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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An Open Letter To My Alma Mater,

college-fees

I hope this letter does not fall on deaf ears.

But apparently, each time I tell you to remove my name off your list, nobody seems to listen.

So here we go.

I’d like to thank you for your recent telephone inquiry on whether or not I would be interested in donating any denomination of money to my former institution of higher education.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to contribute this time around, or any time in the near future.

I get it; higher education is more than just monetary value.

Well, except when the price tag for tuition is more than three arms, six legs, your unborn child, and childhood pet.  Couple that with the fact that most students will be paying off the loans taken out, just to attend said university, until they are old enough to run for president, and then higher education is about the monetary value.

Please forgive me if this sounds rather short.  I don’t mean to be rude.  I am currently stressed about paying my rent, budgeting for groceries, and figuring out how to have an active social life on a miniscule salary.

I simply cannot commit to giving my money at this time.

I can, however, provide you with multiple instances over the course of my stay that conclusively clarify my budgetary commitment to the institution that taught me so much more than how to shotgun a beer in ten seconds or that I have a serious issues with self-control around all-you-can-eat buffets.

For four years, I donated to this university when I purchased countless supportive sporting event tickets.  When concerts or special events came to campus, I paid to attend.

Freshman year my RA decided my floor-to-ceiling denim blackout curtains were not only atrocious, but a fire hazard; and instead of admitting I was fined for fashion faux pas, I considered it a mandatory donation.

Every time I walked into the school store to buy a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, or a hat to represent school spirit,  I donated and subsequently advertised.  Because, in case I didn’t mention, I’m a local celebrity, and what I wear makes mad buzz ripples around the hometown circuits.

When I finally completed all my degree requirements, I donated when I bought my cap and gown, and again when I wanted copies of my transcripts.  I paid to wear a black, cloth trash bag.

I just simply cannot commit to giving any more of my money at this time.

Maybe when I am older, I’ll have finished paying off my loans, and established myself in my career. Maybe I will have more of a disposable income to allocate such funds towards the school that did not really do much to help me get a job upon graduation.

Or maybe I’ll just be saving up to put my kids through school.

All so you can call them after graduation and ask if they’d like to donate any of their money to the institution that will give them the brightest future and the most hope.

PS – I’m sorry I hung up on you after your introductory sentence.  That was rude and I am sorry.

Sincerely,

Anyone Who Has Ever Graduated Or Attempted To Graduate College But Is Too Poor To Give Back Or Too Cynical To Care

 

 

Cheers to you, to me, to you, and back to me again, and then you, and then me.

Irish or not, you know about St. Patrick’s Day.

Seeing as Monday is one of the most glorified drinking holidays on the planet, I figured I’d give you a little something to think about going into the weekend.  There’s going to be beer, there’s going to be drinking, there’s going to be parades, and most of all, there are going to be, “CHEERS!”

Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard them all, “To good friends! – To good times!” yadda, yadda, yadda.  BOOOORING.

If you stick with the run of the mill drink clinks, you’ll quickly run out of things to say and simultaneously raise your glass.  That’s why I’m here to help you.

The following is a list of things you can, “Cheers!” to this weekend in honor of Saint Patrick:

  • To money
  • To your bank account
  • To your parents, because without them you would not be alive and drinking today
  • To not falling down
  • To the Pilgrims and Indians getting along splendidly
  • To the military and the USA
  • To falling down and getting back up
  • To that kid not wearing green because “he isn’t Irish”
  • To that kid peeing on the sidewalk
  • To your friends because, “OH MY GAHHH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH”
  • To not using public restrooms
  • To finally getting to use the public restroom
  • To airplanes and automobiles that will bring you home
  • To candy hearts that express emotions so you don’t have to
  • To being single and not running into your ex
  • To not being single and running into your ex
  • To Tinder when there’s a surplus of hot drunk individuals in one concentrated area
  • To seeing eye dogs – because they’re the shit
  • To Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski (he did not have sexual relations with that woman)
  • To not wearing heels
  • To bacon, eggs, and cheese, and bread.  So much bread.
  • To live music and uncomfortably swaying and calling it ‘dancing’
  • To Outkast reuniting
  • To free alcohol
  • To stealing alcohol
  • To making fast friends on the streets that you have absolutely no intention of ever talking to again
  • To sleep number beds for always knowing what you want
  • To McDonald’s for giving us the Happy Meal when you’re ordering over 18 years of age
  • To wearing sunglasses when it’s not sunny because you’re too hungover to be in public
  • To the one time of the year wear corn beef and cabbage is a fun thing to eat
  • To castles and royalty
  • TO POTATOES!
  • To infinity and beyond
  • To street meat
  • To Janet Jackson’s nip slip
  • To Leo DeCaps and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”
  • To finding out all your socks matching up after laundry
  • To cooking something that isn’t poisonous
  • To haircuts and looking so fresh and so clean, clean
  • To creating resolutions and breaking them
  • To giving up beer for Lent…… then taking it back because St. Patrick’s day is during Lent
  • To the world’s largest ball of yarn
  • TO POTATOES!
  • To tear-away Adidas sweats and white high top sneakers
  • To snap bracelets and snap backs and Snap, Crackle, Pop
  • To Ramen noodles and drinking like you’re in college again
  • To day drinking and passing out before 9pm
  • To having an excuse to drunk dial your mom and dad just to , “Say hey.”
  • To Ireland and the people from it who immigrated here because there were no potatoes, without whom we would not be the population of drunk people we are today, and we have to salute you the only way we know how, by getting drunk

Go forth, my sons, into the land of inebriation. 

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Dance Dance Revolution

The first time I can remember being confused by dancing was when my my dad would play Elvis Presley records and jived around my living room in a bathrobe to ‘Hound Dog.”

The second time was I witnessed my mother grooving to the tunes of her youth at a Bruce Springsteen concert.  It wasn’t really dancing, but more of a feet firmly planted, upper body twisting while simultaneously moving arms in a ‘choo-choo train’ motion to the beat of “Born To Run.”

I’m absolutely forty-percent positive my parents were once big-whigs on the dance floor. But after the poor display over the course of my youth, I felt certain that I was destined for mockery when it came to cutting a rug.

It only recently dawned on me that not only do we enter different stages of life as people, but of dancing as well.  Do you ever see an eighty-year old woman dropping into a worm?  No.  Can you picture a four-year-old busting out jazz hands like he or she is the main event at a cheerleading competition?  Not intentionally, that is.

We enter a phase of dance that follows us through specific years of our lives.  From birth to death, there are certain dances that are inherently acceptable and they are as follows:

Toddler

This is when you’re a baby and dancing means grasping firmly onto any surface that will withstand your baby grip and repeatedly trying to sit down whilst not letting go.  It’s like you’re doing wall sits, but there happens to be music going on and your mother claps in approval while filming your half-sits and appropriately titling it “JOSH’S FIRST DANCE!” when she posts it on her Facebook wall.

Elementary School

If you are a girl, you had your friends over your house while you made a choreographed dance to the best hits of the decade.  The amount of times I had my mother sit and film my friends and I doing dance routines that consisted of high fives and somersaults is almost unmanageable.  But it’s a just right of passage to the better years.

Middle School

Middle School dancing is all about the Bat and Bar Mitzvahs. If there was ever an age-inappropriate event it would be these shindigs.  Sure, I had fun, but attending a party that cost ten grand at twenty-two would have been a way better use of my Saturday afternoon. The cutest boys were there, there were cheap, carnivalesque prizes, and a DJ spinning on the ones and twos.  Everyone who was anyone was invited.  There were parental chaperones, so the closest dance you got with a boy was a slow dance to Brian McKnight’s “Start Back At One” and you always had to dance forming the shape of an A to leave room for Jesus.

High School

Prommy, prom, prom.  Is he going to ask?  Am I going to have to shell out two-hundred dollars for a faux satin dress with gaudy embellishments that I will wear only once? The first taste of adulthood comes with a hairdo that never turns out the way you want it, and a first come, first serve atmosphere when it comes to dresses.  You do NOT want to have the same dress.  Also, make sure to get one with forgiving and flowing fabric; you’re going to need it when you’re grinding dirty all up on the overly hormonal boys in your class.  Feet planted, legs alternating, as close as possible, hands around the neck, then move back and forth in sync.  That’s it.  You’ve mastered the art of the high school grind. NEVER MAKE EYE CONTACT.  So awkward.

College

Go to the bar. Get a drink, dance alone.  Dance with a guy.  Dance with a girl.  Dance against a wall.  All acceptable.  As long as when you’re dancing, the drink you’re holding is swaying back and forth uncontrollably and spilling everywhere. You’re a hot mess and it’s okay.  Nothing is expected of you.

Wedding

Suddenly, all the songs that were the hot beats at middle school dances are all the rage again at your wedding.  It’s like you instinctively remember that you are leaving your youth to enter holy matrimony, so the final event on your first day of marital bliss will be to take a trip down memory lane and Cha-Cha Slide and YMCA all over the reception hall.

Parenthood

Is there anything more embarrassing than Dad Dancing?  Showing up with your parents at an event and after the meal looking over to find you dad flailing his arms in the air like he’s sending SOS signals to the DJ. Look over to your right and you see your mother simulating a choo-choo train and everything comes full circle in your life.  You’ve seen the pinnacle of bustin a move, and your future with gyrating does not look pretty.  But hey, at least you can make it look good, right?