Last week I got to talk with one of my younger cousins who is about to enter the great hall of learning known as college. When imparting some of my veteran wisdom to him (steal cereal from the dorms, save your food money for beer) it got me thinking about the sort of advice I would give myself, were time travel possible. Of course my first bit would be to sell everything and buy Google stock, but once we knocked the obscene amount of wealth generating advice out the way, there would probably be a few other things I’d add in to.
Obviously, some of this advice will apply only to me, or to other heterosexual males in similar circumstances, but I like to think enough of it will be generic that it’s worth sharing. Even if it isn’t, that’s Future Drew’s problem. And seriously, fuck that guy.
Advice to Past Drew As He Entered College:
1. First off, get that stick out of your ass. You were a good little small-town boy, now time to shake off the dust and actually enjoy yourself.
2. Try everything. Literally, everything, as long as it doesn’t involve hurting other people. This is pretty much the last time in your life when people will brush off dumb shit like free-climbing the English building as “kids will be kids.” Live it up.
3. You’re young and impervious to hangovers; drink the cheap shit while you can. For you, the only difference in bottom shelf vs. mid-shelf is taste, and you need to be learning how to mask that anyway. You lucky little bastard.
4. Here’s the good news: you have a type of girl that you’re consistently into and often likes you as well. The bad news: your type is fucking crazy. There’s no advice for how to avoid this, you like what you like. Just buckle up for the ride ahead.
5. 8 a.m. classes are the kind of thing you can maybe, maybe, pull off during freshman year. After that, you’re just lying to yourself and tanking your GPA.
6. Not all of the friends you make are going to walk across that graduation stage with you, and of those that make it, some will do so in other places. Try not to take anyone for granted, and enjoy them while they’re in your life.
7. I don’t want to ruin any surprises, but your friends are going to get drunk and do some really dumb shit. Laugh and enjoy, but refrain from taking pictures. That's just bad form.
8. Look, I’ll be honest with you here: your GPA only matters if you have scholarship requirements, plan on going to grad school, or work in a hard science. Since none of things apply, don’t sweat it too much. Once you’ve gotten your first job, no one gives a shit what you did in college, so long as you passed. C’s get degrees, mother fuckers.
9. You’re not going to be a journalist, and journalism is not a “respectable alternative” to getting a degree in English. When you know something is a dead-end, trust your gut.
10. Offer to be the designated driver sometimes. You can be kind of selfish about that, so make a point of stepping up more often than you think you need to.
11. Some people aren’t going to like you. It’s just life. Sometimes it’s because you said or did something dumb, more often it’s just a clash of personalities. Don’t let it bother you or make you feel bad, focus on the cool people in your life instead.
12. Starting eating your steaks rare. You have no fucking idea what you’re missing out on with that medium-well horseshit.
13. Learn to cook as soon as you can. It makes not eating fast food easier, and allows for dates that are inexpensive but still impressive.
14. Never try to chug a fifth of anything. You might pull it off, but that’s a pyrrhic victory if ever there was one.
15. Heartbreak fucking sucks, but the salve for it isn’t in a bottle or another girl’s pants. Lean on your friends when it gets rough. They’ll pull you through.
16. Pranks like putting dishwashing soap in the Philosophy Building’s fountain are childish and immature. Fit in as many as you can.
17. Do not move into an apartment just because someone in a class recommends it to you. This is the place where you’re going to eat, sleep, and live. Do some damn research.
18. Please don’t dick around so much in classes that teach about Microsoft Office, especially Excel and Access. These are literally the only classes you’ll actually use in the working world.
19. Don’t be afraid to take chances and swing at wild pitches. Babe Ruth struck out all the time, but all people remember are the home runs. This pretty much sums up how life and society work.
20. Showing up drunk to a class is still technically showing up.
21. Your professors may not share my opinion on #20. They are incorrect and should be disregarded.
22. Most of your female friends are smarter than you. This doesn’t mean their advice is always right, but it means you should always listen.
23. Inversely, whatever Rocky is saying is usually a bad idea. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a fun one, though. For everyone else reading, I don’t know the name of your Rocky, but we both know you’ve got one.
24. When you’re faced with two situations, one where you know the outcome and it’s only meh, and one where the outcome is undetermined, go for the undetermined one. You’d be amazed the crazy shit that will happen to you just from going with the flow and seeing what happens. It’s where some of your best stories come from.
25. Look up Power Hours. You love them, and one of your greatest regrets is not knowing about them in college.
26. Always bring beer/wine/liquor to a party. Even keggers. It’s good manners, a good habit, and will make sure you get invited back.
27. No one, regardless of their wealth, looks, status, or skills, is intrinsically better than you.
28. By the same token, you aren’t better than anyone else. Treat everyone like an equal, always.
29. Confidence and charisma will take you pretty much anywhere you need to go. Bullshit is a super power, when used effectively.
30. In closing: you’re a total shitshow, but that’s okay. Everyone else is too. Some are just better than others at hiding it. Things are going to get messy, but enjoy it anyway. These aren’t the best years of your life, but they’re still pretty damn fun.