The Do’s and Don’ts of Going Back To School

“Back to school, back to school, to prove to my dad I am not a fool.” – Billy Madison

After a long summer of doing absolutely nothing but laying by the pool, having bonfires, and ignoring your parents’ curfew, you finally have to bite the bullet and go back to academic prison stifling your sleep schedule, fun schedule, and happiness schedule.

I have a job where I don’t use either of my degrees.  I’m not bitter.  I’m not mad about the debt that I’ve racked up over the course of my six years of higher education.  But aside from my passive aggressive attempt to displace my stupidity at not pursuing the career I originally wanted, I do have some serious FOMO (“fear of missing out” for those acronymly challenged people) when it comes to going back to school.

I’d like to say I’d do more than one thing differently.

Judging by my extensive time spent in various higher education institutions, and my penchant for talking for the sake of talking, I’ve compiled this list of things you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to going to college.

DISCLAIMER: In no way, shape, or form, should you take these statements as  fact, absolute truths, or completely applicable to everyday life.  I am questionably insane and still eat poptarts and wine for dinner. 

The Do’s and Don’ts of Going Back To School:

  •  Make sure you research your roommates, there’s nothing like finding out your roommate hates the way you chew and refuses to let you eat Jolly Ranchers in her presence
  • Get dressed for class, looking presentable is acceptable in the real world, it’s also appreciated in college
  • Pick out your first day of school outfit.  First impressions are real.
  • Get a white noise machine, your roommate will probably snore, and it will probably be loud, and you probably won’t sleep very well
  • Prepare to sleep talk, it’s totally normal, and definitely not something that is unique to myself
  • Wear flip flops in the communal showers, boys are gross, girls are disgusting
  • Stock up on extension cords, you will most likely only have one outlet for 3 people
  • Understand that you may not be best friends with your roommate, you may actually hate them
  • Be aware that you may become best friends with your roommate, and that is awesome
  • Know that all you can eat dining halls exist
  • So does the freshman fifteen
  • And the freshman thirty
  • Avoid the gym after January 1st, it’s filled with people who resolve to change their bodies with the turn of the new year
  • Go to the gym after January 15th, at this point, all these new years resolutions have dissolved
  • Beer is your friend, but it will make you fat
  • Vodka is your friend, but it will make you really drunk
  • Heels are not your friend, they will make you fall over
  • Prepare to lose your keys or ID card once every year
  • Accommodate for the fact that your meal plan will run out, bring tupperware
  • Free is always good, find the events on campus and attack them (not maliciously)
  • Join a club, a sorority, or a sports team, you will make better friends
  • The people on your floor may be weird, accept them
  • Attempt to study abroad, living in another country is a culturally rich experience
  • Don’t stay up for hours watching To Catch A Predator marathons instead of going out, it gives off a weird vibe
  • Indulge in naps, they are totally and utterly acceptable
  • Read the rules of the dorms, don’t get fined for having hideous, floor length, denim curtains because they’re a fire hazard
  • Go to the sports events, even if you hate sports, camaraderie is real, even if your school sucks
  • Don’t buy books at the bookstore, there are far better places to rent them for the semester, and then you’re not stuck with a $200 Biology textbook with a frog on the cover
  • If you do buy your textbooks, sell them on Amazon
  • But don’t buy your textbooks, split them with a friend in class, sharing is caring
  • Get used to walking, if you’re at a big school, learn the bus routes, if you’re at a small school, that sucks
  • Don’t leave your drink out in the open, roofies are real
  • Dress the way you want, college is one of the only times you can get away with wearing a short, tight dress on a Wednesday without people thinking you’re a streetwalker

Above all, enjoy these four years, it’s the last chance you’ll get to live without rules and not have to pay rent.  Living on your own is a blessing, but getting up for work is mandatory, so take advantage of skipping classes with little to no repercussions.


What are pieces of advice YOU recommend for college?

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10 comments

  1. These are all great. I would argue the one point ” if you’re at a small school, that sucks”. I went to a couple of smallish schools and I thought they were fantastic. I think it depends on the person, a large school can present it’s own difficulties.

    As for advice I would pass on, I would give the same advice I was given: “Be yourself, college is probably the last time that you have a chance to be yourself with no pretext, or having anyone know you from your life before. People will have no expectations of who you are or who they expect you to be. So be yourself and they will have to accept you for who you are.”

    • So wonderfully put! I was more talking about getting used to walking if you’re at a small school. Plenty of my friends went to small schools and LOVED them, and in some ways, I wish I could go to a smaller one. Definitely a more of a human feel rather than feeling like just a number.

      Love the be yourself comment, it’s so spot on 🙂

  2. Impressive list of advice you got there! Seems like you got all the angles covered. 🙂
    Just one thing – make good use of your “freedom”. As it is a “given” in a college life, it also apparently serves as the “catalyst” of all things beneficial or otherwise 😉

    As many adults love their wine or beer or vodka it is still imperative to take such beverages in “moderation” or you go “messing up” everything within your 10 feet radius (metaphorically speaking) 🙂

    Enjoy the “freedom” while remaining “sober”.
    Indulge your gift of freedom in moderation so you’ll get to where you (or most certainly your parents) wants you to be in life after college. 😉

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