and the school itself has people just like you sitting on a waiting list ready to steal your room and your friends. No one is going to force you to go to class. There will be no parents to wake you up and push you out the door. There is only you. And if you care anything at all about your future or about having fun in college or anything other than the depressing alternative of cleaning cat litter for eight hours a day for sub-minimum wage then here’s what you have to do: GO TO CLASS. Got it now? Good. Now have fun. Oh, and one last time: GO TO CLASS.